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47 résultats trouvés

  1. City planners take new look at urban vistas Frances Bula, Special to the Globe and Mail, March 30th, 2009 --------------------- Vancouver’s famous view corridors have prompted more anguished howls from architects than almost anything else I can think of over the years. Now, the city is looking at re-examining them. (And, as the sharp-eyed people at skyscraper.com have noted, the posting for people to run the public consultation went up on city website Friday. You can see their comments on the whole debate here.) You can get a flavour of the arguments from my story in the Globe today, which I’ve reproduced below. --------------------- Vancouver is legendary as a city that has fought to prevent buildings from intruding on its spectacular mountain backdrop and ocean setting. Unlike Calgary, which lost its chance to preserve views of the Rockies 25 years ago, or Toronto, which has allowed a highway plus a wall of condo towers to go up between the city and its lake, Vancouver set an aggressive policy almost two decades ago to protect more than two dozen designated view corridors. But now the city is entertaining re-examining that controversial policy, one that has its fierce defenders and its equally fierce critics, especially the architects who have had to slice off or squish parts of buildings to make them fit around the corridors. And the city’s head planner is signalling that he’s definitely open to change. “I’ve got a serious appetite for shifting those view corridors,” says Brent Toderian, a former Calgary planner hired two years ago, who has been working hard to set new directions in a city famous for its urban planning. “The view corridors have been one of the most monumental city-shaping tools in Vancouver’s history but they need to be looked at again. We have a mountain line and we have a building line where that line is inherently subjective.” The issue isn’t just about preserving views versus giving architects free rein. Vancouver has used height and density bonuses to developers with increasing frequency in return for all kinds of community benefits, including daycares, parks, theatres and social housing. A height limit means less to trade for those amenities. Mr. Toderian, who thinks the city also needs to establish some new view corridors along with adjusting or eliminating others, says a public hearing on the issue won’t happen until the fall, but he is already kicking off the discussion quietly in the hope that it will turn into a wide-ranging debate. “The input for the last few years has been one-sided, from the people who think the view corridors should be abolished,” he said. “But we’re looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks. Most people who would support them don’t even think about them. They think the views we have are by accident.” The view-corridor policy, formally adopted in 1989, was the result of public complaints over some tall buildings going up, including Harbour Centre, which is now, with its tower and revolving restaurant, seen as a defining part of the Vancouver skyline. But then, it helped spur a public consultation process and policy development that many say confused the goal of preserving views with a mathematical set of rules that often didn’t make sense. One of those critics is prominent architect Richard Henriquez, who said the corridors don’t protect the views that people have consistently said they value most from the city’s many beaches and along streets that terminate at the water. Instead, he says many of the view corridors are arbitrarily chosen points that preserve a shard of view for commuters coming into town. That has resulted in the city losing billions of dollars of potential development “for someone driving along so they can get a glimpse of something for a second.” And, Mr. Henriquez argues, city residents have a wealth of exposure to the city’s mountains throughout the region. “Downtown Vancouver is a speck of urbanity in a sea of views,” said Mr. Henriquez, who is feeling the problem acutely these days while he works on a development project downtown where the owners are trying to preserve a historic residential hotel, the Murray, while building an economically feasible tower on the smaller piece of land next to it. The view corridor means the building has to be shorter and broader and is potentially undoable. His project is one in a long list of projects that have been abandoned or altered because of view corridor rules in Vancouver. The Shangri-La Hotel, currently the tallest building in the city at 650 feet, is sliced diagonally along one side to prevent it from straying into the view corridor. At the Woodward’s project, which redeveloped the city’s historic department store, one tower had to be shortened and the other raised to fit the corridor. And architect Bing Thom’s plan for a crystal spire on top of a development next to the Hotel Georgia was eventually dropped because city officials refused to budge on allowing the needle-like top to protrude. But one person wary about the city tinkering with the policy is former city councillor Gordon Price. “When people talk about revisiting, it just means one thing: eroding,” said Mr. Price, still a vocal advocate on urban issues. “People may only get this fragment of a view but it’s very precious. And those fragments will become scarcer as the city grows. The longer they remain intact, the more valuable they become.” It’s a debate that’s unique to Vancouver. Mr. Toderian said that when he was in Calgary, there was no discussion about trying to preserve views from the downtown to the Rockies in the distance. --------------------- cet article n'est pas tres recent, mais je sais pas s'il avait deja ete poste sur ce forum. meme s'il y a des differences, a mon avis beaucoup de ces arguments pourraient s'appliquer aussi pour Montreal. est-ce qu'on devra attendre une autre vague de demande bousillee pour relancer le debat ?
  2. MTLskyline

    With Leafs, it’s never too early to brainwash

    Read more: http://sports.nationalpost.com/2010/09/10/with-leafs-its-never-too-early-to-brainwash/#ixzz0zBLVTio4
  3. ErickMontreal

