Updates from March, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 15:04 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    I’ve been taking buses a lot lately and have to report feeling somewhat annoyed by the bus stop announcement voice. She’s obviously a very well trained voice performer with an accent perfectly tuned to be neutrally metropolitan French. Which is fine, when the names are French.

    But a lot of the street names are English here, and the reader is treating them as if they’re unheard-of in her language. Gary-Carteurrr was the first one that caught my ear, going south on the 55. Collège Daauuwwson, riding the 24. Avenue Madison in NDG is treated as a French word, and you should hear what she does with Ree-chard-son. (I’ve been taking the 90 a lot.)

    Directing this, I think I would’ve told her to cut back on treating the English names as if they’re strange unpronounceable alien words, and simply speak them closer to the normal English pronunciation, as most people would do, here, if speaking in French.

    A second and slightly different problem, if you happen to be not primarily francophone, is the stops that aren’t at a corner, but are on a highway type road and given as an address. For example, one stop on the 100 westbound is Côte-de-Liesse No. 6665. Another, on the 191 westbound, is Notre-Dame No. 6450. The woman ripples off these numbers like a bingo caller. You can look at the board and read them yourself, I suppose, but I think I’d prefer her to say “six quatre cinq zero” rather than “six mille quatre cents cinquante”, even if that’s a bit childish, because it might be more useful to more passengers. Obviously the number can’t also be given in English.

    • Joey 15:35 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      I wonder if they hired an actor to record each stop or if they used some machine-learning robot thing to go through their list. Ever listen to Siri give driving directions? Turn left on Rue Gene Tall On.

    • Derek 16:21 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      “Monument Seer Georges-Étienne Cartier” kills me. And I’m still trying to figure out how she manages to mangle “St. Cuthbert” on the northbound 55.

    • Rebecca 16:25 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Taking the bus along the Transcanada, you hear a lot of 4-digit addresses. It gets kinda hard to parse the numbers (even if you are bilingual) because they are said so very quickly. The part I hate is hearing at every stop: “Cet arrêt n’est pas accessible par un fauteuil roulant.” (This stop is not accessible by wheel chair.)

    • Ephraim 16:50 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Waze in French pronounces Dorchester in such a great tone that I’m tempted to just drive around in circles around there just to hear it. Door… chhesss…terre.

    • ant6n 17:01 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Can we also indent?

    • Poutine Pundit 17:24 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Right, but this isn’t new. The metro woman has been saying “Atouataire” and “Mé-guille” for years.

    • Kate 18:50 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      PP, true, but in the metro you can be pretty sure of where it’s going next. On the bus, especially an unfamiliar route, it can help a lot to have the stops read out in some comprehensible way.

    • denpanosekai 20:00 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Turn right on Renée Levesski

    • rue david 21:52 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      I really like the way the English ones are pronounced on the metro. Atwater is my favorite by far. I also like how “square” sounds in that accent.

    • DeWolf 23:02 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      I just ran bunch of English names through Google Translate to see how they French robot voice pronounced them and they all sound pretty nice – French accent, obviously, but not incomprehensible. Carter sounds like Carter, Madison is pronounced with a hard “n”, etc.

      Maybe transit agencies can only afford bargain basement robo-voices. Here in Hong Kong, the buses have computer-generated announcements that mispronounce Argyle (it uses a soft “g” instead of a hard one) and Bute (it says “butt”) which drives me crazy.

    • mare 00:47 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      The bus voice pronounces English names like a French person without any knowledge of English would pronounce them while trying to read the names. So if you, as a unilingual francophone had looked up the name of your stop on a map, or google maps, that’s the way you would have remembered it in your internal voice.

      Driving in Quebec with a car navigation system set to English does the same with French names. If it would pronounce the streets in perfect French, it would be of no use to an American from Arkansas. Now she sees the name on her screen, hears it phonetically and can read the signs that look somewhat like that. Being French the only language of this province and city, pronouncing English names in English might even be somewhat illegal.

      It is only very weird for multilingual people like most of the readers of this blog, and most Montrealers. A francophone from rural Quebec, who watches all American tv series dubbed and has virtual no exposure to English (maybe these people still exist) doesn’t think this is weird at all.

      Of course car nav systems also makes a lot of errors, my favourite so far Apple Maps pronouncing the Est in all the street names as Estate. I think that bug is fixed now, but I’m sure there’s still a load of bugs left.

    • steph 01:15 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Number addresses in Montreal are often read bizzarly: 3144 – “thirty one forty four” or “Trent et un quarante quatre” … Had to meet a friend at Cafe La Bêtise a couple weeks ago at “Soixante quinze St-hubert”. No thank you french language (but thank you google maps).

