Updates from May, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:18 on 2024-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Faced with officers persisting in wearing Thin Blue Line patches, the SPVM has come up with a counter‑patch that’s cluttered and difficult to read, since they seem to be incapable of issuing a simple order that the Thin Blue Line patch is not part of the uniform.

    • Ian 21:33 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Last week I saw a cop wearing a thin blue line patch while tag-teaming a school crossing guard in Outremont. Real tough guys. Gotta keep those mean streets clean.

    • steph 07:19 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      I’m glad this act of basic decency is finally over it’s racist. they can’t wear it. Here’s an alternative they don’t have to wear hidden. (I say this because I’ve heard of cops wearing the symbol hidden from the public, like secretly being racist is better)

    • Ian 11:52 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Indeed, to claim that the thin blue line patch is to honour their fallen fellow officers is total horseshit.

    • Kate 16:39 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      I agree. SPVM management is disingenuous as hell to pretend it’s about fallen officers.

  • Kate 21:09 on 2024-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Although Montreal’s commuting numbers – 71% by car, 22% by public transit and 7% by foot or bike – are better than most North American cities, we’re way behind many European towns.

    I was amused to notice Tuesday that CBC radio is already warning drivers about this weekend’s Tour de l’Île, advising drivers to check the map so they don’t get trapped. Here’s the web version. TVA is also forearming drivers to brace themselves for the few hours they’re banished from a few streets. CTV even headlines their version of the story Tour de l’Île, Tour la nuit prepare to take over Montreal.

    • DeWolf 11:00 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Those are the numbers for Greater Montreal and unsurprisingly, they are essentially the same as other major cities in the country. If you look at the metropolitan area as a whole Montreal is pretty typically Canadian.

      But I was interested to see how they broke down in more urban areas. So here they are:

      City of Montreal — 56% car, 28% public transit, 11% walking/cycling
      Mile End — 31% car, 28% transit, 39% walking/cycling
      Little Italy/Petite Patrie — 33% car, 34% transit, 32% walking/cycling
      Shaughnessy Village – 27% car, 43% transit, 24% walking/cycling

    • Ian 12:00 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Within Montreal I suspect those numbers mostly reflect how easy it is to get around your neighbourhood, how close you are to transit hubs, what parking is like, the average income of the area, how often you need to leave your neighbourhood, and for what. Montreal’s biggest advantage in terms of keeping car numbers down is density and transit – though transit is getting to be an issue.

      Europe has a whole pile of other factors. To draw a rough parallel you don’t see that many dogs in Berlin, and it’s not because Germans don’t like dogs.

    • CE 13:06 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      One thing that cities in dense places like many European or Asian countries have going for them is that if you travel to another city, you can jump on a train or a bus and when you arrive at the other place, you can take transit to get around or, if it’s a small town, it’ll be compact enough that you’ll be able to walk. Here, this works if you’re going from one big city to another but if you want to leave Montreal for say, Sherbrooke, you really need a car to make it work efficiently.

    • Joey 09:27 on 2024-05-30 Permalink

      I once got stuck on the wrong side of a tour la nuit closure… I went to pick up some takeout on the west side of Parc avenue. By the time my food was ready I couldn’t cross back to get home, a mere block away. After about 10 minutes or so there was enough of a gap in the mass of cars for me to sneak across. Timing is everything… Anyway, these events always seem to go off better than expected, but I would hate to have a minor emergency on Friday night or Sunday morning.

    • Kate 10:57 on 2024-05-30 Permalink

      As I once recounted here, I miscalculated on the night of a Tour and found the 55 bus was not going to pass until the next day. What a pain. But it was my fault for not checking the tour route before I went out.

  • Kate 13:53 on 2024-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir reports that McGill is about to hand out invalid diplomas to law graduates, the ceremony to take place at the Bell Centre because of the encampment on the university’s front lawn. Law professors have been on strike since April 24 so have not handed in final marks, leaving academic numbers incomplete and diplomas invalid according to the university’s own rules.

    [Edited to add: but see comments below.]

    Le Devoir also posted an open letter from representatives of the law profs’ union, deploring the university’s refusal to negotiate, and slamming its willingness to go so far as to distribute invalid diplomas as a statement. In the end, it’s the students who will suffer, but McGill already has their money.