    A new era of prosperity

    A new era of prosperity RICHARD FOOT, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago Boom times for have-not provinces are redrawing Canada's economic and political map. The remarkable growth is resource-driven: potash and uranium in Saskatchewan, offshore oil in Newfoundland and Labrador To find the front lines of the global commodities boom, drive an hour east from Saskatoon on the Yellowhead Highway to Lanigan, Sask., home of the world's largest potash mine. Two huge, dome-covered warehouses, each about the size of a football field, stand on the mine site, eerily empty except for a few dusty sweepings of potash on the floors. "A decade ago there would have been a mountain of potash in here," said Will Brandsema, general manager of AMEC, whose engineering firm recently completed a $400-million expansion of the mine for the Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. Potash Corp.'s Lanigan mine in Saskatchewan. The price of the mineral has soared to nearly $1,000 a tonne from about $100.View Larger Image View Today, worldwide demand for the pinkish, chalk-like mineral is so great, Potash Corp. can't keep its warehouses full. In the past four years, the price of potash - the basic ingredient of fertilizer - has soared to nearly $1,000 per tonne from about $100, largely because of rising populations in China and India and their sudden appetite for high-value, fertilizer-grown food. Thanks to a quirk of geologic good fortune, Saskatchewan is filled with potash and now produces more than a quarter of the world's supply. What was for years an unremarkable export has suddenly become one of the most treasured commodities on Earth - pink gold, you might call it - which, alongside surging sales of oil, uranium and even grain, is suddenly making Saskatchewan the economic envy of the nation. About 3,000 kilometres away, another once-poor province accustomed to life on the economic fringes is also reaping a windfall from its natural resources. Skyrocketing oil prices are fuelling an extraordinary economic turnaround in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a fourth offshore oil project will soon be in development. Petrodollars are transforming St. John's from a down-at-the-heels provincial capital into a bustling energy city brimming with stylish restaurants, affluent condo developments and a sense of euphoria not seen there since cod were first discovered on the Grand Banks. "The Newfoundland and Saskatchewan economies have gone from stagnant to stellar," Statistics Canada declared in its May Economic Observer. "These two provinces have moved beyond old stereotypes and stepped into a new era of prosperity." Both provinces led the country last year in growth of exports, in the rate of housing starts and in growth of gross domestic product - the only provinces, along with Alberta, whose per capita GDP was above the national average. In June, a report by the TD Bank Financial Group called Saskatchewan "Canada's commodity superstar" and said if the province were a country, it would rank fifth in the world among member nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in terms of per capita GDP. It would trail only Luxembourg, Norway, the United States and Ireland. (Alberta would come second if ranked on the same list.) John Crosbie, who announced the cod fishery's shutdown as federal fisheries minister and is now the province's lieutenant-governor, expressed the mood of many Newfoundlanders while reading his government's throne speech in March: "Ours is not the province it was two decades ago," Crosbie said. "We are - for the first time in our history - poised to come off equalization very soon. This is a stunning achievement that will reinforce the bold new attitude of self-confidence that has taken hold among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians." What do such economic shifts mean for the country as a whole, and how will the rise of two weaker provinces, coupled with the manufacturing malaise in Ontario, affect the workings of confederation? First, many economists say it's a mistake to underestimate the resilience and strength of the huge Ontario economy. They also say the surging energy economies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland face their own challenges, including cyclical commodity prices, the social costs of rapid development and severe labour shortages. Canada is already facing a labour crunch that's only going to worsen with time. In six years, said economist Brian Lee Crowley, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, there will be more people leaving the country's labour force than entering it. The new demand for workers in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, especially in construction and engineering, can only exacerbate the problem. In 2006, for the first time in 23 years, Saskatchewan stopped losing people, on a net basis, to other provinces, thanks to the thousands of workers streaming home from Alberta to new jobs in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and elsewhere. As job opportunities also grow in Newfoundland, and competition for skilled workers intensifies, the availability of labour will decline and the cost of it will increase, putting further pressures on the dollar and on manufacturers. The rampant growth of Canada's resource-rich economies is also expected to force changes to the federal equalization program. In April, the TD Bank forecast that Ontario, a longtime contributor to equalization, could become a recipient as early as 2010 - not because Ontario's economy is falling apart, but because it is slipping relative to the extraordinary growth of commodity-producing provinces. As the resource boom pushes the average level of provincial revenues higher, provinces like Ontario will fall below that average, and the cost of funding equalization will increase. Yet the federal government won't be able to afford the program, because Ottawa has no access to the commodity revenues that are driving up its cost; natural resource royalties flow only to the provinces. "The amount of money required for that program is going to get bigger and bigger," said Wade Locke, an economist at Memorial University in St. John's. As for Newfoundland and Labrador, over the past decade its per capita GDP has risen to $10,000 above the national average from $10,000 below - the fastest 10-year turnaround of any province in Canadian Newfoundland and Saskatchewan both reaped a bonanza last year from commodity royalties. Newfoundland posted a record $1.4-billion budget surplus; Saskatchewan announced a $641-million surplus plus a $1-billion infrastructure spending spree. While those two provinces enjoy their economic rebirth, recession stalks other regions of Canada, in particular the industrial heartland of Ontario. There, many manufacturers are struggling with high energy costs and a strong dollar, and the North American automakers - once Canada's economic engine - are shedding jobs and shutting factories. John Pollock, chairman of Electrohome Ltd. in Kitchener, Ont. - he is winding up the affairs of a once-proud consumer electronics maker forced to the sidelines by overseas competition - predicts Ontario is entering a period of perhaps a decade or more in which it will no longer drive the country's economy. "There's going to be a period of transition that's going to be tough," he said. "Ontario has supported the rest of the country - provinces like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland - for years. Maybe it's time for a shift." Global financier George Soros recently described Canada's economy as a split personality - half beleaguered by a sluggish manufacturing sector, and half enjoying the wonders of the worldwide resource boom. Never before have the fault lines between Central Canada's energy-dependent provinces and the far-flung energy-rich ones been so stark, says Brett Gartner, an economist with the Canada West Foundation, a Calgary think-tank. "Of course, Ontario's not about to fade away. It still accounts for more than 40 per cent of the national economy," Gartner said. "But let's not discount what's happening in the regions. It's quite astounding." In Saskatchewan, for example, Potash Corp., buoyed by a share price that has made it one of the leading companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is spending $3.2 billion to construct new mines and expand existing ones. Much of that work has gone to AMEC, an international engineering firm that recently refurbished a second mill at the Lanigan mine after the facility was closed in the 1980s because of lack of demand. Will Brandsema, who runs AMEC's Saskatoon office, says he can't hire engineers fast enough to fill the jobs created by mine expansions in the potash and uranium industries. Eight years ago, AMEC employed 64 people in Saskatoon; today that number is 325. "You talk about have-not provinces," he said. "Ten years ago, I spent most of my time in the office looking for business. Now I spend most of my time with human resources, looking for people to hire. "It's just amazing the growth here, and not only in potash. Thirty per cent of the world's uranium comes out of this province. And we have other commodities - oil, gas, coal and the whole agricultural side. All of these are going to grow." Saskatchewan left the ranks of equalization-receiving provinces in 2007. Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to become a "have" province this year or next, a startling change considering that the cod fishery - once the foundation of the province's economy - has not substantially reopened since its devastating closure by Ottawa in 1992. "It's currently $13 billion. It's going to be $30 billion in 10 years. The federal government doesn't have the financial wherewithal to fund that program." Yet abolishing or changing equalization, a program required by the constitution, presents huge political problems, particularly in Quebec, which receives the largest equalization payment, although the lowest per capita amount. "You're going to see some serious restructuring of equalization, but not before the next election," Locke said. "The Harper government is not going to do it." Changes to equalization, not to mention a realignment of "have" and "have-not" provinces, could also prompt a new wave of regional beefs and resentments - the bane of confederation. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is already complaining about how much his province's taxpayers contribute to national transfer programs, a system Ontario governments once supported in better economic times. Oil itself could become a flashpoint that divides the country. Public demands in Quebec, Ontario or British Columbia for a national carbon tax would now raise the ire of more than just one oil-producing province. In the meantime, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, which typically wield little weight in national discussions, could use their new economic clout to campaign for a truly effective Senate, with real power to represent regional interests. "There is some realignment of economic power occurring that will influence the national political debate," said former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford, who now works as a business consultant in British Columbia. "Premiers' meetings, for example, won't be dominated by only a few big provinces. Smaller provinces like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland won't have to shout and demand to be heard. We'll get noticed simply by being there." Still, Peckford - who grew up in a province so poor that he remembers, as a boy, studying his schoolbooks by kerosene lamp - warns Newfoundlanders not to let their budding affluence go to their heads. "I would caution them that as they grow financially, they must also grow emotionally and socially," he said. "The last thing Newfoundland and Labrador should do is get arrogant about this, because one never knows how long it will last. "A lot of Canadians helped us after we joined confederation, so it's our turn now to contribute back." Rags to resources: First of a series Boom times for the "have-nots" are redrawing Canada's economic and political map. Next: Day 2: Flush with commodities cash, Saskatchewan revels in its rebirth. Day 3: From misfit to petro-darling: Newfoundland's remarkable transformation. Day 4: Hard times in the industrial heartland: Ontario's painful transition. Day 5: The ''curse'' of resources: Post-fortune perils. Day 6: Finding new fortunes: Quebec's industrial heartland moves on. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=6fd0d4f0-4e9c-462d-af41-4ae1b93545a0&p=3
  4. Grumpy

    Panoramic maps of Montréal ?

