Updates from October, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:17 on 2011/10/31 Permalink | Reply  

    The mayor unveiled a $4.6-billion plan for the development of east-end Montreal on Monday. The city’s part is about half a billion, and he expects other levels of government and private investors to do their bit for a project involving everything from new train stations to decontaminating the soil. Projet Montréal says the plan is just a bunch of old ideas and that financing for them looks pretty shaky.

  • Kate 20:43 on 2011/10/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Fagstein writes on Openfile about the city’s scariest intersection, at least for pedestrians.

    (Much later clarification: this is about Papineau and Crémazie, which Fagstein notes in 2015 is not improved. The Openfile link is dead.)

    • Jonathan 22:36 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      This does not surprise me one bit. The one time I tried to access the Canadian Tire over there by bus, I think I lost 30 minutes just trying to cross the street. Worse yet, on the rare occasion that I have to drive through here, I am always surprised to make it through alive! An evil, evil person designed that thing. Scary indeed.

  • Kate 18:40 on 2011/10/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Saw these interesting paintings of Montreal scenes linked somewhere today.

  • Kate 10:19 on 2011/10/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Spacing Montreal is steadily running Guillaume St-Jean’s then-and-now pieces: the onetime theatre at Ste-Catherine and Aylmer that started out as a house, and is now a store; the Victoria Skating Rink and what replaced it; the view south from Viger, nearly unchanged; a handsome house on Dorchester now obliterated by time, another converted into businesses and offices and the old Ford Hotel now offices as well. There are more – you can follow his tag, or go to his Flickr stream and indulge.

    • Ian 13:17 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      That Dorchester shot perfectly exemplifies why the CCA chose the building they did – that whole street used to be lined with beautiful mansions before Drapeau’s “vision” reconfigured downtown.

    • Bill_the_Bear 13:55 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      That theatre at Ste-Catherine and Aylmer is mentioned in Leonard Cohen’s novel “Beautiful Losers.”

  • Kate 09:48 on 2011/10/31 Permalink | Reply  

    A brief piece on Occupy Montreal keeping the peace at their camp is in the National Post (although I gather that they too will soon have a paywall).

    Other Occupy news: a food bank has withdrawn a promise to give food to the occupiers; a bicycle-powered food processor is helping kitchen workers prepare meals, and a solar panel is also providing power; some background: points of indignation from Indignez-Vous! author Stéphane Hessel and some graphs showing the economic trends at issue (thanks to a Taylor Noakes tweet for that one – he also has a blog report).

  • Kate 09:01 on 2011/10/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Now it’s the turn of Lachine and Lasalle to boil their water after a problem at their water treatment plant.

  • Kate 08:58 on 2011/10/31 Permalink | Reply  

    The AMT plans to run bimodal trains in the Mount Royal tunnel soon, even though the century-old tunnel doesn’t meet modern safety requirements for fuel-burning trains. Only electrically powered trains use it now, and these bimodal trains won’t run on diesel inside the tunnel either – the hazard is the fuel being carried onboard.

    • ant6n 18:50 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      The tunnel is a hazard, Diesel or not.
      The marginal increase of danger due to Diesel is probably small, relative to the hazard the tunnel already represents.

      (I believe they used to roll Diesel trains down the tunnel – it has a slight slope going South)

    • Kate 21:19 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      Richard Bergeron agrees with you. Whatever else they say, the tunnel is an old construction and needs upgrading even if only electric trains use it.

    • ant6n 09:30 on 2011/11/01 Permalink

      I don’t get why they are starting the scare campaign now – it’s been known for years that the AMT will use those dual mode trains. If people wanted to block it, they should have done it before the AMT placed the order for those ridiculously expensive locos – which are, btw, designed to operate in old scary tunnels like that, have extra safety systems and some such.

  • Kate 10:39 on 2011/10/30 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse’s Lysiane Gagnon launches into Gilbert Rozon’s proposed Fun City idea, pointing out that, among other things, Rozon’s party zone includes three universities with thousands of students, and do we really need to mess with their heads by offering them bars open till 6 a.m.?

    • MB 11:23 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      Must be why New York and Paris churn out lazy drunkards from their universities? Sounds like a knee-jerk reaction to me. Only the wildest student house parties linger much past 4 am, and that’s with already-paid-for/free booze and no adult supervision.

