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City, Food

Metro Roulette: Honoré-Beaugrand? I think not.

Posted by Chip / July 20, 2006

Spin, spin, spin, spin…around goes the metro roulette wheel and where it stops nobody… huh? Wait a second? Honoré-Beaugrand? It shouldn’t have come as a shock to me, but given my history of losing at local casinos, I might have expected my MP roulette spin to end up on the green zero, or as gamblers like to call it – ‘no man’s land’.

Honoré-Beaugrand metro station is the last eastern stop on the green line and lies at the corner of Sherbrooke Street (who knew it went all the way out there?) and, funnily enough, Honoré-Beaugrand, at the eastern edge of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. When I was first assigned this metro stop, I had mixed feelings. It was the only line that I hadn’t been to the end of and had no idea what to expect. All I could do was speculate that I would end up smack dab in the middle of biker-gang territory, but the prospect of exploration was truly exciting.

This blogger was up to the challenge.

My journey began at the Sherbrooke stop, and after a relatively quick change at Berri-UQAM, I was on my way out east. The 24 minute ride started out promisingly enough, with a car full of interesting people to observe, with standing room only. By the time we reached the end of the green line, only me and 3 others remained. My first observation was that the station was average looking, with no special architectural features. The most striking thing about the station was how empty it was. Empty and quiet.
Not having to battle many other riders for staircase or tunnel space, I was left with an interesting choice – where to exit: Sherbrooke St. or Honoré-Beaugrand? Feeling like I wanted to start with a bang, I chose Sherbrooke. Somehow, even though I felt that I had already accomplished something by simply arriving at my destination, I couldn’t quell my excitement at the prospect of what lay above ground here.

It took about 3 seconds for my excitement to fade.
Sherbrooke Street was like a bustling highway, and in fact, the first thing I saw was a highway sign signaling an exit off the island. Phew, at least I was still on the island. Aside from cars and new looking condos across the street, there was absolutely nothing to see in front of the station. I quickly discovered that this was one of the smallest metro stops I had experienced as within a matter of 10, nay, 12 paces, I arrived at what would have been my other exit choice: Honoré-Beaugrand. The view here wasn’t much better as all I could see was the abandoned villagechamplain.jpg
end store of the Village Champlain strip mall. Yep, who knew? There are strip malls on the island. TD bank, Subway, Jean Coutu, St. Hubert Express, Blockbuster and Couche Tard. Oh dear…I had arrived in some sort of suburban hell.

There had to be something…anything?

I circled through the residential blocks hoping for a glimpse of great architecture…there was none. I doubled back around the station trying to take a picturesque sunset photograph…nothing. A few blocks down the road I did stumble upon an imposing structure that, although looking like a churchy structure, was actually a high school. The huge empty parking lot and marquee wishing students well in their vacations left the site lifeless. For a moment I felt sorry for the kids to attended school here…where do they hang out? Where do they go for fun? Blockbuster?

Not willing to give up, I returned to the strip mall, searching for inspiration and perhaps a little snack. Brasserie Champlain looked promising with its $4.99 spaghetti meal…St. Hubert was having some sort of trio special…but it was the next storefront that really caught my eye. Somehow a single enterprise had not made it onto the mall’s front signage: “Surprise Pizza”. This had to be it, and it had to be the best surprise of all – one that I didn’t know was coming.
It was odd that they advertised $1.09 for a pointe de pizza (I imagine with escalating fuel costs, 10 cents more than usual was reasonable), but I continued in anyway. Still waiting for the surprise part, I ordered a slice and diet coke. 30 seconds later I was eating my plain tasting pizza and wondering if there would yet be any excitement. Alas, the only surprise about this place was the suckiness of the pizza.

Sigh. Time to head home.


Back in the metro, I hopped on my own subway car to head back downtown. I wondered why people would stop here? Or why the city decided to stop the metro here? The lineup of people waiting to transfer to a bus was the only real sign of life. All I could surmise was that people stopped here to take the bus somewhere else.
On a side note: as I circled the metro station, examining it carefully, I noted some people looking at me strangely. It dawned on me that some city dwellers may be put off by a young(ish), South-Asian man, taking notes and snapping photos of the public transit system. Hell, I would have been suspicious of myself. It made me a bit queasy that I felt I had to rush my photos and get the hell out of there, but I guess this is a sign of the times…



Jer / July 21, 2006 at 09:22 am
Jer: Hey yo Chip
Chip: Whut up?
Jer: Where do you wanna hang today?
Chip: Dunno, maybe we could hit the blockbuster.
Jer: Sweet. I'll meet you @ BB in 5. I'll be in the romantic comedy section.
Chip: R to the C, Jer. R to the C.
j mac / July 21, 2006 at 09:50 am
You know, there should be some kind of agency in charge of the names of pizza places. It's a travesty that Surprise Pizza has shitty pizza, because the name is probably one of the best names for a pizza joint in the history of the world. Somebody oughta do something.
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Chip: I heard that "Guess Who" has the right mix of comedy and romance.
Jer: Word. That Bernie Mac cracks me up.
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