Saturday, May 4, 2013


This week on Sepia Saturday
the prompt picture has to do with a young woman and cigarette vending machine. 
I've done the smoking scene, 
what with icons, even myself in my first official smoker pic (aged 9, SS post #7), 
so I'll take another tangent, 
but as they say, 
"where there is smoke, there is fire!!" 

Parliement House
Montreal (c.1849). 
Back in those days when we had an Upper Canada (the Anglos) 
and a Lower Canada (mainly wahat used to be the Nouvelle-France colony, 
now invaded by an English elite...), 
there was a building where federal affairs were dealt with. 
Like the Rebellion Losses Bill
following the Rebellion of 1837-38 which I've previously discussed here
who was supposed to give indemnification to those who suffered losses during the Rebellion, 
even those who may have helped the rebels, 
except those convicted of High Treason... 
This angered the Anglos of Montreal so much that they rioted for a couple of days 
and set fire to the Parliement Building. 
You can read more details about this HERE
I guess Anglos don't have such a stiff upper lip after all as one might be lead to believe... 
From then on, 
Federal Affairs were conducted in Ottawa. 
Fine with me!!! 

Montreal (c.1852).
John Molson, 
an English immigrant and entrepreneur founded in 1786 what was to become 
the oldest North American brewery
a business that still thrives nowadays. 
I can attest to that as I'm staring at it right now. 
Here is ONE of many pics I took of that building.
What you see above is a daguerreotype taken after a fire ravaged the place. 
This was not the last fire, 
but the business has survived 
and hopefully, 
improved on its security. 
The norms have changed so much over time 
as far as the building code is concerned.

Old Montreal
A ghostly vision after a fire during the winter season. 
I love the effect, 
if not the reality...

Thomas May Building
Old Montreal (c.1901), 
Wn Notman.

Keeping a safe distance... 
I remeber my father dragging my mom and me to a building burning down a block away. 
I may have been quite young but images remain in my mind, 
and this feeling of utter desolation 
as I realized already that people had lost their home. 
I still cringe every time I hear firetrucks going by, 
which is often, 
always saying "false alarm, false alarm, false alarm!!", 
hoping everyone will be safe and sound, 
firemen and citizens alike. 
Did I ever mentioned I have a phobia of fire?!? 
A few events left me [emotionally] scarred. 

Fire Station D'Youville
Montreal (vintage). 
Looking at this, 
you'd think that whatever is burning is doomed. 
I guess the courage and their best efforts made these men do the impossible.

This station is now a museum.
As you can see, 
I obviously saw the place, 
even went inside and took some pics, 
but I can't find that post. 
But it is the same building as in the previous picture, 
if you look carefully. 
I noticed that much at least... 

I saw a building under construction near my place burn down to the ground. 
The whole series of pics can be seen here

One has to admire their courage and determination. 
I would SO NOT want their job!!!

Let the smoke and fire clear 
so you can head back to 

For those who were hoping for me to be a themer and keep with the cigarette topic, 
and especially those unfamiliar with my other kind of blogging since I don't do only SS posts here, 
you can read [if you have the time and the curiosity
how I saw Death while smoking outside, 
or how a cigarette got me a new husband [thankfully, only for a fleeting moment...]. 
Or since I fancy myself a photographer... 


I hope the smoke didn't get too much in your eyes... 


  1. That is some poem about death and a cigarette. I prefer the photos of the iced buildings after the water on the fires. They do look like icing.

    1. I dare not imagine all of the damage the water caused,
      but indeed, the effect is spectacular.

  2. Lots of food for thought as usual. I thought the Death post so very sad.

    1. It is sad, but it is also real.

  3. Dramatic pictures for sure, especially the iced building. Having worked with fire and rescue services across England I can vouch for the dedication of firefighters everywhere. Great post Bruno.

    1. I guess some folks are born to be hero!!

  4. I never could understand why they were called "Upper" and "Lower." I don't have the phobia to match, but I do have very vivid memories of a huge fire near our house when I was a child. It was a rural place, but the fire engine and fire fighters came, and it smoldered for days.

    1. Some things stick to memory better than others.

  5. The fire station-turned museum reminds me of the one in Philadelphia, with those arched doors. Beautiful architecture.

    My nephew is a firefighter. Even as a kid he loved firetrucks, and he had almost all of his birthday parties at the local fire station. Now he's the real deal - graduated #1 in his training class.

    I enjoyed the story of your new husband. HA - now, he was paying you a compliment.

    1. Congrats for your nephew's accomplishment!!
      He got his dream now!!
      As for "that husband of mine",
      what does it say about my luck with guys?!?...
      I'll pass!!

  6. I can imagine early photographers encountering a building on fire and exclaiming, "I've GOT to get a picture of THAT!" It's weird how a catastrophic fire is horrifying and yet mesmerizing. Your nested older posts are amazingly good! The house fire photos are as thrilling as the real thing, and the essay on Death I read twice. That one's worth publishing to a wider audience!

    1. I don't know about that.
      It was a very brief encounter
      but a very emotional response on my part.
      I remember when the first AIDS wave started in the 1980s
      and we didn't know what it was,
      and given the way I was behaving back then,
      it could have been me!!
      I saw many men die and often wondered why I stayed safe.
      I guess I was VERY lucky.
      Seeing a man like that, barely anything more than skin and bones
      but still burning inside, it hits me hard.
      Especially when I think there's nothing I can do for him,
      nothing but a cigarette. Small consolation...

  7. We still refer to Ontario as Upper Canada here in the Maritimes....actually we call it Uppity Canada! Were we not part of Lower Canada?
    Loved the old archival photos of the fires.
    And The Platters!!! My older sister used to BLAST these from her bedroom!! classic!

    1. I guess you were...
      With the deportation,
      I guess they figured they had the rest of the population under their thumb...
      But the Maritimes have always distinguished themselves from the rest.
      Still to this day!!

  8. You have reminded me of a time as a child when the entire neighborhood went a few blocks away to watch a house burn down. It was in a military housing development. I remember riding my bike to it and sitting there and thinking how strange it was. And then the next day the school bus went by the smouldering embers. Never did know what happened.

    These days I live in an are with a volunteer fire department. Whenever I hear the siren my first thought is, "Someone's in trouble." I can remember when the siren wailed for me when I'd called 911 because my father was having a heart attack.

    Love those images in the winter. Fascinating.

    1. Must have been a relief to hear that siren though...

      I remember my two ambulance rides.
      I think I can claim with certitude to have had the slowest rides ever
      because every bump and hole in the road caused me excruciating pain.
      One of my herniated disks had caused me to collapse and jam there.
      The last time, it took me about 3 hours to pull the phone from the desk by its cord to call 9-1-1.
      That's why I now have a cellphone which I always carry with me, even at work...

  9. I have only been to Canada once - to Expo 67. I was about 16, I guess. I remember the U S. pavilion well. Smoking at 9! Oh that cousin of yours! The pictures here are fantastic to look at. Your poem about death touching and evocative. As usual - so much to see and read and react to.

    1. I was 6 back then in '67 but I remember it well!!
      That is something I've discussed previously (Expo '67),
      but that was before we met through SS.

      What you call a poem is in fact a true story.

      Thanks for coming by!!
      I'll be over by your "place" possibly in the morning.
      I'm tired now. Been a tough day.


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