Updates from May, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:30 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has opened several cooling-off spots. Map is linked in the story, showing where the water jets and the air conditioning is.

    • Kate 18:28 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

      Toward the end of her long term as city ombudsman, Johanne Savard is making a plea for the disabled not to be forgotten as the city improvises its way into a new kind of summer.

      • Kate 18:14 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

        A city vehicle overturned Wednesday on the Met, and it took two hours to extract the driver.

        • Kate 18:09 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

          TVA visits a $600/month bunkhouse in the Mile End, the owner saying it’s merely a format that exists in other cities.

          The city is putting services in place to help people find places to live by Moving Day.

          • Seb 19:09 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

            I used to see that gab guy around every day when I lived on Parc. This story confirms my suspicions that I held of his character.

          • david666 07:46 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            600 clams – like, in 2007, I straight up got a 2 bedroom apartment for that off craigslist one block off of Prince Arthur. Think about how much the city has changed for that fact to seem absurd/unbelievable/crazy.

          • Kate 08:02 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            What puzzles me most is that it’s not as if incomes have increased accordingly since 2007. People are simply expected to pay more than half their income for housing, whereas when I was young the guideline was you expected to spend a week’s pay on your rent.

          • david666 08:30 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            I know that’s a rhetorical question, but since I can’t help but answer.

            0. Baseline tax policies and social norms that encourage purchase of property, and discourage more productive uses of capital;
            1. Giant increase in demand for housing, both for use and as an asset class – massive improvement in Montreal’s job market causes migration, almost totally open immigration for professionals brings in foreigners, ultra low interest rates cause both more homebuying and more speculation/investment due to more risk and lower returns in the market or with other productive uses of capital;
            2. Increase in materials costs (largely due to global rise in demand for said materials);
            3. Increase in labor costs as the economy improved;
            4. Massive supply constraints caused by zoning, which means that the jump in demand can’t be met, and that excess demand is dumped onto the existing housing stock, leading to skyrocketing costs;
            5. A giant, largely unrestricted hotel industry (airbnb) taking thousands of units in the central city offline.

          • Tee Owe 08:47 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            Rule of thumb that I worked with was a third of your salary, not so different really

          • Alex L 15:23 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            This is robbery. Our tenant pays less than that for a 4 et demi…

          • Ian 18:40 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            Under 600 for a 4 and a half? Have they lived there for 30 years?
            To be fair my 7 and a half is the going rate for a 4 and a half in the hood now and I’ve only lived here 5 years… I can’t afford to move unless I want to live in some wretched corner of town, now.

        • Kate 17:41 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

          Restaurant owners in Old Montreal banged on pots and pans Wednesday morning in a protest demanding to be allowed to open their dining rooms again.

          The people shown in the photos all have face shields on. They could stop and think a bit, it seems to me.

          • Chris 18:05 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

            >…in a protest demanding to be allowed to open their dining rooms again.

            Hmmm, that’s not really what the story says. They are demanding to know *when and how* they can eventually reopen, not that they be allowed to reopen immediately or uncontitionally.

            >The people shown in the photos all have face shields on.

            If they didn’t, they’d be accused of being irresponsible protestors.

          • Kate 18:09 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

            My point is, if you need a face shield in public, you can’t eat. So who are they kidding?

          • Chris 20:03 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

            But you don’t need a face shield outdoors. They were wearing them for PR, not for actual safety, is my bet.

            With some extra distancing and cleaning, reopening restos seems quite reasonable. Especially outdoor terasses, the risk is extremely low there.

            CDC’s newest best estimate is that only 0.4% of *symptomatic* people will die. And of course some people have it with no symptoms (and they don’t die). That’s quite low, if true. It’s not much higher than case fatality rate of seasonal influenza (0.1%).

          • Brett 20:55 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

            The restaurant owners are upset that they’re not being included in the return to work plan presented by the Government. It’s a moot point, because the only restaurants that are going to be left are the big chains and their franchises, plus a few cheap burger joints.

            The daily ‘opening the economy’ announcements are a farce and a distraction from the real problem – namely that the Government didn’t adequately prepare the most vulnerable population and instead let them die in their soiled underwear. Smh.

