Updates from February, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:26 on 2024-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Will the city be able to save money, given that there have only been two storms needing snow clearance since the start of this winter?

    In 2022-2023 a record 255 cm of snow fell on the city, while only 122 cm have fallen so far this season. You win some, you lose some. But the item doesn’t get into whether the city has made any minimum guarantees to contractors.

    • Nicholas 02:48 on 2024-02-29 Permalink

      “Le montant dépensé lors de cette «mégatempête» dépasse déjà le minimum garanti aux entrepreneurs, a indiqué l’élue de Projet Montréal, sans s’avancer sur un montant précis.”

    • Kate 10:10 on 2024-02-29 Permalink

      The minimum must be pretty minimal then. Thanks. My eye glided over that.

    • Mozai 10:31 on 2024-02-29 Permalink

      I’m reminded of when Toronto got the brilliant idea of selling off their snow plows because they were underused after a mild winter. The following winter was normal, and the cost-savings measure resulted in the municipality begging the provincial government for assistance. The province deferred to the feds, the feds sent the Canadian Army, and that winter it was common to see armoured personnel carriers rumbling down the street, and uniformed soldiers with shovels.

  • Kate 20:39 on 2024-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    TVA says the REM is down because of a power failure, and listening to the wind buffeting everything outside, I’m not surprised.

    Some power is out mostly outside of town although I see a few disparate blobs on the island, on the pannes map. Do you know where your storm lantern is?

    • Nicholas 00:21 on 2024-02-29 Permalink

      Trains were stopped with people in them on the bridge and just outside of a station. Lots of wind. I guess it’s safe to stay there, but not pleasant. Cars were moving.

    • Uatu 12:14 on 2024-02-29 Permalink

      I’ve made it a rule to always be dressed for the weather and never have a full bladder when using the REM because you never know….

  • Kate 12:50 on 2024-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Piece on this site I’ve never linked before, ConstructConnect, examines what it calls the evisceration of the Black-Anglo Little Burgundy enclave in the 1960s, mostly for the construction of the Ville‑Marie expressway.

    • DeWolf 12:59 on 2024-02-28 Permalink

      Historically, Canadian cities never had many large Black communities, but the people in charge sure found ways to screw them over regardless. Vancouver razed Hogan’s Alley for an expressway, Toronto tore down its historically Black enclave (and also its original Chinatown) for City Hall, Halifax razed Africville for a bridge approach and of course here we had the Ville-Marie Expressway that was conveniently routed through the only Black neighbourhood in the city at the time.

    • Robert H 16:24 on 2024-02-28 Permalink

      Regarding DeWolf’s point, the article suggests that in the case of the decimation of Little Burgundy, home to a Black enclave, the racial dynamic was incidental to the even greater factors of technological change, The Quiet Revolution and the post war boom in automobiles and suburban growth. The district wasn’t as explicitly, racially targeted as Aftricville in Halifax. But I agree that its racial makeup contributed to its convenience as a location to transform the cityscape. The author quotes Steven High, the Concordia professor who wrote about Montreal’s black-anglo heritage, who acknowledges that this utter disregard for the community there by civic leaders was itself a form of racism, a total devaluing of what existed and what would be lost.

      Also, as DeWolf noted, Canadian cities never had the large, red-lined Black “ghettos” found in many major cities in the United States. There was no Canadian equivalent to south-side Chicago, or Harlem in New York City. For a while, the absence of this racial factor and ensuing social strife gave Canada an enlightened image relative to the tensions found in The States. Alas, demographic change has depressingly revealed that society under the maple leaf and the fleur-de-lys is just as subject to ignorance and thoughtlessness as any place south of the border.

      What happened to Little Burgundy is as well an example of the scorched earth “urban renewal” (also known in U.S. as “Black removal”) that I cited in my previous post on Windsor Station. This method of civic rejuvenation was the product of a post war mindset that replicated itself in cities across North America. Its examples can be found in Boston, New York, Atlanta, Saint Louis, Toronto, Los Angeles, Houston and almost any sizeable town. Of course it transcended race to include other factors such as politics or class as in the case of the Faubourg à m’lasse here in Montreal. I sometimes regret the amount of conflict that develops around what to me seems the most benign or logical proposal, for say new housing or public transport, etc. But so much of the suspicion and hostility to anything proposed we are seeing now is the result of years of abuses, errors, and lost heritage inflicted on communities in the past. Once bitten…

    • bob 16:48 on 2024-02-28 Permalink

      That’s a mischaracterization. The powers that be at the time, much more so than now, were super racist, but it isn’t like they looked at a map of where black people lived so they could gin up some project to wreck just those neighbourhoods. The projects just follow the path of least resistance, which in a racist culture may well be a racist path, convolved with the path that leads to poor people being screwed generally. In the Montreal case, Drapeau had it in for any poor neighbourhood, and Burgundy at the time was full of poor people, black and white. What eviscerated the neighbourhood was a collection of interrelated economic and social factors which then made it and the communities in it ripe for destruction. A highway coming downtown from the west wasn’t going to go through Westmount. And there was plenty more destruction owing to”urban renewal” than to the highway alone.