    • azrhey 14:08 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I can’t really talk about it…but I work at McGill in a department that is handling that ( the diplomas, not the strike thing ) and there is a article in the Senate rules that allows for diplomas to be validated with the last grades missing and how they will be added after the fact …so no, university rules don’t say what Le Devoir says it says. If it did, I believe the association of law students would be up in arms and complaining about it… they are eerily quiet about it…..

      (this is not to say that I don’t have opinions on the whole strike, negotiations,encampment, and McGIll admin in general.. 😉 )

    • bob 15:28 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      It isn’t Le Devoir, but the law professors’ union (AMPL) that says so, but they’re wrong. They’re mad because they hoped they could delay the conferral of degrees as a pressure tactic. Anyways, that ship already sailed, because afaik the graduation lists were already approved by the Senate 2-3 weeks ago. Convocation is a show, and the diplomas handed out are props. A degree is a record in a database.

    • Joey 15:38 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Moreover, the Quebec and Ontario bars will allow McGill grads can take their respective bar exams in the interim. As far as pressure tactics go, this one seems like a bit of a dud. I would also venture that the juxtaposition between the law faculty strike and the encampment is probably not helping the union out…

    • Paul 16:51 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Although I try, I cannot muster any sympathy for the poor McGill law professors who have working conditions that most professionals could only dream of. I just hope their strike pay isn’t coming off the backs of working-class union members.

    • Ian 17:59 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Instead of being jealous of the agreement negotiated by someone else’s union, pressure your union to negotiate harder next time your contract comes up. Unionization is about solidarity, not internicene envy.

      Except cops, they shouldn’t be allowed unions given their history as strikebreakers and enemies of the workers.

  • Kate 10:45 on 2024-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse reports that there are long delays in getting construction permits downtown and in some boroughs.

    Adding later: Pierre Poilievre has attacked Valérie Plante over this, to which our mayor asked coolly what he would do differently. Poilievre doesn’t have an idea of his own; his only trick is to ride on the coattails of unfocused dissatisfaction.

    • Ephraim 13:40 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      And what could make this quicker? An automated system that asked the important questions related to the regulations? We went for a permit and had to jump through hoops. When asked to show us the regulation that was preventing them from issuing our permit, they discovered that the regulation didn’t exist. Someone had just made up a regulation and they were all enforcing it, but it didn’t exist and there was no rhyme or reason for it any longer anyway.

    • Kevin 14:06 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      There is no consistency between boroughs. In some you need a permit to replace a door, in others you don’t.

      Approval often comes down to the feeling of whomever gets your request.

    • CE 14:55 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I got a building permit a couple weeks ago to do structural work in the basement of my house. I went to the office, gave them the documents and had a permit approved within 20 minutes. This was in the Plateau.

    • Joey 15:40 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I wonder what percentage of permits are processed immediately, as in CE’s case, and what percentage take months or years – I suspect this is one of those instances where the average is really messy and non-representative. Heaven help those who have already paid architects and engineers considerable sums to develop plans rewritten by some faceless borough technologist and rubber-stamped by the CCU.

    • Spi 16:10 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      The article specifically talks about permits for new constructions and not renovations or additions to existing buildings, making the comparison isn’t useful.

    • Ian 12:02 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      @CE my landlord (also Plateau) waited 6 months for a permit to replace the triplex fire escape from wood to metal. Mileage may vary.

  • Kate 10:21 on 2024-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Tracks for the REM have been built but not activated in some parts of town, and it seems some people have been using them as shortcuts. Now REM officials warn people to stay off the tracks. Test runs will be starting soon, and electric current may be live just above the tracks.

    • Ian 11:41 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I am wondering what sections of the line these are – AFAIK all the WI ones are elevated …

    • Nicholas 13:19 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      You can probably get to the TMR and VSL sections, as well as Laval and Two Mountains. Those are all or mostly level or sunken. The Brossard end at the parking lot is also flat, but I can’t imagine people are walking the tracks there, it’s not like it’s a cut through.

    • DeWolf 17:31 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      “Shortcut” seems like a bit of a misnomer here, since the article implies these are people who have deliberately snuck onto the tracks to write graffiti or just be daredevils. It takes a lot of effort to get onto the REM tracks, they aren’t like the CPR tracks that have level crossings and lots of holes in the fence.

    • Ian 18:00 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Ah ok, that’s more what I was wondering.

