Twenty years ago this weekend, I went for a walk with my Mom and Jerry around what they referred to as the “Old Neighbourhood”. Every few years we would take a small trip to the area that they grew up in and they would reminisce about how things used to be. They had good memories but it was their past and they always seemed to be happy to have moved on. They would talk about how it was nothing like it used to be, and then we would pick up bagels and go home. This time though, something was different.
When we started our walk down St. Viateur I could hear music and for some reason, the street was blocked off. People were cooking food on BBQ’s in the street and there was a full Italian band playing traditional music. Families were sitting at outdoor tables and the mood was friendly and calmly festive.
All of a sudden a marching band of mostly elderly gentlemen started down the street and everyone turned to watch them. Something about this felt routine but to me it was special. This neighbourhood may not now be what my parents wanted it to be, but it was exactly what I wanted it to be. That day I decided that when I finished university and moved out on my own, this was where I would live. I decided that I would live in what is now known as Mile End and 20 years later, I’m still here.
Viva San Marziale 2015!