Updates from March, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 14:21 on 2017/03/13 Permalink | Reply  

    On the weekend, Le Devoir had a whole dossier on living in Montreal: high design spaces, what it’s like living in TMR, a project for people whose kids have grown up and who have moved back to town (which numbers recently showed rarely happens), with the obligatory breakfast bar as shown in every new development now from the most frugal to the most lavish, a look at residential cooperatives as a way to live, and another project in Rosemont with, of course, the inevitable breakfast bar. Do people with a perfectly good dining table two feet away really want to perch and dangle on tall stools to eat breakfast and, if so, why?

    Huffington Post has a dossier on abandoned sites and what people are doing about them.

    In a separate non-dossier piece in Le D., Florence Sara G. Ferraris looks at how the suburbs are failing to adapt to the needs of aging residents.

    • Blork 15:02 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      I like the breakfast bar, and it’s not just for breakfast. It’s a nice place for a few guests to sit and talk to you while you’re preparing dinner. Or a place to dump the kids with their homework while you’re cooking, so you can interact with them without having to go around to the dining table. It’s also a nice overflow when you have guests for dinner, etc.

      That design grew out of earlier trends when condos were bigger and there was more distance between the kitchen and the dining room. You also see it in bigger houses where there is a huge “island” in the kitchen, with one side set up with bar stools or whatever. Again, it’s fun when entertaining. (And I love and covet a big kitchen with a big island…)

      Finally, for a really small place for a single person, it offers the option of going without a dining table at all (or having a hideaway one that you only bring out when you have guests.)

    • Amanda 15:16 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      Ugh, I hate breakfast bars and I’m glad to see someone who agrees. They’re everywhere!

    • Blork 17:51 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      But why? What’s to hate? It usually means a larger and more practical counter, and if you don’t want to use it as a bar just don’t put any chairs there?

      What I personally hate are the 1980s style ones, where the bar part is higher than the rest of the counter, making it look like some kind of airfoil. Those are awful. But nobody makes them like that anymore.

    • Kate 18:19 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      Architectural/interior design cliché, Blork

    • Blork 18:31 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      How’s this any more of a cliché than a stainless-steel sink, or patio doors? Or two-sink vanities in a busy bathroom? Or sliding closet doors instead of accordion ones? These are all things that make for a nicer, more modern house/apartment. People like them. They’re practical. What’s to hate? (Again, I’m not talking about the ugly “flying” ones from the 80s.)

      FWIW, I have spent many hours in many houses where the kitchen had such islands and bars, and it made things more sociable. The kitchen has always been the focal point of any social gathering, and having a larger counter with room for seats etc. is nice!

    • Amanda 18:49 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      I agree with Kate’s original point of “perfectly good dining table two feet away”, so why do I also need stools at a counter? My kitchen isn’t an espresso bar. It’s fine if you like the style, it’s just not for me and I’m annoyed at its ubiquity and I wish the trend would die.

      I’ve got opinions on all those other things you mentioned too, but I’m wiling to overlook most of them. I’m super picky about my kitchen and I think the “practicality” of islands, and stools is relative. So is “nicer”, for that matter. ;)

    • Canadian 20:16 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      I love my breakfast bar too. I eat all my solo meals there — easier to just slide the plate across the counter and not spill anything. Or I sit there with my iPad so I can keep an eye on something simmering on the stove. And as Blork says, it makes it easier for the cook to socialize with other people.

    • Kevin 22:00 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      If you don’t want it as a breakfast bar, just slide a wine fridge into that spot.

      Now excuse me while I go back to the stainless steel industrial-sized double sinks in my kitchen :)

    • Michael Black 01:20 on 2017/03/14 Permalink

      What about “breakfast nooks”? On the sixties the house across the street had one of those, seemed fairly large, but I was small. I can’t even remember their dining room. Anytime I was over we ate in the breakfast nook. It’s a less formal setting.


