Montreal 2014

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Montreal - photo David Giral

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Michael D’Alimonte: Reasons Why Montreal Should Be Removed From Quebec And Become A City State
How the rest of Quebec is hurting the city of Montreal.
(MTL Blog) Montreal is the poorest of North American cities of similar size, and grew at half the rate of other major Canadian cities (Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver).
The root of the problem: Montreal must follow the same rules regarding language and taxes as the rest of Quebec, even though the city has very different demographics, economic industries, and cultural priorities.
Montreal continues to lose workers and profitable businesses because of this.
The solution: Montreal must become a city state, a “special status zone” outside of provincial regulations. Montreal will then be able to flourish, following regulations fitted for the city, and not the rest of Quebec.
Analysts from the National Post [see David, Grostern & Lozeau: Imagining Montreal as a city-state] have already commented on this topic. Now, prominent Montreal politicians and journalists feel the same way. [Updated from December 2013]

Champlain Bridge Design 20140627Denis Lebel confirms new span will keep Champlain Bridge name
And the new name will be … the old one.
The federal government has decided the heat it endured over the ‘name game’ is not worth the trouble and will keep the name Champlain on the new span over the St-Lawrence.
“I am announcing that we will be proud to continue honouring Champlain and will give his name to the new bridge when it opens to traffic in 2018,” federal Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel said in an open letter to Quebecers released Saturday morning.
In fact, despite the controversy over the idea of naming the new bridge after hockey legend Maurice Richard, Lebel says a final decision on the name had not actually been made. In the heat of the controversy, Richard’s family said while flattered at the idea of giving the billion-dollar bridge their father’s name they wanted out of the controversy.
21 November
Josh Freed: Heated sidewalks an idea whose time has come
Last week, more than 1,500 Montrealers gathered for a giant brainstorming session on how to reignite our city, called Je Vois Mtl.
Almost 200 ideas were debated, but let me add my own 2 cents on how to make Montreal more inviting, exciting and enticing.
18 November
The best ideas from Je Vois Mtlje vois mtl
Painting a parking lot, and turning it into a sort of paradise.
Quebec’s order of engineers wants to make art out of what many consider to be ugly concrete road structures.
That’s one of the ideas out of the Je Vois Mtl conference — a daylong conference of ideas held Monday at Place des Arts.
The conference — initiated by Jacques Ménard, chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns and president of BMO Financial Group in Quebec — aims to turn ideas from citizens and the corporate world into concrete actions that will improve life in Montreal. The initiative also includes a follow-up process to ensure the ideas discussed don’t die when the conference ends. Those who participate are asked to come up with firm actions and a timetable to bring their ideas to fruition.
Among the 180 ideas discussed at the conference, here are a few highlights
2 November
Long delays as voters cast their ballots in school board elections
There were reports of voters waiting as long as two hours to cast their ballots, as well as accusations of voter list irregularities.
31 October
Nouveau pont sur le fleuve: Maurice Richard déloge Champlain
(La Presse) Le gouvernement fédéral a tranché: l’ouvrage immortalisera Maurice Richard, la légende du Canadien de Montréal.
Depuis près de deux ans, le ministre fédéral Denis Lebel poussait dans cette direction, même si certains à Ottawa avaient d’autres vues, a appris La Presse. L’ouvrage aurait pu souligner la contribution de Jeanne Mance à la naissance de la métropole. Mais, probablement à partir de groupes cibles, on a opté pour Maurice Richard, «qui ressortait nettement», confie-t-on. Clin d’oeil aux fans, on souhaite annoncer ce choix le 9 décembre – un rappel du numéro que portait le Rocket.
30 October
Hundreds left off voters’ list in Sunday’s EMSB election
Voters plagued by school board’s paperwork problems should still be able to cast Nov. 2 vote, say advocates
7 October
High-profile candidates compete for EMSB chairperson job
The two women competing for the job of chairperson at the English Montreal School Board started their campaigns with the benefit of name recognition.
Angela Mancini has been the public face of the EMSB since 2007 as its chairperson.
Her opponent, Anne Lagacé Dowson, is a familiar voice, if not face, to many anglophone Montrealers as a longtime broadcaster.
