Updates from April, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:29 on 2024-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The removal of trash cans along the Lachine Canal is proving unpopular already.

    I don’t know why Global recruited Alan DeSousa to make a bland negative Ensemble remark, right after they emphasized this was a Parks Canada decision and thus nothing to do with city hall. I don’t even know whether the city would have the right to replace the missing trash cans with ones of their own.

    • Ian 07:46 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

      It does seem like kvetching for its own sake, you might as well be mad that the city doesn’t mow the lawn around Silo no. 5.

    • carswell 08:16 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

      Wonder whether the powers that be at Global (owned by Alberta-based Corus) are not fans of lefties like Projet and Plante, in which case potshots could be mandatory regardless of their relevance.

    • qatzelok 12:00 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

      If Parcs Canada maintains this “garbage awareness campaign” for the entire summer, it will be giving the city a good pretext to seize control of the park, finally.

      It’s not like the canal is a major commercial shipping corridor anymore, so why is the Fed still there? To keep the signs bilingual?

    • Ian 12:34 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

      As I understand it, it’s because of the locks.

    • steph 15:39 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

      If Corus want to take pot-shots at the left… might as well make it a Liberal/Trudeau issue.

  • Kate 21:22 on 2024-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    Logan Mailloux makes his NHL debut with the Canadiens Tuesday night against the Red Wings. Evidently he’s good at hockey so all is forgiven.

    • Ian 07:47 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

      Not THAT good evidently.

    • Kate 10:31 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

      And as usual, the team crashes and burns, and sports writers expand on the hopeful signs for next season.

    • EmilyG 10:50 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

      I was shocked at what he did (the story we all know.) I was surprised at the time, but I’ve since learned that there’s quite a culture of sexual assault in male hockey. It makes me not even want to follow men’s hockey.

    • Kate 12:30 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

      My eye fell on this other story recently, as an example, although this one is about male hockey players assaulting each other.

      For all that we hear about sports being healthy activities and good for young people, they do seem to generate a lot of accusations of abuse.

    • JP 11:04 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

      Don’t ever say you don’t worship at the altar of hockey on Canadian national television though. The trolls will come after you and try to ruin your career.


    • Kate 12:44 on 2024-04-18 Permalink


    • CE 12:55 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

      My experiences playing hockey as a kid weren’t great. I enjoyed the game but there was a general macho bullying vibe from a lot of teammates and coaches that pushed me out of the sport halfway through high school.

    • Tim 13:26 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

      My two cents: I think I had similar experiences to CE. I played mostly house league, played through high school and maintained zero relationships after high school. I do believe that there is a big difference between non competitive hockey leagues and the ultra competitive leagues. The largest problem lies in the structure of how competitive hockey is setup.

      A player striving to make the major junior system literally has no agency and it is not surprising that there are problems. Impressionable youth, as young as 14 years old, are far away from their families, the hierarchy requires absolute compliance with no individuality and literally nobody cares about anything the outside of hockey. A reset is needed and maybe this lawsuit will help: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/lawsuit-nhl-major-junior-hockey-154100100.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9kdWNrZHVja2dvLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAIzbFeNiMKZsc4an2bjvOIVks_qTKBBLXD0wXVAY8Tc5wifmIm9gHCxuTN-Wcg4S0glQYmc-eXTEpn6G7LpYHrRpMfWopmZ1IDBEjCe_PhdFUBqobO73gs4nxkyYM8q8NYULQXF8SXBzGTZ6zEKVf4vXv52TmUNeSHfQfejYIL2Y