    • Major Annoyance 18:25 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      @Ian: The l’Anse a l’Orme and airport branches are elevated, but from browsing Google Maps it looks like the entire stretch from Canora to Deux Montagnes will be terrestrial (with berms to elevate the tracks over street crossings). That’s a lot of ground to secure. There must be systems in place to detect incursions but they’re never perfect. It’s just a matter of time until the inaugural suicide / idiotic accident.

      The maps on this page illustrate the different track styles and station configurations:


    • James 10:37 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      I cannot emphasise enough that crossing the tracks will be MUCH more dangerous than when the EXO trains were running.
      REM trains are considerably quieter and will travel faster than EXO.
      Most of the DM portion is at grade except for the segment around the Sunnybrooke station and 1.5 km around the Roxboro station (between 11th av. & des Sources).
      Bridges crossing over the REM tracks are equipped with dissuasive fences. (Jean-Talon example:
      https://www.google.ca/maps/@45.5133944,-73.6326276,3a,75y,298.55h,93.33t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sj-s_y9qlOjEy1UIdkw7TPw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu )

  • Kate 09:32 on 2024-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The Guardian has a story from World War II. Maxwell Smart (yes, I know) lost his family to the Nazis, but by hiding out in a Polish forest for two years as a child he survived and moved to Montreal, where he still lives. A movie has just been released about his experience.

    • Meezly 10:23 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      What an incredible life story. The guy needs a whole series devoted to his experiences, not just a movie!

    • Ian 11:43 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Shades of “The Painted Bird”. What a life. It’s horrible how much discrimination survivors faced after the war. I once read there were more Auschwitz survivors in Montreal than anywhere else right after the war, even NY – I have worked with a couple of survivors when I was in the schmata trade. I can’t imagine how much worse it must have been in places where there were few or no survivors.

  • Kate 09:26 on 2024-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    A woman writing buzzily for Buzzfeed compared New York vs Montreal bagels. She creates several categories, and the tl;dr is that the New York ones function well as a bread roll as a basis to build something else, while Montreal’s are better simply as a thing unto itself.

    • BobR 09:48 on 2024-05-28 Permalink


    • jeather 09:53 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Yeah, I eat bagel sandwiches all the time, and though it’s fine, it’s definitely less ideal than a NY bagel shape — especially if it’s got egg in it. (Not egg salad, egg.) But I’m intrigued that her third bagel choice was Dizz’s — what a weird option.

    • Meezly 10:12 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I really like both, but nothing beats a Montreal bagel fresh out of the oven and biting through the crispy outer layer into the soft steamy dough.

      Did you know you can almost recreate that fresh-out-of-the-oven feeling with day-olds by heating the whole bagel in a toaster oven? I never understood why people would slice the bagel in half and then toast it, as it completely dries out the inside! but if you warm up the whole bagel, the outer layer gets crispy again and the interior gets soft and steamy again!

    • carswell 10:48 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      That was painful to read.

      Have never come close to choking on a Montreal bagel. Has happened twice eating a NY bagel, the closest I’ve ever come to experiencing a Heimlich manoeuvre.

      IMHO, there is no such thing as a best cinnamon-raisin bagel, only a less bad.

    • Ian 11:44 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Having come from Ontario originally I am well-acquainted with the big dense bagels. We were always told that Toronto’s bagels were “Phildelphia” style. My stepdad called them lead doughnuts, he wasn’t far from wrong.

    • Ephraim 13:52 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      When she says that the best bagels are cinnamon-raisin and everything bagels, she lost me. Cinnamon-raisin… a shanda! (I admit, I had to look that up)

      And you can only get onion, garlic, and kimmel at Fairmount. Fairmount also don’t have “Everything” only All-Dressed, which includes kimmel (caraway for the uncultured!)

    • Ian 14:02 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Another thing that rarely gets brought up is bagel store matzoh. Not to be confused with regular cracker-style matzoh. The ones they have at Fairmount are crisp, packed with seeds, and delicous. The ones at St Viateur are just … weird. They have the texture of graham crackers, and taste like… I dunno, sadness? Regret?

    • jeather 14:23 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Are you talking about bagel boards (the rectangular ones) or bagel crisps/chips (the ones that are sliced from a bagel)? I love bagel boards, though I got them from Dizz’s (it was convenient) and it was . . . not good.

