My love affair with a staircase…

July 29, 2009 at 7:18 pm Leave a comment

To be perfectly honest, there isn’t anything I don’t love about the city of Montreal.  Sure, it is big (I like small cities with a neighborhood feel…  #1 reason on my list of Why Saint John is fab) and makes for less opportunities for community involvement (something I THRIVE upon), but other than that – I am in love.  The physical manifestation of this love:  wrought iron spiral staircases.  I associate these exterior staircases with my beloved Montreal, you can’t have one without the other. DSC00212

First, I love that they are practical.  According to an on-line tourism site dedicated to the city ” it was to save space on the inside that Montréal duplexes and triplexes were endowed with these wonderfully varied wrought iron spiral staircases. A 19th-century law, in an attempt to secure some greenery for the city, stipulated that a green space be left in front of buildings. This left less room on the lot for the building itself. The solution of putting staircases on the outside took care of this problem by claiming as living space the area that would have been taken up by an indoor staircase. ” Practical & conscious of the environment/urban planning…  I swoon!

I love that they have personality.  Each building facade (apartments & single family dwellings alike), already architecturally beautiful, is augmented by its personalised staircase – twisting & turning in its own special way.  Each owner uses it to their own end; some hang plants and clothing (like my Oma used to do), others baskets & other ornaments.  A street lined with them is quite something to behold, it reminds me of the romanticised alleyways in the ‘ghettos’ of West Side Story.  They are a haven, and I sometimes dream of having one of my own that I could perch on with a good book and look out over the street/backyard/etc. 

The most beautiful of these staircases (inset) I discovered yesterday while I was exploring the port area of Montreal.  I had just walked the entire length of the water and was in need of some shade.  I strode up one block to Place Jacques Cartier and dove down an alley reserved for local artisans.  An offshoot of this alley opened up into this courtyard surrounded by high grey stone walls (like you were suddenly within the walls of some medieval castle full of high priced jewelery), and within another step-down offshoot, there it was.  Ahhhh.

Alas, I think this blog may divulge too much of my unhealthy obsession with moulded metal, and so I leave you with this…  the only way my fabulous city of Saint John could be any perfecter (yes, I said it, I don’t want to be too poetic), would be to add a few of these beauties to the uptown/south end.  Maybe we could add one to our house… ohh hubbyyy…


Entry filed under: City Life, Uptowngirl on Vacation. Tags: , , , , , .

UptownGirl Ottawa? This Week in Saint John (August 3-9)

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