Updates from March, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:04 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Anyone else notice that infallible sign of early spring? Gulls are back, wheeling and squealing over town. I heard one on the weekend and was like, yay!

    • John B 16:50 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      I saw Canada Geese on the river yesterday. Spring’s coming.

    • Brad 16:53 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Yep, gulls have been back for about a week. Apparently there are tons of redwing blackbirds on the South Shore but I have yet to see any up here in Ahuntsic; they should arrive in a few days. I’ve been hearing geese for a couple of weeks now. Lots of robins around, but they’re not a sign of spring until they start singing; robins are partial migrants which means a good chunk of the population stays here all winter. I see dozens of them every winter, no matter how cold the weather.

    • EmilyG 17:11 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      I consider it spring when I see my first turkey vulture.

    • Bill Binns 17:17 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Another marker of a Quebec spring is people declaring spring too early and being bitterly disappointed by a March blizzard. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a fresh blanket of clean snow to cover up the drifts of November trash on my street for another week or two.

  • Kate 15:04 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    This was added as a comment to a post from more than a week ago, but I’m bringing it forward. Reader Phil comments:

    Please help save the YMCA Guy Favreau by signing and sharing this petition. We have already amassed ~1800 signatures, we need your help to keep the movement going.


    • Gregory Tutko 17:34 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      The “Chinatown YMCA” is a cultural hub for several downtown communities. To lose it is to lose a piece of Montreal’s cultural heritage. Que de fermer le “Chinatown YMCA” constitue un perte inestimable pour notre communauté et une tort pour les gens su centre sud. Je m’oppose.

  • Kate 14:39 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM plans to speed up the process of retrofitting metro stations with elevators. By 2025, according to this, 41 stations will be equipped.

    • ant6n 15:37 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      I hope they’re starting to adopt better designs. A station where you need to go through three elevators to get underground is really not very accessible.

      For the new Vendome station, you need to use three elevators to transfer between the AMT and STM parts of the station. The design is so frustrating that I’m coming up to participate in the consultations tomorrow (to participate in writing, see: http://www.stm.info/en/about/surveys/public-consultations/vendome. See plans under “Other documents” -> “Plans of the Vendome Project)

    • ste.ph 15:51 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      It’s a retrofit. How could they do it with one elevator if entrances and platforms aren’t vertically aligned? Next to establishing an honour system in the metro, people still need to go through the turnstile.

    • Zeke 16:10 on 2017/03/07 Permalink


      I’m not an engineer, nor an architect, but a separate turnstile entrance with an elevator in a vertical tube, and some corridors leading horizontally to each level should work. The STM’s insistence on staying within the envelope of the stations is making it unnecessarily complicated and expensive.

    • ant6n 16:12 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      They could put a turn style on platform level, or on ground level. Consider Lionel-Groulx. The two center-island platforms are aligned with each other, and above is a parc. It would’ve been possible to have extra turnstiles at ground level, and a single large elevator with three stops. This could’ve been done at the far end of the station, building a second exit near the bus station.

      If you look at the Vendome station design, it’s rather ridiculous to have 3 elevators in both directions to transfer between AMT and STM. At least from the Southern Metro platform there should only be one elevator (because the concourse under the train station and the metro platform basically have the same height).

      Just because it’s big organizations doing it, doesn’t mean they’re competent about their designs.

    • TC 22:37 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Just a thought – with the OPUS card, would it be possible for people to use their card to access the elevators, and eliminate the requirement that everyone go through a turnstile first? Plenty of office buildings have elevators that require an ID card to get it to move to another floor.

    • Faiz Imam 23:55 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      They are currently building elevators at Bonaventure, and it’ll be a 3 elevator trek. But in this case it’s fully warranted. Everything is spread out so much no one elevator fits anywhere.

    • Max 03:52 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      > They are currently building elevators at Bonaventure

      Um, really? I use Bonaventure all the time. They completed two elevators from the mezzanine to the platforms in a few years back (rather sympathetically with the original architecture) but I’ve seen no sign of a third one yet.