      All dressed is just the Montreal term for everything wrt bagels, I thought?

    • CE 15:01 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Fairmount has cinnamon raisin bagels. I know this not because I’ve eaten them but because sometimes batches of them must come into contact with my beloved all dressed bagels and gives them a terrible flavour and smell.

      All dressed is everything everywhere else. I imagine we got it from “tout garni.”

    • Ian 18:04 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      @jeather yes, the boards. Not to be confused with crisps – but I like those too.

      I akways thought all dressed was the anglicization of tout garni, or “the works” in most of the rest of North America. You can get everything bagel seasoning at the Jewish grocers, its not a Montreal thing per se.

  • Kate 09:13 on 2024-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    On the ticketing theme, TVA looks into ticket traps for pedestrians, the most prolific claimed to be the corner of de Lanaudière and Mont‑Royal in the Plateau.

    • Nicholas 13:21 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I’m there fairly often and I’ve never seen a cop there, and it’s very surprising that this is #1. It’s a small, unremarkable intersection, and people jaywalk there at similar rates to most of the other lights on Mont-Royal.

    • Ian 14:09 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      If cops wanted to cash in pretty much any intersection on Ste Kitty would be a gold mine for pedestrian tickets, and it’s been like that for decades.

    • CE 15:03 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I find people are waiting at red lights at the smaller intersections on Ste-Catherine much more than they used. Sometimes I have to walk through the crowd of people pointlessly waiting at an empty intersection to walk across (even more confounding in the winter). I just assume they’re tourists from Toronto.

    • DeWolf 17:35 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I have the same experience as CE and I’ve wondered about it. If I recall correctly there have been some periodic jaywalking crackdowns over the years and these seem to have had an effect. But it’s also useful to remember that because of immigration, migration from other provinces and out-migration from Montreal to the ROQ and ROC, a very significant percentage of the population wasn’t living here 10 or 15 years ago, and so it’s possible the jaywalking culture has declined with the onset of more rule-abiding people from elsewhere.

      Just a theory. Maybe I’m completely wrong.

    • Kate 09:41 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      CE, DeWolf: Yes, I’ve noticed the same thing downtown. I assumed it might be a lot of students from elsewhere, plus the chilling effect of crackdowns. Up here in Villeray, at least on the minor streets, pedestrians are much more likely to take the red light as a suggestion, and if there’s no traffic, they mostly cross.

      When I first lived in this area there was one traffic light on Jarry between St‑Laurent and St‑Denis and drivers really zoomed. Now there are three, all on side streets, and you can’t expect pedestrians to stand there like mindless automatons when there’s no north‑south traffic in sight.

    • Tee Owe 12:01 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Anecdote – I spent 6 months in Munich in the 90’s during which I had a visitor from Canada who was incredulous that I stood at a red light late at night with no traffic – but that was how they did it and I had adapted. Secondary anecdote, on return to Montreal I got a ticket for jaywalking on Sherbrooke – boy was I incredulous!

    • Ian 12:14 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      I mean not no, as a pedestrian and cyclist I wouldn’t think twice about just going if I didn’t see anything coming … but if cars/trucks do it? Uh oh. It’s like people that drive over 30 in a school zone super early in the morning when there’s no kids around are still looked at as thoughtless monsters. Bicyclists? Whatever, Idaho stop, suckahs, look where you’re going, pedestrian. Even electric bikes and scooters. Yes, I know that if a car hits someone they will cause way more injuries but the excuse that “there’s nobody there” doesn’t fly for drivers… Even the overwhelmingly vast majority of drivers, personal or professional agree it should be like this.

      There’s a weird disconnect there.

      As far as pedestrians on Ste Kitty goes, I’ve noticed less foot traffic downtown over the years in general. Perpetual rolling contruction zones, covid closures, downtown being less of a “destination”, and the general unpleasantness of the area all contribute, I suspect.

    • Ian 12:15 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Germany is definitely more law-abiding about jaywalking. It’s still considered rude to jaywalk where children might see you.

    • CE 13:12 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      You can’t really make the comparison with cars. Beyond a car being much, much more dangerous if it hits someone, a driver in a car is lower to the ground and usually set back at least a metre from the front of the car. They just don’t have the same visibility as a pedestrian or a cyclist. The rules we have for the streets were designed for drivers (and with good reason) and have been applied to other users without really thinking of how much differently they use the roads.

