Updates from June, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:52 on 2019-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s a CP report Sunday of a dangerous new drug cocktail in town called purple heroin, containing heroin, oxycontin and fentanyl. The same story on Radio-Canada shows something that looks more like grape Jello powder. Local news dries up by Sunday night, with most of our media posting light edits of the same CP stories in English and French. A disgruntled CP editor could put up invented stories that would never even be noticed – like this.

    • Kate 23:36 on 2019-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

      The Toronto Star has a sort of bitsy piece about Montreal this weekend. It says, among other things, that part of the Museum of Fine Arts’ expanded spaces used to be a funeral home. I’m trying to picture this and not seeing it. A church, an apartment building, a new building on Bishop Street, check, but was there ever a funeral home in that vicinity? Am I misremembering?

      Writer also says a Dale Chihuly show “just closed” at the museum. Just, as in 2013?

      And then, “To reach the Jacques Cartier Bridge Lemieux’s tourists cut trough Jean Drapeau Park, the site of Expo 67. The former Montreal mayor crated the Expo site by building artificial islands in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.” Sic, sweethearts. I thought the Star had better editors.

      • Martin 09:04 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        He’s right about the creation of Île Notre-Dame in the 60’s to host Expo 67. Even St-Helen island was expanded then. Most of it with rocks dig out during the construction of the metro. As for the funeral home thing, I don’t where they get that from. Never heard of it before. The article is also wrong about the curent Champlain bridge being made of concrete. The main trust pf the bridge is made of still, just like the Jacques-Cartier bridge.

      • Kate 09:12 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        Martin, I knew about the islands, I was just being cranky about 1. the description of getting to the Jacques Cartier via the islands (what?) 2. the misspelling of “created” 3. the background image that Drapeau moved heaven and earth himself to create new lands.

        People know about the metro -> islands thing because of this Heritage Minute, I imagine.

      • Janet 10:15 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        Actually, there is a little-known access to the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. Take Pont de la Concorde, drive along the south shore of Île-Ste-Hélène, then before you reach La Ronde there’s a ramp that takes you up onto the bridge (about halfway along the span). It’s a great short-cut, especially if you live in the Old Port, as I do. However, it’s not meant as a throughway and if it becomes over-used, I suppose it could be blocked.

      • Blork 12:46 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        I cycle home from work that way sometimes. It’s mostly on bike paths except for that steep ramp up to the bridge, where you’re basically in traffic. But the cars are generally not moving (traffic jam), so I usually pass them on my bike.

      • Ephraim 14:58 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        The reason that the amusement part is called “La Ronde” is actually related to the expansion of Ile Ste-Helene. The last part of the island was Ile Ronde. You can see it on an old map, like this one… https://imtl.org/image/cartes/1200_montreal_banlieux_1875.jpg

      • Kevin 14:34 on 2019-06-04 Permalink

        I love these old maps. So many historical names gets erased by the toponymy bureaucrats.

      • David S 19:07 on 2019-06-04 Permalink

        Martin & Kate:

        “Of the 25 million tons of fill needed to construct the islands, 10-12% was coming from the Montreal Metro’s excavations, a public works project that was already under construction before Expo was awarded to Montreal.[28] The remainder of the fill came from quarries on Montreal and the South Shore, however even with that it was insufficient and so bodies of water on both islands were added (lakes and canals) to reduce the amount of fill required.”


    • Kate 23:22 on 2019-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

      TVA rejoices in griping about the Tour de l’île. Peter Sergakis doesn’t like it. People are out cycling who should be drinking in his dive bars. A weird pseudo-promise that the cycling events are profitable for the city is raised and then dismissed with no evidence either way. A Côte St-Luc councillor is also in the news for expressing hopes that rain would ruin the tour. But it didn’t, and 25,000 riders turned out.

      I got stuck this weekend not once but twice because of the Tour. Friday night, coming home late, I was unaware that most of the 55 bus route had been cancelled for the entire evening, and had to wait nearly an hour for the first 363 to show up. Note to the STM: it is not helpful to post a sign at Sherbrooke Street telling you to go catch the bus at de Castelnau station – 5 km away.

      Then Sunday I got stuck in a detoured 55 southbound at Mont-Royal, in the rain – I’d only glanced briefly at the map and had the impression the whole route was in the southwestern part of town, but no, the start and finish were in Jeanne-Mance Park. The bus driver was laughing because she couldn’t go anywhere, with Park Avenue blocked off by cop cars and Mont-Royal closed for a street sale. So I got off and walked.

