Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hometown Memories: A Favourite Childhood Hangout

As some of you know, I visited my family back in October in my hometown of Montreal for a few days. And every morning, if the weather permitted, I went for long walks around the neighbourhood I grew up in with camera in hand.

This is the fire station located in the area I grew up in, about a block and a half away from home.
Whenever I walked by as a teen, my heart beat a little faster at the thought of seeing firemen.
I discovered on my recent visit to Montreal that my heart still beats a little faster near firemen. *smile*

I returned with hundreds of photographs from my trip, and thanks to a long, cold, snowy winter that has forced me to stay indoors quite often, I finally finished sorting through, and editing, all of them. So, I’m ready to share some memories with you, and I’d like to start with one of my favourite hangouts as a child: the ‘Montreal Children’s Library’ that was located down the street from my home.

In this building:


The library was founded in 1929, and it was the first one that was free for children in Montreal. I visited there as often as I could, and left with a mountain of books each time. I’ve always loved reading, and it’s possible (as I jokingly commented on Tina’s blog yesterday) that “I was born with a book in hand.”

Let’s cross the street and get a glimpse of the actual entrance I used as a child.

There it is!

When I stopped to photograph this building, and the entrance to the library,
I was really overwhelmed with emotion. So many memories.

Over its many years, new branches of this library were opened in response to community needs, and this was one of them. Sadly, it’s no longer here. But when I crossed the street to take a photo of the door, I discovered this pleasant surprise:

Oh my...
Let’s get a little closer:

*sniff*
You bet a few tears were shed for this sign that has been around since I was a child.

Today, the Montreal Children’s Library is composed of three branches, and all its programs and activities continue to be free, targeting children ranging from 0 – 10 years of age.

I will be sharing more Montreal memories with you over the next few weeks.

34 comments:

  1. I understand your attachment to the children's library. Libraries were central to my childhood too . . . and teenage years, university years and adult life, LOL! And you were born with a book in your hand? Your poor Mom -- ouch!

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    1. Delivering a baby with a book in hand is quite an ordeal, Debra! I've done that with my older daughter...karma for what I did to my mom :)

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  2. I was raised on a farm and we had a library in our local town , it was always a treat to go to the library . The library in the town is still there and fully functional to this day . Lovely photos . Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

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    1. It's always wonderful when these favourite hangouts from childhood are still around.

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  3. Great memories Martha and I understand the emotions it would conger up. Cathartic I bet.

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    1. It was quite an experience! I hope to go for another visit as soon as winter is over.

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  4. Isn't Montreal one of the most photogenic cities, with all it's old architecture?
    As much as the politics drive me nuts - God I love this city!
    ( I was born with a book in EACH hand lol )
    XOXO

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    1. It is a wonderful place to take photographs in! Next time I visit, I'll spend it taking pictures in Old Montreal. Eventually I'd like to make it to Quebec City. I haven't been there since I was in my 20s...a loooooooong time ago :)

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  5. Such a wonderful post Martha. I adored my local library too growing up, and i'm a regular here in Hillsboro now. How beautiful that you have all these great memories, and i'm looking forward to your future hometown posts! Hugs!

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    1. Every time I visited the library, I was just bursting with joy. I've always loved books; still do!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your special memories of a magical place! I, too, spent wonderful hours in libraries whenever we lived in a place that had one. I always kick myself when I get behind on reading your posts. So I've been having fun catching up this morning. Thanks for all the chuckles ~ I'd be the one waiting on the pinecone to cross the road! Selfies especially cracked me up! I saw John Elway (Broncos) taking a selfie of himself this morning as he and a few other football luminaries waited to ring the opening bell on the N Y stock exchange! Not as funny as the animal selfies! You have beautiful daughters ~ kudos to you for raising them to be confident, independent, and determined. Things have improved so much over the years, but I think about all the girls around the world who strive for what we take for granted. Malala Yousafza is one of my heroines! Here's to strong and brave young women who will all help make the world a better place for the next generation of women!

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    1. I can't imagine a world without books. I got into them way before I knew how to read. I'd look at the photos and make up my own stories.

      We do have a long way to go for women, but we're at a much better place than we were just 50 years ago. I'm doing my part by raising my girls right, and I hope those who have sons are doing the same! :)

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  7. Special memories, Martha ... love seeing Montreal! what an elegant building ... I love the old architecture .. somehow comforting...

