I live across the street from this new store, Gilgamesh. I am bothered by Sophia LePage’s characterization of my neighbourhood as “homogenous,” “derelict,” and “desolate” and my apartment building as “run-down,” when our building is better maintained than many in the McGill Ghetto, and there is no shortage of pedestrian traffic on our block at any hour. I’m not sure on what basis these judgments of the area were made, aside possibly from the fact that it is located near an underpass below train tracks (referred to in the article as a “highway overpass”).
More frustrating than these judgments is the article’s ambivalent treatment of the gentrification of Parc-Extension as an inevitable force of which Gilgamesh is a sure indicator. For one thing, the store is not by any measure located in Parc-Extension, as the article itself contradictorily acknowledges in the last paragraph. I realize that it is the opinion of the interviewee, Tobin Bélanger, not the author, that the construction of a new Université de Montréal medical campus on Parc will certainly cause many more high-end retail outlets like Gilgamesh to appear further north along the avenue and into Parc-Ex. However, I am frustrated that no critical counterpoint to this assertion was offered, and believe the fact that high-end boutiques like Gilgamesh may continue to displace apparently undesirable services such as “cheap produce stands” may not be best characterized as a “shining example of gentrification.”
P.S. The one time I ordered coffee there, the barista put sugar in it despite asking me twice if I wanted sugar and me saying no both times. Just saying.