My visit at l’Écomusée du fier monde

When I write, I try to spend a lot of time on my blog, give it some thought, get research involved, edit, do my best to translate in French and then with all these steps, it takes months to do it or the ideas merely remain in my head.  So sometimes, it’s good to just go back to the tried and true and write a small piece about my explorations themselves…

Ecomusee du fier monde (photo from their website)

Friday and Saturday, my wife seemed to have a nasty flu so we decided to keep our distance and I took on full-time father-duties.  My wife needed all the time to heal and rest and meanwhile we wanted to do our best to make sure our daughter Sabine did not catch this bug (she’s already had two colds in the past month).  So on Saturday, I got Sabine and Elliot (our dog) outside of the house for a usual neighbourhood walk.  Nothing out of the ordinary (we looped around into Hochelaga, stopped at the bread factory on De Rouen, walked underneath the train tracks again to get back into Sainte Marie and walked to Fullum St. and then came back home.  The dog was happy and Sabine was enjoying being outside.

At around 2pm, I had the last minute idea to take advantage of this time with Sabine to go to L’Écomusée du fier monde (a museum about the Centre-Sud neighbourhood and its industrial history) since I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time.  At first, I thought, “I’ll bring my camera and a pen and paper and then I realized, keeping it simple was the way to go this time (I can always go back if I want to after all).  Elliot didn’t really like this idea though because he had to be left behind at home with his sick maternal-master.

We got at the museam around 3pm and stepped into what was once the Saint-Jacques neighbourhood bath house.  The interior design is stunning 20s art-deco (at least that’s what the guy said because I am no expert).  It had a real modern look that made me wonder if they had redesigned it but no, it was the original design.  I let the information just absorb itself naturally like I would at any other museum without really trying to memorize every detail.  It’s a $6 visit ($4 with Access Montreal card) so I will go back in the future.  I did learn that there was even more expropriation in the area than I had originally thought including on the land where now stands Place Dupuis and l’Université de Québec à Montréal.  Plus near the end I saw this really fun photo from 1975 that showed a box-car race for kids rushing down Fullum St.  I wonder if our overly cautious society could handle such a simple youthful boxcar race today.  Probably not; too much risk for the organizers to be scorned in the papers and the city to get sued somehow.  Lawyers would be on-site with a camera ready to stake their claim.  Ok maybe not, but it was a nice photo of a simple activity that I just don’t think would reproduce itself today. 

All this time, I had a very patient and happy little girl in my arms.  Sabine was trying to crawl around in the space a bit, echoed sounds in the hall and she ran into another 9-month old baby whom she got to play with for a few minutes (she didn’t appreciate me walking away though).  It was a calm day and she was well rested so I was very lucky to have a happy and alert baby.

Finally, I bought some pamphlets including one about Sainte-Marie’s parks as well as a book about Centre-Sud’s factories and their histories.  They weren’t too expensive so I was a happy man.  I was happy to find a bit of history on Parc Medéric-Martin since I am member of the park’s committee.   There was nice read in there that residents came together in the 50s to pressure the government to make something beautiful with the Mederic-Martin park space.  Work began in the 60s and well, the space hasn’t really been touched much since as one can probably tell from a walk through the north-end of the park.  Reading this info made me feel good that about 50 years later, residents are coming together again to revitalize the park and bring it back to life.  Anyhow, definitely good research material for future blogs and a great day overall.

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