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  • Kate 21:58 on 2014/07/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Some notes on roadwork closures on the weekend. Andy Riga also has notes on highway closures.

     
  • Kate 21:57 on 2014/07/25 Permalink | Reply  

    More detail on the project at 1750 Cedar and indications the unfinished building is to be turned into a condo complex. But wait, one of the problems with the whole idea of this building was it was too close to Mount Royal park. The fact that the MUHC has divested itself of the project – costing millions – has not changed that. Where are the edges of the supposed protected zone around the mountain?

     
  • Kate 21:29 on 2014/07/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The National Post looks at several church conversions around Montreal and ponders the many churches that have been demolished vs. the ones saved for other purposes. Interesting point is made about the Catholic archbishop put in place in 2012, who has stopped all church conversion, even ones that turn churches into community centres or other beneficial public assets. Christian Lépine is holding out for the return of Catholic worship on a grand scale and wants the churches held in abeyance for that day.

     
  • Kate 12:09 on 2014/07/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada’s weekly feature on toponymy inquires into the urban origins of Saint Urbain Street.

     
  • Kate 08:12 on 2014/07/25 Permalink | Reply  

    When Flight MH-17 went down, some friends of friends on Facebook were marvelling over news of a couple of people who were expected on board but didn’t make it. “Karma!” “They were so lucky, so blessed!” Now here’s an item on TVA about a Longueuil woman who was supposed to take that Air Algeria flight that crashed in Mali on Thursday, but didn’t go because she’s on the verge of giving birth. (TVA link plays video.)

    But every flight must involve people who don’t board for some reason or other: they’re late, they miss a connection or have a last-minute change of plans. It’s no big deal, airlines have to update the passenger manifest till the gates close. Only if there’s an incident do these anomalies matter, but I wonder what makes them newsworthy?

     
    • Bill Binns 10:26 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      I admit to being unreasonably fascinated with these stories. It makes you realize how the smallest decisions can have huge consequences. Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the “Family Guy” TV show had a ticket on the plane out of Boston that was flown into the World Trade center. He missed the flight by a matter of minutes, mostly because he was hung over. So, the last beer or two that he had on the night of September 10th, 2001 probably saved his life.

    • Alison Cummins 10:26 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      If you’re a Jungian and believe in synchronicity, life is not a series of random events but rather an expression of a deeper order, the Unus mundus.

      Or if you are a Byrnian and believe in the Secret, life will do what you want it to if you just ask it right.

      People who narrowly escape tragic ends through apparently random events or choices give Byrnians and Jungians hope that they too will be able to ask life in the right way, or that the deeper order includes living Jungians and Byrnians. For these folks, it’s news.

      The rest of us just think that random shit happens all the time but it just appears to take on significance when coupled with something dramatic. For us folks, it’s pareidolia.

    • Michael Black 10:32 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      On July 1st 1996, I was walking down St. Lawrence Blvd when I hear a scream and a crash, I’m not even sure which came first. I look up, and a car is embedded into the front door of The Native Friendship Centre.

      I was no more than 20 seconds from that corner, so if I’d been 20 seconds sooner, I could have been between that car and the door.

      It doesn’t matter that every event has such variables, it matters that “it could have been me”.

      Michael

    • Kate 12:06 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Alison: beautifully put.

      If we want to ponder close calls, there’s today’s news about a solar storm that could’ve wreaked havoc on our planet in 2012, but just missed us.

  • Kate 07:47 on 2014/07/25 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s discussion of creating yet more public swimming spaces on the riverside by the mystic year 2017. Projet Montréal dreams of creating a port swimming pool like the one shown here in Denmark. (CBC calls it a floating bath but that’s an old-fashioned translation of piscine.)

     
    • Ephraim 07:50 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Can someone remind me of how many thousands of dollars they spent on each umbrella for the beach in Old Montreal? I wonder how much it will cost to put this thing up. Anyone have an idea how we are going to finance it, especially considering that Project seems so intent on spending money that they can’t get the Plateau’s budget to balance…

    • Kate 08:00 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Ephraim, sometimes a city has to think beyond the ledger to get anything interesting done. These are just ideas, as are most of the notions floated for 2017.

