Saturday, May 07, 2011

City with a heart

Worn with pride
Deerfield Beach, December 2005
About this photo: It's Thematic's vehicular week, and we're asking everyone who drops by to share a similarly-themed pic. Because we're needy that way. Click here if you're in.
I grew up in this city, and 14 years after we left it behind in our rear-view mirror, it still tugs on our heartstrings more than a little. Montreal wasn't just a place where we lived. It defined us, and continues to influence us in ways big and small.

Strange, that.

When I was a little one, cars got new license plates front and rear every year. Eventually, the bean counters got rid of the front plate, and then switched to the sticker system. The result: Hideously rusted plates after a few years, and a gaping hole where the plate used to go in the front.

So some creative promotions folks at Montreal radio station CJAD came up with the "Montreal: City with a heart" campaign, and built a long-running series of contests around it. If you were a loyal listener - they existed back then, really - you'd slap one of these plates on your car and hope the spotter van would see you sitting in traffic. The prizes were typically Canadian-lame (ooh, an oven mitt set from Caplan-Duvall in the Cavendish Mall!) but it was great fun all the same. And the iconography of this plate eventually became embedded in anglophone culture more than any bumper sticker ever could, or did.

So it was a nice moment when, years later, I walked past this car in a South Florida parking lot and stopped in my tracks. Some things aren't remembered as much as they're felt. Nice to run back into a slice of my childhood, however cheesy it may have originally seemed.

Your turn: Why does nostalgia hold such sway over us?


Cloudia said...

the power of connecting to the child we were!

Saturday evening Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral




Hilary said...

I remember this so well. I think I had a Montreal with a heart mini plate on my bike. You jolted me back in time with the Caplan's reference too. How cool that you saw this plate after so many years... and so far from "home."

kcinnova said...

I live on the opposite side of the country from my home state, and I become almost giddy with joy when I see a license plate from home.

The Cat said...

Your pic has generated plenty of commentary here:

Carmi Levy said...

Thanks for the heads-up, The Cat. As flattered as I am that my photo is attracting so much attention, a request for fair use would have been nice. I don't much appreciate having my work grabbed and used elsewhere without attribution.

Carmi Levy said...

Quick update on the copyright violation issue: I have contacted the individual who lifted the photo, as well as the founder of the Facebook group where it was posted. Haven't heard back yet.

Will wait a bit. Hopefully I'll hear back from them, as I'd hate to have to escalate the issue to Facebook.

Le sigh.

Anonymous said...

I think the French like to play little pranks
on folks. Extra Dry is middle-of-the-road, Not too dried
out and never too sweet-just right.