All the Marrow
It’s Saturday night in late August, typically Montréal’s last month of t-shirt weather. I’m sitting at a picnic bench with group of young Montréalers eating Haitian food off paper plates. My portion is the envy of the table because I got a large bone in it, full of marrow, which my dinner companions are teaching me how to extract. This is my first time having goat. I probe the hollow end timidly with my plastic fork. Finally I’m told have to suck out the marrow—and don’t be shy about making noises.
Tonight is Haiti Night at the Village au Pied-du-Currant, a public space on the banks of the St. Laurence River that has been transformed over the past four summers into an ongoing multicultural festival.
Built on the gritty sand of an urban beach, the Village is a cluster of land/sea containers converted into galleries, kitchens and bars, purpose built sheds and cabanas, a scaffolding rooftop bar with a view down the river, and open spaces for eating, dancing and playing.
So far this summer the Village has hosted food festivals showcasing West African, East Asian, Mexican, and Brazilian cuisine, South American folklore for kids, movie nights, a night market, community yoga—in collaboration with Lululemon, and a “1990s Brooklyn” themed night that one local described as “the best thing I did all summer.” They finished off the season with a “punky reggae party.”
The Village is built–and rebuilt every summer–on a previously vacant and overgrown lot, separated from the banks of the river by railroad tracks that serve the port and carry functioning land/sea containers to and from cargo ships.
This is “the river” from Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne.”
The bridge, slightly upstream is named for Jacques Cartier, the founder of Montréal, and is lit up every night this summer in celebration the 375th anniversary of his accomplishment.
Across the water, at La Ronde, an amusement hosts a summer-long international fireworks competition. The Village started as a place to catch the show for free.
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