What can I say? Shouldn’t this be a major local political issue? I’d like to see an election where at least one party had a sustainable tram-development plan, especially one financed by the city directly, so we’re not sitting around playing with ourselves while we wait for federal or provincial grants. What do you think of the state of our public transit system?
On the right side of the picture (which was taken from about Stanley Street; we’ll use Burnside as our left/right dividing line) we can see two large buildings. The one in the foreground is the Hermes Building, where Copacabana Night Club is located. Behind it, hugging the right side of the image is what was once the Mount Royal Hotel, today the Cours Mont-Royal. The intersections, as you proceed up the street is, alleyway, Peel, Metcalfe, Mansfield, McGill College, Victoria, University at which point there seems to be row houses either at Union or Aylmer. The whitish building on the right is probably the Eaton’s Dept. Store with the darker building behind it being was is today the Bay.
I’m not sure if this is a cautionary tale – city’s need to build, and the area looks great. Still, it gives one moment to pause. If almost everything in this picture can be erased and replaced within twenty years, how will other parts of the city look twenty years from now?
And by the way, it took me the better part of an hour to figure out exactly where this picture was taken and which way it’s looking. Look at it and ask yourself where else in the city this picture might fit.
This picture shows the demolitions necessary to create Boul. de Maisonneuve to the West of Stanley, where Burnside terminated. Note that this picture, much like the last one, was taken from the roof of the Drummond Court building, in the middle of the street. As you can see here, the building stood up until about ten years ago when it was demolished, along with the old YMCA building, to make way for the Lepine Condo Towers. The city punched a hole through the building’s main floor to allow thru-traffic on Boul. de Maisonneuve.
There’s a lot more in this photo which was saved from destruction, but then again the downtown can only have so many ‘cores’ right? Two buildings stand out here, namely, the Royal George Apartments at top left (now integrated into the Concordia Library Building) and Guy Tower, before its 1990 renovation at top right (both are noticeably white on a grey background). I’d date this picture about the same time as the last one, late-1950s, though likely early 1960s.
Then I look at a picture like this and think, couldn’t we build a box over the roadway, or stack two roadways one-atop-the-other with a five-lane wide pedestrian/cyclist ‘plaza’ extending across the bridge?
Major repair work is required for both the Champlain Bridge and the Mercier Bridge, which is apparently going to have its entire deck re-surfaced, something which hasn’t been done since the bridge was built in the mid-1930s. The fact that there hasn’t been new South-bound bridge construction since the 1960s is another problem altogether, and unless we begin major new infrastructure projects by ourselves, we’ll have to wait until the provincial and federal governments can get their collective shit together. And remember – talk is so very cheap these days.
Without well-stocked local coffers and a large though balanced tax-base to provide new investment funds, both the city and metropolitan region are handicapped by requiring outside sponsorship, and therefore must engage in the kind of backroom politics that have created the extreme amounts of corruption and collusion currently found in the halls of power. Moreover, this atmosphere of corruption and nepotism make it unlikely the voters would support city-administered revenue-generating endeavours, such as citizen’s bonds, municipal shares and various other investment tools the city ought to be using to stimulate funding for infrastructure projects and economic development. In short – the reigns of power aren’t in our hands, and we’re held hostage by this.
They sway and swing gently, as if they were being carried by gusts of wind. As they dance their eerie industrial ballet, a structure rises around them. Will they call it White Elephant?
It reminds me of an anecdote once related to me by Prof. Matthew Barlow at Concordia, who taught me the ‘Irish Experience in Montreal’ back in 2006. Great course, though I wish I had paid more attention at the time. In any event, he told us about bringing his ten-year-old nephew out on a walk through the city a few years prior, and the child was astounded to the cranes then more prevalent within the downtown core. He asked incredulously what kind of buildings they were, what kind of purpose they served. The response, that they in essence assisted in the construction of tall buildings took a while to sink into the youth’s head – he had never seen a construction crane before, despite growing up in the city. This point was, as you can imagine, rather significant for my professor.
