Friday, October 20, 2006

Parc Avenue to become -- Robert Bourassa Avenue

In Harlem, 125th Street and Lenox Avenue meet. The streets are co-named in honour of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, respectively -- two diametrically opposed people if ever there were any. It's also symbolic, in a way, of the two camps in North Manhattan and their visions of Black America that keep colliding with each other.

Now, Montréal's City Council has decided to rename Parc Avenue in honour of Robert Bourassa. Parc just happens to intersect René Levesque Boulevard, formerly Dorchester. Two dudes with very different concepts of Québec nationalism. You can't deny the symbolism in that one either. But why Parc? Why not Pie-IX (Pius IX)? He was one of the most anti-Semitic Popes in history, and Montréal has a huge Jewish population -- the largest Holocaust survivor community outside of Jerusalem, in fact.

I filed this one under "Humour" because I just find it so funny it took this long to honour Bourassa, and it took just a few months to honour Levesque. Plus the fact that Maison du Radio-Canada, the city's passport office, and the Queen Elizabeth Hotel all just happen to be on the very street named after the founder of the modern independence movement in the province.

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