Updates from June, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:51 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Quebec Appeals court says the tent encampment under the Ville‑Marie has to go. The residents had been given several extensions up to June 15, but they’re still there.

    Problem is, there’s nowhere for them to go.

    • Kate 18:24 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

      The fate of the month-long fireworks festival at La Ronde remains uncertain, organizers saying they’ll assess the atmospheric situation as it evolves. Fireworks planned for Canada Day have already been cancelled.

      • Kate 18:22 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

        La Presse reports the nonchalant dialogue from a young man shot in the leg in a shootout in St‑Léonard during the Grand Prix.

        • Kate 14:28 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

          The New York train isn’t running and the airport is in chaos with flights either late or cancelled.

          • Mitchell 05:44 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            I got caught in this mess when it began last Saturday – arrived in Newark on a United flight from France. And couldn’t go any further. United sent me to Air Canada, then flights were delayed and delayed and delayed then cancelled. Then AC sent me to La Guardia, same story. Hundreds if not thousands were spending the night in the airports — and it’s gotten worse from what I have read.

            The scary part about it was that there was no way out of the New York area: as Kate said, the Adirondack Amtrak has been cancelled, there were no rental cars, no flights — and hotel rooms, if you could afford them, were scarce.

            Even Greyhound seats were scarce. I finally got a seat on Greyhound on Wednesday and got back to Montreal at midnight (partly because the driver insisted we stop at Duty Free at the border . . .).

            And now friends in Denver are telling me the cascade has reached there.

          • Meezly 13:09 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            I didn’t realize the Amtrak Adirondack route got scrapped… apparently “Amtrak rail partner Canadian National (CN) has implemented reduced speed regulations in Canada due to heat, impacting the Amtrak Adirondack route”. Is this related to fire risk..?

            And if I’m to infer correctly, it seems like many airports (not just YUL) are continuing its pattern of chaos similar to last summer due to various factors related to lack of staffing & resources, climate unpredictability, etc.?

          • Kate 14:07 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            Meezly, officially the train can’t run at more than 10 km/h when it’s over 30°, once it’s inside Canada, and this means the trip takes so long that “the situation would push crews over their federally mandated workday limit” – this from this article but also mentioned in others.

            i don’t know whether “federally” refers to Canada or the U.S. here but I suspect probably the latter.

            One quick way get around this would be to convert the train to a night run during the summer. Not very often does it get above 30° here at night. Mind you, you’d lose the nice views over Lake Champlain and the Hudson Valley in the dark.

          • Meezly 16:17 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            Yes, there are definitely workarounds so it’s really disappointing to hear this. But what is the reasoning behind why a train can’t run at more than 10 km/h when it’s over 30°? Does the train get overheated?

          • Kate 16:22 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            The rails risk warping, apparently.

          • Meezly 19:58 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            That makes no sense to my layman’s mind. It’s the same train going northsouth. Why would the same train going a little faster north of the border warp the rails? Do we use subpar steel for our railways or something?

          • MarcG 20:40 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            I would guess better safety regulations.

          • Kate 20:45 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            It may be something to do with differing engineering standards on opposite sides of the border, or maybe different approaches to track maintenance. We need a rail geek to advise us here.

          • carswell 20:47 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            @Meezly Not sure about the line north of the border but there are — or were (it’s been 20 years since I’ve set foot in the States) — longish stretches south of the border until you got to Schenectady where the maximum speed was 20-30 mph because the track bed and rails were in such poor condition.

            Was once told by the conductor that the president of Delaware and Hudson when it owned the line and, before Amtrak took over, ran the Adirondack, was a bon vivant who spent profits on maintaining a super-lavish lifestyle instead investing them in maintaining decades-old track. He and the subsequent buyer (CPR?) could get away with it because it’s mainly a fairly low-volume freight line that doesn’t require higher speeds. And upgrading it would be very expensive, making the investment hard to justify.

          • Meezly 10:46 on 2023-07-01 Permalink

            Thank you for the responses. Looking into Amtrak vs CN for the regulations angle, both are also quasi-government/privatized entities too. No clear answers…

          • carswell 13:09 on 2023-07-01 Permalink

            “Looking into Amtrak vs CN for the regulations angle, both are also quasi-government/privatized entities too.”

            Not sure what you’re getting at. CN is a fully private company and has been since 1995. And while Amtrak is a quasi-public corporation, the only sections of the Adirondack line it owns or leases are in Manhattan and between Poughkeepsie and Schenectady. The D&H line, from Schenectady to the border, is owned by Canadian Pacific Kansas City. CN owns the Rouses Point and St-Hyacinthe subdivisions, the 76 km section from Rouses Point, NY, to Montreal. CPKC and CN are freight rail companies that don’t give a damn about passenger rail, view it as a nuisance. Both sections are used for freight that isn’t time-sensitive (chemicals, oil and other raw materials, not fresh produce). From a freight carrier’s standpoint, the status quo is fine.