    • Faiz Imam 09:36 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      The central bus terminal area is half closed off with construction. One of the starways to street level plus an area above the escalator to metro level. I’m assuming this is elevator construction.

    • Max 13:14 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      I never use those buses but I’ll have to stop in for a look. Thanks!

  • Kate 14:37 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    A CBC investigation would seem to have got the fire department to brush up its list of vacant and dangerous buildings, with more than a hundred new addresses added to the file.

    CTV carries the report too, while eliding the credit to the CBC for the investigation: “after serious omissions were revealed last fall.”

  • Kate 12:07 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    The population of Sud-Ouest borough grew faster from 2011 to 2016 than any other, a spurt attributed to the redevelopment of Griffintown and its popularity among adults without kids, as borough mayor Benoit Dorais is quoted as saying here.

    • SteveQ 13:21 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      And it will grow even more in the next 5 years. There’s actually 12 mid size (8 to 18storeys) building under construction in my immediate surrounding. And more are currently in pre-construction phase. And more will be launch soon.

    • Bill Binns 13:30 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      What’s happening in Griffintown is interesting. It was all rather an unplanned mess at the start. For the first few years if felt very sterile and lacking of things like shops and cafes. Lately, I find myself eating dinner in Griffintown more often than the Plateau and that sterile feeling seems to be subsiding.

      I guess if you have enough employed people living in any area, the commerce that makes a neighborhood livable will find a way of getting in.

    • Kate 13:34 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Is there any noncommercial community space, though?

    • Faiz Imam 13:41 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Unplanned is right, the master plan of the area is basically a joke. Back when the value of the land was minimal, the city did not buy any for education, municipal services, nothing. It was all given away to developers to do as they wish, and they built up in response. I love the density, the mixed use, and it’s reasonably well designed, but the growth of that area just underlines how important the children’s project is. Also how vital the planning of the future peel basin area will be. That area is lacking in all sorts of services.

      The only work i’m aware of is the parking lot on william and Ottawa. didn’t the city purchase that plot at a massive premium recently? I think I recall it becoming a public park, which the area sorely needs.

    • Phil C. 14:24 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Does anyone know is a school is still in the plans for the children’s site? I heard the possibility of a school way back when the project was announced but now nothing

    • Bill Binns 15:45 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      I’m not sure how important parks are to working people without kids. Especially small neighborhood parks. In some cases they can be a negative.

    • dwgs 17:28 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Really Bill Binns? I have a soft spot for curmudgeons so I often take your comments with a grain of salt but parks are bad now? Really? Especially for grown ups? And somehow I know that your issue will be the crime and undesirables that they bring. Pfft, bah humbug.

    • ant6n 17:42 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      I also want the kids to get of my lawn … I mean the teenagers, off the tiny neighborhood park across from where I live, at least after 11pm.

      But I ain’t gonna blame the park.

    • Bill Binns 18:06 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      @dwgs – Mostly I just don’t think the lack of parks is a deal killer for people without kids who are working. In my particular case, in my neighborhood, they are a negative. The Village has a tiny park on every residential street. A few of these are a little bigger and have playgrounds. The bigger ones are typically well used by folks with kids during good weather. As far as I can tell, the smaller ones are exclusively used at night for drug use and other activities most people do not want happening a few meters from their front door. In almost a year of living here, I have never once seen anyone using the tiny park on my street during the day. I would be thrilled if the city closed the park and sold the land to somebody who would build on it. Either that or you know, actually doing something about the off the rails heroin problem over here other than making it more convenient to be a heroin addict.

    • Brenda 18:43 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      For people who don’t like small local parks, Montreal’s suburbs are a dream come true. Why would someone who doesn’t like people smoking joints in parks move the the village? (Or are you in Valois Village?)

    • Bill Binns 18:54 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      @Brenda – The Gay Village. I’m a proud gentrifier! Nobody said it would be easy. And I’m definitely not talking about smoking joints. I have found needles in this park. We have also found apparently stolen purses and suitcases here and in the adjoining alley several times.

    • Blork 22:50 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Well, I’ve found needles in parks on the Plateau, so it’s not just the village.

