In this week’s City Perspectives series, Ali Inay (@inayali) showcases his dynamic home city of Montreal, highlighting its colorful architecture and unique cafe culture.
Be sure to check back on Friday, October 17th for Part II of this series, and follow along with @PassionPassport on Instagram as we share more of Ali’s photography throughout the week.
How long have you lived in your city? What is your profession?
I’ve been living in Montreal for the past three years. I’m a PhD candidate in Management at McGill University.
If you could capture the essence of your city in one word, what would it be? Why?
Accessible. Not only the city is literally very accessible, but people are open to others from different cultures and backgrounds.
How would you describe the locals in your city?
Montrealers are very friendly, artistic and simple-living people. Everybody talks about the weather all the time, especially during the winter! Oh, and politics; there is lots of talk about politics.
How do you think that the beat or style of the city has informed your style as a photographer?
Montreal makes you appreciate both the indoors and outdoors. When the summer comes (as we generally skip spring up here) everybody is outside, so my photos tend to focus more on architecture and the streets of Montreal. When the weather is cold, coffee shops become my favorite location and I tend to capture the café habitat in my work.
Describe the first place you’d bring an out-of-town guest. Why would you take them there before anywhere else?
The Plateau neighborhood; I just love the lively streets. It’s an escape from major tourist areas like the Old Port and has a unique beauty of its own.
What’s the best season to visit your city?
Although the winters are very long, I do think that snow goes hand in hand with Montreal. The streets start to speak a different language (no pun intended) and it brings the most out of the architecture. Also, Montrealers know how to enjoy the winter; there’s still plenty to do around here!
Describe the most underrated place to visit.
Parc Jean-Drapeau has one of the best views of the city. I’d highly recommend taking the earliest metro there and walking around the shore, particularly once the river freezes. If you’re in luck and catch the mist, the view is out of this world!
Which coffee shops are your favorite to spend an afternoon catching up on work or people watching?
For early morning: Plkolo. Tons of people come and grab their morning fix before going to work, making it a great spot for people watching. If you want to catch up with friends, Café Falco has an amazing interior and a relaxing environment. You can have some syphon coffee or enjoy the hammock while talking about what’s new.
What’s your favorite activity for a rainy day?
Wandering around in Old Montreal. On a rainy a day, it’s very calm and there aren’t many people around, which gives you the time to appreciate that part of the city with the romantic European feel.
Words and photos by Ali Inay.