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  • Kate 06:50 on 2018-09-18 Permalink | Reply  

    This summer saw a lively tourist season with numbers up over last year.

    • Bill Binns 11:03 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Something was different this year. Airbnb arrived in my neighborhood. Now, almost everyday I see people “checking in/out” of houses and apartments on my street with luggage.

      I wonder if anyone has ever looked at Airbnb as a driver of tourism?

    • Ian 11:36 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      They are certainly a driver of illegal parking, lineups at the frickin’ bagel store, and tons of bags of garbage at random times of the week regardless of garbage days.

    • Emily Gray 12:36 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      I’ve certainly heard several stories of unhappy tourists coming to Montreal this summer and staying in uncomfortable, un-airconditioned AirBNBs. They didn’t expect Montreal to be this hot.

    • Ephraim 16:34 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      I’ve certainly heard the phone calls and begging for a room when people came to find an AirBnB and it was either horrible or disappeared when Revenu Quebec found them evading taxes and unlicenced.

    • Bill Binns 17:17 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      @Ephraim – I have seen quite a few people on the street with their luggage trying to contact someone to let them in. This issue is what has kept me from using Airbnb when I travel.

    • Ephraim 18:17 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      @Bill Binns – Just that? It’s not finding out that it doesn’t look what they said. Having them cancel your reservation because they got a better offer. Having them cancel your reservation because they got caught by Revenu Quebec. Having a camera in your bedroom. Having a creepy guy watching you all the time. Finding that the previous AirBnB people had a party and it reeks, it hasn’t been cleaned properly (and it will take a few more hours, because let’s face it, it was a rager… or worse, was used for a porn shoot and someone has to clean up the used condoms). The door doesn’t lock properly and you can’t get someone to help you… or the myriad of other things that happen because you have trusted your vacation to an amateur. Not to mention that the sheets look clean, but are they REALLY clean?

    • Blork 21:06 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      I totally get the problem many people have with Airbnb, and I agree that it’s a problem when Airbnb units essentially take over a building or a neighbourhood. But I’ve used it a number of times for trips to California, and like anything else, you can do it right or you can do it wrong.

      Bear in mind that apartment rentals as an option for tourists has existed for a long time. I used such a service in 2006 in Rome, and it was a well-established thing already. All Airbnb did was make it really easy for both the hosts and the guests, and to introduce a fairly reliable rating system.

      So you do it wrong when you just go for the cheapest place and you ignore the absence of good believable reviews. You do it right when you are more discriminating and you very much pay attention to the reviews and the reliability of the host.

      Dumb-ass 20-somethings who just want to party for cheap will do it wrong. Those are the people you see wandering the streets looking for alternatives. I’ve only had really good experiences with Airbnb because I didn’t do it wrong.

    • Bill Binns 08:40 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      @Ephraim – I have heard all of those things as well but there’s another side of it. I have colleagues who swear by Airbnb who love to ask me where I’m staying and when I tell them I’m in the Marina-del-Yuck La Quinta Inn for $150 a night, they send me pics of their big screen TV, full kitchen and private swimming pool they got for $120 a night.

      I just know I would have very little patience for standing on the sidewalk with my phone in my hand trying to reach the person who is supposed to give me the keys. Or screwing around with an electronic lock that hasn’t been setup properly. Or the neighbors who have had it with the “Airbnb house” and are aggressive with anyone who shows up (increasingly a complaint of the Airbnb fans I work with).

    • Ephraim 09:09 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      @Bill – For me, it’s not a vacation if I have to worry about things, have to make my own bed and can’t just totally enjoy my time.

      @Blork – There are plenty of people who are seasoned who call me. Until AirBnB does something to actually ensure that people are doing this legally, you will always have ruined vacations.

    • Benoit 10:08 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      Count me in the AirBnB fan club. I have used them multiple times in 6 different countries so far, and only had very positive experiences. The appartments and villas were always exactly what I was expecting from looking at the pictures on AirBnb and by reading the comments from previous travelers. I stayed at amazing places for much less than the cost of staying at hotels.

    • Blork 10:10 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      How far we’ve come. I went to Budapest in July 1995 with no reservations for accommodation. I just followed the conventional advice (at the time) that someone would find me an offer me an apartment. That’s exactly what happened. Me and my (then) girlfriend took a bus from the airport into the city center and just started walking. Within minutes a car pulled up and the guy yelled “are you looking for an apartment?” He drove us to a place in the castle district behind a big wooden door with a huge skeleton key. Inside were some small apartments. According to his story, this was his sister’s apartment and they were renting it out while she was away somewhere studying. Price was something like $35 a night, and we got keys (including the big skeleton key) right away. We stayed for about five nights. No problems at all.

      We moved on to Prague, also with no reservations. We had barely stepped off the train when we had five or six offers. We settled on a huge place in an historic building about five minutes by foot from the Charles Bridge. Three or four bedrooms, haphazardly renovated. We were the only ones there but it was unclear if we had exclusive rights to the apartment. No one else showed up in the five or six days we stayed ($50 a night).

