Updates from January, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 13:28 on 2020-01-22 Permalink | Reply  

    UQÀM has lit up the spire of the Judith-Jasmin pavilion with 108 LEDs, following two years of painstaking restoration of the remaining remnant of St-Jacques church, which dates back to 1860.

    • Max 08:14 on 2020-01-23 Permalink

      108 LED lighting fixtures. That’s likely a lot more than 108 individual LEDs.


    • Kate 10:10 on 2020-01-23 Permalink

      Max, I actually knew that (I currently know more about LED lighting than I thought I ever would, for reasons not germane to the blog) but I was trying not to be pedantic! But thanks.

    • DeWolf 13:06 on 2020-01-23 Permalink

      I passed by last night and it’s very beautiful. It really highlights the architecture without being overly bright.

  • Kate 09:06 on 2020-01-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Lino Saputo is going after Radio-Canada for spelling out his links with the mob, which they investigated and revealed in detail on Enquête last week.

    • dwgs 11:43 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Well he pretty much has to doesn’t he? It’s a PR move. Rad Can must have done their due diligence before going to press, you know a roomful of lawyers approved the piece so they’re likely safe but Saputo has to be seen to be doing something or it will be accepted as gospel.

    • Ian 13:16 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      They very, very much do their research. If Saputo thinks he can bluster his way out of this he is mistaken.

    • walker 10:08 on 2020-01-23 Permalink

      Why doesn’t he just admit it? At this point, everybody knows it’s true. Most of us didn’t need an investigation to know this. Wouldn’t it be better for him to say that that is how business was run back then and there was no way for him to avoid it?

      As I write this, I realize the answer for myself. They are clearly still in business with organized crime to this day.

    • Ephraim 15:18 on 2020-01-23 Permalink

      It’s a SLAPP lawsuit and like all SLAPP lawsuits in Canada… it will either die when the furor dies down or when it gets to court and they are ordered to pay the Radio-Canada’s legal fees because it is a SLAPP lawsuit. They don’t work in Canada… ask Subway.

  • Kate 09:04 on 2020-01-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Some days when blogging I’m counting up the predictable headlines, and here are two on a similar topic: Outremont residents angry over parking and La Chambre de commerce veut plus de places de stationnement à Montréal.

    • Jonathan 10:49 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      I hear you. I attended a public consultation last week on a proposed new condo project on St Laurent and Guizot. 70 new units and… get this… 156 parking spaces. The city planner claims this is necessary to take pressure off of the on-street parking demand. I made a statement that the city needs to limit parking, not provide it. A high demand for on street parking means there are too many cars, not too little parking spaces (especially within a 10 minute walk of a metro station).

      Not one voice in the consultation was for the parking spots, everybody who spoke in the debate that ensued concurred that the planning department was not in line with the environmental objectives of the city. They were also visibly not in line with the sentiment of those people in attendance.

      I feel like these media outlets are the only ones angry about the lack of parking. Maybe has something to do with all the car advertisement money they receive?

    • Ian 11:23 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      How is a condo development including parking spaces in its building plan the same as the city providing parking spaces?

      “proposed new condo project on St Laurent and Guizot. 70 new units …156 parking spaces. The city planner claims this is necessary to take pressure off of the on-street parking demand. I made a statement that the city needs to limit parking, not provide it. ”

      That doesn’t even make sense. It’s not the city providing parking, it’s the developer proposing that they create their own parking – and the city planner supports this, to alleviate on-street parking.

      In any case you have no idea why people might be driving, that is super close to the 40 so anyone working in VSL or the west Island or the east end that is underserved by the STM might look at that location as a perfect spot if they want to reduce commute time. I would love to have my job within walking or bicycling distance from my house, or even reliably & regularly served by the STM – but not everyone is that lucky. Try to think outside your bubble.

    • Kate 11:37 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Jonathan, that’s near where I live. Are they proposing to take down that yellow brick building on the northwest side and put up a new building?

    • Joey 11:50 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      @Ian I think the point is that the city is insisting on this many parking spaces. Are they merely parroting the developer’s plan/justification? Sounds like it, but that’s sort of beside the point, no?

    • dwgs 11:52 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      If they’re doing it as underground parking I would say that it’s reasonable. I don’t see any other way to do it there since the neighbourhood is pretty dense.

    • Spi 12:06 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      There are general guidelines established by the city as to minimum parking spots that should be included in a development project precisely to avoid spillover on to street parking, usually, it’s 1.(something) the number of units in the whole project. PM abolished that minimum requirement in 2018 for downtown developments. This might just be an application of the rules in Villeray. But 2.x parking spots per unit is a high number.