    • Ephraim 08:46 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Kate – I fully understand, but I also understand that we have to not just balance the budget, we should be in surplus because of the low interest rates at the moment. We need to stop spending our children’s money without consideration.

    • Anto 08:52 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Hasn’t Montreal been in surplus for several years?

    • Ephraim 09:14 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Montreal balances the budget by hiking property values above inflation. The average Plateau tax payers has had increases of almost 6% in 2013 and almost 5% above that in 2014. (Should I go back further?)

    • Joe 09:16 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Ephraim, how else are we going to pay those sweet pensions to our city workers?! (note sarcasm)

    • rue david 11:04 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Ephraim, I’m pretty sure that you’re aware that the central city (not the borough) sets tax rates by neighborhood, and that the plateau has been victimized/punished by non-pm regimes, and that the borough government vehemently opposes thoses rates. like your post was just bizarrely deceptive.

    • MathP 11:21 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

    • Kate 12:13 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      It’s mostly just old-fashioned, like why the city’s older interior swimming pools are called things like the Bain St-Michel or Bain Schubert.

    • Ephraim 15:08 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Taxes d’arrondissement? Plateau .05 and .0294 and Ville Marie? .0477 and .0112. So the total for the Plateau is $.0794 and Ville Marie is $0.0589 which is almost 35% more than Ville Marie. So, who’s setting that rate? Who gets that money?

    • jeather 15:18 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Somehow the Sud Ouest is even higher than the Plateau.

  • Kate 07:45 on 2014/07/25 Permalink | Reply  

    This is what happens when the mainstream media monitor reddit: a video of a woman plucking and eating parts of a raw bird on the metro gets into the news. Police are investigating although it remains vague whether there’s any law against being disgusting: police may resort to “disturbing the peace” if they can’t think of anything better. And if they can find her.

    Some people suspect mental illness. I half suspect performance art.

     
    • Ian 08:19 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Such a fine line between the two sometimes…

    • Steph 08:40 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      I can’t see anything in that video

    • Alison Cummins 09:11 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      She’s leaning over and the bird is in the plastic bag on the floor at her feet. A couple of times you see her sort of lifting up a bedraggled black thing.

    • MathP 11:30 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      It was already viral on facebook (thousands of shares) before it was posted to reddit and blogspam sites across the web

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=777821118936746

    • Chris 16:40 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      So eating a chicken sandwich on the metro is ok, but eating a slightly different species of bird is “disturbing the peace”? Because it’s cooked less? Odd.

    • Kate 21:49 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Chris, here we go again. Are you really surprised that we don’t feel the same way about someone eating a chicken sandwich as we do about them eating maybe a raw dead pigeon or crow, or even a raw dead chicken with all its feathers on? It’s not safe to eat bird meat raw – for several reasons, bacteria and parasites being two that come to mind – but that’s an intellectual overlay on something that’s basically a gut reaction.

  • Kate 07:40 on 2014/07/25 Permalink | Reply  

    STM workers will be leaving their uniforms at home and working in mufti starting today as they join other municipal workers all over Quebec in a protest against Bill 3. Police who normally wear ties will be wearing red ones.

    Amazing how police who used to be stirred to fury by the sight of a small red felt square have turned to methods of the same colour now that their own benefits are threatened. I wonder if any of them spare a thought for students who were trying to establish access to education that didn’t involve falling into deep personal debt.

     
    • rue david 11:05 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      well said.

    • Noah 12:12 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      I generally have a deep respect for the police, as I’ve said here before. But stickering their cars, breaking their uniform code (in an ironic manner as pointed out above), and allowing bonfires in front of city hall simply because they happen to agree with the cause is really hurting their credibility in my eyes.

