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  • Kate 20:11 on 2017/09/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Some Mile End denizens want to see the end of wood-fired bagel ovens because they don’t like the smoke.

    • Dhomas 20:34 on 2017/09/22 Permalink

      Fairmount Bagel has been around since 1919 (I don’t know where the article got the 1951 date), and St-Viateur Bagel since 1957. What did these people expect when they moved into the neighborhood?

    • Zeke 20:47 on 2017/09/22 Permalink


      Fairmont Bagels was opened in 1979 by Jack Shlafman using a recipe
      from his father Isadore. See this article from the October 17, 1979 Montreal Gazette.

    • Dhomas 20:50 on 2017/09/22 Permalink

      Wikipedia says 1919, but doesn’t mention a location. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairmount_Bagel

    • Chris 20:58 on 2017/09/22 Permalink

      Kate: I think it would be more accurate to say those residents want an end to toxic smoke, not an end to wood burning per say. If the chimneys can filter sufficiently, that would solve it.

    • Ian 21:16 on 2017/09/22 Permalink

      To be fair the complainant has lived here 25 years
      Still, though. Fairmount Bagels is one of the places that defines the neighbourhood. I hear the air is cleaner in Verdun, maybe they should move.

    • Kate 03:45 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      It’s per se, Chris. Also, I think you’re trying to be oppositional to provoke. The article mentions how much the bakeries have already spent on trying to mitigate the effects of the smoke. There may be nothing else they can do short of ending the tradition or moving.

      I agree with Ian. If I lived somewhere in town where conditions created by some element that went beyond being merely a business and had practically become a symbol and pride of the city were making me ill, I’d move. I don’t feel sorry for the guy in the story. He’s being a dick.

    • Ali Bear 08:40 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      I wonder if gas ovens might work as long as the sesame seeds are toasted beforehand to get the smoky flavor in them.

    • Ephraim 08:55 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      Both of the businesses have done a LOT to minimize it. But the people moved in, knowing it was there. The reality, I don’t think these people are garnering much sympathy from the public. We’d rather have our bagels… heck, I sometimes have to bring them to family outside of the city and I’ve even contemplated travelling with them.

    • Chris 11:25 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      Kate: Doh!, spelling brain fart!

      Ali Bear: St V uses a hybrid gas-wood oven at their DDO location. “Just as good” as wood-only ovens owner Joe Morena says. In addition, they are planning to install an electrostatic precipitator (in Mile End) to better filter the smoke.

      So Kate, Mr Morena seems to disagree with you that “there may be nothing else they can do”. Of course, these things aren’t free, and take time. Both these businesses have been making improvements. In my view, they should continue to improve, not stop. Businesses aren’t prone to spending on such things without public and/or government pressure. Hopefully this public pressure will result not in the closing of these beloved institutions but in their being able to continue without poisoning their neighbourhood.

      Ephraim: sympathy or not, there is also the matter of law. They have been exceeding the maximum allowed emissions for years. The article Kate linked to says Fairmount isn’t even paying their fines. Sure, people love their bagels, just like they love their Uber and AirBnb; topics I seem to recall you leaning on the law with…

    • Kate 12:43 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      Yes, there are laws. But is it wise to allow the letter of the law to mindlessly crush a valuable tradition that has, in addition, come to be one of the things in which the city takes pride?

      The guy needs to move if his health is the real point here. I think he’s just being a dick.

    • Chris 13:07 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      Kate: re: your first paragraph: I don’t see anyone arguing for such a thing; certainly I am not. I see citizens lobbying for a cleaner environment, and I see the polluters slowly but surely fixing it. Have these places been shut down after years of obvious violations? No. Are they improving? Yes. Are people continuing to push? Yes. Sounds like the process working quite well really, if a bit slowly.

    • Kate 13:39 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      Chris: health has a deadline and cannot wait. If you know you’re living in conditions that damage your health and you have the power to move away but you don’t, you’re a bonehead. Or a dick. The vast majority of people living in the Mile End have no problem with the bagel bakeries. Why should they change for one bonehead who won’t accede that the best thing for him is to go live somewhere else?

    • Daniel 13:56 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      They largely exceed acceptable toxic emissions levels, and the justified fines go unpaid. But this is acceptable because they are a ”beloved” tradition and ”a part of the neighbourhood”? How is that okay? Perhaps the vast majority of people in the Mile End have no problem with it now, but they could see averse effects later in life as they unwittingly inhale toxic fumes over many years.