      I sure as heck wouldn’t do that now because (a) I’m older and less tolerant of uncertainty, (b) nobody does that in 2018, and (c) I’d use Airbnb or one of the other online rental services where you have reviews and the possibility of recourse if something goes wrong.

    • Bill Binns 10:19 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      “I’m older and less tolerant of uncertainty”

      This is going to be my new email signature. Thanks Blork – 🙂

    • Ian 12:20 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      In my 20s I used to sleep under bridges while hitch-hiking. Last AirBnB I stayed in (for work) in LA didn’t have air conditioning as described, and I complained loudly and repeatedly about it to my “host”. I’m too old to be sleeping under bridges any more 😀
      That said I’ve been in lots of “proper” hotels that didn’t seem fit for human habitation.

    • Ephraim 15:15 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      In my 20s I slept on beaches, I slept on trains, I slept in hostels, I slept in hotels that would rate 1* with a bribe and even couches. In my 30s, I moved up to 2* hotels and sleeper ferry boats. Today, I question anything under a 3* without a impeccable bed, heating and air conditioning. (Yes, I’ve slept places with no heating or coin heating.)

      The pre-bubble Internet was very kind to me. $15 for a week-long condo in Tremblant, $30 5* hotels in Boston (the parking was more expensive than the room), etc. But today, I’m not taking a chance on ruining my time off with a bad bed or worse.

    • Blork 15:37 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      Ephraim, perhaps you should adopt the “I’m older and less tolerant of uncertainty” email signature too. 🙂

      The only time I had a problem with apartment rental was in Rome in 2006. This was pre-iPhone, so access to a web browser from the Rome airport or Termini station was impossible. I had the guy’s phone number, but my mobile didn’t work in Europe and none of the three different types of public phones in Rome seemed to work (and nobody at the airport or train station could tell us how they were supposed to work). The only problem was that we were arriving late so I wanted to let him know and to reschedule the key pickup.

      Finally, a pay phone just randomly worked after not working 10 times. Problem solved. No other problems. (This was a pre-Airbnb apartment rental service.)

    • Ephraim 20:03 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      @Blork – Gladly. Why ruin a day with a backache.

  • Kate 06:43 on 2018-09-18 Permalink | Reply  

    In the Plateau, a road that had been repaved four days earlier was opened up again to investigate a gas leak.

    • Ephraim 07:53 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      The Plateau is notoriously bad with planning these things. In the 10 years I have been on this street, we have been repaved 4 times.

    • Joey 08:49 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Yeah, how could they have not planned the emergency gas leak better?

    • Ephraim 09:01 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      They should have planned looking at the infrastructure before repaving.

    • qatzelok 09:50 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Urban road systems are complex, and it would be a good idea to make them more modular so that repairs and upgrades can be more easily done without interrupting pedestrian and bicycle flow.

    • dwgs 09:59 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      And how exactly would one make a road modular?

    • dhomas 11:40 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Ephraim is right. While they had the road dug up, Energir should have checked for any necessary repairs to their infrastructure underneath. At the very end of the article, they make mention of this: “Contrairement à Bell, qui a profité du chantier pour remplacer certaines de ses infrastructures souterraines, Énergir n’a pas jugé nécessaire de remplacer sa conduite souterraine.” It seems like it was necessary.
      I’m also not sure how roads can be modular, though.

    • dwgs 11:47 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Every time the city does a major tear up of a roadway all other stakeholders should be informed as a matter of course, Bell, Energir, Hydro. If any of those firms decline the opportunity to upgrade their infrastructure and need to come back and tear things up within five years of that date they should have to pay through the nose.

    • Ian 11:57 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      I was under the impression that after the debacle that was the Saint Larry réfection a law to that effect was put in place?

      HJ has been a mess for a long time, though. It makes no sense how long it took for that work to get done, and I’m not surprised at all that this happened. Next up: fix all the neighbouring damaged road surfaces from years of heavy equipment traffic. Haha just kidding, that’s only going to get patched.

  • Kate 06:38 on 2018-09-18 Permalink | Reply  

    Fire broke out upstairs of the Lafleur on St-Denis at Carré St-Louis overnight. It was the second fire there this year.

    • Ephraim 07:53 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Wow. The Lafleur has been closed since the last fire and the building still has barricades ups.

    • Bill Binns 08:29 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      The professionalism of our local arsonists is really slipping. I remember when they could burn an under-performing restaurant to the ground on the first try every time.

    • Ephraim 09:03 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Bill – It’s actually the building next to the Universal Cafe that housed the Lafleur, so it’s essentially a building over. Also, considering that both restaurants were already shuttered and didn’t look like they were coming back, this is beyond gilding.