      As for Griffintown, there’s the small matter of the huge linear park on either side of the Lachine canal. Plus there’s the Faubourg St-Anne park, parc Olier, Square Saint-Patrick, a bunch of parks in Little Burgundy, etc. I’d say that area is highly enviable when it comes to parks.

    • Lucas 23:00 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Further to Blork’s summary of the excellent parks and recreational spaces in the area, I might also add the very nice job the city has done so far with Smith Street (I think officially called promenade Smith) right next to the new community space will be in the restored and redesigned Wellington Control Tower (http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/culture/en/wellington-control-tower).

      And, let us not forget the linear park along the canal in Griffintown is home to the lovely Peel Basin.

    • DeWolf 03:12 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      Those Centre-Sud pocket parks can be problematic but they also weren’t planned – they were built after many buildings were torched during the firefighters’ strike of 1974.

      That said, Blork is right about Griffintown having an abundance of parks. Don’t forget the median of the new Bonaventure boulevard will be a fairly wide linear park too.

    • Kate 09:06 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      DeWolf, linear park? Like, people will picnic there? I doubt it.

    • mb 16:06 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      something a friend of mine in urban studies pointed out was that this article notes that it is primarily the private developers that are reaping the benefits of increased population in Griffintown and not the borough or the city. despite borough and city support, both financially and politically, to private developers.

      in passing, i would like to learn more about Griffintown. anybody got any blogs or such focusing on the borough?

    • Bill Binns 20:37 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      The city must be getting some benefit out of this. Where there was almost nothing but abandoned buildings a dozen years ago there is now thousands of new housing units which are each paying many thousands of dollars a year in property taxes. Whatever the city’s investment was, it’s sure to get it all back eventually. They didn’t even have to build roads or other infrastructure. It was all sitting there abandoned. It’s kind of shocking it was allowed to sit empty for so long.

    • CE 22:44 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      I lived in Griffintown right before the development started. As far as I can remember, none of the buildings were abandoned and was actually a pretty lively. Lots of different and strange businesses and industry down there that is likely mostly gone and a small community of old folks and oddballs (also likely gone). I felt like I knew everyone there and I only lived in the neighbourhood for about two years. It was a lot of fun, you could truly do whatever you wanted. The land was certainly underused and too much of it was surface parking but to say it was sitting empty is far from true.

  • Kate 12:00 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal claims that the city has often resorted to private detectives to spy on its own workers. Issues mentioned include misuse of sick time and theft of materials, but also the investigation of complaints of harassment at work.

  • Kate 11:29 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    A branch of Boustan on Sherbrooke in NDG was damaged in a firebomb attack early Tuesday. A man and woman have been arrested.

    • Blork 11:35 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Jeez, that place just opened a few weeks ago!

    • Kate 11:42 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      I almost ate there the other day after visiting friends in NDG. But I decided to get some stuff at Akhavan instead.

  • Kate 11:12 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    The National Post has a piece on eruvin in Canadian cities, including a map of one of Montreal’s, although not the Outremont one discussed in the article. There’s a website that lists others. Eruv on Wikipedia.

    • Phil C. 11:25 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Wow, am I the only one that never knew this was thing? If I keep my eyes peeled maybe I’ll notice the lines

    • Ephraim 11:36 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      They are essential for many people, the parents with babies, the handicapped, etc. The website for Montreal’s eruvim is at http://www.eruvmontreal.org/ and incidentally, the word עירוב (eruv) comes from the Hebrew meaning mixture.

      PS: Kate plural is either eruvim or eruvin, but the latter is a construct of Yiddish/Ashkenazi rather than Hebrew, which would have a clear -im sound, like kibbutz being kibbutzim in plural.

    • Kate 11:43 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Ephraim, I wondered about that. The article had eruvin, which I thought might be a mistake, but so does the Wikipedia entry.

