Updates from March, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:51 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Students begin a week of spring break tomorrow; ideas for kids from Canal Vie, the Journal, the Fine Arts museum, from Montreal Families. The city website has a brief guideline but puts most kids’ activities on the individual borough sections.

    Anyone remember when they introduced spring break at pre-university? It didn’t exist in my time: you simply had to grit your teeth and get through from the New Year to whenever Easter happened to fall. But it’s not without advantages: the pizza slice place around the corner will be accessible at lunchtime…

    • Michael Black 00:32 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      I thought we got more than a few days at Easter, like maybe a week? So it was just a shift of when it happened. You also had a better chance at actual spring weather. But I don’t remember when it changed, I know there was just a point when I realized it had changed, and sometime before I noticed.

      The whole point of “Family Day” (Louis Riel Day in Manitoba) was to give a holiday in the bleak winter, so it wasn’t so long between Christmas and Easter. The talk of such a holiday must have started back when Easter was “spring break”.


    • Kate 00:49 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      I seem to recall Easter was just Friday and Monday, but then I was sent to Catholic school so there was a lot of focus on what those days were supposed to mean to us.

    • JaneyB 09:51 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      @Michael. Also from Manitoba…I’m almost positive we got a whole week off around Easter . I guess someone decided having Spring Break float with the Catholic/lunar calendar was a planning problem lol. Still, it was a good long break!

    • Kevin 14:08 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      I recall having two weeks off around Easter in 1989, but that may have just been because Easter was in March.

    • rue david 14:14 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      My niece’s reading week just ended, odd the higher and lower education weeks off aren’t the same.

    • Michael Black 15:43 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      Even the lower schools don’t have the same week off. I don’t know if it varies by school board, but the private schools are different.

      There was a letter in the Gazette last week lamenting that the holidays didn’t line up, it’s even harder for parents scheduling things.


  • Kate 23:36 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    The Canadiennes won the Clarkson Cup Sunday afternoon, beating Calgary 3-1.

    • Faiz Imam 10:34 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      Very good presentation of the event on Sportsnet, came off looking great.

      I hope they continue to do well next year and get more attention.

  • Kate 20:41 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    The McCord Museum will soon open a new show of Expo 67 fashions to mark the the 50th anniversary of the fair.

  • Kate 20:39 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    The great cycle is beginning for 2017. We have a pothole storyso many potholes! – and an early example of the “city is so filthy” trope with a report on how, down the east end, a lot of junk is left in the river at the end of the ice-fishing season, including whole sheds abandoned to the early thaw. Video reports on those TVA links.

    The Gazette has a brief story about a woman who was injured when her leg got caught in a broken sewer cover in NDG, followed by a quote from police saying these breaks and holes are found all over.

  • Kate 20:37 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Since 2008, 15 SPVM cops were disciplined for making illegal accesses of the provincial cop database, and I can’t help thinking if fifteen of them were caught and had their wrists slapped (a couple of days of suspension, according to the story), lots more were probably doing it and getting away with it.

    I want cops keeping their curiosity in check, but which of us, left alone with a terminal and a line into a vast bank of juicy data, would never be tempted? It’s what cops could do with the information that concerns me.

    • Ephraim 20:50 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      Well, maybe it’s time for a double key system on this information? Your key and your superior’s key to open the database… so if you abuse it, you BOTH lose your job and pension. So, you going to ask your boss to risk his job and pension?

    • Ephraim 21:06 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      Incidentally, this illegal access to government databases is rampant and there is no punishment for it. I caught the Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport’s unionized employees (now the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur) using the database of the Ministry of Tourism. My complaint really didn’t go very far… well, at least until I put a violation of the anti-spam law for this employee using the ministry computers to solicit donations for the union’s activities. You see, the anti-spam law is administered by the CRTC and the federal government calling a Quebec ministry for violating the anti-spam law… didn’t sit it too well.

    • Kate 10:22 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      Ephraim, I have to admit I can’t see quite the same risk from the education ministry consulting the tourism ministry database.

    • Ephraim 15:43 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      The risk isn’t the point, the lack of safeguards on our privacy is. An employee of the ministry of education, using the database for the benefit of their union is violates a whole myriad of privacy laws including the fact that they are doing personal business on a ministry computer in another ministry’s database that they shouldn’t have access to.

      How would you feel if this was someone from the ministry of tourism looking into the ministry of revenue’s information on you? Or the ministry of justice pulling up your records from the health ministry to see if you have ever seen a mental health professional? These databases are supposed to be separated by firewalls, by law.

  • Kate 15:05 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    The president of the St-Jean-Baptiste Society met with a representative of France’s Front national last week but says he was tricked into it.

    A new book by professor Maxime Blanchard takes the fashionable line of railing against the elites as a ploy for deploring Quebec’s non-nationhood, although as a professor living in New York he’s not exactly hoi polloi.

    A new study says Richard Martineau’s columns feed Islamophobia in Quebec. Islamophobia was the key topic in Saturday’s demos and counter-demos in Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke and elsewhere.

