Updates from August, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:32 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

    More parts of Parc Frédéric-Back will be made accessible to the public by 2021.

    • Faiz Imam 19:21 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      Now *this*, is a new central park.

      Decontaminating the whole thing is a hell of a lot of work, but the potential to have something really beautiful at the end is really major.

      Not to mention, with the amount of land they have to work with, its a perfect place for many sports fields and facilities that we are lacking the room for elsewhere.

    • mare 19:48 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      @Faiz Imam NoNoNo!
      Please lt this be just a park and not a bunch of sport fields that they call a park because there’s one patch of grass in between the baseball triangle and the water square with a pick nick table. We have enough of those. (There are some soccer fields to the North of it, let that be it.)

      BTW, they promised an additional part was going to open this fall, but apparently it got delayed. The tiny bit that’s open now, about one tenth of the surface area, was opened in the spring of 2017 by Coderre, who presented it like it was his own project, even though is was already 15 years in the making. Since then some things happened here and there, like the blasting of ton of rock clifs to make them more safe and less crumbling, but not a coordinated plan to finish one section.

    • Spi 20:02 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      Actually, it’s quite the opposite of a central park. Where central park requires heavy human intervention/maintenance and has vast green lawns for people to lounge and play in.

      Parc Frederick-Back stated intention is to be a more natural parc with little human intervention, there won’t be any trash/recycling bins inside the park itself only at the exits. There will be no additional sports or recreational fields/facilities beyond the existing one at Parc Champdoré on the northern edge of the park.

      Although there are areas that are supposed to be mostly grass, you can’t exactly play any sports on a hill. There are large swaths of the park that will be allowed to grow wild (which you can already get a sense of with the eastern section that’s already open).

      From a sporting perspective it’s great for running (I run there occasionally) but not much else. Part of the initial plan was to have outdoor stages for musical and theatrical performances on the western and southern edges of the park, but since those are the last parts to be open we’ll if they actually materialize.

      At most I think it’ll be a pleasant place to go for a stroll/run/bicycle ride and maybe a picnic if you can stand the constant noise from being under the flight path of landing planes at YUL.

    • Spi 20:12 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      I forgot to mention, they didn’t decontaminate anything. All the trash is there and it’s still leaking methane (which is collected by those white alien-looking domes) All they’ve done is put on several layers of various materials to stabilize the ground, the end result is that there’s a couple of meters of rock and dirt separating you from a massive amount of trash from the ’80s beneath you.

      If I had to guess that’s the reason behind the concept for this park, there are probably serious concerns about trash shifting bellow the surface and the ability to support large crowds of people on top of it.

    • Chris 08:29 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

      Pity Frédéric Back, who’s legacy is a mound of rubbish. 🙁

  • Kate 12:57 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette has an interesting obit for Giovanni Montanari, who owned and ran the Rotisserie Italienne for many years. I was surprised to see that the Rotisserie only closed definitively last year – I used to eat there occasionally years ago and think of it as something from the 1980s or early 90s. That whole neighbourhood has changed a lot since those days.

    • Bill Binns 13:38 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      Bummer. The Rotisserie was the first “favorite” restaurant of my wife and I in the city. They had a crazy ordering system where you would order at the counter, the food would be taken to your table by a waiter and when it was time to go, you would return to the counter and tell him what you had. It felt like the honor system and I always wondered if people tried to rip him off.

      I absolutely loved sitting at one of tables with the red checkered table cloths near the big windows when it was snowing outside. Even when full it was cozy and quiet inside. They served a type of cake unlike anything I ever had anywhere else. I think he called it “Italian Wedding Cake”. It was served ice cold and was soaked in some kind of citrus liquid. Incredible on hot summer days.

      Sadly, we quit going even before the place was sold mostly because it was strictly cash only and we never seem to have more than $20.00 in cash on us anymore (if any).

      RIP Mr Montanari.

    • Veronik 13:44 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      It was also my first favourite restaurant after I moved here in 1989. My husband also loved it, and we often took our daughter there. It wasn’t the same after it was sold, unfortunately, and we stopped going.

