I went on a tour of this area, led by a local university student.
This fascinating shot is in the library at the University of Quebec at Montreal, (L'Universite du Quebec au Montreal), UQAM. UQAM was started in the 60s as an equivalent to the U.S.'s state schools.
All other universities in Montreal are private, though they're a fraction of the cost of private universities in the U.S.
UQAM was developed as a way to bring more educational opportunities to the Francohophone community, who prior to this mainly only went to two-year CEGEPs (College Educationale et Professionale) after French high school.
The rosette window is fascinating, because it recalls a church window.
Yes, this is deliberate.
Prior to the 'quiet revolution' of the 60s and 70s in Quebec, French Canadians were controlled mainly by the Catholic church, which still operated on the old seigniory system.
The Catholic church decided who would go to University and who would not.
French-speaking Quebeckers made much less money than the Anglophones.
The cultural changes that would take place over the next couple of decades, from the 60s to the 80s were immense.
Yes, Prime Minister Elliott Trudeau was a French-speaking Montrealer. Bilingual, as a matter of fact. He was of the wealthy class.
The library pays homage in a beautiful way to this fascinating cultural heritage of the Catholic church in Quebec.
This is the interior of the student design center at UQAM. This was designed by a famous local architect.
The concept is interesting, although interior light does not highlight the concept that well.
The architect wanted to provide glimpses, rather than a full-on view, evoking students who pass by each other, and catch each other's eyes from afar.
A gorgeous fresco near the UQAM library.
This mural was commissioned.
Technically, graffiti is illegal in Montreal, though you'd sometimes swear otherwise.
Numerous projects are commissioned, such as this hat shop in the East side of Montreal in the St. Denis neighborhood.
Inside another student design center, we found many fascinating projects, such as this mini room.
This full-length mural was also fascinating.
Art has always been a vehicle for social commentary.
The surrealist-inspired projects of the students were very impressive.
Nothing about Francophone artists or their art resembles any art by Anglo Canadians nor Americans.
The heritage seems to draw largely from the Surrealist/Dada movements.
Outside on St. Denis Street is vibrant street life.
This is in the newly renamed Quartier des Spectacles, formerly Le Quartier Latin, also known as the red light distict.
You'd swear, though, that the red light district also existed on Ste. Catherine Street, with many strip clubs (still a few) and also on St. Laurent Street.
Le Quartier Latin was named because of the Latin Quarter in Paris, which was the student quarter.
Students studied Latin; hence, the Latin Quarter. In Montreal, this is part of the student UQAM area; hence, the Latin Quarter.
Mass is in French, but undoubtedly was in Latin a few generations ago.
What Crescent Street is for Anglophones and tourists, St. Denis is for Francophones.
You might get the impression, that despite the changes in recent decades, that Montreal is still somewhat of two solitudes, rather than a mixed heterogeneous community.
People from all over the world settle in Montreal. I noticed restaurants from dozens of countries, more than Boston, and probably close to the number that New York City offers.
There are some native-born Anglophones who have continued to live in Montreal, after the English-speaking exodus of the 70s and 80s, after French was declared the official language of Montreal. Formerly, French and English were the two official languages.
Europeans, Middle Easterners, French Africans, Asians also settle in Montreal.
But yes, the English mainly live in the English areas (West Island, Westmount and so on) and the native French speakers live in the French areas.
So, it really is still a culture of two solitudes - English and French. The 'two solitudes' refers to a famous book set in the 50s in Montreal by Anglo author Hugh McLennan, about a French Canadian wife and her Anglo husband.
There have been changes, but the French socialize with the French and the Anglos socialize with the Anglos.
That said, many French Canadians do have Anglophone heritage, as well as French heritage.
A high level of proficiency in Quebec French is required on the job, even if the company, organization or university is an English institution.
All exterior signage must be in French. Le Bureau en Gros = Staples. However, Best Buy is Best Buy.
Some American companies are willing to comply with Quebec's specific business rules; others are not.
If you get the impression that a lot of discussion centers around Anglo/Franco, you're right.
Quisnos Subs, Sushi St. Denis, an Italian restaurant upstairs, Paisano.
This neighborhood was the center of French culture in the 19th century.
Trois Amigos Mexican restaurant and Bistro a Jojo - JoJo's Bistro.
Like Trois Amigos, the restaurant Trois Brassures is a local chain.
Actually, Trois Brassures is a French (France) company, named after three generations of brewers, since its inception in France in 1986.
It offers very good pizza and burgers, but specializes in four types of brew: blonde, amber, virago and the shy sister.
Upstairs is a small discotheque, Le St. Sulpice.
21 bells on the promenade in the summer.
Bells sound when people swing. A cooperative artistic effort.
A distance shot of the swings that create the sound. The swings are behind the two people walking.
These are huge lights that illuminate the large outdoor place at the Place des Arts.
Many open air concerts and festivals are held each summer.
Imagine the electric bill.
Ah welll, it is Hydro Quebec. All those trees are good for power.
Graffiti near the St. Denis area.
The sign says: No posting zone.
This is the well-known club, Club Soda.
A lovely bistro on St. Denis.