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Metro Roulette: A Little Mountain Hike around Edouard-Montpetit

Posted by Jer / July 6, 2009

EdouardMontpetitOne of our readers was so taken with our Métro Roulette series, he wanted to try his hand at writing up a local subway stop. Luckily, nothing bad happened to him on his journey, so today we welcome guest poster Allen Mendelsohn. By day, Allen works at Plank with MP Pool regulars ncbeets and steveyb; by night he blogs as HabsFan29 at Four Habs Fans. Who's he kidding? Everyone knows bloggers waste their employer's time during the day.

So no doubt you're wondering who is this yutz that MP has asked to uphold the excellence of the Métro Roulette series. Well, I was riding the Métro since before you were born, sonny! I remember when Atwater was the end of the line. I remember wearing an onion on my belt. I own an Opus card. I can type. All these facts add up to a Métro Roulette you may choose to skip altogether. But if you dare, join me after the jump for a tour around the Édouard-Montpetit station, at the heart of the Métro's blue line. Wait, there's a blue line now?

I must admit to being pretty bummed when the spinning wheel came up Édouard-Montpetit (jebus I can't keep typing that it's too long - let's go with EM). To me, the thrill in Métro Roulette is exploring the new - a new station, a new neighbourhood. As a 400 year-old Anglo Montreal Jew, you can damn well be sure I've been to the Côte des Neiges/Outremont area. As a concert-goer, I've popped out of the EM station many times to go to CEPSUM at Université de Montreal, which is the dominant feature when you surface:
CepsumDoesn't that building just scream rock 'n roll? But we're ahead of ourselves here. Let's rock the journey from the beginning. Print out the map of my route and follow along! Don't forget to laugh at my crude drawings of landmarks.

The station itself is pretty unremarkable. It's deep and it's dark. It looks relatively modern. Its iconic features are the platform benches that will swallow you whole if you look at them wrong:
Edouard Montpetit After emerging from the futuristic Métro exit pod, I was greeted by a small green space, the aforementioned CEPSUM and a couple of nondescript buildings. There was a street that seemed to go up the mountain alongside the football field of CEPSUM, so I climbed that. As I descended, a van pulled up alongside me and I heard "'scuse-moi." Ooh, my first contact with locals! Would they be friendly? Or was this some sort of gonzo porno being filmed? The van's occupants turned out to be three senior citizens who asked "c'est où la salle de concert Vincent d'Indy"? Beats me, dude, I ain't from around here.

NeighbourhoodSo here's what I discovered on my journey: trees. Seriously, this is a very green, very residential area. Even the long stretch along rue Côte Ste-Catherine, where I thought I would find some action, was just house after house after house. Now, I must say that these residential streets were absolutely gorgeous. A mix of old and new and big and small houses, and like I said, very green.

I even found a park in the middle of a roundabout, where I plopped myself down at a picnic table and read a few pages of Vernor Venge's A Fire Upon the Deep. A good neighbourhood has a nice quiet spot to read a book, and this one was money. I could have stayed there all day.

ChurchBut there was more to discover. Like, uh, Université de Montreal. It was everywhere. I was walking down a quiet residential street and just stumbled into the back of HEC. I also discovered churches. Lots of them. The highlight of these for me was discovering the identity of a building I had driven by a million times. Turns out to be St. George's Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

You know what I didn't discover? Food. If you come this way, bring provisions. My dreams of Métro Roulette always included the neighbourhood greasy spoon, some local poutine and heartburn for four bucks. To my disappointment, a crappy basement dépanneur was the only commerce I saw.

After a few hours, my tour was winding down. As I came back to rue EM, I saw a Métro sign and thought, "hmm, must be another entrance." As I approached, I was shocked to discover it was the Université de Montréal station. I had doubled down on Métro Roulette! This posed an ethical dilemma, however, according to MP's strict Métro Roulette guidelines. Go in here and head home, or finish the circle? I chose to go on. Maybe there was food on the way.

Alas, there was no food, just more beautiful green space. Choosing a path through the trees instead of walking along the road, the path began to rise. And rise. Before I knew it, I was hiking in the Adirondacks:
20090706hike.jpgThe climb took me up to... Université de Montréal. Of course it did. But it's not the destination, it's the journey. While I had been seeking a little lunch, a little mountain hike broke out. Adventure abounds at the EM Métro, just not in the form of a poutine with some weird meat in it.

You can relive my journey through 108 photos on Flickr, if you're a masochist.



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