Updates from April, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 17:04 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    A wackily decorated public place is to be set up on little rue Guilbault that runs east of the Main, south of Pine Avenue.

    • rue david 17:45 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      that’s pretty neat, but it leads to a very shabby stretch of saint-dom. would be neat to see that entire second cup building and the trash-strewn lot behind it fronting saint-dom raised to the ground and rebuilt several stories taller, with commerces from main all the way to saint-dom.

  • Kate 17:02 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    Amusing piece on the ups and downs of public toilets in this city.

    • Patrick 02:07 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      I’m old enough to remember using public toilets in Paris that were supervised by tough old ladies (you had to pay them). They kept the places clean and I’m sure they policed behavior too. I bet plenty of people would pay the price of a coffee to have that kind of service available when they needed it. Of course, they also had actual people punching your metro ticket before you accessed the platforms…

    • Bill Binns 09:58 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      Free restrooms in gas stations and coffee shops are going extinct because people are worse than animals. You cannot imagine what the people who have to maintain public restrooms have to put up with. My two principle clients operate over 7000 gas station / convenience stores in the US and barely half of them offer public restrooms anymore. Employees often quit on the spot rather than deal with whatever fresh nightmare has been discovered in the bathroom.

      For decades I have been expecting branded, pay bathrooms to spring up and I finally saw them in France last year. They cost one Euro, had a full time human attendant and were spotlessly clean and graffiti free. This is the future. If a company starts doing this on our side of the pond, Ill be first in line to buy stock.

    • Kate 12:15 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      Free restrooms … are going extinct

      I don’t know how to reference the bylaw, but I seem to recall that in Montreal you have to have a bathroom when you’re selling food, because if nothing else, people need to be able to wash their hands before they eat. Malls with food courts have to have a bathroom somewhere nearby for the same reason. So you can’t just opt to phase it out.

    • Bill Binns 12:56 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      When you think about it, it’s kind of weird that we expect them to be free. We are happy to pay two bucks to use an ATM and I guarantee it costs a business more to maintain a public restroom than an ATM.

      I would be perfectly happy to pay a buck or two to use a clean, well supplied and graffiti free restroom. I think if this practice was more socially acceptable, we would have a lot more available restrooms.

    • Kate 13:13 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      We are happy to pay two bucks to use an ATM

      Not everyone is. Most folks I know well enough to be aware of their habits tend to know where their own bank’s machines are, to avoid the small but chronic drain of paying anywhere from $2 to $3 to access their own money.

      Pay bathrooms have come and gone. I think the last time I saw coin stalls in operation was at Central Station. Think about it: maintaining these mechanical devices, having someone empty them and repair them, maybe including a change machine in the room and having to fill it and keep it too from breaking down – they were never very reliable at the best of times – is to nickel and dime yourself to death.

      In the Netherlands I used a bathroom in a department store and had to put 50 euro-cents on a plate before going in, under the hard eye of an older woman attendant. I suppose that’s one way of doing it.

    • DeWolf 13:25 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      Pay toilets are common in Europe, but they come in two varieties – the “tough lady” system you find in Parisian public parks and Dutch department stores, and the automated gate system you find in train stations. Having somebody physically present really does keep the place clean and orderly, but the automated gate washrooms are just as gross as you would expect any train station washroom to be.

      @Bill Binns – public toilets are a sign of a civilized society. Even Milton Friedman’s free market paradise of Hong Kong has an enormous network of free public toilets all over the city.

    • Blork 18:34 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      Not the same issue, but related: as far as I know (and I confirmed this some dozen years ago but I can’t find the source now), in Montreal it is illegal — which is to say, against a city bylaw — for a business to refuse to let someone use their bathroom. As in, you can’t say “for customers only.” Businesses do that all the time, but only because this bylaw is obscure and most people don’t know about it.

      I sure wish I could confirm that’s still the case. Anybody here know how to find out?

  • Kate 16:37 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    Dr. Mark Wainberg, a prominent Montreal-based HIV/AIDS researcher, has died in Florida while swimming. He was 71.