    • Kevin 15:34 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      I always find the bagel complainants to be weird. I live four blocks from a bagel place in NDG and never ever smelled anything except when I’m right out front

    • Blork 15:50 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      A few notes on the article, since few people seem to bother to read it:

      -> Before it installed the scrubbers, Fairmount’s chimneys were putting out smoke at 9- to 15-times above the legal limit.

      -> After the scrubbers it’s about 4 times the legal limit.

      -> The long-time residents say it used to be just a neighbourhood bakery but now they’re running at an industrial scale, making huge quantities 24 hours a day (for wholesale distribution, not just the neighbourhood).

    • Blork 15:52 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      Kevin, FFS, you just said you live four blocks away from your bakery in NDG. These complaints are from people who live a couple of buildings away, on upper floors, in the smoke line.

    • rue david 16:13 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      this stupidity killed michel, roi du plateau.

    • Blork 16:30 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      BTW, I’m neutral on the issue. Just pointing out that there’s a bit more to it than the typical “new resident doesn’t like the smoke of an established business” story.

    • Ian 21:01 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      Both of my children attended garderie directly next door to Fairmount Bagel. Days it smelled like wood smoke inside the garderie, any time of day regardless of how much it smelled like smoke in the street: 0. They are six years apart, so in total I can speak directly to over 10 years experience.

    • Ian 21:06 on 2017/09/23 Permalink

      Note: my youngest finished at the garderie only 2 years ago so this is recent experience.

      Second note: whenever there is an atmospheric inversion (normally bringing fog) the neighbourhood is very smoky at street level, especially early in the morning. You can usually smell it from at least Waverly, 2 blocks away. You can see it from St-Urbain. This normally happens maybe 2-3 days a year and clears as soon as the sun is up.

    • DeWolf 01:14 on 2017/09/24 Permalink

      Funny how nobody is suggesting that cars and trucks be banned from Park Av and St-Urbain. How much do they contribute to air pollution in Mile End compared to the bagel shops?

    • ant6n 01:23 on 2017/09/24 Permalink

      Cars and trucks should be banned from Park Ave and St-Urbain.

    • DeWolf 02:26 on 2017/09/24 Permalink

      Thanks ant6n! Now let’s call the Journal de Montréal, they have a story to report.

    • ant6n 04:31 on 2017/09/24 Permalink

      Breaking: transit geek wants to ban trucks on some downtown streets!

    • Dhomas 06:07 on 2017/09/24 Permalink

      You know, when I first read this story, I thought the the guy complaining was being a jerk and that the bagel shops should just be left alone. But, on reading some of the comments here, I kinda changed my mind. I think that if we want change, we sometimes need to fight for it. If no one complained, they’d still be putting out 9 to 15 times the legal limit of pollutants. They’ve since gotten better and, if people continue to push, maybe they can continue to bring down the amount of smoke they produce to the point where it doesn’t bother anyone anymore (and we get to keep our fresh bagels).

      I still think the guy should move if he’s concerned for his health. Like Kate said, health has a deadline. But we should still continue to strive for better, nonetheless.

    • js 11:14 on 2017/09/24 Permalink

      I’ve lived a stone’s throw from the smaller one on St-V for 20 years and never noticed any smoke or pollution.

    • Ephraim 14:08 on 2017/09/24 Permalink

      Both bagel bakeries have been there for years and both are known to be working hard to find a solution. Doesn’t mean that a solution is easy. And of course they both predate the air quality standards now in place.

      So, what would this do to the neighbourhood if both of them just left? These are iconic businesses. They bring a lot of business into the neighbourhood, tourists, foot traffic. That all has a value.

      Chris, reminds me of the idiot who complains all night long about the city lamp outside their window. Complains to the city, complains to the friends, complains to the newspaper, etc. But not once considers actually pulling down the blinds. You know the old Henny Youngman joke: The patient says, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” Doctor replies, “Then don’t do that!”

    • Kevin 14:13 on 2017/09/24 Permalink

      Check the photo. They are about a block away and the chimney is much higher than they are.

  • Kate 06:37 on 2017/09/22 Permalink | Reply  

    The municipal election campaign begins Friday, with the vote in Montreal and many other Quebec municipalities to be held November 5.

    Radio-Canada notes interesting candidacies in eight Montreal boroughs. La Presse underlines stories that are, in a way, obvious: Denis Coderre is seeking an absolute majority at city hall to allow him full power to sculpt the city in his image, and Projet needs to get some wins outside the city core.

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