    • DeWolf 12:29 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Is there any actual data that suggests Montrealers are going to the suburbs to shop because they can’t find parking spots in the city? We hear this old chestnut repeated a lot but I’ve never seen any numbers to back it up.

    • Spi 12:59 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      @DeWolf anecdotally I know of people that live on the northern side of the island (north of the 40) close enough to the highway (15 or Papineau) that often going to Wal-Mart in Laval is more convenient and faster than any of the on-island locations, and because of the prevalence of the super-centre design you could combine 2-3-4 stores into one trip.

    • Blork 13:15 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      I agree with what @Spi said. There probably aren’t a lot of Plateau or Mile-end residents going to suburban malls, but most Montrealers do NOT live in the Plateau and Mile-end. People who live in Côte-des-Neiges, NDG, Verdun, Ville-Émard, Hampstead, Ahuntsic, St-Leonard, etc. have pretty quick access to suburban malls (if they have cars), and getting from those boroughs to downtown by car is a major PIA, and doing any kind of serious shopping by public transit is also a major PIA.*

      (*Major shopping meaning you’re going to a number of stores and could very well buy several items of clothing, some kitchenware, dishes, small appliances, couple of pairs of shoes, etc. Nobody wants to lug that much stuff — and a couple of kids — on an STM bus.)

    • Ian 13:28 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      From Mile End I avoid driving downtown for any shopping, ever – which means either delivery or small purchases when I’m there. I mostly go downtown for events or to go to the museums or to meet friends at a restaurant. The burbs can’t compete with those things. For most things requiring big-box I find Marché Centrale sufficient. You’d have to be in a very specific location to find it more convenient to take the 15 to Laval than to go to Marché Centrale as it’s on the way – and if you want fancier than Marché Centrale there’s always the Rockland Centre kitty corner to it across Acadie. Personally I avoid Laval unless I’m visiting my in-laws or going to specific specialty stores like the one store that retails the resin casting supplies I use – there are lots of things in Laval besides malls, and certainly parking once you get there is the least of your worries.

    • SMD 14:08 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Kate: Yes, that’s exactly it, the former Catholic item store and the others just north of it on the NW corner.

    • Kate 14:42 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      SMD: will they also be pushing out the old hardware store? The owner’s cranky but I know he has hardware bits nobody else does.

      The space (it was a piano store when I moved in, and then a Catholic store that moved up from Notre-Dame in Old Montreal) has been an evangelical church for a couple of years now, windows frosted over. The building is nondescript but the hardware store would be a loss.

    • Kevin 14:55 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      “Pauline Kael famously commented, after the 1972 Presidential election, ‘I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.’”

    • SMD 15:14 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      8300 to 8360 Saint-Laurent. Yes, the salty but oh-so-knowledgable hardware guy will be replaced by a four story residential building with 70 units. Interestingly in this case, as the project summary notes,

      « Le projet dérogerait aux dispositions réglementaires [car] le nombre maximum de cases de stationnement autorisé qui est de 132 alors que l’on projette d’en construire 156.»

      So they are actually asking for more parking spots (more than two per housing unit!) than the city rules would allow them to put in. The full 136-page PDF of the details and plans is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Snd4irnWM58b5gcsanYKhmYyMmp8s9Xu/view.

    • Tim 15:15 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      All of this information is confusing and something doesn’t add up. Who owns these proposed parking spaces in the building? Are they planning to charge the public to park there? If so, who gets the money (I doubt it’s the condo board)?

      It was reported that the Squamish Nation decided to forego large amounts of parking in their large condo development in Vancouver because it added $100k to the price of individual condos (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-an-indigenous-developer-ignored-vancouvers-zoning-rules-and-all/).

      I’m trying to understand how the developer will gain from this large expenditure.

    • dwgs 15:17 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      @Tim usually they sell or rent the extra spots.

    • Joey 15:26 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Seems pretty clear the city planner is basically doing the sales job for the developer, probably because a bigger building with that many spaces will generate a huge windfall in taxes. So much for principles. We *need* two parking spaces per unit? I guess this is the kind of thing that drove Luc Ferrandez to quit.

    • Blork 15:58 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      I admit I’m a bit surprised that the number of parking spaces so outstrips the number of condos. Most condos come with one parking spot per unit, which add $30-40,000 to the unit price and are usually optional. The farther you get from downtown the more spots per unit (and those downtown buildings have fewer than one per unit).