            Probably the only way for the track bed and rails to be significantly upgraded would be for government to subsidize it. But due to the less challenging terrain and higher population density, almost every plan for a high-speed rail link between Albany and Montreal has the line going up the east side of Lake Champlain, via Rutland and Burlington, so there’s not much inducement for government to do so. Maybe having customs and immigration facilities set up in Central Station would embarrass the feds and Quebec to invest in the line but I wouldn’t hold my breath on either happening.

        • Kate 14:24 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

          Workers at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges have rejected an offer from management, so the big cemetery remains closed. I bet it’s really nice and wild up there now – probably better for insects and birds than when it’s mowed and trimmed.

          • MarcG 14:33 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            Drove by a couple of weeks ago and it was nice and shaggy.

          • thomas 18:05 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            So what happens if some rare or endangered species decides to nest there and make it their home?

          • Kate 18:26 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            How would we know, if nobody’s allowed inside?

          • thomas 18:53 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            Right, but just because the gates are locked doesn’t mean that people don’t go inside.

          • carswell 21:23 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            @thomas There is indeed at least one unofficial “entrance,” a break in a remote stretch of the fence that has existed for years, sees lots of foot traffic and appears to be tolerated by cemetery staff. A friend used it to recently to visit and tend to his wife’s nearby grave.

          • carswell 12:47 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            Realized this morning that the breach I was thinking of is in the fence around Mount Royal Cemetery, maybe 100 m from its border with Notre-Dame-des-Neiges. So I went on a ramble in the bug-filled woods and soon found three unofficial entrances to NDN: one you’d have to get on all fours and squirm under, one about the size of a casement window and one that’d require 6’3″ me to duck slightly. Well-trodden paths led to the last two.

          • Kate 14:09 on 2023-06-30 Permalink

            Good intel, carswell. Thanks.

          • Bob R 09:33 on 2023-07-02 Permalink

            This is disappointing. I discovered a (possible) relative who is buried there, back in January, and I still haven’t been able to visit their gravesite.

          • Kate 11:13 on 2023-07-02 Permalink

            Bob R, the Sulpicians, who own the cemetery, have been notoriously stingy with their workers for years. If they don’t hold the line, they’ll be working for peanuts for years to come.

            The cemetery will reopen and your (possible) relative isn’t going anywhere in the meantime.

        • Kate 11:55 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

          CTV reports that a tree was cut down to enable a bike theft in the Plateau this week. As noted, it’s not legal to lock your bike to a tree, and it isn’t good sense either.

          • Blork 12:06 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            The tree was probably worth more than the bike.

          • Spi 13:20 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            Not at all surprising, when I use to work downtown there was a stretch of sainte-catherine they’d have to replant a new tree every year because this kept happening and that was over a decade ago.

        • Kate 11:50 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

          Cadaver dogs have located traces of buried bodies around the old Royal Vic and the Mohawk Mothers are taking the security of the site very seriously.

          Something else here bugs me, though: “unmarked graves in an area where the university intends to build its New Vic project.”

          I thought the point of McGill taking over the Vic was to renovate and use the old buildings, not to build more structures on Mount Royal – ?

          • Blork 12:12 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            There are a few possible interpretations of the buggy part:

            (1) The plans are to reno existing buildings, but with some small measure of expansion such as installing parking, or landscaping, or recreational facilities.

            (2) The plans are to reno existing buildings (SAID LOUDLY) and to build new buildings (said very quietly).

            (3) The journalist misspoke.

          • Kate 12:28 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            The use of the phrase “the New Vic project” as if we’d all have heard of it was what made me wonder.

          • Joey 13:17 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            Lots more details on this splashy website: https://newvic.mcgill.ca/the-new-vic/ Basically McGill will repurpose many of the existing buildings but will understandably have to build more/augment them to make optimal use of the space (and ensure that whatever modern-era tech, etc., is well accounted for. I doubt any new construction will significantly alter views, etc., as I think the McGill project is focused on the more densely built part of the existing Vic site.

          • Blork 14:11 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            I confess that when I saw “cadaver dogs” I had a vision of a canine zombie apocalypse.

