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  • Kate 13:17 on 2015/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    A water main broke early Saturday at Berri and St-Joseph, making a big mess and closing several streets. Latest police tweet says Mont-Royal has been reopened, but St-Joseph is still closed between Resther and Rivard.

  • Kate 10:51 on 2015/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal lists the nine ugliest features of Montreal. They don’t include my three top favourites:


    • Ephraim 12:07 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      No mention of Iberville between Mount-Royal and Masson? The bleakness of St-James in NDG. The corner of Bridge and Wellington… heck, most of Bridge until the Bridge, not to mention Mill street.

    • Jean-Philippe 13:03 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      St-Patrick. So odd, pretty much along all of its length. The whole of Griffintown.

    • Kate 13:12 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      It would be hard to find any city that didn’t have some ugly streets or sections.

    • Uatu 13:24 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Wow. They really blew the opportunity to make an amazing building outta the old forum. I remember that view on hockey nights and it was an amazing, fun and vibrant scene. Now it looks like an ugly warehouse with techno gewgaws stuck to it.

    • Charles 13:25 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Berri between Ontario and Sherbrooke? That big Hydro-Quebec bunker looks like it’s right out of a dystopian sci-fi movie.

    • Kate 13:40 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Charles, you’re right. I’d subconsciously learned to blank it out:

    • Blork 13:48 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      My mind always boggles at 400 Rigaud, which one gets to look at while waiting for the 144 at the Sherbrooke Metro:

    • Slava 14:23 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      My favourite ugly spot used to be the block of du Parc just above Sherbrooke (between Sherbrooke and Milton). One side was like in ruins for years.

      In the last few years, however, they cleaned it up a little bit, although the “upgrade” is very generic – a so-so condo building and a Starbucks on the western side. Of course Nota Bene, Pikolo and Pullman (I love all 3), which I believe opened in 2004, 2011, and.. 2005 (I think) helped things quite a bit.

      I still try very hard not to look at the other side, though. Not only is it ugly (Provigo in particular and the cheesy hotel next to it), it’s also unsafe: the sidewalk is too narrow, people constantly step off it in an attempt to pass slower-moving pedestrians. Meanwhile, buses often travel at high speed mid-block. The block is also too long, which causes people to jay-walk.

      That the block is problematic is kind of collaborated by the Belgian bakery and that sleepy restaurant next to it going out of business– was it last year or two years ago?

      The worst part is that it’s located in the best possible neighbourhood – between McGill Ghetto, Place des Arts and the Plateau – three different areas, each interesting in its own way. This whole stretch should be an exciting place. Instead, it’s mostly depressing and generic (although, again, NB, Pikolo, & Pullman, which really helped transform the area, deserve all the credit).

    • Doobious 15:49 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Check this abomination on St. Jacques. Seriously, Hydro Quebec ought to hire an architect or two that doesn’t suck.

    • No\Deli 16:02 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      When it comes to ‘ugly Montreal’, I think this ongoing series has it totally wrapped up. Not the public building grand scale ugliness as seen above, but smaller, every-day uglinesses, which are quite a bit worse imho. Because they abound.

    • Kate 16:26 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Doobious, what, you don’t admire this majestic structure on Beaumont?

    • Kate 16:29 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      NoDeli, there’s also a strong Montreal contingent in Flickr’s group Ugly Transformation of a Building. I believe this one takes the cake, but there are others that rate high.

    • rue david 17:13 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      man, blork, i love the rigaud tower. though, obviously i wish it were better integrated at the street level.

    • Ephraim 17:41 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      We almost forget the corner of St-Andre and Viger…

    • Doobious 19:32 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Then there’s this fugly piece of concrete crap in Old Montreal. Seriously, Hydro? Old Montreal, and that’s the best you could do?

      What offends my delicate architectural sensibilities the most though, is greystones wrapped in that cheap-ass brown aluminum siding. I’m sorry, but property owners who do that should be taken out back of the barn and shot. Point final.

    • denpanosekai 21:52 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Parc from Sherbrooke to Pine. What a shithole!!!

  • Kate 10:41 on 2015/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has refused to issue an occupation certificate for Imam Hamza Chaoui’s Muslim centre, blocking his use of the space. The premise is that the area is not zoned to allow religious activities. Denis Coderre emphasizes that it’s not a question of curtailing freedom of expression, but a matter of public safety and order – a nice bit of sophistry.

    • Doobious 12:53 on 2015/01/31 Permalink


    • H. John 13:37 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      F.R. Scott must be rolling in his grave.

