For years now, I’ve been taking visiting friends and relatives, my students, and countless others, to see a little alley about a half a block away from our place on Laval Avenue. The locals call it Burner Alley.
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point Burner Alley was taken over by a bunch of artists and hippies who own (or rent) properties adjacent to the alley. What these creative minds did to the alley is hard to describe, but this photo album might help. Regardless, this much I can tell you: it was art, it was amazing, and it was revised often.
Burner Alley was an attraction, a place of beauty and wonder. And yet a small army of city workers destroyed it yesterday morning. They showed up on a Saturday morning with bulldozers and dump trucks. They ripped it all down. And then they took it all away.
I’m so angry right now that I’m actually finding it hard to write this. Really don’t know how to make sense of such senseless stupidity. Why anyone thought this was a good idea is beyond me. The alley wasn’t a fire hazard. It wasn’t attracting pests. Nor was it messy. Quite to the contrary actually: it was exceptionally well maintained. Always clean. Always neat.
Burner Alley was a magical place, a sacred place: and now it’s gone. Desecrated and destroyed by dolts. For nothing.
—John Faithful Hamer, From Here: A Love Letter to Montréal (2017)