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  • Kate 20:02 on 2018-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

    On Ricochet, Xavier Camus calls out Journal columnist Lise Ravary for making false and inflammatory claims about the antiracist demonstration held in Montreal on October 7. A Gazette photo essay does not show many of the features Ravary claims she was shown in photos by an unnamed source.

  • Kate 15:35 on 2018-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

    Marvin Rotrand is urging city council to pass a motion of tolerance and inclusion: François Legault isn’t yet proposing to ban elected officials who wear religious signifiers, but Rotrand wants to have this stated before he does.

  • Kate 15:34 on 2018-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir lists what it considers the best cafés in Montreal, some new, some older.

    • Tim F 16:06 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      No Olimpico?

    • Kate 16:09 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      Nope, even though the Telegraph put the Olimpico on par with some of Europe’s most elegant establishments. No Milano, no Gentile, no Oui Mais Non or Campanelli. There are so many good ones, we’re spoiled.

    • Zeke 16:10 on 2018-10-20 Permalink


      As per usual there are a bunch that are missing (beyond Olimpico – and Kate’s additions). The places on my list that should be considered: Cinéma Moderne, La Vieille Europe, Rhubarbe, Automne, La Bête à Pain, Maison Christian Faure, La Meunerie Urbaine, Café Saint Henri, Patrice Pâtissier.

    • Kate 21:35 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      Zeke, Le Devoir never claimed to be making an exhaustive list. It’s just a skimmed list of cafés the writer liked, so it’s not that things are missing.

  • Kate 08:54 on 2018-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse covers a meeting held by owners of Rosemont borough’s shoebox houses, reporting that they are not keen on the new rules meant to preserve the little buildings.

    • david 14:40 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      I still don’t understand why the borough (or anyone else) sees value in requiring owners to maintain some low quality single story worker housing that was slapped up a hundred years ago. Let alone prioritizing that over building more housing for people.

      If Croteau and the rest want to do something, they can prohibit joining units and kill the trend that sees duplexes and triplexes become single family homes.

    • Kate 16:06 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      david, they’re a part of Montreal’s history and they’re already disappearing because they aren’t the most efficient (or profitable) use of a typical plot of residential land. They’ve been vanishing in Villeray in recent years so something similar must have been observed in Rosemont too, although the article cited above says the city still has about a thousand, half of them in Rosemont-PP.

      Several threads come in here. One is a feeling that we have a socio-architectural history here that has sometimes been heedlessly destroyed, sometimes quickly for profit, for motives of social change like Jean Drapeau’s razing of Goose Village, or because the will of the car ordained that highways had to obliterate parts of the existing street grid. Elegant buildings like the Van Horne and Redpath mansions have been lost, structures like the Spectrum and the Seville are no more, along with most of the other once glorious movie houses. We’re nervous now about looking back and realizing that something good has vanished so gradually that we hardly noticed, but it’s now gone forever. We’re jumpy about seeing this happen again and some politicians are keener than others about catching this kind of tendency before it gets out of hand.

      Another thread is a big one: when does the common good get to win out over private property? Our elected officials make decisions all the time about things that affect the quality of our neighbourhoods – but how you define the “common good” is always debatable. Books of political theory can be and have been written about this boundary.

      And there’s this: Chances are there are maybe two dozen shoebox houses of real charm, architectural and historical interest, worth preserving as examples and testament to the past, out of the thousand or so in the city. The problem is that politically you can’t cherry-pick. Rosemont-PP has decided to go all in and protect them all because defining the good ones is not easily done within the terms of law. Owners of shoeboxes have to be treated equally. The borough will have to back down, and condo developers won’t care whether the little house on the lot is an exceptionally nice one. It will be knocked down, and most of the others will be knocked down, over time.

    • david 18:24 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      Just because there have been and continue to be real atrocities (see the destruction of the Children’s) doesn’t mean that governments should be protecting totally irrelevant housing modes (such as these shacks) on principle. These 570-odd lots represent at least potential 1100 housing units that will never come to market, and offloads that unmet demand onto every other unit in the borough, pushing up housing costs. That’s a public policy decision that has real consequences and that actually affects people’s lives, unlike the nebulous ‘historical’ value guiding the decision to save the shacks.

      The overriding common good here is affordable housing near work, shops and services. And definitely some private property rights should be subordinated to that good: people should not be allowed to join multiple units into oneso they can have a second or third floor; there should be no legal protection of views; landlords should not be allowed to keep commercial spaces empty; chain shops should be barred outright like they do in most of San Francisco. But subordinating property rights to an idea that we need these shacks just seems nuts to me, and running directly counter to the public’s interest.

