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  • Kate 13:43 on 2021-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Treehugger looks at a new power plant built on the McGill campus, opposite the city’s castellar McTavish reservoir building on Dr Penfield.

  • Kate 09:18 on 2021-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    CTV has the story about S.W. Welch’s rent hike. Welch posted to Facebook that his store is still open for the moment.

    Update: Le Devoir also has the story and says the bookstore will be operating till August and describes the owner as “L’imposant barbu à la voix grave et à la longue barbe blanche”!

    • Bert 09:31 on 2021-02-27 Permalink

    • Meezly 11:32 on 2021-02-27 Permalink

      CultMtl and Global News too.

    • qatzelok 12:04 on 2021-02-27 Permalink

      That would be a great location for a new Birkin Bag boutique!


    • DeWolf 16:53 on 2021-02-27 Permalink

      I wrote about this yesterday for Cult MTL. As I was doing the story it occurred to me that I originally met Stephen the last time he had to move from his former location on St-Laurent. I did an article about it for the Gazette:


      It strikes me that, although both cases involve a rent hike, the story is quite different. Back in 2007, the rent hike was just 20% and moving to St-Viateur was more about following the bookstore’s customer base, which was migrating north. In this case, the rent hike is an astonishing 150% (on top of a 70% hike last year) and the store still has many loyal customers in the neighbourhood.

      When I spoke with Stephen yesterday, he said he thought the fundamental character of St‑Viateur would remain intact because some of the oldest and most beloved businesses (the bagel shop, Arahova, Olimpico, Social Club, the Polish place) own their buildings. But everything else is at risk. Shiller Lavy seems only interested in renting to chain stores or restaurants – apparently, they think S.W. Welch’s space would be ideal for yet another takeout-oriented restaurant.

      Rumour has it that the corner spot once occupied by the French bakery will become a new version of Laurier BBQ. You might remember that as the ill-fated restaurant opened by chef Gordon Ramsay and (surprise!) Danny Lavy of Shiller-Lavy. That venture ended in disaster when Lavy and Ramsay had a falling out and ended up suing each other for millions of dollars.

    • Kate 17:31 on 2021-02-27 Permalink

      Thank you, DeWolf.

  • Kate 09:15 on 2021-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s children’s hospitals are seeing cases of a post-Covid syndrome that can turn serious in kids. Item details the long list of symptoms that can be involved.

    • Ephraim 18:16 on 2021-02-27 Permalink

      Part of the unknown unknowns…. a really good reason that you don’t want to get COVID No one really knows what the long term effects may be…5 years or or 90 years on.

  • Kate 09:10 on 2021-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    How much more Montréalais could one man be? General manager of the Canadiens from 1978 to 1983, when he was sacked despite the team winning the Stanley Cup in 1979, Grundman was also a city councillor for a long time, 1968 to 2003, first in St-Laurent wen it was a separate city, then briefly in Montreal, where he was accused of corruption, fined and jailed sentenced during Gérald Tremblay’s era. Grundman has died at 93. Sources differ on how long he was in municipal politics, but Wikipedia seems to be mistaken that he only went into it after his hockey job was over. Obituary.

    • Joey 10:12 on 2021-02-27 Permalink

      He was jailed? The obits said he was sentenced to community service.

    • Kate 10:17 on 2021-02-27 Permalink


  • Kate 16:49 on 2021-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The public security commission is recommending that the SPVM make arrest reports public, one of 25 suggestions contained in a new report by the commission. It’s also recommending against racial profiling (I don’t usually go “duh” but it’s difficult to avoid thinking it sometimes), but also that officers caught doing that should be disciplined. Other suggestions include limits on how information collected by police is used, and that the public should be better informed about their rights under arrest, both of which sound like good ideas.

    • Ephraim 18:23 on 2021-02-27 Permalink

      The police need clear guidelines and what they can and can’t do with a mobile phone. And we need to press the to make these guidelines public and require that they inform the public about them. Anyone know if they have a set script like the British “Right to Silence” or the American “Miranda Rights”?

      (Never been arrested… and don’t plan on it, either.)

  • Kate 14:58 on 2021-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    A couple of nice vintage photos decorate this piece about an online tour of old scenes of Montreal, but of course no link to the feature itself, one of a selection of tours offered by the Museum of Jewish Montreal, which are not free.

    • jeather 19:05 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      I had plans to do one of those tours last Easter weekend with a friend coming in from the US.

  • Kate 10:40 on 2021-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Spring break is going to be something of an experiment this year, with Quebec lightening up on pandemic measures, including allowing movie theatres to reopen.

    The first weekend will be mild and rainy, and here are some driving notes.

  • Kate 10:31 on 2021-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The city wants CDPQ Infra to look at burying the eastern REM where it passes through downtown, but the Caisse says only the elevated option is possible because putting it underground would cut into its profits.

