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  • Kate 07:14 on 2014/07/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Apartments may have balconies, but almost nobody uses them except as storage, apparently.

    • Marc 07:29 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      In my 30-odd unit building, we’re one of two apartments who has made a full patio of the balcony. Many are flat-out bare. Too bad for them, they’re wasting a nice space.

    • Bill Binns 07:41 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      We don’t use ours enough. The window between it being too cold and too hot / humid out there is very brief.

    • JohnS 08:47 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      I’ve heard these statements many times that no one wants balconies. They all seem to come from developers. “they’re unused” “people who say they want them just don’t know what they want” “too much to maintain” etc.

      The thing is, aside from the occasional condo owner I see cited in these articles I don’t actually know a single person who would rather have a unit without a balcony than with one. And most people I know use theirs to the maximum (barbeque, major plants and patio furniture of various types.

      I have a deep suspicion this is all about trying to convince the public they don’t really want them so developers don’t have to build ‘em.

    • jeather 09:09 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      My 6-unit building everyone uses their back balcony, but of the two front balconies (which were out of service until this spring), only one is in use. And I can see out onto other balconies, and they’re all in use too.

    • Robert J 10:21 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      I’ve lived in several triplexes with balconies and always used them. Once, I lived in a high-rise with a balcony on the 16th floor, and while the view was amazing, there was an awful lot of wind up there much of the time. My sister is currently on the 17th of an Ottawa high-rise which has sunrooms instead of balconies, the windows are huge so there’s lots of light, but there is less wind, and it is more usable during the winter.

    • JoeNotCharles 10:22 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Oh my god, that looks just like my cat!

    • Kevin 10:29 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      My back balcony is used all the time because it’s got that great mix of sun and shade.
      I don’t use my front balcony much because it’s usually too shady and it feels awkward to walk through my family room door to go outside. I’d rather just walk through my front door and sit on the steps.

      If I can convert my front balcony to a gallery I’d use it a lot more.

      In other places I have lived I’ve avoided balconies if they were constructed of fibreglass floors (they move too much to feel secure, especially if 12 stories up) or were tiny.

    • Jay 13:22 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      anybody not using their balcony are most likely car only households too.

    • Kevin 13:54 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      @Jay I doubt that. Lots of people around Concordia not using balconies.

    • Matt G 14:19 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Yeah, I don’t use the back balcony because a) the view pretty much sucks and b) it’s a little too narrow to get a little table action going.

  • Kate 07:12 on 2014/07/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Actress Marjolaine Hébert has died at 88 after a long career that spans the modernization, if not the very existence, of Quebec theatre. She also made her mark on radio and TV.

  • Kate 07:09 on 2014/07/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Lachine hospital, which focuses on doing several common kinds of surgery for the MUHC, is recalling bariatric surgery patients for HIV and hepatitis tests after it turns out a piece of equipment wasn’t cleaned properly.

  • Kate 07:07 on 2014/07/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal has been ramping up its hotel rates, apparently a reliable indicator of tourism success.

    • Robert J 10:29 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Considering the comparatively low cost of housing in this city, tourism is no bargain here.

  • Kate 07:06 on 2014/07/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The police union may be planning to intensify their actions as the city writes up a no doubt maximized bill for the overnight sick day ploy on the weekend. The Gazette has a podcast on police and other unions as they plan further statements against Bill 3.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 09:36 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Police in Montreal make an avg annual salary of 95K.

      Nurses make less than half of that, but arguably perform a far more important service in our society.

      Being a police officer in Canada doesn’t even put you in the top ten of most dangerous jobs. Ask yourself when was the last time a cop was shot at? When was the last time a member of the public shot and killed a cop in our city?

      The way the police tell it, they’re on the ‘front lines’ of the war on terrorism, drugs, organized crime etc.

      It’s bull. We live in a society where the crime rate has been going down for decades, where the homicide rate is more-or-less stable, and yet we get strong-armed into providing the fuzz with military level equipment and promises to both increase pay, decrease the total amount of time spent working, and increase total force numbers.

      It isn’t necessary.