      A lawyer and professor of law at McGill, he defended Roncarelli when Duplessis had his liquor licence canceled because he had been posting bail for Jehovah Witnesses.

      As Julius Grey has mentioned, this is a no brainer, the city has opened itself to a lawsuit.

    • Kate 15:34 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      A lawsuit brought by whom, though? I admit I don’t fully grasp the distinctions among Muslim denominations, and I don’t know what exactly qualifies someone to be an imam, but I gather Chaoui is not in the mainstream. So he may not have anything quite like an organized congregation behind him.

    • H. John 15:37 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      This is an important enough case for a group like the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to support him (or his centre).

    • H. John 17:56 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      So Denis Codere is clear in the G&M that the case has nothing to do with religion.

      The borough mayor, Réal Ménard, “added that places of worship were not permitted in the area the youth centre was planned to be established. He added the borough council would meet to redefine what constitutes a community and cultural centre, and religious instruction would be excluded.”

    • Kate 21:46 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      I wonder if all those little evangelical storefront churches will be caught up in this new sweep, or if the hypocrisy will limit it to the imam’s plans.

  • Kate 10:37 on 2015/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    UQÀM has raised some hackles by using money earmarked to help students with handicaps to pay general bills.

  • Kate 19:23 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Anjou mayor Luis Miranda is steamed at the sudden new plan for a surface extension of the blue line, saying there’s nowhere to put it; typically, it seems he wasn’t consulted.

    I know I said some time ago that Denis Coderre was going to improvise his way through his mayoralty. This is the kind of thing that happens. We can laugh at situations where there’s study after study (I practically laughed out loud today at CBC’s report on new tracks for the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, something that’s been studied repeatedly for decades) but you can’t blunder ahead with something like a surface metro in a heavily built-up area without at least an idea you’ve got a right of way.

    • Robert J 10:49 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Surface blue line extension would be a heinous waste of the existing underground infrastructure to save money in the short term. We can’t run cheaper, surface trains underground, and the current line is used at 2/3 capacity with shorter trains and longer headways. They should expand the line underground as planned. There are more than enough people in the east end to make use of the heavier infrastructure. That project is actually more important than the airport train or the south shore SLR because the population density is already there.

    • Rosey12387 12:13 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Personally, I think the blue line extension is a bad idea – save for an extension of one station to Pie-IX.

      The east side of the orange line is too busy due to the extension to Laval. Sending east enders to the orange line who would otherwise head to the green line is only going to make matters worse. Furthermore the green and blue line stations get closer and closer to eachother as you go east.

      The exception to Pie IX is because it would facilitate things for people in Montreal North and St-Michel by means of the SRB, which would then link the Train de l’Est, blue line, green line and any eventual new mass transit option on Notre Dame.

      Rather than focus on more underground extensions, I think the focus needs to be on improving above-ground service and the underground service we already have a. not to put more pressure on the existing system without an additional downtown/midtown relief line and b. optomize what we have.

      For example, I think a station on the orange line, between Sauve and Cremazie with a road extension for buses only between Saint-Laurent and Berri (going through the STM building and parc Henri-Julien) would do wonders for revitalizing the Chabanel district.

      Also additional Montreal Island stations and infrastrture improvements on some of the AMT exisiting commuter train lines could do a lot more in terms of improving Montrealers’ commutes.

      If the STM were to extend the underground by 4 more stations. I would do:

      -Pie-IX on the eastern blue line

      -Poirier on the western orange line to better service Bois-Franc/Nouveau Saint-Laurent and the rest of northern Saint-Laurent

      -Bois-Franc to better serve people in Cartierville and the entire northern West Island (by means of a conection to the Deux Montagnes line)

      -Ch. Cote-St-Luc on the blue line so that people don’t have to cross Decarie to get to the metro

      For the east end, other than Pie-IX station on the blue line, I would focus on SRBs on Pie-IX, Notre-Dame, Armand-Bombardier/Ray-Lawson/Roi-René, Léger/Perras, Jarry and Jean-Talon and a SLR running from Pie-IX on the green line through Rosemont, the Plateau (between Station Laurier and Mont-Royal) to somewhere on Parc and from there to Station McGill and then finally Station Bonaventure to help aleviate some of the capacity issues on the orange line.

    • Kate 14:54 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Rosey12387, those are interesting ideas, but I don’t think you’ll ever get the STM to add a station in between existing ones. What we really need at Sauvé is an underground extension one block south to the rail line, and an intermodal connection to the Train de l’Est.

