Updates from December, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 09:05 on 2019-12-09 Permalink | Reply  

    The CBC’s Leah Hendry has a moderately long read Monday about how Catholic church leaders ignored warnings about pedophile priest Brian Boucher, now doing time for molesting boys. It’s a version of the story that’s been told over and over again in so many places, and some people cited here are given aliases because they still don’t want to be on record as criticizing their church.

    Reported here without comment is that the archdiocese has asked a retired judge to examine how it responded to the Boucher affair. Should this kind of thing be investigated from within by someone chosen by the organization itself? Are the civil authorities here still unwilling to bring the full might of justice to bear on the Catholic church?

    • walkerp 10:15 on 2019-12-09 Permalink

      Great reporting, but it is just infuriating to read. The archdiocese needs to be raided and everyone working there investigated, especially the scumbags at the top. I bet you will also find a lot of financial shenanigans as well. It is rotten at every level. It’s crazy how powerful the Catholic Church still is after all the revelations have come out about its behaviour.

  • Kate 08:56 on 2019-12-09 Permalink | Reply  

    QMI has a vigorous piece about how the Rizzuto clan is back in charge and how the Sicilians, the Calabrians and the Hells Angels may be united under a strong leader again.

  • Kate 08:50 on 2019-12-09 Permalink | Reply  

    A man was stabbed in a downtown apartment overnight, and two arrests have been made.

  • Kate 23:41 on 2019-12-08 Permalink | Reply  

    Some Irish-Montrealers gathered on Sunday to hold a silence for the recently unearthed remains at the Black Rock.

  • Kate 23:26 on 2019-12-08 Permalink | Reply  

    After a fire was put out in a Pointe Claire industrial building Sunday afternoon, the body of an employee was found, although it was unclear what he was doing there outside working hours.

  • Kate 11:42 on 2019-12-08 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse sent photographer Alain Roberge out to collect some of the gargoyles of Montreal.

    Technically, these guys are not gargoyles, which are water spouts, but grotesques. The second to last looks like it might have been designed to be a water spout but I don’t see any sign it functions as one. However. Nice pics.

    My favourite grotesques are on a building on St-Jacques just east of Place d’Armes. I photographed one of them a long time ago on film:

  • Kate 11:09 on 2019-12-08 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal trumpets here that shoppers are deserting Ste-Catherine Street for holiday shopping, so when I was walking around there on Friday evening I suppose I was hallucinating for blocks – the crowded sidewalks, the busy stores, the lights, the music, the whole scenario? But this kind of jeremiad can be self-perpetuating. Luckily, La Catherine rises above it still.

    • Bartek Komorowski 12:38 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      They should really rename the paper Le Journal Anti-Montréal.

  • Kate 10:39 on 2019-12-08 Permalink | Reply  

    The Centre d’histoire shows a view down Frontenac in 1970 compared to today. At first a rather bland photo, it reveals some interesting details of the era: the Canadian Car bus, a model that formed most of the STM’s fleet for years; the gasometer looming on the left – its red-and-white checked top shows up in the background of panoramas of Expo 67; and of course the Steinberg logo framed in the centre.

    The Gazette also has some views this week: the 1939 view from the Mount Royal lookout, and a view on Ste-Catherine in 1955.

    Which reminds me, the Gazette says that calèches have “long been fixtures on Mount Royal” but I don’t think I’ve seen them there for some time. Am I mistaken? The only horses I’ve seen up there for ages have been police horses.

  • Kate 09:50 on 2019-12-08 Permalink | Reply  

    Apropos a sort of low-key ongoing grumbly debate about densification in comments here, some Montreal West people are fighting plans to demolish a single house with a “very large footprint”, subdivide the lot and put 3 houses up. Three houses! Words like horrified, outraged and appalling are thrown around here.

    • Jack 10:19 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      “My immediate reaction was to be horrified and outraged with the idea that they would demolish a lovely home, and then when I found out the intention was to subdivide the large, treed lot into three and build three new homes, that was even more appalling,” said Margaret Griffin….apocalypse Montreal West.

    • Kate 11:49 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      Jack, is this all about property values on adjoining lots?

    • Blork 16:46 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      Well let’s see. On the one hand you have a charming 100-year-old house of a style not all that common in Montreal (craftsman) sitting on a lot that is described as large but really isn’t all that big (see overhead view here: https://goo.gl/maps/19DEUnHdBeSMPyqo6) in a neighbourhood filled with charming older houses in a borough that is known for its greenery and open spaces. On the other hand you will have three cookie-cutter houses crammed cheek-by-jowl onto a lot where they barely fit, contributing to the overall blanding and IKEAification of the neighbourhood, but oh, densification.

