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  1. MONTREAL - It’s the talk of downtown: big changes are said to be coming to Ogilvy’s and Holt Renfrew. The buzz is that Holt’s will close in its current location, move into Ogilvy’s, and the Art Deco Holt building will become condos. Sales staff in the area worry about their jobs, while merchants wonder what effect the loss of a retail anchor on Sherbrooke St. W. would have on the foot traffic for boutiques on Crescent and de la Montagne Sts. The rumours come after Selfridges Group Ltd., owners of Holt Renfrew, acquired Ogilvy’s this summer. Terms for the sale, which closed on Sept. 8, were not disclosed. The sale came just a year after a consortium of Quebec real estate investors bought the historic department store. “As of now, it’s business as usual for both,’’ said Jean-Sébastien Lamoureux, a spokesman for SGL, part of the billionaire Weston family’s empire. The Toronto family also owns Selfridges department store in the United Kingdom, stores in Ireland and the Netherlands, and controls Canada’s Loblaw grocery chain. An Ogilvy’s branch at Quartier Dix30 had been set to open next August. SGL still plans to open a store in Phase 3 of the South Shore mall, but no date for the opening has been set, said Lamoureux of National Public Relations. “Rumour is rumour,’’ said Ogilvy president Michel Théroux. “There’s no way to kill a rumour.” “The owners are studying a lot of scenarios,’’ Théroux said, emphasizing he has no information on any changes. He, too, tells employees it’s business as usual. A retail analyst, as well as executives speaking off the record, say that merging Holt Renfrew and Ogilvy’s stores is logical. The big question, said one source, is the future of Ogilvy’s as a heritage brand. “They’re not looking to walk away from it as brand, but it won’t be the name on the door,’’ the source said, adding that Ogilvy’s has great recognition and appeals to many people who don’t shop at Holt’s. “Heritage and tradition is worth something, but at the end of the day – I don’t know. We’re all waiting.” Holt’s has about 64,000 square feet of selling space compared with Ogilvy’s 120,000 square feet. About 80 per cent of Ogilvy’s is leased to boutiques, including Louis Vuitton, Ports, Les Chaussures Ogilvy (actually run by Jean-Paul Fortin shoes) and the large Design Louis George boutique on the fourth floor. Holt’s, with 11 stores across Canada, leases space to Hermès, Chanel, Links, Max Mara and the fur boutique. The future of many of those leased boutiques is at risk, a source said, wondering how the brands from the two stores will be merged. The source said Holt Renfrew has to face up to competition across Canada and in Montreal, with U.S. chains moving in and with the online shopping onslaught . “It’s time for a wow store in Montreal,’’ the source said. “I don’t know where the bagpipes will be.” Whatever is in store is years away, observers say. Asked whether Montreal can afford two high-end department stores, consumer analyst Neil Linsdell said there is definitely enough money here. “But when you get on that very high end, you’re not competing with everyone else in Montreal, because you probably have more travelled customers,’’ said Linsdell, of investment bank Versant Partners. “To a certain extent, you’re probably competing with London, New York.” In every sector, the selection is greater in the U.S., he added. “You can be very successful at either end of the market, high end or low end. Everybody is being squeezed in the middle,’’ Linsdell said. “High end is probably a better place to be.’’ To Théroux, Montreal has had room for the two high-end stores in the past, so he sees no reason that should not be in the case in the future. That said, Montreal is a small market and not a shopping destination for well-heeled tourists. “It’s not Toronto, it’s not New York. So you have to be a little bit different – offer things that people enjoy and like. We have to be humble,’’ he said. “Let’s address quality for the Montreal market.’’ He said the Louis Vuitton boutique at Ogilvy’s does very well; its accessories are affordable for many people. “But can we have a Prada boutique (with a) full assortment, etc., etc.? I’m not sure.” Real estate agent Liza Kaufman, who sells the adjacent Ritz condos, had heard the rumours, too. She said she thinks nobody really knows the plan. “There is going to be a Holt Renfrew,’’ she said. “Holt’s is a national brand. Ogilvy’s is only local. I do love Holt Renfrew. I love the location, obviously. Having said that, the store is small.’’ She and her clients travel and do a lot of their shopping elsewhere, she said, for the greater selection and the better prices. Kaufman said she thinks it’s business as usual for five years. As for possible changes to the real estate on Sherbrooke St. W., she suggested storefronts could remain on Sherbrooke St. W. even if the building becomes condos. “I would hope that other retailers take over that space if Holt’s does move,’’ Kaufman said. Linsdell noted that the demographics of an aging population favour the construction of more condos in the downtown area. And on the city council side: “There seems to be a war on the commuter.” Linsdell does not predict a major backlash from Montrealers by a move to Ogilvy’s by Holt Renfrew. It could be considered just a real estate play, he said, with Holt’s moving to the much roomier Ogilvy quarters and not losing that much in the availability of product.“There’s the immediate payoff on the real estate, selling it to a condo developer,’’ he said. Last week, the Quartier du Musée association staged a fashion show featuring designers in the area. Marie Rouzaud, coordinator of the group, said the goal is to keep designers and artisans – be it fashion or chocolate – and small businesses in the area. “We suffered because of the construction. Everywhere downtown is difficult, because parking is expensive, taxes are high,’’ Rouzaud said. “It’s hard to survive. Boutiques close, and big chains come in. Downtown must keep its authenticity,’’ she said. “If Holt Renfrew moves, it will be sad for the quartier.’’ The arrival of Montreal’s first Anthropologie, a U.S. chain store with a devoted following, and Tiffany’s jewellers is seen as good news in the short term. Both are expected to open early next year, Anthropologie next to Holt’s on de la Montagne, Tiffany’s in the new Ritz condo project on Sherbrooke. Designer Michel Desjardins, who opened a bright atelier-boutique on Crescent St. two years ago, said he likes the shopping corridor created by Holt’s and Ogilvy’s from Sherbrooke to Ste. Catherine St. “The circuit would be broken,’’ he said, if Holt’s were to wind up on Ste. Catherine, which he characterizes as less luxe than Sherbrooke. For Sally Yep, a boutique owner on de la Montagne, it’s difficult to imagine the merging of the two stores. “You always think of them as being separate fashion visions. I have the impression that Holt’s is going to stay strong,’’ she said. “Holt is the dominant brand. Ogilvy has more tradition.” Another merchant, not wishing to be named, also spoke of the different characters of the two stores. “It would be terrible without a free-standing Holt Renfrew and Ogilvy,’’ she said. “There is a clientele that is loyal to these stores.’’ http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/changes+predicted+Ogilvy+Holt+Renfrew/5756714/story.html
  2. http://www.thestar.com/travel/northamerica/article/805447--echoes-of-montreal-in-louisville
  3. Note Personnelle: Cet articles va à tout ces gens négatifs qui visites trop souvent ce forum. Peut-être qu'on pourrait transformer "La Féria du Vélo" en élément touristique, imaginez cette année 33k cyclistes mais d'ici quelques années, un événement d'une semaine avec championnat du monde (comme en ce moment, mais en plus gros) un tour du Québec qui termine TOUJOURS à Montréal, prélude au tour de France (début Juillet). et un grand tour de l'île avec 100 000 cyclistes de partout dans le monde. c'est pas le grand prix, mais ça serait l'fun quand même. Et imaginez, ce commentaire viens de moi qui n'a pas embarqué sur un vélo (qui n'était pas stationnaire) depuis probablement 10ans. Source: The Examiners: NY I've just returned from a cycling paradise, and it’s got a French-Canadian accent. If you don't approve of adjectives like "magnificent," "joyous," "awesome," and "delightful,” better stop reading now, because all of them apply to Montreal's Tour de L'Ile, one of recreational cycling's greatest events in one of the world's greatest cities for bicycling. Yesterday this spectacular rally celebrated its 25th year. More than 33,000 riders took part in the 52 km. ride, according to Joelle Sevigny, executive director of Velo Quebec, the organization that produces the ride, and it seemed as though every man, woman, boy and girl participant wore a smile as part of their attire. It’s not my style to enjoy riding in the company with thousands of strangers. Not my style to bike on a rented utilitarian hybrid so uncool it had a kickstand. Not really my style to go overboard with praise. But I can’t help myself. Good golly, Miss Molly -- do these folks know how to throw a party! Cirque du Soleil stunt riders at the start, Quebec singer/songwriter Daniel Belanger at the finish, and miles of car-free mostly flat roadway in between, patrolled by singing, horn-tooting, chanting volunteers…. That’s a blueprint for a perfect bicycle Sunday. Oh, and the weather was perfect. Around 70 degrees and sunny, with a nice breeze. The ride slowly unfurls Montreal’s parks, high-rise downtown, chic shopping districts, ethnic neighborhoods and rivers like a beautiful multicultural flag. If you have never done this ride, write “Montreal” on your early June 2010 calendar now. When it comes to metropolitan biking, Montreal gets it. The city has tons of bike lanes. It’s got “Bixi,” a brand-new bike-sharing system. It has ferries with an entire deck of bike racks. I’ve rarely been in a big-city environment with such courteous auto drivers, respectful cyclists and an overall joie de vivre that is as infectious as it is real. The Tour de L’Ile in Montreal reminds us of what biking is all about – physical fitness, fresh air, and most of all, fun.
