Excellent piece here by Alanah Heffez on the conflict between the museum and the condo builder, or urban plan as social contract: the Museum of Fine Arts stuck to the city’s zoning regulations while building its new wing, but the builders of the seven-storey condo tower on the location of the Redpath mansion had the height rules broken for them, creating not only a problem for the museum but a very bad precedent for those wishing to build on Mount Royal.
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I’ve walked over there in winter myself (here’s a photo essay of one occasion) and there are ice fishers and other folks out there on the frozen river and the island, but it’s not really the sort of place where you’ll have lots of people passing by – and definitely not a place where you just happen to be. It takes a bit of effort to get there on foot – you’ll notice none of the media outlets have a stock shot of the place. Here’s one that Ben Soo took a couple of winters ago:
This brief piece about a man in his 50s dying after being hit by a car downtown was heralded by a Gazette front-page link reading “Car critically injures Montreal pedestrian.”
The French version I see in Rue Frontenac is not much better, from this perspective. “Happé par une voiture” – “le véhicule roulait.”
It’s hard not to write such sentences. This isn’t a criticism of journalistic writing or anyone’s grammar, but it reminds me of a discussion we had on this blog at the beginning of December about language used to describe mistakes or misjudgements made by motorists. It may seem like a quibble to object to giving the car the agency to injure someone, but the implied passivity can’t be a good thing to accept. Cars don’t make mistakes and hurt people. Drivers do.
It’s not really news, but there are wind chill warnings for today and tomorrow, with chill factors like –39°C being bandied about as the cold snap deepens. It never got close to this chilly last winter, so maybe we’ve gone a bit soft.
Hydro-Quebec is asking people to cut down their energy usage, especially during Monday morning’s waking hours. In return, the utility promises to turn off its illuminated logo to save power. (You couldn’t make that up.)
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Le Devoir looks at the many angles involved in rebuilding or replacing the Champlain bridge. Comments point out that the Victoria, dating from 1859, and the Jacques-Cartier, from 1930, are not crumbling in the same way as the Champlain, which was completed in 1962, and ask why. Wasn’t technology supposed to be improving during this time, not declining?
Relatives of the deposed Tunisian president are said to be in Montreal even though the official line is that they’re not welcome here. The National Post piece also conflicts with a Gazette report this week about the ownership of that stratospheric Westmount mansion which may have at some point belonged to Ben Ali or one of his relatives:
Later news says that the relatives are definitely here and some of them have permanent resident cards.
Kristian has a fascinating look at the many quarries that have dotted Montreal from which we got all that grey stone for building institutions with. More info contributed in the comments, too.