Updates from September, 2018 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 06:59 on 2018-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    L’actualité has a brief but cogent piece on how life has improved in Montreal over the last 20 years but not for everyone equally.

  • Kate 06:58 on 2018-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The fate of the Hélène-de-Champlain restaurant is under discussion as the future of the islands is hammered out. Valérie Plante calls the building a “joyau architectural” but it only dates to 1930. It’s not deeply historical.

    The catch is that millions of dollars have been poured into it over the last ten years so the city isn’t willing to let it go, even if this is a sunk cost fallacy. Nobody mentions the option of simply demolishing the thing and returning the footprint (and its extensive parking lot) to green space – something that’s in shrinking supply on the island. There’s absolutely no need to have a big restaurant verging on a convention centre in the middle of a park.

    • Kevin 07:40 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      It’s a beautiful spot to get married, if I do say so myself.

    • Zeke 08:17 on 2018-09-27 Permalink


      So first the Casino decides that it needs an extremely high end chain restaurant. And now the city thinks we need a second? That’s nuts!

    • Kate 08:30 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      It’s not new, Zeke. It functioned as an upscale restaurant during Expo 67 as the article says, and well into the 1990s iirc. Then It was decided it needed an upgrade, but it never reopened.

    • Zeke 08:37 on 2018-09-27 Permalink


      I know it is not new. I have a bunch of photos of the rose garden from back in 2011. The wine cellar was sold by the SAQ about five years ago.

      But other than tearing it down, I don’t see anybody trying to repurpose it into something like a community centre or space where ou can borrow sporting equipment (XC skis, Snowshoes, Roller Skates, Skateboards, Bicyclyes, etc) so as to get around Ile Saint Helene depending on the season.

    • Su 08:42 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      The article mentions public consultations- however registration to voice an opinion ended on Sept. 20th.

    • Paul 10:04 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      I ran by there the other day and couldn’t help but think it would make a great spa

    • Bill Binns 18:16 on 2018-09-28 Permalink

      It is a beautiful spot but it’s so hard to imagine it being a successful restaurant. It’s huge and even though it has a parking lot, it’s difficult to reach by car.

      To me, the most damning thing is that Montreal is lousy with high end restaurant entrepreneurs and none of them want this location. I think it could be a great place for a large day care. All those folks coming in to work on the yellow line could dump their kids off on the island and pick them up on the way home.

      I’m all for Kate’s plan to return the site to green space as well. Sinking tens of millions into a restaurant only to knock it down before it opens is so very Montreal but I would support it anyway. Come to think if it, I’m all for knocking down just about any structure and breaking up just about any pavement in any park in the city. Grass and trees. Grass and trees.

    • Kate 14:29 on 2018-09-29 Permalink

      Bill Binns, you have a cogent point that no restaurateur has made a play for a lease on the building. They know it’s not a viable location. Paul’s point about a spa is not bad, but that might mean additional construction for outdoor pools like the ones Bota Bota has, and we don’t need more concrete than we already have on the island.

  • Kate 06:52 on 2018-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has signed a new contract with its crossing guards meant to last five years. The one who works closest to my place is good – she encourages the little kids, knows everyone in the area and greets us, and is an observant set of eyes on the street. The other one near here, not so much: a friend usually hangs out with her so she mostly stands around chatting.

    • Roman 11:21 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      These guys are the worst. The one near my house lets people cross illegally teaching kids the wrong things. They replaced him, and the next one is doing exactly the same thing!

      There a turning green, and red for everyone including pedestrians, yet he goes out on the road and starts waving at patiently waiting pedestrians.

      Where can I file a complaint?

    • dwgs 12:25 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      We had one at Sherbrooke and Girouard who would park her car (illegally) close to the intersection and sit in it, getting out occasionally to actually do her job. I told the crossing guard at the next intersection (who was very good) about it and she gave me a number to call. I called and the next week the lazy one was gone, replaced by the type of person Kate mentions, he’s great and he’s been on that corner for about ten years now. Of course I don’t remember the complaints number…

    • Kate 13:51 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      Roman, it’s clearly untrue, as well as unfair, to say “these guys are the worst.”

