Updates from June, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:16 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The British are looking askance at planned protests in Quebec against the visit of Kate and William (locals bring the fight to the comments on the Independent’s article); meanwhile people at the ITHQ have made an edible version of Kate’s tiara and articles talk about the plans to have the royals help cook their own lunch.

    • mare 23:15 on 2011/06/30 Permalink

      This so reminds me of the April Fools episode of CBC’s As It Happens.

      “Is it a tempest in a teapot?

      Officials at the Governor-General’s office are said to be quietly fuming about next month’s royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

      According to sources in the office, the wedding schedule includes a brunch, where each of the Commonwealth countries is represented by a dish for the couple to sample.

      So, working with several top Canadian chefs, the G-G’s office had come up with Canada’s contribution: a filet of aged Alberta Angus striploin, topped with a blue Juliette cheese from Saltspring Island, and served with Newfoundland Partridgeberry compote.

      But instead, the Royal Court made its own decision about Canada’s contribution, and, according to the sources, based that decision on a 2009 New Yorker article. An article declaring that Canada’s national dish is… poutine.

      Calvin Trillin is the American who wrote that article. We reached him in New York.”


    • Kate 12:59 on 2011/07/01 Permalink

      Royals get so much posh nosh offered them that they might be relieved to be offered something as simple as a dish of poutine.

    • qatzelok 09:55 on 2011/07/02 Permalink

      “Amir Khadir, leader of an anti–monarchy fringe party Quebec Solidaire…” All the other parties are pro-monarchy, obviously.

  • Kate 21:04 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    One of the two men convicted in 1979 and again in 1984 of a 1979 double murder in which two teenagers were assaulted and thrown off the Jacques Cartier bridge has been denied parole for the fourth time.

    • MontréalaiseDeCoeur 08:47 on 2011/07/05 Permalink

      Thank goodness, these two should rot in jail ad vitam. Horrible crime !

  • Kate 20:54 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Possibly useful notes on what’s open and closed for the Canada Day holiday.

  • Kate 20:52 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Neither tenants nor landlords are happy with Montreal rents, but tenants find them too high, while landlords devoutly wish them to follow the property bubble into the stratosphere. (On the other hand, when the bubble subsides, will their devotion to market forces make them happy to decrease rents accordingly? I don’t think so.)

    • john 22:42 on 2011/06/30 Permalink

      The simple truth is that Montreal rents are extremely affordable when compared to other cities in Canada and the United States. Property prices have gone up through the roof, but rents have simply not followed suit because of the rental board.

      Interest rates will no doubt go up in the coming months and they will make purchasing an apartment building an increasingly risky venture. (There’s a reason why apartment buildings aren’t being built in this city.) No one wins if landlords have no money for repairs or if a great number of them get foreclosed.

      I think a reasonable increase in rents would benefit everyone in the end.

    • Stefan 07:54 on 2011/07/01 Permalink

      that’s what the rental board is trying to do: reasonable increase in rents, which are related to economic realities and not speculative bubbles or out-of-control market forces.

      if you look i.e. at craigslist advertisements, you can see that market prices can easily be double of that of appartments which have been rent-controlled for some time. $1500 as opposed to $800 for a 5 1/2 as an example (granted that it may be renovated). i know of landlords who charge a very reasonable rent, but this shows that the majority of them are not reasonable.

      some landlords will not do repairs if they feel that they do not get enough ROI on their apartment. but if one has to make the choice between either living in an unrepaired apartment or not to eat… how exactly would that benefit them?

      there would be much more poverty in montreal without the rental board (montreal is also one of the poorest large cities, if not the poorest one, in north america).

    • David Tighe 09:31 on 2011/07/01 Permalink

      A consequence of controlled rents is a shortage of apartments for rent. I lived this experience in London in the old days before controls were lifted. Rises in property values are not just speculative or caused by bubbles nor necessarily by unjust market pressures. They are also caused by rising wages, perhaps exacerbated by inequitable distribution of incomes, and increasing demand for attractive urban environments.