    • dwgs 15:20 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

      I actually have a son who plays competitive hockey, although his goal was never major junior. There are a lot of kids these days whose goal is to go the college route. The number of people who get paid to play is vanishingly small but it’s a good way to get an education if you have the skill.
      “Impressionable youth, as young as 14 years old, are far away from their families, the hierarchy requires absolute compliance with no individuality and literally nobody cares about anything the outside of hockey.”
      Wrong, wrong and wrong. The major junior draft in Qc takes place when the kids are 15, nobody is playing major junior before 16 and those that do are an extremely small cohort. Of the roughly 700 kids playing AAA hockey in my kids birth year maybe 10 played in the QMJHL as 16 year olds.
      The kids act like individuals just as much as any other group of teenagers do, there is no pack mentality and no hive mind.
      Are there problems with the system? Sure, just as with pretty much any organization. Are there many good things that come out of it? Absolutely. Everybody likes to dump on these kids but if you saw the effort that they put into succeeding against incredibly long odds I think you might change your mind.

    • Tim 17:11 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

      While it’s not common, there is an exceptional player clause (courtesy John Tavares) for 14 year olds: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Hockey_League#Exceptional_player_status

      That is great that your son is enjoying hockey. How would you feel if he was drafted and had to move to Halifax to play in the Q? That is a dilemma that many families face. Players have no say in where they play with the current system. This is the lack of agency to which I was referring. At least great basketball, baseball and football players can choose the college they go to.

      I did not mean to dump on AAA kids, going out and playing and having fun. I have issues with the CHL.

    • dwgs 21:36 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

      A grand total of 9 players have been granted exceptional status in all major junior leagues across Canada over the last 19 years so it’s not really something that people need to consider. The exception proves the rule. My son wasn’t drafted to the Q and if he had been he wouldn’t have gone. Just because you are drafted doesn’t mean you are obliged to go, there are other options. As a matter of fact if you spend more than a couple of days at a major junior camp or accept any sort of remuneration from a major junior team (t shirt, cap, equipment etc) you lose your NCAA eligibility.
      The CHL is a meat market, it serves the top 10 or 15 per cent of elite players well but leaves a lot of kids effectively washed up at the age of 20 or so. I also have issues with the CHL, I know a few great kids who got burnt badly when they believed the hype and went that route. It’s sad that there is a whole industry built on selling kids dreams of glory that will likely never pan out.
      My son was recruited to play prep school hockey in the NE US, which is where a lot of Qc kids go because there aren’t many other options here for high level play aside from the Q. Other provinces have well developed Junior A and B leagues but not Quebec. Hockey Quebec is an old boys network that is probably the least progressive in the country.

  • Kate 21:19 on 2024-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    A water main dig on Grand Trunk in Point St Charles has been ongoing for four years and residents are not happy.

    • Kate 19:42 on 2024-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

      Items will be coming about the impact of the federal budget on the city, the first being a plan to convert federal office buildings into housing.

      The old NFB building is mentioned as being turned into 100 residential units. Isn’t that building on a highway, in the middle of a tangle of highways?

      • Ian 21:11 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        Yes, it’s a classic institutional building on cote de liesse facing the 40. There’s a lot of residential infill behind it though, so it’s not as bad as it sounds. Still terrible for transit, though.

      • Blork 22:31 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        Also a bunch of houses and apartment blocks on the south side (in TMR) that are actually closer to the highway. Personally you couldn’t pay me to live there (even the TMR side) but as Ian says it’s not as bad as it seems.

        Heritage Montreal has a page about the building: https://memento.heritagemontreal.org/en/site/former-national-film-board-of-canada-complex/

      • Janet 08:01 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        I worked in that building for 15 years. Colleagues would take a health walk outdoors at lunchtime. With all the pollution from the traffic, I always figured it would be healthier to take my walk later downtown.

      • Ian 07:18 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

        Good plan. Exhaust aside, the road dust around there is crazy.

    • Kate 15:20 on 2024-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

      The city has announced changes in snow removal policy that should pay more attention to the state of sidewalks.

      In other news, I put my snow shovel away – again…

      • Ian 21:11 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        I still have mine out – counterjinx

    • Kate 12:50 on 2024-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

      The city is promising a new bylaw on commercial wood ovens by the end of the year. So enjoy your bagels and wood‑fired pizzas while you can.

