As you look down the length of the jetty you’ll notice the Expo Express train and the station near Habitat 67. Consider that this space would have been Expo’s introduction, the appetizer if you will before reaching the spectacular national and thematic pavilions built on the park islands. Consider as well the type of pavilions located here in comparison to what would lie beyond. Note that while the area contained some rather interesting and attractive architecture, it was certainly muted when compared to the other Expo super structures. Consider the centralization of key services in this area and the general-taste atmosphere of the site, its proximity to the city and CBD, not to mention the pairing of communication and transportation infrastructure in the same place. Finally, notice how clean, manicured and modern this space is. Today much of the Pier and the park islands are overgrown, especially the former Place des Nations.
It’s amazing how quickly large tracts of the city can be temporarily ultra-modernized, and then fall back into a more natural state almost as quickly.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor is it even that great of a playlist, and there are many artists I purposely excluded – just trying to demonstrate that there’s a lot of trends and currents at play, and a rather immense pool of culture to draw from.
Check out Expo Lounge to get your daily fix of all things Expo related. The photo above is fairly well-known and well-distributed – just found a large print in my uncle’s basement, and he in turn said it’s mine. Couldn’t believe it!
Look at this beautiful marvel we built on man-made islands. What a playground, what a testament to the imagination and creativity of a people. This is how dreams manifest. Why don’t we dream like this anymore?
What if we were to adopt a more British style of policing? Specifically, I’m referring to the limited use of police firearms in a society in which firearms are already highly restricted. Increasing the penalty related to firearms offenses within the metropolitan area, coupled with a new policy which disarmed the majority of local police and placed a new focus on community relations (ie, by re-introducing paired pedestrian patrols), could have dramatic effects on reducing violent gun deaths and excessive force. Ideally two fit police officers, trained in hand-to-hand combat and equipped with mace, batons and hand-cuffs could operate just as effectively as the armed patrols we have today; how often do they really need their weapons? Armed officers in the UK are in the minority when compared to the entire police apparatus, and they are trained to exercise extreme caution in the use of deadly force. The UK has one of the world’s lowest gun-homicide rates in the world.
This is an issue for all citizens in a society, and it must be taken very seriously. I would personally advocate for significantly fewer armed officers and stricter control of illicit weapons, increased community presence, mandatory urbanisation and diversification of the force and a substantial investment in surveillance, communications and intelligence sharing between different levels of law-enforcement. But most of all, police must be accountable to a civilian oversight committee charged with determining whether lethal force was justified in a case by case basis, with stiff penalties, up to and including prosecution should such a panel rule in favour of the victim.
We must take control of crime by controlling our fear, controlling inequity – we must never live under the constant stress present in a society in which the line between criminals and law enforcement is blurred into non-existence. We can’t allow anything remotely resembling the 1992 Riots to happen here, and it scares me to think how the situations may be more comparable than most would think. Los Angeles re-bounded successfully – would we be as lucky? Or is ours a fate worse than Detroit, Baltimore or New Orleans?
This is the letter I just fired off to David Johnston of the Gazette for the rather poor working of this particular article: Westmount Mini-war
A bit hyperbolic don’t you think? I think what’s going on in Bahrain, Libya or Yemen right now qualifies as a ‘mini-war’. Ask an Iraqi or an Afghani what war is like and you’ll be surprised to learn there’s usually very little talk of burying hockey rinks or ameliorating community services.
From my experience, debates of this nature during war time are typically interrupted by massive explosions, choking via chemical gas and the constant, droning rhythms of machine gun fire.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you want to be taken seriously – and trust me when I say this applies to the Gazette as a whole – you can’t keep submitting ridiculous headlines and bylines like this. It’s not the first time I’ve written to complain about your paper’s poor (or exploitative) command of the English language, but I’ve typically been given the run-around. A lot of ‘it’s not my decision, pass the buck, I’m not responsible etc etc’.
We need a newspaper of record, one which is taken seriously. But more and more I see a scandal rag with an editorial board taking cues from Hearst’s portrayal of the Spanish-American War.
With utmost sincerity,
Taylor C. Noakes
And here is Mr. Johnston’s response:
Hello Mr. Noakes:
Thank you for your letter. I couldn’t agree with you more. You might not know that writers don’t write their own headlines. That’s a job for copy editors and, like writers, they have good days and bad days, good habits and bad habits. I also think that war metaphors are greatly overused in our business – and as you say, they are particularly silly and inappropriate these days, given what we are seeing in the Middle East. I’m going to talk to the senior editors here and see if we can start making it a policy not to use the word war so loosely.
Frankly, I couldn’t be happier with this response. I think we have a friend on the inside!
The plaza at Place Ville-Marie was most recently renovated in 2005, which resulted in its current configuration with significant new green space, flora, planters and glass skylight/entrances over the staircases leading o the shopping concourse below. Back in 1968, this space was the site chosen by Pierre Trudeau to hold a major election rally. As it was far more open-concept back then:
Looking down St-Urbain with the ubiquitous summertime construction going on. I suppose the new concert hall is going up immediately to the right of this shot. Anyone know if the entrance will face St-Urbain or will it face inwards to the plaza at Place des Arts? Any chance there will be both?
I’ve always felt this stretch of St-Urbain is without much character, or at least there’s not much unifying the streetscape. It’s unfortunate that it serves as a continuous ‘loading dock’ for several blocks. Still, pretty to see the Aldred Building, rising steadily like a self-conscious fountain – never ostentatious as its almost invisible from ground level, muted in context when seen from a distance.
A key component to successful redevelopment of this area will be the introduction of more ‘street-level’ services and some low-density housing. Moreover, it could certainly use public services, such as schools, community centers, theaters, libraries etc. No city is built uniquely of condos, lest we wish to look like Toronto.