Their political battle is new territory not just for them, but for voters, too. The Nov. 2 school board elections in Quebec mark the first time school board chairpersons will be elected by universal suffrage.
Candidates face the prospect of campaigning across a board’s territory to woo voters rather than just in one ward as would-be commissioners do.
29 September
Lines drawn in school board elections
Candidates had until Sunday to submit their nomination papers for the 712 commissioner and 69 chairperson positions up for grabs.
The vote on Nov. 2 marks the first time a school board chairperson will be elected by universal suffrage. Four candidates are vying for the job at the Commission scolaire de Montréal.
The election at the English Montreal School Board is one of the interesting races to watch. It pits Angela Mancini, the EMSB’s incumbent chairperson, against Montreal broadcaster Anne Lagacé Dowson.
23 September
Montreal to create body to promote city abroad
Also near deal to host all-electric Formula E races, Coderre announces
11 September
Bid to save Mirabel terminal doesn’t fly with operating agency
Mirabel Mayor Jean Bouchard pleaded Wednesday for a three-month stay of execution for the mothballed former Mirabel airport terminal. In vain.
“No,” was the unambiguous answer from Aéroports de Montréal spokeswoman Christiane Beaulieu. “Demolition work is starting this fall.”
On May 1, ADM announced it would bulldoze the one-million-square-foot terminal that has not been used for more than 10 years unless it received a credible proposal for an alternative use of the cavernous building by Sept. 16 — next Tuesday.
“Nothing justifies that ADM proceed so quickly with an action that is irreversible,” Bouchard said at a news conference in Montreal.
“Forty years ago, the (expropriation of land and) construction of Mirabel airport tore out a part of the soul and future of the region. Today, we don’t want ADM to do the same, so that all the sacrifices of people (expropriated) end up stupidly in the dust of demolition.”
2 September
Tony Accurso testifies at Quebec corruption inquiryFinally! And now the fun begins.
Former construction magnate tried in vain to avoid testifying at Charbonneau commission
Accurso refused to co-operate with the commission’s investigators; instead, he filed a legal request to have access to everything the inquiry had on him, notably wiretaps and documents the commission’s lawyers plan to enter into evidence.
The commissioners denied the request, but did provide a list of topics they will focus on with the reluctant witness, including political party financing, Accurso’s relationship with members of the FTQ union federation, and his possible links to members of organized crime.
The inquiry would also like a list of the people invited aboard Accurso’s infamous yacht, the Touch.
Commissioners have already heard that numerous high-ranking municipal officials and unions leaders were frequent guests on the boat, at times during the bidding process for projects in which Accurso’s companies were involved.
20 August
Montreal Needs “Wine Trucks” Badly
Yup, wine trucks are a reality.
30 July
Downtown Chapters closing
The big downtown Chapters store is closing.
A spokesman for the bookstore chain told CTV it will be shutting down on October 4th.
Lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret will be opening a store at the location in the middle of next year.
Indigo VP of Public Affairs Janet Eger says in a statement that they’ll be focussing activities at their Indigo store at Place Montreal Trust and they’ll try to keep as many employees as possible.
29 July
Just when we thought so much was improving in Montreal, along comes this ridiculous and wasteful idea
A flaw has gone undetected in Montreal Métro since it was inaugurated 50 years ago: improper syntax
Subway riders here are accustomed to rush-hour service interruptions, broken escalators and surly ticket-sellers, but it turns out another flaw has gone undetected since the métro was inaugurated nearly 50 years ago: improper syntax.
In a move that will make Montreal’s subway network more French than France, the Société de transport de Montréal has decided to add prepositions and articles to the names of 20 of its stations. All along, Place-des-Arts, Champ-de-Mars and Vendôme were wrong; from now on they are to be known as de la Place-des-Arts, du Champ-de-Mars and de Vendôme.
In May, the STM received approval for the changes from the Quebec government’s Commission de toponymie, which oversees place names in the province and insists on correct French.