      • Ian 12:57 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        If they get rid of real Montreal bagels …
        Schwartz’s “smoked” meat is a travesty, I can only imagine how well electric oven bagels will play out.
        Scratch that, I’m from Ontario, I know. Lead doughuts.

      • carswell 13:00 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        If the city were serious about reducing air pollution, they’d be doing things like introducing congestion pricing, charging tolls on bridges and expressways and making public transit free. Instead, they cave to the NIMBYists and target small businesses and dumb down their offer. Greenwashing run amok.

      • bob 13:18 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        FWIW when I worked, very briefly, at Fairmount decades ago most of the bagels for distribution to stores were baked in convection ovens upstairs.

      • Nicholas 14:58 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        carswell, the city does not have the power to introduce congestion pricing, nor toll expressways or bridges (which are owned by the province and in a few cases the feds). The city barely has the power to have speed and red light cameras (limited to a few dozen). Those solutions would really help, but there is no way this provincial government would allow this, and very little chance any other would too. (You may recall Harper assumed the new Champlain would be tolled to pay for it like the last one and the swing ridings were like “hahahahaha no”.)

        As for making public transit free, the STM already has a huge deficit, is laying off employees and getting rid of buses. If the city got hundreds of millions of dollars (from higher taxes or cutting other things), I would rather it go into better bus service than making fares free, and I bet many others agree. But it doesn’t have this money, so that’s a moot point. I’d also ask which successful cities and transit have gone fair free? And given the answer is “Uhh, well Talinn, but only for residents, and a few places with fewer trips a year than Montreal has in a day”, why aren’t other places doing it?

        Lastly, burning wood is really, really bad for public health, way worse than cars for the amount of activity, especially immediately surrounding the wood burning. I’m strongly in favour of vastly reducing car usage, but the wood burning needs to be remediated, and if they can filter the particulate matter out that would really help.

      • dhomas 15:02 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        I’m with carswell, 100%. NYC is doing it, why not us, too?
        Though I doubt the bridge tolls will ever return. It’s political suicide. Any politician who institutes the toll is pretty much guaranteed to not be relected.

      • Blork 15:07 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        Perhaps I’ll soon have a side hustle running wood-fired bagels in from the south shore. I’ve been going to Brossard Bagels lately, which was (AFAIK) founded by a former employee at Fairmount. My favorite is still St-Viateur, but I’d much rather have a freshly (wood-fire) baked Brossard bagel than a four-day-old St-V from Provigo that was baked in Laval.

        The Brossard Bagels are a bit less dense than St-V and slightly crisper on the outside, which I actually like. I might even get over my “St-V is always best” prejudice and just start liking Brossard bagels better.

        Odd side note: I was in a fruiterie on Mont-Royal last week (near Papineau) and they were selling Brossard bagels. This is like two blocks from the St-Viateur shop on Mont-Royal. Weird. (Or prescient?)

      • Uatu 16:47 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        Oze bagel plus on taschereau in Brossard is also good.

      • Blork 17:00 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        Another fun thing about Brossard Bagels is that instead of the Jewish/Italian vibe of St-V it has a Caribbean vibe. Along with your bagels you can get jerk chicken, chicken roti, Jamaican patties, etc.

      • carswell 17:12 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        @Nicholas — As was true in the pedestrianized street thread a few days ago, I’m fairly aware of the restrictions placed on the city’s powers (thanks, paranoid city-hating post-referendum PQ government!). And in both cases, I guess I should have been ultra clear and specified “advocating for”.

        There’s lots that the city and the mayor can do on these fronts. They can publicly advocate for these changes and put pressure on the other levels of government and non-cooperating boroughs and municipalities. They can commission studies on and draw up plans for congestion pricing, bridge and expressway tolls and free public transit. To return to my pet peeve, they can build a bike path on Édouard-Montpetit right up to the Décarie east service road (or wherever their jurisdiction ends) and another on Ellerdale (or is it still Isabella?) from the west service road right up to the Hampstead border (there’s already one on Fielding from the western border, Côte-St-Luc Road) and then do everything in their power to pressure and embarrass and shame the provincial government and Hampstead to provide the missing links. Don’t see or hear of city officials doing any of that.