    • dwgs 15:01 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      It was a great loss to downtown when they sold it, it was one of the very few reliable and affordable places for a bite. My wife still smiles when I call out “Senorina Bella” to let her know that dinner is ready. Giovanni always seemed like a decent guy.

    • Uatu 17:34 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      So that’s what happened. I walked by there last year and my heart sank when I saw it wasn’t open anymore. With the children’s hospital gone, the whole neighborhood is slowly morphing into something new

    • JP 22:28 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      I wish I had known about this place. I feel like I missed out on a great place.

  • Kate 12:45 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

    Downtown will soon be the site of three wannabe-upscale food halls, according to Eater. La Presse had written about the Quartier des spectacles one almost a year ago and earlier this year.

    I remember seeing items about a fancy food hall at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel a year or two back, but I haven’t seen any mention of it lately, and it isn’t the kind of spot I tend to end up at by chance.

    • thomas 12:54 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      You are probably thinking of Marché Artisans, which is just a store that sells fancy groceries along with offering casual dining. Akin to a higher end version of the Movenpick which used to be in PVM. The new food halls are collections of different independant food purveyors.

    • Blork 13:30 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      I walked through the Marché Artisans (QE) a couple of times over a year ago, and it seemed very slick and swishy. Basically a bunch of kitchens and counters all under one roof and mixed in with shops and whatnot. It seemed very much like something you’d see in upscale America where everyone makes $300,000 a year and dropping $40 on a snack is basically a daily occurrence.

      It all looked very nice and tasty. And Pricey. Long tall counters dotted with people guaranteed to all be young lawyers nibbling on little steaks or salad compositions and sipping from small by-the-glass glasses of wine. Big sides of beef behind glass; artisinal ovens here and there issuing round loaves of bread that were then split and loaded with artisinal charcuterie, etc. Everyone slim and white.

      I made a mental note to return in two years time to see how different it will be. While there does seem to be no shortage of money in this town, there’s not such a strong sense of conspicuous consumption as we tend to see in Toronto and elsewhere. (We have it, just not in critical mass, methinks.) As a result, shortcuts will start to be taken and within two years half the kitchens will be closed and the others will be selling regular stuff at only slightly elevated prices.

      Or not. Maybe they’ll surprise me.

    • Max 13:37 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      Artisans is generally out of my price league too, but I stop in there pretty much weekly. The homemade soups (at the back counter, right end) are phenomenal, and at <$5 for a small bowl (tax in) make for a nice small meal. Check 'em out.

    • Bill Binns 14:00 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      I have been to a bunch of these places in and around San Francisco and my observations pretty much mirror Blork’s above. I went to the one in the basement of Twitter headquarters and had a tiny sandwich served on a hotdog bun, a cookie and a glass of lemonade and thought they made a mistake when I was charged $38.00.

      It’s hard to say if this will work here. The concept isn’t all that different from the food operations at the Atwater and Jean Talon Markets and they seem to be thriving. The whole thing feels a little like a fad though and Montreal is very late to the game. We’ll see.

    • CE 14:45 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      Other than high prices and pretentiousness, can anyone tell me what the difference between a “food hall” and any other food court is?

    • YUL514 15:20 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      CE, I bet you complain about how bad the food is at regular food courts where ones choices are limited to terrible kiosks all operated by MTY Group. Stop complaining, if one is stuck at one of these areas I’m sure it will be much better than Tiki Ming or Thai Express. Yes, I know we have an abundance of great independent restos but give me this over MTY junk. Food costs have risen drastically the last few years so you get what you pay for and we are far from San Francisco cost of living.

    • YUL514 15:27 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      Speaking of food halls is this project on pause, seems to be due to the REM. Anyone know anything else?

      Story from 2015.

    • CE 15:43 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      Calling these places “food halls” just feels like buying into an industry marketing plan to remove negative connotations. Like calling fast food restaurants “quick service” restaurants or the push to rebrand Alberta bitumen as “ethical oil”. I’ve been to these places in other cities. They’re food courts. No amount of tiny organic salads or Thai-inspired tacos or liquid nitrogen ice cream is going to make them anything else.

