Blog Post 2: Re-orientation Exercise

The Montreal Old Port’s history began as a settling location along the shores of the St. Lawrence River, where fur trading and harbor posts were built (“History”). It was the sight for many merchants in the late 18th century and later became one of the leading grain ports in the world (“History”). There is still a connection that links the Old Port to it’s history. It remains to be a shipping dock for companies, with it’s original cobble stones and horse drawn carriages (“History”). Many stores, although not the original stores, are still doing business in the same brick structures. In present-day Old Port, the government and Old Port of Montréal Corporation created a proposal to amplify the port’s leisure facilities, visitors and cultural establishments (“History”). The city works to preserve the original colonial mansions and churches (“History”). One of the classical features of the Port is the Clock Tower. Although I have never gone up, it would probably be an amazing sight of the entire harbor.

The Montreal Old Port greets six million travelers yearly (“History”). The landmarks encourages visiting through all seasons and hours. It produces many festivals and activities for all age groups and cultures. As discussed during the class lecture, bodies are not static or fixed, but they constantly adopt and change. Although time has passed for many centuries at the Old Port, it’s history of the space has still provided a functioning place for people to make a living, travel from far to see and just be apart of their own city. The space influences how bodies move around due to its small cobble streets, being near water and the buildings. As such, many of the places do remain unchanged because they are historical landmarks and therefore meant to be preserved. The streets do influence the direction bodies move if they are driving they can only go certain ways because the streets are often one way, or a horse is going so the speed changes. If they are walking they can go to different streets or backstreets where cars may not be able to go.

Upon doing research I discovered that the website for the Montreal Old Port creates a self-guided tour where people could walk around the Old Port while watching videos about the history of the place. It reminded me of Farman’s story of when he visited London, by listening to the history while experiencing the space it created a different experience then just being present in it (Farman 42). If you are curious this is the link: www.oldportofmontreal.com/self-guided-tour-5-generations-one-port.html.

The course focuses a lot on bodies that are included and excluded in a space. So one of the main reasons why I think the Old Port is great is because it is open to everyone. They all have the ability to shop, eat, visit exhibits/ churches and do activities without being denied access. Of course there is the issues that there are some things, such as activities or exhibits, that require money to observe and/or experience which could influence who does perform those tasks. As well as those who are traveling from other places that have to pay to get there. As well, people may feel excluded because the Old Port is a very catholic populated area, simply because that was the religion of the time commonly practiced and the churches do remain. So those who are not from the Catholic religion may not go inside the religion landmarks. Yet that is more of one own decision to not partake, it can still influence how they move around the space to avoid such structures. Another body of people that may feel excluded are people with disabilities who are in wheelchairs or walkers. It may be difficult for them to manoeuvre around with the cobble stones and some of the buildings do only have stairs. However the overall essence of the Old Port is that it is open to everyone equally.

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Workcited:
Farman, Jason. “Ch. 2 Mapping and Representations of Space.” Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media. London: Routledge, 2012. 42. Print.

“History of the Old Port.” Old Port of Montreal. The Old Port of Montréal Corporation Inc., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. http://www.oldportofmontreal.com/heritage/history-of-the-old-port.html

By: Ashley Plescia

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