      Maybe they expect to have some commercial space in the building, and the additional parking spaces are for that.

    • Tim 16:04 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      I think you’re right Blork: the extra spaces must be for some commercial space. Anyone who buys in that building should ensure that the constitution divides up financial responsibilities in an equitable manner between residents and the commercial owner. They should also ensure that the total number of residential votes outnumber the commercial as well.

    • CE 17:05 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Just to give another side to the discussion above, I live in Parc Ex and don’t have a car. Even though Marché Central is literally 6 blocks from my apartment, the thought of walking, biking, or taking the bus up there, crossing the highway then walking through all those parking lots into a massive store gives me anxiety just by thinking about it. I’d much rather do my shopping downtown or in the neighbourhood where the stores are smaller and the walking is much more pleasant. Also, if we’re going to talk about parking, with the exception of MEC, parking a bike is a nightmare in Marché Central!

    • Blork 18:16 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Well, I don’t think anyone is saying that non-driving Montrealers are going to suburban malls on any regular basis. I mean that would be insanity, with nothing to gain. The ONLY reason to choose a suburban mall is for the parking.

      So if it’s between driving to the suburban mall and driving downtown, the mall wins every time. If it’s between driving to the suburban mall and taking public transit downtown, the mall will still usually win if the shoppers are lugging kids and/or expecting to do some serious shopping.

    • Spi 19:36 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      I just had a look at the location and honestly, I think there’s one simple explanation for the extra parking spots, they’ll be building them anyway so why not make them available.

      The lot is massive and occupies a lot of ground, they’ll be digging and pouring basement foundations and my guess is that they have extra underground space left over that would otherwise serve no purpose.

      @CE have you been to marché central since their recent renovations? The central section, south of chabanel, (where the nike and SAQ is) is now filled with bicycle parking and if you don’t feel comfortable taking acadie and the acadie circle why not just go the back way from Avenue Querbes? It doesn’t show on google maps but there is a bicycle path and every time I pass by there are people walking to and from the Park-Ex side.

    • Kate 20:01 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Spi, very occasionally I go to MEC, and I always forget just how hostile to pedestrians the whole Marché Central is, since no matter how you approach it there’s cars getting into your business one way or another. I was sorry to see the MEC satellite clothing store on St-Denis close, because most of what I’d buy at MEC is stuff like socks, not technical equipment for Everest base camp. Maybe the odd water bottle.

    • Ian 21:33 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Poubelle de Ski on St. Laurent by Jarry is better for that kind of thing.

    • Blork 22:30 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      I dare say, I feel like Marché Central is so nasty it’s even hostile to drivers.

    • CE 23:04 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      @Spi, I’ve been there since the renovations and I’ve always found bike parking difficult. There are usually a couple crappy racks far from the door that are full of bikes so I have to ride around and eventually lock up to a pole in a median or something. And that’s after dodging extremely agressive drivers while constantly being surrounded by the most depressing urban landscape I can imagine.

      I’m also aware of the Querbes access but I live very close to Acadie so that means a detour. The fact is that I find it to be a miserable place and the point I’m trying to make is that I’d rather travel two or three times further to downtown, despite media constantly telling us it’s somewhere we should avoid for not being enough like Marché Central.

      I simply don’t understand why there is so much hand wringing about suburbanites not being able to drive into the city. As far as I’m concerned, a city that is difficult to drive to and in is a good city. The suburbs have their shopping areas and the city has its areas, both are designed to serve their target clientele.

    • Ian 15:52 on 2020-01-23 Permalink

      Well there’s the rub, business owners want to attract as many potential clients as possible. We don’t live in an archipelago of tiny sovereign city states, we live in a metropolis, with neighbourhoods.

      I agree that we shouldn’t maintain the inner city to suburban standards of comfort, but to say suburbanites should just stay off-island is fraught with many risks, not the least being the long-term viability of the city.

    • CE 17:57 on 2020-01-23 Permalink

      @Ian, if people want to come from the suburbs, I’m fine with that. Just leave your car at home and if you absolutely must bring it, don’t complain that parking isn’t as easy as it is in the suburbs.

  • Kate 09:01 on 2020-01-22 Permalink | Reply  

    The only source Wednesday morning with this story is CityNews, so it’s only in video: users of the old softball field in Jeanne-Mance Park are in court trying to make Plateau borough restore the field.

    In other news of people who hit balls with bats, apparently it’s quite a story that Larry Walker has been named to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    • Joey 09:57 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

    • Kate 10:05 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Thank you, Joey.

