Montreal 2016

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30 December
Fifteen Montrealers named to Order of Canada
Former Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish and McGill University astrophysicist Vicky Kaspi were the two Montrealers who were appointed on Friday as Companions to the Order of Canada – the highest level of distinction in the national order.
Michael Sabia, the CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (the province’s pension-fund manager), was named an Officer. Industrial designer Michel Dallaire, and Lorne Trottier, a philanthropist, engineer and entrepreneur, were each promoted to Officers.
The remaining 10 Montrealers were appointed as Members of the Order of Canada. Among them were John Parisella, the former chief of staff to two Quebec premiers, recognized for his “social, political, diplomatic and academic engagement and for his dedication to major governance issues;” and businessman Richard J. Renaud, recognized for “his philanthropic generosity as founder of the Roasters Foundation and for his leadership within a number of charitable organizations in the Montreal community.”

  • Manon Barbeau, of Montreal “for her achievements in film production and for her dedication to First Nations youth”;
  • Pierre-Michel Bouchard, of Quebec City, for “his dedication to promoting culture and sport and for his civic engagement with the City of Quebec”;
  • André Bourbeau, of Dunham, “for his contributions to the development of Canada’s music and opera scene and for his dedication to the next generation of musicians”;
  • Louise Champoux-Paille, of Montreal, for “her contributions as an administrator and for her commitment to promoting women in governance”;
  • Richard French, of Chelsea, “for his contributions to enhancing public institutions and for his efforts to bridge the public sector and the business world”;
  • Anne-Marie Hubert, of Montreal, “for her commitment to parity and inclusion in business and for her skill in corporate governance”;
  • Benoit Huot, of St-Lambert, “for his contributions as a parasport ambassador and inspiration to youth and for his excellence as a Paralympic swimmer”;
  • France Labelle, of Montreal, “for her dedication to championing the rights of those most in need and to combating poverty and homelessness”;
  • Jean-Lucien Rouleau, of Montreal, “for his contributions to developing the field of cardiology as a researcher, clinician and university administrator”;
  • Diane Sasson, of Town of Mount Royal, “for her commitment to eradicating domestic violence and for her advocacy in support of legal changes that would better protect victims”; and
  • André Vanasse, of Outremont, “for his profound impact on Quebec literature and for his efforts to promote the literary arts.”

16 December
Josh Freed: Montreal is full of bright ideas for its 375th anniversary
The woods are alive with 40 huge projectors that reflect a video off the snow, rocks and trees. It’s literally movie time on Mount Royal, using the mountain as a huge natural screen you can see for miles.
It’s just the latest experiment in our city’s “glowing” revolution. Montreal is lighting up its buildings, monuments and streets, with a new winter motto: Let There Be Light!
We live in a town where nature’s own lighting practically shuts down from November through February — a period I call La Grande Noirceur (the Great Darkness), when the light dies at 4 p.m. and your spirits die, too.
I used to see this as inevitable until I visited Scandinavia several winters ago and came away illuminated. Many cities there routinely light up public buildings, bridges, and streets to make the dark months seem brighter.
They call it Northern lighting – and now at last, it’s spreading here too. Montreal is seeing the light

8 December

Quebec proposes greater autonomy, grants metropolis status for Montreal

Bill 121 will grant city new authority in areas of economic development, housing, heritage, and social policy
Montreal is now officially the “metropolis of Quebec,” a status long sought by mayor Denis Coderre, and stands to gain new powers in matters of economic, social and cultural development from legislation introduced Thursday in Quebec City.

The proposed law, Bill 121, was introduced Thursday by Martin Coiteux, Quebec’s minister of municipal affairs and the member of cabinet responsible for Montreal.
Coiteux said the new law will grant Montreal the power to both abolish subsidy limits for businesses and provide tax credits. It would also allow the city a pre-emptive right to acquire property for municipal purposes and to expropriate neglected properties from their owners.
Among other rights and powers, Bill 121 will grant the city an annual economic development subsidy that would reach $50 million by 2021 and new authority in areas of housing, heritage preservation and social policy touching on homelessness and immigration that are currently administered by the Quebec government.
Montreal will also be allowed to set the opening hours for bars in its territory.

6 December
montreal-childrens-hospital
Highrise 6-tower housing project could replace old Montreal Children’s Hospital
Condos, social housing, hotel all in the plan for Tupper Street site
(CBC) The site of the former Montreal Children’s Hospital may be razed to make way for residential and commercial towers, according to information gathered by CBC’s French-language service, Radio-Canada.The building, sold by the MUHC last Thursday to a real estate developer, has been sitting empty since the hospital moved to the Glen site about a year and a half ago.
The project would include six towers, some as high as 20 storeys, a park and community centre. Condos would make up the bulk of the residential units, but there are also plans for social housing and a hotel.
Steve Shanahan, the city councillor for the area around the former Children’s Hospital, said he believes some of the site should be left standing, such as the building on the corner of Atwater and René-Lévesque Boulevard, but he would not oppose the rest being demolished.
Much better from our point of view than than New owner of former Children’s Hospital hints at using site for baseball stadium

15 November
Bye Bye Bixis
In October Bixi announced that it will expand next year, with 1,000 more bikes and 80 more docking stations across the city.
What Montrealers know as the Bixi, was designed by the city’s award-winning industrial designer, Michel Dallaire.
PBSC Urban Solutions, the Quebec company, along with Devinci bikes, supplies several cities around the world for their local ride-sharing programs.
There are an estimated 50,000 bikes and 3,500 stations in 15 cities and two university campuses, worldwide.

