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  1. What's happening to the Main?

    Took the 55 bus north on St-Laurent yesterday. I was shocked to see dozens of boarded up store fronts on the east side of the street between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal. This is so much worse that I have ever seen in over 20 years! So sad and depressing. How could we let this happen? Go see for yourself. Take a walk on the Main. If anyone wants to record and share the images here, I'm sure you will be shocked too. Here's something I just saw in CULT-MTL on same subject, although IMO the situation is much more serious than the tone in the piece. http://cultmontreal.com/2013/04/st-laurent-montreal-main/ St-Laurent has seen better days There are few greater, simpler pleasures in this town than walking along the Main on a crisp spring afternoon. But given how dire things are looking for Montreal’s multicultural microcosm, I’m not looking forward to doing it this year with my usual enthusiasm. For years, pedestrians had to deal with all the interminable construction, and while many of us courageously traversed those rickety planks masquerading as sidewalks, the street never really recovered from those trying times. Businesses have been shuttering left and right (I weep for BBQ Rocky’s — where I’ll get smokes and watch soaps now I don’t know), so in an effort to make the abyss more enticing to prospective entrepreneurs, the St-Laurent Merchants’ Association is spending $30,000 to dress up the growing number of empty storefronts. Of course, it’s akin to trying to stop the bleeding from a gunshot wound with a few dabs of a wet nap, or more specifically it’s a modern take on Potemkin Village. The obvious, sad truth is that, given how gradual the Main’s depreciation has been, it’s going to take more than a few fancy snapshots to revitalize the area. It’s not a bad idea, per se, because mushy newspapers certainly don’t make for good window shopping, but saving the Main will require progressive thinking. There are plenty of cooler streets around town these days, and history isn’t much of a selling point, even when it’s engraved on ergonomically unfavourable benches. Some streets just never get their groove back: St-Laurent merchants need only look to their cross-street brother Prince Arthur if they want a harrowing look into their future. There’s a municipal election coming up later this year, so perhaps it’s high time that the supposedly “clean” party — the one that rules over the Plateau with a sanctimonious wag and aspires to expand their empire — prove they’re good at something besides pointing out how bloated and corrupt their political rivals are. And if they don’t have any solutions, either, maybe they can just hike parking rates by another buck or two. That’ll help. ■
  2. La succursale va fermer. C'est incroyable. On dirait presque un canular. Perte immense pour le patrimoine de Montréal... *** Royal Bank abandons historic 360 St. Jacques building June 23, 2010. 1:57 pm • Section: Metropolitan News The Royal Bank of Canada is closing its historic branch in Old Montreal, in what was once the tallest building in the British Empire and the bank’s head office. The image above, from Google Earth, shows the building (in the middle, foreground) and the skyscrapers that followed it. The bank has more on the history of the Montreal landmark here and here. And check out this city of Montreal history. This story appeared in the Granby Leader-Times on March 4, 1927: http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2010/06/23/royal-bank-abandons-historic-360-st-jacques-building/
  3. The Movement presented by AT&T, hosted by former MLS forward Calen Carr, is a new series from MLS Digital that explores the growing soccer movement and soccer culture in North America In Episode 1, Carr visits Montreal to learn about the city’s unique culture and history — on and off the field. Music: ROWJAY “KUNG FUN MARGIELA" A TRAPPIN APE SOUNDCLOUD.COM/ROWJAYCOB Special Thanks Impact Media Pat Vallee Jordano Aguzzi Yvan Delia-Lavictoire
  4. Westmount needs you! With this mailing, we are appealing to your civic duty. We need your input on the most important project the City of Westmount has put forward in its long history: the rebuilding of the Westmount arena and pool. Council would like to proceed with this project, but only if a majority of taxpayers is behind it. It is your money, after all, that will help pay for it. I shall not pretend that the history of this rebuilding project so far has been a smooth one. Mind you, nor was the struggle to restore and expand the Westmount Library in the 1990s, but it was a project most citizens became very proud of. Your Council feels this same success can be repeated with the arena/pool project. But only if it is a rallying point and not a focus of division and rancour. There were two separate designs suggested for the arena/pool project by the previous Council during 2009. A great deal of work went into these proposals, but they received mixed reviews in a series of public meetings. The whole of Westmount, however, was never canvassed. The new Council, since its election in November 2009, has been working on ways to address the objections raised by citizens to the prior proposals. Objectors fell into two broad camps: people in the neighbourhood saw the new arena as a massive intrusion, a wall 30 feet high by 500 feet long from St Catherine Street to de Maisonneuve, jutting into Westmount Park; meanwhile, the pool itself ate up precious green space. For the rest of Westmount, concerns had more to do with the cost: do we really need to go from one-and-one-half to two rinks? Why can’t we just fix up the existing arena? Others felt we needed an indoor pool more than a replication of our current sports mix. The cost concerns were substantially mitigated by the crowning achievement of my predecessor Mayor Karin Marks: she managed, by dint of incredible perseverance - and the help of Jacques Chagnon, our local MNA - to get $20 million of infrastructure grants for the project. It is Canada’s and Quebec’s contribution that allows us to build a $37 million arena/pool complex that will cost Westmounters $17 million. In fact, the cost to taxpayers will probably be closer to $12 million, thanks to contributions from Westmount schools, foundations, and private donors. This cost translates into an additional $200 a year in taxes for the average single-family dwelling. What about the neighbours and the sheer bulk of the arena? Well, if we had to describe the essence of our city, we would surely be torn between invoking Westmount’s unique architectural heritage and Westmount’s prized greenspace. This Council wants a project that respects both. We want the park to win the battle between it and the arena. We do not wish to plunk a massive piece of architecture down in an established greenspace. So we have gone underground. Council’s plan is to bury the ice rinks, putting tennis courts and grass on top of them - creating the ultimate green roof. Skylights will bring in natural light. Only the entrance pavilion and Teen Centre will be above-ground. more pics and full desc. http://www.westmount.org/pdf_files/ArenaPool_Proposal.pdf
  5. Concordia Grey Nuns Motherhouse renovation

    Couldn't find any info online, but the last remaining nuns moved out March 2013. This CANDEV sign popped up over the weekend.
  6. Via The Gazette Lachine Canal was once Canada’s industrial heartland BY PEGGY CURRAN THE GAZETTE MAY 16, 2014 As midnight approached on New Year’s Eve, mothers and fathers in St-Henri, Little Burgundy and Point-St-Charles opened their doors to let in the roar of neighbouring factories. At Redpath Sugar, Belding Corticelli, Stelco, Dominion Textile and Northern Electric, on passing CN trains and freight barges, horns honked and whistles blew to welcome another year in southwest Montreal. For St-Henri natives Suzanne Lefebvre and Thérèse Bourdeau-Dionne, the clarion call is one of those “mysterious and fascinating” memories that pull them back to childhood and the traditions of a time not so very long ago when the neighbourhoods bordering the Lachine Canal were Canada’s industrial heartland. Today, construction cranes dominate the landscape as long dormant factories are converted into luxury condominiums. The canal, upstaged in 1959 with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, has become a rambling waterfront park dotted with walkways and bike paths, a favourite of pleasure boaters and urban fishermen. Every year, more traces of the area’s working-class origins vanish. “This whole zone along the canal is an area of tremendous change,” says Steven High, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Oral History at Concordia University. “Of course, that brings controversy. For the working-class neighbourhoods of Point-St-Charles, Little Burgundy and St-Henri, there are a lot of questions.” Two years ago, High and the team at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling began interviewing about 50 people who grew up, lived, or worked in the area — the first phase in a major project examining local history and the consequences of post-industrial transformation in the working-class neighbourhoods that flank the canal. The first phase of their research, prepared in conjunction with Parks Canada, features an audio walking tour that allows users to listen to some of those stories as they loop back and forth on a winding 2.5-kilometre trail between Atwater Market and the Saint Gabriel Locks. “The canal was the industrial heart of Canada,” High said during a recent tour. “When the factories started closing when they built the Seaway, this became redundant. So what do you do with this thing? It had a slow death from ’59 to about ’72. They finally closed it. They opened up all the gates and it became basically a big ditch that was a dumping ground for all the factories that were still here.” After debating several options — including a plan to fill in the canal and build another highway — Ottawa handed over control to Parks Canada, which reopened the canal for small vessels and built cycle paths, paving the way for gentrification. “We are looking at the loss of jobs and the old industrial story, but also the subsequent story of rebirth and change, and what that means to the neighbourhoods around the canal,” High said. “The population of the southwest was cut in half between 1960 and 1991. You see how dramatic the change was here and how quickly jobs were lost and factories were closed. It didn’t help that the government was demolishing neighbourhoods, whether it was Little Burgundy for public housing, or making way for the Bonaventure and Ville-Marie Expressways.” Speaking in their own words, some residents recall forbidden joys, such as a furtive swim in the canal or “tours de pont,” which involved jumping on the Charlevoix Bridge as it swung in half to make way for a passing boat. For others, memories are painful. One man who reflects on the racism experienced by black families in Little Burgundy unable to secure work at the factories in their backyard. Then there’s the chilling tale of the prolonged labour conflict at the Robin Hood Flour Mill in summer 1977, where eight unarmed strikers were shot. A man hired as a replacement worker during the eight-month dispute describes the daily journey into the plant by train. Security guards with the physique of wrestlers wore fingerless gloves packed with brass knuckles. “It was an important moment in Canadian labour history,” High said, standing beside the train tracks just beyond the fence surrounding the Robin Hood plant. “Out of that confrontation, we had the first law in North America against replacement workers — the so-called anti-scab law.” While the audio guide is available with narration in English or French, a decision was made to use the oral testimonials in both languages. “People speak in their own language. So when we walk into Little Burgundy, it is more English, in other parts it is more French.” Interview subjects include a broad cross-section of ages, backgrounds and perspectives. “One of the issues in these kind of tours is that there is often a focus on community — that community is good. But how do you get at these stories that maybe divide people, where you haven’t got consensus? “We tried as much as possible to be true to our interviews, in a sense that people were saying different things. One person would say: ‘I live in this condo and they are making a real contribution.’ Another would say: ‘Those condos have their back to the neighbourhood.’ You get to hear these different voices.” High said the structure of a walking tour adds another dimension. “When you are actually listening on site, you are hearing what was, you are seeing what is — and it ain’t the same thing. There is a friction there. It’s political.” This summer, the Concordia team will venture deeper into Point-St-Charles, Little Burgundy, Griffintown and Goose Village, where they will walk around the neighbourhood with interview subjects. “It is another way to get people to remember. You can remember just by sitting down over a table, but sometimes that is more chronologically organized, more family-based memories. But if you are out in the neighbourhood, it brings out more community stories.” High expects those interviews to form the basis for a second audio tour. Meanwhile, Concordia drama and art history students will be working on companion projects for neighbourhood theatre and visual arts events. As an historian who also happens to live in the Point, High said he is interested in the way people have responded to the dramatic changes that continue to shape these post-industrial districts. “In Point-St-Charles, what we saw was a lot of community mobilization. It is very much associated with community health movements, social economy movements. So there was a lot of mobilization. Whereas in other neighbourhoods, you have community demobilization and fragmentation. I want to know why. Why is it like this here and like this there?” But High is also drawn to the simple, compelling truth of people telling their stories. “Ordinary people live extraordinary lives. We forget that.” To learn more about the canal project, or to download a copy of the audio guide and accompanying booklet, go to http://postindustrialmontreal.ca/audiowalks/canal pcurran@montrealgazette.com Twitter: peggylcurran © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  7. Port Royal 1965

    Out of History - A pace setting venture - Port Royal Condo Montreal 1965
  8. Works at le Bremner http://cultmontreal.com/2013/05/top-chef-canada-danny-smiles-le-bremner-montreal-chefs-canadian-cuisine/ Danny Smiles in the Le Bremner kitchen. Photo by Dominique Lafond. Danny Smiles is repping Montreal cuisine in this cycle of Top Chef Canada, and as the show hits mid-season, the le Bremner chef is well positioned to take the title, especially after winning last week’s elimination challenge. The challenge was to create Canada’s Next National Dish, with the carrot of a 10 G cash prize for the winner and the stick of two chefs’ elimination from the show. Smiles won the contest with his creation, which he calls the “Coast-to-Coast” roll — a shrimp and crab roll, served in pretzel hot dog bun with maple bacon and a side of house-smoked BBQ chips. The Coast-to-Coast roll. “It was a weird choice that I made, to do seafood. It was 40-something out, and we knew it was going to be hot. We knew it was going to be an outdoor event, and I was just like, I’m ready for the challenge. I wanted to go big or go home,” says Smiles, meaning it literally. “Those are the only options.” Smiles wanted to move beyond the usual signifiers of Canadian-ness — maple, pork and poutine. “That was the whole focus, a new national dish. I wanted to showcase fish. I’m a very fish-oriented chef,” he says, his point proven by the shrimp and albacore tattooed prominently onto one forearm. “There’s not a lot of countries that border two of the biggest oceans in the world, too, so that’s really cool,” he continues. “I used B.C. Dungeness crabs and Nordic shrimp from Quebec,” while the overall concept references an East Coast foodie fad du jour, the lobster roll. Smiles explains that he wanted to create a dish that draws not only on Canada’s geography, but its history as well. “Smoking fish and preserving goes back to First Nations; it’s a huge part of Canadian history,” he says. “I was trying to also come up with a story, something that realistically made sense with the history of our country. I’m a huge history buff, so I decided to go back a bit and readapt that into what I thought would be the new national dish.” Smiles may be following in the footsteps of mentor (and le Bremner’s executive chef) Chuck Hughes, who rose to celebrity chef status after becoming the first Canadian to win the US Top Chef — an increasingly necessary career move for chefs as they emerge from the obscurity of the kitchen and into the limelight of cooking shows, contests and book tours in order to establish themselves. Top Chef Canada made sense to him as a next move, he explains. “I liked the show, and also just wanted to see where I match up to the rest of Canada, almost like a personal challenge.” The best part of doing Top Chef Canada, he admits, is that it actually gives him room for his first love, cooking. “Unfortunately, being a chef, you’re not always focusing on cooking,” he says. “You’re lucky when you get into the kitchen and start cooking. That’s like a bonus, because there’s food costing, there’s menu planning; you’re plumbing, gardening. Those are all fun things that I love about my job, but in a small restaurant, you kind of do everything. And now, for six weeks, your main focus — you’re not contacting anyone, you’re not phoning suppliers; that’s all supplied for you, and you’ve just got to focus on cooking. So it’s like it brought me back to when I first started on the line.” ■ Top Chef Canada airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Food Network Canada.