  4. Article intéressant dans le NYMAG : The Psychological Cost of Boring Buildings By Jacoba Urist April 12, 2016 10:56 a.m. <cite class="credit">Photo: Philip Laurell/Getty Images </cite>New Yorkers have long bemoaned their city being overrun by bland office towers and chain stores: Soon, it seems, every corner will either be a bank, a Walgreens, or a Starbucks. And there is indeed evidence that all cities are starting to look the same, which can hurt local growth and wages. But there could be more than an economic or nostalgic price to impersonal retail and high-rise construction: Boring architecture may take an emotional toll on the people forced to live in and around it. A growing body of research in cognitive science illuminates the physical and mental toll bland cityscapes exact on residents. Generally, these researchers argue that humans are healthier when they live among variety — a cacophony of bars, bodegas, and independent shops — or work in well-designed, unique spaces, rather than unattractive, generic ones. In their book, Cognitive Architecture: Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment, Tufts urban policy professor Justin Hollander and architect Ann Sussman review scientific data to help architects and urban planners understand how, exactly, we respond to our built surroundings. People, they argue, function best in intricate settings and crave variety, not “big, blank, boxy buildings.” Indeed, that’s what Colin Ellard, a neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo and director of its Urban Realities Laboratory, has found in his own work. Five years ago, Ellard became interested in a particular building on East Houston Street — the gigantic Whole Foods “plopped into” a notoriously textured part of lower Manhattan. As described in his book, titled Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life, Ellard partnered with the Guggenheim Museum’s urban think tank to analyze what happens when someone “turns out of a tiny, historic [knish] restaurant” and encounters a full city block with nothing but “the long, blank façade of the Whole Foods Market.” The Whole Foods on Houston. In 2011, Ellard led small groups on carefully planned Lower East Side walks to measure the effect of the urban environment on their bodies and minds. Participants recorded their response to questions at each stopping point and wore sensors that measured skin conductance, an electrodermal response to emotional excitement. Passing the monolithic Whole Foods, people’s state of arousal reached a nadir in Ellard’s project. Physiologically, he explained, they were bored. In their descriptions of this particular place, they used words like bland, monotonous, and passionless. In contrast, one block east of the Whole Foods on East Houston, at the other test site — a “lively sea of restaurants with lots of open doors and windows” — people’s bracelets measured high levels of physical excitement, and they listed words like lively, busy, and socializing. “The holy grail in urban design is to produce some kind of novelty or change every few seconds,” Ellard said. “Otherwise, we become cognitively disengaged.” The Whole Foods may have gentrified the neighborhood with more high-quality organic groceries, but the building itself stifled people. Its architecture blah-ness made their minds and bodies go meh. And studies show that feeling meh can be more than a passing nuisance. For instance, psychologists Colleen Merrifield and James Danckert’s work suggests that even small doses of boredom can generate stress. People in their experiment watched three videos — one boring, one sad, and one interesting – while wearing electrodes to measure their physiological responses. Boredom, surprisingly, increased people’s heart rate and cortisol level more than sadness. Now take their findings and imagine the cumulative effects of living or working in the same oppressively dull environs day after day, said Ellard. There might even be a potential link between mind-numbing places and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. In one case, physicians have linked “environmental deprivation” to ADHD in children. Homes without toys, art, or other stimuli were a significant predictor of ADHD symptoms.Meanwhile, the prevalence of U.S. adults treated for attention deficit is rising. And while people may generally be hardwired for variety, Dr. Richard Friedman, director of the pharmacology clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, makes the case that those with ADHD are especially novelty-seeking. Friedman points to a patient who “treated” his ADHD by changing his workday from one that was highly routine — a standard desk job — to a start-up, which has him “on the road, constantly changing environments.” Most ADD is the result of biological factors, said Dr. Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD, and co-authored numerous books on the subject, such as Delivered From Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life With Attention Deficit Disorder. But, he explained, he sees a lot of socially induced ADD, too, a form of the disorder that makes it appear as though you inherited the genes, although you really haven’t. And one way you might have the socially induced condition, according to Hallowell, is to suffer severe boredom or live in a highly nonstimulating environment. “It makes total sense that for these people changing where they work or live to add more visual stimulation and daily variety could be extremely helpful,” Hallowell said. At the same time, many adults may feel they have ADHD because the world has become hypersaturated with constant texts, emails, and input. For them, life has become too adrenalizing. “They don’t have true ADHD,” Hallowell said, “but, rather, what I call a severe case of modern life.” So the trick, it seems, is to design a world that excites but doesn’t overly assault our faculties with a constant barrage of information: Scientists aren’t proposing that all cities look like the Vegas strip or Times Square. “We are, as animals, programmed to respond to thrill,” said professor Brendan Walker, a former aerospace engineer and author of Taxonomy of Thrill and Thrilling Designs. In Walker’s University of Nottingham “thrill laboratory,” devices gauge heart rate and skin conductance to see how people respond to adrenaline-producing experiences such as a roller-coaster ride. And he’s reduced “thrill” to a set of multivariable equations that illustrate the importance of rapid variation in our lives: A thrilling encounter moves us quickly from a state of equilibrium to a kind of desirable “disorientation,” like the moment before you rush down the hill of a roller coaster. “Humans want a certain element of turmoil or confusion,” he said. “Complexity is thrilling whether in an amusement park or architecture.” Environmental thrill and visual variety, Walker believes, help people’s psyche. As many of us instinctively feel a wave of ennui at the thought of working all day in a maze of soulless, white cubicles, blocks of generic buildings stub our senses. It’s not only that we’re genetic adrenaline junkies. Psychologists have found that jaw-dropping or awe-inspiring moments — picture the exhilarating view of the Grand Canyon or Paris from the Eiffel tower — can potentially improve our 21st-century well-being. One study showed that the feeling of awe can make people more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to help others. In an experiment, researchers showed students 60-second clips of waterfalls, whales, or astronauts in space. After only a minute of virtual images, those who said they were awed also felt less pressed for time. In a second experiment, individuals recalled “an awe-inspiring” event and then answered a range of survey questions; they were also more likely to say they’d volunteer for a charity, as compared to those who hadn’t spent time thinking about a past moment of awe. And in yet another variation, people made hypothetical choices between material and experiential goods of equal monetary value: a watchor a Broadway show, a jacket or a restaurant meal. Those who recently “felt awe” were more likely to choose an experience over a physical possession, a choice that is linked with greater satisfaction in the long run. In other words, a visual buzz — whether architectural or natural — might have the ability to change our frame of mind, making modern-day life more satisfying and interactive. It’s important to note, however, that architectural boredom isn’t about how pristine a street is. People often confuse successful architecture with whether an area looks pleasant. On the contrary, when it comes to city buildings, people often focus too narrowly on aesthetics, said Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City: Transforming Our Through Urban Design. But good design is really is about “shaping emotional infrastructure.” Some of the happiest blocks in New York City, he argues, are “kind of ugly and messy.” For instance, Ellard’s “happier” East Houston block is a “jumbled-up, social one”— the Whole Foods stretch, in comparison, is newer and more manicured. Sometimes what’s best for us, Montgomery explained, just isn’t that pretty. His research also shows cacophonous blocks may make people kinder to each other. In 2014, Montgomery’s Happy City lab conducted a Seattle experiment in which he found a strong correlation between messier blocks and pro-social behavior. Montgomery sent researchers, posing as lost tourists, to places he coded as either “active façades” — with a high level of visual interest — or “inactive façades” (like long warehouse blocks). Pedestrians at active sites were nearly five times more likely to offer help than at inactive ones. Of those who helped, seven times as many at the active site offered use of their phone; four times as many offered to lead the “lost tourist” to their destination. Fortunately, it’s not necessarily a dichotomy — new architecture can achieve the optimal level of cacophony and beauty. Take the 2006 Hearst Tower in midtown Manhattan. From the outside, the façade is likely to jolt city dwellers — if anything will — from their daily commutes, while “thrilling” employees who enter it each morning. Designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize–winning architect Norman Foster, Hearst Tower is a glass-and-steel skyscraper, 40 stories of which are designed in a triangular pattern contrasting the 1920s Art Deco base. For many who walk by, Hearst Tower’s design may not be the easiest to understand; it’s both sleek and old. The top looks like it traveled from the future. Inside, workers travel upon diagonal escalators, up a three-story water sculpture, through the tower’s historic atrium” flooded with light. It’s not the view from the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canyon, but it’s probably as close a modern lobby can come to awe-inspiring. Few New Yorkers who pass by would find this building boring. And they’re likely happier — maybe even nicer to each other — because of it. <cite class="credit"></cite>
