Any idea what this is? Montreal 'leaning stations' for seniors getting mixed reviews

Leaning stations (CTV Montreal)

If you’re walking in Montreal's South-West borough and come upon a crooked (tilted) metal bench that’s missing a seat, you are not coming across something that is broken, half-finished or straight out of Whoville.

It’s a ‘leaning station’ and just one of about a dozen newly installed ones in the borough.

The leaning centres are designed for seniors or others who might need to take a load off or to rest while waiting for a bus.

A total of 15 of them are going up, including at the corner of St. Henri and Notre Dame, Jacques Hertel and Monk, and de Villiers and Monk.

Many of them are close to pharmacies or seniors’ homes. The problem is, you can’t sit on them.

That feature has some people on social media calling them a form of “hostile architecture,” presumably meant to keep homeless people from sitting or sleeping on them in a borough that is gentrifying and trying to put on a more polished look.

“It’s not a bad idea, but the challenge is, is this the best way to spend money if your objective is to make Montreal a better place?” said Sam Watts, Welcome Hall Mission CEO.

But the borough says they are only meant for short rests and are designed to allow a senior to rest without having to worry about standing back up again on rickety legs.

They also say they are part of a $2 million revamp in Ville Emard, Cote St. Paul and the Sud-Ouest aimed at helping seniors get around. Changes to crosswalks and lights are also part of the plan to help those with mobility issues.

Though some passersby seemed confused about what they were, they said the concept is good, once explained.

“I think it’s a good idea, now that I know what it’s for," one senior said. "It helps older people like me. We can lean on it without having to go all the way down.”

The leaning centres do have one advantage among city infrastructure -- because of their angles, they won't need to be cleared of snow.

Just make sure not to lean on one if there’s an icy patch below, or a little support could turn into a slide.

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