    A few years ago I've got a panoramic map of the city -from MartinMtl- and I was wondering if there are new ones lately published ?
  5. jesseps

    Hotel service at your fingertips

    (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Good to see we have some talent left in this city
  6. I do research at the UQAM science campus and sometimes I see candy wrappers, party-invitation fliers, or pieces of paper on the floor in the halls inside the buildings. This is explained by the large amount of students walking those halls every day, and by the presence of vending machines. This doesn't bother me a lot and I normally just pick them up and put them in the garbage. As you probably know, however, they are extremely dangerous, and the probability of someone slipping is much higher than you would imagine (the chance of someone actually falling is probably not very high but that's another subject, since it has already became a safety issue). A few days ago I saw a sign by the door of an office that read "SAFETY FIRST: NO LITTERING IN THIS AREA." The sign is still there. I found it interesting for various reasons: 1) It was in English (besides the occasional ironic science-related comic strip on the wall by the doors of some professors, I never see anything in English at UQAM). 2) It tackled littering in a complete different manner than the usual "it looks bad." 3) It is the first time I see a sign tackling littering in Montreal, and I think Quebec in general, and it was not official in any way! It was not even in French! (wait, now that I remember there are some signs that look like they haven't been changed since the 60s behind some alleys, and there is those posters that didn't seem to have worked). 4) This sign seemed to have worked. Now I don't know about (4) because it might be that the person who put up the sign had been picking up candy wrappers out of safety concern. But it would have definitely worked for me (if I were among the ones who litter), since the consequence on my actions suddenly goes from annoying some people to possibly killing a person. Anyway I just realized I don't really have a conclusion for this post so I'm gonna try to wrap it up... A while ago I saw a TED lecture by an advertising man on changing the approach to give new value to existing products. I wonder if something similar could be done regarding littering. Would there be less littering if people saw it by default as a safety issue? It seems to me like changing the approach would work. Well I don't think there is any approach here anyway. Most people in Montreal would see me as a redneck for even worrying about littering.
  7. jesseps

    Changes are coming.

    The Canadian government is changing the rules on foreign ownership of airlines in Canada. They can now own up to 49% of an airline up from 25%. So it is a possibility that Porter will be bought. The other new small discount players could also be bought and give more access to Canadians. Also I saw a few days ago that Southwest Airlines is looking to fly into Canada in the future. Time will tell how things turn out. It would be nice to have a carrier similar to Ryanair operate within Canada.
  8. Quelques 'snippets' du dernier 'Canadian Real Estate' (Mar/Apr 2008) "When we first opened for sales in 2004, the general consensus was that we were crazy to be asking for $1,000 a square foot. Yet, we were very successful. We proved that the Toronto market was viable and other great brands have followed our success. We've now sold over $300 million worth of real estate and are averaging over $1,500 a square foot - a relative bargain compared to New York prices." "Toronto is a world-class city and it's only going up. It's getting better all the time. With Vancouver, Toronto and to a lesser degree, Montréal, the world is beginning to take notice of the value of Canadian real estate." "Several years ago we identified Canada as being a very viable and lucrative marketplace and one that we wanted a piece of." "According to sales figures for Trump Toronto, 35% of buyers are from Canada, 30% are from the UK and 20% are from the US." "We're not actively planning any additional Canadian projects right now. The Toronto property has been our main focus in Canada to date. Its success will hopefully drive interest in markets like Montreal or Vancouver. Right now, we're focused on Toronto, but certainly look forward to future projects throughout the country." P.S. Trump ne fait que preter son nom au Trump Toronto (pour $1mil et un pourcentage des ventes).
  9. ErickMontreal

    Canada's housing market cools

    Canada's housing market cools Home prices are still rising but much more slowly.Tyler Anderson/National PostHome prices are still rising but much more slowly. Resale price growth lowest in seven years Garry Marr, Financial Post Published: Friday, June 13, 2008 More On This Story TORONTO -- The Canadian real estate market is being flooded with homes, causing prices to start falling in some key markets, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The average price of a home sold last month in the country's top 25 markets was $337,071, an all-time record. But that record price was only up 1.1% from May, 2007 -- the smallest year-over-year increase in seven years. "The record number of new listings means more opportunities for buyers," said Gregory Klump. chief economist with CREA. "The resale housing market has evolved in just a few short months." CREA said there were 67,628 new units on the market in May, a 7% jump from last year. It was the second straight month that a record number of houses has gone on sale. The impact on prices is being felt most keenly in Alberta. The average price of a home sold in Calgary last month was $418,881, a 2.4% drop from a year ago. Edmonton sale prices averaged out at $340,499, down 4.8% from a year ago. Unit sales in both Alberta cities are also plummeting. Calgary homes sales were off 34.2% from a year ago while Edmonton sales were down 34.8% during the same period. The home sales are dropping across the country. CREA said on a national basis sales were off 16.9% in May from a year earlier.
  10. jesseps