  9. Au moins mous sommes pas numéro un. http://jalopnik.com/the-ten-most-wasteful-transportation-projects-in-modern-472052244?utm_source=lifehacker.com&utm_medium=recirculation&utm_campaign=recirculation 4.) Montreal's Airport That's Larger Than Montreal Montreal-Mirabel airport was designed for the Montreal Olympics and it did that job very well. After the Olympics, however, Montreal realized they'd built an airport that was 397 square kilometers in size, bigger than the entire city it served. Now it's mostly empty.
  10. Opinion dans la Gazette. Cooper: Can Montreal become a ‘future city?’ BY CELINE COOPER, SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE APRIL 8, 2013 Revellers at this year’s Nuit Blanche warm up by the fire at Montreal’s Quartier des spectacles. In his new book A History of Future Cities, Daniel Brook writes: “The true city of the future is not simply the city with the tallest tower or the most stunning skyline but one that is piloted by the diverse, worldly, intelligent people it assembles and forges.” Can Montreal be one of these? Photograph by: Tim Snow , The Gazette MONTREAL — What is Montreal’s place among the world’s future global cities? I recently picked up Daniel Brook’s new book A History of Future Cities. In it, he skilfully braids together historical detail, journalism and storytelling to trace the impossible rise of Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai and St. Petersburg from developing world “instant-cities” into four of the world’s most influential global hubs. Brook looks at how these cities in China, the United Arab Emirates, India and Russia were forged. His description of how soaring cityscapes were planned and erected out of deserts, frozen marshland, oceans and rice paddies through both the ambition of visionaries and the cruelty of despots gives us some context for the emerging Asian era that we are witnessing today. We learn a bit about how the economic development of the world’s nations has come to be inextricably linked to the development of global cities. So what does this have to do with Montreal? As it happens, I started reading this book about future cities on the same day that a sinkhole swallowed two cars at Montreal’s Trudeau airport. On top of the crumbling bridges, man-eating potholes and mould-infested public schools, there was also news that day about Bill 14, the Parti Québécois’s bid to bolster the province’s language laws and further regulate who can speak what, when and where. Much of this discussion focuses on the fear that Montreal is becoming “anglicized.” Which brings me back to the question: what is Montreal’s place in this new world landscape that is no longer necessarily one of nations, but of cities? For many of us who live here, Montreal occupies a special place on the global grid and in our imaginations. We often think of it as a metropolis that straddles old and new, French and English, Europe and North America. But thankfully Montreal and its inhabitants are much more complex than that. As Columbia University sociologist Saskia Sassen and other scholars who study global cities have argued, cities are where new norms and identities are shaped. Despite the fact that it has been hemorrhaging economic clout since the late 1970s and the 1980s, and that its infrastructure is falling apart at the seams, Montreal remains an inspiring, dynamic city. Montreal’s creativity — its colourful population and the ideas they bring to life — is without a doubt the city’s greatest asset. And yet while other urban hubs are leveraging their cultural and linguistic diversity to build intellectual and economic corridors that connect them to the rest of the world, here in Quebec we are told (by our government, no less) that Montreal’s diversity is not an asset but a problem to be managed. There is too much pasta and caffè in our restaurants. Our artists are composing songs in the wrong languages. Our children are learning too much English in the classroom. These things must be regulated with new bills, laws and decrees. It reminds me of a line by urban thinker and activist Jane Jacobs in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961. Jacobs wrote: “There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.” And so it is. A History of Future Cities attests to the fact that a built urban environment is important. Dazzling feats of engineering, architectural brilliance, skylines of human-made steel and glass stalagmites are meant to be both inspiring and functional, a draw for the world’s financially and intellectually ambitious people. But one of the most compelling lines in the book — and the one that resonated with me as I pondered Montreal’s future in the world — was this: “The true city of the future is not simply the city with the tallest tower or the most stunning skyline but one that is piloted by the diverse, worldly, intelligent people it assembles and forges.” In other words, a fancy cityscape matters, but the people who live there matter more. For Quebec to succeed as it moves into the future — whether as a sovereign country or as part of the Canadian federation — it needs Montreal to thrive. Montreal’s place among future global cities will depend on not only attracting the world’s best and brightest, but allowing them the freedom to be diverse, to be themselves, and to be brilliant. celine.cooper@utoronto.ca Twitter: @CooperCeline © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Original source article: Cooper: Can Montreal become a ‘future city?’ Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Celine+Cooper+Montreal+become+future+city/8202375/story.html#ixzz2Puw40uY7
