Updates from April, 2021 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:49 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Like our premier, the big landlords’ consortium refuses to admit there’s a housing crisis and is denying it in the face of logical points from Mayor Plante.

    • david288 22:30 on 2021-05-02 Permalink

      CORPIQ is taking 100% the wrong position here. Instead of denying, they should be wholeheartedly agreeing and planting the blame where it belongs: all the anti-housing groups, Project Montreal, the CAQ, and the entire super-structure that prevents housing from coming to market and taking some of the pressure off of renters and buyers both.

  • Kate 15:01 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    The little green space informally known as Pigeon Hole Park – named after the old automated parking structure that used to stand there on Notre‑Dame at St‑Jean – has been landscaped over the last few years but is not public land, and is scheduled to be built up with condos soon. Some people want to save it as a bit of necessary parkland.

    • SMD 22:40 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

      I was just there yesterday and marveled at what a necessary oasis it is.

    • DeWolf 11:25 on 2021-05-01 Permalink

      It’s a lovely place but because the development fits within the existing zoning parameters, there is no legal means to block the development – and the city has no leverage to get the developer to modify its plans. Part of the property is a parking lot. It would have been nice if that portion been developed while leaving the existing park as it is.

      Apparently it was Gérald Tremblay who sold off the land for a pittance.

    • DeWolf 11:31 on 2021-05-01 Permalink

      Incidentally, I wish more people would follow the urban development forums we have (MTLUrb and its more progressive counterpart, Agora MTL) because community opposition to certain projects always comes way too late. It’s usually in response to coverage from mainstream media, which are never the first to break the news about upcoming developments.

      Pigeon Hole Park was a private initiative, billed from the get-go as a “parc éphémère,” so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is finally being developed. But if the neighbours hadn’t waited until the absolute last minute to launch a campaign to save it, they could have maybe had some success in getting the city to do something to mitigate its loss.

      It reminds me of the petition to block the hotel being built next to the Chinatown gate. The campaign began only after the building was already under construction. I’m not sure why those activists waited years after the development proposal was filed with the city to start their campaign.

    • JaneyB 14:18 on 2021-05-01 Permalink

      @DeWolf. Thanks for the info on those forums. I somehow knew nothing of them until now!

    • DeWolf 15:27 on 2021-05-01 Permalink

      I strongly recommend Agora over the other one… no ads and a better atmosphere.

    • david288 22:32 on 2021-05-02 Permalink

      MTLURB is – by far – the one where you’ll learn more about what’s actually going on. Actual real estate and development professionals are on there, and it’s very very active.

    • david288 22:47 on 2021-05-02 Permalink

      In fact, I’d also add one more think about Agora MTL – It’s a very hardcore conservative gang that posts on there. Very frequently, the attitude is to identify development, and find the ways that it doesn’t comport with the look of a neighborhood, the way that it increases use/density/traffic, the various ways it could be blocked, etc.

      I’m very surprised Chris DeWolf is recommending it, and look forward to hearing more from him on why (started it?) but, generally, so far, it seems to be more where you go to gripe about a project, or if you’re banned from MTLURB, rather than an affirmatively interesting place to exchange info about how our city is growing and what we can contribute, and so forth.

    • Jessie 11:38 on 2021-05-03 Permalink

      Citizens should not have to go on obscure forums to learn about real estate that is THIS huge and controversial. The city and dev were both shady in their discretion…. trees have already been taken out when the culture minister has not even given her final ok come on!

    • denis.lafronde@gmail.com 22:17 on 2021-05-17 Permalink

      @david288 Si je peux avoir une réponse tard à cette interrogation. Mtlurb retire tous les projets concernant les pistes cyclables et les trottoirs élargis, sous prétexte qu’ils sont controversés (et ils sont progressites selon vous?). À cause de cela, la plupart des membres contributeurs sérieux (ceux qui vont éplucher les CA) sont partis. Les nouveaux projets sont plus souvent sur Agora et l’activité sur Mtlurb a beaucoup baissé, rien à voir avec il y a un an. Il n’y a jamais eu de promoteurs ou de pros de l’immobilier actifs dans toutes les années que j’ai lurké là, un ou deux quelques fois par année, ça n’apporte pas grand chose.