2 November
Birks building to be renovated to incorporate hotel, bistro
Renovations to the building, built in 1894, should start in the spring and be completed a year later. The Birks store will also undergo a facelift, but will remain open during construction.
This transformation was announced Wednesday by Birks Group and Le St-Martin hotels.
Both parties want the building, which will carry the Birks name, to become a “destination of luxury and art” in the metropolis.
The owner of the Hotel Le St-Martin, Jean Salette, said in a statement that the hotel should have 120 rooms.
This project was announced a little over a month after the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) confirmed its intention to open a branch of its subsidiary Saks Fifth Avenue — an upscale retailer — in its heritage building Montreal, which will undergo major renovations.

26 October
road-closed-1103-8colMajor construction, roadwork unveiled for next 10 years
Study shows some city roads, water system do not meet an acceptable level of service
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has unveiled the city’s plan to deal with its vast infrastructure needs over the next 10 years and Montrealers can expect to see more work on roads, sewers and the water system.
A recent study by the city found that 22 per cent of sewers, 14 per cent of the water system and 45 per cent of roads do not meet an acceptable level of service.
Montreal expects to have completed work on about 295 kilometres of roads, aqueducts and sewers by the end of this year, but the city plans to tackle more crumbling infrastructure every year starting in 2017.
But downtown Montreal will get a break for next year’s 375th anniversary after Coderre vowed that no construction will be carried out in the sector except for emergency repairs.
More traffic chaos
There will be a dramatic increase in work starting in 2017, when the city will take try to complete work and repairs on 676 kilometres of infrastructure each year.
The construction plans are expected to cost $702 million per year, an increase of 89 per cent from 2016.
The new work will also likely have an impact on current construction and people’s ability to get around the city. Really?
20 October
Montreal expects to pay police at least $12M to direct traffic this year
Bill has tripled, increasing from $4M in 2014 to $8M last year

19 October
Just unbelievable!
Highway 15 overpass, completed last year, now being demolished
Structure made for a 2-lane highway, but Hwy. 15 will be expanded to 3 lanes
The original overpass was demolished by the federal bridge authority, the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI), and replaced in two phases in 2014 and 2015 at a cost of $10.8 million.

10 October
Lavoie announces candidacy for Projet Montreal leadership
(CTV) “I’m doing this because I feel that the city is not living up to its potential and the citizens are not getting what they have a right to accept from us,” he said. “We have a city where congestion now is the day to day business, a city where the mayor is hostile to innovations in greater mobility.”
Lavoie said he would focus on sustainability and making the city’s fiscal policies more friendly to small businesses and those on fixed incomes.
Guillaume Lavoie briguera la direction de Projet Montréal
Le conseiller municipal Guillaume Lavoie se lance dans la course à la direction de son parti, Projet Montréal. Il devient ainsi le troisième candidat en lice pour succéder à Richard Bergeron, qui a démissionné il y a près de deux ans.
M. Lavoie a annoncé officiellement sa décision au cours d’une conférence lundi après-midi, en face de l’hôtel de ville.

5 October
Quebec report reveals 40% of university buildings in poor condition
McGill, Concordia, Université de Montréal among worst ranked campuses in government report
(CBC) For the first time, the Quebec government has taken a close look at the state of university buildings across the province and discovered many of the institutions are falling apart, with Montreal’s among the worst.
Judge extends suspension of Montreal pit bull ban
Mandatory muzzles, ban on new pit bulls will not be enforced until there is final ruling on bylaw challenge

28 September
Montreal SPCA to take legal action against new bylaw targeting pit bulls
Animal welfare agency wants sections on ‘pit bull-type dogs’ declared illegal
montreal-pit-bull-ban-20160926Montreal passes controversial pit bull ban
‘This is going to create a bigger problem than a solution,’ says Opposition Projet Montréal
City council voted Tuesday in favour of changes to its animal control bylaw that include a ban on new ownership of pit bull and pit bull-type dogs. The final vote was 37-23 in favour of the ban.
“My duty as mayor of Montreal is making sure I am working for all Montrealers,” said Denis Coderre. “And I am there to make sure they feel safe and that they are safe.”
The bylaw vote was supposed to take place Monday, but was pushed to Tuesday due to a busy agenda.
The city announced that the new rules, including the ban on new ownership of pit bull or pit bull-type dogs, will go into effect across all 19 Montreal boroughs starting Oct. 3.
Montreal Olympics 76: Nostalgia
1976 Summer Olympics
Jack Todd on the 1976 Montreal Olympics: Drapeau’s baby from bid to billion-dollar bill (16 July)
1976 Montreal Olympics: In the weeks before opening ceremony, the city was a nervous wreck (12 July)