    • Kevin 21:58 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      I believe that they are hired by the SPVM

    • Roman 13:06 on 2018-09-28 Permalink

      I’m morally against these guys in general. I feel they are teaching kids the wrong thing.

    • Mark Côté 07:56 on 2018-09-29 Permalink

      While I lament their necessity, the ones I’ve seen in Western NDG do their jobs. Drivers, in the morning in particular, seem really impatient, and I’ve seen some egregious behaviour that was at least partially mitigated by the presence of a crossing guard.

      The SPVM (very) occasionally parks near some school intersections, and it’s easy pickings for them.

  • Kate 06:47 on 2018-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Police shut down crackhouses in Hochelaga but residents say the problem has been displaced, but not fixed.

    • Ephraim 07:31 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      Like prostitution, you don’t cure the problem, you just move it around and hope eventually no one sees it to complain.

    • Dhomas 09:57 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      I disagree, Ephraim. Prostitution and substance abuse are quite different. I tend to agree that prostitution is almost impossible to eliminate, but substance abuse is treatable. It just needs the right treatment. We can see the problem right in the first paragraph of the article: “le SPVM a procédé à la fermeture, ces derniers jours, de lieux où les consommateurs de drogue se réunissaient”. Drug use is being treated as a criminal problem whereas it should be treated as a public health issue. Closing down the crackhouses without offering any help or treatment to the users will absolutely lead to the situation currently being reported. I don’t know what they expected.

    • Ephraim 11:03 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      Dhomas – I think you missed my point, I agree with you. The police close the business, they don’t deal with the underlying problem. So the business just moves and opens elsewhere to annoy other people.

      But I don’t think you can help everyone, some people aren’t ready for the help. But the criminal isn’t the drug user, it’s the seller. The users should be sent to social services, who should be trained to get them help. And frankly, we should be offering better treatments, like Ibogain.

  • Kate 06:45 on 2018-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The New York Times has done a “36 hours in Montreal” before, but here’s a new one in which the writer gets away from Old Montreal for a bit.

    • Zeke 08:30 on 2018-09-27 Permalink


      Instead of rehashing Schwartz’s, Elaine Glusac should have mentioned the food walking tours offered by The Museum of Jewish History. Covers the same area but is infinitely better. You still see the murals, but you fill your belly as well.

      She also could have sent people to NDG, Ahuntsic, Lasalle, and/or Tetreauville. Neighborhoods that definitely have things for tourists, but no tourists, instead of rehashing the MBAM, Notre Dame, Mile End.

      Then, given that Yannick Nezet Seguin has just taken over the Metropolitan Opera, her touting of Kent Nagano’s lame duck season is just mailing it in.

      And if anybody is interested, I think Bar George is horrible.

    • Daniel 15:17 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      And yet someone could probably have a lovely time following these recommendations. These things aren’t typically here to break new ground. And quite honestly if you come here and don’t go to, say, Schwartz’s, there’s a decent chance you’ll go back home and everyone will ask you if you went to Schwartz’s. [shrug] Some of these things just feed on themselves. And the flip side is that a previously “undiscovered” place can land on the map and get mobbed. It was nice to see Le Mousso get a mention, at any rate. And, yes, let them all go to Première Moisson…

    • TC 23:08 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      Reading the article, as an about once a year visitor, I felt it was a good introduction to Montreal. The Musée des Beaux-Arts Montréal has featured some of the best exhibitions I’ve ever enjoyed. Rodin, Van Gogh to Kandinsky. Ambled along this walking tour: https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g155032-d11479171-Walking_Tour_of_Old_Montreal-Montreal_Quebec.html Also did a self-guided audio tour, which I loved, but I now cannot find online. It was great, comprehensive, and if I remember well, recommended by Kate.