      Vous exagérez beaucoup l’opposition à des projets sur Agora. Vous parlez d’exceptions pour un ou deux projets controversés, sur des centaines. La quasi-totalité des projets sont enthousiastes. Il n’y a pas d’engueulade entre les membres. Il n’y a rien de conservateur à connaître les outils démocratiques de la ville à mon avis. Il n’y a rien de progressif à penser qu’on ne devrait jamais bonifier un projet et laisser faire n’importe quoi. On fait ça depuis les 50 dernières années! Beaucoup plus d’employés de la ville ou d’architectes sont actifs sur Agora.

      Voilà les raisons pour moi.

  • Kate 13:13 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    The Liberal government is poised to break the strike at the Port of Montreal, having rounded up Conservative support for the legislation. The union is demanding that, if they work under duress, it won’t be to the longer hours the employer has been determined to enforce.

    • Bill Binns 14:54 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

      I finally found a union grievance I can empathize with. I worked under “mandatory overtime” bs at a defense contractor years ago. The money is fantastic but you have no life to spend it on.

      But….I wonder why the port chooses to pay people quadruple golden overtime or whatever rather than simply add more employees? Is it because they know whomever they hire they are stuck with forever? Something is missing from the story.

    • Tim 15:30 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

      Bill, paying overtime can actually be cheaper than hiring another employee when you factor in all the costs (health insurance, vacation pay, retirement, office space, equipment, CPP premiums, training, etc.) that come with a new employee. Overtime pay is not that much of an expense or effort on the part of the employer.

    • Uatu 09:00 on 2021-05-01 Permalink

      What’s the most depressing thing after working overtime is the realization that the big pay goes mostly to taxes and you feel like you’ve worked for free

    • PatrickC 09:28 on 2021-05-01 Permalink

      @Uatu, I get the part about taxes, but does overtime help accrue higher pension benefits or vacation time?

  • Kate 13:09 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Plans by protesters to hold an anti-science, anti-lockdown, anti-curfew protest at the Olympic stadium Saturday at noon have forced the rearrangement of vaccination procedures there.

    Jaggi Singh has a thread on May Day protests, the good and the bad.

    • Raymond Lutz 18:11 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

      Please, don’t click on J.Singh and follow his reference to xaviercamus site describing the Québecois anti-mask-vax crowd, moi ça m’a décrissé.

  • Kate 13:05 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    So many people have adopted pandemic pets that Montreal’s veterinarians are overwhelmed with new customers and patients.

    • Kate 10:42 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

      Two Montrealers have been identified as victims in the crush disaster at a Haredi event in Israel that has killed at least 45 people.

      • Bill Binns 11:11 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

        They died doing what they love. Being batshit crazy.

      • jeather 11:52 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

        Crush disasters are due to poor planning by organizers, not people who are bad people who deserve to die quite horrifically. Do you also mock people who get killed in a similar manner at clubs, or sports games, or anything else that is not strictly necessary according to you?

      • Chris 13:00 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

        It’s more than “not strictly necessary”. International travel is highly discouraged, gathering in a group of 30000 is likewise just about illegal almost everywhere on earth right now. The organizers can take some blame, but the individuals involved were behaving irresponsibly and detrimentally to their fellows.

      • jeather 13:09 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

        As you know, Israel has vaccinated a lot of people and has reopened very significantly — outdoor events that use the pass have massive numbers allowed legally. I don’t follow it closely enough to know if this is safe on pandemic terms, but then, the problem isn’t that this was a super spreader event, so we don’t really need to bring up what if and blame them for poor logistical planning when the disaster was not about covid at all.

      • Bill Binns 13:15 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

        They weren’t exactly escaping a burning theater were they? A bunch of people got themselves sufficiently lathered up howling at the moon over a 2nd century rabbi that 40+ people were killed. People can’t be crushed to death unless someone at the back is pushing.

        And yeah, when it happens at sporting events it’s usually stupid too.

      • jeather 19:39 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

        Not sure why leaving a theatre or club — it’s not generally because of a fire — is a sympathetic thing but leaving a religious festival or sports game isn’t. Also perhaps look into human crushes, because the cause is generally poor planning by authorities, either by allowing too many people in too small a space or by not having enough exits, not stupid people in a crowd.

    • Kate 09:07 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

      Claude Jasmin, who baptized part of town with the name Petite-Patrie, has died at age 91. Lots of elogia in Friday’s media.