    • Kate 02:17 on 2017/03/14 Permalink

      I am, fortunately, not plagued with a breakfast bar myself, I simply started to see them as a chronic flyspeck on the various house designs I see while blogging. For awhile, Facebook was persistently showing me condos for sale. Every last goddamn one featured a breakfast bar.

    • DeWolf 07:11 on 2017/03/14 Permalink

      They’re not inherently bad, it’s just that most of them look tacked-on and weirdly disproportionate. It’s also a way for developers to churn out shoebox-style condos that only have windows on one side. Triplex-style apartments can be very bright because they have windows in every room, whereas many new condos feel like caverns.

    • Mathieu 11:14 on 2017/03/14 Permalink

      I don’t understand why you’re all assuming it’s for breakfast. People always end up in the kitchen in a party, so having some seating there is just common sense. It makes it comfortable for people to be near the cook to have a drink before the meal is ready and it’s also convenient to feed the kids while doing food preparation.

      Newer appartments have seats at the counter because these appartments have an open space design and this means the kitchen isn’t clustered in a corner with cabinets acting as a wall/separation. Not putting stools at the big counter of an open space kitchen just looks weird, especially since people will interact with the counter in such a way that these stools would be useful anyway.

    • Kate 20:50 on 2017/03/14 Permalink

      Mathieu, they’re called “breakfast bar” so I’m assuming you’re meant to eat breakfast there rather than at the more formal dinner table.

  • Kate 13:25 on 2017/03/13 Permalink | Reply  

    The blue line was down for two hours Monday morning. La Presse says a train was giving off smoke between Acadie and Parc and when this was checked out they found water leaking into the tunnel there. The problem was blamed on pumps that had stopped working and needed to be restarted, but I don’t see anything about resolution of the initial train problem. Service came back around 11:45.

    • EmilyG 16:30 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      I live on the blue line now, though was going to Cote-Vertu metro so I was able to go to Jean-Talon metro and ride the orange line all the way around. I’d left early enough that I didn’t miss my appointment – I’m learning to budget metro-stoppage time into the time it takes me to get places, plus I know transit well enough to be able to quickly plan alternative routes somewhere.

    • Kate 16:50 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      Items said there were buses replacing the metro, but the blue line is odd and doesn’t trace a single street the way you can run replacement buses all the way from Berri-UQÀM to Henri-Bourassa along St-Denis and St-Hubert or along Ste-Catherine and de Maisonneuve, for example. So I’m not sure how well it works out.

  • Kate 13:21 on 2017/03/13 Permalink | Reply  

    Since it’s far from home I admit I haven’t followed this Pierrefonds story closely, but Le Devoir has a curious tale about public consultations over the proposed massive, 5500-home development that’s been a hot potato there for years given it would wipe out 180 hectares of the remaining natural wetlands in the area. A public consultation was to lead to the writing of a PPU – but it seems the PPU already exists, suggesting the consultation is a mere dog and pony show.

    In other development news, a proposed grocery store enlargement project in Verdun is encountering resistance because it involves demolitions and the resulting loss of 22 affordable living spaces, but doesn’t include any social housing. Here’s an article from a few months ago showing views of how it’s meant to look – except does anyone believe there would be a green space out back instead of a parking lot and loading bay?

    • ste.ph 14:15 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      The verdun grocery store: that green space is above the grocery store. You can see it’s surrounded by three floors of apartments, but it’s a building with 4 floors. I do believe it’ll be a courtyard shared space for the apartments, but I doubt it’ll have trees of that size. They’ll have a basement garage for parking & loading.

      I think it is a good revitalization plan that will increase density. I don’t see how it can’t be mandated that they keep 22 affordable living spaces in the new plans.

    • John B 15:17 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      I’m not sure that’s 22 affordable living spaces – it’s 22 living spaces, that “Certains locataires” think they won’t be able to replace without an increase in cost.