    • Spi 10:34 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      The area and feel of the place really hasn’t been the same since they removed the field, what use to be a very lively spot with people hanging out and music being played now is just a path to cross the park.

      Definitely one of PM worst decisions from a community level.

    • Ian 12:01 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Well at least they got rid of the …how did they put it? Blokes that like to eat hotdogs and drink beer? We know what PM thinks of the community at large.

    • Kate 12:21 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Ian, that was Luc Ferrandez, and he’s now gone. So maybe the attitude of Plateau borough administration won’t be so inimical.

    • Ian 13:34 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      He and Alex Norris are pretty hand-in-glove opinion-wise, and Norris is still around. Norris was the Conseiller de ville for Jeanne-Mance when Ferrandez was mayor, and still is. The old boy’s club is still very much in power regardless of Plante being city mayor. Lots of Ferrandez’s old friends are still in the same positions.

      The only thing that has changed with Ferrandez leaving is that PM is no longer openly racist against anglos.

    • walkerp 11:54 on 2020-01-23 Permalink

      I always felt like Alex Norris was licking the boot and was never sure if his heart was truly in the shutting down of the softball field. We shall see where he stands now.

  • Kate 08:57 on 2020-01-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Mayor Plante is proposing a rental zone to hold back condo conversions from eating up the rental stock this city has relied on for more than a century. But she doesn’t mention Airbnb-style rentals here, which I suspect have taken more rentals out of circulation than condos, and in a shorter time.

    • Bill 09:28 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Well, at least it’s a start.

      Another thing to be looked at that could be rezoning commercial buildings to residential. Where applicable, a lot of empty retail shops could be reconfigured for housing. Retail is undergoing a massive disruption and there’s a real shortage of housing out there.

    • JaneyB 10:06 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      I was also thinking some of the old/dying malls could be changed into rinks. They don’t have to have seating, just a place to skate. The rink time crisis in this city is nuts. Put them everywhere. Why not small rinks in neighbourhood strip malls where kids can skate?

      Airbnb though is the real problem. Someone needs to break that beast and soon. Tenants renting spare rooms is one thing, the ‘distributed hotel’ thing by companies or huge landlords needs to stop.

    • Kate 10:13 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Bill, but then spaces on commercial streets will be dead to retail forever.

      In a sense that trend has been going on in a small way for a long time. When I moved into my current Villeray place in 2005, there were two dépanneurs within a minute of my front door. Eventually one closed, was boarded up, and the space was eventually converted into an apartment. Changes like this have happened gradually all over the Plateau and Villeray, and probably elsewhere. But that’s just occasional corner stores. Breaking up commercial streets with all-residential conversions would be deadly.

    • Spi 11:30 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      What does that do for la “mixité-social” that everyone keeps preaching about? The city bemoans that developers aren’t building enough family units and that families are forced to move off-island yet one of the few instances where people can find and own family-sized dwellings, the city wants to stop. All this does it lock in and amplifies the existing problems, existing family-sized homes and condo will keep spiraling in prices because there won’t be more available. Property owners that want to sell have no choice but to find deep-pocketed investors to buy the whole building and they will want to recoup their money through renovictions.

    • Kate 13:36 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

      Spi, nobody is proposing not allowing anyone to build rental properties outside the zone. Inside it, or them if there’s more than one, it would be difficult or impossible to do condo conversions. Plante does not mention also outlawing Airbnb, but it would be a futile exercise if that’s still allowed.

  • Kate 08:54 on 2020-01-22 Permalink | Reply  

    He made appropriate noises at a hearing on sexual exploitation of minors, but François Dumontier, head of the Grand Prix here, was mostly there to say his organization is not to blame for what other people get up to on that weekend.

    • Kate 08:52 on 2020-01-22 Permalink | Reply  

      A second restaurant this month has been attacked by animal rights activists who put glue in their lock and left a note and an uncompleted graffiti message on an outside wall.

      • Ian 12:08 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        “Mile-Ex” is not a neighbourhood, it’s a made-up name by hipster restaurateurs & real estate developers. That’s Petite-Patrie, or, more specifically, Marconi-Alexandra.

      • Blork 12:13 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        If the area has a distinct identity and the people who live there acknowledge that identity, and the name is in common usage and even appears on Google Maps, then it’s a neighbourhood. The name doesn’t need to be enshrined in ancient texts for it to be a neighbourhood FFS.