    • DavidH 02:32 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      I was surprised to hear Maguire pronounced Maguoire. She doesn’t simply read strangely, she reads letter that aren’t there.

    • Patrick 02:59 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      I agree with Mare. Years ago Radio-Canada newsreader Bernard Derome’s pronunciation of English names and acronyms “à l’anglaise” (e.g. SEE-AIE-ÉÉÉ instead of SAY-EE-AH for CIA) was attacked by intellectuals as a symptom of Quebec’s colonized mentality, and I could understand why back in the day when local French speech was peppered with anglicisms of all kinds it was a touchy subject. It still is. Benoît Melançon has a good column on the subject in his language blog:

    • DCMontreal 09:02 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      I recall during the seventies a driver of the 24 bus on Sherbrooke calling out “Gee/Guy/Cote-des-neiges” at that corner.

    • Chris 10:15 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      “…and simply speak them closer to the normal English pronunciation, as most people would do, here, if speaking in French.” Are you sure about the last part? Maybe the majority need the mangled pronunciation to understand it?

    • Brenda 10:18 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      While it’s true that in the Quebec dialect, English names are pronounced as close to the original pronunciation as possible, in cosmopolitan continental-ish French, English pronunciations are francicized.

    • Bill Binns 11:25 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      French from France is peppered with English words, most of which are pronounced as they would be by someone speaking English. I never heard the word “ordinateur” in France (where they just use “computer”) or on French TV but it’s everywhere here. As far as I know, this is not the least bit controversial over there. France is also surrounded by millions of people who speak other languages but it doesn’t seem to cause the “death of our culture” panic it does here.

      I wince when I hear “At-wha-tairrrr” on the Metro just as my wife winces when she hears me say “Gene Tallin”. Both are equally incorrect and I think both are used as subtle poke in the eye to language zealots on either side.

    • Ian 17:51 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      You should her her on the West Island buses, it’s pretty comical. Churchill = “Shurshill”, Beaconsfield = “Bacons Field”.

      But whatever, it’s nice to have an idea of where you are, especially at this time of year when the bus windows are often so dirty you can’t see out of them.

    • EmilyG 18:38 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Absolutely agree with you, Ian.

  • Kate 13:22 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro notes the 50th anniversary of the Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine tunnel as well as the demolition of Longue-Pointe village that the construction involved. Radio-Canada also has a feature; similar in English.

  • Kate 11:43 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    The son and heir of the founder of the Cora restaurant chain was kidnapped Wednesday evening from his home north of town and found tied up beside a road in Laval Thursday morning. No explanation has yet been forthcoming.

  • Kate 11:36 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Hydro-Quebec was planning an opt-in program allowing water heaters to be turned off remotely for a few hours during high-demand periods. In return for joining the program, users would get a discount on their hydro bills. But a public health report suggests this would be risky and might allow bacteria to proliferate, so the utility is spiking the plan, for the moment.

    • Faiz Imam 11:52 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      If you do it right controlling water heater demand is a good idea. I hope the health risks are dealt with.

      But in general the idea of “demand management” is very important, especially as renewable energy gets bigger. There are often random cuts in power, and you can’t always bring more power online fast enough, so automatically cutting high demand use is needed.

      Once electric cars are bigger, cutting their charging is a popular idea, but also locking out dishwashers, dryers, etc is also being considered. the key is that it’s automatic and happens within minutes of a signal being sent out.

      But for the most part it’s easier to ask an aluminum smelter to stop operating for an hour (or other large industrial user)

    • Tim 12:03 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      @Faiz: would the smelter be compensated financially for their lost productivity? I doubt any large industrial user would agree to any sort of stop in operations.

    • Faiz Imam 12:15 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Same idea as home users. You negotiate a credit every time a demand management request comes in. Some power use is mission critical, but some activities can be deferred a few minutes or hours without harm, so companies agree to get the free money.

      I don’t think we do it in quebec much(I actually don’t know), but in various energy markets it’s more common.

      In quebec we have hydro power which can increase and decease very quickly, so it’s not as important. but if you have only power plants and renewables, it’s a big problem. So other parts of the world are really pushing for smart technology to get all sorts of users to turn off their power when it’s needed.

    • Faiz Imam 12:24 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Relevant Wikipedia page if youre interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_demand_management

    • Bert 13:48 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Industries like smelting, glass making, etc. can be very sensitive to power interruptions. They are continuous production systems and can not just stop and start at will. I once heard an anecdote about one (older) smelter, that if they lost 4 hours of power that the restart process would be so costly in terms of cleaning up the smelting pots and re-heating them that it was more economically feasible to shut down and move elsewhere.