    • Ian 20:19 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Ok so since visibility is better for trucks and SUVs the rule shouldnt apply to them. Good logic.

    • Ian 21:05 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Considering the majority of traffic accidents killing pedestrians and bicyclists seem to be trucks, well…

    • CE 21:20 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Visibility for trucks and SUVs is also worse than the visibility that pedestrians and cyclists have and then even more dangerous if those users (as well as other drivers) if they hit someone.

    • Ian 22:23 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Oh? I thought you said cars had poor visibility becasue they are lower to the ground? Which is it?
      If there is nobody around, why does a pedestrian or bicyclist have free license to do whatever they feel like it, but drivers don’t?

      I live in Mile End, there are lots of crazy drivers around and I mostly walk everywhere, it’s the whole point of paying downtown rents. The potential for injury alone makes me extra-cautious as a pedestrian, I don’t assume anyone has noticed me if I feel like jaywalking. If you really think that as a pedestrian you have some magic 8 ball that tells you when you’re safe to jaywalk if there’s any kind of traffic around, you’re a dope.

      That said, all I’m getting at here is that everyone should follow the rules of the road, even when they don’t seem convenient. It’s a simple precaution that costs seconds of your life to follow consistently regardless of how you get around.

    • CE 07:43 on 2024-05-30 Permalink

      It’s multiple factors with cars and trucks. When they’re low to the ground, some types of visibility are difficult. When they’re high up, drivers can see farther but can’t see things closer to the truck and both car and truck drivers are usually seated a good metre away from the crossing. The fact is, pedestrians have full visibility around them, and cyclists have much better visibility of their surroundings than drivers.

      I’m not saying they should be able to do whatever they want but if a cyclist or pedestrian arrives at a red light and observes that there is no traffic (which is much easier for them to do because of their better visibility and the fact that cars are larger and make sounds) then I think they should be free to cross. Drivers should not be given this ability for the reasons given above and because, if they make a mistake, they can easily kill someone. If there were no cars on the road, traffic lights wouldn’t have to exist (at least not in their current form).

      The rules of the road were created for drivers, then applied to all other users. I personally don’t expect people to follow them when they don’t make sense.

    • Ian 18:08 on 2024-05-30 Permalink

      Ok so breaking laws is ok if they inconvenience and you are pretty sure you’re too smart to be constrained by the law. Good to know. /s

      It’s just rationalization of one rule for thee, another for me.

    • CE 18:26 on 2024-05-30 Permalink

      So you’ve never once jaywalked? Every single time you’ve pulled up to a stop sign on a bicycle, you came to a complete stop and put a foot on the ground before starting again?

      Most laws exist for a reason and breaking them can have very negative consequences. Laws that don’t make sense, should be changed because people are just going to break them which legitimizes breaking the law in general. I’m not saying people should walk or bike across any intersection whenever they want but shouldn’t be expected to wait (while walking) or come to a complete stop (when cycling) when the coast is definitely clear. Other places have changed these laws and I think we should too.

    • Ian 23:22 on 2024-05-30 Permalink

      Oh, I break all kinds of laws. I just don’t think I’m somehow exempt from them because I think I’m somehow superior. That said, I don’t blow through stop signs on a bike or in a car, and I do make a point of looking both ways before I cross a street. If I got nailed for jaywalking or biking incorrectly, I wouldn’t think I was somehow wronged, either. I wouldn’t blow a light in a car because yeah, I don’t want to run someone over.

      I know what you’re saying, but I see those 20 year old dopes riding no hands at night checking their phones and I bet they think they aren’t “really” doing anything wrong. Heck, I had a friend that jaywalked drunk right in front of all of us on Parc one night and she got run over by an old lady off her meds blowing a light. It’s amazing how much blood there is from a head injury.

      ‘Sayin. Even laws that “don’t make sense” have a point and maybe it’s not for us to decide individually at our convenience.

    • CE 07:00 on 2024-05-31 Permalink

      I think we’re more or less in agreement here. I’d just like to see some laws changed to give more flexibility to different users of the road.

  • Kate 09:08 on 2024-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    With car theft so rife, there have been incidents of thieves charging at police in stolen vehicles. So the SPVM wants techniques to counter these attacks. It mostly seems to be about formal permission to engage in car chases.

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