    • Blork 15:56 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      @CE: “Food halls” are more expensive, but the main difference is that there is more of an emphasis on “made to order” cooking and plating. (And plating is important because AFAIK they use washable plates and cutlery, not disposable). Also, the menu options per kiosk generally aren’t locked in to some fast food franchise formulaic menu; as with a regular restaurant, there’s a lot more room to be flexible to market prices, chef’s whimsy, etc.

      It’s basically a hybrid between a food court and a restaurant. The dining areas are generally shared/communal, like in a food court, but the food planning and preparation is more like a regular restaurant (i.e., not a franchise fast food “restaurant”).

    • Kate 18:49 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

      According to Wikipedia, the expression is a British one, which tallies with my memory of Harrods’ food hall in the 1990s on a visit to London. It was not a term I’d heard previously.

      And YUL514, please don’t order other commenters around. CE is not a complainer. He was asking a perfectly cromulent question.

    • DeWolf 12:39 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

      I think Blork hit on the main difference between food courts and food halls – it’s the quality of food. Another major difference is that food halls are designed as places to linger, which is why they serve alcohol. You can have a quick meal or you can stay for hours sharing a bottle of wine with friends.

      As Bill said, food halls are a global trend and as usual Montreal is late to the game. I’ve been to food halls where every vendor seems to be selling something gimmicky and overpriced. But I’ve also been to food halls (like the original Time Out Market in Lisbon) that offer some truly exceptional dishes. And regardless of the food itself, food halls usually offer an environment that is conducive to hanging out with a drink. I expect all of these places to become very popular with the 5 à 7 crowd.

  • Kate 08:51 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

    Artwork found in possession of a convicted cocaine trafficker will be restored to its owners, in some cases 30 years after it was stolen.

    • Kate 07:57 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

      A pedestrian was knocked down in Rosemont Tuesday night and is in critical condition. I don’t know what it is about that central part of Montreal that makes some of its streets so hazardous, but the other day I was crossing Rosemont Blvd. perfectly legally, by daylight, and the turning traffic was so fast and furious that I jumped back on the sidewalk for fear of getting hit. Even up here in Villeray, with drivers either mentally revving up to get on the Met or frazzled from getting off it, it’s not that bad.

      • mare 08:49 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

        Rosemont boulevard is the fastest way out of town to the east of the MET after you take Dr. Penfield and Park, connecting via Christophe-Coulomb and Papineau. Very few side roads on the overpass, and between Christophe-Coulomb and Papineau. But a bit chaotic on the stretch near St-Hubert where one lane turns into a bus lane. Drivers are in race track mode.

        Average speed on Rosemont is over 60 km/h even in some 30 km/h zones. Montreal needs speed and red light cameras at many intersections (and in unmarked police cars) to temper the cowboy mentality of its drivers. But unfortunately they’re outlawed without big signs warning you of their existence, so cops have to stop drivers to give them a ticket. Which is not very efficient and not very fun for them so it’s done infrequently.

      • Kate 10:28 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

        Yes, my moment was at St-Hubert. Absolutely nutso traffic right there, and good analysis why, mare.

      • Spi 11:27 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

        One of the reasons why turning traffic can be aggressive is because Montreal doesn’t utilize right-turn-only lights. Meaning a car that wants to turn right is forcibly put into “competition” with pedestrians crossing.

        It doesn’t even need to be a particularly busy street, all you need is 2-3 pedestrians crossing from opposite directions and you won’t make the turn on the green light.

      • Patrick 12:02 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

        What’s the research like on the system of having time for pedestrians to cross in all directions in between green lights for car traffic only? I assume that arrangement only makes sense at busy four-way intersections, but I have seen it work in a number of places.

      • Kate 12:52 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

        There might be some useful links from Pedestrian scramble. The corner of Sherbrooke and Victoria works like that, in Westmount.

        Spi, some corners have all kinds of priority lights going on, so it can sometimes be confusing when you’re not sure what phase comes next.