I spent the better part half an hour trailing this guy and several of his compatriots one beautifully sunny Saturday morning a few weeks back in Westmount Park. It was funny, I had never come across such curious squirrels before – they seemed intrigued by me, and enjoyed mugging for the camera. Maybe they’re vying for a much sought-after Disney contract. I’m sure Rescue Rangers is probably going to be revived sometime soon.
I had the immense pleasure of once again providing note-taking and picture-taking services to a local NGO. Here’s an atypical view oft he Con-U Library Atrium. It’s weird, I don’t think it nearly looked this good whenever I was walking through there as a student. Bizarre how quickly a perspective can change. Admittedly, I tended to spend little time sitting around in the Atrium, and rarer still were the opportunities to do so with the sun coming in as it did that day. It reminded me in fact of the very different building I first encountered in the summer of 2004, as I prepared to begin my academic journey at Con-U. I remember sitting in the Atrium reminiscing on where I had come from and thought about where I was going. I had no idea, but at least the building made me feel confident and at ease at the time.
Basically I thought it was a prime snapshot of a stereotype I’d heard about, but then I heard them speak.
I can’t ever imagine living somewhere in the city without a balcony, terrace, porch or rooftop to go hang out on. This summer I’ve got an unprotected nook. Adding that to the list…
While an unfortunate number of people have complained the 2009 MTQ proposal (above) is ‘too focused on the East End’, I look at it as focused primarily on where the population density seems to be high and increasing. There are more than 400,000 people living in Laval and another 700,000 people living on the South Shore (spread out over several municipalities, with an estimated 230,000 people living in Longueuil alone). Moreover, there are 85,000 people living in Saint-Laurent borough and another 125,000 people living in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough. In total, the proposed extensions as demonstrated above could potentially serve almost 1 million people directly and indirectly.
So while it is nice to dream about ideal systems that serve the entire metropolitan region, or at least serve the City better, we need to consider what the government is proposing seriously.
a) It’s named after former Mayor Camillien Houde, well-remembered for his charisma, anti-conscription related internment during WW2, the Kondiaronk Belvedere and the manyÂ Vespasiennes (adoringly called Camilliennes for decades) he had constructed as make-work projects during the Depression. He also vehemently opposed the construction of any street or boulevard bisecting Mount Royal. At the very least could we consider changing the name?
c) As a result of the parkway, there are several large parking lots on the mountain – land that had once been raw natural forest. Given that the mountain has, traditionally, been frequented overwhelmingly by locals, and not tourists, the necessity of so many parking lots near the summits can be called into question. Especially because, once upon a time, a tram ran the length of the parkway. Reclaiming the parking spaces could be done by investing in a new tram, one which would ideally run from the bottom of Guy (placing a terminus at the corner of William in Griffintown) up to Cote-des-Neiges, dropping people off at a mountain terminus near the pavilion at Lac aux Castors (you’ll notice, a loop already exists here). This could effectively allow the rest of the parkway and the parking lost to be reclaimed as parkland.
d) The photo above demonstrates another problem – there used to be a tunnel at that exact spot. The tunnel allowed people to get from the Mount-Royal side to the Outremont side over-top, not to mention offering considerably more room for the variety of animal species native to the mountain park. Even if the parkway remains, at the very least, a new tunnel ought to be built here, to allow for the maximum level of freedom of movement.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to the summit, though I think I was up there earlier this Summer. The improvements to the Peel Staircase and the access to the Olmstead Trail are excellent additions, welcoming urbanites with elegant and naturalistic entrances that fit into the idea of the sacred, leafy refuge. I remember the last time I was up there a temporary fence had been put up to divide the belvedere into two parts, though no work was being done at the time.
Still, as the city grows and the last remaining scraps of undeveloped land in the CBD is gobbled up as it will be over the next couple of decades, protecting our green spaces is going to become an even greater priority.
Don’t believe me? Consider the 1976 St-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations, which saw tens of thousands of people descend on Mount-Royal. The damage to the park and pollution from one day’s worth of festivities was more traumatic and required a more extensive clean-up than did the Ice Storm of 1998!