27 June
Champlain Bridge proposal unveiled by OttawaChamplain  bridge
Scheduled to be built by 2018; bidders will have to comply with architectural requirements presented
The federal government unveiled its plans for the new Champlain Bridge Friday, billed as one of the largest infrastructure projects in North America.
The design features separate east-west lanes for vehicular traffic, and a separate middle section for rapid bus lanes. It is scheduled to be built by 2018.
The design was created by an architectural review panel comprised of architect Poul Ove Jensen from Dissing+Weitling, local firm Provencher Roy, the city of Montreal, Mission Design, Heritage Montreal, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec and the Ordre des architectes du Québec in collaboration with Arup, the engineering consulting firm overseeing “the new bridge for the St. Lawrence corridor project.”
26 June
Bens, the restaurant that was a symbol of Montreal at the height of its power, is now in a museum
(National Post) Bens — sans apostrophe — is back and within a karnatzel’s toss of its old location on de Maisonneuve Boulevard West. But there are no waiters scurrying about with plates of steaming smoked meat and fries. No, this is simply an homage to the deli that closed its doors for the last time in 2006, two years before its 100th birthday.
Bens: The Legendary Deli, an exhibition mounted at the McCord Museum, is guaranteed to stir nostalgia for bygone days in Montreal. The exhibit, running until Nov. 23, is made up of more than 100 objets de deli, from vintage menus and recipes to posters and celeb pictures that once hung on the deli’s renowned Wall of Fame. The display offers a fascinating portal back to the days when downtown Montreal was a magnet not just for locals but also for the myriad entertainers who partied with vigour in our sin city of yore — those times when the city never slept, and when Bens was the place to go to both start and end the day. (The Suburban) A slice of smoked meat memories served up at McCord Museum
(The Gazette) McCord Museum’s new exhibition resurrects the ghosts of Montreal’s famed Bens Delicatessen Some 100 objects, including posters, architectural plans, photos, counter stools, menus and the deli’s “Wall of Fame” are on display in this exhibition about the very first of Montreal’s famous smoked-meat restaurants [Bens Restaurant closes forever (December 2006)]
9 June
Accord Canada-UE: Montréal comme porte d’entrée du continent
(La Presse) La conclusion de l’Accord économique et commercial entre le Canada et l’Union européenne ouvre de nouveaux horizons à la métropole du Québec.
Montréal, au même titre que Miami et Rio de Janeiro, détient des atouts pour tirer profit de cette grande ouverture commerciale de par son caractère bilingue français-anglais unique sur le continent.
C’est dans cette perspective que le Forum économique international des Amériques ouvre aujourd’hui sa 20e Conférence, qui aura pour thème Les fondements de la prochaine ère de croissance.
7 June
What a difference six months can make
There’s so much to celebrate about living in Montreal
If overcoming adversity is the secret to communal happiness, then we’re due an extra helping of joy. We ask some prominent Montrealers what they love most about our city
Montreal gets sweet deal to keep GP until 2024Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
City will pay $17 million per year – cheaper than what most other host countries are asked to cough up
(Montreal Gazette) The good news for racing fans is we get to keep our Grand Prix for another 10 years.
Here’s the real question: How do you justify spending $17 million a year to host an event in which millionaire drivers race million-dollar cars when our own roads are crumbling and our health and education systems need fixing?
The answer: When money generated from that event goes back into the local economy and, by extension, into our roads, hospitals and schools, in sufficient amounts to justify the investment.
The smaller the investment, then, the bigger the reward. On that score, the terms of the deal … amount to a bargain in the big-money world of Formula One. …
Is the investment worth the payback?… there’s no question we are talking about much more than $17 million.
[federal minister responsible for infrastructure] Lebel said the F1 race creates economic spinoffs estimated at more than $70 million. Coderre put it at up to $90 million. Reid of Formula Money cited a Quebec-government figure of “more than $80 million annually.”
“Montreal benefits in a number of ways. The 100,000 raceday spectators bring money into the city in terms of spending on hotels, food and merchandise,” Reid said. “This is the direct spending only and doesn’t take into account the vast marketing benefit to the city of exposure to F1’s 450 million annual viewers.”