    • Faiz Imam 14:33 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      This paper deals with this question: “A survey of industrial applications of Demand Response”


      Specifically this table lists what processes are amenable to Demand response of some kind:


    • Ephraim 16:52 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Apparently Hydro is just learning about Legionnaires’ disease now?

    • Kate 02:47 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Would water heater temperatures even help? I have no idea. Maybe cooler heaters would allow more bacteria to grow.

    • jeather 10:52 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Usually there is a range where they grow, and too hot or too cold will kill them, and bacteria that live in humans tend to like human-comfortable water temps.

    • Bill Binns 11:49 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      They have been using a system like this in Florida for many years. I lived in a house that had the system hooked up to the laundry machines, swimming pool pump, dishwasher and air conditioning. I bypassed the equipment on the AC the first time it cut off on me but it never caused me any problems with the other devices. As I remember the credit for the voluntary program got smaller and smaller over time. My major concerns about programs like these is that they can start out voluntary and easily slide over to being mandatory at some point just as recycling has done in many places.

  • Kate 11:12 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    The city may be paying twice as much for animal services soon, since profit-based Berger Blanc will be taking over duties the SPCA has refused to do since the new pitbull laws.

    See, that’s how intransigence works out. The SPCA is driving business to Berger Blanc, which has been distrusted since the 2011 Radio-Canada report. The business is generally known not to prioritize animal welfare or the feelings of pet owners. I hope the SPCA folks are sleeping well.

    • Bill Binns 11:56 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      I suspect the SPCA will blink first. The city services had to be a major revenue stream for them that will not be easily replaced.

    • Mark Côté 23:39 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      It’s not just the SPCA that’s being intransigent.

  • Kate 03:11 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Longtime enviro guy Daniel Green says construction of the REM will upset plans to contain the vast quantity of toxic chemicals buried in the old waterfront Technoparc from leaching into the river. The plans actually involve digging a tunnel through that area. REM spox says “la de da” handwave handwave.

    • Faiz Imam 12:56 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Worth pointing out that of the $6 billion budget of the REM, the single biggest line item is digging a tunnel through the technoparc.

      I think it’s almost $1 billion for that ~2km section. I recall meetings last year and even the earliest documents noting the toxic nature of that area and the massive amount of work required to do it correctly.

      One can critique if that route is the right way to do it and if that money is well spent, but I’ve not heard many people, including the BAPE, express concern that the mitigation measures *won’t* work.

      I’m honestly wondering if this guy has any basis for his concerns. The article does not make that clear at all.

    • Brenda 13:03 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Wait. So the CDPQ’s gravy-train-to-nowhere is going to be an ecological and financial disaster as well as a sprawl-enabler? Let’s get Dairy Queen decide what transit we need next time.

    • ant6n 13:22 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      I kept trying to push alternatives that would’ve moved the tracks West there. There are a bunch of alternative possibilities, either overground or underground — all of these would have the advantage that they could use the existing rail viaduct south of Gare Centrale all the way to bridge/wellington, meaning we wouldn’t have the crazy stop under the Peel Bassin or in the Poisoned Technoparc.
      Instead we could have two stops, the original “Media City” stop proposed by the LRT project (at Ottawa street), and a stop actually at Bridge-Wellington.

      I wonder how much Bergeron is pushing for an alignment that will put a station in the middle of his riding, and will allow him to build is Port City or whatever.

    • Kate 13:24 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      ant6n, there’s the theory it’s making room for a new baseball stadium.

    • ant6n 17:04 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      “One can critique if that route is the right way to do it and if that money is well spent, but I’ve not heard many people, including the BAPE, express concern that the mitigation measures *won’t* work.”

      There are so many big and little issues/problems with this project, and it’s such a giant project, that we can’t touch on everything. My brief was 100 pages long, and if I had more time, I probably would’ve written 50 more.

  • Kate 02:16 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    The old bus station on Berri is being called too dangerous and is set to be closed down by the Société des infrastructures du Québec, its owner, leaving open the question how people will get from the “new” station into the metro on inclement days.

    • Jack 05:00 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      The current link between the metro and the bus station is atrocious. I often wonder how a tourist experiences that walk.

    • jeather 07:55 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      On nice days, it is a much easier and more pleasant walk outside. I don’t understand the thinking about the bus station at all. The current one looks nice, but the old one was not so horrible.

    • Mathieu 11:00 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      The old one was getting too small and particularly crowded, but the main idea driving the redevelopment of this site was UQAM’s intention to build an office tower there if I recall correctly. The bus terminal needed to be rebuilt and it was put into the new building North of that tower, but then the tower project was canceled.

