Updates from April, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 14:36 on 2020-04-14 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse has a list of businesses selling local products, and the Journal interviewed a woman doing deliveries by bicycle. La Presse also describes the bicycle delivery services that are available. The city is supporting these services.

    • Daniel 16:06 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      We have been getting deliveries from Chez Nino in the Jean-Talon market and they’ve been great. We have also had delivery from Arhoma — they not only sell bread and pastries, but some raw ingredients such as flour.

    • Ian 11:18 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      Remember when every dep had some teenager that did deliveries by bike? With the big dep bike parked out front? I wonder what happened to all of them…

    • Kate 11:37 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      Ian, I remember them well. When I was a kid, every corner store had one. Their use declined gradually over the years, presumably because more and more of their customers had cars so didn’t need to have their beer and smokes delivered.

      Some local shop must have produced those black delivery bikes, because they were a pretty uniform model all over town. I don’t remember seeing any news item about production ending, but that was probably well before this blog began. The last few stores I noticed having them, the bikes weren’t in the greatest shape.

      (I also recall my mother pointing them out and saying that when she was young, some families (implication: francophone families) encouraged their sons to quit school and work doing delivery, and wasn’t I lucky that I was allowed to go to school.)

    • Blork 11:57 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      For context: a couple of dep delivery bikes on rue Ontario circa 1987:

    • Raymond Lutz 12:34 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      Also: the sound of empty beer bottles rattling in their case, when the bike was coming back from delivery.

    • MarcG 12:42 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      There are still lots of these in Verdun

    • Kate 13:01 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      Raymond Lutz, that’s almost Proustian.

      MarcG: I must go for a walk around there again, sometime.

    • Raymond Lutz 13:32 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      À la recherche du temps de mon enfance. 😎

      Another memory from those years: the young boys waiting outside Dominion or Steinberg, bringing back mom’s grocery paper bags with their small wheel-cart for 25¢

    • Kate 14:45 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      Paper bags were en consigne?

    • Raymond Lutz 15:13 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      Non, c’est quand on revenait de l’épicerie: les p’tits gars étaient là pour aider les gens à retourner chez eux avec leurs sacs pleins. Lower middle class workers didn’t have SUVs back then (do they now?)

  • Kate 09:30 on 2020-04-14 Permalink | Reply  

    On Facebook, regular reader Blork noted “Remember how a few months ago, not one, not two, but THREE huge food markets opened downtown, and how they were going to TRANSFORM THE DINING SCENE with their highly social form of dining?”

    What else were we concerned about before the outbreak? Seven pedestrians had been killed in traffic since the start of the year, five of them over 60. The last ped death was on March 12.

    Homicides are also down, as are the usual police blotter items about non-fatal stabbings and other incivilities. It may be that the media are simply not bothering to cover these stories, which would mostly get lost in the torrent of pandemic news – but it may simply be that, with people home and bars closed, there’s less opportunity for rumbling.

    We had smog warnings.

    There were pieces about the housing bubble and the general shortage in living spaces.

    Lately, we haven’t seen much about Royalmount, and there hasn’t been anything about delays to the REM or to the blue line extension either.

    People who dislike plane noise must be feeling better. I’m hearing a plane going over now, but there isn’t the usual barrage of plane noise in the mid to late afternoon. Does anyone know how much aircraft contribute to city air pollution?

    • JaneyB 12:39 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      Also spring garbage is everywhere and potholes are back! I heard redwing blackbirds on a walk by the river Saturday. They fear nothing and no one. Moving season beckons with its airbnb induced shortages, its slumlords, flighty man-with-a-vans, dubious curbside furniture, and the promise of perfect breakfast nooks. What will we do with the abandoned pets?

    • Bill Binns 17:21 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      Hopefully one of the positive things that could come from this event is that in the future there will be an “ick factor” to people being jammed in too close together and restaurants, theaters and airlines will be forced to adapt.

      The one time my wife dragged me to the Time Out Market, I had to eat my $30.00 mini sandwich sitting across the table from strangers and children.

    • dwgs 10:08 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      Children??!!?? Heaven forfend!! Sorry Bill, I’m usually okay with your curmudgeonliness but speaking as someone who was once a child myself I must protest.