  5. http://www.citylab.com/politics/2014/07/paris-wants-landlords-to-turn-vacant-office-space-into-apartmentsor-else/374388/ Paris Wants Landlords to Turn Vacant Office Space Into Apartments—Or Else The city has a surplus of empty commercial buildings that could better serve as residences. And it plans to fine owners who don't convert. FEARGUS O'SULLIVAN <figure class="lead-image" style="margin: 0px; max-width: 620px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Oxygen, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 17px;"><figcaption class="credit" style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153); font-size: 0.82353em; text-align: right;">Justin Black/Shutterstock.com</figcaption></figure>Leave your office space unrented and we’ll fine you. That’s the new ruledeclared by the city of Paris last week. Currently, between six and seven percent of Paris' 18 million square meters of office space is unused, and the city wants to get this vacant office space revamped and occupied by residents. The penalties for unrented space will be as follows: 20 percent of the property’s rental value in the first year of vacancy, 30 percent in the second year and 40 percent in the third year. The plan is to free up about 200,000 square meters of office space for homes, which would still leave a substantial amount of office space available should demand pick up. The city insists that, while the sums involved are potentially large, this isn’t a new tax but an incentive. And, if it has the right effect in getting property re-occupied, may end up being little-used. Landlords' groups are taking the new plan as well as can be expected. They’ve pointed out that, while the cost of the fines might be high, it could still cost them less to pay them than to convert their properties to homes. According to a property investor quoted in Le Figaro, the cost of transforming an office into apartments can actually be 20 to 25 percent more expensive than constructing an entirely new building. Many landlords might be unwilling or unable to undertake such a process and thus be forced to sell in a market where, thanks to a glut of available real estate, prices are falling. There is also the question of how easy the law will be to enforce: Landlords could rent out vacant properties at a token rent simply to avoid the vacancy fine. <aside class="pullquote instapaper_ignore" style="font-family: Bitter, Georgia, 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 2.11765em; line-height: 1.05556; border-top-width: 5px; border-top-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 25px 0px; margin: 30px 0px;">As Paris becomes a laboratory for new legislation to make homes more plentiful and affordable, other European cities would do well to watch it carefully. </aside>It’s too early to see if these predictions will come true, but past experience in smaller French property markets suggests it won’t. The fines have already been introduced elsewhere in France: in the country’s fourth city of Lille (governed by the Socialist party) and in the Parisian satellite town of St Quentin-en-Yvelines (governed by the right wing UMP). So far, neither has experienced a legislation-exacerbated property slump. It’s also fair to point out that Paris is asking for a round of belt tightening from pretty much every group involved in the city’s real estate. The new levy is part of a plan announced last month that will also pressure state and semi-public bodies to release Parisian land for home building. Paris has some fairly large reserves of this, including space currently owned by the state health authority, by the national railway network and by the RATP—Paris’ transit authority, on whose unused land alone 2,000 homes could be built. In the meantime, stringent planning laws are also being relaxed to cut development costs for office converters. They will no longer, for example, be obliged to provide parking spaces for new homes, as they had been until the law change. Finally, starting next year, landlords will get an incentive to rent their properties to financially riskier lower-income tenants by having their rents and deposits guaranteed by a new intermediary, a public/private agency called Multiloc. Coming on top of laws that have relaxed building-height restrictionson the Paris periphery, it’s clear that, for Paris developers and landowners, there’s a decent ratio of carrot to stick. But will it all work? At the very least, Paris deserves recognition for being proactive, especially on a continent where many cities’ grip on the property sector is floundering. Berlin has recently had major new homebuilding plansrejected by residents (for good reason—they were due to get a bad deal), while the U.K.’s number of newly built homes has actually gone down, despite property prices continuing to rise sharply. As Paris becomes a laboratory for new legislation to make homes more plentiful and affordable, other European cities would do well to watch it carefully. (Photo credit: Justin Black/Shutterstock.com)
  6. Carte intéressante sur la répartition des types d'industries par arrondissement : Via Montreal Gazette : http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/maps-whos-putting-montrealers-to-work Maps show who's putting Montrealers to work ROBERTO ROCHA, MONTREAL GAZETTE Published on: October 23, 2014Last Updated: October 28, 2014 2:06 PM EDT If you want a job at a clothing store, you’ll have better chances finding work in St-Léonard. But if working at a private residence is your thing, Hampstead is a good place too look. Data released by Montreal’s statistics bureau breaks down the number of jobs in each industry, for every borough and demerged suburb. The data confirms obvious truths — that the main industry in Dorval is transportation, and that manufacturing is heavy in St-Laurent and the east end — but it also offer some surprises. The data details the number of jobs in each type of industry and workplace. These are jobs that exist inside a borough’s or city’s borders, not the jobs of residents who live in those places. There’s a large swath, stretching from Pierrefonds to Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, where the dominant industry is health care and social services. And though it’s no surprise that places like Ville-Marie and Westmount would be heavy in professional services, but Sud-Ouest is less obvious. We can assume the condo boom in Griffintown, as well as the gentrification of Pointe St-Charles created demand for skilled workers. However, only 13 per cent of jobs in Sud-Ouest are in that field, which suggests the borough has a rich diversity of jobs. However, this maps only gives us a big-picture view of general industries. The data also breaks down the number of jobs by more granular workplaces. Here’s another map, this time by type of employer. We see that the boroughs where health and social services are strong are split between hospitals and schools as main employers. Banking, not surprisingly, is the main employer downtown, while the top job in the Plateau is in restaurants. Surprisingly, it’s the same in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. And did you ever imagine so many people in Montreal-East worked in furniture stores? Or that the federal government employs lots of Westmounters? A curious outlier is Hampstead, which has, as the dominant employer, private households. These refer to domestic labour, like cleaners, maids and cooks. “Being a city with one of the highest incomes in the region, it’s plausible to find so many jobs in that sub-category,” said Yan Beaumont, researcher at Montréal en statistiques. Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue also stands out, with colleges and CEGEPs being the main employer. The tiny, partly rural city is home to John Abbott College and Gérand Godin College. Here is the summary of the data for the three levels of the Montreal area. [TABLE=class: grid, width: 600] [TR] [TD][/TD] [TD]Montreal metropolitan region[/TD] [TD]Montreal agglomeration[/TD] [TD]City of Montreal[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Largest industry[/TD] [TD]Retail[/TD] [TD]Health care and social services[/TD] [TD]Health care and social services[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Second-largest industry[/TD] [TD]Health care and social services[/TD] [TD]Manufacturing[/TD] [TD]Professional, scientific, and technical services[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Largest employer[/TD] [TD]Hospitals[/TD] [TD]Hospitals[/TD] [TD]Hospitals[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Second largest employer[/TD] [TD]Primary and secondary schools[/TD] [TD]Primary and secondary schools[/TD] [TD]Primary and secondary schools[/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] Full data sheet at the end of the article