          • Michael Black 21:12 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

            But lots of people are vulnerable, it’s not age specific. It skews towards older, and being in an old age home probably mafe things worse. Until last year I would never have thought I’d be vulnerable, so I suspect there could be more like me, vulnerable without knowing.

            Staying home does limit that. Ironically people in old age homes weren’t isolated.

            Meanwhile the nurses had a protest today about being dead tired. They don’t want to be overloaded even more.

            On the other hand, I was at the Montreal General on Monday for a blood test. The CLSC wouldn’t send someone to get the blood. The nurse, who took my blood last summer, was in good shape on Monday. A bit of a surprise, but it’s way better to have happy nurses.

          • CE 21:21 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

            I don’t work in a restaurant but my business is completely dependant on draught beer being consumed which requires dining rooms/terrasses be open. I don’t want them to open before it’s safe but I would like to know when they might reopen so I can make plans.

          • david666 08:06 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            I recently listened to this great podcast about London’s reaction to the Blitz. Essentially, the stories about them hiding in the Underground are apocryphal and largely untrue, at least for a colossal majority of Londoners. The reality was significantly more amazing – they simply went about their daily lives, with only minor changes.

            The book author (he was there discussing his new biography of Churchill) underlined something he pulled from a record back then, which was that death from above was both certain and utterly improbable. All Londoners knew that someone would die on each night of the raids, but the possibility that it was any single given person was not statistically probable in any way that could induce significant changes in behavior.

            There are, of course, differences between London during the Blitz and Montreal under this Covid-19 threat. Most importantly, we won’t starve if we don’t work. However, there’s also a lesson in perspective there. Michael, you say that “lots of people are vulnerable” beyond senior citizens, but that’s just not true, or it’s an issue of semantics and the definition of “lots.” In reality, likely every single person reading this could simply return to normal life, and there would be no impact at all on their health.

            I like the simple peasant thought of “well, there’s a virus, we had better stay home” as much as anyone. But it’s month three, like, if it hasn’t already worked, it won’t work. And I don’t think the reality of the scale of economic ruin has really set in for people who aren’t in a position to look behind the curtain. A forest fire is an important ecological event, an atom bomb isn’t.

            Back on New Orleans – after Hurricane Katrina, the city was just not the same, and never will be. We’re talking about that level of economic disruption. Can’t continue, just can’t.

          • Kate 09:05 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            david, how and where do you work? Will your work or your commute put you or others at risk? Even if you’re willing to get sick – are you? – remember you’re likely to be wandering around without symptoms for days before you feel ill, possibly passing it to anyone you encounter.

            Right now, 93 city workers are down with Covid. Not retirees, not frail old people, but people in their prime working for the city. Anywhere you have people congregating, you will have contagion, and that includes transit and any workplaces where proximity can’t be avoided.

          • Alison Cummins 09:06 on 2020-05-28 Permalink


            You say that if it hasn’t worked yet, then it won’t.

            But it *has* worked.

            Many countries have gotten their fatalities down to almost zero. Quebec’s fatalities dropped steadily for 17 days straight but started rising again last week.

            Sophisticated and effective public health plans are not « simple peasant thoughts ».

            Walking outside during an air raid is a completely irrelevant analogy to gathering in groups during a pandemic because it doesn’t endanger other people. More relevant would be blackouts during air raids. Cities would turn off all the lights so bombers would have trouble targeting them. An individual might have thought that making a bonfire in their back yard would be unlikely to result in their own death, but their neighbours would quickly have put an end to any bonfire shenanigans because of the increased risk to everyone in the area.

          • Alison Cummins 09:23 on 2020-05-28 Permalink


            0.4% is not low if everyone gets it.

            0.1% is only low because we have annual vaccination campaigns to reduce the number of people who get flu in the first place. In a bad flu season when the vaccine is not a good match for the virus, our healthcare systems get quite stressed.

            People who are completely asymptomatic are rare. There’s a long period of being contagious but asymptomatic before developing symptoms, but never developing symptoms at all is rare.

            Covid is not all-or-nothing. You can get scarred lungs, a stroke and kidney damage and not die. Getting sick will still be life-changing and costly and have a huge impact.

