This week on Sepia Saturday,
Alan's prompt picture takes us to the market.
Let's go shopping [then and now],
and keep that finger on that scroller!!.
A location well known to my regular readers as I've featured it in the past.
A central point in the old colony,
back to the days when Montreal was known as "Ville Marie",
in honor of the Holy Virgin.
The island of Montreal was rich in farmlands in the early 17th century
and people would gather here to sell their goods.
But in the 19th and 20th century,
demographics and urbanization pushed back farming to the city's outskirts,
making it harder to get the fruits and veggies readily for their daily consumption.
Trucks proved to be of a great convenience,
carrying much over greater distances in a short time,
preserving the produces' freshness.
Bonsecours Market and Wharves,
(built from 1844 to 1852, inaugurated in 1847, still active though repurposed)
Another familiar location,
close-by to the previous one.
It is a little hard for me to imagine this scene ever happening
since the place is now an handsome building
selling arts and crafts and nicely packaged goodies,
and also hosting prestigious events,
which strongly contrasts with the carcasses you see hanging here.
I dare not imagine the smell...
Picking tomatoes for the market on an island next to Montreal.
A lot of work under the grueling sun.
Good hats though!!
Odd that we now need to import to this country foreign laborers to harvest those remaining fields.
Have we become afraid of a little hard work?!?
Or are people dismissing the importance of this industry?
Funny how some customers are so dismissive of the sellers,
and it looked like it was reciprocal...
Didn't she want to know where this food was from?
So much GMO has invaded our stores,
and so much imports...
I like to support local produces when possible.
Painting by Claude Theberge,
(c. early 2000's?)
A Canadian painter with a romantic streak,
I love this one as it involves the Bonsecours Market in the background.
Pointe-a-Calliere Museum's 18th century Market,
Old Montreal (c.2011)
Its annual recreation of a market place of the past,
musicians in costumes playing original instruments,
and food to be enjoyed,
provided by regional farmers.
(built in 1912, still active)
(Marius Dufresne, architect, style, Beaux-Arts)
There were markets outside of Old Montreal as well
because as I mentioned,
demographics were on the uprise,
spreading all over the island.
This one is situated in the east.
The building may look grand,
but due to its location,
it always catered to a clientele of more modest means.
Situated in South Central.
Like a handful of other public farmers markets,
they were built by the government after the 1929 financial crash
to help the economy and employment
and insure proper distribution of farmers goods to citizens in the city.
This market originated in 1872 and eventually expanded in 1889,
as you can see in the second picture above.
Then it was rebuilt in the Art Deco style in the 1930s.
If the 1950s proved the large grocery stores were winning over public markets in appeal,
the 1960s saw these empty spaces turned into government offices for a while,
until the 1980s where merchants reclaimed the main floor for its original purpose.
This one is no longer a public market
but now privately owned...
How will it impact the local community remains to be seen.
It seems lately that condos may be the ultimate goal for this building
but food is still the business of the day on the main floor...
(built in the 1930s and inaugurated in 1933, still very much active)
(named in honor of a municipal alderman, Edwin Atwater, 1808-1874)
Situated in the south west,
it stands just north of the Lachine Canal,
a sector that has gone through a renaissance of a kind,
via gentrification replacing the modest homes of workers by upscale condos
and bringing in folks with an appreciation for the better things,
and loads of expectations.
When was the last time you stood so close to your butcher,
and your dinner?!?
Like those other public markets built in the 1930s,
it retains its Art Deco style to this day.
And it remains a vital part in this community.
You should see its parking lot and the traffic around it.
As I was researching for this post,
I came across the blog of a Torontonian who visited Montreal,
and she did quite a few sketches.
This one above depicts activities at the Atwater Market.
She made it appear a much more serene experience than I can account for,
but her rendition is quite lovely.
formerly known as Marché du Nord,
Situated in the north in the Little Italy,
it still boasts being the biggest open air market in North America.
Shame on me but I've never set foot over there.
But it is well situated and draws large crowds from various ethnic backgrounds,
even if you think Italians would be dominant here,
they do not have the monopoly anymore,
though it was a different story in the 20th century.
The first immigrants arrived in the last quarter of the 19th century
and after WW2,
another wave brought large numbers of Italians looking for a brighter future.
Many found work in the construction business of various kinds,
like railways, stone and bricks, etc...
The district is now much more diversified due to new influx of immigrants
from various parts of the world.
If farms as such have been driven further and further away due to the city's growth,
some folks wish to bring back farming to the city since 2008,
using rooftops of various buildings.
They grow food and deliver to a few drop points across the city
where you collect the food you've paid for
by reserving a basket of the size of your choice.
How would you like fresh produces deliver directly to you?
Fruixi does that,
as these people will come to some specific locations
where you get local produces,
and at a cheap cost!!
I spoke to that guy in the picture.
Very enthusiastic about this project,
I think he'd do very well in public relations.
He would park his cart right in front of my work place
and I'd pick a few items before going home.
Everything I bought was very good!!
you could always try growing your own food
in one of those many community gardens throughout the city.
From my own experience,
all I've ever grown on my balcony was an herb garden [and flowers, of course!!].
But i grew up surrounded by Italians [mostly], Ukrainians and Poles.
I remember some of them saying us French Quebeckers were wasting land with our endless lawns
when we could grow things,
which they did.
So I never lacked for fresh greens back then as they were always generous,
making me feel like part of the famiglia...
Have you had your fill yet?!?
may I redirect you to
where you're surely bound to have even more fun.
I'm done here!
I wonder why...
You can also join our Facebook group.
How's your finger on that scroller?
Not too numb, I hope?!?