      • Kate 07:23 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

        Police, as well as Ubisoft itself, are pretty sure they know who called in the large swatting incident at their offices in the Peck Building in November, as well as two subsequent less publicized attempts to lure police into fake crises at the same location. But the man in question is French and is not going to be extradited to face charges here.

        • walkerp 09:18 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          This is great that they found him! This asshole should do time, but how the hell can Ubisoft say they lost 1.7 million dollars in productivity. What a joke.

        • A 09:22 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          Ubisoft have 26 studios, I don’t think that any of them did any work that day

        • david104 10:33 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          Yet another incident involving the French.

        • Kate 10:45 on 2021-04-30 Permalink


        • david104 22:33 on 2021-05-02 Permalink


      • Kate 07:10 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

        Two restaurant owner groups want permission to reopen for the vaccinated. The problem is: how does anyone know you’ve been vaccinated? And what about the many people (like myself) who’ve had one shot, but won’t see the second for months yet?

        • Joey 09:11 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          A digital vaccine passport of some kind seems inevitable – in the meantime you can show the vaccination card you received. I would be comfortable eating in a restaurant of everyone inside has received one dose.

        • Kate 09:18 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          I didn’t get a card, just a scribbled bit of paper with the date of my second shot on it.

        • Mark 09:21 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          Kate, it’s normal that you didn’t get more than a scribbled paper after the first shot. I have staff in Nunavut who have gotten the second shot and it’s more of an official paper. So you could use that paper. Some countries (Estonia) have gone the tech route with this, giving you a QR code (like an e-ticket) and you use your phone, sort of like when you board a train or go to the Bell Center. It could be a combination of both.

          There are plenty of issues to consider here, other than the obvious one of civil liberties: fraud, privacy, unequal access to vaccines, duration of protection. How about data standards? Not everyone got the same vaccine, so is it up to the business to decide who to let in? Scene: It says here your AstraZeneca vaccine is 9 months old, you may not enter. Your friend here has a Pfizer vaccine that 6 months old, he may enter. It gets messy.

          But the cost of figuring that out is orders of magnitude lower than keeping the whole economy closed, so governments are working on this. We’ll see.

        • Daniel 09:33 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          There might be something to the approach of dangling a carrot to reward vaccination, but it might be better to save whatever incentive for after the second dose. We’re going to have enough trouble making sure everyone who had the first shot gets the second. We’ll need all the help we can get.

        • Ephraim 10:41 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          We definitely got a card, with the batch number. We also walked in with our vaccination booklet, because we need to keep track. Tetanus is still every 10 years. When you take Hep A and Hep B, they are 2 or 3 shots. It helps to keep it in order.

        • Bill Binns 11:10 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          Couldn’t it be something as simple as one of those non-removable (without cutting) bracelets that every patient receives in the hospital with a QR code. Maybe yellow for your first shot and green for your second?

        • Joey 11:20 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          The vaccination card is an interim solution. Implementing a digital passport via the provincial Carnet Santé seems the easiest medium-term route. My guess is that two months from now we won’t need this as vaccination rates soar and new cases/deaths plummet.

        • steph 11:34 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          I don’t want to eat in a restaurant with people who haven’t had their measles, mumps, rubella, or chickenpox, vaccine either. Maybe we can get people to wear an armband as an idicator. Lets also do cavity searches at street corners.

        • Kate 13:23 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          steph, the thing is, we’ve all acquired immunity to those things either because of vaccination or earlier exposure, and it’s a fair guess we do have herd immunity to all or most of them. They don’t pack the punch of an entirely new virus.

        • Ephraim 14:11 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          @Kate – Measles is the BIG guy. The vaccine is 97% effective. but measles is so contagious that one person will infect 90% of the people who aren’t vaccinated around them. It stays LIVE in the air for 2 hours. And it still spreads from 4 days before the rash appears to 4 days after it’s gone. In fact, if a person with measles walks through a room with 100 immunized people, at least 2 will likely get measles. Rubella’s vaccine is just 88% effective. And the first treatment for exposure to measles? Revaccination… reteach the body to fight it, faster. Death is 1 to 2 per 1000 from measles.

          Incidentally, vaccines are more effective on children than adults. Which is why it is stressed to get them as children.

        • Kate 14:28 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          Ephraim, I don’t doubt it, but how many people do you know have actually had measles, as adults?