      And bear in mind that what we’re talking about doesn’t require that these things are torn down – it’s perfectly likely that more of these shacks will remain shacks because lots of people want single family homes and would value that use more than they would redevelopment into a more productive form.

  • Kate 08:48 on 2018-10-20 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has plans to make municipal boards more diverse with a new bank of potential candidates from different cultural backgrounds.

    The city’s also being called on to make the language of its documents more inclusive.

  • Kate 21:18 on 2018-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    I can’t count how many times I’ve passed by Radio Hovsep, but I’ve never had any reason to go inside. CBC has a nice profile of owner Joseph Hovsepian and a glimpse inside a kind of store we rarely see any more, with photos and video.

    • dewolf 23:13 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      Wow, I lived less than 100 metres from his shop for years and never bothered to venture inside. Sometimes, the closer things are, the greater your blind spots…

    • JaneyB 10:21 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      Amazing. What a treasure! I’m sure I need something fixed….

  • Kate 21:15 on 2018-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m weighing how much time and space to give the CAQ, given that the balance of the Quebec government has shifted to the other side of the seesaw from the interests of this city, and we need to keep an eye on that. But I know readers will call me to order if I drift too much, so here goes…

    I’m pretty sure the lovely young man tasked with cutting immigration to Quebec and enforcing rules against people wearing religious signifiers – including teachers – is a good place to start. Simon Jolin-Barrette is only 31 and is a lawyer; not too much seems to be known about him. We can only hope he isn’t a shit. Next.

    Philosopher Charles Taylor is already condemning the CAQ plan to punish wearers of religious signifiers but François Legault is brushing his views aside.

    The CAQ has also appointed a secretary for anglophone affairs, rather than a minister. He’s an MNA from Laval and does not consider himself an anglophone.

    If Legault wants to impose French tests to allow people to stay in Quebec, let’s have everyone pass those tests. I’d be willing to bet that a good third of Quebec’s birth francophones would fail the official French test applied to CEGEP students, for example, let alone the exam medical people have to pass. (And if you flunk out? Exile, to New Brunswick or Manitoba? Or mandatory re‑education?)

    Legault says he’s too busy to attend the UN conference on climate change in December, being that he’s got to buckle down, identify and fire anyone wearing a hijab or kippa (but not, I’m guessing, a crucifix) – which is so much more important.

    China says the sinicisation of Muslims in Xinjiang must continue.

    • Zeke 22:40 on 2018-10-19 Permalink


      For what it is worth, my 2¢ is to give the CAQ as little space here as possible. ie Only if something has a direct and significant effect on Montreal.

      But it is your website, you can do with it whatever you please.

    • Kate 09:16 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      Of course I can. But I like to think I’m doing something marginally useful here, and it feels to me like it’s going to be useful as a Montrealer to have an established platform for calling out Mr Legault’s more egregious ideas over the next few years.

    • Zeke 16:01 on 2018-10-20 Permalink


      No worries, and you are doing far more than “marginally useful”.I’d say “considerably.”

  • Kate 19:33 on 2018-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Police are warning of roadblocks between now and Christmas to check for intoxicated drivers.

    • Ephraim 07:48 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      In other news, Montreal police have decided to actually do their jobs…. or hint that they may.

  • Kate 19:28 on 2018-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s now cell phone service throughout the entire orange line.

    • Roman 23:20 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      I have been to many subways around the world and haven’t yet experienced one without service. It’s mind boggling that a city that wants to dub itself as “smart city” only is getting around to it now. Plus the cops switching the lights. Very smart!

    • Dhomas 06:59 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      New York City and Toronto only recently, in 2017, got cell service on their underground sections of subway. In Toronto, only Freedom Mobile works across the whole TTC network. We are not alone in being behind the times.

    • Kate 08:30 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      Roman, I have no idea how cops switching lights enters into this, but Dhomas makes a legitimate point. Not all cities are always panting at the cutting edge. Modernization happens unevenly and in fits and starts, everywhere.

  • Kate 07:05 on 2018-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Sketches of the new Molson brewery in Longueuil show it will keep some bricks and the clock but, not surprisingly, it won’t otherwise resemble the massive pile of brick that grew up around the 18th-century facility first built by John Molson. There’s nothing in the piece about which historical bits will be kept on our side of the river.