  7. Stage is set for Montreal to grow as a technology startup hub BERTRAND MAROTTE MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail Burgeoning tech companies are on the rise in Canada, attracting funding and IPO buzz in hubs across the country. Our occasional series explores how each locale nurtures its entrepreneurs, the challenges they face and the rising stars we’re watching. Montreal provides an ideal setting for the early care and feeding of tech startups. The city boasts a lively cultural milieu, a party-hearty mindset, cheap rents and a bargain-priced talent pool. ALSO ON THE GLOBE AND MAIL MULTIMEDIAStartup city: The high-tech fever reshaping Kitchener-Waterloo What it doesn’t have, though, is sufficient critical mass to propel promising tech companies forward in their later stages. Case in point: VarageSale Inc., the mobile app and listings marketplace that serial entrepreneur Carl Mercier co-founded with his wife Tami Zuckerman three years ago. Mr. Mercier and Ms. Zuckerman were quite content in the early going with the Montreal zeitgeist and support from the city’s tightly knit startup community as they nurtured their baby, a combination virtual garage sale, swap meet and social meeting place. But as VarageSale took off, the burgeoning company was no longer able to feed its growth relying only on Montreal resources. Mr. Mercier eventually opened an office in Toronto to tap into the wider and deeper software-developer talent pool in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor and he ultimately decided to move the head office to the Queen City. “We were growing extremely fast. We were hiring like gangbusters in Montreal but we needed to hire even faster, so we decided we needed two talent pools, but Toronto ended up growing faster than Montreal,” Mr. Mercier explains. “Occasionally, we will hire people in Montreal. “There’s a vibrant startup scene [in Montreal]. It’s not a big startup scene but it’s a vibrant one,” he adds. “There is lots of activity, a lot of events, a lot of early-stage capital. Startups can get off the ground cheaply and quickly.” It’s the later stages that present problems, according to successful local entrepreneur and angel investor Daniel Robichaud, whose password-management firm PasswordBox Inc. was bought last year by U.S. chip giant Intel. “Montreal is a terrific place to build a product but it’s not where the action is. It’s not a place to raise funding,” Mr. Robichaud said in a recent industry conference presentation. Montreal startup founders often find themselves having no choice but to move to bigger playgrounds because of a still-embryonic domestic investor scene, says Université de Montréal artificial intelligence researcher Joshua Bengio. The startup sphere in Montreal is “quite active, but the investors are too faint-hearted and short-term oriented, and so the developers often go elsewhere, particularly California and New York,” he said. In true Quebec Inc. fashion, the provincial government and labour funds have stepped in to fill the gap of funding homegrown companies. A key player is Teralys Capital, a fund manager that finances private venture capital funds that is backed by a score of provincial players – including the mighty pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the labour fund Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Investissement Québec – said Chris Arseneault, co-founder of Montreal-based early-stage venture capital firm iNovia Capital. “They’ve been the most creative groups to try and put money at work,” he says about Teralys and its backers. Startup directory BuiltinMtl, has about 520 Montreal startups listed (excluding biotechs, film-and-tv-production houses or video-game developers). The actual number is probably closer to a “few thousand” if very early-stage startups still under the radar are included, according to Andrew Popliger, senior manager in PricewaterhouseCooper’s Assurance practice. Data from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association indicate venture capital firms invested $295-million in Quebec last year – just 15 per cent of the Canadian total – compared with $932-million in Ontario and $554-million in B.C. Most insiders and observers agree that what works in the Montreal tech “ecosystem” is a strong sense of community. There is a spirit of collaboration and collective vision. Notman House, a repurposed mansion adjacent to Sherbrooke Street’s famous Golden Square Mile, which sits at the crossroads of the city’s tech startup scene, rents office and workstation space, stages events, and acts as an incubator and networking locale and launch pad for budding companies seeking their big break. It represents everything that makes Montreal distinct in the North American startup sphere, says Noah Redler, the venue’s campus director. “We’re not just an incubator. We’re a community centre. We bring people together and collaborate. People are supported and surrounded by [successful] entrepreneurs,” he said. “There are more startups in the Waterloo area but there is more of a community feeling in Montreal,” says Katherine Barr, the Canadian-born co-chair of C100, a Silicon Valley expat group that helps connect Canadian entrepreneurs with U.S. investors. “They’ve built a real community here. Like Silicon Valley, its co-opetition, both competing and helping each other,” Ms. Barr said during a break at AccelerateMTL, an annual conference that brings together “founders and funders.” There may not be as great a number of head offices as in Toronto but the potential for big breakthroughs in Montreal is impressive, says John Ruffolo, chief executive officer of OMERS Ventures, the venture arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. “For Montreal, it’s only a matter of time. They’re going to have their Shopify,” he says in reference to the Ottawa-based e-commerce platform that has become a stock market star. For now though, Montreal may have to settle for being a relatively small player and modest incubator of talent and ideas on the North American startup scene, even compared with Vancouver and Toronto.
  8. http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/good-architecture-pays-french-expert <header class="entry-header" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 15px; line-height: 24px; font-family: BentonSans-Regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">The good, the bad and the ugly: French expert assesses Montreal architecture MARIAN SCOTT, MONTREAL GAZETTE More from Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette Published on: April 13, 2016 | Last Updated: April 13, 2016 7:00 AM EDT </header><figure class="align-none wp-caption post-img" id="post-783124media-783124" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="http://wpmedia.montrealgazette.com/2016/04/montreal-que-april-6-2016-emmanuel-caille-is-an-edito.jpeg?quality=55&strip=all&w=840&h=630&crop=1" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text" itemprop="description" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Emmanuel Calle, editor of the French architecture magazine "d'a", at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Caille shared his thoughts on Montreal's architecture. MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER </figcaption></figure>SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT What would an international expert think of Montreal’s recent architecture? To find out, the Montreal Gazette took French architecture critic Emmanuel Caille on a walking tour of downtown and Griffintown. He also visited the $52.6-million indoor soccer stadium that opened last year in the St-Michel district. Caille, the editor of the Paris-based architecture magazine “d’a”, was in town to take part in a panel discussion last week on architectural criticism, organized by the Maison de l’architecture du Québec and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Caille’s verdict on our fair city ranged from a thumbs-up for the pricey new soccer stadium to shocked incredulity over a new hotel annex to the Mount Stephen Club, a historic mansion at 1440 Drummond St. <figure id="attachment_783141" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 1000px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> The Mount Stephen Club. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>Built from 1880-83 for Lord Mount Stephen, the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, it has been in the news recently after suffering structural damage during construction of the annex. Caille, an architect as well as an editor, did not comment on the structural problems, but he did give a visual assessment of the hotel addition, an 11-storey cement-panel structure tucked behind the mansion. “It’s quite brutal in the city,” he said. From de Maisonneuve Blvd., the hotel addition presents a view of three blank walls with a shed-style roof. “It’s astonishing. It’s bizarre,” he said. Caille was also perplexed by the front façade, dotted with small windows of different sizes. “What is not obvious is what relationship there is between this building and the mansion. I don’t see any,” he added. The hotel addition shows why projects should not be conceived in isolation, Caille said. City planners should have put forward a vision for the entire block, which includes an outdoor parking lot on de la Montagne St. that would have made a better site for a high rise, he said. Interesting alleyways and outdoor spaces could have been included, he said. “Everybody is turning their back to one another,” he said of how the different properties on the block don’t relate to each other. At the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Sherbrooke St., Caille said a glass condo addition completed in 2013 is a good example of how to update a historic building for modern use. But he criticized white PVC windows on the hotel’s Sherbrooke St. façade for their thick frames and mullions, which don’t suit the building. “That’s horrible,” he said. “Windows are the eyes of a building. When women use an eye pencil to emphasize their eyes, it changes everything.” <figure id="attachment_783158" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 997px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Construction workers work on the District Griffin condo project in Griffintown. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>In Griffintown, Caille was unimpressed by the banal architecture of condo towers that have sprouted in recent years in the former industrial district, which is undergoing rapid transformation. But the former Dow Planetarium at 1000 St-Jacques St. W. caught his eye. Built in 1966, it closed in 2011. The city turned it over to the Université du Québec’s École de technologie supérieure in 2013. ÉTS announced it would transform the building into a “creativity hub” but so far the building has sat vacant. Caille said the domed landmark has great potential to be recycled for a new vocation. “When a building is dirty and dilapidated, people don’t see its beauty. You have to see the beauty underneath the neglect,” he said. Today there is a consensus that older heritage buildings should be preserved but it’s still difficult to rally public opinion behind buildings from more recent eras, like the 1960s, Caille said. <figure id="attachment_783147" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 1000px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> The 26-storey Deloitte Tower between Windsor Station and the Bell Centre. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>The Deloitte Tower, a new 26-storey glass office tower between the Bell Centre and Windsor Station, is nothing to write home about, in Caille’s opinion. “It’s developer architecture,” he said. “There’s nothing interesting about it.” Built by developer Cadillac Fairview, it is part of the $2-billion, nine-tower Quad Windsor project. That includes the 50-storey Tour des Canadiens, which will be Montreal’s tallest condo tower for about a year, until the even taller nearby L’Avenue tower is completed. Most people don’t notice the difference between good and bad architecture when a building is new, Caille said. But over time, the defects of bad buildings grow increasingly obvious, while the good ones become beloved monuments, he said. “People go to New York to see the architecture of the 1920s and 30s,” he said, referring to landmarks like the 1931 Empire State Building and 1928 Chrysler Building. “Good architecture always pays off in the long term.” Unfortunately, much development is driven by short-term considerations, he said. While a developer can walk away from a mediocre building once it’s sold, city-dwellers are stuck with it, he said. “For him, it’s no problem. But for the city, it’s a tragedy,” he said. “Today’s architecture is tomorrow’s heritage,” he noted. Caille is a strong proponent of architectural competitions, which he sees as a way to seek out the best talents and ideas. “It forces people to think and it shows that for every problem, there are many solutions. It’s a way of accessing brainpower,” he said. <figure id="attachment_783196" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 1000px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Kids arrive at the the new soccer complex at the Complexe environnemental St-Michel. PHIL CARPENTER /MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>The St-Michel soccer stadium has been criticized for its high price tag but Caille hailed it as an example of excellent design. The ecological building designed by Saucier & Perrotte has three glass walls overlooking a park in the St-Michel environmental complex. Caille said the stadium could be a catalyst for improvements in the hardscrabble north-end neighbourhood. During Tuesday’s panel discussion, Paul Goldberger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former architecture critic for the New York Times and the New Yorker, said that unlike other types of journalists, architectural critics rarely have an immediate impact on public opinion. “Architectural criticism must take a very long view,” he said. “One learns to think of one’s influence as more gradual, as shifting tastes and judgment over time.” Goldberger, author of books including Why Architecture Matters, published in 2009, has written that the critic’s job is not to push for a particular architectural style, but rather to advocate for the best work possible. He said the time in his career when architectural criticism enjoyed greatest prominence was following Sept. 11, 2001, during discussions over the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. “It was a time when architectural criticism really was, I think, front and centre in the public discourse,” he said. “There it was so clear that an issue of architecture was intimately connected to significant world affairs and one did not have to struggle to help people understand the connection between architecture and the rest of the world,” said Goldberger, who now writes for Vanity Fair and teaches at The New School in New York. In a 2011 review of the new World Trade Center for the New Yorker, Goldberger said the design by architect Daniel Libeskind “struck a careful balance between commemorating the lives lost and reestablishing the life of the site itself.” The panel discussion followed the awarding of two $1,000 prizes to young writers for architectural writing on the topic of libraries. The winning entries by Marie-Pier Bourret-Lafleur and Kristen Smith will be published respectively in Argus and Canadian Architect magazines. [email protected] Twitter.com/JMarianScott
  9. Trouble on The Main The former home of American Apparel on St. Laurent Blvd. now carries a For Rent sign. “I won’t deny that the construction on the street did affect traffic,” says Dan Abenhaim, the chain’s Canadian regional director. Other shop owners say the recession and high rents have hurt business on along the strip. Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette By Irwin Block, The GazetteApril 24, 2009 The former home of American Apparel on St. Laurent Blvd. now carries a For Rent sign. “I won’t deny that the construction on the street did affect traffic,” says Dan Abenhaim, the chain’s Canadian regional director. Other shop owners say the recession and high rents have hurt business on along the strip. It’s known to generations as The Main and it’s as Montreal as smoked meat and the Habs. St. Laurent Blvd. is us, and in tribute to its Portuguese component, city officials on Friday inaugurated a dozen marble-topped benches between Bagg and Marie Anne Sts. But things are not going that well for some merchants, especially on the trendiest part of the street between Sherbrooke St. and Pine Ave. It’s still home to such fancy eateries as Buona Notte and Primadonna, but in the past months several major tenants have closed. They include an American Apparel store and a Mac Cosmetics outlet; the space formerly occupied by Sofia Grill at the northwest corner of Prince Arthur St. and St. Laurent is for rent, as are several other shops farther north. Dan Abenhaim, American Apparel’s Canadian regional director, said that after five years the firm decided not to renew the lease. “I won’t deny that the construction on the street did affect traffic and we decided we want to open in another location.” He also said that over five years “the street has changed and the traffic is more north of Pine Ave.” However, clothing shops are also hurting north of Pine, where Adam & Lilith has closed one of two adjoining shops on St. Laurent. According to assistant manager Carmel Pacaud, people are still attracted to the street but they are not buying as they used to. Other shop owners blame almost two years of disruptive road repairs that ended last year, as well as the recession and high rents. “The city has murdered the street,” said one real estate agent, who spoke on the condition his name not be used. People who were put off by the construction are not coming back and there is a moratorium on new restaurants and bars between Sherbrooke and Mount Royal Ave., he added. Rent at the former Mac Cosmetics store is about $7,500 a month for 1,600 square feet. Rents tend to decrease north of Pine. “It’s a little distressing, slower than usual” remarked Marnie Blanshay, who owns Lola & Emily ladies wear just south of the abandoned American Apparel. Many who were discouraged from shopping there by the ripping up and repaving of the strip have not returned, she observed. And because few retail clothing shops remain, hers is more of a “destination store” with fewer shoppers coming by to go from store to store checking out and comparing. “It reminds me of Crescent St. in the 1990s,” she said, adding that “the landlords believe it’s better than it is and need to reduce rents.” When rents go down, the creative people will return to reinject the street’s normal vitality, she said. “St. Laurent Blvd. is not a street where chains succeed.” Apart from Jean Coutu and Pharmaprix, American Apparel was the only chain outlet on the street, noted André Beauséjour, executive director of the Société de développment du Boulevard St. Laurent. He said the vacancy rate between Sherbrooke and Mount Royal is a “normal” two per cent. A stroll up the boulevard yesterday indicated that many stores that have become institutions – Bar Bifteck, Salaison Slovenia, Schreter’s, Coco Rico, Moishe’s, Segal’s grocery, Berson Monuments – are still going concerns. And there was the proverbial lunchtime lineup inside Schwartz’s. But if you have a concept, there is lots of space for rent, including the former Laurentian Bank at St. Laurent and Pine. – all 5,400 square feet. