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.
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?