    I left my hometown when I was 18. We had an elegant theater ... marble floors and an organ that came up from the floor ... a balcony ~ chandeliers ... we had other movie theaters but the Paramount Theater was really special.

    It fell into disrepair ~ all the old downtown movie theaters closed. BUT Ross Perot who .. well, I don't want to take up space on your blog to tell who is is... but at any rate .. he had it refurbished ... and

    kept the

    indented marble

    in front of the box office ...

    where, as a kid ... me and kids before me and after me made that indentation ... just fabulous! talk about a sniff... had gone to that theater before I could see over the box office counter.... what a treat to walk by that preserved piece of childhood!

    It was the first thing I went to see when I would come home to see my parents ... I don't think any one of his failed to put our feet back on that marble and felt it with our hands ... sniff

    So... I do understand how seeing that sign was a wonderful sniff... ;)

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    1. That is a wonderful story, Carolyn! I love when old buildings, businesses, schools, etc., are refurbished rather than torn down. They add something special to a community, and there is so much history attached to them. Sometimes I think about all the people that have been through these places. Some still here, some long gone...it's really overwhelms me. The buildings have stories to tell!

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  8. Our old library closed down several years ago. The building is still used but not as a library. When I drive by I long for the days before library cards and electronic check-outs. I miss just being able to sign my name on a card with a promise that I will bring the book back. But then, I like the electronic age where I can reserve a book online in 3 seconds!

    And fireman. Oh... dear god. Seriously. Be still my beating heart.

    Love the Lavatory Retriever! ha

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    1. I know what you mean. I miss many things from my childhood, but wonder if I'd go back to all that. We are so far along in technology that it would be almost impossible to give all that up.

      Oh yes...firemen...say no more... :)

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  9. I love firehouses (firemen), too. That lilbrary is STUNNING! I love it. Wow! Montreal is one city I plan to visit before I.... Super pics. Cheers!!

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    1. If you ever make it to Montreal, you will have a great time! Lots to see and do.

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  10. Thanks for sharing, we reminisced with you. Lovely old buildings.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Christine. I enjoy taking you all on tours!

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  11. Wow, Martha, that is a huge library! I loved going and getting books from ours. I had a difficult time reading due to vision issues and such, but I would love going and getting the books and feeling the pages and all of that. Our library lived inside this teeny tiny building that could fit into my living room. Very small but it's a very small town. The library moved and is bigger now. And I have taught myself to read around my vision issues and at the age of 16 or 17 sat in my closet with flashlight in hand and read one book all summer long from cover to cover. That was it. I was hooked not just to the feel of books but to the contents of them as well. It's like the world opened up to me. I can see why it is so emotional for you to go back. Reading does open up the world and creates amazing ones in our minds. Blessings, Bird

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    1. I lived in a big city, so there were many options, and some of the libraries were very big. Now there are even bigger ones. HUGE!

      I know what you mean about books. I can't imagine a world without them. I've read so much over my lifetime that I could fill up a library!

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  12. Great to have those memory's of you home town.

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    1. It sure is great. And there are many wonderful memories to look back on.

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  13. Strange to think of a day where libraries weren't free. As much as our Republicans hate government in healthcare, they sure never complain about "socialized" reading, firefighting, paved roads, or mail.

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    1. I know! It seems crazy to me that libraries weren't always free!

      That seems like 'selective' socializing!

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  14. I traveled through Montreal in 1967-69. I enjoyed the city but I've never been back. I thonk we all get sentimental about our home towns.

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    1. That's a long time ago, Red! A lot has changed since then.

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  15. So glad I'm not the only one who can get emotional about a childhood library! Loved this!

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    1. You sure aren't, Francie! Libraries bring back many wonderful memories for me.

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  16. I totally remember the Montreal Children's Library! Mother would drop us off there and come back in an hour or two to drive us home. That whole concept - library, leaving your children there - seems so foreign now, doesn't it? And do children even go to libraries anymore?

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    1. I suppose some still do, but not as much as they used to!

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  17. I spend a lot of time in Montreal... mainly parked on highway 40 while travelling from Kingston to Quebec city :))

    I also had the opportunity of going to the old forum, Nordiques (my team) beat the Canadian... great time!

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    1. I spent the first 44 years of my life in Montreal! We came to Kingston in 2009, so Montreal holds a lot of memories for us.

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