    • CE 10:35 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      That’s actually what I’m afraid will happen. I don’t see that as a positive at all. One thing I like about Montreal is that we do things in close proximity to other people rather than living in our own individual bubbles. I’d hate to have our restaurants, for example, start to resemble those in the suburbs where booths are spaced metres apart from each other or for all this to cause people to eschew public spaces or public transit because everyone is afraid of each other.

  • Kate 08:47 on 2020-04-14 Permalink | Reply  

    Since the first death from COVID in Montreal in late March, there have been 162 deaths in the city. As elsewhere, the statistical bump is in people 70 years of age and over.

    • david100 12:14 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      Between March 22 and April 4, 2020, all pregnant women at two NYC hospitals were tested. 13.7% were positive and, of these, 87.9% were asymptomatic.

      We can talk about what makes pregnant women different, but for almost 14% of these to test positive (this is pcr, not antibodies test) during just this period, it has to mean that in NYC you have a much much higher infection rate than people people generally realize.

      You can find the study here, along with a bunch of sometimes interesting comments: https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1249873227939266560

    • david100 12:19 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      The implication here, of course, is that this virus is not even close to as deadly as the tested-to-deaths ration is indicating.

      The lockdown should be exactly calibrated to hospital capacity (no problems in Quebec right now) and the economy should get started back again in some basic ways.

      Back to my construction point that someone ridiculed: before this and after this, there’s a housing crisis Montreal. This whole lockdown may decrease prices some, but prices need to drop a lot to get back to our historical averages – which we low by Canadian standards and which, I’ll remind you, are the very reason that our special culture could flourish. When housing costs are high, everything suffers.

    • walkerp 12:51 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      The argument is still out on the upsurge in housing costs. You can somewhat address it by increasing supply, but the pandemic may have put a huge damper on demand (it is the turning of real estate into a global investment vehicle that is the biggest driver of prices in Canadian cities). Now, if we actually enforce airbnb regulations, that demand goes down even more. I don’t see the rush to suddenly increase supply. How much will this really benefit lower and middle-income potential homebuyers versus giant development corporations?

    • Faiz imam 13:26 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      Many other cities are seeing a collapse of the airbnb industry that is leading to a surge in long term rental coming on to the market.

      is this happening in montreal too? it could go a long way to fixing the housing crisis.

      especially if the isolation lasts till july 1st

    • david100 13:42 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      I keep waiting for the Montreal Aibnb apocalypse story, but Montreal’s reporters – usually so good about spotting trends and writing about the Montreal version – have let us down.

      If Airbnb were banned, it might help in some of the most popular neighborhoods, most studies show that the aggregate impact would be modest.

      Real estate speculation is a big problem, of course. Property as an asset class + transnational capital + low interest rates = trouble.

      And I’d buy that the drop in growth is going to hit the demand for housing . . . except that Canada is by far the world’s easiest developed country to move to, and all the feeder countries that send their people are either worse hit than Canada economically, and/or had terrible economies and low opportunity to begin with.

      With this steady demand, and central bank and government recovery measures that are even more likely to favor investors, there’s no reason to believe that investors will drop existing Montreal residential units as an asset class.

      So, unless we turn off the immigration spigot or take measures against capital flowing into the housing market, we’re going right back to our problem with unmet demand for units pushing up the costs of housing for all.

      Mark this post so you can return to it in six months.

    • Raymond Lutz 13:55 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      The finance, insurance, and real estate markets won’t recover ever, sur toute l’ostie d’planète. This event has a magnitude we can’t really appreciate yet. More important than the Great depression or WWII. Maybe we’re done with delocalization, globalization, financialization, American exceptionalism, deceitful US bipartism, Trump presidency, Macron presidency, austerity, the whole fucking enchilada. Unless they send the Black Shirts… don’t forget “Les origines patronales du fascisme italien”…

    • Alison Cummins 19:56 on 2020-04-14 Permalink


      I agree it’s interesting to have data, but “infected people are often asymptomatic” and “most people who have it don’t die or even require intubation” are things we’ve known since the very beginning, right along with “asymptomatic people can transmit the infection.” The assumption has always been that there are far more cases than reported positive tests, and public health messaging has been about protecting other people because “you might be infected and not know it.”

      The paper was about the utility of swabbing on non-respiratory floors, not a major revelation about how the virus isn’t that bad after all.

      For *most* people it’s not that bad or even innocuous. For some people it’s terrible. Young and fit health care workers are dying of it.