      I like the idea of a Bois-Franc intermodal for St-Laurent, but not sure you need a second station at Poirier, although I admit I don’t know that part of town very well.

      Also, you may be right about restricting the blue line extension to Pie-IX for now. We’ve been handwringing for so long about the expense of adding 3 more stations to Anjou that we’ve almost forgotten that extending the line to a single station at Pie-IX and Jean-Talon would be a big help to that part of the city.

      They will never extend the blue line westward.

    • rue david 17:16 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      and also a connection at edouard-montpetit to the train, to decrease downtown-bound transfers at jean-talon and make that train work for udem-bound commuters.

    • Kate 17:20 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      I’m not sure it makes sense to try to cross-connect the metro with the old tunnel. Isn’t it hundreds of meters deeper than the metro? And the tunnel was never meant to have a station embedded in it.

    • rue david 17:35 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      actually, coincidentally (i just saw this when i did a search and hadn’t seen it before! reminds me that i love taylor noakes’ blog), this was posted just a couple weeks ago:

      i’m not sure of the reason it was cut but it don’t look like it was for lack of engineering viability and i still think that, whatever the reason was, this would be a better investment than any expansion other than the two stops to ndg (monkland?) and ndg/montreal west (concordia) and the first stop out to pie ix. if the purpose is to expand ridership and we have just 300 million, i say do ndg, pie ix and edourd-montpetit. would make the train a zippy relief line for the orange line during commuting hours for people living along the blue line.

  • Kate 19:06 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Paging Harout Chitilian to this thread:

    $23 million for the smart city, but the city’s own website is a pullulating mess. I don’t know where the file structure came from but it’s a nightmare, and things are always moving from links I’d made.

    The site has some one-word shortcuts, but they’re not listed anywhere. I actually emailed the city sometime last year to ask for a list, and they said there wasn’t one. Right now, for example, “patinoires” resolves to a list of rinks, but “piscines” goes to the “page introuvable” page.

    Amusingly, if you go to you may get a quick peek at a page showing Gérald Tremblay before it jumps to the “page introuvable” page, which hints to me this site is the kind of kludge you end up with after years when too many people have worked on a thing and not documented what they were doing because it was always such a panic.

    This city can do better.

    • Michael Black 21:56 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      I thought they were using some sort of automatic software to keep track of things. A lot of links I’ve seen at borough or demerged municipalities have no descriptive links, suggesting something’s keeping track of it. Lots of times I’ve had a link for a booksale, and it’s gone the next year (or still the old announcement) suggesting it’s really easy to generate new pages, and that they expect you to go looking through the hierarchy of their page rather than directly.

      Or maybe it’s just sloppiness. Nobody is thinking things through. The Atwater Library has perhaps improved, but there was a long time when their booksale announcements would come up anywhere (and sometimes not at all). A library relies on the Dewey Decimal System, yet that library never gave thought to organizing the website; it’s as if they just piled the books on the floor.

      Groups still seem to assume that information will be passed through their control. You don’t want to clutter a main page with some event months in the future if you have lots of events, but you want that information out as early as possible so others can pass it on.
      You also want it controlled, so if something changes, people are linked to the originating group’s page, and the change is on that page, complete with some word that it’s changed.

      A lot of sites I’ve seen move a page around (they’re “renovating”), or treat announcements as standalone. Something gets cancelled, there’s a new announcement, but the original announcement is still there, unchanged. Recurring events deserve a fixed page, the location never changed if possible (and if so, a redirect left behind), and updated as soon as a date is known (or even “this is a tentative date”). Sometimes it’s not clear what happened, did I miss an announcement, or was it cancelled or postponed? Even saying “we cancelled” can be important information. Or there is a poster or announcement elsewhere, but the group has no notice on their page, so which is the truth?

      The automatic software often generates a current date on the page, so you may find endless old pages with the event, that at first appear current. I’m torn, expired announcements perhaps should be deleted, except perhaps it’s useful to know when something was in the past. If websites didn’t keep generating new pages, then new listings would overwrite the old, and the problem solved.


    • jeather 23:39 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Why such a generous description of the city’s website? It’s much worse than that.

    • Kate 00:12 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Michael, they’re certainly not coding all those pages by hand, but no matter what platform you’re using you’ve got to have a logical file structure, a workflow that makes sense as people come and go, and some means of documenting what’s being done so’s to enforce a certain standard uniformity throughout the site. I don’t underestimate the sheer scale of managing a site like that, but a disordered organization can’t produce an orderly website. I suspect the chaos partly mirrors the still unsettled relationship between the central city and its boroughs, for example.