      Controls on abusive increases or dishonest landlords go without saying. But obliging them to, de facto, subsidise rents is not just either. In any case, often the beneficiaries do not need the subsidies anyway. Look at New York where apartments are passed from generation to generation (or used to be)

    • Ian 10:09 on 2011/07/01 Permalink

      John’s assertion that the rental board keeps Montreal rents in check is simply untrue – a landlord can raise the rent as much as they want when a new tenant moves in. That part of the rental regulations was scrapped some years ago though many people are under the false belief it still exists. The only protection the tenant has in that regard is is the landlord raises their rent too much when the lease renews – and even then only if the tenant contests it.

      We’re now seeing well over a thousand dollars a month for a 4 and a half from ndg to homa… last time I moved, 5 years ago, a 5 and a half in the plateau was about 900 a month – now they’re all around 1400. For all that the landlords are complaining about the rents being too low, well, here’s the thing of it – Montreal has lower salaries than Toronto and Vancouver too, and nobody’s salary is going up even remotely as quickly as rents are. I suspect the real reason rents are rising so quickly isn’t the rising property values but all those zero down mortgages a few years back… new landlords jack the rents to meet their inflated monthly payments, and when word gets out, the other landlords want in on the action, too.

    • Stefan 11:40 on 2011/07/01 Permalink

      ian: this is something i’ve noticed. lots of ‘success’ articles in the press about the buy-a-plex, profit and use the money to buy others. now it seems like everybody wants to join in this perceived ‘free money’. this decouples housing from its original purpose and leads to a speculative bubble. and as it has always happened when such an investment frenzy is at its top, the professional/instituitional investors get out and leave mr. and mrs. new-landlord with the deflated assets (possibly foreclosures in that case). that’s why it is called a bubble.

    • ant6n 13:37 on 2011/07/01 Permalink

      So when’s the bubble gonna be over? ‘d be nice to get -a-plex.

    • Stefan 14:06 on 2011/07/01 Permalink

      ant6n: looking at what is happening in the states may give some indication, even if regulations are different (there seems to be no walk-away possible in canada), variable interest mortgages are more popular, the SCHL props the market with taxpayer’s money instead of the banks taking on risks. housing markets are also quite different depending on the city. there seems to be some consensus though that the eventual raising of the interest rate of the bank of canada will have an impact.

      but raising of that rate also means that even with prices coming back off artificial to real demand (after all, central montreal areas are in a process of densification), monthly mortgage payments won’t really go down – so don’t get up your hopes, until you can pay cash.

      there’s this joke about how economy is not an exact science, unless the event has already happened :-)

    • People person 19:50 on 2011/07/01 Permalink

      Rents are high not because of landlords but because of the previous landlords. The current landlord often had to pay a bundle to get the building. The beneficiary of that big cash bonanza was the first owner. The new owner is just trying to make payments on the big debt required to buy the place so he has no choice but to charge a lot. The villain is old owner who already sold out.

    • Kate 10:46 on 2011/07/02 Permalink

      The only response to that, Pp, is that people should not buy buildings they can only just barely afford. There are other forms of investment that aren’t so stressful to manage.

      Thanks folks for the discussion here.

  • Kate 17:23 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Someone has put up a Flickr photo set on the Maples Inn, which was a West Island hangout and venue for many years (and which some of my readers may remember).

  • Kate 12:07 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    As hoped, the changes in traffic on Laurier have brought more cyclists to the street.

    • Jonathan 13:51 on 2011/06/30 Permalink

      I walk Laurier everyday on my way to work, and it is great to see all of the cyclists. The entire energy of this street has changed! But at the same time I have to question the cities timing. They create this wonderful new safer environment for cyclists, but then a few weeks later blow up half the street near the Laurier Metro and force cars and bikes to do a dangerous dance as they take turns using the remaining portion of open road. Maybe the roadwork wasn’t planned? Or just not planned well? Regardless, I appreciate the traffic change.

    • Stefan 14:12 on 2011/06/30 Permalink

      the same situation will happen for any subsequent construction on laurier. so i guess it’s more important to create a culture of ensuring safe traffic passing when doing construction.

      usually cars are directed, but no one in montreal seems to think or care about creating safe passages for pedestrians or cyclists (it’s enough if there is an opening somewhere for squeezing through), and that can lead to dangerous situations where they are forced together. i find it especially bad at private construction sites, i’ve seen repeatedly that they just block the passage. at long-term construction sites i’ve noticed some half-hearted changes after a few weeks or months – i guess that’s when enough people have complained and the city inspector has managed to pass by. drinking-cup sized orange baby cones (dollarama?) are ridiculous on a major boulevard.

      a counter-example from vienna: a danube bridge was just completely re-done, over 2 years. at certain times car traffic was inhibited or blocked, but at no time pedestrian and cyclists access was interferred with. if there’s not enough space, drivers just can’t pass safely, so they won’t be permitted.