    • Zeke 08:52 on 2018-10-19 Permalink


      It sounds like a lot of lip service. I want to know what the line of sight(s) will be on the clock.

    • Blork 15:46 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      Don’t get your hopes up, Zeke. You’ll be able to see it from the Route de L’Aéroport (here: a location where you will never, ever go unless you’re going to Molson or to the Space Agency) and you’ll be able to see it from a plane landing at the St-Hubert airport.

      There’s a small chance you’ll see it from Boul. Claireview, but that’s a kilometre away and the clock is not very high or large.

  • Kate 07:03 on 2018-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s books are looking better than expected because of tax revenue from the hot real estate market. The current surplus is $65 million – which, I realize, is not a lot on that scale, but is still preferable to a deficit.

    • thomas 18:10 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      Shouldn’t we be seeing surpluses from a lessening of corruption? We know that in previous city administrations there was corruption resulting in overpayments of contracts, etc. If corruption has now been mitigated shouldn’t we be seeing a dividend in the budget? If not, does that mean that fundamentally corruption have not been addressed in any measurable way?

    • steph 22:55 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      Since they solved the corruption problem construction prices have gone up. There’s no more brown envelopes, but instead they’re just invoicing (and paying) inflated amounts with the simple explanation of “economics 101 says high demand mean prices go up, look at all the big projects going on, or course it’s gonna cost more!”. sucks. can we get a real cleanup?

    • Kate 08:32 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      I was trying to compose a response to this last night, but am simply flummoxed. Both sides of this equation are complex: the city’s finances and accounting on the one hand, and the pricing of large and complicated construction projects on the other, against the background of international fluctuations in currency and the tariff whims of Donald Trump. Any statement about these or the interaction between them is bound to be a generalization prone to oversimplification and the leaping to wrong conclusions.

  • Kate 06:57 on 2018-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Sunday marks 100 years since the first train went through the Mount Royal tunnel under the mountain. The work cost $5 million in 1918 dollars, an almost unimaginable figure today.

    • John B 07:38 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      According to the Bank of Canada that would be $72 Million today. That, too, seems unimaginable. If it really costs $72M to put a tunnel through the mountain, we should just add another one for the REM.

    • Dhomas 07:45 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      John B beat me to it. $72 million doesn’t sound too bad, considering most large projects today cost in the billions of dollars.

    • Bill Binns 10:40 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      100 years ago they didn’t do a decade of repetitive and wasteful studies, studies of studies, lawsuits demanding more studies, etc before turning the first shovelful of dirt on any major project. We are very lucky they built the metro when they did. It wouldn’t have been possible just a few years later. Now it takes longer to build a ventilation building than it did to build the entire original system.

    • Blork 10:44 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      As Bill Binns says (somewhat differently), it costs so much more now because the nature of the work is so different.

      Back then they did a bit of engineering and a whole lot of manual digging and that was it. Now they do many (probably too many) studies done by highly paid professionals, boat loads of engineering using highly paid engineers and very expensive tools, lots of work by very expensive machinery run by highly paid workers, plus barrels of insurance, legal, and other payments (including brown envelopes no doubt). It adds up.

    • Ginger Baker 10:49 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      It would be interesting to get an estimate on digging another parallel tunnel the old fashioned way, to see if doing so would significantly lower associated costs… if such is the case, human labour would be far less polluting. If it’s really affordable, it makes sense to do so manually simply to provide the jobs.

    • DavidH 11:26 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      Bureaucracy aside, another part of the reason it was so cheap is because working conditions were awful. How many people cheated death building that tunnel? How many were injured? A project offering similar pay and hours today would not be able to find the workers it needs.
      As a society, it’s a good thing we don’t send our kids to work 70 hours a week at menial pay in a death trap any more.

    • ant6n 12:09 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      The expensive thing for adding a second tunnel would likely not be the 5km under the Mountain, but the integration into downtown. A hundred years ago, it was possible to just get a huge area for a station and build the tunnel there.

      That’s a major frustration with the REM: it’s not just that they use a tunnel, cut its capacity in half, privatize and then use exclusively for lines serving very suburban areas (and cutting of more urban areas), it’s also that there’s no accomodation to allow hooking up a second tunnel later.

      Btw, the Mount Royal tunnel was built using incredibly modern technology at the time. And it was done incredible pretty quickly. It wasn’t actually dug, but drilled + dynamited. The only area that wasn’t is the stretch between Sherbrooke and Gare Centrale, where the soil is softer, and they dug it und used a tunnel segments. (that’s also the section that would be complicated to build a second, parallel tunnel now, and even more difficult once the REM is built).