  11. Bronfman’s famous relatives fled the city long ago Macleans : Martin Patriquin There are a couple of reasons why Stephen Bronfman seems to be smiling more than usual these days. Having failed in his bid to purchase the Montreal Canadiens last year, the eldest child of billionaire Charles Bronfman got quite a consolation prize by luring the Habs’ former president Pierre Boivin to Claridge Inc., the private investment firm the 47-year-old has run for 15 years. Scoring Boivin, who will serve as Claridge’s president and CEO, is a coup for the small investment house: as one of Quebec’s most respected business minds, he was reportedly courted by some of the biggest companies in the province. Mostly, though, Stephen Bronfman is decidedly optimistic about the future of Montreal—which, coming from a Bronfman, is good news for the city. Though the family made their name and much of their fortune in Quebec through liquor behemoth Seagram’s, practically all of the members of the sprawling Bronfman family tree have left. The reason represents a familiar narrative in Quebec’s history: the province’s political upheaval, beginning with the election of the Parti Québécois in 1976, caused a monumental flight of capital, mostly to Toronto. This included Stephen’s cousins Peter and Edward, who departed shortly after selling off their ownership of les Canadiens in 1978. Stephen’s father Charles debarked for New York, while American cousin Edgar Jr.’s disastrous reign as head of Seagram’s is the stuff of dubious legend. Throughout it all, Stephen Bronfman has mostly stayed put in Montreal. “I guess I’m a bit more of a traditionalist, and very proud to be the last man standing, so to speak,” he says from his downtown office. “There’s a sense of history, tradition, pride of being third-generation Bronfman in Montreal.” Bronfman joined Claridge, the boutique investment firm started by his father, in 1991; four years later he negotiated a deal to buy Labatt’s broadcast assets; the ensuing company was sold to CTV in 1999, nearly doubling Claridge’s initial $45-million investment. That same year, Bronfman joined a group of investors attempting to keep the Expos in Montreal. One of Claridge’s recent successes was investing in SunOpta, an Ontario-based and publicly traded purveyor of organic foods. Claridge’s initial investment was $2 million in 2001; SunOpta’s sales have since grown sixfold to nearly $900 million in 2010. Canadian Business magazine deemed SunOpta stock to be the best cash-flow generator of 2010. Claridge has two new major construction projects in Montreal—Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre, a 2,000-unit housing development on 23 acres bordering the Lachine Canal, and Le Seville, a $120-million housing and retail development plunked down into what has been a decrepit void of western Ste. Catherine Street. The 450-unit development wasn’t without its hiccups: namely, a plan to bring organic grocer Whole Foods to the site fell through. “I think they got nervous about the climate, about doing business in a predominantly French market,” Bronfman says. These investments aren’t happenstance; as Bronfman notes, Montreal’s real estate market is doing quite well. Last year saw a nine per cent increase in housing sales volume, according to the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board. The city’s GDP, meanwhile, has increased by roughly 20 per cent since 2000—nothing flashy, but without the drastic dips faced by many North American cities recently. Bronfman’s decision to stay in Montreal through thick and thin has had a positive effect on the city’s anglophone community in particular, says McGill business professor Karl Moore. “The Bronfmans have a storied history here, and it’s encouraging to Anglo Montrealers that he’s stayed close to his roots here,” he says. “It’s good for the community, and suggests we should do the same.” As a smaller and private investment firm, Bronfman says Claridge is well-positioned to reap the benefits of Quebec’s peculiar business climate: the wariness to search out funding from big, out-of-province firms. “There’s always a bit of trepidation with local business people,” he says. “They’ve invested their life and their emotion into their business and they don’t want to have someone strip out their management just for the almighty dollar. We’ve won out a few deals where we’ve beaten multinationals by buying, say, a food business, maybe paid a little less, but the entrepreneur is much happier to do business with a local family office than a large corporation.” But what of Quebec’s old (but ever-present) political ghosts? After all, unpopular as it may be right now, the question of Quebec sovereignty remains a stubborn constant. Regardless, Bronfman is staying put. “That’s the nature of the beast,” he says of Montreal. “There’s always going to be ups and downs. It’s what makes Quebec an exciting place to live.”