      But I’m not mad about any of it. It’s one weekend out of the year. The Tours are a good tradition.

      • Marco 00:17 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        “Peter Sergakis doesn’t like it” …oh I love it.

      • Kevin 10:07 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        I’m glad I have the home address and cell phone numbers of several doctors, and took advantage of it Sunday morning since there was no way I could get to any open clinic without crossing the route.

      • Rebecca 10:55 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        The signs along the 55 route were really confusing. They looked like the standard detour signs but gave no directions. I don’t remember how they labeled it, but I tried to look it up online and it took a friend reminding me that it was Tour de l’île weekend.

      • Christopher DeWolf 11:16 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        Ruth Kovac was elected by 834 people. More than 25,000 people took part in the Tour de l’Île. I’m not sure why various members of Côte Saint-Luc’s mini-me city council have been so vocal about opposing this event, but I’m sure glad they are completely irrelevant.

      • Meezly 12:34 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        Kate, you are probably a rare exception of someone who appreciates this tradition despite being screwed once a year in transit. The Tours have been going on since, like 1985?? You’d think after 35 years, Montrealers would have accepted it by now! p.s. finally participated in Tour La Nuit for the first time, and it was quite an adventure. This year the route included going through the Olympic Stadium.

      • Blork 12:48 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        I did the Tour de l’ile many years ago and really enjoyed it. I keep meaning to do the Tour de Nuit, but the darn thing always creeps up on me. It’s like “hey, that Tour de Nuit should be coming up soon… wait, it’s TOMORROW?”

      • Alex 15:22 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        Do people complain this much about the marathon which also closes a bunch of roads or is it outrage strictly limited to cycling events?

      • Kate 21:10 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        Alex, people don’t complain about the marathon. It’s just not a problem.

        Blork, Meezly: I did the Tour La Nuit a couple of times, more than ten years ago. I recall a couple of memorable passages: once, going through the botanical garden in the real darkness – no street lights in there, it was kind of hair-raising to do, riding so close to so many other cyclists – and once, the tour went up the foot and cycle path on the east side of Mount Royal, but it evidently hadn’t occurred to the organizers that there are spots where, once you leave the path, the ground drops off pretty sharply and there’s no barrier, so they had volunteers standing in those places shouting at us to keep back. But it was always fun.

      • walkerp 06:53 on 2019-06-04 Permalink

        Ruth Kovac, the Cote St-Luc councillor who said the Tour was holding them hostage and wished it would rain has deleted her tweet. Next she is going to say she was hacked.

      • Kevin 10:07 on 2019-06-04 Permalink

        The closures for the marathon cover less territory. It’s typically a line instead of a circle around most of the island.

    • Kate 16:16 on 2019-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

      We weren’t imagining it: May was colder, grayer and wetter than usual. TVA consulted meteorologist Gilles Brien, who says we hadn’t seen a May with 25 days of rain since 1974, and no May with 16 consecutive rainy days since 1877 – till this year.

      Monday may not make it up past 11°C, a low high-temp we haven’t seen on that date since 1964.

      Brien says we can hold out hope for mid-June.

      • EmilyG 17:11 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

        At least there wasn’t much snow this May.

      • qatzelok 18:16 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

        And May was tornado-free, which means safe to bike.

      • Ian 16:25 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

        To a hammer all problems look like a nail, eh qatzi? At least the weather’s nicer than Rhodesia. 😉

        I’ve actually kind of enjoyed the cool month, it took a while for the flowers and buds to come out, but the tulips and lilacs have lasted weeks longer than usual.

    • Kate 11:15 on 2019-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

      Corner of Peel and Ste-Catherine on the city traffic cam, Sunday morning, one determined tourist on the top deck of a tour bus, watching the rainy scene from under an umbrella:

      • Kate 09:20 on 2019-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

        La Presse has a preview of UdeM’s new campus where 2000 students will be starting classes in a few months’ time. With numbers and pictures.

        • Kate 09:07 on 2019-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

          Radio-Canada reports, straight-faced, that the city has a great plan to counter the housing crisis – get this, they’ll make developers include a number of affordable units in their new buildings!

          Leaving aside that “affordable” is a weasel word with no definition, this has been tried before and developers always manage to wiggle out of it. They don’t want poor people in their pristine new buildings and besides, as the report blandly observes, “les promotions craignent qu’elles [these “new” rules] les empêchent de construire des projets rentables.”

