Jonah, I’m sure you’ve had a gazillion e-mails on this from the many Quebecers among NRO readers, but in Montreal the powers of Big Government are so awesome that they’ve changed the very axis of the planet. If you look at “the Main” – boulevard St-Laurent – on a city map it appears to run north-south and streets to the east are labeled east (“boulevard de Maisonneuve est”) and streets to the west are labeled west (“rue Sherbrooke ouest”), but, in fact, east is more like north and west is more like south. The East End should really be the North-East End and Westmount should be Southfork.
So the reason none of the city maps point north is because it would make the street names look ridiculous, and nothing can be done about it until they tow the entire island into a new position in the St Lawrence, which they’re scheduled to do by 2011, I believe. The city swings to its own orientation, which is not a reference to le village gai, a neighborhood well worth a visit if only to see the very fetching bicycling shorts worn by the gay unit of the Montreal police.
None of this explains why the previous Prime Minister, a Montrealer, identified China as one of the rising powers of the south (the sort of remark that would have launched a new volume of Bushisms down here), but it does explain why you should throw away your compass.
Enjoy yourself in la belle province. The best-looking gals in North America.