  • Kate 12:06 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has helped several families find new digs as Moving Day looms, but no crisis has taken shape this year.

  • Kate 12:04 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Also numerous items on the commencements of flights to Canada by Qatar Airways, who offer three flights a week nonstop to Doha.

  • Kate 12:01 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Lots of items today about a major golf tournament that begins today on a course in Blainville.

  • Kate 11:56 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The city may be trying to buy Blue Bonnets back: after selling it for $15 million at the demand of Quebec in 1997, they’re now considering buying it again for $100 million to make sure they keep control of the vast five-million-square-foot area – even though the official estimate puts the price at $32 million.

    Which tends to confirm a point made earlier on this blog: however metricated we may claim to be, real estate is still quoted and sold by the square foot.

  • Kate 07:43 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Fagstein notes that the STM has removed an experimental style of bus stop which, though prettier, was less functional than the existing ones.

  • Kate 07:41 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The head of the AMT has hopes that the private sector could be called on to dig new metro tunnels for new stations to mark the city’s 375th anniversary in 2017, saying it shouldn’t make any difference to passengers. But what’s never mentioned when PPP’s being floated is the space on the other side of the ledger that ensures private funding makes its profit.

  • Kate 07:37 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Animal shelters are full of abandoned pets as usually happens this time of year, although people are not bringing many animals to Berger Blanc, so there’s some hope for local consciences as concerns pet animals.

    It’s almost not news that Moving Day also means junk left behind on sidewalks and in alleys. But animals should never be thought of that way.

  • Kate 07:35 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Another sketch of William and Kate’s visit to Montreal; video of another chat with the cooking school people who will interact with them; protesters plan to do a “militant action”, although one hopes they will resist the temptation to raise a ruckus at Sainte-Justine.

  • Kate 07:31 on 2011/06/30 Permalink | Reply  

    A group concerned for the disabled notes that the bike path through the Quartier des spectacles is not well marked and presents hazards for pedestrians as cyclists and walkers mix.

    • Stefan 09:28 on 2011/06/30 Permalink

      this is such a joke (i pass there every day by bike). on maisonneuve they moved some structure into the shared bike/footpath. so now there are some orange cones at the side of it, designated for bicycles, you have to go around the structure and don’t see more than a few metres ahead. obviously dangerous for cyclists, so i just go in the (quasi pedestrianized) street. pedestrians walk in the ‘cycle path’ because it seems more logical to them. but in general it seems to work because both pedestrians and cyclists recognize it as a potentially dangerous area and pay attention, the security people don’t interfere (i guess they watch out for cars only, as those can cause some serious harm). between 18h and 1h it is pedestrian-only anyway.

    • MB 13:20 on 2011/06/30 Permalink

      Normally with complaints like this I prefer to see how people get used to things before chiming in (the knee-jerk is a difficult beast to surpress), but it’s truly astounding how poorly designed that section of the path is, particularly when taking into account the natural tendency for Montreal’s pedestrians to wait at the edge of the curb before crossing the street in order to ensure visibility to motorists at the intersection. The bike path is identical to the sidewalk paving, and so different from all the other bike paths in town, that it’s guaranteed that there will be people standing right in the middle of the path waiting for the lights to change. I don’t know who’s bright idea this was…it’s the same kind of hazard as that protected left-turn flashing green at Parc/Sherbrooke that for some reason comes BEFORE the solid green and regularly puts pedestrians unwittingly in harm’s way. I’d like to believe unwittingly, since it’s an unusual light cycle. I have made this mistake in both cases, and I’m far from an irresponsible pedestrian. It’s hard to blame anybody except the designers when 99% of the bike paths and pedestrian crossings in this city all work the same way.

    • qatzelok 11:10 on 2011/07/02 Permalink

      The uncontrolled, ad hoc nature of this section of the bike path… means that all vehicles have to slow down. In this way, the current construction obstacle course works fairly well. Same with the improvised mess near Guy/de Maisonneuve. I hope the finished versions work this well.

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