Hello fellow residents of the McGHETTO.My name is Aaron and am now retired. I was a resident of the McGhetto while going to Sir Geporge Williams University in the crazy sixties.This area was Hippyville back then.Prince Arthur St. and Park Ave.had all the goodies that any REAL Hippy needed.There was the New Penolope on Park corner Bleury.You could see some of the greatest rock and folk stars of the time preform there for no money.If I rememember correctly it was $5 or less.There was no booze,only coffeee and soft drinks.That’s why they were called coffee houses.Of course you could score a sandwhich bag full of pot for $25./probably an ounce.But it was nothing like the pot today.It was full of seeds and branches & none of the exotic names of today.As well it was not very potent .But the hash was almost Psychedelic.Alot of it comming from Afganistan of all places.Half the residents were high on LSD .I still remember on a hot July day,pouring rain,these bunch of McGill students high on Acid,playing volley ball in their bathing suits in the middle of Durocher St. near Pine.
Back to the New Penolope where I saw The Mothers of Invention,Gorden Lightfoot,Joni Mitchel,Richie Havens,Ian & Sylvia,Buffie St. Marie etc.etc.It was great cause their were at most 150 people in the place.So you really got the feel of the artist.The owner Gary Eisencraft was the friendliest guy.No pretentions, even though alot of the preformers would stay over at his place when they preformed in Montreal.Richie Havens hung out for months here cause he fell in love with a young lady working at Eaton’s mens wear,Linda .Linda was also a good friend of Rosie Douglass,son of the leader of the left wing party in Jamica.Rosie became the Prime Minister of Dominica.So I can now boast that I knew the Prime Minister of Dominica.Rosie had a ground floor flat on Bishop St.His place was always full of people talking about revolution.Rosie was the one who caused the riot at SGWU.He spent a couple of years in jail here for it.SGWU now recognizes Rossie as one of their famous graduates & bestowed an honary PHd on him,when he last visited Canada to clear his criminal record.Unfortunately he died not long after returning to Dominica.He was the 2nd or 3rd Prime minister who died of mysterious circumstances in Dominica.
Then you just cross the street on Park corner Sherbrooke and you could get your black light posters,smoking paraphenalia,incense & essential oils at the Print Mint owned by Kasbar one of the sucessful hippy entrepreneurs.
Directly across the road from The Print Mint was Phantasmagoria where we all hung out listening to the latest new album releases.Amazing place,looked like any hippies livingroom.Nicely worn comfortable couches ,aquariums and loads of eye candy all over the place & the sweet smell of grass always wafting through the place.
On the same side of Park,half way up the block was Rossie’s Depaneur.Rossie had this huge magazine stand where she would let the kids hang out,especially in the winter.On any cold winters night,there would be a couple of kids sitting on the magazine stand.She also had a billboard in the store where people could leave messages.You would often see notes like Kyle call home,we love you etc.
Last but definately not least,on the corner of Pine and Park was Pines Pizza ,open 24 hrs.And no matter what time you went the same guy with the same voice who took your order on the phone was there.When you asked how it was possible that you saw him at midnihgt & then at 7Am.He would say he has a twin.Poor guy must have slept there.Right on top of them was the Hare Krishna Temple.At first the residents thought they had the ultimate LSD and were a cult.But then they would be all over the area chanting and handing out their pamphlets.They also had free supper every night.Great Indian food and Psychedelic music.It was great fun going there for supper.
Then you head over to Prince Arthur st.and eat a complete meal at the Mazurka with soup,main dish & coffee for $3.25.It was the best deal in town and always full.Prince Arthur had a whole bunch of hippie stores.Dave the candlemaker.There was the leather maker who looked like he just came from a ranch,art store etc.
Back then the area had its own underground newspaper LOGOS,which got closed down by Mayor Jean Drapeau .
After I got divorced around 2002,I moved back in the McGill Ghetto .It is still as an exciting place as ever.And needs its own News Paper,but this time on line.
So if any of you folks feel like getting involved with the birth of this Online News ,THE McGHETTO NEWS,please let me know.