          • Alison Cummins 12:34 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            Further to “it’s not that bad compared to other things we take for granted”:

            StatsCan has been gutted, so I can’t seem to get recent granular detail by province, so this is based on rates from 2018, Canada-wide. Ignoring seasonality and correcting for the increase in crude population since then, I’ve calculated the number of deaths expected in 80 days (the number of days since Canada’s first covid death) in a year.

            +++ +++ +++

            2020 expected deaths in 80 days from:

            ∙ pneumonia + influenza combined: 1,935

            ∙ pneumonia, influenza + anything else related to lungs including TB, inhaling irritating chemicals or aspirating food or water: 6,221 (note that “anything else” kills over twice as many people as pneumonia + influenza combined)

            ∙ everything above + HIV and diabetes: 7,798

            Canada’s covid-19 deaths to date: 6,873

            +++ +++ +++

            We have had 3.55x the deaths from covid-19 in 80 days than we would expect from influenza + pneumonia, and 1.1x the deaths from all respiratory causes combined. So yes, it is that bad. In Canada. If I find the numbers for Quebec specifically, I can post those too.

          • Alison Cummins 13:26 on 2020-05-28 Permalink


            See also the « free rider problem ».

          • Chris 15:11 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            >Right now, 93 city workers are down with Covid

            Is that supposed to sound like a lot? Article also says “Montréal compte 28 000 employés.” So 0.3%. And “down with” could be anything from the sniffles to intubation, so sill not a helpful metric.

            >0.1% is only low because we have annual vaccination campaigns

            And even *without* any covid vaccine, the covid CFR is (apparently, now) only 4x worse than seasonal flu. Yet our reaction to covid has been 10000x our reaction to flu. Arguably justifiably so with initial data indicting a much high CFR, but now that the CFR is looking to be on the same order of magnitude as flu, the justification is questionable.

            Alison, do you acknowledge that the lockdown has serious downsides? We can debate where the balance is, but do you concede that there is a point where the lockdown is worse than what it’s trying to solve? Would you advocate for this same lockdown every winter for seasonal flu for example?

            >People who are completely asymptomatic are rare

            Not according to the CDC article I linked yesterday: fully 1/3 of infections are asymptomatic. Hardly rare.

            >Canada’s covid-19 deaths to date: 6,873

            How many of these are ‘excess deaths’ though? Probably many/most, but not all. ex:

          • Kate 16:20 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            Chris, you’re right. We’ve all overreacted. Will you come downtown with me so I can take your photo as you lick a lamp post?

          • Chris 21:48 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            Kate, I did *not* say we overreacted. The best data *at the time* said the CFR was *much* higher. That calls for one kind of response. Now the *newest data* says the CFR is probably quite a bit lower. New data means we should reconsider the plan. The CFR for under 50s is now thought to be 0.05%! If true, that’s great news! Maybe it won’t be true, the data is constantly changing, but that’s CDC’s current best estimate.

          • Alison Cummins 22:15 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            > even *without* any covid vaccine, the covid CFR is (apparently, now) only 4x worse than seasonal flu. Yet our reaction to covid has been 10000x our reaction to flu.

            Well, yes. Because CFR is not the measure of health care burden. Ebola has a CFR of 50% but represents 0 health care burden in Canada.

            > according to the CDC article I linked yesterday: fully 1/3 of infections are asymptomatic

            I read the table differently from you. In the gloss they refer to « presymptomatic and asymptomatic » but the table makes no reference to « presymptomatic » individuals. It uses « asymptomatic » to refer to both cases because if someone tests positive for Covid but has no symptoms, you can’t tell if they are asymptomatic or presymptomatic except by hanging out with them for two weeks. Most data we have can tell us whether someone who tests positive has symptoms or not; very little of our data tells us whether they will develop symptoms in the future.

            Regarding a cost/benefit analysis: you aren’t special in thinking about that. People at all levels of government, advised by epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists, in all countries in the world, are making that calculation.

            If there is no benefit, then any cost at all is too much. An inadequate lockdown not based on appropriate infection control measures and not backed up by contact tracking is of limited benefit. I’d prefer to do it right and get numbers down to, say, whooping cough levels. (CFR of about 2% but not a significant health care burden in Canada today.) To me that makes more sense than wittering about aimlessly and blaming the media.

