A Letter from Montreal

Judging from the torrent of emails I've received over the past few days, many of you are wondering why the Bench Conference hasn't been as active as it usually is. The answer is simple. Your humble scribe is in Montreal, the city of my birth, visiting friends and family and checking up on various other things in La Belle Province. So, since it is Friday, and since there isn't much law-news going on aside from the fact that we are learning that Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway snipers, may have murdered more people than initially thought, I figured I would offer a week-ending series of snippets from across the border. Of course, if major legal news breaks later in the day I'll post again.

If you haven't been to Montreal, you should go, at least once and for a few days. It's a cheap, easy way of getting much of the flavor of Paris without any of the Transatlantic hassle. Last night, my childhood friend Atie and I went to a street fair on "the Main"-- St. Lawrence Boulevard in English, Boulevard St. Laurent in French- where we got a streetside table (courtesy of our host, Lino) at this amazing restaurant called Buonanotte and watched people of a hundred different nationalities walk by. We saw a visiting Scottish rugby team cheer for a pretty woman walking toward them. We saw a guy who looked like Tevya from "Fiddler on the Roof." We saw stylish francophone couples and young immigrant families walking their children in strollers. Former President Bill Clinton says the world is getting smaller and more connected? He should have been with us last night.

Earlier in the day, driving down a decent-sized street, we saw flags of Italy draped over windows, no doubt a nod to the World Cup, which is being advertised all over here in bars and restaurants. We also passed a neighborhood block that was decked out all in red, with men and woman also wearing red in honor of their team (not sure which one yet-- will get back to you on that). All that was missing from the scene was U2's branded Fifa World Cup songs. (By the way, is that soccer commercial where the little boy selects a soccer team of famous players not an instant classic commercial of all time?) Hockey may be the sport that made Montreal famous but clearly soccer has a hold on it now, too.

What I like most about the City, though, are the street signs, and the childhood memories they hold for me. Pine Avenue is "Avenue des Pins" and if you want to go downtown you travel on Rue Sherbrooke to Rue Ste. Catherine past Rue de Maisonneuve. Guy Street is "Rue Guy" (Roo Gee, with a hard G, if you are French). The City was founded in 1642. It's 364 years old. It's seen its share of ups and downs. It's adapted, sometimes quickly, sometimes not. And now it's as vital and as charming as you could ever hope for in a city. It's always nice to come home. And even nicer when "home" looks good and feels good and makes you feel welcome.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend if I don't post later today.

By Andrew Cohen |  June 16, 2006; 10:00 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Promise you'll go to Moishe's on this trip and report on a great steak, great pickles, great whatever! Also, bring back a Montreal Smoked Meat for me, unsliced; you can make delivery at BU Law School which is only a couple of blocks from home. Now I'll have to scout up some good black bread in anticipation.

Posted by: Shag from Brookline | June 16, 2006 11:09 AM

Several months ago Gourmet magazine had a wonderful issue focused on Montreal. Please give us an annotated listing of favorite restaurants. Enjoy.

Posted by: Steve Hall | June 16, 2006 11:50 AM

Finally I understand your love for activist jurisprudence: you are not American, you are Canadian, and French Canadian at that!

Posted by: Constitutionalist | June 16, 2006 02:18 PM

Someone's always gotta throw a clod ("Constitutionalist" indeed). Andrew come back soon. We've got to see about getting your blog up on the main page. You're a well-kept secret.

Posted by: CT | June 16, 2006 03:37 PM

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