    • Kate 12:01 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Mathieu, I don’t remember tower plans. I do remember thinking the new station was largely intended to create an anchor tenant for the construction project, which clearly needed any boost it could get. The old station was never a thing of beauty and could’ve been spiffed up a little, but it served its purpose.

    • Joey 12:12 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Presumably they will get to the new station from the Metro the same way they get to the Metro from their house…

    • Kate 12:26 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Joey, think about it. They’ve put the intercity bus station a few hundred meters from the city’s biggest, busiest metro hub, but you can’t get into it directly, with all your stuff, no matter if there’s a blizzard or rainstorm going on. How fucking stupid is that?

      The old station was no gem but at least you could get off a bus and go down an escalator into the metro. Now you can’t. This is not a win.

    • mare 14:59 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      The old metro station was a hassle for the busses. Not enough bays and not enough maneuvering room. A tunnel link to the metro was in the original plans, there’s even a short tunnel at the Berri-UQAM station built, but it never materialized, probably because it was linked to finishing the construction of the housing project of the UQAM on top of the station which was stopped because of near-bankruptcy of the university. If it was the same contractor they probably stopped working when they weren’t paid anymore.

      The current situation is crazy of course.

      I arrived in Montreal for the first time by train from Toronto with a big suitcase and a big duffel bag. Hauling that from the train station down to the metro was quite the undertaking. Being from the Netherlands, whe we built train stations under airports and were connections between metro and train are as short as possible that was quite the shock. Had I known I’d have taken a taxi, but my destination was very close to metro Laurier, so why not take public transport?

      Designing connections is a really hard problem in Quebec, in public transport (the new REM stations) and also in road construction. The connections between major highways (13 to 40 , 13 to 20, 15 to 40 from the laurentians, etc) are often also really poorly thought out, with stretches on services roads where you have to change three lanes in a really short stretch to get to the entrance of the next highway. You only know that if you’ve been there before, and they cause huge traffic jams because they’re bottle necks.

    • ant6n 16:09 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      I’d say in a way, the old station was a gem. At least for passengers.

    • Mathieu 17:52 on 2017/03/09 Permalink


      The first article from 2007 mention the first project for a tower being on hold because of the UQAM scandal, the second from 2013 another project to continue the project to house the employees of Revenu Quebec (who were later promised offices in the new building on St-Laurent/Ste-Catherine).

      The building on Maisonneuve was supposed to be an office tower with classes in it and the rest for rent and the new bus terminal was supposed to be studen housing, condos and townhouses on St-Hubert.

    • Kate 16:20 on 2017/03/10 Permalink

      Mathieu, I think I forgot about those plans because they never seemed very plausible.

  • Kate 02:14 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    A Women’s Day demonstration Wednesday focused on demanding a minimum $15/hour minimum wage.

  • Kate 02:13 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    The federal Liberals have elected Emmanuella Lambropoulos as candidate for the St-Laurent byelection. The 26-year-old teacher is being called a surprise choice in various media. TVA link plays video.

    Thursday morning QMI has a ten facts about Ms. Lambropoulos. She reminds me of a painting or illustration I’ve seen, someone with a thin face but huge eyes like that, but I can’t remember what it is. It’ll come to me.

  • Kate 02:10 on 2017/03/09 Permalink | Reply  

    What TVA is calling variously an open-air hotel and a camping de luxe is being constructed at the western end of the Old Port. Usual TVA video warning.

    • Michael Black 10:11 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      They are setting up “urban camping” in Ottawa, but there it’s in part an expectation of bigger crowds for Canada Day and other 150th Birthday events. There won’t be enough room or hotels cost too much, so this alternative.

      Here, it just seem an attempt at a novel event. Are we really expecting extra tourists this year?


    • Kate 11:05 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      an attempt at a novel event

      I think that’s it. I doubt they expect spillover from sold-out hotels.

    • Janet 11:40 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      That area between the locks was a beautiful, natural-looking green space that had escaped the granite with which most parks in Montreal are wrongheadly covered (because it’s federal land and thus not controlled by the city). Local residents stroll and picnic there, enjoy the wildflowers, ducks and occasional heron. It is unexpectedly quiet and peaceful. Now it will be turned into a commercial venture that I fear will be busy, noisy, a blight on the neighbourhood. It will bring in tourists and money but do nothing for the quality of life of those of us who live here. Bad (or sick) project.

    • Kate 11:45 on 2017/03/09 Permalink

      Yes, I’m wondering who stands to profit from this venture.

compose new post
next post/next comment
previous post/previous comment
show/hide comments
go to top
go to login
show/hide help
shift + esc