          The Plante administration wants to go a little further and make a sizable chunk of any new project into social housing, but as one promoter says here – again blandly – you can’t expect that kind of concession downtown, poor people have to accept they will be living at inconveniently distant locations from jobs and services, that’s just how it is. He goes on with a veiled threat: “la Ville doit comprendre que les « capitaux sur le marché sont très mobiles ».”

          • Douglas 09:56 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

            Broccolini is right. He brings the capital to build the project. If you shaft the developers and make it unprofitable to build their projects, you can very easily get them to stop developing.

            If that is the end goal, no new developments, then fine. But then don’t complain when rental prices keep going up because there isn’t enough new supply to match the demand.

            If anything, Plante should be allowing developers to build even higher in return for some affordable rental units. A win / win proposition. But the way she campaigned means reasonable win win solutions won’t be on the table.

          • Kate 10:06 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

            Douglas, that makes no sense. If there’s demand, promoters will build. They’ll figure out how to adjust their profit margins to fit these rules. My concern is that, as in the Coderre era and previously, what this means is they’ll will wheel and deal to trade immunity for a downtown high-rise in return for a couple of sad little units in Rivière-des-Prairies.

          • Myles 10:37 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

            If allowing developers to build as much high-cost housing as they want drove prices down, Toronto would be an affordable housing paradise. Bringing in more money just tends to increase the cost of living for everyone.

          • Kevin 10:47 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

            Toronto is full of tiny semi detached homes in areas that need six-storey buildings.

            The city actually bans non-single-family homes in most of its territory.


          • SteveQ 12:31 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

            How come the city in not capable of finding money for social affordable housings while there doesnt seem to be a problem finding money for infrastructure work that is constantly increasing by the year. In the hundreds of million.

            The city should stop forcing mixity in the downtown core but focus more in places such as Pointe-St-Charles, Sainte-Marie (Centre-sud), Verdun etc… it will cost less to buy land therefor they will be able to built more housings.

          • Ephraim 14:25 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

            Kate, it’s the cost of the land and the higher you build, the more expensive it is to build…. all the materials have to travel up and down and you have to deal with weights, movement, etc. The city is likely in a better situation to charge a percentage and use the money elsewhere, where land is cheaper.

            Saying this another way. If the developer has to pay 10%… he’s building 40 apartments, 10 per floor on 4 floors, that’s 4 apartments per floor. But if those apartments sell for $500K each and you can build 8 apartments in HoMa for the same $2M, are you better off insisting on 4 downtown apartments or 8 HoMa apartments? How about 16 Ahuntsic apartments?

            But, if you ask me, the city shouldn’t be running apartment buildings anyway. As we see with the current problems with social housing and cockroaches and bedbugs. The city is better off subsidizing and letting professional organizations run buildings… they are more efficient at it, in any case.

          • qatzelok 18:18 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

            The market can not create affordable homes for normal people in convenient places.

            Which is why Karl Marx devoted his life to writing non-fiction rather than running casinos.

          • Ephraim 22:03 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

            Normal people? No one is normal, just like no one is average. The average family in Quebec has 2.8 people… so can you show me an average family?

            Marx was derivative, utopian and well the whole dialectic is just a pivot on Hegel. And incidentally, he also wrote fiction… but like many authors from earlier centuries, some of there less important works disappear and aren’t reproduced, which until about 2 years ago, saved us from some horrible anti-Semitic and extremely racist poems by T. S. Eliot which the British press tried to sweep under the rug.

          • qatzelok 08:02 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            The non-normal, self-congratulatory people who profit from other people’s pain often muddy the water of collective knowledge in order to make change impossible.

          • Spi 09:38 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            Ephraim is right, if the goal is to provide social housing to as many people that need it then it’s not responsible to be spending more per unit just for the sake of being downtown.

            If this city had any foresight they would be buying up land in the industrial area around Chabanel and just north of Jarry park with an eye towards rezoning them in a few decades.

          • qatzelok 11:34 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            I strongly disagree. Not only should social housing be built on a large scale downtown (and in other central neighborhoods), extra money should be spent on architectural details and expensive materials as these exteriors “belong to us all” and would contribute to everyone’s improved quality of life.

            40-story glass condo plinths with Starbucks in their bases won’t. They will further the segregation of income classes and contribute to resource waste through continued displacement of isolated commuters from far-off distances.

