Main Tabs



Like beasts rising in the dark, I had a chance to see the massive inclining Walltopia walls of Bloc Shop take shape. Montreal's newest bouldering gym is getting ready to reveal its 10 000 sq.ft. (!!) home to eager climbers jonesing to test out the brainchild and passion project of climbing machines Nic Charron, Fred Charron, and Cloé Legault and Les Trois Petits Bouchons restaurateur Michel Charette.  Holy moly, I think I'm going to dust my climbing shoes off.

Stylist and marketing guru Cloé Legault gave me a tour of the facility and explained the ethos behind the gym.

"We wanted to build a gym like no other. A gym where bouldering would be accessible to all [skill] levels. A place that offers athlete management for everyone, whatever their needs, from the beginner to the top level athlete."

Ok, sounds great, but how does that fit into practice for a lowly V0/V1 sometimes-climber like me?  Legault explained that the gym's walls would be divided into twenty sections, which would each contain the whole gamut of levels. Therefore I would have twenty beginner routes to work on before the monthly reset.  What?! Ambitious! I visualized putting on my little velcro shoes....chalk on my hands...

Atmosphere and vibe is a key focus for the Bloc Shop crew: art is very present with walls by Nathan Leblanc-limoges (above), Astro (below) and the ubiquitous Jason Botkin (in progress!)  A lounge area and food/beverage counter will also be in place so chilling, refuelling and communing are as much part of the space as you hitting the training wall.  More from Legault:

"[We want to build] a gym for the community where the people belong; where you can grab a coffee or a fresh green juice and access the best climbing and training experience there is."
Great, sign me up! Bloc Shop's opening competition and party is a fundraiser for Fondation Bouldering Montréal, a non-profit organization that will fund the training of a junior team of next generation climbers.  So join in the fray on or off the walls- take part in the comp or gawk and marvel at the elite boulderers' skills while you chow down on some food and booze truck deliciousness.
July 5th, be there, more info here and here.


mural festival '14

This year's Mural Festival saw fourteen new walls go up along St-Laurent and surrounding side streets.  In addition to the remaining fourteen murals from the 2013 edition, the art installations and the usual street sale cacophony there was a lot to see and do.  Above: Alexis Diaz's intricate crosshatched creature.

I only caught Kashink's giant man-creature in progress-a repeat visit to view the final wall is in the plans.  Fun and colourful at first reading, dig a little more and learn that Kashink uses her art as activism with a sense of humour. Check out 50 Cakes of Gay and enjoy.

Oh man, this one is a good one.  This is Bezt from the Etam Cru.  I had a chance to sit and talk with Bezt while he contemplated the scarf's color and pattern which had gone through a couple of incarnations.  At first grey with pattern, then brown with flowers, an attempt at a skull motif followed before it became the textured brown scarf seen above.  Loving this.
photo by mark unterberger

The above piece is by an awesome friend, artist Kevin Ledo whose portraiture skills just blow my mind.  The image is of an Edward Curtis photograph taken in 1923 of a Hupa woman.  Ledo's figurative body of work often focuses on feminine icons, divinity and holiness.  Ledo's newest wall fits right in.

I can't show the whole Mural Festival contingent to you, as these walls are way more amazing in real life, but if you're in Montreal you can find the rest here.


alleyway art #2

Alleyway art everywhere.
Steps away from my home, almost missed this one, dismissing it as a regular alley denizen until I saw the black markings.  Lo and behold the calligraphy work of garbage beauty


Oak Street

The gentlemanly crew of Frank & Oak celebrated the launch of their lifestyle magazine Oak Street in their newly renovated atelier space.   This well crafted publication was a labour of love by the Frank and Oak team to bring to us, the dear reader, a worldly view that reflects upon the brand.  Now this ain't no thinly veiled advertorial: an intriguing interview with Terrance Koh, a capsule on Detroit and a travel accessory editorial make up only a slice of this magazine's pie.  So check it out.


belles au naturel

For the June issue of ELLE Québec, I was asked to participate in the styling of a portfolio of Québecoises personalities to highlight the fifth year of Canal Vie/ELLE Québec's Journée sans maquillage (No makeup day).

This cultural phenomena that has also taken place in schools and the workplace has been recently propelled by the advent of social media.   I'm not sure if I'm surprised to learn that many a young teenage girl does not go to school without makeup as her armour.  Or that showing one's "real face" is something noteworthy.  But I get it. Culturally we have become attuned to seeing women with a "full face," imperfections begone, makeup/Photoshop rule, and reality is perceived through a screen or a printed page. If only Marshall McLuhan were alive today!

Which brings us back to our photo shoot where I had the pleasure of styling makeup free television personality Rebecca Makonnen and actress Marina Orsini.  Photographer Marc Montplaisir captured these two awesome women in simple striking monochromatic portraits.  Makonnen pulled off a structured asymmetrical Halston Heritage dress with ease while Orsini gravitated towards a silk top from BCBGMAXAZRIA paired with a summery pant from Icône by Simons.

hashtags of note:
#NoMakeupSelfie raises £8M for Cancer Research UK, read two different takes here and here
#WokeUpLikeThis : empowering self affirmation or not so #humblebrag?



1. I'm a sucker for packaging.  Tasty raspberry lemonade and elderflower bubbly beverages from Belvoir Fruit Farms
2. Picked up popscicles at  Puces Pop from the Secret Society of Sweets, the one in the middle is buttered popcorn.  It's totally cray.