The following is Frank Mondeose’s first published article, it appeared in this month’s edition of Pie magazine. Read it in full here!
Ah, Montreal. What a town. Town? Yes. Town. Because let’s face it, no matter what proud Montrealers would have you think when you meet them away from home, on the world scale, Montreal just isn’t a big city anymore. Gone are the days of a previous generation, where easy growth opportunities were being handed out hand over fist. Montreal was the business capital of Canada, expertly marketed for all it was and more. Those days may be a memory, but what remains is “that drive”. That championship drive. We get scored on, beat up, and mocked by the city folks all year, but at the end of the day, we knock out the number one seed in the playoffs regularly. We’ve produced the most engaging prime ministers and some of the biggest names in the entertainment world. Sum it up to a European flare, a sexiness, a virility that stands out in the North American landscape, making us refuse to simply play by the rules or quit. But, when the chips are down, Montrealers know how to get down and rise above.
Our resource isn’t brain, or brawn, but something hidden in the heart of the people. You often hear “Montreal? Man, the women are hot there!” But it’s not only that they are disputably the hottest women in the world, it’s that they don’t necessarily respond to the big car or the flashy suits, but to good ol’ charm. You can be a broke 28 year old guy with style, and walk out of a swanky Old Montreal event with the hottest girl. Out here, sex still means something other than money and status. That’s hot.
Beyond that is a city where creativity can flourish because we don’t have stifling high rents or puritan values, and where a certain savoir vivre and non judgemental attitude makes authentic urban hedonism still possible. Later nights means more time for play, and if an extra long Thursday night means half a day on Friday, your boss is more likely to understand … or have lived the same thing themselves!
But still, damn that small town feeling! It’s almost a cliché. People step on toes, scraps form over the crumbs. The big city folks (which now include Torontonians, something unthinkable to our parents 30-40 years ago) know this: we’re not the prize fighters, we’re the street fighters. Instead of building solidarity and taking the world by storm, our most talented often have to make it elsewhere in the world to come back as prodigal sons. Small town feeling, small town mentality.
Behind it all, though, still stand the people and that championship spirit. For those in the know, the party scene is a haven of decadence, absolutely top notch. For many others, though, the magic has been missing from mainstreet. Some stretches of St. Laurent Boulevard – once the Monaco of North America – are now reminiscent of an American Midwest steel town. The cognoscenti will say maybe that was for the better. Maybe this is exactly what we needed. A cleansing of sorts. A revitalization. Space for a new generation of urban visionaries to emerge.
To re-enter the world stage like Montreal once did, before big business left across the 401, before it yielded to mediocre language politics, before it let an overactive bureaucracy stifle its energies, Montreal needs to once again step up, and rise above. It needs to stop resting on those 24 Stanley cups and the crumbling relic of the 1976 Olympics. It needs to stop admiring its success stories from afar, its Célines, Lalibertés and GSP’s. More than anything, it needs to take a page out of their books and get connected to world class standards again. To discipline, respect, action and humility. The city has all it takes to re-emerge, but to do so, it needed to go through a period of creative self-destruction, allowing a new breed of Montreal art, culture and entertainment to emerge from the ground up.
For this reason, I, and many around me, predict a new dawn for Montreal. A wind of revival is sweeping in, and the world is starting to notice. Whether it’s the world class house music coming out of Montreal seeping peace and love into the veins of its listeners, or the emergence of a classy and seductive sensual scene, reminiscent of Montreal 1930’s Sin City North, Montreal seems to have a refreshed vigour. Paul Giamotti gave us a shout out during his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes calling Montreal “an incredible, beautiful city, which I dream about”. Arcade Fire won a Grammy for Album of the Year, hyping up their home town. The underground is again swelling with cutting edge sub-cultures and artists. There is no question that Montreal is the cultural center of our country. Regardless, our talent isn’t satisfied just having fun anymore and is seeking global recognition. Our destiny as a cross-path between America and Europe, with a healthy Mediterranean sea in between, is starting to look feasible again. A city of champions is rising. Set your sights on Montreal. Come. Witness the re-emergence.
PIE Magazine is a full colour, lifestyle publication targeting evolving men and women. This glossy magazine is published 3 times a year and
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