      The police can intensify their actions as much as they please. Frankly, they should all be fired in one sweep and the entire force rebuilt from the ground up.

      Just like when Reagan fired all the air traffic controllers.

    • Robert J 10:32 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      @TCN I wouldn’t idolize Reagan’s union busting tactics. But 95k per year is a huge amount of money and I agree that we spend too much on law enforcement generally. Where does that figure come from?

    • Ramsay 10:39 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      One argument that I have heard in favour of their relatively high salaries is that it helps keep them honest. The reasons being that they have something substantial to loose if they are caught and they have less need to look for extra income.

      Additionally our society, for good or ill, signals value via money and I think that the individuals empowered to enforce the laws of society should feel that they are valued members of society. So I do not think that big pay cuts are necessarily called for.

      That being said, I agree that we have gone too far with our use of and empowerment of the police. Cuts to their numbers are in order. Similarly, we should reduce the incidence of overtime – which is why the average salary can be 75K (upper middle class) but average pay is 95K (no longer middle class)

    • Taylor C. Noakes 10:42 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      @Bobby Jay

      My mistake, it’s 75K, before overtime

      The pension would provide them with 60K per annum after 30 years of service.

      90K is closer to the national avg for all law enforcement.

      And I’m far from a fan of Reagan. That sunofabitch delayed the repatriation of American citizens from Iran to coincide with his inauguration. His administration was complicit in starting or prolonging debilitating conflicts worldwide, and his cronies at the CIA invented crack as a means to finance fascist governments involved in bloody repression the world over.

      The idolization of Reagan in contemporary conservative circles is sickening.

    • Alison Cummins 10:44 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      “Front lines” can be metaphorical. It doesn’t have to refer to a war with artillery, it can mean first contact. Social workers can be on the front lines of the battle against homelessness. That doesn’t imply that the sans-abri are shooting at them.

  • Kate 22:26 on 2014/07/28 Permalink | Reply  

    An urban studies pundit raises some interesting points about high-zoot architecture and whether a desire for it means a city has made it, or is trying too hard. Like François Cardinal in his piece earlier this month, this Guillaume Ethier evokes Bilbao and seems to think we don’t have to emulate it. He also reminds us that big statement buildings can be damaging to a city’s fabric.

    • Bill Binns 07:39 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      I don’t know how Chicago did it but you can barely find a boring building in that city. Most of it’s architecture isn’t over the top but just unique in some way. Montreal simply has too many buildings built during the glory days of bare concrete and brutalism. Parts of Boston are the same. The MIT campus has even more stupendously ugly buildings than McGill does.

    • Blork 09:18 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      That’s history for ya. Chicago made its mark on architectural history at the World Fair in 1893, and more importantly, again in 1933. That second one threw aside the faux-classical rigor of the first and well all-out modernist (it was the end of the 1920s, after all). That set the tone for Chicago as the world’s focal point for modernist architecture; a tone that has defined the city.

      Unfortunately, as Bill Binns says, Montreal came of age (architecturally speaking) in the the 1960s, when brutalism (modernism’s in-bred, hillbilly bastard) was all the rage. How unfortunate for us.

    • Ian 10:31 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      We actually used to have a lot of really great architecture. We’ve torn down a heck of a lot of our architectural gems, unfortunately coinciding with the period of modernisation that made brutalism the flavour du jour. To give only one example, we lost a huge swath of the business district to the Ville-Marie tunnel. Then there’s all the parking lots.

      Short list:

      Royal Insurance Company Building (now Pointe-à-Callière Museum)

      Montreal Hunt Club

      Queen’s Hotel

      Balmoral Hotel

      some indoor views of the Windsor Hotel :(

      Hotel Winsdor (both churches are gone too)

      Bonaventure Train Station

      Main Post Office

      Drummond House

      McIntyre House

      Strathcona’s House

      + 1 million mansions, mostly where our downtown area stands today

      Another reason Chicago has such great architecture is the great fire, which happened in 1871, allowing rebuilding on a fairly grand scale. Our big fires in Montreal were in the late 1700s so we did not enjoy the influence of early modernism Chicago did with steel-frame architecture and influences of Art Deco and neo-classicism.