          • Uatu 17:03 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            It looks like they will demolish the Medical and Surgical pavilions and keep the original hospital. The new buildings will be in the same area as the hospital and if anything will probably improve the sightlines to the mountain. I’m wondering where near the Hershey pavilion the dogs sensed the bodies because the area infront of the entrance is very public unless it’s near the back towards the mountain

          • Kate 17:12 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            It’s tightly tucked into the mountain, I thought. When I was a test subject at the Vision Lab, which was in the back, there were windows giving right onto a rock wall.

        • Kate 10:02 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

          As Postmedia prepares to swallow up the Toronto Star, giving it an almost unchallenged monopoly on print media in Canada, Aaron Derfel makes the case for journalism as a safeguard to democracy and transparency.

          • Josh 11:38 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            For what it’s worth I’ve heard it said several places in the past week or two that only one senior editor remains at the Gazette.

          • H. John 13:55 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            The G & M has an article on “Why the merger of Toronto Star owner and Postmedia may not fix the companies’ financial issues”:


            Michael Geist’s podcast, Episode 172, has a fascinating interview of Marc Edge about his recent book, The Postmedia Effect: How Vulture Capitalism is Wrecking Our News

            I found the podcast so interesting I looked for the book. I found the Kindle version on Amazon for under $10. I’m only 60 pages into the book but I’m pleased I bought it.

            The Podcast (Episode 172 on the right side of the screen):


            The book on Amazon:


          • Kevin 17:15 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            Yes, the E in C hired last year at the Gazette is leaving, and a second person has retired. This leaves Jeff Blond as senior manager.

            The foreign owners of Postmedia have one game plan: squeeze out every cent before shutting down the company. They don’t have a plan to grow or even maintain coverage.

        • Kate 09:42 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

          The promise was that the REM would be nearly silent, but the testing runs show that it’s relentlessly noisy.

          • Blork 11:21 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            I was driving on rue Bridge last week and went under the REM overpass. Even in the car, with the windows closed and the radio on, I jumped when I heard this WHOOOOSSHHHH noise that sounded like a wind storm coming at me. It was a REM train passing overhead.

            Unlike old heavy trains that make a deep rumbling sound, the REM is a higher pitched sound like some kind of wind machine. NOT NICE.

          • Daniel 12:09 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            I’ve been trying to make this exact point to friends. It’s not so much the volume for me, it’s that an entirely new type of racket has been added to the cacophony of the city.

          • dhomas 12:26 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            I was biking around the test track last night and the REM train passed overhead twice. Silent it was not. As Blork mentioned, it’s a different kind of noise I suppose we will get used to it?

          • bumper carz 13:41 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            If the REM replaces 10,000 cars, you have to compare its noise level to… 10,000 cars.

            As a resident of downtown, cars parking and unparking create insanity-inducing levels of high pitched horn noises, not to mention the constant honking at green lights to force the first car “to go!”

            Quieter option: REM

          • Ephraim 15:42 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            It will only replace 10K cars if we eliminate 10K parking spaces

          • Ian 17:24 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            It will eliminate 10k cars only when there is regular, reliable service for commuters. Even the buses don’t come on time or go where they are needed. West of Dorval the REM is actually worse at it jogs north of the 40 and doesn’t even go as far west as the current, albeit ridiculously infrequent trains.

            It’s like those “this bus = 50 cars” signs… on empty buses.

        • Kate 09:15 on 2023-06-29 Permalink | Reply  

          Two restaurants were firebombed overnight, one in Old Montreal and the other in Montreal North. Nobody got hurt.

          (Trivia: Note that one of these businesses is on “Saint‑Jacques Ouest” although there’s no St‑Jacques East, the street ending where it meets St‑Laurent at the Palais de Justice. But people still write that from habit.)

          • shawn 09:39 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            So then a fire-bombing just steps from the Palais de justice…

          • thomas 10:01 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            Why are the establishments not named? I’m guessing the resto/bar on St-Jacques is Sauvage.

          • Kate 10:42 on 2023-06-29 Permalink

            thomas, I’ve commented on that tendency before, in this item and this one. I’ve never seen a clear explanation why this is so, but you have to know that everything published by a major media outlet is vetted by lawyers, who seem to have decided en bloc some decades ago that it’s better not to specify the business or location in cases like this, so that it gets described in vaguer terms.

            But this may not be the only reason. I should query some editors on the reasoning.

            TVA sometimes gets around this proscription by revealing the name or address of the business in an accompanying photo, but our other local media don’t even take that chance. In this case, TVA shows us a photo of the Montreal North business, which is easily identified on Google Streetview, but it’s more discreet about the Old Montreal location.

            Edited to add: La Presse’s version of the story confirms it’s Sauvage.

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