18 Top-Rated Montreal Attractions for 2016
Everything from Montreal’s cultural landmarks to the best shows in town: here is our list of the top 18 Montreal Attractions not to miss this year

Canada’s Best And Worst Places To Run A Business: Montreal Ranks Last
There are so many great things about Montreal.
It’s a culturally vibrant city with great festivals, events and historical sites for people to enjoy.
But if you ask the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), it’s also Canada’s worst city in which to be an entrepreneur.
The CFIB, which represents small business owners across the country, has issued a report titled “Entrepreneurial Communities,” which ranks cities according to how facilitative they are for business. …
CFIB senior economist Simon Gaudreault said one of the major reasons it ranked so low was that business property taxes are four times higher than residential ones, The Financial Post reported.
Delays in issuing certain permits also presented an issue for CFIB members. (October 2015)

Saks’ largest Canadian outlet to open in downtown Montreal in 2018
Three years after its blockbuster acquisition of U.S. luxury retailer Saks for $2.9 billion (U.S.), Hudson’s Bay Co. announced Thursday it will open Quebec’s first Saks Fifth Avenue location in the downtown Bay building on Ste-Catherine W., with the opening scheduled for the fall of 2018 after extensive, multi-million-dollar renovations that will be done without shutting the existing store.
Saks’s main entrance will be on de Maisonneuve Blvd., and it will share four of the building’s seven floors with The Bay.

12 September
richler-gazeboMordecai Richler gazebo finally finished
5 years and $700K later, decaying bandstand slated for dedication to Montreal author rebuilt at last
The refurbishment of the decaying bandstand to honour the Montreal-born author on the mountain’s eastern flank was first announced in 2011, and work began in 2015.
Mordecai Richler finally gets a gazebo — at a cottage in the Laurentians
Mile End Library to be renamed after Richler
Renovations were supposed to be finished that fall, but the deadline was repeatedly pushed back as new problems emerged and its price tag nearly doubled.
Bill Brownstein, who was a good friend of Richler’s and is a columnist for the Montreal Gazette, said the project is excessive and not what the notoriously curmudgeonly author would have wanted.
“I’m sure he would have been the first to mock this whole process and it wouldn’t have been something he would have ever coveted,” Brownstein said.
2017 MONTRÉAL VANGUARD
(NextCity) Learn more about our past Vanguard conferences and read our announcement to find out why we chose Montréal for 2017.
The Vanguard is an annual experiential urban leadership gathering of the best and brightest young urban leaders working to improve cities across sectors, including urban planning, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation, sustainability, design, art and media. Each year, Next City selects 40 applicants whose smart ideas for cities, experience in the field and ambition for the future all show great promise.
Montreal Is About To Kill A Lot Of Dogs, Based On Quack Science
(HuffPost) A dog registered as a boxer has killed a woman in Montreal, so the mayor is calling for a ban on pit bulls. This would be amusing, if it weren’t so predictable and depressing: in few areas of public policy do you encounter thinking this routinely deranged. And it all starts with contempt for science.
You see, Mayor Coderre need not look south of the border for relevant expertise here. By coincidence, the most lauded urban experiment in the containment of dog bites — studied across the world — is the Calgary Model. It’s a remarkable success, and it’s much cheaper than Breed Specific Legislation. The downside? It’s a lot of work, and — this really hurts — it requires humans to be responsible.
A really awful idea and waste of money!
Jacques Cartier Bridge lights to reflect the pulse of Montreal
The Jacques Cartier Bridge will reflect changing seasons and the mood of Montrealers, say the creative minds behind the lighting of Montreal’s iconic bridge.
The $39.5-million project entails installing 2,807 lights (a combination of tubes and projectors) on both the east and west side. The bridge is slated to start lighting up on May 17 next year, the official kickoff of the city’s 375th anniversary celebrations. A model of the bridge’s lighting was unveiled to media on Wednesday.
Every month, the bridge will be lit up with a different colour, and the design of the bridge’s lights will change daily or even from one moment to the next, depending on the weather, traffic situations, and what Montrealers are talking about on social media.
For contrast, see The Bay Lights
“The initial project cost $8 million, which was raised through private donations and contributions.50 million people were estimated to see The Bay Lights by 2015, and the project was estimated to bring up to $100 million in tourism revenue to the Bay Area. ZERO1, a non-profit dedicated to bringing art and technology together, signed on as the official fiscal sponsor of the project.
The Bay Lights is estimated to use approximately $30 per day in electricity, or about $11,000 annually, which has been donated by a private solar investment company in the form of solar credits.
In July 2014, Illuminate the Arts announced it was partnering with Tilt.com to sponsor a $1.2 million crowdfunding campaign to keep The Bay Lights lit until 2026. When the crowdfunding campaign raised less than expected, organizers focused on larger donors and ultimately raised the $4 million necessary to install long-term fixtures. The Bay Area Toll Authority, which oversees the bridge, agreed to allocate up to $250,000 per year from toll revenues for maintenance and electricity.” More about the design.