    • Kate 11:35 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      Well, read the whole thing. I just singled out one of her observations but she has others.

    • MB 12:03 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      Thanks Kate, it is an interesting read. While I was at McGill I don’t think I ever met anyone who would be able to afford to drink through the night, overall I think it’s a rather weak argument…though there was that one time during my undergrad when we stumbled out of the old Old Dublin and realized it was rush hour… As for drug dealers…well…addicts will find them regardless of when the bars are closing. Her line of reasoning would close the city parks after dark too…or, is that the status quo in Montreal? If it is I can’t say I’ve seen it enforced.

      I don’t know if I’d support a 6 a.m. closing one way or the other, but certainly something like New York or Paris, where certain licenses are able to set their closing times much later, (Parisian nightlife hardly shuts down at 2, same with New York City at 4) would work quite nicely here and yes, could be a boon to sectors of the tourism industry.

      As for the peace and quiet argument…of course nobody wants a rowdy party in their front yard 24/7 but I hardly think that off the main drags you’d find too many places responsible for a racket that late anyway. We’re not trying to imitate the Brossard cul-de-sac here, but there are certainly reasonable complaints to be made. I’m somewhat conflicted over a few of these points. Thanks for posting this.

    • no\deli 12:07 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      Counter-proposal: Functional City – with pharmacies, markets open until 6AM! Woo! You can do it, Montreal!

    • MB 12:08 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      no\deli there are several neighborhoods here that currently enjoy this great amenity, totally in agreement!

    • no\deli 12:56 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      It’s an astoundingly short list, and – while it’s nice that Greenfield Park and CDN have the pleasure of 24-hour medicines – the centre-city might also benefit. People live there too.

    • David M 15:43 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      quite apart from the merits of later bar hours (which seems to me like a no-brainer), i love any idea that gets people into that corridor – a change that would do as much as any single building would to revitalize.

    • William 18:27 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      I just hate the idea of nursemaiding people (including university students, who are adults), especially when it involves punishing people who are more than capable of looking after themselves. I was surprised that no one pointed out that there are already several establishments on Ste-Catherine open far into the wee-hours, but they specialize in catering to a crowd who enjoy a different form of intoxication. Let the bar patrons and their customers decide when closing time should be, and deal with any eventual noise and social issues using the regime that already exists.

    • Robert J 11:00 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      @William totally agree. Those temperance league types are so tiresome. It’s up to students to keep their priorities straight — I know I didn’t and don’t have a degree but that’s my own damn fault and nobody else’s.
      I think New York has got it right. Stop the sale of alcohol in bars at 4am for the sake of the employees but allow sale in liquor stores 24/7. Also completely deregulate retail and services hours. We should also open the metro one hour earlier so that people can get home faster, cheaper and safer (this could be only sat. and sun. mornings.
      Leave the bar at 4, pick up some hangover groceries (not at 4 Frères but at a real grocery store) and catch the first metro at 4:30. That’s the life…

    • Kate 14:35 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      Chris Erb has sent me some additional entries for the 24-hour listing and if anyone has others I would be happy to get them.

    • ant6n 20:39 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      2nd cup on 1602 Ste. Catherine West, just west of Guy.

    • Kate 22:11 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      Is coffee what @william means by a different form of intoxication?

      Thanks @anton!

  • Kate 10:19 on 2011/10/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebecor released a bit more reaction to their Montreal-Quebec rivalry survey Sunday, noting that many people still defend Montreal and claiming that politicians are being extra careful what they say about it.

  • Kate 10:16 on 2011/10/30 Permalink | Reply  

    A rally for sovereignty took place Saturday, as did a people’s march by the Occupy protesters, preparing for winter.

  • Kate 18:25 on 2011/10/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Ben Soo and I went on the Un Métro la nuit tour late late Friday night along with 3 dozen others. I’ve posted a quick photographic travelogue here with explanations.

    It was great fun to see the stuff you never see and the aperçu really did give me a better appreciation of the constant effort that keeps the metro system running day to day.

    To answer a question asked here on the blog: why can’t the system run 24/7 like the New York or London subway systems? The answer is that in most of our system we run both tracks through the same tunnel. In those older systems, with separate tunnels, at night you can run alternating trains in one tunnel while you clean and repair the other. Here, we’ve got to close the system for a couple of hours every day to do the maintenance work.