    • bob 16:58 on 2024-02-28 Permalink

      Sorry – that was in reply to DeWolf.

      But I think Robert H is also downplaying the racism, as Montrealers are wont to do. There was definitely red lining, and part of the reason that Burgundy was a black neighbourhood was because it was almost impossible to find housing elsewhere.

      Here’s a quote from a journal article with a lacuna you can use your imagination to fill in:

      “When asked what the area on the east side of Guy was called historically, Mary Wand laughed nervously and asked, ‘Well, can I say it?’ Dorothy Williams, a black historian, invited her to proceed. Only then did Wand reply hesitantly, ‘It was called “[*cough*] Town”, And it was predominantly black’ in the 1920s and 1930s.'” (https://doi.org/10.7202/1059112ar )

    • Kate 17:02 on 2024-02-28 Permalink

      I’ve read that one reason Little Burgundy became a Black enclave was that it was close to the train stations, and a lot of Black men had jobs on the trains so it was convenient to them. But, like Chinatown at the time, it also became self‑perpetuating in that it became a place where people of a certain group were tolerated by landlords.

    • bob 17:25 on 2024-02-28 Permalink

      Until the 1960’s the only job a black man could get with the railways was porter, and getting a job elsewhere was not easy, and likely menial. Porters has a low salary, but could do well with tips (like a bartender today). Until rail travel collapsed after WWII the railroads employed many hundreds of porters (as well as waiters, cooks, etc.) on numerous trains. They settled near the train stations – Bonaventure, Windsor, and Central. Around the 1910’s there was white flight, especially of middle-class Anglo Protestants, which I suppose left housing inventory where there was demand, so that it was a self-reinforcing trend.

    • DeWolf 13:00 on 2024-02-29 Permalink

      @bob I wrote that “here we had the Ville-Marie Expressway that was conveniently routed through the only Black in the city at the time.” I’m not sure how you understood that to mean it was deliberately targeted because it was Black. The implication is exactly as you described: the expressway took the path of least resistance.

      When you look at the fact that a large majority of historic Black neighbourhoods in Canadian cities were demolished, it’s hard to ignore that the race of their inhabitants played a large factor in why they were destroyed. That doesn’t mean there was a deliberate effort to target Black neighbourhoods, rather that they were seen as particularly expendable because they were full of people who didn’t have political power, and they tended to be located in strategic yet marginal locations because of housing discrimination.

    • DeWolf 13:04 on 2024-02-29 Permalink

      This is going on a bit of a tangent but a significant number of historic Black communities in Canada were rural, not urban. And their treatment by white neighbours really puts the lie to any notion that Canada was uniquely accepting or tolerant. Here’s the situation in Dresden, Ontario, which for most of the 20th century was a little under 10% Black:

      // By the 1940s, few places in Canada were as bitterly divided along racial lines as Dresden, Ontario. A small city with a substantial black population, Dresden was notorious for racial discrimination. Blacks could not eat in its three restaurants or get a haircut at its four barbershops and its beauty parlour. They were banned from all but one of its pool halls, were denied entry to the Canadian Legion except at stag parties, and did not attend the white church. Sidney Katz, who visited Dresden in October 1949 for Maclean’s magazine, later wrote that “the chances of a trained young Negro getting a good nonmanual job are almost nil. I did not find a single Negro in Dresden working in an office or waiting on customers.” Ironically, Dresden’s primary tourist attraction was Uncle Tom’s grave, as the city had once served as a terminus for an underground railway that helped black slaves escape the United States. In a 1949 municipal referendum, local citizens voted by a margin of five to one against a proposed bylaw banning discrimination (the only vote of its kind in Canadian history). The referendum question read, “Do you approve of the Council passing a by-law licensing restaurants in Dresden and restraining the owner or owners from refusing service regardless of race, color or creed?” //


  • Kate 09:35 on 2024-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Bixi’s ridership hit a record last year, and now the rates are also set to rise.

    • DeWolf 13:08 on 2024-02-29 Permalink

      The rise in membership fees is reasonable, especially given there is a nice early-bird discount for people getting the seasonal membership.

      But the surcharge for electric Bixis is going up from 13 cents to 17 cents per minute. That’s quite the hike, especially considering it already went up from 10 to 13 cents last year.

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