Thursday, 24 September 2015

Chicoutimi, the San Francisco of the North?

"Chicoutimi is an Amerindian word
it means up to where the water is deep
this word refers to the Saguenay
a big a beautiful a splendid river
but Chicoutimi as a town is ugly
as every American town
and this ugliness is very interesting
but fortunately nature surrounds every town
in this country
and nature cannot be ugly"

Larry Tremblay, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi

I used this quote again yesterday on Facebook. As my long-time readers know, I have a fascination for this play. So anyway, I used this quote on my Facebook page, as usually do. And I was told by one of my cousins that, while the play is great, what the character Gaston Talbot says is inaccurate: Chicoutimi can be pretty in some places, even beautiful and is like a San Francisco of the North. I have not seen San Francisco, except in pictures, so cannot comment about this claim, but I do know that this city (it is a city and not a town, as it has a cathedral, at least that much is inaccurate) can be beautiful, sometimes, in some places. I will need to rediscover it in the upcoming days.

Still, the San Francisco of the North did not look much like San Francisco yesterday. I thought about these lines when the bus was riding through the Boulevard Talbot (fitting name, isn't it? I don't think Larry Tremblay gave the same family name to his character at random). It sure looks ugly. But there are bits, when you are near the Saguenay river and can see the fjord, where it is absolutely breathtaking. Okay, so this would be nature. not the city itself. There are plenty of old buildings which I noticed again and thought they were quite pretty in an old fashioned way. Maybe this is what my counsin meant? Chicoutrimi is also full of hills and slopes, something I rediscover any time. Not unlike Liverpool, but calling it the Liverpool of the North would be kind of redundant, as Liverpool is also in the North. So I will ponder on this in the next few days.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

You could call it the "Liverpool of Quebec." That would avoid the redundancy problem. I can't offer any comment on civic beauty. Mordecai Richler once called Edmonton "the boiler room of Canada" so we're in no position to throw stones.

PJ said...

Les rues les plus à pic de Chicoutimi sont plus à pic que les pentes de San Francisco. C'est probablement pour ça qu'on peut considérer Chicoutimi comme le San Francisco du nord. Mais en théorie, on gélera plus en juillet à San Francisco qu'à Chicoutimi.

Guillaume said...

@Debra-Yes, it would make sense.
@PJ-Oui je crois que le rapprochement a à voir avec les côtes.