3 June
Bachand to be named chairman of Tourism Montreal
Six months after the resignation of Jacques Parisien, in the wake of lavish spending by the former director general Charles Lapointe, Tourism Montreal announced Bachand is taking over.
Bachand’s nomination will be formalized at Tourism Montreal’s annual meeting June 20, the organization said in a statement.
“For me, tourism is one of the great export products of a society which allows people to discover the traits and talents of Montreal, the entry point to Quebec,” Bachand said in a statement.
Bachand has experience in tourism. Before he was Quebec’s Liberal finance minister under Jean Charest, he was tourism minister in 2007 and 2008.
26 May
Editorial: Marcel Côté was a great Montrealer
With the sudden and untimely death Sunday of Marcel Côté, Montreal has lost one of its most tireless champions, dynamic intellects and selfless leaders.
Côté, 71, only recently became a figure on the public radar, when he ran for mayor of Montreal in last fall’s municipal election — recognizable for his gap-toothed grin.
But for 40 years, he was a leading policy expert who served this city, province and country in innumerable ways — mostly by working his formidable influence from behind the scenes.
Whether as an adviser to political leaders, a restructuring consultant to the leading corporations of Quebec Inc., or as a passionate promoter of the arts and other charitable causes, Côté helped make Montreal a better city and advanced the cause of Montreal and Quebec within the broader national interest.
19 May
Alan Hustak: Maisonneuve’s Mustard Seed
Montreal was to be a utopia, a centre of religion, not commerce
(Ville-Marie Online) Ceremonies to mark the 372nd anniversary of the founding of Montreal as a religious colony were held Sunday in Place d’Armes following Mass at Notre Dame de Basilica.
A strange mix of characters built the first settlement: a nurse, several priests, a wealthy French aristocrat and her maid, an old man enjoying his second childhood, a handful of sailors, soldiers, a carpenter and a dozen or so families. The nurse was Montreal’s co-founder, Jeanne Mance, a heroine of the strong, silent type. Among the Jesuit missionaries were two who didn’t get along with each other, Rev. Barthelemy Vimont, the Superior, and Rev. Joseph- Antoine Poncet de la Riviere who, historians tell us, was “unreliable and capricious.”
Vimont had assigned him to be Montreal’s parish priest to discipline him. The most curious travellers were the high-born Madame Chauvigny de La Peltrie and her maid, Charlotte Barre, and Pierre de Puiseaux de Montrenault, a wealthy 70-year-old who came along for the ride. There were also a strapping carpenter, Nicholas Gode, his wife and their four children; and the families of Augustin Hebert and Antoine Joly.
Most were members of a militant clandestine religious society: Les Messieurs et Dames les Associes Pour la Conversion des Sauvages de la Nouvelle France en l’Ile de Montreal (the Association of Gentlemen and Ladies for the Conversion of the Savages of New France on the Island of Montreal). Montreal was to be a utopia, a centre of religion, not commerce.
10 May
David Culver by John MahoneyCulver reflects on his ‘lucky life’ at Alcan
By DAVID M. CULVER, WITH ALAN FREEMAN, Special To The Gazette
Over my lifetime, as Quebec has matured and come into its own, it’s clear that Montreal’s economic role has changed. It is no longer the Montreal of St James Street and I.W. Killam, the era when Canada’s economy was run by Montrealers and by corporations run from the city. That time has passed. As I wrote in an article in the Montreal Gazette in 1996, “we should not compete with Toronto for the head offices of purely Canadian businesses. Montreal is not the best place from which to run an enterprise that sells its products and services only in Canada.” What Montreal should strive to do is become “the Geneva of the 21st century, the preferred city from which to run global enterprises, a magnet for young people who use the new technologies as a means of making their individual mark on the world stage. A French city that confidently welcomes all languages, religions, and cultures.”