    • ant6n 20:01 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      So they can’t run trains on one track while cleaning the other? Aren’t they doing most of the maintenance/cleaning using vehicles?

    • Kate 20:43 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      As I understood it, they turn off the current while doing the cleaning, and the cleaning vehicles run on diesel. The vehicle that towed the observation flatbed thing we were on last night was diesel powered, it wasn’t a metro car in any form. I don’t think you would want these two kinds of vehicles in the same tunnel at the same time.

    • Ian 21:36 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      Nice use of the singular graffito :)

    • Steph 22:05 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      Photo album from a local redditor thatstheguy
      & some less serious photos from the night http://imgur.com/a/Nrekw

    • Robert J 09:09 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      great travelogue! thanks for clearing up the night maintenance thing.

    • Simon 20:30 on 2011/11/01 Permalink

      They could have expanded the garages at the ends of the tracks, get more cars on rotation, employs less useless drivers and changers and more mechanics… They don’t do it because they never thought of it when building it in the first place… lack of vision. Like the opus like the weird fares, etc.. VERY COOL pictures though!

    • Doobious 15:18 on 2011/11/10 Permalink

      Just a little video from the STM’s PR department.

  • Kate 14:02 on 2011/10/29 Permalink | Reply  

    While Torontonians witter about Montreal’s restaurants, Quebecor has a couple of pieces about a new survey showing how other Quebecers and even Montrealers themselves distrust and dislike aspects of the metropolis, and in addition how residents of Quebec City are feeling pretty smug these days.

    In addition, I notice this gloomy blog piece about Montreal being in decline. Gloom, gloom and doom.

    And you know what? Bollocks.

    The whole western world is in decline, we can see that, and – what’s more – we’ve seen it coming for years. But we’re all in that boat. Montreal has some problems, but there’s no metropolis that doesn’t. I do not know where these critics have travelled, what other cities they’ve seen – I’m not as well travelled as I’d like myself – but I’d like to hear more about their basis of comparison to call Montreal dirty or decrepit.

    Comparisons to Quebec City are silly: for so many years it was the darling of the Parti Québécois, the Cinderella to Montreal’s ugly stepsister, plus it underwent a major facelift for its 400th anniversary in 2008. I grant you Vieux-Québec has charm, but what about the long trail of mundane suburbs you traverse on your way to Cap Diamant? In addition, it has a population of half a million people, overwhelmingly white francophones of Catholic background. I’m sure it has problems too – but it doesn’t share ours.

    • Charles 16:35 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      They should rename Quebec city: “Quebecor city” would be more like it. Kidding. Quebec city is very nice and they currently enjoy a low unemployment rate. I don’t think they are taking anything away from Montreal.

    • William 17:33 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      Montreal was has always surfed the cutting edge – industrialization, modernism, and now post-industrialization and post-modernity – and what are frightening signs of “doom and gloom” for some are simply the hallmarks of a new transformation for others. We have fabulous high-tech industries, an increasingly strong service sector and world-class universities, not to mention everything that is going on culturally. People see what they want to see.

    • Doobious 21:30 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      You can colour me unimpressed with what little development dollars our fair city’s been attracting over the last few years. Wake me up when someone other than the CDP thinks we’re worth investing 10s or 100s of millions of dollars in. A welfare state in overdrive is not my idea of something we should to be proud of.

    • Robert H 22:18 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      Ah Montreal! Damned for what it is and what it isn’t, condemned from within Quebec by a deeply ambivalent hinterland and capital; condemned from without by the smug and ignorant who cling to each bit of bad news to justify their prejudice. Too stubbornly francophone for ROC, too persistently anglo and allophone for ROQ. There isn’t a single critique in “Wednesday Night” that hasn’ t been cited before including the Saint Lawrence seaway factor. The blog follows a template similar to other Montreal- is-in-decline-Montreal-is-doomed elegies. Objectively, anyone who has seen enough of the world would notice that Montreal is in better shape than most other major first world cities, its well cataloged problems notwithstanding. Subjectively, I see a city with a strong core that doesn’t die after 5 pm, a committed citizenry who care about making it even better, a varied, popular homegrown culture that survives despite the Hollywood- New York juggernaut, and a collective style to be found nowhere else in the country or the world. The late Mordecai Richler was right when he said Montreal was really the only place in Canada to live. Bollocks to the doom- sayers.

