Written on Sep/28-11 by Ming
Here in Montreal, we have a new bilingual publication that is printed on the paper place mats found in diners across the city. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this scene, diner culture in Quebec is still alive and kicking with one of the most popular late night snacks being poutine: an oily mess of fries topped with cheese curds (a squeaky specialty only found on this side of north america) and a slick of gravy. Delicious! Bienvenue/Welcome gives a voice to the many wonderful interactions that take place in these spaces and provides some interesting meal time reading. What better a way to digest?
Seat yourself at any diner in Montreal, and chances are this is what the placemat in front of you will read—a cheery invitation to the world of poutine and steamés. This chorus of greeting is also emblematic of the dynamic that makes this city so interesting. Montreal’s historic “two solitudes” are just two parts of the city’s ever expanding spectrum of city-dwellers. Diners, known in Quebec as casse-croutes, are a quintessentially North-American institution. However, their informality, low prices and long business hours invite hungry people from all walks of life, making them a site of cultural exchange. Bienvenue/Welcome wants to explore the individuals, objects and places that make up Montreal and invites all those who encounter it to explore it as well.