1 September
The Mayor will have to walk the proposed ban back
SPCA threatens to end pound services if Montreal bans pit bulls
(Montreal Gazette) The Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is considering ending its animal shelter service contracts with the 12 Montreal boroughs it now serves if Montreal goes ahead with its plan to outlaw the acquisition of pit bull dogs and pit bull mixes, a lawyer with the Montreal SPCA said Wednesday.
The Montreal SPCA, along with other animal rights groups and veterinarian associations, is opposed to breed-specific bans, arguing they are discriminatory, impossible to enforce and are ineffective at reducing dog attacks.
“Part of our contract stipulates that there not be a breed-specific ban in place and we have refused to work with municipalities that have breed-specific bans … so we are exploring what we will do as an organization if this passes,” said SPCA lawyer Sophie Gaillard.

31 August
Dangerous dogs reportNo pit bull ban for Quebec, only restrictions, report recommends
Pit bulls and dogs deemed dangerous should wear muzzles in public and be sterilized, working groups says
The vast majority of pit bull owners in Quebec will be allowed to keep their dogs if the government adopts the recommendations of a report released on Wednesday.
The report comes from a working group on dangerous dogs, created last June by Public Safety Minister Martin Coiteux, after the death of a Montreal woman attacked by a dog in her backyard.
Quebec could get a pit bull ban. But do they work?
Own a dog in Montreal? Here’s how a proposed bylaw may affect you
Family of Montreal woman mauled by dog wants Quebec-wide pit bull ban
It offers 10 recommendations. Among them:
Creating two categories of dogs, one for dangerous “pit bull-type” breeds, and another for potentially dangerous dogs weighing 20 kg or more and trained for protection.

4 August
Montreal is first venue in Northern Hemisphere to host World Social Forum
Another world is needed.
That is the slogan for the World Social Forum 2016, starting next week in Montreal – and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in disagreement.
The huge forum, which will be held in several locations in downtown Montreal from Aug. 9 to 14, will bring together tens of thousands of people and hundreds of groups and movements from around the world who are involved in struggles for justice and share the goal of changing the world.
That, in fact, is what the second part of the forum’s slogan is about: Together, it is possible.
It is the largest gathering of civil society seeking solutions to today’s problems, and it is the first time the forum has ventured into a country in the Northern Hemisphere – and we have our Maple Spring student movement to thank for that

30 July
Josh Freed: City’s split personality goes from the ridiculous to the sublime
Let whoever runs the Quartier des Spectacles run the rest of our city’s services, too. Let them run our buses, roadwork and street-cleaning as efficiently and courteously as they do the comedy fest
I know we’re finally making up for 400 years of rotting infrastructure. But there’s so much construction we should probably have shut down Montreal for the year, moved us all out — then demolished the city and built a new one from scratch, like Dubai.
Yet all this is just a tale of one city … I headed downtown to the Quartier des Spectacles — where I changed cities so instantly I was surprised I didn’t cross a border and need a passport.
Once inside the comedy fest site, I was in another city — another world, where everything somehow works.
It all works remarkably smoothly, more Switzerland than Montreal. If our city road crews ran the site, summer festivals would be delayed till Christmas — and end two days later when a stage crumbled during a labour walkout, blowing a power line and causing a province-wide blackout.
But in the Quartier of festivals, nothing seems to go wrong. The Quartier has become a remarkable vision of what Montreal could be — and the conclusion is obvious.

17 July
Celine Cooper: Yes, of course language laws and politics affect Montreal’s economic development
Even if Montreal were given special status as a bilingual jurisdiction and children of immigrants whose mother tongue was English were allowed to attend English schools, would this keep more people in the city? Would this be enough for Montreal to buck the provincial trend of low population growth and immigrant retention, and high interprovincial outflow? Do our English schools currently provide students with the linguistic competencies necessary to thrive in the French-speaking Quebec market? What about Montreal’s universities?

12 July
No Jones, no Peterson, no jazz in 375th celebrations
… check out all the events planned for Montreal’s 375th anniversary — not Jones, not Peterson, and not the rich history of the southwest’s black community.
“We are all Montrealers who make this city move every day,” says Michael Farkas, director of Youth in Motion. “But I expect many of us will not find ourselves included next year… so I’m very upset.”
Farkas … submitted a proposal for a parade to mark Montreal’s 375th birthday in the Ville Marie Borough, titled “From Mathieu da Costa to Michäelle Jean,” after the Black navigator who came to Quebec with Samuel de Champlain in the early 1600s and the former governor general of Canada, who served from 2005 to 2010.
His project, with a budget of $33,000, was rejected by the selection committee, however.

