Thursday, 5 August 2010

Jean-Talon & Saint Hubert

This is the 'hood my apartment was in, close by metro Jean-Talon. The architecture is really unique in French-Canadian suburbia; stairs leading from one apartment to another that are usually inside a house are on the outside here, curling up and around beautifully as they reach for each floor. My apartment reminded me of my Massachusetts days, the place was a similar size and had a similar vibe; even down to the dodgy brown couch with throw. The warm smell of the wooden floor and doors sweating in the heat and humidity was divine and took me right back. I also loved the front gardens. I miss front gardens and passing people sitting on their porches, kids playing out front. Little snippets of other people's lives. Cats sprawled on the pavement, eying you suspiciously as you pass their houses. Very cosy. The streets are lush green avenues full of bugs and butterflies and I didn't realise just how much I really missed seeing gardens until I came here. Kind of stingy that the Dutch houses barricade theirs at the back of the house, for only a few to see. A funny little neighbourhood but I came to love it's relaxed shabby line of higgelty-piggelty houses. There is one major draw-card to Jean-talon, however, a place that people all over the city flock to: the Jean-Talon Market.
This is a fruit n' veg market, predominantly, with some fresh seafood and other local produce also available.
I think it must be the most meticulous, neatly laid out market I've ever seen.
Lush produce at very good prices. Bordering the market are a few cafés, bakeries, and restaurants. I highly recommend the Mexican place, super food, dirt cheap. And the big bakery in the centre of the market offers up a seemingly endless array of delectable treats.
Leaving the market and heading down Jean-Talon itself...
Loving nervous donor-kebab-guy (and yours truly). Then we come to Saint Hubert. I was warned about this street's reputation for tackiness and tat, but, I was wandering about on a sunny Sunday and figured, what the hey, let's go for it. And I'm very happy I did. Firstly, I found this gem in a closed down hairdresser's:
And then this! Gold! Pure gold. In the middle of this very run-down street, that boasts abut 20+ (fairly average) bridal shops (I'm not kidding), and an array of discount stores is this: Effiloche, which translates of Fringe. Well, it's definitely on the edge. This treasure trove of fabric and wool almost sent me over the edge. For reals kids. It's just amazing. I love Purl, in Soho, and Liberty's of London, but they are quite exy, and this place had equally lovely fabric patterns at affordable prices.I was like a kid in a candy store. Completely overwhelmed. Had to text my boy who (and this is why I adore him) texted me back "go for it!"... ahh, what a darling. So with his blessing I tried hard to decide what kind of fabric I might need for projects that are all still either up in my head or not even a sketch yet. In the end I mostly got a few strips of 25cm width pieces, so I can use these as feature pieces in whatever I figure out. I'm itching to get behind the sewing machine now and play about now.
I think I spent a good 90+ minutes in there, inspecting every inch of the store and every bolt of fabric about 5 times (no, really). I tried so hard to be sensible...I did pretty OK. The golden retriever belongs to the store also, very friendly. Among the stacks of fabric bolts were old suitcases filled to the brim with small pieces for patchwork quilters. I picked up a few lovely bits on sale here also. The ladies running the store were just the sweetest, very patient with me and my large piles of fabric, even though I only bought small pieces of most of them. A super little find. If you're a crafter, I'd make a trip to the store then snack at the market. Perfect outing. Effiloche: Salle de couture & tricot lounge. 6252 Saint Hubert, Montreal.
Oh, but wait, there's more! As I walked in the opposite direction (away from the city), I found my self in the textile hub of Montreal. Ooooh...danger danger. The street was just a line of fabric store after fabric store. Oh my lordy, lord, lord... However, having just gorged myself (and my credit card), I was feeling sufficiently full on the fabric front. Most of the stores here looked pretty sock-standard. I saw a lot of animal print and sequined fabric. The one store that did draw me in looked like it was closing down, but I think actually this is just the way it looks. It was fairly chaotic, with piles of dusty boxes full of buttons and oversized spools of ribbons, and plastic jewelery, and tat. But you know instinct told me there were diamonds under that pile of dust and disheveled appearance, and there was. Behold.Most of the ribbon I got was CN $0.75 / €0.56 per meter, the exy stuff CN$1 / €0.74 per meter. Awesome. A few more little pieces for the suitcase...oh yeah, and I had to buy another bag, cause that suitcase is full.

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