Updates from June, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:24 on 2023-06-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The city announced the launch of a phone line against armed violence Wednesday, where parents in particular can call up and ask for help if they fear their kids are involved in gang activity. Let’s hope no calls to the line end up with police barging in and mowing somebody down.

    • Ian 17:29 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

      Considering how it often ends in violence if people call police to help a family member in a mental crisis I would hope everyone thinks twice before snitching out their own kid.

  • Kate 16:01 on 2023-06-28 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s a new smog warning on the Environment Canada weather page: “Concentrations of fine particulate matter originating from forest fires will be high tonight and tomorrow. However, concentrations will be less significant than last Sunday’s smog episode.”

    Thursday night was supposed to be the first show of the fireworks festival but the expected poor air quality means it’s been cancelled.

    Now the festival is saying it will have to evaluate the state of the air before each show but that the whole festival could be cancelled.

    • shawn 16:54 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I don’t see any links to it off yours but EC does offer animated smoke forecast maps, here: https://weather.gc.ca/firework/
      “Canada’s Wildfire Smoke Prediction System (FireWork)”
      No idea if its more, less or equally accurate as the https://firesmoke.ca/forecasts/current/

    • Kate 18:27 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      There’s a big red banner on the weather page from here – maybe it’s regional?

    • shawn 19:22 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      You mean the alert? Yes, but it doesn’t seem to direct one anywhere useful. In fact, amusingly, when you click on the link for http://www.canada.ca/info-smog-program you are directed to a page that has a “Most requested” with 3 links including “NAPS data products,” which got me curious. And it’s most requested! Well, if you click on it you get: “Server Error in ‘/’ Application. The resource cannot be found.”

      I’ve said it before but the EC site is a mess. And I say this as a federal civil servant who has worked on the text and links for the new NFB institutional site.

      Somebody there needs to clean this up.

    • Kate 20:57 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      It’s on Steven Guilbeault, the minister. Drop him a line?

    • shawn 21:49 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      And Kate, you were the one who pointed out a while back that if you click on Air Quality on the Montreal page you get “Observed Conditions: Not Available.”
      It’s so bad that I wonder if it’s intentional, like, no to compete with private sector sites… I dunno.

    • steph 08:20 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

      I`m a little bummed they cancelled them, I`m quite the fan.

      The firework shows must be pretty heavy air polluters. I wonder to what extent their pollution effect compares to the wildfire smoke.

  • Kate 09:59 on 2023-06-28 Permalink | Reply  

    A web magazine I’ve never noticed before has a glowing report on Montreal as “what a city can be” – which spends paragraphs idealizing the peace and order that reign here.

    • Uatu 10:36 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I guess he likes our caca filled streets ;P

    • walkerp 10:48 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Well that was pleasant to read. I could nitpick but the author broadly gets most of it right. It’s really directed at Americans and it sends a message that is good for them to absorb (and for us to retain).

    • Robert 11:13 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I thought you had linked to another of those sloppily written travel pieces composed of clichés about “Paris en Amérique du Nord” or quaint and colorful Quebec, best places for poutine and smoked meat, ending with a stop at Mount Royal belvedere. But Del Mastro has written a short yet thoughtful consideration of what makes Montreal so special. Montreal is not overflowing with dazzling tourist attractions, but what makes it so attractive to visitors, especially from the US is its anomalous “fine grained” urban quality. That makes this city something of a novelty on this continent where the primary model of metropolitan development consists of single family homes on meandering streets with an “office park” campus here and a shopping mall there, all of it threaded by freeways and six lane wide arterials lined with strip malls and lots of free parking. It’s a different experience for people coming from that environment to walk the bustling streets of a thriving city district. Locals, inured to that distinction, wonder what the fuss is all about. Montreal isn’t Brigadoon. Indeed, if we could send tourists to Laval, South Shore and West Island, they might wonder why they even bothered to get on a plane. And if you think Del Mastro’s glasses are too rose colored, you can always recommend translated articles from the Journal de Montréal as correctives.

    • Robert 11:23 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      @Uatu: C’pas San Francisco icitte!

    • PatrickC 11:33 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      It’s a reminder of the importance of older zoning policies (or perhaps the lack of them) that allowed for mixed development and a great variety of buildings on commercial streets. I’m afraid that when whole areas are redeveloped en bloc (Griffintown?), the advantages of that heterogeneity are forgotten.