    (It’s probably too late to catch this horse, but is “phobia” really the most accurate locution here? An older expression, antisemitism, didn’t try to evoke a possibly bogus fear of Jews, but simply characterized people disposed against them. Homophobia may or may not have some legitimate psychological premise as a concept, but I’m not sure it helps to carry the idea of an irrational fear into the arena of race or religion in the same way. Anyway, as I say, it’s probably too late anyway.)

    • Chris 15:16 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      It’s a horrible term, there’s lots of discussion on the topic, for starters:


      Also from Wikipedia: “The Scandinavian term Muslimhat literally means ‘hatred of Muslims’”. I wish English had that word. Much clearer. Doesn’t confuse/conflate Islam vs Muslim.

    • David S 17:51 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      “Homophobia may or may not have some legitimate psychological premise as a concept”?

      What’s more legitimate about a fear of homosexuals? And why more so than the fear of any “other” group?

    • JaneyB 18:42 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      @David S – The historical straight man anxiety about homosexuality being contagious somehow. No one thinks contact with Muslims will turn someone Muslim. Yes, all very insane however.

      I also dislike the fake medicalization of political disagreement implied in ‘Islamophobia’. Racism’s not a medical event; it’s an anti-social behaviour. The condescension implicit in the term is really not helping. Lots of people, in Canada at least, feel mostly ok about Muslims but really uncomfortable with Islam. Assuming they are identical is absolutely contributing to the slow burn that the centre-right is feeling. People worry that criticizing Islam will qualify as hate speech and will land them before a tribunal. Sure, norms mean that’s unlikely…but look how well the norms have been working lately (Rob Ford, Trump etc)

      I would really like to hear concrete measures like keeping Wahabi money away from Cdn mosques, getting old blasphemy laws off our books etc. Less banner-waving; more committee work.

    • Chris 19:11 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      Hating on any group of people is shit, but there are levels. Hating on someone because of an inherent/immutable characteristic like skin colour is worse than hating someone for a belief. You can’t help being black/white/male/female, but you *choose* to be Muslim/Christian/Capitalist/Vegetarian/whatever. And criticizing *ideas* like Capitalism, Vegetarianism, and (gasp!) Islam, is fair game.

    • David S 19:28 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      @JaneyB: There is the same type of fear of conversion from different religious groups.

    • Kate 19:52 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      David S: as I understand it, homophobia can imply that the person him or herself has a fear of repressed homoerotic urges in themselves, so that their negative response can be ascribed to this fear. I don’t think people expressing what’s currently called islamophobia are afraid that in their heart they’re really Muslim.

      JaneyB: good points all around.

    • Jack 04:27 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      Richard Martineau is a dangerous man, in the last year alone he has made Islam the primary focus of his own stupidity 200 times. I feel for somebody living in La Tuque or Shawinigan who picks up the Journal reads this crap and comes to the conclusion that the barbarians are at the gate.

    • David S 11:15 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      @Kate: That’s a very specific tunnel view of what a phobia is. Phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders, not the fear of BEING a spider deep down. When I spoke of contagion, I meant to others around the phobic person (the idea that THEY are spreading or multiplying).

  • Kate 13:53 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal is trying to stir up feeling against a new prison being built in Sept-Îles. The statement that it’s better than many apartments is belied by the new but stark cell shown with toilet, cot and sink. That the prisoners have TV and new washing machines for their clothes is touted as unheard-of luxury. In fact the images shown are of clean, efficient but hardly luxurious spaces and surfaces.

    Not sure what the journalists are trying to achieve here. Anyone who’s got any imagination can see that you have to provide a prison with washing machines, and there’s no point in equipping it with broken-down second-hand equipment. In the end it would cost at least as much to maintain and repair. Arguably, if you equip a prison with old breakable objects and furniture, there’s more likelihood someone can e.g. break off a table leg and use it as a weapon. And so on.

  • Kate 12:27 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Valois Village, a place largely unknown to us city dwellers, has become something of a hot potato in Pointe-Claire because plans to revitalize it involve reducing parking spaces. Right now it’s basically just an oldish pair of strip malls and other oddments, but with plenty of parking.

    • Zeke 12:48 on 2017/03/05 Permalink


      Don’t forget what is probably the best smoked meat in the city right now, Delibee’s.

    • Kate 13:54 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      Maybe, but the problem is a) getting out there and b) when you’re done, you’re still in Valois Village.

    • Zeke 16:27 on 2017/03/05 Permalink


      Take the 202, 203 or 204 right to the door. Or the 211, 405, 411 or 425 and walk a little. As for once you’re done, you’re full. No need to complain :-)

    • Blork 16:57 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      Also, Delibees is less than 100 metres from the Valois AMT station, although the limits of the AMT schedule make that not so interesting.

    • Kate 17:15 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      The AMT schedule is crap in general, yes.

    • Michael Black 18:09 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      The 211, once past Dorval, is quite pleasant, the traffic lights are mostly gone after Dorval. You get to see a lot of different houses along the way. The Pointe Claire Library is just up the hill. I think it’s walkable to the “Pointe Claire Village”, with stores that often cater to visitors, including Wild Willy’s ice cream. When I checked, there was a big lineup. Beazeley Boos, across the street from the ice cream place, has closed though. If you have a bus pass, there are other things out there, St. Anne’s isn’t far.