    • Joe 13:48 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      +1 Noah

    • Ephraim 14:58 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      I want to see the police wearing red noses….

  • Kate 00:18 on 2014/07/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Those hydro poles were deliberately included in the middle of a Montreal North sidewalk as part of a plan to move some overhead wires, because different services were out of sync. The poles will be moved and the sidewalk completed properly – eventually.

     
  • Kate 23:47 on 2014/07/24 Permalink | Reply  

    Construction is finally going to resume at the Îlot Voyageur: the northern segment, bought by a developer last year, will be extended to ten storeys and become residential units (for rent, apparently) and the southern piece, which belongs to the Quebec government, may become a centralized Revenu Québec HQ, if the Couillard crew carries through an idea generated by the Marois government.

     
  • Kate 09:38 on 2014/07/24 Permalink | Reply  

    Residents of this city end up knowing more about concrete than they ever wanted to (unless they’re civil engineers, in which case they can’t know enough about the stuff). The latest is a super concrete devised at the Polytechnique, and proposed not just for Champlain II but as a long-lasting solution for many infrastructure problems.

     
    • Jean-Pierre Lapierre 12:20 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      You can’t pour cement. You pour concrete

    • C_Erb 13:22 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      Cement is the powder that makes concrete; concrete is the product created by adding water to cement. It’s better not to know this because once you do, you’re going to want to correct everyone who makes the mistake (which is constantly).

    • Blork 14:04 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      Perhaps this discussion will cement these very concrete definitions into our vocabularies.

    • Matt G 14:25 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      Heh Blork.

    • Alison Cummins 15:57 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      No, cement is the binder that holds the aggregate to make concrete.

    • Faiz Imam 23:49 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      This process is actually very interesting. there are a multitude of “recipes” of concrete, involving the portions of water, gravel, cement, and the types of extra substances added on.

      Some types are weaker or stronger, handle heat, cold, water, stress, in different ways. A huge field in materials engeneering is coming up with new types, So yeah. Kudos for these guys for coming up with another.

  • Kate 07:11 on 2014/07/24 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal reports on sidewalk concrete poured around hydro poles in Montreal North.

     
    • mare 07:50 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      And from the photo I’d say that they’re surrounded by gravel, not by concrete, and concrete is easily poured after they are moved since there’s no need for a mould. This is a multi year project, not yet finished, and coordination between many different bureaucratic organizations is notoriously hard. Not only in Quebec.

    • No\Deli 12:17 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      I don’t think Montreal pours actual concrete for sidewalks anymore – at least not on residential streets. They just dump asphalt down and form something like a curb on one side.

    • Jean-Pierre Lapierre 12:20 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      You can’t pour cement. You pour concrete

    • mare 18:41 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      No\Deli in my neighbourhood it’s still all concrete. Also the parts that get replaced after a water main break/repair. Which happens regularly and then it takes 4 months before the sidewalk is replaced, all the while being blocked by barriers.

  • Kate 07:09 on 2014/07/24 Permalink | Reply  

    The MUHC is to wash its hands of the uncompleted building at 1750 Cedar, beside the Montreal General. Some background on this project from 2012; more explanation of the role of Arthur Porter in the fruitless attempt to profit by developing the site.

     
  • Kate 07:05 on 2014/07/24 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal gawps entertainingly at the Westmount mansion bought by Gregory Charles.

     
    • Uncle Charlie 10:41 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      Ridiculous. Not the article, I mean that a marginally talented lounge act can become a local “vedette” and get on the public (Loto-Quebec) gravy train to the extent where he gets to live like a railroad baron! What a complete waste of money by Loto-Quebec — do they actually expect this virtually unknown (outside of FR QC) act to attract tourists to the Casino?!?? Pathetic waste of public funds.

      Want to attract tourists to the Casino and raise its profile on the international level? Hire a known entity (international) and entice them to move here for 3 years. Also, align the odds of winning money at the Casino with international standards, instead of rigging the take to tune of 2-3 times the Vegas “take”. Another major missed opportunity, thanks to our myopic, provincial world view!