10 July
Rosemont park has sheep landscaping for the summer
On Saturday, the Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie borough introduced the six ewes and two lambs that will serve as environmentally-friendly lawnmowers for the next month as part of an urban agriculture pilot project.
Grazing animals have some ecological advantages when it comes to landscaping, said Marie-Ève Julien-Denis, one of the project’s organizers.
“They will enrich the soil with their manure and contribute to urban biodiversity, because insects and birds won’t be bothered by the noise of lawnmowers,” she said.
Sheep and goats have been used to manage green spaces and parks in Europe for centuries, and the idea is beginning to catch on in Canada as well.
Last month, Calgary introduced 106 goats to a city park in an experimental effort to wipe out thistle and other noxious weeds.
Celine Cooper: Before Montreal can thrive, it needs to educate itself
It goes something like this: Montreal has everything it needs to become one of North America’s most dynamic and successful cities. Yet, we continue to lag behind other North American cities on a vast range of economic indicators including job creation, employment rates, GDP growth and population growth.
And here we go again. Last month, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a socio-economic study called Montréal: Métropole de Talent. The study looks at Montreal’s relative performance within a constellation of 18 city members of the OECD (Manchester, Boston, Dublin, Stockholm and Toronto, for example).
It concludes that Montreal has the necessary DNA to thrive as a major hub for innovation and economic development at both national and international levels. It lauds our enviable quality of life. We are bursting at the seams with potential.
Yet, the findings echo much of what we’ve read in other studies focused on Montreal, including the 2014 BMO and Boston Consulting Group study Building a New Momentum in Montreal and the 2014 Institut du Québec research group study. Despite our strategic advantages, Montreal seems chronically incapable of translating our potential into performance.

7 July
Say goodbye to elevated stretch of Bonaventure Expressway
Jean Drapeau built it in 1966 to link the Champlain Bridge and downtown in time for Expo 67.
Fifty years later, Montreal’s current mayor, Denis Coderre, is demolishing part of it to create a signature new entryway to the city in time for Montreal’s 375th birthday next year.
Montreal started tearing down its portion of the elevated Bonaventure Expressway this week, promising to replace it with two boulevards with a series of green spaces between them, by September 2017.
The Bonaventure was built at a time when cars were at the centre of city planning, Mayor Coderre said Wednesday. Today, the focus is also on public transit and making cities more walkable, he said.
The roadwork is causing traffic headaches but “the sacrifices will be worth it,” Coderre added. “At the end of the day, we will be proud of our city because this is going to be a hell of a boulevard.”
Here’s what you need to know about the $142-million project:
Location Ottawa owns the portion of the Bonaventure between the Champlain Bridge and the Lachine Canal. The city of Montreal owns the rest — from the canal to downtown, which is the focus of this project.

6 July
From Guardian Canada week This is one of the better articles in the series. Toronto friends were appalled by the treatment given their city.
The 40-year hangover: how the 1976 Olympics nearly broke Montreal
The Montreal Olympics left the city with a C$1.6bn debt, a string of corruption scandals, and a creeping sense of economic and social decline. Forty years on, how did the city survive?
Montreal is still hip, the bars and restaurants and clubs the liveliest in the country, a walking city where the cafes are full all day long and joie de vivre trumps quotidian worries over such inconvenient details as bounced rent cheques and unpaid parking tickets. Montreal remains the polar opposite of money and real-estate obsessed Toronto – though where it was once a smaller, colder Paris, Montreal is now more North American, less European, less blithely certain of its position in the universe.
Nevertheless, the Olympic debt is paid, separatism is a diminished force and there is even a tentative plan afoot to bring back the Expos. When spring finally comes after the long winters, there is a buoyant sense of rebirth and confidence in the future. If you can ignore the potholes and the still-simmering controversies over municipal corruption, Montreal is once again a great place to live. But you can’t escape the sense that the city might have had it all. In truth, before the Olympics, it did.