  • Kate 19:25 on 2018-09-17 Permalink | Reply  

    City hall opposition wants Montreal to declare a motion against Doug Ford’s plans to cut down Toronto city council. I haven’t followed this story on the blog because it isn’t happening here, but most news readers will be aware of Ford’s plan to invoke the notwithstanding clause to enable his putsch against Ontario’s biggest city – and we may soon be facing a similar move by François Legault here. Legault’s intention not only to do a Ford on Montreal’s council but reduce the influx of immigrants that power this city could damage Montreal in a way we have not seen since the last century.

    If Justin Trudeau is faced with new, powerful right-wing premiers willing to invoke the notwithstanding clause to enforce policies hostile to democracy, I wonder what he will do.

    Update: Montreal’s council voted unanimously to condemn Ford’s action.

    • Brett 20:48 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Hi Kate. Two things:
      1. I often admire your command of the English language in this blog, as evidenced with your use of interesting expressions and your critiques of bad copywriting in the media. However the use of the word “putsch” to describe Doug Ford’s move to reduce the size of the Toronto City council is clearly wrong. A putsch is defined as a “secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government”. Here, Ford isn’t trying to replace the mayor or expel the elected council from office. He is merely trimming the size of the council, so I don’t think it’s anything quite as dramatic.
      2. I fail to see the truth in your statement that the influx of immigrants power this city. If we take “power” to mean power of governance and being a sitting member in Montreal’s City Council, then this is clearly not the case: only 16% of the council is comprised of members who belong to an ethnic minority.
      If instead you mean that immigrants are more of an economic power, then we can look at employment statistics and show this isn’t the case either. While the employment rate of immigrants has shown a marked improvement, which is definitely an improvement for the health of our city, the rate is still slightly lower for an immigrant than for someone who is born here. So it’s not accurate to say that immigrant Montrealers as a group contribute more to the economic well being of the city than native born Montrealers.

    • Clement 21:08 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Brett, on your 2: The point is not that immigrant Montrealers contribute more than some other groupe, it’s that they contribute, period.
      Legault’s position is not about replacing immigrants with native born Montrealers, he simply wants fewer immigrants.

    • Chris 21:18 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      The OED defines “putsch” as “a violent attempt to overthrow a government; a coup.” Indeed there has been no violence, so the usage is a stretch IMHO, but I’m guessing Kate didn’t meant it literally, but rather chose a strong word to call out her opposition to the move (far me it for me to speak for her tho!).

    • Clement 21:18 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      And on your 1. It may not be “technically” a putsch, but he certainly didn’t make that a promise during the campaign, so quite close to “secretly plotted”.
      Also, the courts said it was illegal, as it was against the charter of rights, so it’s certainly anti-democratic.
      Finally, yes, his end game is in fact to oust the current mayor, with whom he’s had a beef since his brother was mayor. Smaller council: less representation: less democracy. He’s trying to tilt the balance of the council towards the suburbs, so people living in the centre of city (more likely to vote for councilors who think like Tory, the current mayor) have less weight that the more “Ford” leaning suburbanites.

      It may not be a putsch, but it’s a dick move.

    • Chris 21:31 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Clement, while I certainly agree it is a vendetta, a dick move, am against it, etc., I think calling it “certainly anti-democratic” is also inaccurate. At best it’s “partially anti-democratic”. Section 33 is *part* of the Charter. He is newly elected, with a sizable majority. He didn’t campaign on it exactly, but did promise various cuts, streamlining, reducing inefficiencies, etc., so it’s not exactly out of left field. Arguing that elected parliamentarians have the final word over appointed judges indeed could be argued to be “certainly democratic”. End devil’s advocate mode.

    • Kevin 22:24 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      If he wanted to be democratic Ford would have mentioned before the last day to submit nominations for council.

      People had already chased signatures and spent money to learn the seats would not exist when voting day arrived.

      doubling down on the notwithstanding clause instead of having a debate and changing the rules for the next municipal election is going to bite Ford supporters in the ass in the long term.

    • nau 09:18 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Brett, your concerns about precision in word choices might carry more weight if you didn’t mischaracterize a reduction in the elected representatives from 47 to 25 as “trimming.”

    • Myles 09:30 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      “Putsch” is used non-literally all the time! Any reasonable reader would understand that its hyperbole and they aren’t expected to believe Doug Ford actually rode up to the Ontario legislative assembly in a tank.

    • Chris 09:51 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      nau, his use of ‘trimming’ seems correct. Did you check a dictionary before posting? 🙂 OED defines the verb ‘trim’ as “Make (something) neat or of the required size or form by cutting away irregular or unwanted parts.” The additional definitions say nothing about it implying “only a little bit”. Indeed in gardening, autumn trimming can easily take away half.

      Myles, sure, but commenters here (myself included sometimes), can get pretty pedantic about trivialities like a street being one block into a different borough, or spelt with a space or not, etc., so being pedantic about the violent overthrow of government seems no less reasonable.

    • carswell 10:13 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      A more locally relevant and contemporary resource, the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2nd edition) defines putsch as “an attempt at political rebellion; a violent uprising.” Kate’s metaphoric use of the term is consistent with the first definition.