    Another bridge collapse

    3 people dead so far. Happened 3 hours and 15 minutes ago . Second day in a row something like this happens in the US. Happened yesterday in California, not sure how bad that was. I just wonder if they hired people from Quebec. Story
  11. Now, you can catch a wave, then hang 10 with some Montreal smoked meat ... in California MIKE BOONE, The Gazette Published: Monday, June 18, 2007 Surf's up in Redondo Beach - and so is the cholesterol. Thanks to a couple of former Montrealers, hungry diners in the southern California coastal town can tuck into smoked meat and poutine. The Redondo Beach Cafe is about 4,000 kilometres from the lineup at Schwartz's, but Steve Spitzer, another expat, says the smoked meat gap isn't that wide. "I was driving by when I saw their sign," Spitzer adds, "and I thought 'Montreal-style smoked meat' was BS. But it wasn't. "Since I discovered the place, I've gained six pounds in six weeks," says the 50-year-old Spitzer, who describes himself as "an attorney who dabbles in the poker world." Redondo Beach is about a 12-minute drive south of the Los Angeles airport. Spitzer describes its distance from L.A. as approximating Montreal to Dollard. The restaurant is on California's Pacific Coast Highway, about 200 metres from the beach. It is owned and operated by the Tsangaris brothers, 42-year-old Costa and Chris, who's 39. While studying at Vanier College and Concordia University, Costa worked in Montreal restaurants, including high-class joints like Milos, and "learned from the masters on Park Ave., Duluth, Ste. Catherine and St. Lawrence." Chris was a jock who played football at Long Beach State University (where he was coached by the legendary George Allen) in the late 1980s and had a six-year career - including a brief stint with the Alouettes - as a linebacker in the CFL. Hearing a Montreal voice on the phone last week transported Costa back to his boyhood in Park Extension (the family moved to New Bordeaux when he was a teenager). "We grew up on Birnam near Beaumont," he said. "Before we knew there was such a thing as real smoked meat in restaurants, we used to eat it out of those plastic pouches our mother would put in boiling water." The concept of smoked meat in a bag would send shivers down the spine of any Schwartz's/The Main/ Abie's/Smoke Meat Pete habitue accustomed to the hand-carved delight of the real deal. But you eat what you can get. What you could get in the way of spiced meat in southern California, until the launch of the Redondo Beach Cafe, was pastrami or corned beef. My friend Alan Richman, who wrote a superb sports column for the Montreal Star in the mid-1970s and went on to many wonderful gigs, including restaurant writing for GQ magazine, used to insist that Montreal smoked meat was merely a local variation of the pastrami he'd grown up eating in New York. This esoteric debate among east coast foodies is a moot point in sunny California, where - far from the delicacy's origins in eastern Europe - smoked meat is new, different and popular. At the Redondo Beach Cafe, you can get the real deal. Briskets imported from Montreal are carved into sandwiches (including a Speedo-stretching "double-meat" special), served Montreal-style on rye bread with mustard. Then there's the "Rachel" (as opposed to a Reuben) made with smoked meat, Thousand Islands dressing, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese; a smoked meat club; a smoked meat sub that's a variation of the Philly cheese classic; spaghetti marinara with smoked meat and a smoked meat omelet. "We also do a health food item - smoked meat scrambled with egg whites," Costa said. Only in California can smoked meat be marketed as health food. In addition to Ahi Tuna Tacos, the El Paso Grill and low-fat, high-protein ostrich burgers, the Brothers Tsangaris also offer poutine (made with Wisconsin curd cheese and imported St. Hubert BBQ sauce) and Greek specialities, including souvlaki, pastichio, moussaka and two Hellenic hamburgers, the Kojak's Gyro Burger and Big Fat Greek Burger. Chris has a master's degree in sports management from Long Beach State and ended up running the program at the school after an injury ended his CFL career. Costa moved to California seven years ago, and he and his brother began thinking of bringing "Montreal quality and hospitality" to southern California. Two years ago, the brothers bought a 45-year-old beachside restaurant. In addition to renovating and Montrealizing the menu, Costa and Chris decorated with Habs' stuff, including Guy Lafleur and Yvan Cournoyer jerseys. "The first picture we put up," Costa said, "was Rocket Richard." The Cafe's big-screen TVs were tuned to the Stanley Cup playoffs. There will be a Canada Day party on July 1. The Redondo Beach Cafe seats 145 (75 if everyone orders double-meat). Business is good, with a clientele, Costa says, ranging from "surfers to CEOs." Bread is a problem. Costa said the local variety lacks the crustiness of Montreal rye. "The flour here is different," he said. "But we're working on it." [email protected]
  12. Newbie

    Weird smell / odour

    I haven't found any news about it yet but there is a weird smell all around Downtown (well at least Place des Arts, lower Main and Concordia). The smell resembles that of dead animals (trust me, I know), but no dead animal could smell that far, so it's probably industrial. Any guesses? Same thing appears to have happened in Toronto a couple of weeks ago: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1368017 A similar (yet less disgusting) mystery was solved in New York in 2009 by mapping 311 calls: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/nyregion/06smell.html Montreal is a much less dense city though and most people here don't call 311 for these things.
  13. greynotgrey

    Ferme Angrignon?

    I searched MTLURB for any news regarding Ferme Angrignon, but couldn't turn anything up. My apologies if this has been posted elsewhere. I know Ferme Angrignon was shut down in 2008, ostensibly to bring it back up to code, to be reopened in 2010... but while this information was all over the place two years ago, all mentions of Ferme Angrignon's re-opening have been removed on all the official Montreal sites I have checked. The VdeM site unhelpfully states "La Ferme Angrignon est fermée." Has anyone heard any news?
  14. ErickMontreal

    Resale housing market drops 2% in Montreal

    Resale housing market drops 2% in Montreal The Gazette; Reuters Published: 4 hours ago Montreal's resale housing market declined two per cent in 2008, the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board said yesterday. For the first nine months of the year, 8,463 properties changed hands in the Montreal region. Property listings increased 12 per cent compared with the same period a year ago. The average selling price increase was five per cent this past quarter, vs. four per cent in the second quarter and six per cent in the first quarter. "Despite the rise in listings observed over the last two quarters, the high demand is such that the resale market remains favourable to sellers," Michel Beausejour, the board's CEO, said
  15. MTLskyline

    Rex Murphy: Point of View

    The man is a genius. Here's his defence a few weeks ago of Tim Hortons: http://www.cbc.ca/mrl3/23745/thenational/archive/rex-010909.wmv
  16. ErickMontreal