    • Robert H 22:25 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      Doobius, Texas is calling!*

      *Don’t tell Cadillac-Fairview.

    • JaneyB 22:41 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      I really don’t get these comparison pieces in the news. How are Montreal and Quebec city rivals in any way? Montreal is 7X the size and was the economic and cultural centre of a country for several centuries.
      Quebec city is better run because nothing happens there and everyone shares the same values and history. Saskatoon is half its size and still more socially complex and economically dynamic. Montreal is frustrating, broken etc but all big cities are – they are striving (not merely posing – or reposing in the case of Q city…).

    • Robert J 08:59 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      Yeah I thought that article and the survey was ridiculous. Like people from Albany and Buffalo have a wealth of great constructive comments about New York City. Quebec is a backwater with a sense of entitlement. Montreal is a complex world city. I’m currently spending a year in France and travelling in Europe and I can tell you Montreal stands up just fine compared to ANY city in France. Our quality of life is probably about as good as it gets and the cost of living is about half what it is in almost any French urban centre. I’m tired of these articles either comparing Montreal to small cities (Quebec, small French cities with tramways) or asian supercities. We’re just the most culturally dynamic city and Canada and one of a handful of truly cosmopolitan cities in North America. We don’t need to be a boomtown like Vancouver or Calgary, or even Toronto because we already did that (and we did it first). Nuff said.

    • Jack 11:15 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      I once met a TVA journalist in a bar and asked him why after seeing any TVA news about Montreal I felt like I was raising my family in Kandahar. He smiled and said “You do know we have a boss?” Dump on Montreal is strictly a business decision. Quebecor’s market is the suburbs/exurbs of Montreal and the ROQ, they love hearing Montreal is crap. Because now Montreal is the other, it must be defined, objectified and perpetually left wanting! Sadly PKP does this for money, but at one point this split is going to mean something else.

    • Kevin 07:57 on 2011/10/31 Permalink

      I left Montreal in the mid-90s when the city truly was in the toilet. No jobs, no sense of hope, nada.

      I came back a decade later to a city that has done nothing but explode with growth and optimism ever since.

      Anyone who thinks Montreal is currently declining is an ignoramus.

      But yeah, the ROQ treats Montreal like Canadians treat Toronto, mostly because once you get outside an hour’s drive of the city, it’s easy to run into people who have never met a non-white, non-francophone, non-Catholic in their entire life.

  • Kate 12:41 on 2011/10/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Some QMI photog got a pretty memorable shot in NDG Friday when an SUV driver (there’s a surprise) lost control of his vanity truck and landed it on top of somebody else’s car. “Speed may have been a factor” say police. You think maybe?

  • Kate 12:39 on 2011/10/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Toronto media are at it again, talking about Montreal as if it’s a million miles away in a strange country. I suppose maybe it is. Three locals give favourite addresses in “exotic Quebec” although Kathleen Winter’s “funky Milton on St. Viateur” must be a messed-up reference to S.W. Welch’s bookshop and their editors can’t spell “terrasse” either. Meanwhile Canoe samples various restaurants then informs us in a footnote “Google the name of any of the spots mentioned to find phone numbers and locations. Most also show the nearest stop for the Metro (subway), which so many Montrealers use to zip around.” How exotic. No more buttered scones for me, mater. I’m off to play the grand piano.

  • Kate 12:07 on 2011/10/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Montreal morgue has 11 unclaimed bodies, but their identities are known and they hope someone will step up and give them what’s known as a decent burial. Funny that it’s a priority: in my view, once you’re dead, you should care whether it’s a cardboard box or an overpriced piece of veneered pine?

    • Charles 16:25 on 2011/10/29 Permalink

      Maybe there’s a family member out there wondering where they are.

    • Kate 10:46 on 2011/10/30 Permalink

      That’s possible, you’re right. But the idea of a “decent funeral” is an odd thing looked at separately from family concerns. Is anyone better off for having a fancier coffin and a priest spritzing it with holy water? Especially if it costs a relative a couple thousand dollars? Only the undertaker and the priest.

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