  • Kate 14:30 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    A must-read: Martin Patriquin on how Denis Coderre gets back at people who’ve annoyed him.

  • Kate 14:02 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    There are various stories this week about mural memorials for Leonard Cohen. One is to be created on a high rise wall overlooking Crescent Street and some people are calling it magnificent in advance. According to councillor Christine Gosselin on Facebook, the original plan had been for a mural on the Main, on the Balfour building, but Denis Coderre wanted it in Ville-Marie.

    • SMD 14:10 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      According to the La Presse article:

      “Le projet d’oeuvre murale en hommage à Leonard Cohen remonte à il y a trois ans, a détaillé Élizabeth-Anne Doyle, directrice générale et artistique de MU. Elle devait d’abord être peinte pour célébrer les 80 ans du chanteur montréalais. Sur la façade de l’édifice Balfour, immeuble de 10 étages situé sur le boulevard Saint-Laurent, à l’angle de Prince-Arthur.

      «À ce moment-là, les propriétaires de l’édifice avaient entrepris des travaux de façade, donc le projet a été repoussé, puis mis sur la glace, a précisé Gene Pendon. Lorsque Leonard Cohen est décédé, le maire Coderre a relancé le projet, mais au centre-ville, dans son arrondissement», a-t-il précisé.”

    • carswell 15:18 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      Crescent Street? Did Cohen have any meaningful connection to that part of town? And 10 storeys?! Cohen didn’t do garish.

      In the end, Mayor Youppi makes it about himself…

    • Kate 15:28 on 2017/04/15 Permalink

      carswell, I think Cohen did have a connection with Mountain Street, at least. An older friend of mine has mentioned that he was an habitué of an establishment there simply called the Bistro, which was a major bohemian hangout in the late sixties? early seventies? I’m trying to find out more about it via Google, and it seems to have belonged to one Louis Tavan and have been officially called Bistro Chez Loulou. I have vague memories of being told of times when Crescent, Bishop and Mountain really were a bohemian neighbourhood, but only third hand.

  • Kate 11:51 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    The city plans a memorial to the Dieppe raid of 1942 in which 916 Canadian soldiers lost their lives, including 119 of the Fusiliers Mont-Royal, whose headquarters is in the fortress on Pine Avenue. The memorial will be placed in the peninsular park on Cité-du-Havre, so it won’t exactly be prominent in the city’s landscape.

    • Jack 15:51 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      Its utterly incredible how memorialisation works here. Dieppe is contested, difficult knowledge but what makes the deaths of these men a complete mockery is by placing that memorial where no one will ever see it, unless they are going to Mels to pick up film set decor. Why don’t they put it in Carre St -Louis right behind where the regiment was located. The men in that regiment came from the surrounding neighborhoods and were for the most part working class French Canadian, why don’t they get memorialised where they were from.

    • Clément 20:33 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      Jack. I think you got the location wrong. It would be here.
      Mind you, I don’t think it’s a much better location that near Mel’s. But it is a lovely, quiet park with a great view of the city.

    • Jack 21:16 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      Clement they deserve better.

    • Blork 22:06 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      The La Presse article says “Bien que l’opération qui devait tester les défenses allemandes sur la côte française,” which is outdated information. Recent research has pretty much confirmed that the Dieppe raid was actually an elaborate plan to steal one or more German Enigma machines and their code books, without the Germans knowing it had been stolen. (The idea was to cause such a ruckus and sink some ships so that the Germans wouldn’t know the Enigma had been pinched.) Very few people knew the true purpose of the mission, even as it was underway.

      Regardless, it still failed. Interesting factoid: the brain behind the operation was Ian Fleming (author of the James Bond novels), who received much of his intelligence training at Camp X in Ontario. Even long after the war, his leading role at Bletchley Park (the top secret Naval Intelligence HQ) was kept secret. He was thought to be just a hanger-on there, but in fact he was one of the top operational planners.

      (Reference: Montreal’s own David O’Keefe, who spent 20 years on the case, with particular emphasis on files declassified in 1996. His book, “One Day in August,” makes a very compelling case, even if it seems almost too far-fetched. But it’s very well researched and annotated.)

