Tag Archives: verticality

Short Architectural Comparison of Toronto and Montreal

Toronto is always under construction. The cityspace is in vertical displacement, the tops of skyscrapers reaching higher and higher. Condominiums are always being planned, built and finished in the city, a race to the limitless heavens. With every rise there is a fall. New condominiums dominate an unoccupied space in the open skies for a short time before falling to disgrace, at the knees of a new condominium building that has flown further up into the fresh airs of new skies.

From this new level of height, the horizon stretches out to the point of infinity, and one can gaze all around unobstructed with the eyes of a conqueror. From the old level of height of the defeated, the infinity of the horizons are blocked forever, a constant reminder of impotence. Buildings to not age gracefully in Toronto, age being a reminder of failure. This absurd rise continues ad infinitum, a competition mediated by a morality of quantity.

In Montreal, no structures can rise above Mont-Royal, above the heights of this natural creation that remains a boundary to limitless ambitions. From the tops of Mont-Royal, all have access to the infinity of the horizon, past the skyscrapers of the city, but not with the eyes of a conqueror, not with the lonely joy of one who has vanquished. Instead, one stands as an equal member of the crowd, a crowd mediocre but in communion.

Moving from Toronto to Montreal means a translation into different planes of thought; from verticality to horizontality; from the solitary joy of power to a communitarian acceptance of mediocracy, from a collection of human objects to a collection of human subjects, from a quantitative system of morality to a qualitative system.


Toronto est toujour en construction. Chaque année emporte des condomiums de plus en plus nombreux qui sont de plus en plus hauts, comme s’ils sont tout en concurrence, tout en train d’achever au ciel. Les nouveaux condominiums vieillissent fort vite et deviennent obsolets en raison de leur impotence contre ceux qui sont plus hauts. On ne peut pas voir l’horizon, qui s’étend à l’infini, comme si on regard autour du monde des yeux de conquérant, des fenêtres d’un condominium faible.

À Montréal, Mont-Royal met une limite aux bâtiments et les gratte-ciel, ce qui ne peuvent pas dépasser la hauteur de la montagne. De Mont-Royal, chacun peut voir l’horizon ensemble, mais pas des yeux de conquérant.

Je préfère mieux l’horizontalité en lieu de la verticalité, (d’où on peut sentir l’air frais loin de la foule, comme a dit Nietzsche) mais je peux imaginer la joie qu’on ressent à voir le monde d’une hauteur inaccessible de la foule, le sentiment du potence, une potence si vif qui amène l’homme loin de la lassitude.