        Obviously, free public transit would require more money from Quebec City, unlikely while the pro-car CAQ and transit-hating Legault are in power. But, again, the city and the STM could be laying the groundwork. They could announce plans for such a system contingent on funding, prepare budget estimates, drum up public support, etc. In a way, they’ve already started doing so with the free fares for seniors, though typically it has never been presented as such. And, as a beneficiary of the service, I can assure you it’s fantastic and a real inducement to use the bus and metro system.

        As for the feasibility of a fare-free system, we won’t know until we try, maybe learning from other cities’ mistakes. And while there doesn’t appear to be any city quite of Montreal’s size that offers free transit, there are some (e.g. Tuscon, Kansas City, Albuquerque, etc.). New Delhi, an order of magnitude bigger than Montreal, offers free transit to women, circa half the population. Wikipedia has a convenient list, btw.

        The fact of the matter is we simply cannot continue doing as we’ve done in the past and doing as little as we do now. Climate change and local population growth will soon leave us with no alternative, unless we’re prepared to inflict unimaginable horrors on succeeding generations. Ostrich-mode is no longer tenable. Pretending it is, throwing up our hands and saying, as some people on this blog do, that we won’t be inconvenienced in any way and we’ll vote out of office any politician who doesn’t act accordingly is tantamount to giving up the battle before it’s begun. You don’t want widespread famine or migration on an unprecedented level or the drought-stricken US invading Canada to take over our water reserves? You don’t want the Gulf Stream to die? You don’t want your children and grandchildren to have a hellish existence? Then change things because that’s where we’re headed: data don’t lie. Either we start taking drastic steps now or we make far more drastic ones in a decade or two after the planet gives us a much-deserved idiot slap that will make last — and probably this — summer of smoke seem like Disneyland.

        Have never seen any figures but seriously doubt that bakery and resto wood-burning ovens are sources of more than a tiny, read insignificant fraction of overall air pollution, including particulate pollution. Admittedly, that figure will be higher in the immediate vicinity of the chimneys. But many of these ovens have been around far longer than the complainers, who shouldn’t have moved into the area if they weren’t prepared to live with them. And, if you eliminate wood ovens, you eliminate an important tradition even as you embrace an inferior product. (FWIW I have friends who have a rooftop deck within a hundred metres or two of the St-Viateur bagel shop chimney. Zero perceivable issues with smoke now or in years past.) But sure, put in filtering systems. Just don’t make these small businesses pay for them on their own — offer generous subsidies and loans amortized over decades. Otherwise, butt out.

        Apologies for the screed and thread drift but it’s increasingly apparent we’re on an accelerating downward spiral and that our response to date and in the foreseeable future is wholly inadequate (and that’s before, dog forbid, Poilievre takes over). And while I’m never going to experience the worst of it — I’ll be leaving this vale of tears in a decade or two — that realization depresses me beyond words.

      • Chris 20:26 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        >Either we start taking drastic steps now or…

        Drastic like settling for convection baked instead of wood-fired bagels? Or not *that* drastic? 🙂

      • Ian 21:13 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        Yeah Carswell I’m 100% with you on this. Bagel ovens are misdirection, go for the real goods. Even enforcing anti-idling laws for delivery trucks would have more impact than this “hey presto” act.

      • Kevin 22:37 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        I saw the figures a decade ago when the city banned wood fireplaces, and even then it was evident that the only time wood fires caused any alteration to air quality was when a chimney located in the same block as a monitor was broken.

        The vast majority of PM comes from dust-covered roads, poorly tuned diesel engines, and brakes.

        Temperature inversions cause smog days, as do forest fires. The very small number of wood stoves in the city do not.