1 June
Montreal FestivalsEvery Single Montreal Festival This Summer,
Now in One Calendar

Ever since early man could bash two stones together to make music,
Montrealers have dedicated each summer to squeezing in the maximum number of festivals that the laws of physics allow.
And keeping track of that vast multitude of gatherings used to be difficult… until now.
Boshra: Montreal’s 375th birthday should be about more than spiffing up the city
(Montreal Gazette) Contrast these projects with some of the key ones that marked Montreal’s last big birthday bash, the big 3-5-0 in 1992: the inauguration of the Biodome; the expansion of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; the Montreal Contemporary Arts Museum moving into Place des Arts; Champ-de-Mars’s transformation from a parking lot into a public park; the opening of the Pointe-à-Callière history museum. If you consider the impact that just these have had on the culture of our city over the past quarter century, you’ll agree that 350 was a happy birthday for Montreal indeed.
The forthcoming 375th projects aren’t entirely bereft of transformative potential, to varying degrees: A park the city is slated to build late next year adjacent to the soon-to-be-covered Ville-Marie Expressway is ambitious, and it’s hard to argue too vociferously against more green space in the heart of the city; a new beach in Verdun will be welcome by all Montrealers for the six minutes (give or take) of beach weather we get a year. And the sprucing up of the pedestrianized stretch of down-on-its-heels Prince Arthur St. is among the most needed overhauls in this city.
But it’s also worth noting that the legacy the city’s 375th birthday could leave behind doesn’t need to be just a physical one. Consider once again its 350th anniversary in 1992, which the late Mayor Jean Doré and his Montreal Citizens’ Movement party used as an opportunity to present Montreal’s first master plan for urban development, a game-changing initiative that has had reverberations on the face of the city to this day.
This sounds like a really, really bad idea.
Montreal planting $3.45-million granite ‘tree stumps’ on Mount Royal for 375th anniversary
Montreal is paying as much as double the going price of granite in a $3.45-million contract to install statues that resemble tree stumps on Mount Royal for the city’s 375th anniversary next year.
The contract is 27 per cent above an estimate the city obtained for the work before going to tenders. … The contract was approved by a majority vote at the most recent Montreal city council meeting in May and at a meeting of the agglomeration council, composed of Montreal and the island suburbs, a few days later, even though opposition party Projet Montréal and all suburbs voted against it at their respective meetings. Montreal mayor adamant $3-million granite stumps are ‘piece of art’ Oh,okay, that makes it fine.
27 May
Left behind: 3 MUHC departments on benefits of not moving to the Glen
‘Spooky,’ ‘best of both worlds’ describe what it’s like in old hospitals after everyone else left
Sometimes being left behind can be a disappointment.
But Dr. Julius Erdstein says it can also be a blessing in disguise.
His adolescent medicine department didn’t move along with the rest of the Montreal Children’s Hospital to new McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Glen site one year ago.
“We live in a place over here in the adolescent clinic where we can create a community and where it’s comfortable for the teens to go, and it’s less intimidating,” he said, adding it’s great for team-building with doctors and nurses, as well.
23 May
Calèches roll out in Old Montreal for last time before ban
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre imposed a moratorium on the popular tourist attraction citing concerns about the welfare of the horses. He wants tighter rules drawn up for calèche operators before letting them back on the streets.
Calèche owners plan to protest the ban in front of City Hall on Tuesday. They are expected to seek a court injunction over the coming days.
The City of Montreal is trying to find temporary shelter for the horses. But that has done little to appease their owners.
“We don’t want to put them in somebody’s hands we don’t trust,” Desparois said.
This has to be one of the most contentious -and ill-conceived- issues, not only for Chez Alexandre
Parisian-style brasserie Chez Alexandre seeks sidewalk terrace exception
The City of Montreal wants sidewalks clear of terrace setups this summer so that wheelchairs can pass freely, but some long-standing restaurants argue that they already leave enough room, even if it’s less than the 1.8 metres required.
Chez Alexandre owner says new regulation will force him to take down terrasse
Anti-tobacco advocates call for smoking ban on terrasses
New terrasse rules irk Montreal eateries
16 May
We do too, see entry above re Chez Alexandre
Montreal auditor general has ‘serious concerns’ about how city is run
Jacques Bergeron ends eventful run as AG by questioning future of accountability
Among the concerns he flags this year are the “serious shortcomings” in the way the city, and its boroughs, manages construction and renovation contracts.
Few of the boroughs take the necessary steps to verify whether subcontractors are actually authorized to perform the work they do.
He also raises concerns about the failure of city’s business units to sufficiently follow through on his office’s recommendations.
Another concern of Bergeron’s is the city’s disaster preparedness. He believes the city is ill equipped to deal with a disaster that would affect its information and communication technologies.
Celine Cooper: Next City Vanguard conference will help Montreal tackle the urban issues that matter
Each Vanguard conference involves a Big Idea Challenge. Each team consults with city and community representatives before presenting their ideas at a public event. This year, the Vanguards are competing to design ideas for underused public land in Houston. In the months following the conference, Next City works with the host committee to implement the winning plan, supported by a monetary grant. Montreal will have a similar opportunity.