Excerpted from ‘Expect Miracles: Recollections of a Lucky Life’ by David M. Culver, with Alan Freeman (McGill-Queen’s University Press, Mity 2014)”
Quand Montréal s’écrit en anglais
À Metropolis bleu, Linda Leith a fait découvrir nos écrivains de l’autre langue
(L Devoir) En trouvant un accent à la création littéraire, Linda Leith a le talent de susciter des questions aussi complexes que fascinantes. Dans son essai Écrire au temps du nationalisme, elle confesse : « Je suis née en Irlande du Nord, et j’ai vécu dans d’autres lieux et dans d’autres langues, de sorte que je parle avec un accent, même en anglais. » À Montréal, la littérature de langue anglaise qu’elle pratique est une cause, mais surtout une sensibilité.
3 May

She gave away millions. Liliane Stewart, philanthropist 1928-2014

29 April
Montreal will get special status
(CJAD) For the moment, it’s not clear exactly what that will mean
A bill will be written to give Montreal special status.
Municipal Affairs Minister Pierre Moreau confirmed it to Mayor Denis Coderre in their first meeting at city hall Tuesday morning.
Minister Moreau said he’ll be working with Robert Poeti, the minister in charge of Montreal and transport, and Mayor Coderre to define what Montreal’s special status will be and how it will work.
15 April
Bill Brownstein: Mordecai Richler Pavilion is a tribute to poor planning
After a series of compromises, and after the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough council put the kibosh on renaming any street or library in its ’hood for Richler, the gazebo overlooking Parc Ave. was chosen as the site for a sort of token homage to the late, legendary and irascible Montreal author three years ago. The gazebo was falling apart then, but the plan was to restore it quickly.
After enduring several cruel winters, the gazebo is in even worse shape now. It is an eyesore and an embarrassment. Chunks of the roof and a few wrought-iron support railings are missing, the floor is gone altogether, and graffiti is scrawled on what’s left of the support structure. Not even the pigeons seem to take refuge there anymore.
14 April
Technology Leader Orion Systems Integrators to Set Up in Montréal
According to Orion President and CEO Sunil Mehta, Montréal provides the ideal location for a research and development centre to offer application development and support to help ORION’s global clients maintain a competitive advantage.
10 April
Police raid home of man PMO endorsed to head Montreal port
The province’s permanent anti-corruption unit, known by its French acronym UPAC, sent out 90 police officers to conduct a series of raids in the Greater Montreal Area on Wednesday.
Raids target water-meter players
(Montreal Gazette) All of the individuals whose properties were searched are known to the public: Robert Abdallah, Montreal’s city manager from 2003 to 2006 who launched the water-meter project for the city; retired construction magnate Antonio Accurso, whose Simard-Beaudry Construction Inc. at the time was onehalf of the Génieau consortium; businessman Paolo Catania, whose Construction Frank Catania & Associés was the only other bidder on the contract; businessman Franco Minicucci, who was described in the past as Accurso’s right-hand man; Bernard Trépanier, once the chief fundraiser for former mayor Gérald Tremblay’s Union Montreal party; and Tremblay’s former righthand man, Frank Zampino, who was chairman of the city executive committee when the water-management contract was awarded.
Five of the individuals have been arrested in other investigations in the past two years and all but Minicucci have been named by witnesses at the Charbonneau Commission about an alleged collusion scheme involving payments of kickbacks that wound up at Union Montreal in exchange for municipal contracts that went to prearranged winners.
UPAC also seized documents at the residences of former Montreal city councillor Frank Zampino and construction magnate Antonio Accurso.
Timeline: A look at Montreal’s water-management deal — November 2007: It takes 53 seconds for city council to unanimously approve the $355.8-million water-meter contract — the largest in city history .
28 March
City’s decision on funding for forests and wetlands criticized
(Montreal Gazette) In September, city council voted to set aside $36 million for natural-space acquisition and protection, $12 million each year from 2014 to 2016.
But Coderre announced last week that he wants to use $17 million of that money for other projects, including extending Cavendish Blvd., covering a portion of the Ville-Marie Expressway, closing Ste-Catherine St. to vehicular traffic, buying new firefighting equipment and building or improving municipal yards. Russell Copeman, the Montreal executive committee member responsible for urban planning, responded that although Montreal sets aside millions each year for green-space acquisition, the agglomeration has “never come historically even close to spending that envelope, for a host of reasons involving the difficulty of negotiations with private owners, etc.”