    • Robert J 10:55 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      +1 Uncle Charlie.

    • H. John 09:40 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      So how did “Gregory Charles and his wife” become Gregory Charles?

      Why the immediate assumption that he’s the bread winner and the only person contributing to the purchase?

      His wife, Nicole Collet, was Worldwide Director Sales and Technical Community-Dynamics for Microsoft until recently when she took over as Director, Field Strategy and Change Management.

  • Kate 23:05 on 2014/07/23 Permalink | Reply  

    There have been a number of demonstrations supporting both sides of the Gaza hostilities, the most recent being a pro-Palestinian march near Mont-Royal metro Wednesday. But I’m hearing about most of these demos because people post images to Twitter, rather than from reports in mainstream media. Here’s a striking image from the Wednesday demo, in which Hasidic men led the march.

    There have been reports of hate crimes against Jews believed to be motivated by anti-Israel impulses in their perpetrators.

     
    • Faiz Imam 00:28 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      I’ve been to pro-Palestinian demo’s literally from the crib, and getting under-covered and under-represented by CBC, CTV, Global and the Gazette is par for the course.

      On the other hand the explosion of communication on various social media is a breath of fresh air.

    • rue david 01:40 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      okay, like I remember someone explaining this to me, like the illegitimate secular state of Israel and that but it still seems so wild that you have these Haredi like so opposed to Zionism that they’d march with Arabs against Israel. like are our haredi in mtl like in a bizarre subculture/cult? enquiring minds want to know.

    • Ephraim 06:54 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      Most of the ultra religious are either anti-Israel or Israel neutral (Lubovitch for example are Israel neutral) and only the Sephardic and Dati-Leumi being pro-Israel. But you have to understand that these are extreme cults on one side and on the other they want nothing more then Massiah, which means the end of the world and the reunification of Jews in Israel by G-d. The fact that man has helped bring back some of the diaspora to them is against what they interpret G-d’s word to be.

      Here is the problem I have with most of this. There are two “divorces” that people aren’t making in their thoughts. Israel isn’t the Jews and Hamas isn’t the Palestinians. Attacking Jewish businesses proves the point that this is anti-Semitism and not about Israel at all. And support for the Palestinians has to be divorced from Hamas which is admittedly a terrorist organization.

      And then we get into the little intricacies, like while a country that has been essentially independent for 9 years has wasted all it’s resourced and not built anything up for itself so it is still dependent on Israel for water and power. Why UNRWA is in there at all, since it’s an independent country and has it’s own elected (terrorist) government.

      Meanwhile ISIS actually crucified Christians in Syria two days ago and hundreds and thousands die each month. So where are the protests against the Syrian government? Against ISIS? Against the murder of innocent Christians? Against the murder of Muslims by Muslims? And where are the heads of Hamas? Qatar? Safe and sound?

    • Ian 07:31 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      There’s another conflation you forgot to mention – people that are opposed to Israeli foreign policy in Gaza are not necessarily supporters of Hamas. I think it is correct to call Hamas terrorists, or at least the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade is and the Hamas government proper supports them, making them culpable. It’s not unlike Sinn Fein’s relationship with the IRA. That said, I am firmly opposed to what Israel is currently doing in Gaza. What I am personally against is a much more powerful government basically enacting collective punishment (in clear violation of para 33, article 4 of the Geneva convention) against people that have nowhere to run as the borders are closed. We know the IDF is capable of very precise targetted killing & assassination as they have proven many times in the past, why are they bombing densely populated areas, basically shooting fish in a barrel? There has been 1 Israeli killed by Hamas rocket fire, and less than 5 civilian Israeli dead overall – compared to around 600 Palestinians since Sunday, about a 3rd of them children. While I agree that the Palestine is poorly run and the government does little to help its people, it is ridiculous to claim that the poverty of the Palestine is not at least partially because of Israel’s military occupation which includes a blockade of the territories, destruction of Palestinian assets, ongoing expansion of illegal settlements, and controlled movement. What the solution is, I don’t know (though I suspect a 2-state system and seriosu compromises from both Israel and the Palestine which neither the Palestinian nor the Israeli government really want) but Israel’s current actions in Gaza are clearly in violation of GCIV and need to stop.