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  10. as much as Aubin is a loud mouth - he;s not far from the truth. A wake up call to forum members.. we all love Montreal but we need to seriously wake up. 2011/2012 was a bad 2 years - we need to improve MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Inc. — founded by francophone Montrealers, headquartered in Montreal and active in engineering and construction projects in more than 100 countries — has long been the proud symbol of Québec Inc. Now, however, it risks becoming a symbol of something else — the decline of Montreal’s place on the world stage. The company announced last week that it is creating its largest corporate unit (one focused on hydrocarbons, chemicals, metallurgy, mining, the environment and water) and locating it not in Quebec but in London; heading it will be a Brit, Neil Bruce. As well, the company also said it was creating a global operations unit that would be based in the British capital. To be sure, SNC-Lavalin denies speculation by a La Presse business columnist that the company might be slowly moving its head office from Montreal. The two moves to London must be seen as reflecting “our healthy expansion globally,” says a spokesperson. “The corporate headquarters and all its functions still remain in Montreal.” Nonetheless, this unmistakable shift of authority abroad takes place within a broader context of fewer local people atop the SNC-Lavalin pyramid. In 2007, six of the top 11 executives were francophone Quebecers; last year, three. Note, too, that only two of 13 members of its board of directors are francophone Quebecers. When the company last fall replaced discredited Pierre Duhaime of Montreal as president, CEO, and board member, it picked an American, Robert Card. What’s happening to the company based on René-Lévesque Blvd. is the latest sign of the erosion of Montreal’s status as a major business centre. Of Canada’s 500 largest companies, 96 had their head offices in this city in 1990; in 2010, says Montréal International, only 81 remained, a 16-per-cent decline. It’s true that Toronto, too, has seen a decrease (with some of its companies heading to booming Calgary), but it’s only of six per cent. As well, because Hogtown has more than twice as many head offices as Montreal, the trend there has far less impact. Anyone with a stake in Montreal’s prosperity should care about what’s happening here. Head offices and major corporate offices, such as the SNC-Lavalin’s units, bring more money collectively into the city than do big events — the Grand Prix and the aquatics championship — whose threatened departures cause political storms. Such offices employ high-spending, high-taxpaying local residents and attract visiting business people year-round — people who represent income for cabbies, hoteliers, restaurateurs, computer experts, lawyers and accountants. Indeed, this week’s controversy over the absence of direct air links from Trudeau International Airport to China and South America is pertinent to this trend. It’s not only federal air policy over the decades that’s responsible for this isolation. It’s also that Montrealers have less money, and one reason for that is, as Trudeau boss James Cherry notes, “there are far fewer head offices in Montreal.” Keep losing them and we’ll be a real backwater. But how do we avoid losing these offices? We don’t need more studies. Tons of studies — good ones — already exist. The No. 1 factor for a company when choosing a head office location is corporate taxes, according to a Calgary Economic Development study. Quebec’s are the highest in Canada and the U.S. Thirty-four per cent of the executives at 103 local companies say that Montreal’s business climate had “deteriorated “ in the previous five years, Montreal’s Chambre de commerce found a year ago. The main reason: infrastructure (not only roads but also the health system). A study called “Knowledge City” that Montreal city hall commissioned in 2004 is still relevant. Its survey of 100 mobile, well-educated people (some of whom had already left Montreal) found that their top three biggest complaints with the city were, in descending order, high personal taxes, decaying infrastructure and political uncertainty from sovereignty. All studies agree that the quality of Montreal’s universities helps attract companies. Weakened universities would lower this power. The Parti Québécois government’s minister for Montreal, Jean-François Lisée, declared before Christmas that he was “Montréalo-optimiste.” He did not, however, spell out concrete steps for addressing the above-listed problems. Too bad that his government on Jan. 1 imposed higher personal taxes for people with high incomes — which hits business people. Too bad it has reduced spending on infrastructure by 14 per cent. Too bad that it has not only reduced funds to universities by $124 million over the next three months but that it says it might cut their funding in other years as well — in effect weakening them. And, finally, too bad that Premier Pauline Marois said this week her party would soon launch a campaign to promote sovereignty and that her government would step up its strategy of wresting powers from Ottawa. In the next few says, she’ll further promote Quebec independence with a meeting in Edinburgh with Scotland’s sovereignist leader. Staunch the hemorrhage of corporate offices from Montreal under this government? The very idea is Montréalo-irréaliste. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Henry+Aubin+avoid+losing+head+offices/7862525/story.html#ixzz2IrXbVaOH
  11. Read more: http://sports.nationalpost.com/2010/09/10/with-leafs-its-never-too-early-to-brainwash/#ixzz0zBLVTio4
  12. http://nymag.com/homedesign/urbanliving/2012/hudson-yards/ Atop the 1,300-foot office tower, soon to rise at 33rd Street and Tenth Avenue, by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse From 0 to 12 Million Square Feet In a few weeks, construction begins on New York’s largest development ever. Hudson Yards is handsome, ambitious, and potentially full of life. Should we care that it’s also a giant slab of private property? An exclusive preview. By Justin Davidson Published Oct 7, 2012 ShareThis On a Friday afternoon in September, a conclave of architects and real-estate executives gathers in a hotel conference room to look over plans for Manhattan’s largest remaining chunk of emptiness. Hudson Yards, the railroad depot that stretches from Tenth Avenue to the Hudson River, and from 30th to 33rd Street, barely registers on the mental map of most New Yorkers. Look down from a neighboring window, and you see only a pit full of trains hazed with their diesel fumes. The planners’ view, though, takes in sugarplum dreams of the city’s shiny next wing: an $800 million concrete roof over the yards, and above it the country’s largest and densest real-estate development: 12 million square feet of *offices, shops, movie theaters, gyms, hotel rooms, museum galleries, and open space, and 5,000 apartments, all packed into 26 acres. In the first, $6 billion phase—scheduled for completion by late 2017—the tallest tower will top the Empire State Building, and even the shortest will have a penthouse on the 75th floor. The people in the conference room can visualize that future in high-resolution detail. On the screen, digital couples stroll among trees pruned to cubical perfection. A chain of glowing towers garlands the skyline, and tiny figures stroll onto a deck hanging nearly a quarter-mile in the air. Architects discuss access points, sidewalk widths, ceiling heights, flower beds, and the qualities of crushed-stone pathways. You could almost forget that none of this exists yet—until one architect points to a lozenge-shaped skyscraper and casually, with a twist of his wrist, remarks that he’s thinking of swiveling it 90 degrees. The Related Companies, the main developer of the site, has called this meeting so that the designers of the various buildings can finally talk to each other, instead of just to the client. I’m getting the first look at the details at the same time some of the participants are. Suddenly, after years of desultory negotiations and leisurely design, the project has acquired urgency: Ground-breaking on the first tower will take place in the coming weeks. There’s a high-octane crew in the room: William Pedersen, co-founder of the high-rise titans Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; David Childs, partner at the juggernaut Skidmore Owings and Merrill; Elizabeth Diller, front woman for the cerebral boutique Diller Scofidio + Renfro; *David Rockwell, a virtuoso of showbiz and restaurant design; Howard Elkus, from the high-end shopping-center specialists Elkus Manfredi; and landscape architect Thomas Woltz, the only member of the group new to New York real-estate politics. Their task is to compose a neighborhood from scratch. The success of Hudson Yards depends on the question: Can a private developer manufacture a complete and authentic high-rise neighborhood in a desolate part of New York? “This isn’t just a project; it’s an extension of the city,” says Stephen Ross, Related’s founder and chairman. New York has always grown in nibbles and crumbs, and only occasionally in such great whale-gulps of real estate. In the richest, most layered sections of the city, each generation’s new buildings spring up among clumps of older ones, so that freshness and tradition coexist. A project of this magnitude, concocted around a conference table, could easily turn out to be a catastrophe. The centrally planned district has its success stories—most famously, Rockefeller Center. Coordinated frenzies of building also produced Park Avenue, Battery Park City, and the current incarnation of Times Square. But this enterprise is even more ambitious than any of those, and more potentially transformative than the ongoing saga of the World Trade Center. New York has no precedent for such a dense and complex neighborhood, covering such a vast range of uses, built in one go. That makes this Ross’s baby. Hundreds of architects, engineers, consultants, planners, and construction workers will contribute to the finished product. Oxford Properties Group has partnered with Related, and the city dictated much of the basic arrangement. But in the end, how tightly the new superblocks are woven into the city fabric, how organic their feel, and how bright their allure will depend on the judgment and taste of a billionaire whose aesthetic ambitions match the site’s expanse, and who slips almost unconsciously from we to I. “We went out and selected great architects and then created a whole five-acre plaza,” Ross says. “People will have never seen such a world-class landscaping project. I can’t tell you what that plaza will look like, but what I visualize is a modern-day Trevi Fountain. It’s going to be classical and unique.” The best clue to what he has in mind isn’t in Rome, but at Columbus Circle. Ross lives and works in the Time Warner Center, which Related built, and if you imagine the complex blown out to five times its size, you begin to get a sense of what’s coming at Hudson Yards: crowds flowing from home to boutique, hotel to subway, office to spa, concert to restaurant—and all that activity threaded around and through a curving plaza equipped with fountains and a very tall monument, as yet unchosen. The Time Warner Center brought profitable liveliness to Columbus Circle, the once moribund, now vibrant hinge between midtown and the Upper West Side. But massive as it is, the Time Warner Center is dainty by comparison. Hudson Yards circa 2017 1. This office tower, by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, will become Coach headquarters. 