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Journal: Montreal Abandonments

On an earlier trip, Sean and I had thoroughly explored the abandoned college.
Montreal Abandonments (winter 1998): Ultraviolet and I journeyed to Montreal to revisit an old seven-storey abandoned building that Sean and I had previously discovered and entered through a broken window adjacent to the fire escape on the fifth floor. On our first visit, Sean and I had spent several hours touring the joint, which appeared to have been swiftly abandoned after being struck by major flooding. Though quite a bit of vandalism had gone on, including the knocking down of most of the roof's tiles, many areas were still so intact that you could get an exact feel of what each room had been used for. Lots of expensive furniture was still on site, as were many papers and textbooks, some of which were inscribed with the Concordia University logo. Anyhow, Sean and I toured it all, from the dark, wet mechanical rooms in the basement, to the empty shops on the ground level, to the dean's private penthouse apartment on the roof. Our failure to get into a yummy looking but thoroughly locked up set of offices was all that kept us from getting a full 400 out of a possible 400.
       Unfortunately, when Ultraviolet and I came back to the place a few months later, we found that accessing the fire escape had become impossible. Circling the building in search of a possible alternate entrance, we came upon a half-buried wooden door at the bottom of a sunken staircase. The door was barricaded with piles of snow and frozen newspapers, but it seemed to have some give, so we set about unburying it. After eventually scooping away all the snow and debris, we were able to pry the door open and slide inside, pulling out our flashlights as we crept into the musky-scented darkness beyond.

We found ourselves inside a flooded nightclub, apparently named Club Yesterday.
       Though we knew we were somewhere wet, dark and full of glass bottles right away, it took us a while longer for us to figure that we were in a nightclub that had been abandoned following severe flooding, presumably the same flooding that had caused the college above to go out of business. The nightclub didn't appear to be connected to the upper part of the building except by an out-of-commission elevator, so we ventured further inside.
       It looked like the club's owners had just closed up and never came back. Hallowe'en decorations were still stuck to the ceiling and there were glasses and bottles on the counter. There were mirrored columns everywhere, glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling and a nice, tacky mirrored wall on one side. The place had a very festive atmosphere, considering it was wet and dark and the ceiling was falling out to the floor. We found an old cash register and income tax receipts in a back room. The neatest thing was the old black letter board with white letters stuck onto it reading, "CLUB Y TE DAY" (presumably Club Yesterday).
       Realizing we didn't have enough batteries for our cameras and flashlights, Ultraviolet made a quick excursion to a nearby dep while I continued to prowl through the club. I was surprised at how little vandalism there was, especially considering how easily accessible it was. Only one of the many dozens of mirrors was broken, and hundreds of unshattered bottles were lying around in piles. The cash register and lots of other mechanical niceties were still intact. I was left with the impression that since the big flood the place had only been visited by firemen, maybe the owners and perhaps a few ethical explorers.
I climbed up the rough brick wall to get onto the roof, and from there into the nearby abandoned theatres and apartments.
       Not long after Ultraviolet's return, we adjourned from the nightclub to go check out the abandoned York Theatre on rue St. Catherine. There were no doors or windows on the ground floor of the theatre, so I had to scramble up the brick wall at the side of the building to get to a lower rooftop. Ultraviolet didn't feel up for the climb, so I broke my own rule in order to take a quick look at the building myself while she covered me from the outside.
       Once I was on the roof of the theatre, in a sort of courtyard between the abandoned apartment buildings on top of the theatre, it was easy to find all sorts of entrances via open windows and doors and rusty fire escapes going in all directions. This courtyard area was still covered with a couple metres of snow, but it supported my weight most of the time. The lack of footprints led me to believe I was the first person up there in a while.
       First descending to explore the theatre area, I toured several big, long, more-or-less-empty rooms. I tried taking stairs down to the basement, but everything below ground level was very flooded and impenetrably dark (sadly, I was traveling sans flashlight). Before long I gave up on finding the theatres and instead checked out the abandoned apartments above. These were long abandoned and had been visited by many past explorers and squatters. Floors and ceilings were severely damaged. Walls had been knocked down in some areas. Doors had been knocked off their hinges (perhaps someone had had the nerve to leave them locked). Porcelain toilets and bathtubs had been smashed. Grafitti was everywhere, though in some places the paint on which the graffiti had been drawn had already peeled off. I briefly examined three storeys worth of apartments before I figured I should get back. (The York Theatre was demolished in January 2002.)

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