    • Ephraim 12:51 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      You know, the city can just say “No thank you” and move on. If the answer to building is NO…. they will look into other plans. It duplicates part of the metro anyway. It continues from Honore-Beaugrand east and goes up Viau. Those are the new sections. Maybe it’s time to look at maybe making something from the Radisson station, running along the 40 and along Souligny going east? The innovation here is building commercial/residential around the stations and less drivers. Elevating to avoid costs of digging. Well…. doesn’t mean that the STM can’t steal the idea and propose competing ideas. I’m sure that there are developers out there who might like to collaborate with the city in that way.

    • steph 13:49 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      I keep reading that the city has NO say, and the city CANNOT build it’s own. can we please split from this province?

    • Kate 14:46 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      I don’t know the specific terms of the law, but it seems to me, from years of watching, that Quebec has total control over this stuff. They ordained the rebuilding of the Turcot, and then the REM, without even asking the city administration what its plans were, what it needed to thrive. Quebec is not really interested in what Montreal needs in order to thrive.

  • Kate 21:47 on 2021-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Earlier Thursday, Denis Coderre tweeted that he was grateful to health minister Christian Dubé for helping with his parents’ vaccine registrations and now Dubé is denying he let Coderre pull his strings.

    Friday morning, Coderre too is trying to back away from this misstep.

    • jeather 22:01 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      I tried to see if there were slots available here (I didn’t make an appointment, I just clicked through a few sites) and there is a lot of availability, so I’m not sure that Dube really did all that much if anything. I’m not a fan of either of them, but this seems like looking for something to be mad about. There are lots of real things to be mad about, not that Coderre (maybe) asked for help in getting his eligible parents appointments on a website that is not the most intuitive out there.

    • Kate 23:24 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      I don’t think it’s about being mad, it’s just interesting that Coderre (who may still have political ambitions) sees no problem in not only using connections, but openly boasting about it.

    • Kevin 23:51 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      Reading more of his tweets and La Presse’s article, it looks like he came across a problem with the software that wouldn’t let people put in required info, and so called someone on Dubé’s staff and the issue was fixed.

      Sounds more like calling someone high up to report a tech problem, if anyone wants to give someone the benefit of the doubt

    • jeather 10:17 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      “Hey look, unlike Plante, the provincial government doesn’t hate ME” could be a selling point, maybe.

    • Meezly 10:35 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      Vaccine-humble-bragging and vaccine-shaming — trending in 2021.

  • Kate 18:06 on 2021-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Thierry Henry has left CF Montreal not, as recently rumoured, to go coach an English team, but for family reasons.

    In other soccer news, now that Quebec has withdrawn support for Montreal’s bit of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Ottawa has also backed away from the project.

  • Kate 09:27 on 2021-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    A photo was posted on Twitter on Thursday showing that the premises of S.W. Welch’s bookstore on St-Viateur are now up for rent.

    • Meezly 09:49 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      No no no!

    • DeWolf 10:13 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      It’s not closed yet!

    • Taras 11:07 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      No I didn’t! There’s still hope. But we all need to support Stephen and his family by dropping by, showing our love, and maybe picking up a great book.

    • Kate 11:27 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      Sorry, Taras, I thought that by posting that photo you were virtually conveying the situation.

      I did not mean to imply you said something you did not intend. I’ve changed my post.

    • Joey 11:30 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      It may not be closed, but it certainly seems like the landlord is planning to rent the space, and we all know how unlikley it is they’ll abandon their plans…

    • Meezly 11:34 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      I posted a call for support on a Plateau parenting group that has 2500+ members and to write to their city councillor. There should be a total moratorium on Shiller-Lavying during the pandemic.

    • Kate 13:37 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      Good move, Meezly.

    • Meezly 14:20 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      Based on my observations, the political activism ratio is pretty low in that group, but there are some civic-minded parents there for sure, esp. if it affects their hood.

    • walkerp 14:29 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      It goes beyond this single store. Shiller/Lavy is almost singlehandedly destroying the commercial nature of the neighbourhood. They did the same thing to Cagibi, cranking up their rent, driving them out and leaving the space empty for almost a year. There needs to be a change in the law so they don’t benefit from having an empty store front.

    • steph 14:52 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      Can someone explain how they /benefit/ from keeping the store empty?

      I always thought they jacked up the rent simply to make more profit. The risk of leaving it empty was just part of the waiting game for the deeper pockets to show up.

    • walkerp 15:01 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      My understanding is they also get a big tax break while the store remains empty, so there is no motivation for them to rent it and can thus do the strategy you mention.

    • dwgs 15:37 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      Also, with real estate prices rising the way they are they’re making serious coin even without doing a damn thing.

    • JPM 17:09 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      @steph, basically they do not care about the day to day operations of the property as much as the return they stand to make selling the property, increase the revenue = increase the value. The losses they incur in the meantime will be tax deductible when they sell.

    • MarcG 17:51 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      This is the kind of shit that makes you realize there are two worlds: one where people exchange their time and labour for money, and one where you turn money into more money because you can understand, or afford to pay people who understand, the kind of gibberish contained in JPM’s post.