    High tech US firms outsource to Montreal

    High tech US firms outsource to Montreal Tue, 2008-11-11 06:03. David Cohen An IT recruitment agency in Montreal says there has been a spike in the number of American companies crossing the border into Canada -- especially Montreal -- to do their software development and to save money. Kovasys Technology cites the unstable economy in the US, and massive layoffs. It says more and more companies are deciding to save money and move their IT operations to a cheaper but not out of the way location, and for many, that means Montreal. Quebec introduced subsidies for high tech companies less than a year ago.
  17. Quebec already has power to be an international player: Charest KEVIN DOUGHERTY, The Gazette Published: 9 hours ago Canadian federalism already allows Quebec to negotiate international agreements on its own, Premier Jean Charest said yesterday, commenting on a federal minister's declaration that Ottawa would give provinces more power to act on the international stage. Charest said Quebec needs to play an active international role to thrive in the global economy. "I see it as an occasion for the emancipation of Quebec," he said of the province's international relations. Charest called Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon's declaration, on the eve of a federal Conservative caucus meeting in Quebec this week, "a positive signal." But as things stand, Charest added, Quebec has more powers to make international agreements on its own than France has as a member of the European Union. Quebec's position is that "what is in Quebec's jurisdiction at home is in Quebec's jurisdiction everywhere," he said. The Canadian constitution gives Quebec jurisdiction over education, health, language and culture. The proposed agreement between France and Quebec on mutual recognition of professional qualifications is within Quebec's powers. "We have the powers to do that," he said. "In fact, when I proposed the project to President Sarkozy, I think it was about a year ago when I did it, I didn't call Ottawa to ask them permission to do it. "I proposed it. We did it and we started negotiating." Some consider Cannon's statement a betrayal of a more centralized vision of Canadian federalism. "There will always be these people in English Canada and elsewhere, even in Quebec, who fear the future of the federation if we ever question their way of exercising federalism," Charest said. "The Canadian federal system is a very decentralized system, by choice," he said. "It is not an accident of history that we have a decentralized federal system. It is one of the conditions that permitted the creation of the country."
  18. Via The Boston Globe : Montreal’s Little Burgundy, Mile Ex are getting hip artfully By Christopher Muther | GLOBE STAFF OCTOBER 18, 2014 CHRISTOPHER MUTHER/GLOBE STAFF Canned vegetables were seen at Dinnette Triple Crown. Life was taking place behind glowing windows on this preternaturally balmy October night. On a walk in Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighborhood, the streets were quiet but inside restaurants were buzzing and the city’s jeunesse dorée were shoulder-to-stylish-shoulder at gallery openings. If it sounds like I’m romanticizing the scene, I am. I had struck travel pay dirt: a hot new neighborhood laid at my feet, and I had a night to aimlessly explore this turf called Little Burgundy. In my usual know-it-all fashion, I thought I had thoroughly chewed and digested the hot neighborhoods of Montreal years ago. As usual, I was wrong. I knew that the Mile End neighborhood was chockablock with the cool kids (genus Hipster). I was also aware that Old Montreal, the part of the city that was once jammed with tatty gift shops, is now very chic and grown-up. Not so long ago I came to Old Montreal with the intention of writing a story about how Old Montreal is the new Montreal. I was too lazy to write the story — please don’t tell my editor — but my theory was correct. The area is now known for its celebrity chef restaurants and art galleries. Which brings us back to this balmy October night in Little Burgundy. Until a few weeks ago, I thought Little Burgundy was an inexpensive red wine. Nope. It was once a working class neighborhood that has blossomed into a hamlet dotted with incredible restaurants and boutiques. For the sake of ease, I’m going to group Little Burgundy with the Saint-Henri and Griffintown neighborhoods. All are in the southwest part of the city and have a rough-around-the-edges, blue-collar history. The neighborhood volte-face began with the cleanup of the Lachine Canal. Artists scrambled for inexpensive studio space. This inevitably brought in the beginnings of gentrification and a rush of 20- and 30-somethings on the hunt for affordable housing. The scene is anchored by Atwater Market in Saint-Henri. Atwater, a mega farmer's market, is housed in a beautiful Art Deco tower. Set aside an hour or two to wander the aisles and check out the produce, much of it from farms around Quebec. I passed rows of passionate red raspberries and strawberries, but opted for locally made chocolates. We all know a man needs a little sugar to keep up his strength. When I began my Little Burgundy evening excursion, I started with restaurants from the pioneering chefs who rode covered wagons into this new frontier and set up shop. Joe Beef opened in 2005 and received a considerable boost when celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dropped in. The English pub Burgundy Lion sits across the street. It’s part sports bar and part restaurant. I stayed long enough for a drink, but failed miserably when it came to discussing sports. I wanted to chat about the prosecco-scented soap I purchased earlier in the day at a boutique called Beige. The gent on the bar stool next to me wanted to talk about Canadian football. “Who do you think is going to take it?” he asked. “The Alouettes or the Redblacks?” The Alouettes sounded like an effete, all-male a cappella act, so I said the Redblacks. Naturally the Alouettes won. I needed a place where I felt slightly more comfortable discussing my prosecco-scented soap. The trouble was choosing. I passed Tuck Shop, Bitoque, Evvo, and the Drinkerie. All looked pretty wonderful. I stopped in at Code Ambiance, but felt woefully underdressed — and blasted my slovenly American ways! I walked a few doors down to a steak house called Grinder. Like a latter-day Goldilocks, I declared, “This one is just right!” I settled at the bar to start on an amazing meal. Not long after, an animated couple appeared at my side, eager to talk. I love talking to new people, particularly locals, when I’m on the road. But this conversation was making me nervous. It starting getting a bit salty for my liking (I’m not talking about the food), peppered with questions that left me blushing. One of the few French phrases I know, ménage à trois, felt like it was about to be introduced into the conversation. I came up with a hasty excuse to leave, paid the check, and rushed back to my hotel. I guess prosecco-scented soap is a bit of an aphrodisiac. You’ve been warned, people. Sufficiently frightened to go back to Little Burgundy, I met up with my friends Alexis and Julien at a Russian-themed cocktail bar called Kabinet (it’s connected to another Russian-themed bar called Datcha) the next night in Mile End. The conversation focused on Mile Ex, another of Montreal’s hottest new neighborhoods. Like Little Burgundy, I had never heard of Mile Ex. But Julien and Alexis said this once rough-hewn ’hood, which is less than a square mile squeezed between Little Italy and a highway, is also going through a resurgence. More condominiums are going in, and more restaurants are following suit. After cocktails and bowling at the charmingly divey Notre-Dame-des-Quilles (known as NDQ by locals), I drafted a Mile Ex plan for the next day. Mile Ex is very easy to walk (or bike), so I started exploring by going to Marché Jean-Talon on the edge of Little Italy and Mile Ex. Like Atwater Market, the place is mammoth and filled with incredible produce. Again, I skipped anything remotely healthy and jumped to the poutine booth. Bubu Restaurant Gringer One of the first restaurants to open in Mile Ex was Dinette Triple Crown, which didn’t arrive intending to be a forebear of great things to come; the owners say it was pure coincidence and good timing. It’s an unpretentious place where you can order Southern comfort food. Contrast that with Mile Ex’s latest eatery, le Ballpark, which specializes in meatballs. Yes, meatballs. For such a tiny area, there are some fantastic places here. My favorite (not that you asked) was Manitoba, which also opened this summer. “We wanted a taste of the forest in our plates, a taste of nature in our glasses,” reads the restaurant’s website. Much of the food was local and the look of the space was chic and rustic. Braver souls can sample deer heart and veal tongue. I played it safe with duck. I encountered more friendly Montrealers at Manitoba — thank you again prosecco-scented soap — who invited me to a very illegal party at an abandoned warehouse. Generally when I hear the words “illegal” and “party,” I don’t hesitate. It was one of those glorious nights where DJs ironically played music from 1990 to 2000 while revelers danced in a crumbling space that looked like a set from “The Walking Dead.” If you’ve never experienced Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam” in an abandoned Canadian warehouse, you don’t know what you’re missing. Even as I write these words I’m feeling guilty. I want to tell people about Little Burgundy and Mile Ex, but I don’t want to ruin these places by turning them into tourist destinations. I want to greedily keep them to myself. If the masses begin descending, will there be enough meatballs left for me at le Ballpark, poutine at Marche Jean Talon, warehouse dance parties, and swingers on the prowl at Grinder? OK, I’ll make a deal: You take the swingers, I’ll keep the poutine. PATRICK GARVIN/ GLOBE STAFF Christopher Muther can be reached at [email protected]
  19. Have Some Champagne With That Brisket? Montreal is just bubbling with Jewish culture November 08, 2007 Kathy Shorr Jewish Exponent Feature Ever since the Parti Quebeçois came to power three decades ago, bringing with it greater nationalism and stricter language laws favoring French, it's been easy to feel uneasy about Jewish life in Montreal. The Jewish community has shrunk from a high of about 120,000 before that 1976 election, to just under 100,000 now. Many who left were the younger, well-educated postwar generation of Ashkenazi descent, who had been educated primarily in English. (Barred from attending the Catholic, French-speaking schools, they'd attended the English-speaking Protestant ones.) But come to Montreal today, and you'll find a Jewish world that feels more vital than many American communities with comparably-sized communities. You can see live Yiddish theater, visit a new world-class Holocaust center and sample kosher restaurants serving everything from Chinese food to Moroccan chicken tagine. The Jewish community in Montreal is one of the most traditional in North America. According to a report by B'nai B'rith Canada's Institute for International Affairs, the community has a remarkably low intermarriage rate (less than 7 percent) and a remarkably high rate of religious observance (50 percent keep kosher). At roughly the same time that wave of Ashkenazi Jews left, about 20,000 Sephardic, French-speaking Jews arrived -- most of them coming from North Africa, especially Morocco. And with a continuing influx of Jewish immigrants, including as many as 10,000 Russian Jews in recent years, the city has maintained a vibrant Jewish culture that is now about 25 percent Sephardic. In Search of 'Duddy' Visitors looking for signs of Jewish life have several sections of the city to explore. Anyone interested in history will want to go to the Mile End neighborhood, the setting for Mordecai Richler's famous novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Just east of Mount Royal Park is a five-street-wide area between the Avenue du Parc and the Boulevard Saint-Laurent -- the Jewish neighborhood for much of the first half of the 20th century. The old neighborhood was increasingly abandoned after the war, as Jews started to make their way out to the suburbs. But Mile End is still home to a large Chasidic community. And it still looks a lot like it did when Richler wrote about going to Tansky's store for a package of Sen-Sen. The rowhouses remain, with their outside staircases and little balconies. And some of the old haunts, like Moishe's Steakhouse and Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen, are open for business as usual. The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre People come to Moishe's for the best steaks in town, while Schwartz's long, narrow dining room teems with crowded tables of patrons ordering sandwiches piled with smoked beef. Several blocks north is the St. Viateur Bagel Shop, celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is open day and night, 24/7, and regularly wins the prize for best bagels in Montreal -- as much for the atmosphere as for the bagels themselves. You can see the flames coming out of the wood-burning brick oven, and watch the bagels being pulled out on a long-handled tray and then dumped into a long, sloping bin. They still use the same recipe from 100 years ago -- hand-rolling the bagels and dropping them into boiling water for five minutes before baking. And forget about cinnamon-raisin or chocolate-chip bagels: It's sesame or poppyseed, and that's it! For a completely different scene, head west out Côte St. Catherine Road to Snowdon, a neighborhood of duplex and split-level homes, where many Jews moved after the war. There, you'll find a small campus of Jewish community and religious organizations and cultural groups. The Segal Centre for Performing Arts at the Saidye Bronfman Centre mounts plays of both general and Jewish interest, including an annual play in Yiddish. Montreal has the largest Holocaust-survivor population in Canada; across the street from the Saidye Bronfman are the Jewish Public Library and the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, with 5,000 square feet of exhibit space. The library sponsors all kinds of lectures, readings, films, and live-music and other events for both residents and visitors. A few blocks south of Côte St. Catherine Road is the commercial Queen Mary Road, which feels something like the way Mile End must have felt a few generations ago. There are charcuteries (delis that specialize in meats) where everything is labeled only in Russian, with vats of sweet-and-sour cabbage and trays of whole smoked fish and caviar. There's Israeli fast-food at Chez Benny and kosher pizza by the Snowdon metro station. Cell phones ring, voices chatting in French and Arabic more often than in Yiddish. Yes, indeed, Jewish life in Montreal has changed, but remains alive and well. For more information, go to: www. tourisme-montreal.org.
  20. GDS