      It’s always possible to put the correct date on content, although obviously some people can’t be bothered. As someone who looks things up for various purposes I find it almost amazing that so many festivals don’t indicate on their front page whether the material you see is from the last instalment of their event, or is for the upcoming one. It’s not as bad as the standard restaurant templates that make you work to find their address or phone number, but it’s similarly annoying.

  • Kate 17:56 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Eater looked at some Montreal classics this week. They also inquired into the origins of Montreal smoked meat and the unknown future of Eaton’s ninth floor, talked to a waiter who worked at Ben’s for 40 years, and looked back briefly at Lux.

    The Main MTL looks at the history of the Orange Julep.

    I notice I didn’t link to the Day of Gluttony Montreal video when it first came out, but it’s been noticed in a lot of places. It’s not too oppressively bro-ish.

    • rue david 18:58 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      also, poutine week begins on sunday, yippee!

      (irony aside, sure, 75% of the participating joints are anglo-owned/predominantly anglo-clientele places – pubs around concordia, fast food joints on the plateau, etc – but it’s actually sort of cool. fittingly, mtlblog has the only concise run-down of all the places and their offerings: … i know that many people have a “what is it with these toronto suburb/calgary types and their passion for poutine?” attitude but really, we have almost no low-barrier, day-in-day-out traditional quebec cuisine places in the center of the city. you have the odd, breakfast-focused neighborhood joint that’s occasionally top notch like the binerie mont-royal or café pamplemousse but they’re relatively rare, as the people who want this food tend to eat it at home. it’s hard to blame the longing-for-a-canadian-identity-oh-look-i’ve-found-it-in-this attitude when quebeckers don’t even eat the food anymore and most anglo-quebeckers grew up on our parents best imitations of british food.

      speaking of montreal classics, i vote for the return of the crazy condiment variety – cranberry! rhubarb! green tomato! – or neato drinks – dandelion wine! molasses beer! – quebec used to be known for. and i’m sure that everyone here of a certain age has a relative who used to make/still makes quebec-style ginger beer/racinette but these are now almost completely unknown drinks. you want your goddamned poutine, you drink it with a ginger beer, damn you! and speaking of last remaining vestiges of old quebec/old montreal, hopefully eater finds paul patates’ epinette and throws them some business to keep them from moving again even farther away from when i live – best epinette you can get commercially in the city, the best.)

    • Kate 19:00 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Cult MTL also has a poutine week feature.

    • rue david 19:03 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      actually, that one is better than the one i pulled up. in my defense, it was a still-open tab from a search that i conducted before cult mtl had posted that.

    • Charles 19:11 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      I heard a while back that only Schwartz and The Main made their own smoked meat, all the other bought it from somewhere else. Is that still the case?

    • rue david 20:24 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

    • Ephraim 20:47 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      @Charles – As far as I know, the Main now buys theirs. But as far as I know, Lester’s makes their own as well.

    • Charles 23:14 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      @Ephraim thanks, it’s worth invertigating…

    • Iris 06:40 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      I live right by Paul Patate, and though occasionally indulge in his burgers and patates, I find his spruce beer kind of tasteless and flat compared to the Marco brand.

    • Blork 13:57 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      I was at Paul Patate on Thursday night. They have two variations of their spruce beer; “Emile” and “Bertrand.” I found the “Emile” to be slightly snappier in both flavour and gassiness. Both were far less snappy than Marco brand.

    • rue david 17:19 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      bertrand is the original and best, man, though maybe just because it reminds me of my childhood. i actually dislike marco precisely because it’s so ‘snappy’ and sweet. it strikes me as a tarted up version of the discount epinette you get at maxi or whatever.

  • Kate 15:11 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal does one of its periodic annoying things here, pointing out that a journalist and photographer easily got access to the metro tunnels by entering via the Youville workshops in Ahuntsic. Last time they did this kind of thing, it was about the waterworks on Atwater.

    But the thing they pass over is that they are journalists, they did this before (in 2006) and they know where the building is and where the entrances are. (So do I, after visiting the metro by night a few years ago. Most people don’t.)

    Do journalists really want more security everywhere, all the time? Or is it just manufactured outrage?

    • Noah 15:35 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Accusing the Journal de Montreal of manufacturing outrage, Kate?! I’m shocked! For shame, I say. For shame.

