The rainbow pillars of Montréal

A photo from Arthur Prokosch yesterday:

(#1) “I have arrived at queer station. — in Gay Village, Montreal.”

The occasion was/is the 31st motss.con — annual gathering of folks from the net group soc.motss (lgbt-folk and friends) — in Montréal. (Con Central is the Hotel Le Saint Andre, 1285 Rue Saint-André, a half-block from Rue Ste-Catherine E, at the edge of the Gay Village.)

One notable thing in the photo is the colors of the six rainbow pillars at the station: not the usual saturated bright colors of the rainbow flag, but less saturated and lighter — elegant, fashion colors. We’re here, we’re gay, and we’re stylish.

The Village. From Wikipedia:

Montreal’s Gay Village (often simply known as “the Village”, French, Le Village gai or simply Le Village) is located mainly on St. Catherine Street East and extends along Amherst Street in the Ville-Marie borough.

The entire Village is bordered approximately by St. Hubert Street to the west, De Lorimier Avenue to the east, Sherbrooke Street to the north and René Lévesque Boulevard to the south, making it the largest gay village in North America in terms of area. It is served by the Berri-UQAM, Beaudry and Papineau metro stations.

Originally a poor working-class area, the Centre-Sud neighbourhood became increasingly attractive to the gay and lesbian community after the migration of many gay businesses from other parts of the city. The area has become considerably gentrified, due in part to significant investment from the various levels of all governments. All three levels of government are aggressively promoting Montreal’s gay life as a tourist attraction. In recognition of the Village’s importance to the city, the Ville-Marie borough has displayed a rainbow flag in its council chambers and redecorated the entrance to the Beaudry Metro station with rainbow pillars. The Village is specifically marked on official city maps as “Le Village”.

A map:

(#2) Beaudry station is on Ste-Catherine, and Rue Saint André is several blocks south of that, close to the edge of the Village and not far from UQaM

Campus, campus. UQaM is an actual campus (where I once gave a paper at a conference; some details below), but there are several non-academic establishments with campus in their name in the area. Not, I think, on the agenda for the motss.con, but still of interest,

At the very left edge of the map, towards the bottom, there’s a red marker for Café Campus, at 57 Rue Prince Arthur E: It’s been around since 1967; open 8 pm-5 pm, it’s 3 storeys of bars, a concert venue, a dance club, and a workers’ co-op (and attracts a big college crowd).

In the village, not marked on the map, is a rather different kind of place, the Campus Strip Bar – Campus Danseurs Nus, at 1111 St Catherine St E. From their website (their translation from the original French):

(#3) Shirtless at the door; lots more inside

Welcome to the Campus. At the center of all the action in Montreal’s Gay Village for the last 30 years, it is dedicated to relaxation in the warm glow of erotic illusions. We offer a variety of dancers but in the main, our afternoon dancers (3pm to 9pm) are young, natural and very friendly.

The evening (9pm to 3am) features more buffed bodybuilder type of dancers, also very pleasant and friendly, all of whom are here to please your eyes whether on the stage or with a personal dance in the private salon.

The Campus has even made the Gay Cities list of “11 iconic gay places that have stood the test of time”:

Parliament House (resort), Orlando FL; Vista Grande Resort, Palm Springs CA; Powerhouse (bar), San Francisco CA; The Stud (bar), San Francisco CA; The Eagle (bar), NYC; Island House (resort), Key West FL; The Grand Resort and Spa, Ft. Lauderdale FL; Campus (strip club), Montreal QU; Gay 90s (dance club), Minneapolis MN; Metro NightClub and Restaurant, Indianapolis IN; The Watergarden (bathhouse), San Jose CA

(Sigh. Of these, I’ve been only to the last. That in a previous life, in the last century.)

Z linguistics in Montreal. 1979 NWAVE VIII at the University of Quebec, Montreal. (The conference was then called New Ways of Analyzing Variation in English, dated by Roman numerals. After a few years, it became just New Ways of Analyzing Variation, and shifted to Arabic numerals; NWAV 47 is at NYU this year, October 18-21.

Back in 1979 — my first visit across the northern border to Canada — the program included:

Arnold Zwicky & Ann Zwicky, “Telegraphic registers in written English” (published in D. Sankoff & H. Cedergren (eds.), Variation omnibus, 1981).

From the intro to the paper:


The “certain graffiti” were in fact “sexual advertisements”,  from Ohio State t-rooms (mensrooms serving as locales for anonymous sex). (I understand that the scandalous data made it hard for the editors to find a publisher.)

One Response to “The rainbow pillars of Montréal”

  1. [BLOG] Some Wednesday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky shares Arthur’s photo of the tasteful rainbow poles at the entrance to Montréal’s Beaudry […]

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