Non-Fiction at a Glance

Downtown Montreal

Downtown Montreal
Alan Hustak

Véhicule Press
$9.95
paper
94pp
1-55065-134-X

There’s a tendency on the part of both tourists and locals showing visitors around to fall back on the old standbys: a Crescent Street watering hole, a stroll up the mountain, a smoked meat sandwich on The Main, a quick peek at St. Joseph’s, maybe a ballgame at the near-empty Big O, and that’s Montreal taken care of. Good antidotes to the same-old are these two pocket-sized guides combining well-known landmarks with many of the overlooked spots in between. It enriches the urban experience to learn, for example, that Wing’s Noodle and Fortune Cookie Factory in Chinatown was originally Montreal’s first denominational school; that Johnny Vago, pioneer of the bar scene on Crescent Street, was once a bagman for Che Guevara; and that John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their bed-in for peace (ah, the ’60s!) and recorded “Give Peace a Chance” in their room on the 17th floor of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Alan Hustak presents plenty more illuminating tidbits in a format that won’t strain your backpack, and at a price that won’t strain your wallet. mRb

Ian McGillis writes about books and visual arts for the Montreal Gazette. He is the author of the bestselling novel A Tourist’s Guide to Glengarry, and is currently working on a memoir about life as an obsessive fan of soul, reggae, and hip-hop.

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