    • mare 15:57 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Someone should show how easy it is to get into Le Journal offices and publish that somewhere. That will make them happy I’m sure.

    • Anto 16:08 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Their level of journalism is a daily reminder of how easy it is to get in their offices.

    • Clément 17:37 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      @Anto: Thanks for that comment, that made me laugh a lot!

    • GC 10:39 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Yes, Anto, thanks for that! :)

  • Kate 14:52 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    So not only did this year’s flu shot have zero effectiveness in Canada this year, the numbers even show that you were at more risk if you had the flu shot last year and this year, as opposed to only this year. That’s just weird.

    I had the flu shot last year and this year, and I’ve been sick for three weeks, but the clinic doctors were unable or unwilling to tell me whether what I’ve got is flu or something else. They tend to focus more on alleviating symptoms, in a hit or miss fashion.

  • Kate 14:37 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    When bloggers go bad: Gab Roy is sentenced to 18 months for luring an underage teen over the net, after he pleaded guilty to charges. She has written an open letter.

    • rue david 19:20 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      not that what he did isn’t bad, but until steve harper came in, the legal age of consent was 14. and i’m not saying that’s not too young (for me it wasn’t) and that most people will be pleased that there’s a punishment for what he did, but it’s a bit subjective is all.

    • rue david 19:21 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      er, i’m not saying that it’s not too young and that most people won’t be pleased that there’s a punishment…

  • Kate 12:04 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The Forum montréalais sur la métropole has produced its report (PDF) on how to position Montreal as a major metropolis. The ideas mentioned in this brief report sound fine, but modest.

    • Charles 15:10 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Has anyone made a report about all the reports in the past 20 years on Montreal and how many of their recommendations have been followed?

    • Kate 15:13 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      That’s it! We should get them to fund us to write a meta-report!

    • Charles 15:21 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Exactly and since it seems it’s the same recommendations that always come up, we could write a Montreal report generator that basically changes the year in the text… But a subject that doesn’t come up often is the fact that there are 82 municipalities (so 82 mayors not counting the borough mayors) in the CMM, see

    • Kate 16:19 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      I knew that. I just counted up, and 21 are named after saints, and there are several on the list I honestly have no idea where they are, like Calixa-Lavallée, Saint-Mathieu and Saint-Philippe, and others, like Otterburn Park, which I’ve heard of but couldn’t locate on a map.

    • mdblog 19:26 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Wow, you weren’t kidding when you said that this is just more of the same. My father worked on a big bilan back in the mid 90s that had many of the same ideas and recommendations and ideas!

      On another note, is there an English version of the report? It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have one if there isn’t.

    • mdblog 19:27 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Looks like I’m also guilty of recycling “ideas”. :-(

  • Kate 11:44 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Taxi drivers want the city to act on its own laws and crack down on illegal drivers. They’re also annoyed about the costs of being a legitimate cabbie vs. the nonexistent costs to freelance services like UberX.

    • Ephraim 12:34 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      What? They want the city to enforce it’s own laws? They must be crazy! If we had a law on the books that required the city to actually enforce their own laws…. they might actually rescind about 90% of them because they are unenforceable. Anyone ever see the city do something about illegal animals? How about the permit for dogs requirement? Let’s be realistic… the city doesn’t enforce most of it’s laws, heck, I used to see a supermarket cut open watermelons and sell them by the quarter, unrefrigerated and a city inspector never came (which may be something you think about the next time you eat at a restaurant and can’t see into the kitchen.)

  • Kate 11:38 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The big question with the Train de l’Ouest project is whether it will simply offer a quick trip to and from the airport, or function as a commuter train and go all the way to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue with similar stops to the existing Vaudreuil-Hudson line. That’s not a new debate but it’s being foregrounded again now that the train is under more concrete discussion.

    • Doobious 12:55 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      The new train should go beyond Sainte-Anne’s as it currently does. There will always be a healthy contingent of off-island motorists happy to park their cars at the station and save on gas. Short of building multi-level structures, opportunities for expanding the existing on-island parking lots are limited.

  • Kate 11:16 on 2015/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Three people were tied up in a Garda truck holdup late Thursday in Côte-des-Neiges, but nobody got hurt. It’s another in a series of Garda-related robberies at night when security trucks are moving money around.

  • Kate 23:27 on 2015/01/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Two city buses have been targets of vandalism in the same part of St-Laurent over the last two days, with projectiles flung by unknown assailants breaking their windows. Luckily no one has been hurt.

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