      People over 70 too, of course. People like my father. He’s 78 and has a 9-year-old daughter who might be going back to school in a few weeks. So how do they do that? Send her back to school and prepare to make her an orphan any minute now? Homeschool her for a year or two until they have a good vaccine? Send her to live with another family? Does my father move out to live the next couple of years in isolation?

      You might not think it’s such a big deal, that they should have been prepared for him to keel over anyway given his age, but it matters. His wife is only 38 but she’s only just started to become fluent in english. She doesn’t bring in an income yet because she’s busy studying to bring her reading up to third-grade level.

      Yes, they should have thought about this before. But this is the situation and now I’m worrying about what to do when I have an orphan and a not-yet-autonomous single mother on my hands in the next six moths. In Ontario. So whether the virus is “not that bad” or not, it’s very, very bad for me.

    • Raymond Lutz 05:01 on 2020-04-15 Permalink

      “this virus is not even close to as deadly”… Is death the only pertinent metric? No:

      “There is evidence that COVID-19 could cause long-term lung and kidney problems.”
      “COVID-19: Recovered patients have partially reduced lung function”
      “Video reveals lung damage in US coronavirus patient: ‘People need to take this seriously'”

  • Kate 08:38 on 2020-04-14 Permalink | Reply  

    The air may be cleaner, but the exterminators interviewed here say the city is seeing a surge in rats and that they also expect more skunks and raccoons to show up around the mostly empty streets.

    • jeather 08:43 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      I’ve actually been surprised, I haven’t seen any raccoons, just even more squirrels than usual.

    • Ian 08:55 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      There have been a few wild turkey sightings – one of my friends that lives 3 blocks away in Mile-End managed a photo of a wild turkey in his front yard yesterday

    • Kate 09:09 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      I think someone posted a turkey pic to /r/montreal. Large black bird, hopping around a Mile End street. Can’t find it today.

    • Kevin 09:14 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      Been quite a few photos and videos this month. Journal de Montreal had some…

    • Dhomas 10:41 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      I would regularly see turkeys in the East end (around RDP). I have much less reason to go out there now, but I did go this weekend to deliver some food to family members. I didn’t see any turkeys, but I saw a family of deer on my way, near the Met and Marien, which is technically Montreal-East.

    • DeWolf 11:44 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      Does anyone know why raccoons are ubiquitous in Toronto but in Montreal they mainly stick to the mountain? Is it all the cats?

    • Kate 11:53 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      DeWolf, I’ve heard it’s the ravines in Toronto. We don’t have similar geographical features here. Mount Royal’s virtually an island in the middle of an almost totally urbanized island, so it’s not like animals can easily commute from the mountain to other parts of the central city. They certainly thrive around the West Island, from what I’ve been told.

      I don’t think raccoons are afraid of cats, are they? They’re about the same size. I’ve never heard of a domestic cat getting into a fight with a raccoon: they know better.

    • Nicole 13:16 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

    • Blork 14:37 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      I wonder if there isn’t a dip in the raccoon population. Over here in Longueuil I used to see them around my place pretty regularly back in the 2000s. But now I can’t remember the last time I saw one. It’s gotta be around a decade.

      No shortage of skunks though, and groundhogs, squirrels, birds of all types. In winter it’s common to have deer walk right by the house late at night (we live close to a very large park with a big deer population). But no raccoons in ages. At least none seen.

  • Kate 08:32 on 2020-04-14 Permalink | Reply  

    Monday night’s high winds knocked trees down and caused blackouts off‑island. Several Tempos were tragically damaged. The Journal has some photos of trees fallen onto streets and vehicles.

    • Blork 09:04 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      This might be the first time we’ve had a major wind storm in which I did NOT lose power. Except for one brownout last night at around 9PM that lasted literally two seconds, we stayed lit. Yay me. Seriously, there’s some fundamental flaw in my neighbourhood that makes the few blocks around chez moi highly vulnerable. We lose power from wind two or three times a year, and it’s always really frustrating because the people right across the street never lose power.

      It’s still pretty windy this morning. I hope I don’t jinx it…

    • Chris 15:28 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      Careful what you wish for Blork… Hydro’s solution is usually to butcher all the trees in your neighbourhood.

    • Dhomas 19:03 on 2020-04-14 Permalink

      It’s what they did in my neighbourhood. And without even the frequent blackouts. Just the possibility of arcing made them raze a whole park full of trees in my hood. Petitions and complaints be damned.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc