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A Necklace of Memorable Days

by Factotum

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"Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self. To be damned is for one's ordinary everyday mode of consciousness to be unremitting agonising preoccupation with self."

Iris Murdoch, The Nice and The Good

What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful, that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art. The main requisite, I think, on reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of a censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time.

V. Woolf

" She strung the afternoon on the necklace of memorable days, which was not too long for her to be able to recall this one or that one; this view, that city; to finger it, to feel it, to savour, sighing, the quality that made it unique."

Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being


"Why did I write any of my books, after all? For the sake of the pleasure, for the sake of the difficulty. I have no social purpose, no moral message; I've no general ideas to exploit, I just like composing riddles with elegant solutions."

Vladamir Nabokov

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Glen Yards 1971

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These photos are scanned slides, taken from the roof of 245 Victoria
Avenue in 1971

Dhamaka says:

wow

so ordered!

5th May 2008, 07:58

nige says:

i love the quality of old pictures. the colours alone are made of memories. these are great. did you live there facto?

5th May 2008, 10:55

factotum says:

I used to work for a little film company on the seventh floor of 326 Victoria. The film company moved to Toronto a few years later, but the building is still there. I wonder if I can get back up on the roof.
You can see many of the locations I've photographed recently in these photos. In the second photo, the train tracks going off to the left go over the tunnel in the Glen. That's the Glen Road/ de Courcelle running vertically in the photo. The bus garages, now a Home Depot, are on the left. Hidden behind the higher building on the corner is the little triangular park with the statue of Louis Cyr. Diagonally across the intersection, you can see three little triangular dormers. That's the Sainte Elizabeth du Portugal church which is currently being demolished. Its statue of Christ was removed a while ago, and I photographed it being carted off in a truck.
What you can't see in the photo is the smell of baking bread. The POM Bakeries used to be at the corner of Saint Catherine Street and the Glen Road, and there was also a big commercial bakery at the corner of Somerville and Prince Albert, across from the building which now houses the Visual Arts Centre. That building, BTW, used to be a department store, I believe.

*edit for non-Montrealers: Pom bread (Pride of Montreal) is soft, sliced white bread sold in plastic bags at supermarkets all over the region.

5th May 2008, 12:06

nige says:

wow, smell the history. i think you need to get back up on that roof :)

5th May 2008, 13:41

touristiko.com(danieliseliotto-at-yahoo-dot-com) says:

you really need to get back on that roof. these pictures show so much, especially the upper ones, talk about industry that most other canadian cities were lacking at the time. more recent pictures would really show some differences... especially considering what via rail has done to the double decker commuter trains!?? very interesting stuff.

7th May 2008, 14:02

swamprose says:

holy shit, these are terrific.

8th May 2008, 02:54

Viv says:

very interesting

9th May 2008, 19:00

Bet says:

The photos are amazing. I lived near the Glen Road across from the RCA Building in the mid-60's on Lacasse street. The building I lived in burnt down in the mid-70's now stands a park.
I have been on a photo journey of the past for some time. These photos are now a collection in my journey.

I still have not found the picture of the school which I attended on St.Antoine and Couvent st. St.Thomas Aquinas School. It hold my happiest memories of my youth. One day it will appear.
Good Job

21st Mar 2011, 15:31