      • Ian 07:57 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        Another possibility worth considering, there’s no fireplace or wood oven ban in Outremont …it’s in the adjacent borough after all, just a few blocks over…

        I know Lester’s on Bernard has their smokers in Laval. By comparison, Schwartz’s is basically just pastrami with more cloves in the rub.

      • MarcG 08:18 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        @carswell: I think you’re being optimistic about how long we have before the climate disaster becomes critical. “Exponential” is a hard concept for humans to wrap their heads around.

        D.A.D.’s Bagels in NDG was also awesome because you could grab some channa masala and a samosa with your half-dozen. I wonder what the fate of that oven was?

      • Kate 08:33 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        Lufa sources both bagels and Indian foods from an outfit called Bagel Henri-Bourassa in Ahuntsic, but I haven’t tried the bagels.

      • walkerp 08:37 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        We don`t even know what the restrictions will be and you all are already kvetching. You really think PM is going to kill the bagel industry in the mile-end?

      • Kate 09:05 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        Obviously most bakeries are not using wood, and bagels can go on being baked, but the tradition of wood‑fired ovens for bagels is likely to be lost.

        Some people have been militating for the end of wood burning for awhile. And there’s definitely evidence that wood smoke is bad for us. But I have no sense of how the filtered smoke from a couple of bagel bakeries compares to all the transportation and industrial exhaust in the city’s air.

      • Kevin 09:12 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        Henri Bourassa bagels has been my go-to since St. Viateur pulled out of NDG. They’re great!

        The transportation and industrial exhaust causes something on the order of 80% of pollution. All wood burning together, year-round, is around one percent. But because our nostrils are attuned to wood smoke (what’s the burning equivalent of petrichor?) some people incorrectly blame it for their ills.

      • Kevin 09:37 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        *That would be my estimate of current figures, ever since Montreal banned fireplaces.

      • jeather 10:36 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        Another thumbs up for the bagels from Henri-Bourassa. Their Indian food is also pretty good. I, too, miss DAD’s Bagels.

      • Mark Côté 13:45 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        Isn’t Henri-Bourassa bagels super far from where DAD’s was? Curious what the connection is—just bagels & Indian food? My kingdom for a samosa source in NDG…

      • MarcG 13:58 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        @Mark: Bombay Mahal recently opened a location on Sherbrooke.

      • Mark Côté 15:01 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        Yeah, I don’t think you can get bulk samosas there, though, à la DAD’s or Pushap’s, can you? Samosas as an appetizer are like 3x more expensive than the places that sell them by the dozen.

      • MarcG 15:23 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        True nuff. I wonder if they’d do a deal for you if you asked. “Meet my nephew in the back alley at 9pm, cash only.”

      • jeather 18:43 on 2024-04-17 Permalink

        Yeah, the connection is bagels + Indian, I don’t think there’s any relationship between them.

      • Ian 08:12 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

        A few years back almost all the bakers at Fairmount were Indian … and a lot of the Hassidic businesses are staffed by Indians. I have no idea why or what the connection is. That said, if you know how to make bagels and samosas, it’s not that surprising your own business would make & sell both, right?

      • MarcG 10:29 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

        I hypothesized a connection between the bagel oven and naan bread but I can’t find any evidence.

      • Chris 10:47 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

        I always assumed the connection was simply cheap labour from nearby Parc Ex.

      • Francesco 22:45 on 2024-04-18 Permalink

        A lot of kvetching that “Schwartz’s sucks since they switched to electric,” not realizing that Schwartz, Main, Lester’s et al haven’t smoked meat over wood *fires* for about 50 years… Because of the control, electric smokers – which still use wood (chips or chunks) – can actually make smokier food than wood-*fired* smokers, but with more consistency for high-volume establishments. The smoke still comes from wood, but electric smokers are more efficient to operate. If you don’t believe it, try a Schwartz’s (the “fat” for me, please) against a Carnegie or Katz’s (or any) pastrami and decide which is “smokier.” But it’s the dry brine and curing technique that makes Montreal Smoked Meat what it is, more than the amount of smoke or its source.

