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Metro Roulette: Muckin' Around Monk

Posted by Sisi / June 18, 2008

Since I never have an excuse to go further west on the green line than Lionel-Groulx, Monk metro usually evokes some irrational combination of Friar Tuck and obsessive-compulsive TV detectives. The truth, my friends, is slightly different.

20080618_monk2.jpgAccording to our friends at Métro de Montréal (that most excellent savior of Midnight Poutine rouletters), Monk metro could've been named after either Sir James Monk (1745-1826), the scion of a family that roamed the best political circles in the province, or Frederic D. Monk, a lawyer who bought land with Joseph-Ulric Émard to develop the modern-day Ville-Émard.

The metro station itself was a highlight of the trip. Inaugurated in 1978 and measuring in at 18,3 meters deep, Monk is divided into three levels that feature a muted gray and brown palette. The trademarks of the station include concrete arches and grandiose curves, a motif that is also repeated in rippling brick walls on the ground floor. I wasn't impressed at first, but the architecture got increasingly elaborate as we made our way up.


To leave the station, all travelers must pass by or under two gigantic sculptures by Germain Bergeron entitled Pic et Pelle (1976). And I quote: "Made from welded steel tubes painted orange, the sculptures, entitled Pic et Pelle represent two metro construction workers wielding a pick and a shovel. The curved, monumental, and profoundly dignified nature of these sculptures mirrors the station in which they stand." Well played, Métro de Montréal, well played. (The site gave Monk metro a whopping 5 out of 5 rating.) Originally, there were also plans for a third sculpture in the shape of a foreman, but I guess the people in charge figured that would be a tad oppressive.


We were surprised to find a series of balconies with faintly Victorian-style railings. We supposed they were fenced off to prevent suicides; in fact, it's to protect the visually impaired from accidentally diving off the deep end.

Onwards to daylight! We emerged into a muggy afternoon in tree-lined Ville-Émard, which is part of the Southwest borough. By pure chance, I'd read earlier that day about a diner named Dilallo Burger Original 1929 (2851 rue Allard). With a rumble in our tummies, we marched there to mow down on greasy eats.

And holy, was it greasy. Dilallo is a diner like any other: Formica tables, swivel chairs, regular clientele, and curt service. Dilallo was plastered with sports paraphernalia and pictures of local teams. There was even a kid's corner and a couple of flat-screen TVs.


We got a Buck Burger (which ironically cost $3.25) and an all-dressed burger. They were unceremoniously dumped in front of us in wax paper wrappers that were soaked through in several places with oily grossness/deliciousness. It reminded me of that episode of the Simpsons where Krusty Burgers turn the wall transparent.




After we settled the bill, we took a stroll to take in the sights. As it turned out, there weren't too many. Ville-Émard is mostly residential, with a few small businesses scattered around here and there. They're mostly around Monk Blvd., one of the neighborhood's main arteries (along with Allard St.). We came across a cool church with retro-looking lines. Appearances were deceiving, however, as we spied a fund-raising thermometer with under half the target amount filled up. (Whose idea are those cheesy things anyway?)

20080618_monk8.jpgOn Monk Blvd., terraces were set up for the summer. Apparently, they're pretty controversial. The businesses and restaurants along the strip reminded a little of those on Queen Mary Road (minus the impossible traffic): oldish, dusty, sometimes on the tacky side, but very much woven into the fabric of the neighborhood. Among the sights spotted were a Chinese restaurant with unusually red bricks, the doomed romance of door and mattress, and a very angry sticker.

All in all, it was a great jaunt. Ville-Émard is one of those places that grows on you slowly. When I have more time, I'd like to go back and take a bike ride further down Monk.

Metro Roulette is an on-going series where intrepid Midnight Poutiners trek from one end of the metro system to the other to bring you the tales of a metro station and its surrounding area.



Sarah / June 19, 2008 at 11:41 am
I used to live in the area. I'm not sure if it really grows on you. In my case, I grew OUT of it.
There are a few good things about the hood though. At the corner of Jolicoeur and Monk, there's a diner that makes some of the best poutine I've ever had. It's deliriously great stuff, I swear.
Harold / June 19, 2008 at 06:57 pm
Quelle coïncidence, j'y emménage dimanche prochain! Mon appartement est sur la rue Beaulieu, directement relié à la station Monk, que je devrais abondamment fréquentée dans les prochains mois. Étant donné que je ne connais pas beaucoup le quartier, ce fut un plaisirs que tu m'y initie Sisi!
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