Montreal Street Signs: Meet Michael Leo Donovan
Michael Leo Donovan is the creator and host of Montreal Street Signs. As a script writing professor, he wanted to challenge himself by creating a show that would do two things: educate and entertain. We sat down with him to ask a couple of questions about the show’s concept and about his love for our beautiful city, Montreal.
How did you come up with the idea of Montreal Street Signs?
I really enjoy finding interesting angles for the delivery of information. So, when I heard TV1 was looking for series concepts, I challenged myself to come up with an idea that both educated and entertained. The streets of Montreal was an untold story worth telling.
What’s your favorite neighborhood of Montreal, and why?
I grew up in the Cote des Neiges district. I remember walking to St. Raphael’s grade-school one autumn, and watched a city vehicle roar by ploughing the leaves off the street. Tree branches from both sides of the street met above my head! I was six years old, walking through a tunnel of spiraling leaves. You don’t ever grow out of that kind of wonder.
What’s your favorite street of Montreal, and why do you like it? It is because of the architecture, the stores, the vibe, etc.?
Van Horne, because that’s where I made my first friend and bought my first comic book. I didn’t know for many years Van Horne was also where my Dad met my Mom.
What do you think about the architectural legacy of Montreal? Is it well preserved? Does the city should do more?
My experience with Montreal Street Signs allowed me to buddy-up with some remarkable people. Each was a committed citizen for reasons unique to them, from environmentalists to preservationists to bagel aficionados. They taught me, no matter what your specific investment in our heritage, more can always be done. But, from the million year old fossils in the courthouse limestone to the 300 year old signature of a laborer I found carved into a marble pillar, this city found a new way to steal my breath away every day.
And lastly, what do you like the most about our vibrant city?
The island has never compromised. It really doesn’t matter who settled it, or who will live here in a thousand years. Montreal will always be a forested mountain surrounded by dangerous rivers, slam-dancing its way through four unstoppable seasons every 365 days. We live by her rules, just passing through like tourists – tourists who will never forget the best time of their lives.