          • Bill Binns 12:13 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            I don’t see this working. These two groups of people: People who pay for new luxury condos downtown (and the taxes that go with them) and people on a list to receive free (or nearly so) housing are fairly incompatible. Imagine building a few luxury units into each subsidized housing project. Think you could sell those units for market value? This measure will boost the value of all the buildings built before the rule went into effect.

            Just wait for the lawsuits arising from the people in the subsidized units being banned from the lux amenities like gyms and pools and roof-top terraces.

            Why can’t the city use some of the huge bucket of taxes paid by these developers+ the property taxes that will be paid by the legit purchasers of the units to build give-away housing?

          • Raymond Lutz 13:40 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            “Just wait for the lawsuits arising from the people in the subsidised units being banned from the lux amenities like gyms and pools and roof-top terraces.”

            Don’t worry Bill: those will be accessible only through in app reservation, requiring the most recent iOS or Android release (sorry Huawei and dated iPhone cheap owners) and due to the ‘constant high congestion’, request will be prioritised according to your social score. Even elevator calls will be queued! (using the stairs is good for poor people). Subsidised tenants will even have their own exclusive access to the buildings!

          • Ephraim 15:01 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            Raymond… have you complained to Hydro Quebec about the fact that there isn’t really a way to pay for electric charging a car without a credit card?

          • Raymond Lutz 16:37 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            Ephraim… Non, pourquoi? ….gotcha!

          • Uatu 16:51 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            Aren’t there already low income housing units around Ontario street East and de Maisonneuve E? If so, the occupants don’t seem to be at odds with being downtown so I don’t see why they would in Griffintown etc.

          • david100 17:37 on 2019-06-05 Permalink

            People have mostly covered the facts, but to restate:

            1. Montreal is in a housing crisis, more affordable housing is needed;
            2. Building new units in Ville Marie will satisfy demand that would otherwise suck up existing higher end units, both in Ville Marie and the neighborhoods, pushing prices up and accelerating gentrification;
            3. The higher the cost of bringing a unit to market, the less demand it can absorb: there’s a limit to what people will pay for new construction and when it hits the tipping point, they’ll just go with a cheaper existing unit. Again, when that demand stays in the existing unit market, it bids up the cost of those existing units, with the result of gentrification;
            4. Consequently, the city should be doing everything possible to keep fees low and make the development proceed smoothly. Aside from a few fruitcakes torpedoing this or that project, this hasn’t been a significant problem in Montreal until now. Adding these costs as the city intends will certainly result in more expensive units coming to market, which means it serves lower demand, which means fewer units will be built, with the result that people will again turn to existing units in Ville Marie and the neighborhoods.

            This is a phenomenon to one side of the question of whether we should maximize the value of each social housing dollar, to which the answer is: obviously, of course yes.

            If the city decides to go ahead with some version of this scheme (say, fees in exchange for added density or height), it should take the money and build in cheaper neighborhoods, so that more people are housed and the benefits of greater density (shops doing better, schools staying open, more eyes on the streets, etc.) are distributed more widely. Plus, the city’s plan would force lower income people into higher HOA fee buildings (try paying a luxury building monthly maintenance fee on $50,000/year).

        • Kate 08:47 on 2019-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

          This weekend’s Centre d’histoire piece glances at three linked stories: the history of Loews cinema on Ste-Catherine, the city’s first film festival and at a building adjoining Loews, one of my favourites, the 1889 building at the corner of Mansfield, now a Telus outlet.

          The Gazette looks back at Jean Drapeau’s ‘voluntary tax’, quickly taken over by the province and rebranded as Loto-Quebec, at the origins of daycare in a WWII nursery for children of munitions workers, and more.

          Radio-Canada’s archive pieces looked at the importance of CN and the evolution of Jean Coutu, text and audio.

          • GC 11:04 on 2019-06-02 Permalink

            Interesting. I did not know that bit of history about the lottery.

          • Raymond Lutz 09:55 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            moi aussi j’ignorais cette lotterie ‘illégale’. En lisant l’article de La Gazette, j’ai eu le goût de googler le nom de la gagnante du gros-lot et suis tombé sur one of the best facepalm picture on the net 😎


            What could have been just said for the guy in the background reacting that way?

        • Kate 08:16 on 2019-06-02 Permalink | Reply  

          It’s a lightly rainy Sunday morning as the Tour de l’Île begins.

          • james lawlor 21:26 on 2019-06-03 Permalink

            Not sure I would call it “lightly”. I was soaked!

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