          I had measles, as a kid. A guy I know also had it as a kid, and has been deaf on one side ever since, so I know it can have consequences. But when I finally got a GP assigned to me I asked a bit about immunizations, and they said they don’t give MMR to adults, as the assumption is either we had them, or we were at least exposed to them enough that our immune systems know what they are.

          (They did give me a Tdap shot because I couldn’t recall when I last had a tetanus shot, and told me to consider getting the shingles vaccine, but it costs like $150.)

        • Daisy 14:39 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          I had measles as an adult, following a trip to France, despite having been vaccinated as a child (only one dose though).

        • Kate 15:19 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          Wow. How was it, Daisy? I can barely remember measles, I was about 5, and my parents later said I was quite sick and feverish for some days.

        • Daisy 15:35 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          At first I thought I was just overtired from too much training for an upcoming race, but when I got swollen lymph nodes and some other symptoms, I googled and got suspicious. This was before the rash appeared. I phoned Info-Santé, the nurse said she would warn the hospital I was coming. They checked me out, confirmed measles and sent me home with some masks in case I had to go out.

          Eventually I was itchy and extremely tired and spent all day lying under the ceiling fan in my non-airconditioned apartment in the heat of summer. Public Health phoned frequently to follow up. They also put up a warning notice at my workplace entrance that an infectious person had been there. (I had also been taking the metro back and forth, but I guess it’s harder to warn the right people.)

          One day I stood up for 15 minutes or so while talking on the phone (I knew I didn’t feel good but I couldn’t even sum up the energy to tell the person I needed to go lie down) and ended up passing out. When I told Public Health about this, they sent an ambulance. They said measles could have severe complications for adults and I needed to take some tests or something. The paramedics were all wrapped up as if I was radioactive. I was taken extremely directly into a separate room in the ER. Nurses entering had to put on protective gear and then throw it out when they left. I was feeling pretty out of it and I don’t actually know what they were testing or monitoring for, but after a number of hours they sent me home. Because I was infectious and car-less I had to walk home (15 minutes) but at least I had someone to accompany me. Fortunately they gave me some anti-itch pills and the next week or so was easier. Even after I felt just fine I wasn’t allowed back to work. I had to stay at home for a full 14 days.

        • Kate 16:40 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          Thanks for the vivid descriptions, Daisy! I didn’t realize measles also itches. Chickenpox does, and I remember that well. I hope you recovered with no side effects.

        • Ephraim 17:01 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          @Kate – I actually asked about MMR and they vaccinated me, but they CAN charge you… it’s $5… $5 for peace of mind… yup, I’m in. In fact, anyone born in the 1960s might want to ask if they were vaccinated, because it wasn’t standard at the time. If you were born in the 60s, you were definitely vaccinated for Smallpox and Polio. Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis are given together and are repeated every 10 years. They tested you for TB (which is easy to remember, because it was a set of 4 dots on the skin). But Measles, Mumps and Rubella were added towards the end of the 60s and only became standard in the 70s. So some people didn’t get them. No shame in asking for them… especially if you are going to travel. Hep A&B are suggested for travel to third world countries, but in some places, you are required for certain service jobs, including people working in restaurants and sexually active people. In fact, when we went to Africa, they strongly suggested a booster for Polio… though it’s finally eradicated in Africa, it’s still a concern in Pakistan and Afghanistan (in case someone is planning on going).

          Measles was almost eradicated. WHO actually declared it eradicated in Canada the US… until the antivaxxers. They brought it back! Now we have outbreaks.

          There is a good news. Just before COVID, they were already close on the first vaccine for Malaria with a 75% efficacy. And the technology used by Biontech (the tech is owned by Biontech, Pfizer is trying to develop their own) and Moderna means that we are closer than ever to other vaccines, and in particular a vaccine for HIV. The closer we come to eradicating. The biggest vaccines missing are Malaria and HIV. And more coverage for pneumonia. BTW, some countries vaccinate for TB, but if you are vaccinated for TB, you show up positive for TB in tests and then have to do chest X-rays to prove that you don’t have TB. Ask anyone who’s immigrated from Iran, for example.

        • Ephraim 17:05 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

          Hep A & B vaccinations for adults are paid… with some groups getting it free… ask and they will tell you the groups. It’s a course of 3 shots over time.

        • Kate 11:21 on 2021-05-01 Permalink

          Ephraim, I’ve gathered that, had Covid not been such a big story, the news of a malaria vaccine would’ve made much more of a splash.