The Vanguard network already has an important Montreal connection. Guillaume Lavoie, a Montreal city councillor with Projet Montréal attended the 2015 conference in Reno, and is now here as a well-respected alumnus.
12 May
Take a Look Inside Habitat 67’s Newly Renovated Penthouse Apartment
(Sharp Magazine) Renovating a unit in Montreal’s Habitat 67 requires a special attention to detail. For almost half a century, the housing complex — originally built for Expo ’67 — has stood as one of North America’s most iconic architectural landmarks. Conceived by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie as his masters thesis in architecture, the pavilion now houses 146 units — Sadie himself still keeps an apartment in the building.
2 May
Historic Montreal Landmark Repurposed as Breathtaking Café
Crew Collective & Café, now open to the public, engages, and largely preserves the splendour of the main hall of the Royal Bank Tower, at 360 Saint-Jacques Ouest. Once the tallest landmark in Canada, and, indeed, the British Empire, the tower was abandoned in 2010 after decades of service as Royal Bank’s corporate headquarters. The spectacular, historic space now belongs to new tenant Crew, an “invite-only community where you meet top freelance designers, developers, or studios to build your next project.”
12 April
City of Montréal welcomes New Cities Foundation
New Cities Summit of June 21-23, 2016.
Montréal politicians, business leaders and the city’s community of international organisations formally welcomed the New Cities Foundation to its adopted city as speakers for the upcoming New Cities Summit, the Foundation’s flagship annual meeting, were announced.
This year’s Summit will also be the pinnacle moment for the 2016 class of Global Urban Innovators, featuring ten carefully chosen startups and social entrepreneurs who use technology to improve their cities. All ten innovators will travel to Montréal for the Summit as part of this year’s speaker program. The Foundation will support their work over the course of the next year.
27 March
Celine Cooper: Living in Montreal takes passion and patience
Living in Montreal takes work. It takes patience, a sense of humour, and a really warm parka for eight months of the year. It also takes a certain passion. Montreal has to mean something special to you. Otherwise there’s a good chance you’ll pick up and go somewhere else; somewhere with lower taxes, more jobs, less corruption, better public services, fewer potholes and no language laws or political tensions.
Sticking up for this city isn’t always easy, especially when — let’s face it — most of us are painfully aware of just how deep our problems run. But in the words of Samuel Beckett: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
The CBC’s Neil Macdonald, a senior correspondent who has returned to Canada after working abroad for almost two decades, recently wrote a gloomy piece about why he would not be settling in Montreal.
Corruption probes, broken bridges, the sad decline of Montreal
A great place to lunch, but the city’s problems are more than sinkhole deep
He caps the piece by telling us that after two decades of living abroad, he has decided to move to Ottawa.
He says he anticipates some blowback from Montreal readers to his article. Maybe, but it won’t come from me. I think Macdonald’s take is something those of us committed to improving this city need to hear.
18 March
Quebec Budget 2016: What it means for Montreal
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says the new provincial budget is ‘bang on’
Coderre said one of the highlights in the budget is Quebec’s plans to allow municipalities to take part in public infrastructure projects.
The government confirmed it submitted two projects to the Caisse for analysis:
the public transit system on the new Champlain bridge.
the Train de l’Ouest.
Coderre said it’s a sign that major cities like Montreal will play a bigger role in the province.
Infrastructure: Quebec budget puts onus on feds to fund Montreal projects
(Montreal Gazette) The province plans to maintain its standard annual expenditures of $9.6 billion on infrastructure projects for 2016-2017 to rebuild highways and overpasses, upgrade métro cars and build hospitals and ports, with little new announced for Montreal
22 February
Montreal-based CAE to buy Lockheed Martin’s commercial flight training unit
CAE is planning to buy the commercial flight training unit of U.S. defence contractor Lockheed Martin. … says the Lockheed Martin deal will include full-flight simulators, simulator parts and equipment, facilities and a workforce.
14 February
Celine Cooper: A renewal of Canada’s relationship with the UN is good news for Montreal
12 February
Ban Ki_Moon and CoderreUN chief Ban Ki-moon meets with Denis Coderre, Philippe Couillard
Head of United Nations calls Montreal ‘leader on the world stage’
(CBC) The head of the United Nations spent today in Montreal, where he met with Mayor Denis Coderre, addressed students and others at McGill University – and put in a plug for the Montreal Canadiens.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon signed the city’s golden book after holding a news conference alongside the mayor.
In his signed message, Ban called Montreal “a leader on the world stage” and an “enduring friend of the United Nations.”
11 February
Greater Montreal ranked among top seven smart cities
The Greater Montreal area has been named one of the seven smartest communities in the world by the Intelligent Community Forum.
In choosing the Montreal Metropolitan Community, the New York-based think tank that produces the annual rankings cited the region’s creation of a Smart City plan dating back to 2011, its focus on extending its wired and wireless broadband infrastructure, new technologies to make city services more efficient and creating a collaborative system among businesses, institutions and citizens.
At its heart, the smart city movement is about using new technologies and innovation ideas, often created by citizens and supported by the city governments to make a positive difference in people’s lives and communities.
10 February
Concordia executive gets $235,000 in severance after 90 days on the job