  12. Hôpital St-Julien (1917-2011)

    When heritage is a rebuke By MARIAN SCOTT, The Gazette November 6, 2010 Yvon Lamothe, former maintenance foreman at St. Julien Hospital, says the vast building where many Duplessis orphans lived and suffered is a landmark that should be saved. Yvon Lamothe cho kes up with emotion when he talks about the vast mental hospital that has loomed over this lakeside village for 138 years. "We had certificates for being the cleanest hospital in Quebec. The hallways shone like a mirror," says Lamothe, 69, a former maintenance foreman at St. Julien Hospital, 200 kilometres east of Montreal, near Thetford Mines. In its heyday from 1940-1970, as many as 1,500 mental patients lived in the red brick asylum that stretches the length of three football fields along the main street. Now, the village of 2,000 is facing a future without the landmark, which closed in 2003. In the next few weeks, the Quebec government will issue a call for tenders to strip out asbestos and demolish the sprawling complex, including a 500-seat auditorium and chapel featuring multi-coloured interior brickwork, hand-forged copper medallions and soaring stained-glass windows. "You can't tear down this building," says Lamothe, who knows every inch of the sprawling complex built between 1917 and 1953 by the Sisters of Charity of Quebec. A previous structure dating to 1872 burned down in 1916. "This is a source of pride in a small place like here," he says. "You could have housing in this building. You could have a university." But Alice Quinton, 72, a patient at St. Julien Hospital from age seven to 23, welcomes the prospect of seeing it demolished. Quinton, who entered the hospital in 1945, was one of thousands of normal children falsely diagnosed as mentally retarded and confined to mental institutions under the reign of Premier Maurice Duplessis from 1936 to 1939 and 1944 to 1959. Advocates for the Duplessis orphans say doctors and religious orders helped perpetrate the fraud to collect federal subsidies for their care. Quinton endured beatings, being tied to metal bedsprings for weeks at a time and given anti-psychotic medications in the hospital for mentally-retarded women. "We were marked for life," says Quinton, now a 72-year-old grandmother in Longueuil whose ordeal is chronicled in a 1991 book by Pauline Gill that brought the orphans' plight to public attention, Les enfants de Duplessis (Editions Libre Expression). In 2004, Quinton received $27,575 under a $58.7-million program to compensate 3,191 Duplessis orphans who endured abuse in mental hospitals and orphanages. But nothing can make up for stolen childhoods in institutions where electroshock, beatings and solitary confinement were routinely meted out as punishment, says Quinton. "That hospital was a curse," she says. But Rod Vienneau of Joliette, a tireless advocate for the Duplessis orphans, suggested that tearing down the hospital will not help their cause. "Once it is torn down and they build apartment blocks, nobody will remember," says Vienneau, who would rather see the building remain as a monument to the orphans. The debate over St. Julien Hospital illustrates how, half a century after Duplessis's death, Quebecers remain conflicted over the legacy of an era when Roman Catholic orders took charge of education, health care and social services. For some, the nuns and brothers who founded schools, orphanages, hospitals and other institutions in every corner of the province were unpaid heroes who succoured society's rejects: the poor, homeless, sick and disabled. For others, they were the foot soldiers of a politico-religious hierarchy that jealously guarded its privileges and punished those who strayed -notably, unwed mothers and their babies. Wherever one stands on that controversy, many people would just as soon erasethememoryof placeslikeSt. Julien Hospital. "I'm very attached to heritage," says Andre Garant, 64, a retired history teacher and prolific author on the history of the neighbouring Beauce region. "But personally, if a building like St. Ferdinand disappears from the map, it wouldn't bother me. It's a black page in the history of Quebec." In 1872, six nuns from the Sisters of Charity of Quebec arrivedinthehamletof St. Ferdinand at the invitation of the local cure, Julien Bernier. They founded a hospice and girls' school, and within a year, 20 patients with intellectual disabilities -then considered an illness -were on their way from the overcrowded provincial asylum in Beauport. By the 1940s, nearly 1,000 patients filled St. Julien's 84-bed dormitories, each overseen by one or two nuns. J.P. Lamontagne, a tall, stern family doctor who practised in St. Ferdinand for 60 years, was medical director at the hospital, which had no psychiatrist. On June 6, 1937, a school bus deposited eight-year-old Albertine Allard at St. Julien. She would not see the outside world again until she was nearly 40. "When I got there, I cried and cried. I shed a lot of tears. After that, I got used to it," says Allard, 82, who now lives with two other former patients in a pleasant foster home overlooking Lake William. Allard believes she was born in Quebec City but doesn't know who her parents were or where they came from. "It was tough at the