    • dewolf 00:58 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      Pointe Claire Village is a nice place for a car-free excursion. The lakeshore is gorgeous around there.

      The opposition to the Valois Village plan is sadly predictable, but these kinds of transit-oriented redevelopments are exactly what is needed to boost transit ridership. An improved AMT schedule would certainly help too…

  • Kate 11:51 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Sunday’s Centre d’histoire piece looks back at the old springtime floods in the lower parts of town that followed ice jams in the river.

    Gilles Proulx tells about the 1689 massacre in Lachine. I haven’t enough information to judge whether Proulx’ claim that the Mohawk warriors indulged in cannibalism has any credibility. The Wikipedia article talks about the stresses at the time between First Nations groups that had been assimilated by the French vs. those that hadn’t, and says “Because all written accounts of the attack were by the French victims, their reports of cannibalism and parents being forced to throw their children onto burning fires may be exaggerated or apocryphal.”

    The story of Au lutin qui bouffe apparently fascinates everyone, as it’s a bit of Montreal 20th‑century history that seems to point forward to our era in some ways. You didn’t just eat at Au lutin, which was in an otherwise unfashionable spot on St-Grégoire at the northern edge of the Plateau, you also had yourself photographed doing so, with a piglet.

    I had a blog entry about Au lutin not long ago pointing to a Centre d’histoire article and to articles by Kristian Gravenor. Gravenor also wrote about the eventual grim fate of the owner, a man called Bert McAbbie (an unusual Quebec surname that probably started out as Machabée).

    Radio-Canada has been doing a lot of history pieces lately, I guess in tune with the 375th theme: horses in Montreal, interesting historical places, the creation of the Expo islands.

  • Kate 11:22 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    A CBC blogger writes about finding Montreal’s hidden gems as a newcomer in town.

    (An acquaintance of mine dished out some snark on this piece which amused me, but which I am in no sense authorized to copy. S/he is right, though, about “hidden gem” articles that describe places everyone already knows about.)

    • rue david 11:48 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      wow, i had no idea cafe sarajevo closed. damn, that’s a real shame.

    • Kate 12:04 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      The original Café Sarajevo down on Clark was squeezed out by gentrification years ago. In my old inaccessible blog I see that the process started in 2002, but that location finally shut in April 2006. The café reopened for awhile on a block of the upper Main, but going there may have been premature. At the time it was an unpropitious stretch between the tracks and St‑Zotique: there were a few other restos along there but it simply was not lively enough, although it has picked up cachet since. This second outing closed in 2012.

      Odd that I know so much about it. I never went there in either location.

    • rue david 13:09 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      yeah, the place they moved to way up man was much larger, really a great space. that’s the sort of stuff that montreal is losing, nowhere like that anywhere else.

    • dewolf 01:04 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      Is the second Sarajevo spot where Taverne Cobra is now? That’s a very Hipster Inc. kind of place – trying way too hard to be cool and edgy. I’m amazed at how buzzy that stretch of St-Laurent is becoming. I always remember it as the dead zone you had to traverse on the way to Vices & Versa.

    • Kate 02:16 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      dewolf, no, but it’s in the same block. The Taverne Cobra is at 6584 and the Sarajevo was at 6548. South of St-Zotique still has some odd dead stuff, and I’m sad to report the stretch north of St-Z has a surprising lot of empty storefronts these days; I’d hoped all the new condos going up around there would refresh Little Italy, but – as happened down on Prince Arthur when that big development went in nearby – the opposite has happened. At least there’s some new trendy stuff like Birra and some new stuff westward along Jean-Talon, like Harricana and Teashop.

    • DeWolf 22:45 on 2017/03/06 Permalink

      Little Italy has always had inconsistent pedestrian traffic, especially compared to Mile End, which is similar in density and scale. My guess is that’s due to the larger proportion of destination visitors and the lack of good transit – the 55 is no 80, so there isn’t a large number of people being deposited on the street every 5-10 minutes like around Parc/St-V.

  • Kate 10:54 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    A drunk teenage driver who hit a pedestrian in the Mile End went on to steal a taxi and escape to Laval. I guess he forgot that his identity would be figured out via the car he abandoned on the Main. The driver was caught and the pedestrian is OK. Raw video on the TVA link.

    Two nice French expressions in the TVA piece: prendre la poudre d’escampette and “ivressomètre”.

    • Tim S 17:54 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      From CBC “A car was heading north on St-Laurent when it struck a pedestrian trying to get into another car, then bashed into a lamp post.”

      I’m not sure what term to use to describe a person who is about to enter a car, but is not yet in it -“person” perhaps – but I don’t think I’d say pedestrian – it’s not as though the person was crossing the street or walking on the sidewalk.

    • Kate 23:14 on 2017/03/05 Permalink

      Hmm. I might write “struck an individual” in that case. I take your point on “pedestrian”.

  • Kate 02:33 on 2017/03/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Lots of folks are out doing Nuit blanche despite the chill. Actually, I found it wasn’t too bad, because there wasn’t much wind.

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