      As for trim, if you go to a haircutter and ask for a trim and s/he cuts off half your hair or beard, you’re probably going to be pissed as hell.

    • Bill Binns 10:45 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Has this ever occurred in the other direction? Has the Toronto Council ever passed a motion critical of the actions of Quebec’s provincial politicians? Seems like such a thing would be seen as an act of war by a chunk of the electorate here.

      As I’m typing this, one thing comes to mind. During the first hat war, Ontario(?) ran an ad trying to attract our abused hijab wearing nurses.

    • Ian 11:59 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      FWIW I completely agree with Kate’s use of “putsch”, this is clearly an attempt to undermine Toronto’s government and reshape it into a more pleasing Fordian entity. It’s not like he has made any attempt to disguise it.

    • JaneyB 13:41 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Also in agreement with Kate. Ford has created a legitimacy problem around the judgement of the courts. We know this was part of his goal because other cities have radically cut the size of their city councils without reference to the notwithstanding clause eg: Winnipeg, Hamilton. Provinces have this power over cities under the terms of the Constitution.

      In addition, Ford chose to do this during a municipal election – which is an attack on municipal governments as a legitimate expression of voters’ intentions (Toronto voters in this case). This is a very political act, designed to undermine the authority of two other sites of citizen expression: cities and federal power (in the form of its all-party role in court appointments). Of course Trudeau could overturn it but the next time the PM overturns something a QC premier does, the sovereignty drumbeats could restart. Ford is definitely going for maximum destructive effect.

    • nau 14:22 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Well, Chris, given that both “make the required size” and “cutting away unwanted parts” are clearly contested notions in regards to Ford’s proposal, if that dictionary definition was what Brett was intending to imply, then I think it’s even more appropriate to call him on it given he wants to make an issue of Kate’s use of “putsch”. If neutral language is required, it should be required of all sides.
      With all due respect to the OED, if I wanted to improve my view, I could cut away the unwanted part of a tree (the bit above ground) to make it the required size (flat with the ground). That fits their definition of trimming, but it’s rather far from what anyone understands by the term.

    • Chris 19:46 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      JaneyB, how do you figure Trudeau (by which I assume you meant Parliament) could overturn it? Section 92 of the Constitution makes clear that municipalities are an exclusively provincial jurisdiction. Short of a constitution amendment, I don’t see a way…

    • Brett 00:10 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      re: my use of the word “trim” – whilst I wasn’t aware of the size of the reduction, I used the word trim mainly to reflect the fact that conservatives adore talking about “trimming fat” when referring to decreasing the size of Government bodies. Since Ford, among others, view the council as being bloated, it seems correct to use trim to reflect this point of view, whereas someone who disagrees with this decision might be more inclined to say “cut down”

    • JaneyB 09:13 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      @Chris. The Feds have something called the power of ‘reservation and disallowance’. It’s already in the Constitution – sections 55 and 56. It gives them the power to delay or override provincial laws. It was mostly used in the early decades of Confederation until the provinces were more predictable, functioning entities. Disallowance was last used in the 1940s or so, so there’s an argument that it has become customary (law-ish) to not use it but it is still there and technically useable. Like the notwithstanding clause, it has politically explosive potential, not just because provinces are important players in a federal system but because the provinces (and their voters) have different relationships to the Feds eg: Quebec, Alberta.

    • Chris 20:03 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      JaneyB, oh that old thing. If you think section 33 is controversial, imagine them using that! At least section 33 has been used several times in recent decades, ‘reservation and disallowance’ not for almost a century.

      Anyway, seems a different judge has sided with Ford, so no section 33 needed.

  • Kate 19:14 on 2018-09-17 Permalink | Reply  

    The latest report by the city inspector general finds irregularities in contracts and in their correct completion – but also that the city takes its time paying its bills, too.

    • Ephraim 20:56 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Government is notoriously slow with paying bills. Sometimes up to 180 days to pay. You have to add in the interest ahead of time, because of how long it takes to get bills paid.

    • Bill Binns 12:46 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      I’m sure this is part of the corruption problem. There may be some great law-abiding companies out there who choose not to do business with the city because they can’t wait half a year to be paid. I work for a small company and we simply cannot afford to work for a client that takes 60 days or longer.

      It’s weird that in these days of invoices and payments traveling instantly rather than through the mail, we are going backwards on this issue. When I first started in the mid-90’s, 30 days Net (with a paper invoice sent through the mail and a paper check being mailed back) was the default almost everywhere. Now, we have Fortune 10 companies trying to get us to accept 90 days.

    • Mark Côté 13:02 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

    • Ian 14:41 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Well at least we can now openly and officially say what everyone has informally known to be true for decades.

    • Ephraim 16:43 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Bill Binns, aren’t most Fortune 500 companies paying 2% 10FF? (For those who don’t know what that means, that’s a 2% discount for paying by the 10th of the next month, AKA First Forward). And then a rebate at the end of the year based on volume.