2. Apartments by Diller Scofidio +Renfro, joined by David Rockwell: condos on top, rentals below. 3. The flagship office building, also by KPF: 1,300 feet high. 4. The curvy multiuse tower by David Childs contains a hotel, condominiums, and a big Equinox gym. 5. The shopping arcade (please don't call it the mall). 6.The Culture Shed: still unrevealed, but a great big space for traveling exhibits and other events. Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Unnumbered buildings (the western half of the development) have yet to be designed. Photo: Map by Jason Lee The view from the High Line. Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Start on the High Line, at West 30th Street near Tenth Avenue. At the moment, the landscaped section peters out here, but the old elevated railway continues, forking both east and west to form the southern border of Hudson Yards. Eventually, you’ll be able to continue your stroll beneath the canopy of an office tower housing the headquarters of the leather-goods company Coach. It’s a tricky spot, and the interaction of city street and raised park forces the architecture to perform some fancy steps. The building genuflects toward Tenth Avenue on muscular concrete legs. Coach’s unit reaches out toward the High Line, and the crown greets the skyline at a jaunty tilt. With all its connections and contortions, the tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, assembles its identity out of the complexities of city life. “My whole career has been about taking buildings that are inherently autonomous and getting them to become social gestures,” remarks Pedersen. Head up a couple of blocks from Coach’s future headquarters, and at West 33rd Street, another KPF tower tapers from vast hoped-for trading floors to a jagged peak 1,300 feet up. A state-of-the-art office building these days requires huge open layouts and thick bundles of elevator shafts, which tend to give it the natural grace of a hippopotamus thigh. But look up: Here, the design artfully disguises the two towers’ bulk by making them seem dramatically foreshortened, as if they were speeding toward the sky. One slopes toward the river, the other in the direction of midtown, parted like stalks of corn in a breeze. The cone of space between them draws sunlight to the ground and leaves a welcome break in the city’s increasingly crowded skyline. With any luck, you should be able to stand at the foot of these towers and feel sheltered but not squashed. It would have been far easier to wall the development off and let each tower stand in isolated splendor. Instead, planners have tried to soften the borders of their domain. That’s not just civic-mindedness; it’s good business. If Hudson Yards is going to be a truly urban place, it will have to lure people who neither work nor live there but who come because everyone else does. The development will have two major magnets, one for commerce, food, and entertainment, the other for that primal necessity of New York life: culture. Related is pinning a lot of financial optimism on a five-floor, two-block-long retail extravaganza that links the two KPF towers, rather like the Time Warner Center shops, only bigger, busier, sunnier, and more tightly knit to the city. “We don’t want this to feel like a mall,” insists its architect, Howard Elkus. Pedestrian passageways cut through the building, extending the streets indoors, and a succession of great glass walls turn window-shopping into a spectator sport. The liveliness engine is on the fourth floor, where a collection of informal but high-end food outlets curated by Danny Meyer looks out over the central plaza—“Eataly on steroids” is how one Related executive describes it. Above that are more expensive restaurants and a ten-screen multiplex. Stroll out the western side of the shopping center toward the central plaza, walk diagonally across to 30th Street, halfway between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, and you come to the most intriguing and mysterious element of Hudson Yards: the Culture Shed. Having set aside a parcel of land for cultural use, the city put out a call for ideas. Elizabeth Diller and David Rockwell answered with an amalgam of architectural and institutional innovations: a flexible gallery complex to accommodate traveling exhibits and nomadic performing events. Together, they designed an enormous trusslike shell that could fit over the galleries or roll out like a shipyard gantry to enclose a vast performance space. The city refuses to discuss architectural details, how the still-theoretical organization will function, or who would pay to build and operate it. But it’s easy to imagine it being used for film premieres and high-definition broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera or as a permanent home for Fashion Week, which now camps out in tents. The Culture Shed can give Hudson Yards the highbrow legitimacy and cutting-edge cool it needs to become an integral part of New York, and also create a cultural corridor running from the Whitney Museum at Gansevoort Street (now under construction), through Chelsea’s gallery district, and up to Lincoln Center. The project may be in the wishful-thinking stage—it could still get scaled back or dumbed down, or it could vanish altogether. But it does have one crucial booster: the Related Companies. “The Culture Shed is critically important,” says Jay Cross, the executive who is running the Hudson Yards project. “We’re going to be major supporters because we want and need to see it come to fruition.” Hudson Yards is getting much more from the city than just the Culture Shed. While planners keep working out ways to weld the complex to its environs, the West Side has already begun to embrace its coming addition. New rental towers have sprouted in the West Thirties and burly office buildings will soon rise along Ninth and Tenth Avenues. “There are communities around us—Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown South, West Chelsea, New Jersey to the west—that if we do a great job are just naturally going to flow in and populate that space,” says Cross. The site as a whole is a yawning pit, not so much a blank slate as an empty socket, surrounded by amenities and infrastructure just waiting to be plugged in. Hudson River Park runs along the western edge (set off by Twelfth Avenue), the High Line spills in from the south, and the future Hudson Park and Boulevard will swoop down from the north. The No. 7 subway-line extension is on the way to completion, the Javits Center is being overhauled, and maybe one day Moynihan Station will even get built. In all, $3 billion in taxpayer-funded improvements encircle the Related fiefdom—not including city tax abatements. “Where else have you ever seen this kind of public money for infrastructure to service a whole new development, in the heart of the city, with that much land and no obstacles?” Ross asks. His vocal enthusiasm for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party’s small-*government credo evidently hasn’t curbed his appreciation for public support. Although it’s the next mayor who will cut the first ribbon, in the long run Hudson Yards may well be the grandest and most dramatic piece of Michael Bloomberg’s legacy. It’s been on the city’s to-do list for almost a decade, ever since Bloomberg hoped to draw the 2012 Olympics to New York with promises of a West Side stadium. The fact that London won the games was a disappointment to him but a stroke of luck for the West Side, scuttling what would have been a disastrous stadium plan, while at the same time calling attention to the value of the real estate above the tracks. Eager for space to put up high-rises and now prompted by a big hole on Manhattan’s western flank, the city focused on a rezoning that is gradually pulling midtown’s center of gravity westward. There are two ways to conceive such a monster project. One is for a single architectural overlord to shape the whole shebang, as Raymond Hood did at Rockefeller Center. Steven Holl, whose offices overlook Hudson Yards and who has designed two similarly gargantuan complexes in China, submitted an entry that might have resulted in a work of thrilling coherence, with the same sensibility imbuing every detail, from door handles to office blocks. But the auteur development also risks yielding a place of oppressive uniformity, where each aesthetic miscalculation is multiplied many times over. Related chose the second option: recruiting an ensemble of brand-name designers. That approach emulates a sped-up version of New York’s gradual, lot-by-lot evolution; the danger is that it can produce a jumble. “Sometimes architectural vitality leads to messiness, or varying degrees of quality, and we’re trying to avoid that,” acknowledges Cross. “Every building is going to be best in class. That’s the common thread.” But bestness is not actually a unifying concept, and when the city held the competition to award the development rights in 2008, the Related entry failed to wow the city, the public, or the critics. “With a drop-dead list of consultants, contributors, collaborators, and anyone else who could be thrown into the mix … [the company] has covered all possible bases with something dreadful for everybody. This is not planning, it’s pandering,” wrote the critic Ada Louise Huxtable in The Wall Street Journal. None of that mattered: The project originally went to another developer, Tishman Speyer, and when that deal fell through, Related scooped it up. Architecture had nothing to do with it. Yet nearly five years later, with contracts signed and money starting to flow, that gold-plated crew of designers, working in separate studios, with different philosophies and, until recently, little consultation, has nevertheless produced a kind of haphazard harmony. What unites them is their taste for complexity and the deftness with which they maneuver conflicting programs into a single composition. Just past the Culture Shed, on the 30th Street side of the site at Eleventh Avenue, is the eastern half’s only purely residential tower, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, with David Rockwell. It’s an architectural griffin, grafting