  • Kate 19:06 on 2014/07/28 Permalink | Reply  

    I was writing a comment below, and it crossed my mind that on this centenary of the beginning of World War I, we’re losing its memorials. I don’t know whether the atrium of the old Royal Bank building on St-Jacques is going to be still accessible to the public, but it’s got massive brass plaques listing names of bank employees who went to war and got killed. Or it used to.

    Likewise, at the Royal Vic there are large wall plaques with names – in some cases, women’s names, because nurses went to war and got killed too – which you can go look at now, but what will become of them when the hospital is moved?

    Is anyone inventorying these things so privatization doesn’t end up melting them down for scrap? Should we, or could we, see that they at least get moved to a nondenominational memorial arch or chapel someplace?

    • Bert 19:26 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I was in the Royal Bank building about a year ago, on a couple of occasions. During the first you could go up to the main bank floor. The architecture was quite impressive as were the brass plaques. A month or two later the same area was off-limits, with dismantlers working on the kiosks and the like.

      I certainly hope that the plaques find their way to a public space. Perhaps something in PVM?

      We must remember them.

    • Hamza 21:22 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Westmount High School has a couple of huge plaques dedicated to alumni who were KIA in both of the ‘Great’ Wars.

    • Kate 21:35 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      So long as an institution stays in the same place I’d be less concerned. It’s the buildings that are being turned over that risk having memorials discarded and/or lost to public view.

    • Michael Black 22:31 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Westmount High School is the example then. That building only went up about 1960, so they must have moved things.

      There was a memorial in Westmount Park School, which had long before been a high school. But in the sixties, the principal was named “McCrae”, I thought he said he was related to the poet.


    • Ian 06:08 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      The memorial at F.A.C.E. is still up, right in the main entranceway.

  • Kate 18:56 on 2014/07/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Environmentalists have some thoughts on a different approach to Ste-Catherine Streetmoins de voitures, plus de trottoirs.

    • denpanosekai 20:43 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Funny how they mention the sunny-side sidewalks should be larger. We always use the shaded one ’cause there’s less foot traffic. I say embiggen both.

    • carswell 09:02 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Their claim that more people walk on the north side of Ste-Catherine because it’s sunnier and therefore warmer in the winter is silly. Between Union and Atwater, the north side is busier because that’s where most of the big stores and malls (The Bay, Place de la Cathédrale, Eaton Centre, Montreal Trust Centre, Simons, Cours Mont-Royal, Chapters, Ogilvy, Apple, Provigo, PA, Adonis, Forum, Alexis-Nihon, etc.) and entrances to the metro are.

      My impression is that on De Maisonneuve there are at least as many people on the south side as the north and that on Sherbrooke the south sidewalk sees more foot traffic than the north. If their reasoning is true for Ste-Catherine, wouldn’t it also be true for those streets?.

    • Kevin 10:34 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Before anyone changes anything they should prove that they are capable of doing work correctly.

      Nothing I’ve seen in Montreal in the past has given me any indication that any change to Ste. Catherine street will do anything except gut it.

    • Robert J 10:39 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Unfortunately, the underground infrastructure needs to be changed or we will continue to have water leak issues. The same was true on St Lawrence and Park and the corrupt fonctionnaires and construction firms took advantage of the situation. That’s a class of people who have little at stake in Montreal and don’t care about this city.

  • Kate 18:31 on 2014/07/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Marché Maisonneuve is celebrating its centenary this fall, so there are some history tours of Maisonneuve’s notable spots being offered.

  • Kate 11:46 on 2014/07/28 Permalink | Reply  

    In the metro, a message comes about an outage on the green line. “La service va se rétablir vers treize heures une minute.”

    • Robert J 14:44 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I was also there. Robots.

    • Steph 17:26 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      and at 1:00 they announced “Le service va se rétablir vers treize heures trente et une minute.” Thanks STM.

    • jeather 17:51 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Did I miss a discussion of changing all the metro names?

    • Kate 18:40 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Holy shit, jeather. I was in transit when that was posted. What utter wackiness.