      I’m sure it’ll be inconvenient when it’s being built – but this seems like we’ll get a better grocery store, and a net gain of 45 living spaces, which should be a net gain for the neighbourhood. But it sucks for the few people who have been in their home forever and have low rent because of it. It probably won’t be possible to find rent that low as close to the metro and to a grocery store, but I don’t think it’s an impossible task if the renters look a little farther afield in Verdun.

    • Kate 16:02 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      ste.ph: thanks, I hadn’t realized that was a roof, not a courtyard. It still seems pretty implausible.

      I just reread the Radio-Canada bit: “Devant les inquiétudes des citoyens, l’épicier Robert Bellemare s’est engagé à financer un futur projet de logement social à Verdun […] il promet un don important, dont le montant exact n’a pas été dévoilé. Il s’agirait d’un montant « de plusieurs dizaines de milliers de dollars », a précisé par courriel son conseiller en acceptabilité sociale pour le projet, Pierre Bouchard.”

      So the owner has a “conseiller en acceptabilité sociale” and is offering a few trifling grand to some undefined social housing project to offset removing the affordable flats and putting up what will probably be condos instead. The item specifies he isn’t even obliged to do that much.

      This is where you want the borough to step in and make some demands, but our reverence for private property means they can’t or won’t.

  • Kate 11:30 on 2017/03/13 Permalink | Reply  

    Rosemont residents are unhappy at the damage to street trees caused by snow clearance in their area.

  • Kate 11:05 on 2017/03/13 Permalink | Reply  

    Regular reader ant6n has an excellent, detailed critique of Vendôme metro, both the proposed new station and the general approach to transit in the area. Thank you for delving into this in such depth, ant6n.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 11:19 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      Truly excellent work and an important read: this is exactly the kind of analysis the people need, and precisely what they so rarely find in establishment media. I find it difficult to imagine this ‘overengineered’ layout would have come about had the STM and AMT collaborated more closely, if at all.

    • ant6n 20:14 on 2017/03/13 Permalink

      Thanks for the shout-out and nice words. I just hope there’s a chance they can improve the design a bit; or at least add escalators. My hope is that the consultation report will point out some of the design issues, and that the STM will listen even if it’s non-binding.

    • Faiz Imam 13:02 on 2017/03/14 Permalink

      As one who has tended to see your proposals as unrealistic, I have to say all 3 of your ideas are super interesting. :)

      Barring any unknown factors getting in the way, there is a compelling case for all the ideas to really improve the experience of transferring at the station. They are already spending a massive amount of money here. We have the chance to do it right.

      Vendome and that particular section of the dorion line is such a missed opportunity. the 105 and similar buses around NDG are among the most packed in the city. Having high frequency from Lucien-lallier to Montreal ouest (at the very least) could serve to greatly reduce congestion, particularly for the thousands of students around loyola.

      The current ticketing system does not help, and so I would like to hope that the new fare system being announced this summer has the potential to make the ATM network much more useful for folks other than suburban commuters.

      Regardless of the REM I think that upgrades to the dorion line must still happen, and actually having both could(especially if REM is extended to Dorval Via Rail station) could provide considerable network effects for a lot of communities that are overly auto-dependent at the moment, even more so if they add a new stop on Cavendish.

      Not to mention the decently high density new development that will be built along the escarpment. That area is very bottlenecked and will face huge congestion concerns if good transit options are not available.

      But the synergy of that whole area depends on vendome being easy to get around in. With the current proposal most abled users will continue to use the existing path, which is really not ideal given how much they are spending.

  • Kate 11:00 on 2017/03/13 Permalink | Reply  

    The CHUM superhospital should be opening for patients in early 2018, a year later than planned, although no firm date is being given out yet.

  • Kate 10:50 on 2017/03/13 Permalink | Reply  

    Winter hasn’t finished with us yet. A winter storm warning is up starting Tuesday morning and temperatures will stay low all week. TVA link, as usual, plays video.

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