    • Kate 12:38 on 2024-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

      The STM is retiring 155 buses and they will not be replaced, reducing the pool of buses it operates. I don’t like the Gazette’s deck here that says “Valérie Plante shifted some blame to Quebec” because she’s been begging for more transit money for years.

      • carswell 12:42 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        You may not like it but the Gazoo’s mostly suburban readers probably lap it up.

      • bob 13:18 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        Well, she could cut the corruption budget by a few percent and buy all the buses she wants.

      • Nicholas 15:04 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        One big issue is electric buses. While a diesel (hybrid or not) bus can last all day, the electric buses need to be recharged once or twice a day, especially when it’s cold, which takes time. So you need more buses to cover the charging time. Which costs more money. And then you need more garage space. Which costs more money and land. And you need to pay driver time to drive the extra trips back and forth to the garages. Battery buses have a lot of drawbacks, especially in cold climates, and they’re not a mature technology. We could have bought trolley buses, which have been around for decades, but that would require “ugly” wires. So the city made this call, and here we are, and this is the result. (Also we’re short on drivers, so getting more buses may not be a priority now.)

      • Kate 16:33 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        bob, are you convinced that city hall is as corrupt now as it was under Tremblay?

      • bob 17:21 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        I don’t think the general level or character of corruption changes very much. And I think that most of it ends up being legitimized by the bureaucracy – the impenetrable bureaucracy itself is a form of corruption, as is the Kafkaesque complexity of law in Quebec. How many cones do you need for the sake of safety? Some unknown entity will promulgate some standard and now we need a cone every meter instead of every two meters. let’s be utterly unbiased by hiring a consultant to study the cone-related regulatory process, and give them $500,000 to write a report that adds no new information, but suggest renting more cones – the city RENTS traffic cones. Maybe hire a bunch of consultants to consult on how to hire consultants. Better still, subcontract the hiring of consultation consultants to a nominally para-municipal entity, which can then hire its own consultants to advise it on how to hire consultants. Bring that $500k up to millions. The people making these Gordian knots of rules, regulations, processes, protocols, etc. are the people who end up making money by exploiting the useless application of those rules.

        I read a piece somewhere recently, maybe even CBC, about how the federal government was hiring so many consultants to do the jobs of some civil servants that it was destroying morale because the civil servants had nothing to do. You don’t need paper bags being passed to have corruption. It becomes a way of life, a part of the economy, a methodology trained into business students and engineers as if it were the ethical, responsible way of doing things.

      • Ian 21:29 on 2024-04-16 Permalink

        I am intimately familiar with the unfolding federal allocation scandal, and how deep it goes.Federal consultant scandals aside,, this is Montreal,, not Ottawa. It is an entirely different dynamic.

        Your rant sounds like a lot of easy-to-digest unsubstantiated conspiracy theory. Let me guess “bob”, you’re a fan of “small government” as the neocons say, right before they start “trimming the fat” in classic neoliberal style?
        I have yet to meet anyone pushing a deregulation agenda as “common sense” that didn’t have an ulterior motive.

        Traffic cones are as bad as brown envelopes, compelling. Please, enlighten us.

    • Kate 08:10 on 2024-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

      The Olympic park is scouting for ideas how to recycle the materials of the stadium’s present roof. You could make a lot of tempos out of that thing.

      In other stadium news, a worker was seriously injured Monday in a fall down a ventilation shaft in the tower, from which he had to be extricated by experts from the fire department.

      • Kate 07:52 on 2024-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

        Sadek Lazzouzi, who worked as a fonctionnaire for Mercier‑Hochelaga-Maisonneuve‑borough, is on trial for “helping out” a real estate developer who wanted certain rules bent to his advantage. The developer was murdered last year in Laval.

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