    • Bill Binns 08:43 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      @Ephraim – I am blessedly free of invoicing so I’m not sure. I just know the 90 days thing is one of my boss’s most common complaints and it tends to come up when contracts with our clients come up for renewal.

  • Kate 13:01 on 2018-09-17 Permalink | Reply  

    Temperatures on the weekend beat long-standing records.

    • Bill Binns 16:13 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      I think *hope* that’s it for the hot weather. I have been watching the long term forecast on various websites and aside from this Friday when it’s supposed to be 25, I don’t see it cracking 20 for a couple of weeks out.

      I am so ready for fall. This has been a tough summer. Even my poor dog has seasonal allergies now.

    • Raymond Lutz 18:49 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      From the original article: “Alexandre Parent, a meteorologist at the federal agency, says the heat is expected to continue into late September (…) To have a day or two of pretty high temperatures near 30 C at this time of year, it’s not exceptional but to have a really humid air mass, with humidex above 35, we don’t see that every year, that’s what stands out to me.”

      Again I’m wondering if this federal agency employee is free to speak his mind? Or every one word he used was approved by the Ministry of Truth? Like under Harper years…

      For the straight dope on our new climate systems (ice free arctic ocean, weakening jetstream, etc…) follow Paul Beckwith and his cat (U of Ottawa Ph.D student)

    • Chris 21:19 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Sorry Bill, forecast is calling for several centuries of extra hot weather! 🙂

    • Bill Binns 08:34 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      @Chris – I don’t have any kids so I’m really only interested in the forecast for the next 30 years or so (at best).

    • Chris 09:54 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Bill, how compassionate of you. 🙁

    • Bill Binns 10:55 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      @Chris – I have made the ultimate environmental sacrifice of not making any more polluting humans and this is on top of not owning a car for 13 years and counting. I will take all the long hot showers I want while barely recycling and will put my carbon impact up against just about anyone here (with the exception of Kate herself who I believe has me beat).

      I think you have said that you like to bicycle. Tsk tsk. That bicycle had to be shipped halfway around the world from it’s environmental disaster of a factory in China to get to you. You must be adding tires and tubes and other worn out parts to our landfills. Myself, I choose to walk

    • Ian 11:45 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Just think how much space we could free up if we banned not only cars but bicycles. No more roads except those used by bus routes! Next up: banning shoes. Leather shoes promote cruelty to animals, plastic shoes are landfill, and cloth shoes support the incredibly environmentally damaging cloth fabrication and dying industries… plus we should stop building so many heat-sink sidewalks, and end contributing to the cement industry which is more polluting than fossil fuel extraction (and requires heavy equipment to install and maintain).

      Bill’s right, though, death of the species is probably the most environmentally responsible act we could perform. No arguing with those greener-than-though bona fides. Just think of the sustainability!

      …I know I’m playing reductio ad absurdum here, but it’s no less ridiculous than statements like “We should be removing lots more of the public space that’s dedicated to automobiles and repurpose it for more/larger sidewalks, more green space, more bike lanes, etc.”

    • Blork 12:39 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that the leaves on the mountain (and elsewhere) have barely started to turn? Usually I note the changing of the season by commenting on the first sign of the turning of the leaves in late August. It’s almost a month late!

      The last time this happened (was it last year or the year before?) we barely had a colorful autumn. The leaves just stayed green and then one day they went brown and fell off. Beauty: another casualty of global warming.

    • Ian 12:43 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      I was up around l’Annonciation 2 weekends ago and the trees on the 15N had barely started to turn yellow but this past weekend I was in Ste-Adele and the reds had already started popping up and about a third of the trees even there were already turning. It will come soon. Kind of surprising given how dry it was this year, that usually puts the trees under stress and they turn earlier, with not-as-bright colours. I had noticed some of the trees int he parks (especially lindens) getting droopy and yellow even in the summer but the maples seem to be holding out for a good show.

    • nau 14:57 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Uh, Bill, weren’t you saying the other day how you take 30 flights a year? If so, you’ve probably got most people here beat in terms of carbon impact but not on the low side.

    • Raymond Lutz 15:11 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      This: “A 2009 study by New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington concluded that pet dogs have carbon paw prints double that of a typical SUV.”

    • Bill Binns 15:34 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      @nau – That’s for work. If I wasn’t on those planes some other poor bastard unlucky enough to have my job would be on them. We don’t assess the UPS driver with the carbon impact of the truck she drives do we?

    • Chris 19:57 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Ian, it’s ridiculous to argue that enough public space is dedicated to the automobile? I certainly agree that many disagree, but how do you figure it’s a “ridiculous” position? These days, it’s a fairly mainstream position. So should more public space be allocated to cars, or are we at the perfect amount now?

    • Ian 09:26 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      Enough is one thing, but you consistently advocate for less as a kind of knee-jerk hand-wavey response to anything related to cars. I understand that the internet loses tone, but it does radically diminish the sense of nuanced balance one might expect from a reasoned argument.