      • Spi 14:05 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

        Some corners are very poorly designed and when you add on bad driving habits it creates needless congestion and close calls. One example I’m sure you’re familiar with is de Castelnau and Saint-Laurent.

        If you’re on de Castelneau and want to turn right (north) on Saint-Laurent, you should be pulling over to the far right lane (although not marked on the ground as a lane) where they’ve purposely left the intersection clear so cars turning right can go, but drivers stay in the “single” traffic lane going straight. That light goes straight only and pedestrian so no cars move because more often than not the first car wants to turn right and is in the single traffic lane instead of the turning one. Then the light cycles to allow right turns while still allowing pedestrians to cross and cycles back to yellow/red before the pedestrian crossing timer/light ends.

        Practically it means that most of the time if there are pedestrians crossing at most 1-2 cars actually get to the turn right on the green (going through between waves of pedestrians crossing the intersection) and some that just go on the yellow/red. The fact that the McDonalds drive-through also dumps cars onto de Castelnau instead of Saint-Laurent only makes it worse.

        The city is filled with examples of this, where no consideration is put into thinking about the actual interaction on the ground.

        I can’t tell you how many times through the years I’ve seen that specific corner backed up with several cars because of this and it usually takes 3-4 light cycles before it clears up.

      • Kate 19:04 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

        Spi, I know that intersection well, and have often sat for long minutes on the 55 bus southbound waiting for the mess to clear.

      • Chris 08:31 on 2019-08-15 Permalink

        When an e-scooter eventually knocks down a pedestrian, it will be interesting to compare both the media coverage and comments here. Make a bookmark Kate. 🙂

    • Kate 07:53 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

      As could’ve been predicted, there’s a homelessness crisis at Cabot Square since the Open Door shelter was forced to move away. This La Presse piece picks up a story first reported in the Gazette in May, with credit, in which Christopher Curtis cited one social worker saying that twelve people had died at the square since January – and not otherwise reported in the media, you’ll notice.

      • Michael Black 09:36 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

        Though, there’s still organized activity in Cabot Square.

        Last week Hannah Tooktoo rode into the square after cycling across Canada for two months to raise awareness about suicide. They organized a welcoming party.

        And this Friday, August 16, the Cabot Square Project has its end of summer concert from 1 to 4pm, complete with a final soapstone carving workshop. They’ve had some weekly event each week since June. The public is welcome, but it incorporates the regulars from the square too.

        The Open Door is looking for socks and other clothing, they just put up a notice.


      • Jack 10:36 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

        Hannah was a former student of mine and I can tell you she is one of the most dedicated and charismatic kids I ever taught. It is often super hard for us here in the south to recognize how tough things are in Nunavik. So when you seem someone who is obviously struggling just a smile or a wave means something. Thanks for the heads up Michael.

    • Kate 07:48 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

      A young man has been arrested and charged in the fatal shooting of another young guy last week in a Hochelaga-Maisonneuve park.

      • Kate 07:40 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

        A group that’s been pushing back against airport noise for years is also trying to force a public consultation on the enlargement of Montréal-Trudeau for reasons of noise and pollution. Item doesn’t mention the destruction of remaining marshes in that part of town that are home to many bird and animal species, so I guess that’s another group’s concern.

        • Kate 07:36 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

          Lime scooters have only just begun, and laws are already being broken. The Journal also gives us a first-person review, saying they’re fun, but expensive and not very fast. Global cites an ER doctor who lists the kinds of injuries seen in other cities as people began using similar vehicles. That piece notes that while a helmet is supposedly mandatory, people are unlikely to carry a helmet around on the off chance they’ll need one.

          • Blork 10:17 on 2019-08-14 Permalink

            “… but … not very fast.” Good! It’s not like these things are highly maneuverable for the casual user, and it’s not like these things won’t be all over the sidewalks, so “not being fast” should be seen as a feature.

        • Kate 07:25 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

          Rosemont borough has decreed that its inhabitants are no longer Rosemontois, but des Rosepatriens.

          • Kate 07:12 on 2019-08-14 Permalink | Reply  

            Le Devoir looked into the suicide barrier built into the new bridge alongside the multifunctional path for walkers and cyclists.

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