    • Kevin 18:33 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      That’s another great reason to simplify the tax code. We’d get to dump lots of excessively specific corporate welfare that only benefits those who can afford to pay lobby groups.

    • CE 21:57 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      I like how the tweet says “There goes our neighbourhood” as if there was still any neighbourhood left on St-Viateur.

    • walkerp 23:08 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      It may have suffered in recent years but it is still a beautiful, wonderful place and there is hope left to keep it that way.

      Go see if you can find a better street in any other city in Canada. You may find a few but what we have is special and it is worth fighting for.

    • JS 09:14 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      What tax breaks do landlords with empty rentals get?

    • Meezly 10:11 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      Here’s what Alexander Norris said:

      Quebec law unfortunately does not provide for controls over commercial rents. (Rent controls are under provincial jurisdiction.) A standing committee chaired by our colleague Mile End councillor Richard Ryan recently recommended that controls be placed on commercial leases in order to protect merchants against abusive rent hikes. That recommendation has been taken up by the city administration, with Plateau mayor Luc Rabouin, member of the executive committee responsible for economic development, announcing he intends to press the province on the issue.

      He provided this article: https://journalmetro.com/…/locaux-vacants-vers-un…/

      Unfortunately the city is reluctant to tax owners of empty storefronts because of the pandemic so once again Shiller-Lavy is protected from this for quite a while yet.

    • Meezly 10:11 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

    • Kate 10:35 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      Thank you, Meezly!

    • Joey 10:54 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      What exactly is Luc Rabouin waiting for (“ with Plateau mayor Luc Rabouin, member of the executive committee responsible for economic development, announcing he intends to press the province on the issue”)?

      (Though admittedly the prospects of Projet Mtl getting Qc to do anything are basically null.)

    • Tim 10:59 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      @JS: I’m not a tax lawyer, but I do not believe that there are any tax breaks for landlords with empty rentals. What people want are for these landlords to be subject to penalties.

    • Kevin 11:32 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      As an individual, you can claim interest payments on money you borrow as a tax credit.

      As a corporation, having a vacant property means its value is decreasing, so you can use that loss to offset income from other areas, thus decreasing the corporation’s income tax.

      Vacant storefronts mean people are less likely to visit the neighbourhood, making it harder for other stores to survive, so they move – and small landlords who need that property rented because they otherwise cannot afford to pay the extremely high commercial property tax — or because they can’t afford their loans — are forced to sell, and the only ones who can buy have deep pockets.

    • Tim 12:01 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      I don’t follow Kevin when you say that the vacant property’s value is deceasing. You mean that the city’s tax evaluation of the property goes down?

      I also do not follow where the loss is. The business will still have expenses coming in for the empty storefront. Can those expenses be applied to decrease the level of tax elsewhere? That still is not a loss, at least to me.

    • Kevin 12:13 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      I’m not a tax lawyer either, but from what I’ve been told, a drop in the city’s evaluation is a drop in commercial taxes (benefitting big corps playing games) and a drop in perceived value means the asset is worth less (so is a write-down, offsetting other income) and so is worth less as a security for loans (hurting small owners with more restricted cash flow).

      It’s accountant/lawyers doing the same kind of min-maxing that people do in RPG or video games.

    • Meezly 14:33 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

      Let’s get back to the issue at hand – supporting S.W. Welch.
      Someone in my google group called ShillerLavy , pressed zero for reception to voice her outrage/opposition to the rent increase.

      I did the same. The receptionist actually picked up, seemed very sympathetic and took down my name and number and my complaint. Now I hope Shiller-Lavy won’t sick their goons on me but I’m willing to take some risk to save my neighbourhood bookstore.

      Shiller-Lavy’s number is 514 256 5050.

    • Meezly 16:37 on 2021-02-26 Permalink

  • Kate 08:57 on 2021-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city is keeping up the pressure to put an end to hunting on the island of Montreal. One suburban mayor says if you can’t shoot animals on Mount Royal, you shouldn’t be allowed to on the West Island either.

  • Kate 08:54 on 2021-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    LCN’s À vos affaires is questioning some of the supposed restaurateurs using food delivery services to sell meals from their private, uninspected kitchens. But this isn’t illegal under a certain threshold, as the article explains.

    • DeWolf 11:52 on 2021-02-25 Permalink

      So it’s entirely legal, but LCN seems to have taken the editorial position that it shouldn’t be.

      I’m not sure we should be depriving people of the means to make a living during a pandemic? Especially since most of these home kitchen restaurants are run by recent immigrants.

  • Kate 08:50 on 2021-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    A man has been charged with sexual assault after an incident at a quarantine hotel, somewhere in town.

  • Kate 08:42 on 2021-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    City hall unanimously voted on Tuesday to press Ottawa and Quebec City to regularize people without legal status living here. It is not right that our economy relies so much on the efforts of people who don’t even have residency or the rights that come with it, and I’m glad I live in a city with an administration that acknowledges this.

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