    • nau 09:40 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      @Bill As far as I know, there is no “we” (or they) that actually systematically assesses other individuals regarding their carbon impact. You seemed keen to tout your low carbon impact relative to the eco-sinners who have children, and since you also seem interested in further exploring such comparisons, allow me to observe that. as far as your UPS driver analogy goes, you’re not flying the planes, now are you? Sure, there’s no alternative for you to flying (and I’m sure that, being so eco-conscious about having a lower carbon impact than everyone else here, you don’t taxi to the airport when you could bus). And as you say, somebody else would just have to do it anyway. But that just makes it clear that while considering individual choices is useful to make people recognize that some of their behaviours are self-indulgent and wasteful given easy alternatives, serious systemic changes are where the heavy lifting will need to be done. And for most of us, that first of all means having the maturity not to fall for politicians who sell us the comfortable lie that we can keep doing things the way we have been and that people who say otherwise are (insert any of the various smears here).

    • Bill Binns 09:13 on 2018-09-20 Permalink

      @nau – “As far as I know, there is no “we” (or they) that actually systematically assesses other individuals regarding their carbon impact.”

      You’re right. What we have is a bunch of people running around pointing fingers based on very little information. SUV drivers bad! Prius drivers good! Cyclists best!

      The problem is that environmentally woke, Prius driving, recycling, canvas bag toting mom throwing eggs at the Hummer parked downtown may very well be throwing orders of magnitude more carbon into the atmosphere than Mr Hummer. We have this weird system where a car that burns 50% more fuel per mile than the average car is heavily demonized while a second home in the country that is kept heated and or cooled while empty for 90% of the year is just fine. Also fine: Recreational boats, 50ft long 20 ton motor homes carrying 2 people and towing an extra car just in case and yes, children. When i was a kid in the early days of the environmental movement, almost the entire thing was about “population control”. Where has this concern gone?

      Let’s also not forget about the zillionaires that crisscross the globe on private jets to give each other environmental awards for doing such a great job hectoring all us randos that we should be walking to the grocery store.

      Even though I’m a big bad conservative, I am all for a personal carbon cap that is rigidly enforced.

  • Kate 07:37 on 2018-09-17 Permalink | Reply  

    It was a tempest in a teapot in 2015 when the Coderre administration constructed a pointless half-sidewalk on Brébeuf alongside Laurier Park, but now the city is going to undo that decision and rebuild it normally.

    • Chris 08:44 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      …and remove car parking to make space for it.

    • Kate 10:53 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      There are always little tragedies.

    • Ian 11:33 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      That’s rather dismissive, though it’s hard to imagine why a street facing a park really needs parking on both sides of the street in the first place.

    • Janet 16:18 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      I used to play bridge at Centre Laurier, the 1930s chalet in the middle of the park, and I would regularly use those parking spots that are slated to disappear. While I knew I should be taking the Metro, I met a number of little old ladies, and gentlemen, who feared they would have to give up their thrice-weekly outing if they couldn’t park close enough.

    • Brett 20:51 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Is there a rule against widening the sidewalk by building westwards into the park rather than re-configuring the street layout?

    • Chris 21:34 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Kate, what tragedy? We should be removing lots more of the public space that’s dedicated to automobiles and repurpose it for more/larger sidewalks, more green space, more bike lanes, etc.

      Brett, dunno, but what would one expect Projet Montreal to choose between reducing green space vs reducing automobile space?

    • John B 07:27 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      A park like that attracts people, and since it’s not right beside the metro many will come in cars. Like Janet says, some people might be able to switch to public transit, but it’s not an option for everyone. Parks are not just for healthy, able-bodied, people.

    • Paul 09:16 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      The decision was dumb at the time, but what’s done is done. Throwing money towards something so inconsequential at this stage is nothing more than a mayoral d***-measuring contest.

    • Jo Walton 09:40 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Oh come on. It’s a nice enough neighbourhood park, it isn’t the kind of destination park you’d drive to from far away, like the Jardin Botanique. And it is in fact very close to the Laurier entrance of Laurier metro. Unfortunately, that entrance is essentially only an exit — there’s no down escalator, so I, and other people who can’t walk down a long long flight of steep stairs, have to go back in at Saint Joseph. Indeed, maybe some older people (those bridge players?) are driving to that park because of that lack of an escalator.

    • qatzelok 09:45 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Maybe the city ought to pave over the unused southern half of Laurier Park to make room for a massive parking lot for people with disabilities. Then the parking spots on the street won’t be needed.

      /right on red

    • Ian 11:48 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      @Jo it’s got a public pool, it is very much a destination park, especially since these long hot summers are apparently the new normal.

      @qatzi har har! Truly,

      “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
      And then is heard no more. It is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
      Signifying nothing.”