            Doing nothing costs too, in disruptions and lost productivity. It’s not a case of “is it worse to spend a trillion dollars or to feel like shit for two to six weeks?” It’s more, “Is it better to have a short, planned disruption costing trillions of dollars and preserve our health care system and human assets, or to have ongoing disruptions costing trillions of dollars and permanently reducing everyone’s access to health care?”

        • Kate 17:31 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

          It’s said this is the hottest May 27 ever recorded in this city – in fact, the hottest May day ever and the second-highest temperature ever recorded here.

          • Brett 20:57 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

            Montreal school teachers must be glad they’re not sweating it out with their students in those stuffy old schools. Heh, heh.

          • david666 08:07 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            Which old schools? The old ones have all mostly been torn down because of mold due to decades of poor upkeep.

          • Meezly 09:05 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            Didn’t we have one of the coolest temperatures in May earlier this month? From one extreme to another.

          • Alison Cummins 09:27 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            My local primary/elementary school dates from the time our neighbourhood was built— 1920s/30s.

          • Kate 09:36 on 2020-05-28 Permalink

            David, I wouldn’t say “mostly”. A few older schools have been demolished and rebuilt, others have long since been converted into condos, which means they must have had HVAC systems retrofitted in. But the buildings, even if they were in good shape, wouldn’t suit modern approaches to childhood education: fully accessible, genderless, and wired.

        • Kate 14:12 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

          Quebec marked 89 additional deaths over the last 24 hours.

          • Kate 13:44 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

            Less than a month ago, it was snowing.

            Hints for cooling off.

            • Blork 14:46 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              At least it’s not humid. It’s 35C right now and only 35% humidity. So when I step outside it’s kind of fun, like “oh wow, all that heat. That’s so unusual” as opposed to a typical humid July day where you step outside and go “this is the worst sauna ever” and then run back inside.

            • Ian 17:03 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              I agree it’s not as oppressive as usual but the difference between snow on the ground and 35C within literally 16 days is kind of shocking, just one more “one to remember” in a year full of them I guess.

          • Kate 10:22 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

            Mathieu Bock-Côté wrote a brief piece this week about Montréal dans un nouveau délire. It’s like, count down till he mentions a) Islam and b) English.

            • azrhey 11:11 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              and because I am a bit maso … I figured I’d take a look at the comments : 3 entire comments until someone mentions bike lanes! woohoo!

            • ProposMontreal 15:16 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              I can’t stand that guy. Even when he’s right, not here though.

            • Raymond Lutz 16:02 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              Isn’t there any debater here that would rip him down, please? Geez, where’s our local Žižek when we need one? Alain Deneault? Francis Dupuis-Déri? Any QS MNAs? Michel Chartrand 😎

              Write a book, tweet something! If it can be done for Jordan Peterson, we can do it for MBC.

            • qatzelok 17:11 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              The article opines that attempts to “neutralize” French and “normalize” Muslim head coverings… demonstrate a hypocrisy that is caused by our provincialism.

              (And that our provincialism is a result of being a second-class part of someone else’s empire – must be understood to comprehend the gist of the article)

            • Jack 17:41 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

            • Raymond Lutz 18:15 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              Merci Jack! Mais ce n’est que 6 minutes! Et Aymeric Caron est super: il a crissé son camp du plateau Français de Radio-Sud parce qu’on interrogeait le bon peuple sur la véracité du réchauffement climatique…

            • Brett 20:59 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              He’s right that this shouldn’t be a priority for Plante during a pandemic and an economic crisis.

          • Kate 09:40 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

            The city’s libraries will reopen on Friday but with safety measures in effect. But the Grande bibliothèque won’t be open for another month.

            • John B 09:49 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              Note the article says that libraries “will be able to reopen” on Friday. This is quite different from “will reopen” on Friday.

              I’ve talked to some library employees and their managers had no advance warning of the announcement that libraries would be permitted to reopen, so they are scrambling to try to get the required safety measures in place, and it’s unlikely they’ll be ready for Friday.

              Check if your borough has anything to say about libraries being open before heading to the library on Friday.

            • Kate 10:15 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              Thank you, John B.