      • Kate 07:08 on 2021-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

        Bell has bought Octane, the local promoter of the Grand Prix, and the contract says they’re committed till 2031.

        • Kate 18:08 on 2021-04-29 Permalink | Reply  

          It’s clear that someone knows the transit cop goons can’t be trusted, even if they’re going to become “special constables” this summer. (I’m beginning to read “special” here as in the sense of special education.) They won’t be allowed the big boys’ toys: no tasers, no pepper spray, no guns. At most, an extensible baton. And a good thing too.

          • Bill Binns 07:40 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            Gee, you would think if the Metro was patrolled by a battalion of ultra violent “goons” there would be fewer people sprawled across the floor and living comfortably down there while using any convenient corner as a toilet.

            I have personally tried to sic these goons on the group of people who enjoy smoking crack while agressively begging in the vestibule of Berri-UQAM. They seemed wildly uninterested. They must have been tired from punching totally innocent women in the head for no reason at all.

          • Kate 12:15 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            I hold out a faint hope that if the STM goons actually become constables, in some sense, maybe they will get more training about dealing with people who need help, people who are not criminals but are, for various reasons, unable to cope, and are inconveniencing the folks trying to use the system for transit.

          • Bill Binns 12:45 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            Since I’ve lived here I have seen a total of one person get arrested in the Metro. By far the thing I see the goons doing more than anything else is standing around in groups of 2 or 3 chatting with each other.

            If you think the recent takedown of the biter is a sign of some kind of systemic violence problem by Metro security I would ask you how many times you would allow yourself to be bitten by a human at work before getting somewhat violent in response. Also, weren’t at least some of those guys actual city cops?

          • Kate 16:41 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            The question is what happened before she bit anyone. Is skipping a ticket sufficient to justify having one or more transit security men put their hands on you?

          • Tee Owe 16:51 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            See comment from Bill Binns below – ‘is it worth it?’

          • Bill Binns 17:57 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            @Kate – Great question. She got caught jumping the turnstile. 1000 to 1 odds but somehow she was caught. Instead of being a grown-up and taking her ticket and deciding later if she’s going to plead guilty and pay, or go to court and explain herself, she decided to ESCELATE. She refused to identify herself and the big boy cops got involved. Just as with any other type of citation if you refuse to identify yourself you get arrested. So she again ESCELATED and tried to escape forcing cops or security or both to put their hands on her. During this process she made another decision to bite one or more officers or security people multiple times. Then those guys did a little escelating of their own.

            So what should have been done here? Treat the fare system as a “suggested donation jar”? Just give up and wave her through when she refused to identify herself? That would be a hell of a loophole wouldn’t it? This woman didn’t get the shit beat out of her for fare jumping. She got the shit beat out of her for resisting arrest and assaulting cops/security.

            So many of the stories we see in the news about bad outcomes with the cops follow this pattern. People commit very serious crimes to avoid the minor consequences of minor crimes. Any interaction with the cops can be escelated to them beating or even killing people. They are never going to just let people go because they really want to go and they shouldn’t.

          • GC 19:15 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            Do we know that is the true sequence of events, Bill? I will confess I haven’t followed the story too closely, so I’ll take your word for it if that’s been established. Unfortunately, there are too many cases were the police relate a tale like that and then later witnesses or a video reveal a different sequence of events.

            I’d like to have the same faint hope as you, Kate, regarding the training. But do even our local police really have a great track record dealing with the mentally ill, etc.?

        • Kate 17:05 on 2021-04-29 Permalink | Reply  

          Interesting changes in transit pass prices will come into force in July: kids ride free till age 11 if boarding with a fare-paying adult, and people 65 and older will get a much bigger break.

          • david638 18:53 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

            This is a much bigger story than indicated – first time we’re getting REM pricing, unless I missed something!

            It’s going to be cheap(ish)!

            Now the remaining question: pricing integrated with the metro?

          • dwgs 19:33 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

            It was very rare that any bus driver or metro booth person asked my kids to pay until they were 12 or so.

          • Mark Côté 20:25 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

            It was already free for kids under 11 on weekends and during the summer holiday, so this will only really affect kids that travel by bus for school—but I imagine that might be a relief to a big family.

          • Kate 07:25 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            But do kids travel by bus to school with a parent?