    • Meezly 12:04 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Even visiting Vancouverites have remarked on how refreshing it is to see the mixed development in our neighbourhoods (primarily the Plateau area) compared to the more demarcated zoning laws (business vs residential) in Vancouver. Griffintown does remind me of Yaletown and similar areas in downtown Van.

    • Kate 12:16 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      i remember being in a U.S. town with friends and asking where the town actually was. But, as the saying goes, there was no there, there. It was all suburban highways and strip malls – there was no walkable older downtown area at all. And I suspect that’s default for much of North America.

      I mean, even Pointe Claire has Pointe Claire village.

    • dhomas 12:34 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I once booked a hotel in the Seattle area (Bellevue) that was about 200m, as the crow flies, from my office. I thought “this is great, I don’t need to rent a car, I can just walk to the office!”. Except those 200m included an 8-lane “road”, which was actually a highway in everything but name. What should have been a couple of minutes walk turned into nearly a half hour. Every time I would travel in North America, I would come back to Montreal with a new appreciation of our city.

    • Kevin 16:21 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      There is a line similar to that in “From Scratch” where an Italian guy’s parents ask if his home in LA is near the city centre, and he tells them for the umpteenth time that in the US there is no such thing.

    • walkerp 17:59 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      We are very fortunate. The battle is ongoing, but Montreal’s mixed use neighbourhood model (plus lots of historical luck) is one that many see as the future of cities in a post climate-change world. This is why shitbirds like Martineau (who I assume actually lives here) need to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

    • DeWolf 18:13 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Montreal wouldn’t have been so remarkable 75 years ago. But US cities have been hollowed out to such an extent that there’s only a handful of cities that offer a similarly large, continuous expanse of lively, fine-grained urban fabric: New York (of course), San Francisco, Boston/Cambridge and the north side of Chicago. (And maybe Philadelphia, but I haven’t been there to find out.) Otherwise, there are lots of great urban neighbourhoods in various US cities, but they’re usually cut off from each other by big expressways, car-oriented dead zones or areas with serious crime problems.

    • Kevin 23:15 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I only spent a few days in Philly, but friends who lived there would agree with your assessment. It is extremely walkable with a lot of neighbourhoods.

    • mb 07:35 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

      All you need to agree with Del Mastro is to leave MTL for a couple of months/years. One gets used to everything, except the winter.

    • Shawn Goldwater 07:53 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

      It’s been years since I have been there but I would think that San Francisco no longer works as an example, because those fine urban areas are so hemmed in by high crime areas. One can’t even approach Mission at night. And so what’s left as a vibrant safe city centre is so expensive, so overrun by tourists and investors.

    • walkerp 09:11 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

      Except that is utter bullshit Shawn Goldwater. San Francisco still very much as walkable as it ever was.

    • walkerp 10:26 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

      Or should I refer to you as Shawn “Barry” Goldwater? :). [that’s a joke for us old heads]

    • Blork 15:49 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

      The article does offer some interesting perspectives, but there are plenty of leaps-of-faith and generalizations. It’s nice that he felt safe when walking around in Montreal, and in general I think he’s right that Montreal is safer than most large US cities. But most (or at least many) US cities do have safe(ish) neighborhoods even if they are interspersed with less safe ones.

      Same with walkability and whatnot. Most (not all) US cities I’ve been to have plenty of very walkable neighborhoods, often full of interesting independent shops and restaurants. Chicago, Seattle, L.A., New York (obv.), San Francisco (obv.), Philly, Cincinatti, etc. I’ve had nice neighbourhood walks in all of them.

      But class plays into it a lot. Those tree-lined streets and indy shops don’t come cheap, so the poorer neighborhoods tend to be ruled by parking lots and chain stores.

  • Kate 09:52 on 2023-06-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Bixi has been breaking usage records but that sometimes means users are faced with empty stations when they want a bike.

    • shawn 10:26 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I didn’t realize it was up even compared to last year. Also I’ve noticed more flat tires than ever before. Not surprising, I suppose, if the bikes are in almost-constant use.

    • EmilyG 13:24 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Shawn’s comment makes me wonder: Who fixes the flat tires on Bixis?

    • shawn 13:41 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Well, the same folks that fix everything else. I’ve interacted with them a bit on Facebook. You just report the bike as broken on the app or site and eventually, not always soon enough, it does get fixed.

    • shawn 13:48 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      … other common issues are bent wheels, faulty breaks, problems with the chain/derailleur and most maddeningly, on the blue e-bikes, seat stems that can’t be locked with the collar. Though I’ve seen less of those now, I think.

