Imagine for a moment that instead of waiting for magazines to show up monthly so you could get an idea of what progression looked like 3 to 6 months after it had happened you could just hop on the metro and see it in real time.
Imagine for a moment that instead of picturing the worlds best skateboarders in some far off place, you were lucky enough to have them show up in your home town.
Imagine that instead of thinking this was exceptional, you saw this all as normal and everyday and as a result, you could dream bigger and farther.
Even better, you could take those dreams and apply them to a real life place, a dream park poured from béton brut and designed by concrete magicians and built in your own back yard.
Imagine knowing that you could, a week from now, grab your board and venture back to this place knowing that with no cops to hassle you, no night time missions to get past security, you could progress and learn and create at your own pace.
For those of us who’ve identified as “skateboarders” in Montreal over the last 4 decades there was always one certainty. The spot you loved, the one that taught you, the one that made you better and the one that connected you to others who also identified as “skateboarders”… that spot was likely to get shut down.
The bricks, the burgundy banks, the tar pits, the taz (the original easy to get to one) the steinbergs banks, peace park (since liberated) beaubien, orkus, city hall (on and off) the Iona banks, no damn good, Boucherville, etc, etc, etc. Getting shut down was expected.
It feels like those days are over. This is not the first great park in Montreal. Others have been built in the city over the last few years and at least two of Montreal’s world famous spots have been rescued by the hard work of this cities skateboarders who could not and would not let them go. We have a ton of amazing pure street spots to skate, and compared to most North American cities, less of them are a bust in terms of security for the time being. This all feeds a deep well of local and international talent that flow into the city as soon as the temps get warm enough. Things are good.
This week end was however, a watershed moment for the city. Or it felt like that. Everybody showed up. If you skated in Montreal in the mid eighties, you likely saw someone you knew in the VIP tent. Same for those of you who skated in the mid 90’s, the 00’s and this last decade. It felt good to be there, like the scene had accomplished something bigger. Even if this park is not for everyone, there’s a feeling that after so many years of trial and error… This is just the beginning.
This new world is the world that skateboarding now inhabits and we’re all the better for it.
Imagine for a moment that this is the new standard.
Photos by Dan Mathieu and Ryan Lebel