Summer in Montreal: less and less bucolic

2023-07-03 19:30:00

“My city is not a city, it’s hell.” My apologies to Mr. Gilles Vigneault for daring to paraphrase his magnificent song in the negative to talk about our unloved metropolis.

Of course, Montreal is not a true hell on earth. There is much worse elsewhere. No war here. No forest fires. No riots in the streets. Not even a rain of locusts.

Nor is the metropolis our only city where life is sometimes unpleasant. At least for all those who, unlike the better off cozy in their big house or refugees in their chalet, are forced to live a summer reality that is not always very pleasant.

For all of them, the Montreal summer has become like Forrest Gump’s famous maxim: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to come across.”

No kidding. You never know what building sites you’ll stumble upon on your way to somewhere. It feels like being caught in a sadistic video game, but in real life.

In the midst of the housing crisis, among the 65% of tenants in the metropolis, how many do not know what exorbitant price they will fall for a new home?

And this, whether they leave theirs because they are evicted or because they can no longer endure mold, not fine bugs or no air conditioning during increasingly frequent heat waves.

Air conditioning is essential

Speaking of air conditioning, as elsewhere in Quebec, how many frail elderly people still die of heat in summer in non-air-conditioned rooms in CHSLDs?

How many people with disabilities suffer the same fate when their accommodation resource is without air conditioning? Ditto in old hospitals. Without air conditioning in the rooms, the very idea of ​​being hospitalized there in the summer takes on the air of torture.

And this string of construction sites. Did you think you would spend your quiet summer at home despite everything? If you fall into the endless list of major works by the City or the REM, forget it.

It’s one thing to walk past a construction site as a tourist. To see one planted directly in front of your home for part of the summer, as necessary as it is, is a whole different story.

This is the case in my street, like so many others. We are entering our 4th week of major work here to change the water inlets of the houses. The workers are super nice. Their work is hard. Respect.

But for the poor little worms of residents that we are, it’s a hassle with no official expiry date.

A hard time

Metal behemoths litter the street. We’re breaking the sidewalks. We gut everything that moves in front of our doors. It almost feels like an archaeological dig.

Early in the morning until the end of the day, noise and dust reign. With or without smog, impossible to open the windows. Apartments without air conditioning or poorly insulated become stoves.

A week ago, while we were having lunch with the windows closed, a sudden smell of gas nevertheless rose in our noses. Not a good sign. It rings the doorbell. He’s a firefighter.

The seer dressed in addition to his mask pumped with oxygen, I think I’m immersed in the middle of an episode of the 911 show. Where is the hidden camera?

With his Darth Vader voice – mask and oxygen oblige – he is nevertheless very real. He tells me that everyone must evacuate immediately. It’s a gas leak, an accidental result of the work. Made there, why not that too?

I take a look outside. There are plenty of fire trucks. Oh no! This is not an episode of 911. Thank you to the firefighters for having acted so quickly and so well.

Nevertheless, this summer, many Montrealers, if they could afford it, would surely take a one-way ticket elsewhere.

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#Summer #Montreal #bucolic

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