Montreal, a Love Song

Old Montreal

Kathryn and I are heading back to Montreal tomorrow. This time, as a mini-honeymoon. (Yes, photos to come of the wedding day). Here’s an article I published in Chill magazine this summer, and only fitting for why we love Montreal so much.

by RYAN BOLTON

Oh, Montreal, you sweet and seductive vixen. You with your storied history. Your immense pride and love of the arts. Your inimitable sense of confidence. Your bilingualism, your refined class, your touch of Europe-within-Canada sensibility and culture, your hotbed for genre-bending music. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention your palatable (and belt-loosening) dishes of fine poutine and smoked meat. And unlike Toronto and Vancouver, with all of this in mind, you’re still strangely affordable.

And, of course, your laissez-faire take on drinking.

Oh, Montreal, how we love you.

There’s just something about Montreal that gets us each and every time we visit. It’s never a dull time. Ever. Montreal simply oozes a good time from its cultured tastes, its untouched ability to throw one hell of a festival and, let’s not be shy, its french-speaking women. The following is an abridged breakdown of what makes Montreal one of our favourite Canadian cities.

MUSIC

Canada’s most acclaimed musical export today is from Montreal. Sorry, Beliebers. Arcade Fire shocked America’s senses when they picked up Album of the Year a couple year’s back at the Grammy’s. Arcade Fire is just the tip of the figurative iceberg of Montreal’s music scene. You’ve got Leonard Cohen, Chromeo, Stars, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the now-defunct Stills, and Wolf Parade. If you haven’t heard of some of these bands, we’ll understand if you switch over to YouTube for a quick couple songs. Go on, we’ll wait.

FOOD

If you haven’t had the smoked meat with dollop of mustard and a kosher pickle from Schwartz’s, you haven’t truly been to Montreal. This cozy delicatessen on Saint-Laurent Boulevard typically has a line for a reason. And when everyone says poutine is a Canadian dish, it’s because Montreal made it a Canadian staple following a few late night beverages. Aside from the comfort food, Montreal’s fine French cuisine is some of the world’s best. Period.

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Shooting Zombie Boy—Not in the Flesh

Zombie Boy 4

I was in Montreal last weekend. Just a little getaway. I always have a good time in Montreal, and this time was no exception. The city was alive. And on the Saturday, there was a massive downtown street sale in which traffic was cordoned off and shoppers roamed the streets en masse.

It was hectic. As I got to a particularly crowded spot, I spotted Zombie Boy. If you haven’t heard of Zombie Boy (real name is Rick Genest), well, the cliff notes is that he’s tattooed from head to toe to look like a skeleton. He’s also from Montreal. He also was diagnosed with a brain tumour before he got any of the tattoos. Oh, he’s in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” video.

Anyway, I took some shots, of course. People were posing for photos with Zombie Boy. He was stoic as most photos of him are. Creepily stoic. It wasn’t until about three minutes later that I noticed that it was a wax sculpture of Zombie Boy. A very believable, almost too well done wax sculpture. Hauntingly good.

Anyway, take a look at Zombie Boy—not in the flesh.

Zombie Boy Photograph 2

Zombie Boy. Photographed by Ryan Bolton in Montreal.

Zombie Boy Photograph

Zombie Boy. Photographed by Ryan Bolton in Montreal.

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Best Photos of 2012

Josh Headshot

It’s been a fantastic fucking year. Truly has. And although I had my camera (and all my photos) stolen in Ecuador in March, it was a great year to bring the camera along. Here are some of my favourite shots from the past year, including trips to New York City, Boston, Vermont and Montreal. Anyway, here’s to 2012 and looking forward to shooting in 2013. Enjoy.

Click on any of the photos to expand in the lightbox. It’s fun.

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