Saturday, November 6, 2010


SAQ, originally uploaded by susanvg.
This may not look like much - a store front, that's all (it's a liquor store). But to me it represents how things change. Now I don't want to be seen as someone who is against progress. After all, I have embraced computers (bought my first one in 1983); I post photos; I blog. But some change I find harder to adjust to. Now, growing up, liquor was sold in the Liquor Commission. Even when I became old enough to buy liquor, I went to the Liquor Commission where a clerk stood behind a counter. You had to look in the book and select what you wanted and the clerk would get it for you. As Montreal became less Catholic and more secular these outlets changed and customers could finally browse the shelves. They also changed the name to the SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec). Sometimes I still slip into the old nomenclature and then face the derision of some people around me.

Well this particular SAQ outlet is on the corner of Queen Mary and Décarie. I grew up within a bus ride from here and as a teenager remember well going to this area to shop. Here, as in many places, people like to name streets after dead people who were influential in the city. To do this they rename streets, thus erasing former history. There is talk of renaming Queen Mary after Brother André who was recently sainted. Now I have nothing against having a street named after him (there actually already is a small street Frère-André which already bears his name), but why do we have to erase names and memories to replace them with others. Will I one day be telling yet unborn grandchildren how I would take the bus to Queen Mary (now known as St-André) and that their great-grandfather's office was on Dorchester (now René-Levesque). He was a property developer who put up a building on Burnside (now de Maisonneuve). I hope I will be able to find my way around the city then - I'll have to navigate by visual cues rather than by street names.


  1. My father would often tell the story of the day he got lost in Dunedin.

    He stopped to ask people directions, which goes to show how lost he was! The passerby told him to go the next corner and follow the railway lines.

    On going to the corner he looked in vain for railway lines. Still lost.

    An hour or so later when he arrived at his destination he was told the the railway lines had long since been dug up! They hadn't been there for twenty years.

    I now drive past places and remember when new suburbs used to be horse paddocks.

    When Mum was a girl NZ had 1 million people in it- now it has more that 4 million! Too crowded.

  2. I had to smile at your commentary, Susan! They will say we're addled when we insist on using the old names! So many countries have changed their names since my geography days, I often don't know what country people are talking about!

  3. Like Barb, the recognition of some countries escapes me, I often refer to an atlas on line, mine are all out of date.

  4. Your commentary made me smile as well, Susan! I guess it's true that the only thing in life we can be sure of is that things will change. Unfortunately, it's not always for the better.