    Stanley Ma - The Food Court King

    The food court king He's conquered the malls — now Stanley Ma is ready to take on the Street. By Joanna Pachner It's 12:45 p.m. on a weekday in May at the Place Vertu food court, and the only counter with a lineup is Thai Express. The 1970s–era shopping centre in Montreal's Saint–Laurent suburb has seen better days but, in at least one way, it's cutting–edge: unbeknownst to the diners, this food court serves as a laboratory for MTY Food Group, where it develops and perfects its new fast–food concepts. The company, whose office is located kitty–corner to the mall, currently has eight banners here, and the landlord allows it to test new formats when a location opens up. MTY's most recent introductions—Tandori, Kim Chi Korean Delight and Vie&Nam—were all fine–tuned at Place Vertu. With 21 different dining options, the food court, like those in most other large malls, resembles an international food bazaar, a huge change from what peckish shoppers would have found a few decades ago. "When I started 30 years ago, you'd have Chinese, Italian, a burger place and maybe one more, and that'd be it," says Stanley Ma, MTY's founder and chief executive. "Now you walk in and say, 'Wow! I have $20. What am I going to have today?'" No one has been more responsible for this transformation than Ma. The Hong Kong immigrant has developed, licensed or acquired 26 brands of quick–service fare—from Mexican to Japanese, from doughnut to health nut—and he's busy expanding his smorgasbord. Already the most diversified food franchisor in the country, MTY has quickened its pace of growth in the past three years, during which it almost doubled its number of outlets. Last year's surprising acquisition of Country Style Food Services Holdings, Ontario's second–largest coffee chain, boosted MTY's store count by nearly 50%, and the most recent addition—Quebec hot–dogs–and–fries specialist Groupe Valentine, a deal that closed earlier this month—has brought the total to more than 1,700 restaurants that ring in about US$400 million in annual sales. The company bought three chains in 2009 alone, and launched four internally developed banners within the past two years. It's not just the growth that's impressing industry observers but the company's consistently strong performance. MTY's most recent quarterly results widely beat market expectations. "It's an extremely well–run business," says Leon Aghazarian, a consumer products analyst with Industrial Alliance Securities in Montreal. "Stanley is very experienced. The strength lies there." Yet while Ma has made no secret of his acquisitive hunger, he's a growth–focused entrepreneur with a deeply conservative streak. He eschews debt. He only buys profitable players with clear synergies for MTY. And he's wary of easy money. When restaurant franchisors converted en masse to income trusts a decade ago, he resisted calls to follow suit. Now, with trusts set to lose their preferential tax treatment next year, the sector is scrambling for alternatives and "I look like a genius," says Ma with a chortle. More important, his rivals' predicament positions MTY, long an industry consolidator, to take advantage of those who'd rather sell than face the cost of another conversion. A middle–aged man with a formal manner occasionally lightened by corny jokes, Ma isn't rushing into any hasty unions. Known as a very private individual who says no to suitors much more than he says yes, he seems to prefer to fly under the market's radar. Few people outside the industry have heard of him or his company, and investor interest remains muted despite the rapid proliferation of MTY banners. A teenage immigrant from Hong Kong (his English remains heavily accented and he doesn't speak French), Ma opened his first venue, a Chinese and Polynesian restaurant, in 1979, at the age of 29. Within a few years, however, he switched to fast–food franchising—then a novel business model in Canada—seeing an opportunity in supplying immigrants like himself with a chance to run their own operations. Food courts presented ideal locations for new brands with little name recognition, since consumers tend to choose where they take their trays based on gustatory whim rather than brand loyalty. As such, there is little need for marketing beyond mouth–watering menu boards and frequently changing specials. And, as Ma added new banners to his original Chinese chain Tiki Ming, he was able to leverage his landlord relationships. "He would typically own the lease, so if one brand didn't work out, he could put in another," says Brian Pow, vice–president of research at Acumen Capital Finance Partners in Calgary and a longtime MTY watcher. Ma's dominance of shopping malls and cinemas bestowed on him the moniker "king of food courts." Ma's early ambition was to be able to drive from Montreal to Quebec City and stop every hour at one of his outlets. While most Canadian restaurant companies have either a single brand (like A&W or Pizza Pizza) or a handful they oversee as a master franchisee (Priszm Income Fund, for example, is the Canadian parent to KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut), MTY's multiplying offerings allowed it to match the cuisine to each location and demographic. Ma has tended to look for master franchisees with strong financial know–how and expansionist ambitions. MTY simply collects royalties, with little need for capital investment, says Aghazarian. "The business is a cash cow. There is almost no risk associated with it." This low–risk philosophy is how MTY ended up in the Middle East, of all places. In the mid–2000s, the company was approached by a restaurant operator serving the Arab Emirates who was looking to franchise three of its banners. The relationship has since grown to encompass seven brands and several nearby countries, but MTY is protected: it doesn't sign the leases and has no liability exposure. "Even if it flops, it won't damage MTY's image here," says Aghazarian. Nevertheless, the region is on track to account for 5% of MTY's stores by year–end. So when, in April of 2009, MTY bought Country Style, observers found the deal uncharacteristically rife with pitfalls—an also–ran brand in a highly competitive market. It was also an unusually large acquisition for MTY. Still, the chain had been sprucing up its stores since it emerged from bankruptcy protection seven years earlier, adopting a format similar to market leader Tim Hortons. For MTY, which ran Yogen Früz and Cultures banners in Ontario but was largely clustered in Quebec, Country Style represented a quick surge within Canada's biggest province. Ma also saw co–branding opportunities, and within months of purchase, he started teaming more than a dozen Country Styles with his TCBY yogurt chain. Other pairings will follow. He points out that in a 3,000–square–foot store, Country Style can do $600,000 per year in revenue and, say, Thai Express another $750,000, thus raking in $1.3 million from a single venue. The approach fits MTY's operating philosophy: "The returns are good, the investment small," says Ma. Ma's long been interested in the coffee sector. "Coffee is a good business," he says, tenting his fingers thoughtfully. "The profit margins are very good, and it will help MTY's other brands because of the buying power of the coffee bean." MTY had looked at Country Style several years earlier but walked away. Ma won't specify the reasons—"I don't want to hurt the feelings of other people we dealt with," he says in his typically courtly manner—but it came down to sticker shock. By 2009, Country Style's revamp was further along and MTY had greater financial means, says Ma. "I also felt comfortable with the Country Style management." (Rick Martens, who has run the chain since it emerged from bankruptcy protection, remains at the helm.) Since the takeover, MTY's operating expertise has proven useful. Observers say that Ma has trimmed slack in distribution and at the head office. Ma simply observes: "If you're a hockey player and become a coach, you know it makes sense to do it this way because you know what it's like." Acumen's Pow, however, questions whether the Country Style game plan has played out as smoothly as Ma claims. "It's been a big challenge for Country Style to cater to a different audience with a different product mix," he says. "And Stanley's idea that he could bring in other brands, I don't think it's been as successful as he'd hoped. [The transition] has been longer and slower than expected." Ma has grown accustomed by now to strategic second–guessing. The pressure was at its height back in the early 2000s, when numerous financiers were banging the drum for him to convert to a royalty trust, in which cash distributions are set as a percentage of top–line revenue. "When we trade over $2, they say, 'You're ready [to convert],'" recalls Ma. "When we trade over $5, they say, 'I guarantee, Stanley, if you convert, you'll go to $8.' Then they say, 'Stanley, if you don't go to income trust, don't come to see me anymore.'" Ma clearly relishes having been proven right, though he had no inkling about Ottawa's tax treatment flip–flop. His motivation was simply to use his cash to grow the company without taking on debt. When he was first urged to make MTY a trust, he had fewer than 200 stores. "I thought they were pushing MTY to run too fast," he says. One of MTY's strengths is its willingness and ability to respond to consumers' changing tastes. Of the 26 brands MTY controls today, 10 were developed in–house to exploit new trends. The past few years have been all about Asian food, says Ma—Korean, Indian, Vietnamese. Thai Express became MTY's most successful brand after Ma bought the small chain in 2004 and merged it with his nascent Pad Thai. Meanwhile, pizza and Italian food more broadly are in decline. But for all that ethnic variety, the single best–selling fast–food item remains french fries. And that happens to be the strong suit of Groupe Valentine, a 95–store, family–run chain based in small–town Saint–Hyacinthe east of Montreal. Valentine mainly serves rural and suburban markets—areas where MTY has little presence and wants more. And though MTY has a competing banner in the 20–store Franx Supreme, Franx has been a performance laggard. According to MTY spokesman Jean–Francois Dubé, Franx will likely be merged with Valentine, and then under the Valentine name will venture into Ontario, where Franx has one location and Valentine has none. Ma is eager to keep growing his Ontario business where, thanks to the Country Style purchase, MTY now has 41% of its stores—more than in Quebec. He gained a foothold out west, meanwhile, with the 2008 purchase of Canadian rights to American banner Taco Time. However, he has no plan to head across the border, despite another chorus of investment bankers pushing him on. "I believe the States is a dangerous place for retailers," says Ma. "It's a different animal, has different rules, mentality." Canada still has lots of room for MTY, he argues. Instead, he wants to reach 2,000 locations before he considers an American expansion. Besides, Ma may get tasty opportunities amid the income trust shakeout. Ottawa's move to phase out trusts depressed many restaurant operators' shares, as investors assumed no other structure would be as lucrative and the roughly half–a–million cost of conversion to a corporation would cut into profits. Most food franchisors, like MTY, rely on royalty fees paid by franchisees and so lack assets they can depreciate to offset taxes. "These structures are not viable post–tax," wrote Turan Quettawala, a Scotia Capital analyst, in a 2009 report. Nevertheless, some—including Pizza Pizza, Boston Pizza and A&W—have opted to remain trusts for now. Prime Restaurant Royalty Income Fund (owner of East Side Mario's and Casey's, among others) and Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. (Pizza Delight, Baton Rouge), meanwhile, have chosen to convert to corporations. So far, there haven't been many deals. Private equity, which prefers operating control, has shown little interest. Will MTY make a move? "There's definite potential for them to move in on one of the pizza guys," says Aghazarian, and Priszm is rumoured to be looking for a buyer. Ma says he's holding numerous talks—mainly with those pesky investment bankers looking to arrange a marriage from which they can profit. But he adds, "We're not going to do a deal just to be in the newspaper for 24 hours." Meanwhile, MTY has some challenges of its own to address. Most notably, its same–store sales have been dwindling by 1% to 2% for several quarters, though the rate of decline has slowed and the fast–food market is improving. "If they're only acquisition–driven, that's dangerous," says Aghazarian. Acumen's Pow is more concerned with Ma's poor job of exploiting public markets. In May, MTY moved from the TSX Venture Exchange to the main board, but "[stanley] doesn't really market his stock," says Pow. "There are days I ask why he hasn't gone private. Since he went public, he did only one [equity] raise." It merits noting that Acumen was one of the investment firms that nudged MTY toward income trusts a few years ago. Today, Pow credits Ma with managing to finance his business while resisting the pressures of the market's expectations. But, he says, "Stanley has to ask himself, What's the succession plan? The more control is in the marketplace, the better you'll do in a takeout." Ma shows little interest in being taken out. His three kids all work in the business, and his ambitions keep growing—at his own conservative pace. He long ago achieved his initial goal of an MTY restaurant every hour along the Monteal–Quebec route. His next target—2,000 stores—isn't far away; by this summer, the company opened more new locations than it had projected for all of 2010. Ma's current focus lies in an area he worried little about when he started: building brand equity. While 80% of MTY's stores were once in food courts, today only about 30% are, due largely to the acquisition of Country Style, Taco Time and a few other banners that all had a heavy street presence. There, promotion matters for building destination traffic, so MTY is shifting marketing dollars from menu upgrades to billboard and bus advertising. The king of food courts, accustomed to the low–investment and low–risk climate of indoor counters, realizes that to grow to 3,000 restaurants and beyond, he needs to expand outside. "We're gaining confidence that, yes, we can handle the street, that brand power is there now," says Ma. "Customers know what to expect from Thai Express, like they know what to expect from McDonald's." The reclusive immigrant is ready for some spotlight. "I want [my brands] to be like the big boys, recognition–wise," says Ma. "Hopefully, one day someone travels to Dubai and says, 'Oh, Thai Express! I know it.'" http://www.canadianbusiness.com/managing/strategy/article.jsp?content=20101011_10022_10022&page=1
  21. MTLskyline