    • Faiz Imam 22:50 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      “cut its capacity in half”

      It’s a 780 capacity train every 2.5 mins for 18720 people per hour.

      Just FYI. That’s a 2000 seat RTM train every seven mins, which is more than has ever been proposed, even in theory.

      But of course you know this, you just don’t care.

    • ant6n 23:04 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      Lying or misinformed yet again. The 2007 amt tunnel station study assumed one ten car train every 5 minutes, and they actually assumed a crash load of over 300 passengers per car. You’re also deliberately mixing up capacity of infrastructure and utilization yet again. Just because amt/rtm don’t runtrains more often than every seven minutes today (which they actually did operate before rem construction — look at the damn schedules), doesn’t mean the infra wouldn’t support more frequency. When does the deliberate misinformation ever stop? To the mods – can somebody ban this lying shill.

    • Faiz Imam 14:10 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      Update, me and Anton had an extended debate elsewhere. The good news is, we still agree on absolutely nothing. Except now it seems he hates my guts that much more 🙂

      To be continued.

      PS: Kate I do hope you find my occasional contributions valuable. I absolutely would like to hear from other members of the community about how our debates are perceived.

    • Faiz Imam 14:43 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      oh btw, I do take back “is more than has ever been proposed, even in theory.” It’s been a while since I read the 2007 report, I indeed did forget the max theoretical headway went that high.

      Of course whether such a service was ever actually politically and logistically feasible and thus worthy of analysis is a different question that we will forever disagree on .

  • Kate 06:53 on 2018-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Here are the weekend driving notes from TVA and similar from CTV.

  • Kate 06:49 on 2018-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has plans to buy land in neighbourhoods likely to be redeveloped, giving it options to put up public buildings like arenas and libraries and even schools. This is a smart move, because real neighbourhoods – as opposed to bedroom suburbs – need non-residential but also non-commercial buildings as a kernel of public life, especially since we don’t do churches any more.

    • Ephraim 07:57 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      But the city is notoriously bad and buying and selling real estate… didn’t we just have a scandal about buying and selling land in eastern Montreal below costs?

    • Kate 08:53 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      That was about selling off land cheap to the boys. What happens to any land bought in the next couple of years will largely depend on whether Projet is re-elected next time, or some party descending from Union Montreal/Équipe Coderre/Ensemble.

    • Ephraim 10:10 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      Kate, I like the faith in humanity… but I don’t believe that anything will change until we have complete transparency rules in government. Change the laws, require public tenders be posted, 3 offer minimum, disclosure of any relationships, etc. Until then… it’s not going to change, no matter which party you have in place… it’s the “the boys” who will change.

      Like the first Plateau street changes…. somehow seem to be concentrated around the homes of the Projet members.

    • Kate 08:42 on 2018-10-20 Permalink

      It isn’t faith in humanity. But I do feel that if the Plante administration can get some land and start putting up schools, libraries and so on, it will be good for the city. However, should the city elect a new municipal administration run by offshoots of Union Montreal before Projet can get those projects started, the land will probably be diverted cheaply into the hands of private promoters and sprout condos before our eyes.

      That’s all I was saying.

  • Kate 21:51 on 2018-10-18 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s a problem the CAQ’s new education minister will have to tackle: there are too many students and not enough schools in Montreal. In the city’s population slump in the last quarter of the 20th century, some schools were closed and turned into condos, others condemned because of negligent maintenance over years. And now there’s nowhere to put a desk and a blackboard. (Do they still use blackboards? Desks?)

    The Marguerite-Bourgeoys school board in the west end risks breaking the law by turning students away for lack of room and lack of teachers, existing schools are being enlarged, and NDG residents are thinking about constructing a school on top of their YMCA building.

    • Mark Côté 22:03 on 2018-10-18 Permalink

      Note that these are all, I believe, French school boards. It’s almost like they didn’t think of the ramifications of having all immigrants go to French schools…

      Meanwhile the EMSB school near me nearly closed a few years ago for lack of enrollment (they’re doing better now though, mostly because of children of temporary workers).

    • David 07:50 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      It’s even an issue out in the West Island, where all the #badanglos have put their kids into French schools, which are now overcrowded given there were so few to begin with.

    • Blork 10:46 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

      The CAQ will no doubt propose busing students to the off-island suburbs.

    • Jack 11:23 on 2018-10-19 Permalink

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