      I’d be against it too.

      (For those who want the demo to happen in the name of densification, I assume you are also champions of the demolition of the Van Horne Mansion, and I assume you’re sad that they re-built the Lafontaine house on Overdale when they could have squeezed in another Airbnb tower on that spot…)

    • Faiz imam 17:01 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      “On the other hand you will have three cookie-cutter houses crammed cheek-by-jowl onto a lot where they barely fit, ”

      See, this here is the problem.

      There are absolutely architectural styles that would fit 3 units perfectly well in that space, but the fear that they will be “crammed” is what is scaring people unnecessarily. There are in fact many types of triplexes where you’d be hardpressed to notice that its not a “regular” house.

      We have to allow that sort of creative reuse to occur, and to densify very low density suburbs in ways that are healthy and fit the surrounding environment.

    • Blork 17:17 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      There’s something to be said about preserving the look and aesthetics of existing neighbourhoods. It would be one thing if this were a vacant lot, or if the house in question was a junkpile that no one would miss. But that’s not the case here. It’s a nice looking house on a corner lot. Possibly one of the oldest houses in the neighbourhood. Maybe the existing house could be split into a duplex instead of tearing it down.

      I think of the horrors that took place in the 1960s and 70s when older buildings were knocked down willy-nilly to be replaced by ugly (often brutalist) monstrosities, because nobody cared about heritage then; people were only concerned with progress! and the future!

      We now look back on those times with horror, and wonder “WTF were they thinking?” Well now I see the same thing happening, but now the catch-word is “densification!”

      (And FWIW, I’m not against densification; I’m in favor of it. But it’s not a panacea; there are places were that’s the right approach and places where it’s not.)

    • Blork 17:22 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      And FWIW, I doubt this place is a junk pile. Streetview from less than six months ago shows it for sale by Sotheby’s; hardly the realator for the tear-down set.

    • Blork 17:28 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      Listed at $1,149,000.; a gorgeous craftsman house. It is insane that anyone wants to tear this down.


    • Kate 18:48 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      To be fair, Blork, it’s not a given that the house would be replaced by something ugly or even cookie-cutter. And as you say, there’s not really room for three McMansions on that lot.

      I mostly found the vocabulary a little extreme.

      (Hate the interior decor in the Sotheby’s ad – that heavy swaggy faux-retro look is prevalent, but awful. At least there isn’t a pseudo-Victorian breakfast bar.)

    • CE 19:49 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      I’m generally not in favour of tearing down historic houses but this one I wouldn’t shed any tears over. The lot is a great corner lot that could accommodate more people. There isn’t much room left on the island to build on and this house seems to be hogging a lot of space. If you look around the immediate area in the neighbourhood, you can see quite a few examples of lots the same size that comfortably fit three or more houses.

      Also, I don’t think there is much architectural value here. Sure, it’s not a common style in Montreal but there are literally hundreds of thousands of houses like this around Canada and the US (many of which are much nicer than this one). Also, if you look carefully, this house is in rough shape and would need a fair bit of work to make it nice enough for someone willing to pay $12,320 just in property tax every year.

      I say tear it down.

    • Blork 20:08 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      I’m not crazy about the decor either, but the design, as an example of early 20th Century Craftsman, is outstanding. The overall space, the window casings and placement, the ceilings, some original cabinetry in the kitchen, other original woodwork throughout the house, etc. If this house were in the American mid-west or California, people would be falling over each other to preserve it. (I’ve made a bit of a study of this style over the past few years, visiting a number of historic examples and doing a lot of reading about it — although I don’t claim to be an expert — and this is a really nice example.)

      And what kind of economics has one buying a million dollar house as a tear down? (Outside of Toronto or Vancouver I mean.) When you factor in the demo costs, that’s around $400,000 per unit just for the property. Then you plunk down a few $300,000 Bonneville houses and sell them for what, $900,000 each? Is that the solution to Montreal’s alleged density problem?

      @CE, there is plenty of room on the island for new development, and any development in those areas should be done with density as a top priority. But if you ask me, tear-downs and their redevelopment needs to be done with respect for the surrounding environment. Reference my notes above about the horrors of so-called “progress!” building in the 1960s. Just because you don’t like the Craftsman style, and probably don’t give AF what the people in the neighbourhood think, that doesn’t mean tearing it down is the right thing to do.