Concordia University gave a $235,000 severance payout to an executive hired last year to help deal with budget cuts. Sonia Trudel had been on the job for 90 days when she left the university.
Trudel, a chartered professional accountant, joined Concordia on Aug. 17, first as a special adviser to the university’s president, and then, as of Sept. 21, as chief financial officer.
When it hired Trudel, Concordia said it was “impressed by her experience, which includes working for public institutions that have faced funding cuts similar to those we are dealing with.”
On Nov. 16, Concordia announced Trudel had “stepped down by mutual agreement.”
28 January
Montreal dreams of a new life for its Old Port
With six million visitors a year, Montreal’s Old Port is the most popular recreational tourist site in all of Quebec.
Despite those numbers, and a $125-million investment by the federal government a quarter century ago, many say it has long failed to live up to its potential as a leading waterfront attraction.
In conjunction with the 375th anniversary of Montreal’s founding and the nation’s 150th birthday, both of which fall in 2017, the city’s berth for ocean liners, Cirque du Soleil tents and winter dance parties is slated for a major renewal. Public consultations to decide on its future begin Thursday evening. A master plan for the area, as well as for the Pointe-du-Moulin spit of land at its western edge and the hulking, half-kilometre long Silo 5 building that sits upon it, is expected next year.
25 January
Montreal’s $40-million Jacques Cartier Bridge light show meets a ‘troll’ with $1,000
By James Mennie
(Montreal Gazette) When [Dr. James] Farquhar apparently plunked down $1000 to commission a survey from the CROP polling firm to examine how Quebecers felt about a plan to illuminate the Jacques Cartier Bridge in time for this city’s 375th anniversary, it’s a pretty safe bet he did so aware of the same rule of thumb routinely used by lawyers – never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. And behold, it appears that apart from the circle of notables who have an interest in selling the idea that this city’s birthday bash needs the 21st-century equivalent of a throbbing disco ball, many of us think the idea of lighting up the span is at best wildly overpriced or, at worst, just plain stupid. … it shows that while it may be easy to dismiss as “trolls” those who disagree with what can most charitably be described as an overpriced political vanity project, the fact is, a $40 million bill to light up the Jacques Cartier illustrates yet again that the disconnect between politicians and those who pay for their visions of grandeur is far too vast to be bridged by any span linking the island of Montreal.
18 January
Gare VigerA Montreal castle fit for a software king
Gare Viger is an architectural marvel built in the late 1890s as a train station and luxury hotel. It’s often been neglected throughout its history, but it’s now at the centre of a robust $250-million development.
Anchored by Montreal’s technology darling, Lightspeed, the development is revitalizing a once-forgotten area of the city.
Lightspeed’s new Viger office has already been well-received by the company’s employees, but it has also been recognized on the world stage for its design.
Jesta Group, headquartered in Gare Berri in Old Montreal (a space attached to Gare Viger), bought the Viger property for $27-million (Canadian).
With the six acres of land around Gare Viger, Jesta plans to develop a mixed-use destination for millennials that includes a boutique hotel, quaint shops, green space, bars, restaurants and condominiums offering live-work-play options.
11 January
Montreal_-_QC_-_Skyline_
Montreal Selected as Site of 2017 Next City Vanguard Conference
Next City’s annual gathering of the best and brightest young city leaders will meet in Montreal, Quebec in the spring of 2017 to explore citizen-driven urbanism. “Next City is thrilled to hold its 2017 Vanguard program in Montreal. This vibrant, historic, international city will serve as the perfect backdrop for a multi-day experiential leadership program for young urban professionals,” said Tom Dallessio, President, CEO and Publisher of Next City. “We look forward to bringing 40 of the best and brightest urban leaders from around the world to address urban challenges as well as experience the great city of Montreal.”
The 2017 Vanguard program will be run by Next City in collaboration with a citizen-led committee of local hosts spearheaded by Celine Cooper, columnist with The Montreal Gazette, and Kyle Matthews, fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and member of the Contact Mtl Montreal Ambassadors Network. The host committee includes representatives from the City of Montreal, Montreal International, Pop Montreal, Concordia University, the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, The Commons Inc., jevois mtl/je fais mtl, Hip Hop No Pop, as well as entrepreneurs from startups including Trendr and Ajah.
The competition for serving as the host city for Vanguard 2017 was particularly rigorous this year, as 13 cities from across North America applied to hold this event, including Buffalo, NY, Newark, NJ, Youngstown, OH, Lexington, KY, Port Huron, MI, Gary, IN, Sacramento, CA, Lacrosse, WI, Montgomery, AL, Des Moines, IA, Erie, PA, and Providence, RI. Montreal’s unparalleled network and commitment to environmental and social change make it the perfect place for our diverse group of leaders to learn in this historic city going through an urban renaissance.
The Next City Vanguard program brings together 40 urban professionals under the age of 40 working to improve cities. Solving urban problems means working across divides and breaking silos, so Vanguard convenes professionals across sectors, including architecture, art, civic technology, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation and urban planning. Each year, Next City selects applicants whose smart ideas for cities, experience in the field and ambition for the future all show great promise. The conference is free and there are a limited number of stipends to cover travel costs for qualified applicants.

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