          • John B 07:38 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            It’s also a relief for families who travel to any after-school activities by bus, when after-school activities are a thing.

            Some kids go by bus to school with a parent. Especially kids who go to schools other than their neighbourhood school, like FACE, or one of the many alternative schools in town.

          • Bill Binns 07:58 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            I’m really curious about how much it costs the STM to collect fares. All the machines, all the enforcement, all the employees, all of the servers and back office stuff, the accountants etc. What’s left of those fares after all of those costs are counted? Is it even worth it?

          • Kate 10:16 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            Someone should do a piece like this New York mag article about the MTA about how the STM collects and counts fares.

            Bill Binns, I will look into this. I seem to recall they do need the revenue, although how much of it goes uselessly into policing fare fraud I don’t have a clue.

          • John B 11:02 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            @david638 : This CBC article implies that a ticket will be good for all transit forms within a zone, which, if true, is welcome.

            Maybe my privilege is showing, but how badly do seniors need super-cheap transit passes? Most seniors I know are better off than most working-age people I know. Is there data that says seniors in 2021 are poorer than 30-year-olds, or is this an outdated idea that’s stuck in popular opinion & politics, (like the “middle class”)?

          • Kate 12:17 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            Not all old people have amassed sufficient wealth to call a cab when they need to get around. I will be very happy to get a cheaper pass when I reach 65.

            In the UK, you get to ride transit free after that age.

          • Mark Côté 12:32 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            “But do kids travel by bus to school with a parent?”

            Under age 11, I would guess yes. Maybe not their parent, but an adult at least. I don’t know what it was like to grow up in the city, but at least nowadays I have a hard time imagining 9 or 10 year olds taking the bus by themselves. Quebec has no real clear laws when it comes to kids being left alone (either inside or outside the home).

          • Uatu 13:48 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            Hmm. Seems I’m going to be paying 10$ more for my fare. So 165$ a month to wait in the cold to catch a bus to catch a train to catch a metro. Wow. Thanks artm. My life has improved so fucking much with this new train.

          • Tim 16:18 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            I agree with John B: seniors, as a group, are better off than just about everyone else and do not need reduced fares en masse. A whopping 70% off seems excessive.

            This reminds of the current vote buying efforts included in the Liberal budget: $500 dollars for everyone over 75 (a completely arbitrary age limit) and a 10% bump in OAS payments. The following Globe editorial makes a strong case that this money should be targeted to poorer seniors that get the GIS and who need it, not everyone getting OAS.


          • Kate 09:43 on 2021-05-01 Permalink

            John B., Tim, not all seniors arrive at retirement age with accrued wealth, whether from pensions or inheritance. The wealthier ones will be driving or taking cabs and won’t need the cheap transit passes. The poorer ones will.

          • Ant6n 11:08 on 2021-05-01 Permalink

            I thought cost of fare collection and enforcement is around 10%? And fares pay half the cost, perhaps a bit more, the rest are subsidies. (Except for the REM, which is gonna be 3/4 subsidies)

        • Kate 16:29 on 2021-04-29 Permalink | Reply  

          Every so often doing the blog I stumble over a Dezeen piece on a house, so here’s one called Park Ex House that’s entirely clad in shiny white siding with stingy, ill-placed windows. And there it is, the breakfast bar.

          • Josh 17:23 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

            I will admit to being puzzled by your relationship with the breakfast bar, Kate. I grew up in a house that had one, and in retrospect I can see for my parents how it would’ve been very handy: Helping me with my homework while cooking, serving breakfast, talking to guests who arrive before dinner is ready, etc.

            Having trouble thinking of a single con for breakfast bars, actually!

          • CE 18:02 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

            That house has been there for a while now and its ugliness has always puzzled me. I can’t figure out why would anyone choose to live in such a structure!

          • Kate 18:12 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

            Josh, it’s just the pervasiveness of the thing. I can only assume budding architects have to take Breakfast Bar 101 in architect school. Houses with perfectly fine tables only a step away are equipped with them. Upscale mansions have them. Tiny condo layouts still wedge one in, so tightly that the users of the breakfast bar would practically be sitting on the shoulders of the person at the dining table behind them.

            Besides, why would anyone want to eat breakfast with their legs dangling off a bar stool, when there’s a perfectly good table and chairs right there?

          • Phil M 18:37 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

            The counter height makes it easier to eat standing up, which can be helpful if you’re in a rush. Regardless, if the “breakfast bar” keeps being sold, people must like it.