    • jeather 19:07 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I am not clear why “de Snowdon” is being changed but not Lionel-Groulx, or how this is more uniform. I am further concerned that this will make alphabetical lists as completely useless as lists of the boroughs are because they use the articles so some random subset of boroughs start with L for no reason. Argh.

      And I bet the “won’t cost anything” is bullshit also.

    • Kate 19:36 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Is it that the “de” and “du” names are stations named after specific streets or areas, like du Parc, de Snowdon, but Lionel-Groulx is not named for a local toponymic feature?

    • jeather 19:56 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I am sure there is some byzantine naming rule going around — I even understand du Parc and de l’Acadie — but have never heard “de Snowdon” or “d’Outremont”, and am not clear why it’s “de la Universite-de-Montreal” but just “McGill”. What about Jarry? Laurier? It’s not that I care that much, it just seems like the most unbelievable waste of energy and — inevitably, eventually — money.

    • Paul H. 19:58 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      The west end of ave Lionel-Groulx is directly in front of the station entrance. This precise grammar is just annoying, especially when it’s applied to English names. Eg, rue Rufus-Rockhead.

    • Kate 20:01 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Yep. Money will be spent.

      I also notice that “Beaudry-Village” didn’t make the cut, again. And it’s not “de Beaudry” either for some obscure reason.

    • Marc 20:19 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Methinks the OQLF had something to do with this.

    • Chris 20:34 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Marc, could be… all those extra “de”s sure make things more French I guess. Crazy.

    • Kevin 10:35 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Only in Quebec would bureaucrats pull such a ‘duh’ manoeuvre.

    • Robert J 10:50 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      This renaming is completely incoherent with other francophone metro station naming conventions. Not only is Quebec spending too much time dicking around with toponymie, but they’re à côté de la plaque as usual. The Paris stations have the “de” article only with “Rue” before it like “Rue du Bac”. Other stations refer to places that would carry articles in conversation, don’t have them on the metro map: Station Tuileries, rather than Station des Tuileries. They should include rue/ave/blvd in the naming scheme if they want it to sound nice. That would also help tourists situate themselves.

    • GC 15:33 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Ugh. It’s like they are trying to qualify for a “worst waste of money” competition. Was the STM coming in under budget and needed to spend the excess?

  • Kate 11:44 on 2014/07/28 Permalink | Reply  

    The tale of Christina David and her goose has reached the BBC.

    • Uncle Charlie 15:56 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Glad to see the BBC put it into perspective, and included the following quotation: “We do live in Canada. These city folk have to realize what their food looks like before the supermarket.”

      Bon appetit, Ms. David!

    • Kate 18:41 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I should note that quote is a comment to the article and not a cite from Ms. David herself.

  • Kate 07:11 on 2014/07/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro traces the memorials and monuments from World War I still visible around town.

  • Kate 06:58 on 2014/07/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir is the only source with this story Monday morning: a branch of the Jewish Defense League is said to be opening in Montreal.

    • Ephraim 07:13 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Ugh! The JDL. Seriously, Israel has managed to outlaw this hate group, why do we have to suffer the shame of their existence in Canada?

    • Noah 08:14 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I get the impression the vast majority of Jews in Montreal don’t take the JDL seriously & that those who don’t aren’t really to be taken seriously themselves. I’m certain the JDL won’t catch on here.

    • Ian 08:17 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      @Ephraim – yes and no – “In 1994, the JDL’s sister movements Kach and Kahane Chai were both outlawed in Israel as terrorist organizations posing a threat to state security.[14] They are also banned in the United States and the European Union. “JDL Canada” remains legal,[15] despite sharing the ideology, goals and identical logo of the banned organization” wikipedia.

    • Ephraim 09:21 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      @Ian I’m highly aware. JDL’s logo and colours are exactly the same as Kach (Power in Hebrew) and Kahane’s original hate filled movement.

    • Ian 13:26 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I figured you would, but you know, just in case. @Noah, I’m pretty sure the vast majority of everybody doesn’t take the JDL seriously.

    • Jack 15:55 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      @ Le Devoir,this is front page news,seriously.