beginning. If you were bad, they put you in a cell to calm your nerves. I'll tell you the truth, Madame. I was very naughty. You can write that down." Allard's brown eyes dance as she recalls how she and some other children shut a hospital worker in a cupboard. But they become sombre when she remembers the punishments for misbehaving. "There are things we don't like to talk about," says Allard. "I was tied to some springs. No mattress. And then they put a bucket under the springs." Tied on their backs on coil bedsprings, their arms wrapped in a straitjacket, inmates urinated and defecated on the bed. Meals consisted of gruel administered by spoon. The punishment lasted a week or more. "When you get out of there, you have no more courage to play tricks," Allard says. Despite such horrors, she is not bitter. "Sometimes the nuns had to be strict because we were pretty rough," she says. "But I appreciated the nuns because they taught us to work. If we learned to work, it was thanks to them." Those inmates who were able to work scrubbed and waxed floors, darned garments, knit slippers and fed and washed other patients who were unable to care for themselves. Allard sewed mattresses from recycled felt hats, helped out in the electroshock room by helping to hold down subjects and bathed dead bodies. "I told myself, a dead person is less mean than one who's alive," says Allard, demonstrating how she was taught to glue corpses' eyes shut by inserting a folded piece of newspaper under the eyelid. But Myriam Kelly, 77, remains bitter over the abuse she suffered at St. Julien, including electroshock, injections of anti-psychotic drugs, beatings with chains, solitary confinement and ice-water baths followed by beatings with a scrubbing brush. Born to an anglophone family in Quebec City, Kelly lost most of her English after her mother placed her in an orphanage at age three. At six, she was transferred to St. Ferdinand until she was released at age 21 in 1954. "My mother was Protestant, so I came from the devil," says Kelly, the youngest of 12 children whose father died when she was two. Once, she heard a nun batter a small child to death for crying. "I was really martyred," said Kelly, now a Drummondville resident who recounts her sufferings in a book, Memoire desertee (deserted memory), written with Ginette Girard (Feuille-T-on, 2003). In his 2002 memoir Docteur et citoyen (Boreale), late Quebec cabinet minister Denis Lazure, who died in 2008, recalled his days as a young psychiatrist in Quebec asylums where generous use of tranquillizers, straitjackets, isolation cells and electroshock without medication were routine. Doctors injected patients with insulin to induce diabetic comas, from which some never awoke, Lazure wrote. During the Quiet Revolution in the 1960s, lay staff replaced nuns in key positions and employment boomed. When Luc Allaire became a cook at the hospital in 1960, about 150 employees, including 60 nuns, cared for more than 1,400 patients. Within 20 years, the ration of workers to patients had risen to nearly one-on-one. High-functioning patients, like Allard, moved out to rooms in the village but returned to the hospital every day to work and take part in activities. "We were like savages when we left the hospital," says Allard. "People didn't accept us, because they knew we came from St. Julien Hospital. We were the crazies." A 1984 wildcat strike by 717 orderlies caused bitter tensions and a successful class-action suit against the strikers on behalf of patients. The re-drawing of administrative regions in 1993 amputated most of the territory the hospital had formerly served, says Jacques Faucher, 66, a retired social worker who was in charge of deinstitutionalization at the hospital from 1973-1993. "Circumstances worked against us," he says. Patients were transferred to foster homes and other facilities in Thetford Mines and Victoriaville, and the hospital emptied. "When the ministry said the hospital no longer has a health-care vocation, I think they signed the death warrant for the hospital," says Faucher. Behind its low stone wall topped by a wrought iron fence, St. Julien Hospital looks as if it could spring to life at a moment's notice. "You could move in tomorrow," says Annmarie Adams, William C. Macdonald professor of architecture at McGill University. The hospital's monumental facade reads like an inventory of Quebec architecture, Adams notes, from the 1917 convent with its silver cupola at one end to the streamlined 1953 hospital wing at the other. "I think it's a fabulous illustration of the changing history of hospital design in the 20th century. You can almost read it as a timeline from the '20s through to the '50s," Adams says. Razing St. Julien Hospital would be a wasteful blunder, says Adams, who notes that many former asylums elsewhere in North America and in Europe have been recycled as condos, colleges, seniors' complexes and hotels. St. Julien Hospital is in near-perfect condition, Adams notes, in contrast to many of those structures, such as Buffalo's Richardson Olmsted Complex, a former state asylum. "It's like yanking the heart out of the town," Adams said of the demolition plan. But Danielle Dussault, a spokesperson for the Corporation d'hebergement du Quebec (CHQ), the real-estate arm of the province's health and social services ministry, said the agency was unable to find a qualified buyer when it advertised the building in 2008. The government was prepared to give the building away for a dollar if the buyer assumed all costs related to upkeep and was entirely self-financing, she says. "Just the cost of heating and maintaining it is $1.2 million a year -and it's empty," says Dussault. She would not provide estimates on the cost of the multimillion-dollar demolition, which will be spread over three years. Filmmaker Serge Gagne wasamongagroupof St. Ferdinand residents who submitted a bid to acquire the former hospital in 2008. The Cooperative de developpement local de St. Ferdinand (COSODE-LO) proposed to convert the property for housing, cultural activities, a rural research centre and greenhouses. "This is a jewel for the village," says Gagne, who bemoaned that municipal and provincial politicians did little to save the building. "The COSODELO was a social project that would have benefitted people here." The CHQ rejected the proposal from because the project would have required government subsidies. In the rear of the hospital, row after row of grim, caged balconies and a prison-like catwalk stare out over a fenced pool and playground with rusting swings. A peeling summer pavilion strikes a mournful note under a lowering sky. "All is sadness. The vibrations are very powerful," says Andre Bourassa, president of the Quebec Order of Architects and a longtime advocate for saving the hospital. "It is a major social point of reference, a (former) local industry and an architectural landmark," says Bourassa. Negative associations with the Duplessis era are one reason buildings like St. Julien Hospital are underappreciated, says Tania Martin, a Canada Research Chair in Built Religious Heritage and associate professor at of architecture at Universite Laval. "It's the backlash of the Quiet Revolution," she says. Martin says it is senseless to sacrifice the hospital, which is ideal for a large institution like a university or for other purposes like housing or a hotel. "Can't we be more imaginative? Is there a need that this building can respond to?" she asks. "If we're going to look at it from the point of view of sustainable development, the greenest building is the one that is already built," Martin adds. Gagne continues to hope for an 11th-hour reprieve. "Here in Quebec, we say, 'Je me souviens,' but we demolish everything. "This is a witness to our history. To destroy it would be to eliminate part of our history and we don't have the right." mascot@montrealgazette.com © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/When+heritage+rebuke/3786992/story.html#ixzz14XcJ84E3
  13. Its a video montage of Montreal and its history. Qwiki
  14. Un petit truc que je n'avais pas vu venir, mais très intéressant pour la ville (je ne savais pas où mettre ça. Alors j'ai choisi le thread "complétés"): http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec/mcgill-gets-the-gift-of-time/article1729241/
  15. McGill gets the gift of time

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec/mcgill-gets-the-gift-of-time/article1729241/
  16. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Great read. I was wondering what was going on. Time to bring the Capital of Canada back to Montreal and make the Capital of Quebec in Montreal! As Obama said "Yes, we can!"
  17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/world_news_america/8681796.stm
  18. (Courtesy of Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of History and Archaeology) :goodvibes:
  19. Texas conservatives rewrite history

    (Courtesy of The Guardian UK) I wonder if anyone from the PQ or BQ heard or read about this Probably not seeing they dislike the English language. So I guess Canadian / Quebec history is safe for now, until one of them comes out of their narrow-minded shell and sees this
  20. Canada's last known Great War vet dies

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Canada+last+known+Great+dies/2583337/story.html#ixzz0fx2D0x3D
  21. Technoparc Montréal

    The Montreal Technoparc Montreal, Quebec The master plan for the Montreal Technoparc has been designed with respect of the individual needs of each research entreprise and a provision for interrelations and conviviality between the different companies who will reside there. This concept has been expressed by placing the buildings along a central mall, facing the public space with private areas behind each building. This design includes the development of guidelines for buildings, circulation corridors as well as landscape elements. The central public space for this "high tech" campus includes a fountain integrating a unique water feature with a flame, inspired from past history of the site.
  22. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/montreals-missing-heritage-found-in-calgary/article1367583/
  23. --------- Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2213052#ixzz0WhI1FjFh What an excellent idea! It's about time that new immigrants are taught that they have responsibilities after immigrating here!
  24. Posté ici pour ceux qui sont intéressés. Posted here for those that are interested.