26 March
Plan d’action pour Montréal – Une métropole internationale d’avenir
(PLQ) le chef du Parti libéral du Québec, Philippe Couillard, a dévoilé une série d’engagements visant à doter Montréal des outils propres à une grande métropole internationale. Montréal disposera ainsi des moyens nécessaires sur le plan de la gouvernance, des infrastructures et du développement économique, social et culturel pour être une grande métropole, ouverte sur le monde et tournée vers l’avenir.
19 March
The Redpath Mansion is finally razed
Heritage Montreal laments demise as “a shameful abuse of process and a loss to the city”
7 March
Influx of Alberta oil through Montreal raises concerns
Environmentalists critical of pipeline reversal; business lobby applauds move
Montreal will soon see a dramatic influx of Alberta oil into its east-end refineries.
Enbridge got the go-ahead Thursday to ship upward of 300,000 barrels of oil each day from southern Ontario into Montreal through a pipeline that cuts across cities, farmland and the island’s main water supply.
The decision by the National Energy Board to approve Enbridge’s Line 9B reversal project is a prospect that frightens environmental groups, but one that’s seen as an economic necessity from the city’s business lobby.
The pipeline, which links Montreal to Sarnia, Ont., was initially designed to encourage domestic oil production during the OPEC crisis of the 1970s and carries a maximum of 240,000 barrels of crude each day from Montreal to southern Ontario.
The new project would see Alberta oil shipped through the 39-year-old structure, but will only move forward once a series of 30 safety conditions outlined by the NEB are met. In December, the Parti Québécois government said it would approve the reversal plan if its safety concerns were met.
24 February
Celine Cooper: Montreal as its own city-state?
Greetings from Administrative Region 06.
What’s that? Oh. You may know it by another name — Montreal, the second largest city in Canada. The economic hub of Quebec. The city that generates approximately 65 per cent of provincial tax revenues.
One might assume that buoying a metropolis — investing in the human potential, entrepreneurship and global networking opportunities the city has to offer — would be a central plank in any provincial or federal budget.
Then again, one might be wrong. …
With half of the province’s population concentrated here (close to 4 million people), our metropolitan area has some serious demographic heft. As Journal de Montréal columnist Benoît Aubin recently pointed out, if Montreal decided to go its own way and become the 11th province of Canada, it would be more populous than all the Atlantic provinces combined.
Yet provincial governments across Canada — including Quebec’s — continue to take a relatively flat approach to budgeting. Despite our urbanizing world, cities are still seen as “creatures” of the provinces, just another administrative region on an electoral map — in Montreal’s case, Administrative Region 06.
But in the imminent general election campaign, expect to see some pushback. Real acknowledgement of Montreal as Quebec’s metropolis means revising the fiscal arrangement between Quebec and Montreal and negotiating a meaningful devolution of powers from the province to the city.

18 February
Denis Coderre is exceeding all expectations according to an uncharacteristically laudatory article in La Presse Denis Coderre, un sans-faute en 100 jours. The positive statements from political rivals are a refreshing change from the consistent sniping that pervades exchanges at other levels of government. And lo! The Gazette agrees — Denis Coderre’s 100-day highlights — only dealing a glancing blow at the appointment of Philippe Schnobb as head of the Société de transport de Montréal.

redpath-mansionRedpath Mansion demolition suspended for 30 days
Maka Kotto, Quebec’s minister of culture, intervenes to try to save the historic Victorian mansion
Quebec Culture Minister Maka Kotto has intervened in the file of the Redpath Mansion to temporarily prevent its owner from tearing down the historic house built in 1886.
Montreal’s historic Redpath Mansion in its final days
Historic Redpath House demolition underway
“I was on site [Monday] morning to see the dilapidated state of the building, and I used section 76 of the Law on Cultural Heritage to stop work,” said Kotto.
Section 76 of the law states that if the ministry perceives a “real threat of significant degradation of a property that may have heritage value, the minister may make an order…directing that work or an activity be terminated” for a period of up to 30 days.
With the suspension, the ministry now has 30 days to complete an assessment of the building, located at 3457 du Musée Avenue in downtown Montreal, and then decide its fate.

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