    • Chris 06:52 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      Jack, you don’t think it’s worthy of front page? Better than Justin Bieber or crap like that. Seems relevant to know that religious, fascist, violent assholes are moving into one’s neighbourhood.

  • Kate 06:52 on 2014/07/28 Permalink | Reply  

    This is about as low a crime as you can get. In Montreal North some guys ordered two pizzas then stabbed the delivery guy and stole the pizzas.

    Update: CTV says police now say the deliveryman was beaten up, but not stabbed.

    • Ephraim 06:56 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Here’s the rub… if they do get caught (with Montreal’s detective it’s an if, not a when…) we the public have paid for: the police, the hospital, the lawyers and their incarceration. All over $30 worth of mediocre pizza.

    • Dave M 09:18 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I never knew that you, of all people, were a supporter of free crime-stopping state-sponsored pizza, Ephraim.

    • Kate 09:19 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I don’t think the value of the goods is the main point here. It’s more about letting the sort of low-lifes who thought this was a smart move know that our society doesn’t let you do that.

    • Ephraim 09:27 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Seriously, to attempt to take a man’s life over $30 of pizza? The values you were taught as a child have to be so convoluted. It’s all just not worth it.

      Actually Dave, I’m wondering if these men, if caught, should have to make up the lost wages of this poor delivery man. What goes through your mind that you have to rob a poor delivery man for two pizzas (and let’s not get into the poor pizza shop owner, because after buying the expensive cheese, who knows if he’s making any money.)

    • Blork 09:46 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Many years ago, in Winnipeg, I ordered a pizza and it took two hours to be delivered. The reason? Someone rammed the pizza delivery car from behind, and when the car stopped the rammer robbed the delivery guy of his cash and the pizza. (The pizza I got two hours later was a replacement, obviously.)

      I’m still somewhat speechless over the stupidity and depravity of that crime. Today’s pizza delivery story is even worse because of the stabbing. (AFAIK the Winnipeg driver was unhurt, but the car was damaged.)

    • Ephraim 11:19 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      I they are corporate cars, they can install and bolt in a drop safe, with the driver unable to open the safe. So they can only take the driver’s “float” and it makes them much less of a target.

    • MathP 12:13 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Flashback from 2013:

      “Un livreur reçoit vingt coups de bâton. Jusqu’à ce mois-ci, Maxime était le seul livreur de Benny à Montréal-Nord qui n’avait jamais été attaqué et volé….”

    • owl 18:25 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      Jeez! And I thought we had bad baddies in Ottawa! When I come to Montreal I’m both elated (“Wow! Wish we had something cool like that in our Bells Corners neighbourhood!”) and disgusted (“Holy cr*p! Glad we don’t have sick sh*t like that in MY city.”)

    • MB 18:28 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      @Ephraim except for some of the franchises, maybe, pizza delivery persons provide their own ride and have about $20 in change. They get sent out with 3-5 deliveries at a time so at no point are they going to have more than a hundred bucks or so on them, anyway.

    • GC 15:28 on 2014/07/29 Permalink

      And a lot of people probably don’t pay with cash anymore.

  • Kate 21:01 on 2014/07/27 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s been curious this weekend to see one set of headlines saying P.K. Subban is saying nothing about his contract negotiations with the Canadiens, waiting for arbitration, and another set quoting him as saying he wants to be a lifer with Montreal.

    Subban appeared at Just For Laughs with Seth Rogen, and they drank beer out of the Stanley Cup. (I’m willing to bet this was a replica. Neither man has the right to sashay around with the real one. Yet.)

    In other Habs news, Lars Eller signed a four-year deal with the team on Thursday.

    Update: The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs tweets that the cup onstage was indeed a fake.

    • Marc R 22:44 on 2014/07/27 Permalink

      It is in fact a replica (there are 3 ‘real’ cups, one (the original) in a vault in Toronto, one on loan to a lucky member of the LA Kings, and a third on display at the Hall of Fame), and it’s important to note that Subban poured into the Cup but didn’t drink from it, as touching it unless you’ve won it is considered bad juju

    • Mr.Chinaski 06:31 on 2014/07/28 Permalink

      He drank the beer inside the stanley cup from a straw.

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