    • Bill Binns 13:07 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      I find it endlessly entertaining watching how people who claim to live their lives with strict obedience to rules written thousands of years ago so easily justify what is obviously outrageous cheating. I mean, if you believe god is an actual being who you will someday have to face, do you really think he/she/it is going to buy your justification for breaking his/her/it’s very important “don’t carry your keys on Saturday” rule? “Seriously? You strung a wire around the neighborhood and you think that makes the entire neighborhood into your house?”. That’s the reasoning you are going to hit a grouchy, violent, omnipotent, all-knowing super-being with? Good luck with that. Why not just wrap your shrimp and bacon Alfredo in lettuce and call it kosher?

      Interesting that the website says the magic wire in Westmount is “down indefinitely”. This was the first eruv I ever heard of. I wonder what happened.

    • Blork 13:33 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      My mind boggles a bit over this too. I’ve heard many religious people say that these various observations are less about believing that God is watching your every move and cares if you eat this or do that, and more about your own sense of piety and as a way to internalize and reinforce your reverence or whatever. That makes sense with things like lent, where nobody seriously thinks that failing in your attempt to give up maple syrup for 40 days means anything to God.

      But that all falls apart with these various cheats and hacks that are designed around tricking the rules on a larger scale than just personal successes or fails.

      So then you need to bring in another dimension: community (aka “tribe”). In other words, instead of the religious observances being to reinforce your personal sense of piety (which is a fairly modern concept), they are about reinforcing the community’s sense of piety. When the community (tribe) collectively agree on hacks, or workarounds, to the observances, then observing both the larger “rule” and the community hack reinforces the person’s sense of belonging to that community.

      Given that Judaism is the oldest of the Abrahamic religions, and given that Jews have a legitimate feeling of long, historical persecution, it is no surprise that things like this exist within that faith but not so much in the others.

    • John B 15:20 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      There’s an episode of the food podcast Gastropod that discusses Kosher food, and the history of many of the exceptions & how the rules have evolved over time to deal with the modern world. I bet the backstory on eruvin is similarly complicated.

    • jeather 17:29 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      That is really a misunderstanding of what rules mean in Judaism, starting in a culture that is actually really different. But arguing over interpretation and making rules based on those arguments and then making exceptions to those rules based on even more arguments is just part of Judaism, and in that interpretation, God cares that you are engaging with the religion and the rules, and finding ways to follow the rules more conveniently is engagement. I get that you hate religion, but we’ve had this exact same conversation a lot of times here and you refuse to see that Jews approach religion VERY differently than Christians and keep judging them on standards they have no interest in.

    • ant6n 17:51 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Within the context of communities and tribes, it’s kind of … weird that they do put up this symbolic wall around some area that really belongs to everybody, in order to mark the boundaries of their tribe. I think it’s understandable these days if people feel uncomfortable when people put up walls to delineate their tribe.

    • Bill Binns 18:34 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      @Jeather – I wouldn’t say I hate religion. I actually think about religion much the same way I think about sports. I have almost no interest myself and I am somewhat confused (and somewhat fascinated) by the people to whom it’s the most important thing in the world.

      The anger comes when someone is trying to force me (me personally or the public at large) to observe some part of their religion or (as is very often discussed here) demands a religious exemption to some rule or law that I am required to obey. I’m fine with religion right up until somebody wants to kick all the women out of a public pool, or force a gym to frost it’s windows, or have a government employee place headphones on a child so she won’t be exposed to music or demands immunity from parking enforcement on days that god doesn’t want them to drive their cars.

    • Brenda 18:47 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      The history of the culture of loopholes in text-based moralities.

    • jeather 20:08 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Or have different rules on Sundays from other days of the week, or close down government offices and schools for religious holidays?

      But an eruv doesn’t affect you in the slightest, and the way that (some) Jews interact with the definition of household for the purposes of carrying things on Saturdays has zero effect on you, and still you spend paragraphs saying how silly it is.

      (The windows thing was just bullshit: they said “Look, we’ll pay, but would you frost your windows?” and the gym said yes. Maybe they should not have said yes, but this is a normal kind of interaction between neighbours and not a weird proof of how horrible religion and Jews are.)

    • Michael Black 21:52 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      I think I lived within one, I’m not sure of the exact route, and it didn’t seem like “religious encroachment”. It felt sort of inclusive, it included us in their world. And yes, after seeing an announcement, I completely forgot about it until this post.