    • mare 22:46 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      I know in Ottawa there were (are) a lot of tear downs because of grow houses. It apparently is a bylaw that if your house is used for growing canabis, even by tennants, it has to be demolished. I don’t think we have a bylaw like that here. Anyway, there were a few near my father-in-law’s house and it made for some pretty nice empty lots that unfortunately now are all occupied by macmansions with three car garages. But it could have been multiplexes, they are allowed by the zoning laws, my father-in-law planned converting his house into one to generate a revenu income for his much younger wife.

    • Douglas 23:40 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      Didn’t know the Van Horne Sherbrooke mansion was literally sitting on Easton avenue, a road nobody in Montreal had even heard of.

      Should never allow Montrealers to ever tear down any old building. Should allow these old buildings to rot forever. New development and new housing is a plague and horror we will never recover from.

    • Blork 09:21 on 2019-12-09 Permalink

      Future internet historians will cite Douglas’s reply as an example of a pointless comment by someone who either hasn’t read the discussion or is incapable of understanding it.

    • walkerp 10:28 on 2019-12-09 Permalink

      I’m fully with Blork on this one. There is also an environmental aspect which is that most likely the materials will simply be demolished and taken to the trash, where the wood will be burned (releasing carbon) and the rest sit in a landfill. And whatever replaces it will be built as cheaply as possible, will look like shit and will probably last about one-fifth as long as the existing house. Finally, the new place will fill as much land as possible with housing and garages, thus further increasing the heat footprint.

      And frankly, that house is gorgeous. Look at that wainscotting. You can subdivide the place without tearing it down (but that would impact the bottom line).

  • Kate 09:40 on 2019-12-08 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal currently has 968 km of bike paths and city hall wants to double that number. The lede reminds us this plan was hatched under Denis Coderre.

  • Kate 09:38 on 2019-12-08 Permalink | Reply  

    A business in Pierrefonds-Roxboro was firebombed overnight. TVA gets a photo of the pizza place CTV leaves unnamed (and illustrates with a photo of a fire truck from Nuns’ Island).

    • EmilyG 10:55 on 2019-12-08 Permalink

      Nooooo! Gino was one of my favourite pizza places. 🙁

  • Kate 09:34 on 2019-12-08 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM says the notion that the metro is always down is untrue and that service has been more reliable this year than over the last seven.

  • Kate 19:52 on 2019-12-07 Permalink | Reply  

    The SPVM, which has had to show it’s doing something about the recent surge in gunshots around town, says it wants the public’s help so we don’t go the way of Toronto with gun violence – although this city isn’t yet offering to buy guns as Toronto did. Info in the La Presse piece about ways to talk to the police on the QT.

  • Kate 09:51 on 2019-12-07 Permalink | Reply  

    With the Mount Royal tunnel closing after the holidays, STM is going to rent 50 large coach-style buses to ferry passengers to and fro. Details haven’t been worked out, but shouldn’t the REM organization be paying for this, rather than the STM?

    The article also expands on why the STM has so many buses down for maintenance that it can’t meet existing schedules, and how it should be able to resolve that problem over the next year. Can’t come soon enough, as anyone would say who’s shivering on a street corner right now.

    • Filp 11:49 on 2019-12-07 Permalink

      Out of pure curiosity, the stm is providing the total number of busses in service at this link! It’s updated daily


      It has improved, but it’s going to be a slow process to get back to the 1425 busses necessary. Some days the number drops too. As for “the metro is always down” crowd, yesterday was the first time in literally half a year that I was stuck on a non moving train for 10 something minutes. So as a three or four times daily rider I can confirm that the metro is more reliable than people realize. Maybe I am just subconsciously avoiding peak hours though

    • Ant6n 12:42 on 2019-12-07 Permalink

      The REM should have no shut downs “except maybe a weekend or two”. If we had properly functioning red tape, the claims like that made at the BAPE would’ve made it into a planning contract that would’ve been binding. Technically it wouldve likely been possible to maintain service, but doing a shutdown and offloading the costs to the province represents a way to off load costs while maintaining the fiction that ure within budget.

  • Kate 22:55 on 2019-12-06 Permalink | Reply  

    A local man with a record of creating web content honouring the Polytechnique shooter (and of owning illegal weapons) was arrested again Thursday and will be charged with inciting hatred against women.

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