              I’d also add that one of the less planned uses of libraries has been to offer air conditioned spaces to folks without AC, but it doesn’t sound like that kind of usage will be allowed.

            • Michael Black 10:24 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              The Atwater Library reopens on June 2nd, but you have to reserve from home and pick up, two days a week. Over 60, membership is only $20 a year.

              The Jewish Public Library has senior membership at $36 if you’re 60 or over. But, online only membership is $18. No notice about reopening at the moment.

              I wondered if the delay for BanQ is because the hall was being used for the homeless.

            • Kate 10:37 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

              Thank you, Michael Black

              The article says nothing about that use of the hall. Has the Gazette forgotten to ask?

          • Kate 09:35 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

            It’s not so surprising to read that the pandemic delayed the city’s spring cleanup of its parks and that things are now being done in a rush.

            • Kate 09:33 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

              Media only report Wednesday morning that a taxi was riddled with bullets on Monday in St‑Henri. Brief items say the driver was unhurt and the fare, also unhurt, was the target.

              • Ginger Baker 17:13 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

                1. I’m fairly certain that photo wasn’t taken anywhere near the intersection of St-Remi and Cazelais

                2. I’m doubtful that’s even a Montreal city cop

            • Kate 08:58 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

              The Journal grieves that it’s impossible to count the parking spaces lost to create this summer’s temporary active transportation routes. But even La Presse is finding that it’s not so popular among store owners and their customers.

              • DeWolf 12:00 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

                Some of these interventions are proving a bit awkward. Laurier East is a good example. There’s no more street parking but pedestrian volumes aren’t particularly high on most of that stretch, except for a few choke points in front of the Metro, the SAQ and the Jean-Coutu. As the owner of Rhubarbe told La Presse, it doesn’t really make sense to remove parking even from the residential parts of the street. Hopefully the borough will listen and implement a more nuanced approach.

                On the other hand, the pedestrianisation of Mont-Royal is sorely needed, because at the moment it’s impossible to maintain any sort of distance from people on the sidewalks, and it’s still much quieter than usual. If they don’t feel safe walking down a particular street, people will avoid it entirely, which is something merchants may not be taking into account.

                The big and apparently controversial bike lanes on Christophe-Colomb are a real game-changer in terms of mobility. I was using them the other day and it makes north-south journeys so much faster, safer and more relaxing. Because they are so big, however, they’ve become an easy target for the “war on cars” crowd, even though they don’t actually remove any traffic lanes. I haven’t heard many complaints from the street’s residents, because I think most of them have access to off-street parking in the back alley, and not everyone living on that street owns a car anyway.

              • Alex L 12:29 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

                “If you build it, they will come”. And if you don’t, well…

              • Clément 15:15 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

                I wish we treated “car roads” the same way as these new bike paths.

                The road has now been open for 2 weeks and we haven’t witnessed a single traffic jam yet, so obviously the road is useless. Let’s tear it out and return it to nature.

              • Ian 17:01 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

                I agree with DeWolf here, there’s no one-size-fits-all.
                Transit corridors do make the most sense for big bike path projects as those tend to be the most dangerous for bicyclists – and yeah, Mont-Royal is awful to walk on at the best of times between basically St Urbain and St Denis. I’d love to see the sidewalks on that stretch permanently widened.

                I don’t really comprehend the lack of context or co-ordination when it comes to more residential areas, though. For instance, my street has a two-way bike path, which is great, because people were riding on it 2 ways before despite it being a one-way street – now they still do, but in designated lanes. My complaint is that the paths go in the wrong directions – the left side path goes against traffic and is impossible to see into from the driver’s side on the left hand parking lane. This is such a simple and obvious planning error, that is super easy to correct, but the borough won’t do anything about it.

              • qatzelok 17:16 on 2020-05-27 Permalink

                Please cars, don’t ever come back. I live in the center of the city and my health has never been better than it has this year. Not only does the lack of automobile exhaust help me breathe during allergy season, but biking to and from has never been safer or healthier.

                Please, for God’s sake, leave your SUV parked in the carport behind the smoke tree except to go to suburban malls.

            • Kate 00:30 on 2020-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

              Aaron Derfel writes about Covid outbreaks in Montreal hospitals.

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