            As for the house, while the cladding might not have been my first choice, aesthetically, I like the overall look of the house.

          • dwgs 19:38 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

            Speaking as someone who is employed by an Architect School I can say that not only do they not teach Breakfast Bar 101 but the whole idea of designing something as boring and utilitarian as a house is both sniffed at and frowned upon.

          • Kate 07:25 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            dwgs, what are they meant to aspire to?

          • Blork 09:21 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            The breakfast bar has almost nothing to do with breakfast or even seating. In open concept kitchens it is very practical and desirable to have a large “island” counter, which is convenient AF and becomes the centrepiece of the kitchen. That’s where most of the work happens because it is large and open, and there’s plenty of room for cutting boards, bowls, scales, etc.

            The idea to stick a few stools there is almost an afterthought. And it creates a nice social atmosphere when one or two people are doing the meal prep and another person or two are sitting there talking with them, or doing homework, or having a drink, etc.

            An open concept kitchen that did NOT have a large island would be as silly and awkward as a bathroom without a sink. It just doesn’t make sense. So it’s not about breakfast! It’s about being a modern and highly efficient and organized kitchen!

          • Kate 10:37 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            Blork, I’ve long suspected the kitchen island’s popularity comes from a desire to feel like a TV chef. But then, I watched as friends installed one in a kitchen that had barely enough room to move around it, and I didn’t find it much of an improvement. Maybe if you have a really big space.

          • Blork 17:38 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            It’s not so much about the size of the space as the arrangement. When the kitchen is open to the living area (as opposed to being in a closed room) it’s both a delight and a must unless you’re in a little studio apartment. Not only does it visually separate the space, but it provides a large glorious workspace.

            I have a fairly large kitchen, but it’s not fully open to the other rooms, so there is no island and no room for an island. And I am constantly running out of counter space. It drives me nuts. Seriously, I love cooking but I’m always running out of counter space. The mythical kitchen reno (which might never happen) involves taking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and adding a goddamn island!

            Bearing in mind that the average middle-class home cook prepares more sophisticated meals than they would have a generation or two ago. It’s not just a matter of boiling your veg and frying your pork chop. Between all those food channels on TV, food web sites, etc., people are doing more interesting things at home. Not “fancy” just more interesting, and that usually means more fresh veg (therefore more space needed for chopping and setting aside) more pans on the stove, and overall more mise-en-place before you even turn on the heat.

            And all that “mise” just begs for counter space!

          • Josh 18:22 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            Blork: And you’re not even mentioning kitchen appliances! In the last five years I’ve acquired a fancier coffee maker than ever before (with a larger footprint), a stand mixer, and an Instant Pot. All these things have to go somewhere, but some of them wouldn’t even fit through the clearance on my 70s-era kitchen cabinets were I even inclined to store them there! Add in a drying rack, a knife block and a few other odds and ends and you can be out of counter space before you even begin.

            I would *love* an island or peninsula just for the extra, practical, kitchen real estate it would provide.

          • GC 19:09 on 2021-04-30 Permalink

            Yeah, even if you don’t actually put stools under there and use it as a bar, it’s extra counter space. And I’ve never lived somewhere and thought “Gee, I wish I had _less_ counter space”. I am a fan of mine, however, and eat there often. My friends put their wine racks under theirs, which meant they still had the extra counter space but also repurposed the other side for something more useful to them.

            I wholeheartedly agree that the outside of that house is an eyesore, however.

        • Kate 16:25 on 2021-04-29 Permalink | Reply  

          For the first time, as many as 30% of the Polytechnique’s graduates this year are women.

          • Kate 16:24 on 2021-04-29 Permalink | Reply  

            Announced Thursday: vaccinations will soon be open to all adults. The schedule is in this CBC article.

            A regular reader suggests I mention that the Montreal General is vaccinating and has a lot of availability plus free parking. You enter on the west side (Livingston) and walk right through.

            • jeather 17:53 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

              I went to the MUHC just this week. They have a giant lot set up on gravel for vaccines only, but there is a steep staircase between it and the clinic (6 nurses set up in a hallway). There is a sign saying if you have mobility issues to ask. My understanding is that parking is free at all vaccine clinics.

              Also as a rule clic sante opens up between 4 pm and 8 pm the night before eligibility officially opens for a group.

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