    • Michael Black 11:52 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      So the Dieppe raid is the start of the chaining of POWs.

      There was a tobacco can lying around forever, and eventually I looked inside. Just a piece of chain, why keep that in a can? Then I look closer, and there’s an index card with my father’s handwriting. It’s a piece of chain used to chain German POWs in retaliation for the Germans chaining Allied POWs. “Uncle Ross”, JR Black, gave it to my father. No date on the note.


  • Kate 11:42 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada inquired into the fate of the façades of the lower Main and how they could be reused as part of the frontage of the new Carré Saint-Laurent project to be built between the Monument National and the Café Cléopâtre. This is after Christian Yaccarini said recently that the façade bits had become unusable.

  • Kate 11:16 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    The city can see clearly where the worst potholes are. If it can do this, it should be able to cross-reference the data with records of which contractors last paved those roads, and disqualify them from future contracts.

    • JaneyB 08:52 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      That is a great idea!

  • Kate 11:10 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    The consortium building the Turcot has confirmed that it won’t be building that rather nice bike and walking bridge featured in the plans it used to blandish taxpayers and residents seven years ago, shown here, and meant to create a useful link between NDG and the southwestern part of the city.

    • dwgs 11:20 on 2017/04/12 Permalink


    • ste.ph 11:48 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      Joke’s on them, I won’t be paying my taxes this year either.

    • Tim S. 16:17 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      I firmly believe that ‘artist’s renditions’ should be banned from all infrastructure proposals.

    • Alex L 16:18 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      I think someone should be held accountable for this.

    • Chris 21:28 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      Classic greenwashing. And as predicted.

    • ant6n 08:20 on 2017/04/13 Permalink

      @Tim S.
      Like when we get drawings of light Rail stations along the Highway with oodles of parking somehow look idyllic and green rather than the pollute fest it’s going to be.

  • Kate 10:43 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    A man was crushed to death overnight by a truck in the FedEx sorting yard on Côte-de-Liesse. TVA has video that starts, oddly, with two smiling women giving thumbs-up. CBC tells the story while delicately refraining from naming the firm.

  • Kate 02:35 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    More workers at Trudeau airport have lost their security access but exactly what they’ve done or what opinions they’ve expressed has not been spelled out.

    Also in the news is this perky photo of the airport sign redone in Canadiens colours, with the logo.

  • Kate 02:31 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about these fancy new high-tech vespasiennes for Ville‑Marie, nor the high price tag and single bidder – a company whose owner has an interesting history in the form of tax frauds and bribes.

  • Kate 02:23 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    The Quebec human rights commission says the STM is not discriminating against the disabled because the entire network is not yet fully accessible, although it does say this is poor service. Disabled activists are not happy with this ruling.

    • Joe 09:14 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      I mean, it’s a shame the STM network isn’t fully accessible, but at least the buses are. The same can’t be said about any other transit network in Quebec, including in our own suburbs.

    • SMD 11:18 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      Joe, several disabled friends have told me that only about 1/4 bus drivers are actually willing to put down the ramp for them. “It isn’t working” and “I don’t have time” are the most common responses they get from STM drivers.

    • Kate 11:22 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      I can try to appreciate the frustration of disabled users, although I would not go so far as to say I know how they feel. But the STM can’t do magic. Winter will always be a more serious barrier to mobility for the disabled than for the able, we can’t fix that. The metro system was conceived before the idea of universal accessibility (and might not even have been built if that had been enforced back in the day), and its transformation has to be gradual.

    • Bill Binns 11:26 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      @Kate – “and might not even have been built if that had been enforced back in the day”. I think that’s true.

      Think of all the things that aren’t being built now because it’s too expensive or impractical to make accessible to .5% of the population.

    • ant6n 11:54 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      Prove it. Which Metro line isn’t being built today because it needs an elevator?

      Given how much earth was moved for the Metro, the marginal cost of accessibility is minimal.