    • vasi 07:59 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      To slightly correct Ephraim, most of the Hasidic groups are more “non-Zionist” than “anti-Zionist”. They’re theologically opposed to the idea of setting up a Jewish state, but are mostly apolitical about it. Many of them live in Israel, and don’t object to interacting with the state, or even influencing the government in areas of public services rather than geopolitics.

      The exceptions on the anti-Zionist side are the Neturei Karta and Satmar groups, who explicitly oppose the state. They both have some rather strange beliefs about Zionism being the true cause of the Holocaust. The Neturei Karta is particularly extreme, occasionally expressing a desire to see the population of Israel exterminated in order to satisfy God; Satmar is a little less whacko. Neither is in the Jewish mainstream of course, though they’re entitled to their views.

    • Ian 09:44 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      Thanks for the detailed explanation, vasi, very interesting.

    • Chris 09:57 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      All wonderful examples of the nonsense of religion. :(

      All of the mentioned wars/conflicts are largely religion based. (Of course people would find other things to war about without religion, but it would be much less horrible I’m quite confident.)

      But of course most liberals like to be multicultural and open and tolerant and don’t like to admit or speak the truth that religion is in fact utter nonsense.

      How is it that we think so little of the believers of ancient gods like Zeus, Thor, Ra, etc. ad infinitum, but somehow we are convinced that Yahweh, Jesus, Muhammad, or who ever, yes, this time, that’s the real god!?

      The sooner humanity stops believing in this garbage, we better off we will all be!

    • Alison Cummins 10:50 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      “people would find other things to war about without religion, but it would be much less horrible”

      Please cite your sources.

    • Ian 12:36 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      Making this about religion is an oversimplification…

      “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”

      Karl Marx

    • Ephraim 12:46 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      Satmar (ironically named after St-Mary (Satu Mare, Romania) seems to have this belief that WW2 is a punishment by G-d for people not being religious enough and there is a certain irony in that.

      Naturei Karta have been known to actually contribute to the PLO. But then again, they also believe that Massiah is going to fly all the Jews back to Israel on the wings of eagles (literally) at the end of times.

    • Uncle Charlie 13:03 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      Faiz: re. “getting under-covered and under-represented by CBC, CTV, Global and the Gazette is par for the course” — It’s not newsworthy if it happens on a regular basis.. Maybe if these demonstrations occurred less frequently than garbage removal, they might get more coverage from the media…

    • Noah 14:41 on 2014/07/24 Permalink

      This is easily the most civilized and intelligent conversation I’ve seen on the Internet – anywhere – on this subject. Says a lot about the people who come here, whether they’re on one side or the other or somewhere in the middle. Kudos to all.

    • Ant6n 01:54 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      I’ve thought about joining some anti-war/free-Palestine protests, but it’s not easy to know what you’re going to associate yourself with. Some of the protests in Europe ended up being pretty anti-semitic (if you believe the main-stream media there, then apparently like all of them).
      Just like many Jews, more westerners who live in countries that support any measure by Israel should say “not in my name”.

    • Faiz Imam 05:40 on 2014/07/25 Permalink

      Uncle Charlie: the media do come and take some clips and shots, but the narrative and editing is what I have issue with. I have no beef with them not covering the 10 people that protest every week year round(though I love it if they did).

      Ant6n, it’s certainly the case that large protests bring in all kinds of peoples. Lots of fringe groups latch on, including the ultra orthodox ones discussed above.

      But the principle of solidarity means that you put a lot of that aside. as long as the march itself and the associated speeches are not problematic, then I say all are welcome.

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