Thursday, June 9, 2011

Montreal meanderings... from Dux to Knox (Part 2)

Another illustration today of how quickly things are changing around here, post-quake... one of the buildings featured in yesterday's post was demolished today, adding another empty lot to the landscape.

So as we bid farewell to another damaged building, it's time to resume the inner city tiki tour that was started yesterday using last week's photos :) Here's the map again:
Walking down Armagh St is very weird... as with lots of our inner city streets that lead towards the cordon, there's not a lot of traffic. A few people wander along the cordon fences, stopping to look and take pics, much like I've been doing.
These are the shattered remains of our original Provincial Chambers (12) and, possibly even more importantly, the Belgian Beer Bar which used to occupy the end of the building (far left). Not sure when the lads will be enjoying Heineken on tap from the BBB again...

Looking up the street and beyond the cordon fences, the wonky buildings I'd been told about are clearly visible. The building at the rear (which is still vertical) is the Forsyth Barr building which lost its internal stairwell in the quake, meaning those inside had to be rescued via windows. The two other buildings... well, the front one is leaning back and the brown one in the middle is leaning forward. From what I've been told, these two will be coming down (along with hundreds of others).
Turning away from the dodgy highrises, I wandered along Durham Street, cringing at the extent of the damage inflicted on another of my favourite old buildings (13). The Provincial Chambers have played host to many businesses, functions and events... I remember taking the kids to a Harry Potter themed Kidsfest event there when they were much younger, all dressed up in wizard robes & hats.
I stood on the corner of Cambridge Tce & Gloucester St for a couple of minutes, watching a crane across the river and listening to the two bored officers on cordon duty discussing rosters.
The glass canopy of the Brannigans building is still where it fell on February 22nd... it just adds to the empty, desolate feeling that hangs around the shattered CBD.

Walking back towards Cranmer Square I passed a cafe, hastily emptied on February 22nd and not yet revisited... a section of The Press is draped across a stool, still waiting to be replaced by the next day's edition.

I drove a little further down the road, past the Peterborough Centre - where I spent many hours at dance classes and theatrical rehearsals in my younger days - before pulling up at the Salisbury/Montreal/Victoria intersection (16). This area has seen a great deal of change over the last few months, with the Asko & Caxton Press buildings coming down after the September quake, and more since February, including the Strategy building.
The clock tower has taken a bit of a hit and is now wrapped in protective cladding (Peterborough Centre in the background)...
Aware that I was running out of spare time, I headed off down Victoria St towards my destination on Papanui Rd. Sitting at the traffic lights at the Papanui/Bealey intersection, I watched as the dozers worked on Knox Church...
Finishing off what began in February...
I'm not sure if they're saving the beams & roof structure, or whether this too will become another clean slate ready for a rebuild. This corner has already lost the Carlton Hotel & the building that used to house Vino Fino & other shops... so of the 4 corners here, 3 are destruction sites.

On the way back home I travelled down Salisbury St and stopped at the corner of Salisbury & Montreal. The site of the old Asko building had already been transformed into a green space, a temporary garden for the city of Christchurch. Just two weeks before the February quake, a brick sign had been unveiled with great fanfare, before promptly disappearing behind the cordon for months.
It's a little ironic now... I mean, you gotta wonder just how many people around Shakeytown will be wanting to rebuild in brick after what we've all seen & experienced.

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