  • Kate 06:54 on 2018-09-17 Permalink | Reply  

    QMI says both Quebec and Montreal had been aware of the arsenic emissions in the east end since 2013, but the company accused of doing it was never fined nor were nearby residents warned about it.

    • Ephraim 09:52 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Anyone else see some lawyers foaming at the mouth for a class-action lawsuit?

    • Kate 10:05 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      If so, why not? It’s a hell of a thing to know about for years and not act on.

    • qatzelok 10:21 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      I thought Montreal-est broke away from the city of Montreal precisely because the city wanted to poison its population with petro-chemicals that would be illegal under Projet Montreal or some other leftist administration. If so, what’s the big deal?

    • Kate 11:09 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Montreal East stepped away from the city merger before Projet even existed. It was the only east-end suburb that chose to do so. I don’t recall the specific reasons.

    • Ian 14:13 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Right up there with the mystery of why they refused to rename their strip of Dorchester.

    • dhomas 16:00 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      @Ian: I saw that in the Wikipedia entry for Montreal-East. I didn’t realize René-Lévesque street resumed East of the Jacques-Cartier bridge, let alone having a piece of it still named Dorchester out East. What struck me as odd about the Wikipedia entry is that it seems to claim that the Nincheri-Dufresne museum is in Montreal-East, or at least that it documents the history and heritage of Montreal-East. I know for a fact that that museum is in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. I’ve never been to it, so I can’t say what it’s all about. Anyone know if it actually does have historical bits about Montreal-East?

  • Kate 06:22 on 2018-09-17 Permalink | Reply  

    TVA has been researching projects done for the 375th that have gone nowhere, and discovered in Île-Bizard-Sainte-Geneviève a fancy new hall only used twice a month for official purposes and never rented for public events as had been promised. A few other dead-end projects are mentioned toward the end of the piece.

  • Kate 22:12 on 2018-09-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The Centre d’histoire item is back, this time looking at the Little Burgundy button factory, which began when the neighbourhood was still called Ste-Cunégonde.

    • Ian 11:54 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      Since this blog has become a hotbed of irrelevant virtue signalling, as a descendant of Mennonites I’d like to point out that buttons are prideful.

      …just kidding, that’s really interesting, I had no idea there was such a big industry for buttons and trim – I know the garment industry was huge here, and I even got to work for a couple of knitting places before it almost totally disappeared. We used to get our buttons and hangtags from Montreal suppliers that no longer exist, even some special order dyeing from a big place on Beaumont – which also no longer exists – but I didn’t realize there was such a demand that a factory of that size would be needed. I often wonder what the neighbourhood looked like before the projects, let alone in the heyday of Ste-Cunegonde. Not any remnants of those times left in the neighbourhood.

    • Ian 12:18 on 2018-09-18 Permalink

      *many, not any – there are certainly a few, like the former city hall/jail/fire station (now library) or the massive churches such as Ste Cunegonde & Ste Irenee.

    • Kate 07:01 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      Ever seen the Corticeili lofts in the Point? That was another huge factory connected with the shmatte trade. They made nylons and all kinds of sewing materials. My mother had Corticeili thread and sewing elastics in her sewing basket when I was a kid, but the factory was one of the first to turn into condos years ago.

    • Ian 09:22 on 2018-09-19 Permalink

      There’s still a ghost sign painted on the corner of Gauchetiere & St. Laurent for Corticelli threads, I have an old wooden spool from them, too. Didn’t realize their factory was in the Point, though – I imagined it further east for some reason.

  • Kate 22:08 on 2018-09-16 Permalink | Reply  

    An Atlantic CityLab writer looks at Montreal’s evolving approach to its homeless population.

    • Bill Binns 09:29 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      “In a city of 1.75 million, advocates estimate Montreal’s homeless population at about 15–20,000”

      “Advocates estimate”. Sure we could go with that number or the far, far smaller number that seems to be the result of every actual count.

    • Benoit 09:42 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      I’m with Bill on this one. Montreal has 4,100km of streets. “Advocates” really want us to believe that there is, on average, one homeless person every 205m? They’re not helping their cause by grossly exagerating its importance.

    • Kate 09:53 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Keep in mind not all homeless are hanging around in the street. I worked on the first census of the homeless and it was stressed a lot of folks are living precariously who are not necessarily apparent to you or me. They’re not all panhandlers or squeegees! This city could easily have 20,000 people whose employment status is too unstable for them to get an apartment lease – people living at the sufferance of friends, family or partners, maybe, but not long term, and at chronic risk of losing their place to live.

    • thomas 12:18 on 2018-09-17 Permalink


      For Montreal (2015), there are 3016 homeless which breaks down as :

      Sleeping on the streets: 429
      In Shelters: 1,066
      In transitional housing: 1041
      Others (Hospitals, Prison, etc): 480

      Of course, this number increases as one broadens the definition of homeless.

    • Bill Binns 12:42 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      @thomas – “Of course, this number increases as one broadens the definition of homeless.”

