The old, decrepit bag of ass that used to be the Westmount Transit Center is in the process of a teardown and rebuild. The renovation started shortly before winter did, back in September 2006. Of course, the question I’ve asked myself every day since then has been WHY would Edmonton Transit choose to renovate a transit center at the beginning of winter? Just to piss off us bus riders even more than we already are? Maybe. Despite the really bad timing, it’s about time the old girl got a facelift. The old shelter was as appealing as a rotten skunk’s ass, but she did have some low-rent, glue-and-popsicle-sticks charm. A sliding door that was continually malfunctioning (and shitty electrics in general). Occasionally, the door would work for a few days. Then, for weeks on end, it would randomly slide open and closed, seemingly according to its own whim. The waiting passengers would be hypnotized and give it passing glances that said, someone should fix that. Then there was the omnipresent and heady odour of urine and BO mixed with office lady perfume. That smell embodied the shelter and the Westmount area in general. There were heaters that worked when they weren’t supposed to. I’d walk into the shelter in June and the heater elements would be bright red. The plexi windows were marked and cigaretted beyond repair, long ago wiped off the replacement list. Those windows held more than their share of the kylie plus dylan 4 evah —-> brand of defacement, beautiful in its innocence as it is. She had her bruises all right. But now she’s getting some new panties and an expensive manicure. I’m sure she’ll be hot, and who doesn’t like new hotness, but I’ll always have a place in my heart for the old Westmount. The one that stank and had pissholes for eyes but got the job done. Here ‘ol girl, have a smoke on me.
Westmount Transit Center, April 2007
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?