  • Kate 06:41 on 2018-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Last year, a record number of city workers received a help for post-traumatic stress after coping with the floods in the West Island.

  • Kate 06:24 on 2018-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Work has begun on the REM downtown, and McGill College is mostly closed off, so that businesses on the street are suffering.

  • Kate 20:30 on 2018-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal MP Nicola Di Iorio, of Saint-Michel-Saint-Léonard, announced in April he was quitting politics before the end of his term. Now he says he wants to reverse that, and in fact might even want to run again in 2019. The federal Liberals don’t know anything about it and La Presse wasn’t able to get any clarification, but some pieces say Di Iorio has returned to legal practice.

  • Kate 20:02 on 2018-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s a Laval story so it won’t get a Montreal homicide number, but it seems worth noting that a man alleged to be an associate of the Hells was shot and killed in a restaurant there, Tuesday evening. Sounds like it was a very professional hit.

    • Kevin 20:13 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      Would you want Laval homicides broken out separately on the map? I could do that.

    • Kate 21:04 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      Don’t change a thing! The map is great as it is.

    • Zeke 09:19 on 2018-09-27 Permalink


      Only tangentially related, but a possible explanation of why the murder rate here is so low.

  • Kate 19:58 on 2018-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM is offering free tours of eight green line stations this weekend, discussing them from an architectural and technical viewpoint – although this piece says the tours were close to being booked up. It’s part of the Journées de la Culture this weekend.

    • MrSprocket 21:02 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      I just emailed them and am very excited. Hopefully I get a spot for Saturday evening and my terrible French is up to the task.

    • Kate 06:58 on 2018-09-28 Permalink

      I emailed Thursday and was told it was all booked up.

  • Kate 07:34 on 2018-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The Globe and Mail has a look at the new Université de Montréal campus and the effect it’s having on surrounding neighbourhoods.

    • SMD 10:24 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      There was a similar analysis from two geographers in Monday’s Le Devoir. They worry that Montreal could develop a doughnut-hole problem like many large global cities, where working-class residents are pushed further and further out to the periphery:

      « À partir de cet exemple de Parc-Extension, on s’inquiète du devenir des quartiers péricentraux qui, bien qu’enclavés, étaient encore les garants d’un certain droit à la ville et à la centralité pour les nouveaux arrivants et les ménages les plus modestes de la métropole. »

    • Kate 11:29 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      I’ve recently heard people I thought better of, deploring how poor people are still visible around areas like St-Henri and Hochelaga. No answer when I asked where they thought those people ought to go.

    • Ephraim 11:39 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      Kate – There are deplorable people everywhere. Sometimes they complain about the poor, sometimes they get elected in spite of assaulting women, not understanding what truth is and so forth. Other times they hide how deplorable they are in plain sight, you just have to pull back the blinkers that we have on.

      There are two ways to give charity…. someone who writes a large cheque quietly for Acceuil Bonneau (and never gives on the street) who receives no recognition and someone who hands out quarters to the homeless on the streets where people can see them (so they get credit.) It’s impossible to detect the first kind, you just have to hope that your friend are those kind of people….

    • qatzelok 12:29 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      While a few lucky North American cities have been greatly re-urbanized over the last two decades, it has come about at a time of incredible imbalance between wealth-hoarders and normal people. The wealth-hoarders have made sure that virtually no social housing has been built in central cities, and this will spell disaster if it isn’t corrected by an extremely socialist governance for at least one generation.

