|Of another era|
Thematic. Shopping. Here.
The Recreatheque - or more commonly, The Rec - was central to life here. Originally opened as Mon Mart (trivia bit: Jayne Mansfield attended the grand opening in 1962) it went bankrupt by 1965 and the giant building was soon reopened as a multipurpose entertainment complex. It had a bowling alley - where my mom used to bowl as I sat propped up in the hard plastic seats - a roller rink (please don't ask), mini golf, a flea market, a bingo hall and even a cheesy disco known as Kebekelektrik. Generations of kids bought their clothes here, hung out here, partied here and generally grew up here.
The Rec closed in 2013, a victim of evolving consumer tastes and the fact that the land values made the site far more valuable as a housing development than anything else. I took this picture last summer as the empty building awaited its fate, and I'll admit part of me can't imagine what this street corner - Notre-Dame and Labelle, if you're in the area - will both look and feel like without this massive chunk of crumbling-yet-familiar brick and concrete.
Sure, it was downtrodden even when I was a kid, but it represented the kind of enterprise that branded a community and made it unique. Only Chomedey had a place like this, and to this day just mentioning "The Rec" to anyone from here is enough to unleash a flood of memories. Looking at the cookie-cutter suburbs of today, filled with chain-based businesses that all seem to have come from the same template, it's clear that today's kids will never have anything like The Rec to both hang out at - or reminisce about years later.
Your turn: What buildings, businesses or places made the place where you grew up unique?
*We've been here before. Behold the Dirty Bakery.