      It sure does. Funny how that works. The “advocates” who work for organisations whose funding is connected to the seriousness of the homeless problem come up with huge unverifiable numbers and tell us “Trust us, they are there. It’s just that some of them are totally invisible.” Uh huh.

      I mean, 15% visible and countable vs. 85% invisible and uncountable? Who believes stats like that? If that was even close to the truth why wouldn’t the advocates have at least some of those invisible homeless go take a turn on the sidewalk during homeless census night?

    • thomas 13:18 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      @Bill I would not say uncountable. One can get document the use of social services, people’s income levels and the frequency with changes of address.

    • Michael Black 13:38 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      400 seems low, but I have nothing to base that on. But the shelters know how many beds they have, so that should be easy to count.

      I do realize that a panhandler might not be homeless. And not everyone fits the stereotype of carrying all kinds of junk around. Some people rely on appearing “normal” to survive.

      A woman going home each night with a new man is still homeless. She may be wanting a warm place to sleep, trading sex for that, or hoping it never gets to that.

      Finding a hiding hole in an abandoned building doesn’t really give someone a home.

      And some women are afraid of leaving a situation because they have nowhere to go. To count them isn’t about inflating figures, but realizing something needs to be done.

      Shelters just mean they don’t sleep outside, they are still homeless.


    • SMD 15:00 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      It takes real guts to go up against the powerful homeless mafia, their well-paid “advocates” and their cronies in the media. Definitely worth getting upset over. In fact, people should be out in the streets!

    • Bill Binns 15:37 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      @SMD – Well, I didn’t say any of that and I’m not upset. I am especially careful with the use of the word “mafia” on this site.

      The city is dumping many millions into this issue. I’m sure the province and the feds are throwing in their share. That’s a hell of a lot of money for 3000 verified “victims”.

      FWIW – I don’t doubt there are *some* “invisible” homeless people. Folks sleeping in their cars and going to work everyday. I am particularly interested in providing these sorts of people with a burst of short term help to get them back on their feet. I do not however, believe that there are 5 of these folks for every “visible” homeless person. Not by a long shot. As for the the “these folks here that live in houses and apartments may someday become homeless so we are just going to go ahead and count them as homeless now” methodology. No. This is worse than “moving the goal posts” and is just the transparent “up now means down” re-definition of words that has been so common in the victim business for the last decade or so. The goal posts have been turned into smoke.

    • Chris 21:38 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      SMD, why uncharitably assume that seeking honest correct facts amounts to ‘going up against the homeless’? The former need not imply the latter.

  • Kate 21:59 on 2018-09-16 Permalink | Reply  

    A replica of the Jacques-Cartier bridge was built out of cardboard this weekend, and then taken down – although not burnt, as I hoped they would.

  • Kate 21:57 on 2018-09-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The family of Daisy Peterson Sweeney are pleased that a park and part of a street will be named after the influential music teacher.

  • Kate 10:15 on 2018-09-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has voted $21 million to upgrade the St-Michel arena, a low-profile structure on Jarry East.

    • Faiz Imam 10:51 on 2018-09-16 Permalink

      A lot of this going around, and there’s plenty more on the way.

      A huge number of municipal rinks in Canada were built in the 60’s around Canada’s 100th anniversary, and at a time where new technology made it much more feasible to have them.

      These rinks are now at the end of their lifespan and need major investment to keep them working, though in many cases they are torn down.

      The St Michel rink for example was built in 1968.

      This is a more serious crisis in smaller rural towns,which built them with federal money and at this point don’t have the funds to pay for that sort of massive renovation.

    • Kate 10:55 on 2018-09-16 Permalink

      Yep. When you drive into any small Quebec town, what you see first is the sign directing you to the arena.

    • Bill Binns 09:23 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      I’m not really a sports fan but I have been to games at a few of those small local rinks and they can really be something special. I never felt more Canadian than I did watching a Huskies game in Rouyn-Noranda in an arena built in the 50’s by the same mining company that built the town. The volunteers at the snack bar. The players from the opposing team thanking the local families that had put them up for the night. It’s was like walking into an episode of “Corner Gas”.

      I think for those towns where the arena functions as the cultural center of a town, it’s money well spent to keep them in good repair.

    • dwgs 10:41 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      I have been in more arenas than I care to think about. I’ve probably been in just about every arena on the island of Montreal and a lot of the off island ones too. There are still some real classics around. Putting money in to keep them going for the next 50 years is a good investment.

    • Kate 11:57 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      Without the church, the arena’s the key community gathering place.

    • dwgs 19:11 on 2018-09-17 Permalink

      I have met many people in my neighbourhood through the arena and when you go to play a tournament in a small town it’s amazing the welcome you get from the volunteers. And those small town arenas are the best, they usually have a decent casse croute where you can get a passable meal and often even beer, wine, or a mixed drink.

  • Kate 10:13 on 2018-09-16 Permalink | Reply  

    Houses have been built and are still being built on old dumps and landfills, developers don’t investigate and buyers are not being informed.

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