    • EmilyG 14:21 on 2023-06-28 Permalink


      I’d like to try Bixi sometime, though I’m not knowledgeable about bikes or bike maintenance.

    • Shawn Goldwater 14:40 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      But Emily perhaps I have not been clear. We as users don’t fix anything. They do.

    • Kate 19:16 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Shawn is right, Emily. You don’t have to do a thing about a busted Bixi, except slot it in and hit the button that says it’s got damage. It’s always wise before taking a bike out to check that the tires are not flat and the brake cables are intact, though.

  • Kate 09:24 on 2023-06-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Public health in the east end are planning to distribute N95 masks to people deemed vulnerable during the next smoke event, which it sounds like they expect sooner rather than later.

    • carswell 10:05 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Sitting near an open window in my office located at about 350 feet above sea level on the north side of the mountain, 200 m from the UdeM metro station. Whiffs of campfire have just started drifting in. Looks like I’m going to have to budget for a recirculating air conditioner and air purifiers. In the short term, hoping the forecast thunderstorms clear the air.

    • shawn 10:27 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I hadn’t noticed it yet in Mile End but yes the numbers seem to be creeping up.

    • walkerp 10:32 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I just tested positive for covid and wearing an N95 inside at my own house, so still plenty of needs for them!

    • shawn 10:54 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I hope it’s mild, walkerp! Do you have an idea where you might have contracted it?

    • Kate 10:55 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Get well soon, walkerp!

      And thanks for reminding us that covid is still around. As a society we seem determined to put it behind us.

    • walkerp 11:56 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Thank you for your kind wishes. So far it is the opposite end of when I got it the first time. That was truly awful, down for the count for days with all kinds of weird gross symptoms. This time it started yesterday as a scratchy throat which I thought was due to the smoke but when I woke up this morning it was the classic old-school cold sore throat. I feel fine except for a nasty but not epic sore throat and mild cough.

      I may have caught it at the Alliance game, where I did some very close, loud talking and was generally surrounded by other people cheering. Could have been dinner at some friends. Otherwise pretty much been home and with the family.

    • Meezly 12:27 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      In addition to talking about which masks or air quality apps are best, we should be harassing our MPs and lighting a fire under their butts, so to speak: https://350.org/canada/mp-call/?akid=261170.4048047.pEtlKE&rd=1&t=7&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionkit#action

    • shawn 13:01 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

    • MarcG 13:09 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Every infection is a dice roll in terms of acute symptoms but there’s at least one huge study that shows that the more times you’re infected the more likely you’ll have long-term negative outcomes like autoimmune disease, heart, kidney, brain problems, etc regardless of vaccination status. Glad to hear you’re at the very least trying to prevent onward transmission.

    • Shawn Goldwater 14:41 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Ok Marc you scared me straight I am wearing my mask at Olimpico right now.

    • MarcG 14:45 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Get one of these and you can still sip your latte (through a straw).

    • mare 14:45 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      TIL that Quebec’s forest fire prevention agency is named SOPFEU. The official name is Société de protection des forêts contre le feu, so that acronym is only very loosely based on actual word initials.

      So they could have easily worked a T in that acronym, because STOPFEU would be both easy to remember and a good action word! Now it’s just a soppy mess.

    • Shawn Goldwater 14:48 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      Marc, that’s hilarious. Never seen that before.

  • Kate 09:01 on 2023-06-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Businessman and TV figure Vincenzo Guzzo has been charged with criminal harassment and has actually spent a night in jail while waiting to be charged.

    • dwgs 10:24 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      He is not a nice man.

    • shawn 10:29 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      I recall he was one of the suitors last time around to buy the football team and he just started quarrelling with everyone.

  • Kate 08:52 on 2023-06-28 Permalink | Reply  

    A company that builds student housing is planning a new building at St‑Laurent and Ontario. Places like this are needed now that there are no more cheap apartments for students in the regular market.

    • Mozai 11:02 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      The old punk bar Katakombes closed before COVID lockdowns, and I remember a sign on the building in 2020 saying it would be the site of new student residences. The article says “st-laurent et ontario” which describes that place, but the architect’s picture looks like Ontario & St-Urbain.

    • james 13:18 on 2023-06-28 Permalink

      The image in the article is a bit deceptive because this new building seems to have frontage on all three roads: St-Laurent, St-Dominique & Ontario. It will surround the existing building at 24 Ontario E.

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