Septembre

I have a love hate relationship with the month of September.

Love

1) Cooler temps. I’m no longer taking 5 showers a day or praying for the latest heat wave to leave.
2) Great light. If you are a photographer, the light in September is fantastic. No harsh shadows, softer light, better dusks and dawns.
3) Great riding. I race bikes and most of the spring and summer is spent racing them. While I love racing, it wears you down. September is a great time to just ride nice and easy and enjoy the ride and not have to do another interval.

Hate

1) Back to school. It’s been a while since I was a student but back to school means a huge influx of students, and particularly Ontario McGill students. This is my one major beef with this month. The month of September sees The Main crawling with Torontonians toting Leaf baseball caps, white socks and sneakers with something from roots, usually drinking coffee from Tim Hortons who’s parents just dropped them off in a Ford Caravan..

2) Frosh. Even the term annoys me. The Main and surrounding areas turns into a giant drinking game with Anglos drinking Molson Export (they couldn’t find Canadian) while wearing some hideous costume (over their white socks, leafs cap and something from Roots).

3) Too much English. I can say this, because I’m an Anglo. I like the fact that Montreal is French. I like the French language. I like the way we talk here. Hearing too much English, rubs me the wrong way.

So here’s a few tips to Ontarians who have come here to study:

1) Try. Just try. Try what you ask? Try leaving the McGill Ghetto. Go on, there is more to Montreal then the Ghetto. As a matter of fact, most Montrealers have never even really been to the Ghetto. There’s nothing there but Ontarians!

1.1) Try speaking French. Yes, yes, I know, your french probably sucks. That’s OK. What’s important is that you try, no matter how pathetic it comes out, it’s the effort that counts here. It plays huge. Walk into a store, speak some really busted french and you will be welcomed with open arms. Bust into a shop on St-Denis speaking the Queen’s English and don’t be surprised if you are snubbed. C’est normal! I’ll also let you in on a secret. Some of those really hot Quebec women you see, have a thing for Anglo accents. Not all of them, but many of them. They find it sexy. You’ll probably feel foolish speaking your busted french but that’s OK. You see, Ontarians have a reputation of being, well.. anal. Speaking french and possibly coming off as foolish, breaks that image.

2) When you do leave the confines of the Ghetto, look around you. See what others are wearing? Not your friends, the people you don’t know. How many of them are clad in sneakers, white socks and baseball caps ?(just make sure you aren’t in Laval) Not many eh ? Want to not stick out? Head down St-Denis or St-Catherines and find a shop, look for a french sales-person (and speak french to them) and they’ll set you up. Simply tell her that you don’t want to look like an Anglo.

In other words, attempt to immerse yourself in Quebec Culture. Watch the hockey game on RDS and not CBC. Listen to Musique Plus. Listen to Radio Canada or CKOI and actually try.

Trust me, as a born and bred Montreal anglo, Montreal becomes SO much more interesting when you actually attempt to get to know your neighbours.

3 Comments so far

  1. Jay (unregistered) on August 29th, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

    I think the main reason they likely stick to the ghetto is because they’ve likely been snubbed at St. Denis shops before… so they stay where they’re comfortable. Can you blame them?

    No one should have to try that hard.


  2. Justin (unregistered) on August 29th, 2006 @ 7:49 pm

    In which case, why even bother coming to Montreal ? They are missing out on all the fun.


  3. Maria (unregistered) on August 29th, 2006 @ 9:50 pm

    I too am born and raised Montrealer, and even attend McGill at the present time and dear god does it ever suck to have all of the out-of-town folks taking over the campus and hald of the downtown core. It makes a local feel out of place. One piece of advice to everyone who’s here to study from out of province: When you leave home, leave IT home.



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