    • Bill Binns 20:13 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      @jeather – I was not railing against the existence of eruvs. I just think they are silly along with many other aspects of religion. Let’s string a wire around the perimeter of the entire island and free these poor people to carry their keys and their babies wherever they choose. As long as tax money is not used to build or maintain the thing, I could care less….but it is funny and ridiculous.

      In all seriousness, it was not my intention to imply that Jews are bad people. Most of my friends here in Montreal are Jewish. I have a close friend who is the only secular member of her rather large religious Jewish family. I’m sure she loves her family but she makes fun of them constantly and has a million stories about Shabbos goy’s and all the food rules etc. I once brought her a bag of pork rinds from the US and she planted them in her sister’s house.

      Most of the world’s religions are on equal footing in my eyes. If you would like to indulge in some mocking of Catholicism or Scientology or Mormonism let me know. For a life long atheist, I’m pretty well versed in the subject. From the talking ants of Islam to the multi-armed gods of Hinduism to the magic hats of Mormonism. It’s all just a big Star Trek universe of weirdness to me.

  • Kate 10:50 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    The mayor’s sick leave has been extended till the end of this week.

  • Kate 10:34 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM got a lot of complaints in 2016, the most they’ve received in five years. The majority were about bus service.

    Via reddit, a photo essay on the construction of Bonaventure metro station, the same person noting the recent death of architect Victor Prus, who designed a lot of things around town. He was 100.

    • Ephraim 11:26 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Now, that is what bonuses should be based on…. a good measure of how you are doing… the fact that they have had the most complaints should indicate that no bonuses are due.

    • Max 13:40 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      There’s an overview of Victor Prus’s career and a complete list of his projects in this book. Scroll up a bit to the beginning of the entry.

    • Max 13:42 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      Oh, and here‘s the reddit post that goes along with the photo gallery.

    • j2 11:34 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      I have to wonder if the reason there is more complaints is that politically it is expedient for someone to have more complaints. And that they weren’t all “lost”, “forgotten” or the complainants deterred, as previously.

    • Ephraim 12:41 on 2017/03/08 Permalink

      Complaints should always be a measurement. And the change in number of complaints should always need to be explained. It’s an extremely good measure of how a bureaucracy runs. Compliments also should run the same way. How else are we to measure how they do or don’t do.

      An example, say you go to the bank and there 900 branches, how is head office supposed to know how often and which days there is a queue of people waiting. The number of complaints will tell them both. If the number of complaints goes down, is it because people aren’t walking into the branches? Why? Did they close their accounts? Did they use ATMs? Are we scheduling employees better? Complaints are the mechanism in which we see efficiency.

  • Kate 10:31 on 2017/03/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Seems Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois will run in the Gouin riding byelection for Québec solidaire, hoping to replace Françoise David in the National Assembly. Nadeau-Dubois has yet to confirm this, but most media are reporting it as a done deal, although French-language media are still hedging with the conditional verbs.

    • Jack 11:10 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      The one student leader who had a modicum of decency. He didn’t leverage his position for personal gain. I hope he is the future.

    • Kevin 12:55 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      All three used the leverage they had to get work. GND was just less visible because he was given a job doing research for the CSN.

    • Jack 18:12 on 2017/03/07 Permalink

      OMG Kevin let’s line this up. Bureau Blouin given a safe seat and becomes a an MNA with staff at 20 years old, after watching Jeanette Bertrand complain about brown McGill students swimming, is defeated and becomes PQ youth Pres… realises no future there and is now hilariously….a Rhodes scholar, yes Cecil Rhodes is paying for his education. Leo Bureau Blouin the paradigm of décolonisation.
      Desjardins provided another safe seat by the PQ and pumps across Quebec defending the Charter because Muslims are scary. Is defeated but because of her new bona fides is provided a well paying perch as president of Mouvement Nationale du Quebec and a column for Quebecor pumping more ” I don’t know why they won’t take off their scarfs” columns…for pay.
      GND gets a research contract for the CSN ….are you serious?

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