    Bailouts and Bull

    A few weeks ago I saw an excellent 20/20 report by Libertarian reporter John Stossel on the recession and solutions to it, etc. I thought it was all quite well done. Part 1 - Stimulus <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tda0-cDyD0U&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tda0-cDyD0U&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object> Part 2 - Solution to traffic problems? <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtwdVInR1Gw&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtwdVInR1Gw&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object> Part 3 - Medical Marijuana <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0vpzxWU9io&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0vpzxWU9io&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object> Part 4 - Universal Pre-Kindergarten <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K93hZbWB_I&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K93hZbWB_I&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object> Part 5 - Mexican Border Fence <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmpDbM1YDWg&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmpDbM1YDWg&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object> Part 6 - Is the American dream still attainable? <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYE4gO0b3K4&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYE4gO0b3K4&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
  22. https://www.facebook.com/centrevillemontreal Ville-Marie, Montréal (centre-ville) 16 minutes ago L'arrondissement de Ville-Marie recherche présentement un photographe étudiant pour l'été. Vous avez la tête de l'emploi? Postulez en ligne : http://bit.ly/10HX0a9
  23. MONTREAL — Monday’s CBC-Ekos poll found that 42 per cent of 1,001 Quebec anglophone respondents have considered leaving the province following last September’s Parti Québécois election victory. Promising them anonymity, I asked two anglos who are exceptionally familiar with this attitude for their thoughts. One of them, a natural-resources executive, is himself leaving Quebec this month. This born-and-bread Montrealer earns $300,000 to $500,000 most years, which puts him in top one per cent of income earners. He’s the sort of person whom students wearing the red square regard with suspicion while demanding that he pay higher taxes to help finance their entitlements. But they won’t get his help any more. His furniture is being shipped next week. Several months ago — after the PQ victory — he turned down an offer to become president of a natural-resources company working in Labrador. The reason: “The owners wanted me to live in Montreal.” What’s wrong with that? Primarily the taxes, he says. The fiscal crunch was bad enough when the Liberals were in power — Quebec in 2012 ranked second in Canada (after Newfoundland and Labrador) for combined local, provincial and federal taxes. When he earned half a million dollars in stock options several years ago, Quebec took 39 per cent in taxes. Ontario would have taken 30 per cent. So that’s where he’s moving — eastern Ontario. He’ll wave goodbye to the sovereignty threat and the income-tax hike that the Marois government imposed on Jan. 1. (It brings the rate for people earning $100,000 or more to 25.75 per cent from 24 per cent.) Was language also factor? No and yes, he says. No because he’s fluently bilingual — he’s a fan of French TV. “The anglos who left Quebec for language left a generation ago,” he says. “The rest of us learned French.” But, yes, the linguistic climate is still aggravating. The vigorous 60-year-old owns a modest natural-resources firm in Africa, and hates having to communicate to the Quebec government on corporate matters in French. What also rankles is how ordinary people — a cable technician visiting his West Island home, for example, or a security scanner at Trudeau — sometimes refuse to speak in English. “I feel like a foreigner in my own country.” Also weighing in his decision to leave is the PQ’s hesitation to push forward quickly with Plan Nord. His company’s employees are in Africa, not here, so no one is losing a job. But this most indebted of provinces is losing his considerable tax revenue — and that of others whom, he says, are likewise trickling into Ontario or into northern New York State. His parting thoughts. “The government needs to cut expenditures, cut tax rates and mean it when it says it is open for business.” It also has to grasp that the Internet makes for mobility. “Members of my board of directors live on different continents, and I hold board meeting from my home on Skype. Nothing keeps me in Quebec.” Moral: “The government has to make people want to live here.” Now there’s a radical thought. Sharing it is my second interviewee. He’s a partner in the Montreal office of a headhunting firm with operations in dozens of countries. This veteran recruiter of executive talent for local companies says, “Montreal has a shallow talent pool, and it’s become shallower since the PQ’s election. “The problem is not just that anglos are leaving Quebec — they’ve been leaving for years and years. The problem is also that we’ve built a great big fence around Quebec that effectively keeps outside talent out. Any dynamic economy has to cross-fertilize with other cities and bring in new talent.” The election has made that tougher. He estimates that 20 to 30 per cent of Americans whom his firm approaches now consider the city, at least at first view. Yet only 10 per cent of Canadians from other provinces do. Why the difference? “Canadians are more aware of conditions here.” He sighs: “I try to put a positive spin on coming here — I talk about the opportunity to learn French and the joie de vivre.” But the barriers to entry are imposing. Like the Ontario-bound executive, he says that, despite the low cost of living here, taxes are the No. 1 deterrent. No. 2 is Bill 101’s restriction on access to English schools. Other handicaps: the difficulty in obtaining social services in English, the shrinking size of the English community (which reduces the options on where some newcomers want to live) and, not least, the problems that two-income families encounter. Many executives’ spouses are lawyers, doctors, accountants or dentists, for example, and they cannot pursue their careers without passing French-proficiency tests. To be sure, these problems existed before the election. “But,” he says, “before the vote we had a government that at least was pro-business and sought political stability. Now we have a government that’s pro-socialism and is in effect pro-instability.” The bottom line: “Quebec is being starved for intellectual capital.” It’s a vicious circle: As Quebec loses talent it becomes more difficult to attract talent, and so more businesses leave and there is less demand for talent. It’s déjà vu: We saw far more intense versions of this scenario after the 1976 election of the PQ and the 1995 referendum. And if that history is any guide, we know that PQ sees the starvation of that capital as a worthwhile price to pay when pushing for sovereignty. Expect no relief. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Henry+Aubin+Taxes+Bill+drive+people+away/7981947/story.html#ixzz2LMmH4Xdi