    • ant6n 12:08 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      Btw, on making numbers on facts to push for dick-policies, here’s a fact:
      30,000 people are registered with the STM paratransit service. That’s a solid 1% of the population. But these are people that have no other choice but to use the shitty service — somebody who broke their leg, somebody with a stroller, or somebody with a cane, somebody who opted to get a car, … those people wont be signed up with this service. I bet the number of people whose mobility would significantly increase if there was universal accessibility is probably more in the 5%-10% range.

      And given that the reduced mobility of these people results in higher unemployment and lower pay on average, I’d say it’s easy to spend a couple of % extra to move towards universal accessibility.

    • Kate 12:15 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      ant6n, obviously the STM does need to evolve, not saying it should not. And it is. But there’s no point in having a ruling that the STM is in discrimination. The disabled support group wanted to sue the STM for a lot of money – what good would that do?

    • Bill Binns 12:30 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      @Ant6n – Metro stations aren’t being built today period but here is a prediction. When the elevator install project inevitably goes over it’s already appalling budget and over schedule and/or the money finally runs out and the lawsuits keep rolling in it will be determined that the only option will be to close the stations that don’t yet have elevators. “Then take it away from everyone else” is always a strong plan B for advocates when something cannot be made accessible.

      The closings will be “temporary” of course but we know how that works in Quebec.

      We’ll see. You heard it here first.

    • Patrick 12:43 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      I was in Minneapolis recently (a city that does have a winter…) and took a bus. When a woman in a motorized wheelchair wanted to board, not only did the (female) driver lower the bus and flip down the access ramp, she accompanied the disabled woman to a reserved space that had straps to anchor the back and front of the chair and attached them securely. She did the same in reverse when the woman got off with a cheerful goodbye and a “thanks for taking the bus!”. Everyone else waited patiently at both ends of the journey. OK, Minnesotans *are* nice and it wasn’t rush hour, but I was impressed that this kind of care was taken for granted there.

    • ant6n 14:42 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      You’re trying to make up facts again.
      Is there any subway station anywhere in the world that was closed because it could not be made accessible?

      It’s much more likely that agencies use accessibility requirements as an excuse to not do required work. This argument seems to work on certain cranky people who don’t understand basic concepts of society, or like when facts are made up to serve reactionary agendas.

    • Bill Binns 16:29 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      @Ant6n – I’m not making anything up. I clearly labeled my comment as a prediction. We shall see. The budget for the elevators is 20 Billion Dollars. That’s six hundred grand for each of your 30k claimed clients, many of whom will never use the Metro no matter how accessible you make it – (yeah I know…strollers). Will it be finished if it becomes 40 billion or 50? I don’t know but it’s not hard to see the scenario I outlined above happening either because of a court order or because there is literally not enough money left to pull it off.

      I don’t know if any Subway stations anywhere in the world have been shut down over access issues. I also don’t know if anyone else has spent 20 billion dollars trying to retrofit an old system. Montreal could be the first on both counts. Paris, London, NY, Santiago, Barcelona to name a few all have subway systems that are not even close to being fully accessible. You will have no trouble finding all kinds of other businesses and venues that have been shuttered in the name of the ADA in the US. One of them was my favorite restaurant.

  • Kate 02:18 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    The Canadiens are about to embark on the playoffs, facing the Rangers. Downtown merchants are hopeful for a boom in business.

    L’actualité asks who wins when the Canadiens are in the playoffs?

    • steph 09:55 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      They better get storefront gates if we win!

  • Kate 02:00 on 2017/04/12 Permalink | Reply  

    The city says it has filled 100,000 potholes over the last four months, using a GPS system.

    And now it’s going to take a month to clean the streets after winter.

    • J 10:09 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      The way the city is filling most of them is a waste of money. Just a few days ago I saw a pothole crew dumping hot asphalt in a crater filled with half a foot of water then tapping on top with a shovel. Job done!

    • SMD 11:21 on 2017/04/12 Permalink

      Agreed, J. The four different patching trucks I’ve seen so far have all done this. One while it was still drizzling! But hey, have to check it off the list…

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