    • Frankie 16:31 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      These areas, Park Ex, Hochelaga, St Henri have been crying out for rejuvenation for years: new sidewalks, cleaning up the schools, housing inspectors going after slumlords, etc, to give the residents a better quality of life. instead the governments sit on their hands and let everything decline. The Globe article says something about keeping 15 per cent as social or low-cost housing, so where are the 85% who are priced out of the neighbourhood supposed to go? I believe that Montreal will move more and more to the UK housing estate model and the Parisian banlieue model to house lower income families, recently arrived immigrants and aging working class poor, just get them out of the city altogether. The real estate market and sympathetic governments will make sure to force the policy into this direction, and refugees and poor immigrants will not have any leverage to argue against this. What I find really laughable is how these neighbourhoods are sold as ethnic and diverse to attract the pseudo-socialists, but no one actually wants these people for neighbours, they just want to go to the restaurants. I sound bitter, don`t I.

    • Kate 07:03 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      Frankie, I am no expert, but don’t the “UK housing estate model and the Parisian banlieue model” risk creating slums? I remember regular reader mare, who grew up in the Netherlands, describing how the Dutch do it: they specifically avoid creating such areas by subsidizing rents in regular apartments. Maybe it’s a question of scale, but his description made it sound much more viable, and less damaging to the social fabric.

    • Frankie 08:01 on 2018-09-27 Permalink

      Kate, those models certainly create slums.While I do not believe that this is the specific intention of our local governments, unless a real concerted effort is made by local and provincial governments to pay equal attention to the living conditions for all residents and ensure some sort of class diversity in neighbourhoods, this is exactly what will happen. I, myself, have been priced out of the more trendy part of Villeray, where I lived for 15 years before I was evicted while the gentrification process was in full swing. While I was not part of what is considered a vulnerable population, a woman in her seventies, who had lived in an upper duplex down the street for almost 40 years was evicted around the same time and I am aware of others. While it is part of the ebb and flow of the economy, it is painful for a lot of people. I now live on the east fringe of Villeray, but I will be priced out of this area if I have to move. I have seen some Air BnBers in the hood so the process is well underway. As more of the city undergoes this rejuvenation, the problem will only get worse and, as quick and cheap solutions are sought, city planners efforts will go to finding some land that is cheaper, often on the fringes, and building something there. As for subsidized housing, there is sometimes pushback from those who have to pay full price for a dwelling when their neighbour has half of it paid for by the taxpayer. Not many easy solutions for this kind of thing.

  • Kate 06:40 on 2018-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The old awning along Plaza St-Hubert wasn’t perfect, but it did protect shoppers from rain. The new one, being installed at considerable expense, won’t be continuous in the same way and will have a fair number of gaps. This item doesn’t quite say “wtf?” but it’s implied.

  • Kate 06:27 on 2018-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    A consortium that hasn’t succeeded in convincing anyone that we need a monorail linking Montreal and Quebec City is now proposing a monorail to run between the Palais de Congrès and La Ronde, linking Old Montreal and the Jean-Drapeau islands. Massive underground parking lots are also involved in this pipe dream. The article mentions Expo 67 and says the plan evokes the Minirail that was a feature of the fair, although it would actually function more like the Expo Express.

    • JoeNotCharles 09:54 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      Why, I’ve sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook, and by gum it put them on the map!

    • qatzelok 12:33 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      This could work if the monorail went to the South Shore and all the parking lots were created there.

    • qatzelok 12:37 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      (looks at illustration in TVA article) And the Old Montreal portion is built underground.

    • Daniel 13:24 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      JoeNotCharles, thank you for the on-point laugh.

    • Tim 20:53 on 2018-09-26 Permalink

      (Insert Jackie Chan confused face meme here)

  • Kate 06:18 on 2018-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The saga of the city and the water meters is not over: Montreal is suing a list of the major players of that time – people like Zampino, Accurso and Paolo Catania – to try to recoup $14 million.

    (Prediction: even if the city’s case succeeds, a lot of that cash will be eaten up by legal fees.)

  • Kate 19:58 on 2018-09-25 Permalink | Reply  

    TVA has a brief description of the changes to be expected at the Biodome, although nothing visual.

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