Marriage, affairs, cities, etc.


Once again beating to death that metaphor of cities as romance partners: While Toronto has long been the city I could see myself married to, I’ve decided that Montréal is the city I would most like to have an affair with.

From what I’ve bee am able to determine, many actual Canadians (not just “pretend” Canadians like me) have this relationship with the two cities as well.

I think a big part of what I like about Montréal is that it seems a little more scruffy and a little less”orderly” than Toronto, which makes it much more sexy but perhaps much less appealing as a long-term partner. Not, mind you, that either is really an option for me. But Montréal is just a not quite as clean, not quite as orderly, and a whole lot cheaper. It’s also an older city that grew large much earlier than Toronto did, even though it’s quite obvious that much of its growth was in the 1950s and 1960s as well.

Random encounters with nice people in Montréal:

  • The nice old gentleman who struck up a conversation with me at breakfast the other day, he with his tentalive English and me with my (very) tentative French. He complimented my language skills (he was being polite, I think) and said I looked “shy” when I spoke French.
  • The antique shop owner who, when I told him I collected old supermarket merchandise and did a website on their histories, produced a 30-year-old bag for Steinberg’s, an iconic and defunct Montreal chain I was very familiar with, and proceeded to give it to me free.
  • The lady at the Indian restaurant in an outlying neighborhood who asked me if a certain dish might be “too spicy” for me and was surprised towards that I make my own version of it at home. She gave me free pakoras.

Contrary to what I’ve heard, people are actually really nice and polite here and usually smiling. I think I was a little reserved last time I was here and didn’t interact with too many people because of it. That was probably kind of a mistake.

4 thoughts on “Marriage, affairs, cities, etc.

  1. The one thing I will say is, if living in Canada in any way appeals to you, *please* check out and find out what the various bureaucratic hoops to jump through *really* are. Don’t do what I did and assume it’s just too difficult until suddenly you’re over 50 and it really is just too difficult.

    If I could write a letter to my younger self it would be to visit the local Canadian consulate and find out how hard it would *actually* be to move to Vancouver (which has always suited me the best of the three major cities in the Pacific Northwest), rather than just assuming it’s too hard and writing it off until it’s too late.

  2. It’s a fairly arduous process. I’ve already been through it and have permanent resident status now but time will run out soon unless I move. And there are just no jobs for me, plus I like the one I have. And…well…I already am over 50 :)

  3. Ah well, at least you made an honest effort. Somehow I always thought you were significantly younger than I was. At least it’s an easy enough country to visit regularly.

  4. Actually, the ex made more effort than I did. I didn’t qualify on my own; apparently Canada has enough unemployed librarians already. Mark qualified and I got included as a common-law spouse.

    I hit the half-century mark this year, yet I somehow feel no wiser…

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