      • DeWolf 12:42 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        All neighbourhood names are invented. Marconi-Alexandra is just the name of two adjacent streets – hardly anything remarkable. You might as well call the area Sector 1. Petite-Patrie was named after Claude Jasmin’s novel came out in 1972 so it was also a novelty in the fairly recent past.

        “Mile End” wasn’t even widely used until the first wave of gentrification came in the 1980s. It’s a historical name, of course, but for most of the 20th century it had fallen out of disuse. I remember looking for apartments in 2002 and most listings in the neighbourhood advertised it as “Outremont adjacent,” even for places as far east as Clark Street.

        Mile Ex became popular as a name after the restaurant of the same name opened in 2014. I don’t really see how seafood is hipster, but in any case, I don’t see why a restaurant’s perceived aesthetic makes its cultural influence invalid.

      • Kate 13:41 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        When my father lived on Fullum opposite Baldwin Park in the 1940s, the area was not yet known generally as the Plateau. When he lived on Waverly just up the street from where Olimpico is now, in the early 1950s, it wasn’t yet called Mile End either. (He would have described his locations in terms of which English-speaking Catholic parish he was in, but if you read back in old newspapers you won’t find “Plateau” or “Mile End” used either.)

      • Ian 13:42 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        “Mile Ex” only started up with the gentrifiers, it wasn’t an organic evolution. All the people I know who left their studio spaces in Mile End are now leaving “Mile Ex” because they are getting squeezed out by gentrifiers.

        I see the same thing in city after city, an existing neighbourhood suddenly becomes desirable real estate and it gets rebranded with a cool new name so it is more easily marketed. New York is really obvious with neighbourhoods like Dumbo, Nolita, etc. and you see it in Toronto with places like Christie Pits getting rebranded “Garrison Park” or the old warehouse district on Queen West as “Librety Village”. If you don’t think this is the exact same thing, you are sorely deceived. Just count the renovictions.

      • DeWolf 14:49 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        The process you’re describing is literally an organic evolution. The artists came, along with some wealthier architecture firms and design offices, followed by cafés and restaurants. Many of those newcomers adopted the Mile Ex label all by themselves. Then came the media buzz and corporate real estate companies that are displacing the first-wave gentrifiers. (Hate to break it to you but artists are gentrifiers.)

        You’re absolutely right that the name Mile Ex is a symbol of gentrification. But that process is underway and I don’t see how denying the reality of it will stop it. Rejecting the aesthetics of gentrification does nothing to stop gentrification itself. It’s a social and economic process – things like names and “hipster” decor are just window dressing.

      • ian 16:24 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        Oh I know artists are gentrifiers, they are basically the shock troops that first land in an inexpensive neighbourhood and hte next thing you know cafés and bookshops are springing up. I worked on de Gaspé as a designer at one of th ekniotting mills – when my old company moved out, the space was converted into artist studios. I know very few artists that can afford studios on de Gaspé anymore. The old diner serivng th factory workers is now an at gallery, it’s all become deliciously pretentious – any “neighbourhood charm” has been gone for well over a decade.

        Mile Ex, though, sprang up virtually overnight as the trend parasites fled Mile End’s quickly rising rents, and now with the railyard development “Mile Ex” has gone gone straight from funky studio spaces with some hip trendy restaurants & cafés to deadzone condoville. I remember when Beaumont was dyeing mills… that was within the last 15 years. Thy never even really got to be actually cool before the developers killed it dead.

      • CE 16:56 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        I always kind of liked the Mile Ex name. It was an area that didn’t really have a name or much of an identity and now it does. It works too, it’s right between Mile End and Parc Ex.

        Where I find it to be more of a problem is when existing neighourhoods get rebranded with their more desirable neighbours’ names. I overheard a conversation just today in St-Henri where a couple people were discussing how the name Little Burgundy barely exists anymore, at least among newcomers and real estate agents. The whole area is being called Griffintown now (I’ve heard more than once people referring to Joe Beef and its ilk as being in Griffintown). Same in Point(e) Saint Charles where real estate agents and condo developers are apparently now calling some parts “Victoria Town” which is gross for a few reasons.

      • Em 17:35 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        @CE “Victoriatown: an extension of Griffintown” is the full slogan. And yeah, gross. PSC bears little resemblance to what Griffintown has become and I hope it stays that way.

      • Kate 20:21 on 2020-01-22 Permalink

        The irony is that Victoriatown was one of the names for Goose Village, which was the only part of town that people from the Point and Griffintown could feel superior to, back in the day. (According to my mother.)

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