together rectilinear rental units on the lower floors with flower-petal condo layouts up high—about 680 apartments in all. The fantastically idiosyncratic bulges and dimples join in complicated ways that make the glass façade look quilted. Now walk north, back across the plaza and past a still-to-be-designed café pavilion, and you come to another tower with a textured exterior—vertical folds with stone on one side and glass on the other, as if a palazzo had merged with a modernist shaft. Actually, the building is even more hybridized than that. David Childs, the architect of the Time Warner Center and One World Trade Center, had to shoehorn a large Equinox gym plus offices, an orthopedic hospital, a sports emporium, a hotel, and a condominium into a curved base and a slender tube. “Hudson Yards is a city within a city. This tower is a city within a city—within a city,” he says. The most delicate, crucial, and treacherous design problem at Hudson Yards isn’t a building at all but the public space, and especially the five acres in the middle, an expanse about as large as Bryant Park. Done right, it could be the most vibrant gathering spot on the West Side, a New York version of Venice’s Piazza San Marco. Done wrong, it could be a windswept tundra populated only by office workers scuttling between the subway and their desks. It’s worrisome that Ross and his team postponed thinking about that void until so much of the architecture had been designed, but heartening that they are intensely focused on it now. Related has given the job to the talented Thomas Woltz, whose quietly refined restorations of gardens and college campuses may not quite have prepared him for the fierce pressure of shaping New York’s most ample new public space. It’s not just a place for people to mingle but for the relationships between the various buildings to express themselves across the connecting plaza. “One of the paintings I admire most is The School of Athens,” says KPF’s William Pedersen, referring to Raphael’s klatch of bearded philosophers chatting beneath noble vaults. “You have great historical and intellectual figures gathered together in dynamic groups of interchange, gesturing to each other. That’s the architectural assignment for each of us.” David Childs phrases a similar thought in a way that graciously defers to Woltz even while sending the message: Don’t screw this up. “We have an obligation to create great architecture, and all the buildings have to be related to the space in the center,” he says. “The void is the most important part.” Woltz has gotten it wrong once. In his first presentation, he placed a plush lawn at the center of the complex, and Ross nearly kicked him out of the room. What Ross wants is not a place to toss a Frisbee, but a town square alive with purpose and electricity. That’s a spectacular challenge; there are few great models for a European-style piazza within a ring of skyscrapers. For now, Woltz’s solution is a paved ellipse, outlined by a perimeter of trees cultivated with geometric severity—given “the Edward Scissorhands topiary treatment,” as one designer puts it. The idea is to create a verdant transition from the human scale to that of glass-and-steel giants. “In an open space next to 1,000-foot towers, our tallest tree is going to be like an ant next to a tall man’s shoe,” Woltz says. But the most maddening paradox of Woltz’s assignment is that he must tailor an open space to the motley public—in ways that will please a potentate. Like some fairy-tale monarch, Ross has dispatched his counselors to find an artist capable of supplying his modern Trevi Fountain. What he wants is something monumental enough to focus the entire project, a piece that’s not just watery and impressive but so instantly iconic that people will meet by it, shoot photos of it, notice it from three blocks away, and recognize it from the cover of guidebooks. You get the feeling that Ross is hedging his bets: If Woltz can’t deliver a world-class plaza with his trees and pavers, maybe a Jeff Koons or an Anish Kapoor can force it into life with a big honking hunk of sculpture. A giant puppy can’t solve an urban design problem, though. It’s nice that a hardheaded mogul like Ross places so much faith in the civic power of art, but he may be asking it to do too much. The plaza is the node where the site’s conflicting forces reveal themselves: the tension between public and private, between city and campus, between democratic space and commercial real estate. Occupy Wall Street’s takeover of Zuccotti Park last year pointed up the oxymoron inherent in the concept of privately owned public space: You can do anything you like there, as long as the owners deem it okay. Childs hopes that his client’s insistence on premium-brand design won’t make Hudson Yards just the province of privilege. “We want this project to be laced through with public streets, so that everyone has ownership of it, whether you’re arriving in your $100,000 limo or pushing a shopping cart full of your belongings.” The plans include drop-off lanes, so the limos are taken care of. But if the shopping-cart pushers, buskers, protesters, skateboarders, and bongo players start feeling too welcome at Hudson Yards, Related’s security guards will have a ready-made *argument to get them to disperse: This is private property.
  13. MONTREAL — Add “promoter of international soccer matches” to the dossier of the Montreal Impact. The Impact has officially landed Montreal France’s Champions Trophy, a one-game final between the winners of the French Championship and French Cup to be held on July 25 at Olympic Stadium. It will be the first time the Champions Trophy has been held outside France, and past winners include Bordeaux, Lyon, Nantes and Monaco. “The Impact is the promoter,” Impact vice-president Richard Legendre said. “As (Impact president) Joey Saputo has said, we think it’s the right timing to bring international soccer to Montreal. We think there’s a market for that and we’re at a better place to organize it. “It’s in our mission to promote and develop soccer here, and this is a very good way to do so. We went after it. We worked on it, and it’s up to us to promote it. Hopefully we can also bring new sources of revenue. There are costs, but we think the revenue will be higher than the cost.” The Champions Trophy (officially Le Trophee des Champions) brings together the winner of France’s Ligue 1, currently being contested between Bordeaux and Marseille, and the winner of the French Cup, which is competed for by all divisions. Ligue 2’s Guingamp won the French Cup on May 9, beating Rennes 2-1 on a pair of goals from Brazilian striker Eduardo in front of 80,056 spectators at le Stade de France. Guingamp, the first Ligue 2 team to win the tournament-format French Cup in 50 years, will face either Bordeaux or Marseille in Montreal. Bordeaux, which Thursday announced it had signed Yoann Gourcuff to a four-year contract, ending the possibility of the French international playmaker going to AC Milan, needs only one point against Caen Saturday night to secure the Ligue 1 crown. A record crowd of 55,571 was at Olympic Stadium last February to watch the Impact play a CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final game against Mexican first-division club Santos Laguna. While it remains to be seen if two visiting French teams can attract a similar crowd in Montreal, Legendre is confident the interest will be there. “We think it’s an important event with a lot of stature, certainly from the interest we’ve received so far. The fans of international soccer, and of course the fans of French soccer, I think will be very excited to attend,’’ Legendre said. “We haven’t set any specific objective in terms of numbers, but think that such an event should draw 30,000-plus. That’s why we’re holding it at Olympic Stadium.” Montreal Gazette
  14. Cirque du Gourmet Montréal’s Jean Talon Farmers’ Market is a feast for the eyes, too By Matt Scanlon You can’t beat the people-watching at Café Italia on Boulevard St. Laurent in Montréal. From the coffeehouse’s small sidewalk tables, an observer can take in the city’s swirling blend of color and culture: a Rasta-capped dad pushing a tandem stroller; a reed-thin, ghost-pale city girl; a man-sandaled Red Sox fan, presumably from the States; a fiftysomething Asian woman in a sky-blue business suit. One thing unifies this disparate urban crowd: loot from the Marché Jean Talon. Grasping sacks filled with guava, pineapples, wedges of cheese and the requisite torpedoes of French bread, the shoppers spill out of one of the best open-air farmers’ markets in the city . . . some say the continent. To those who’ve fallen prey to the Jean Talon addiction, the place is much more than an opportunity for bag filling. Since its opening in 1933, the market has been an impromptu park: part “Where am I?” landmark for tourists, part political forum and part all-day hang-out for everyone from skateboard kids to fashionistas. Think of a circus with much better food . . . and no clowns. Situated between avenues Casgrain and Henri-Julien, closest to the Jean Talon metro stop, the Marché Jean Talon is one of only two large farmers’ markets in Montréal — the other is Atwater in the Westmount neighborhood. However, many locals feel Jean Talon represents a more faithful adherence to the “buy local, sell local” motto. Its 300-odd stalls — shaded from the sun by a roof without walls, train-station-style — overflow with cheese, meat, produce of virtually every shape and description, freshly cut flowers, fish just plucked from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Québec crafts such as hand-woven hats and rugs. The outside edges of the market hold restaurants, larger food stores and a raft of cafés. Though the market resides on the northwestern edge of Little Italy, the neighborhood vibe is more Gallic than Latin, and the happiest customers are those who can at least introduce their inability to speak French . . . in French. Stylish epicurians are quick to note that the Atwater market, with its tonier locale, has more cachet these days, and for people less eager to immerse themselves in Québécois culture, its largely Anglophone location is certainly American-friendly. But that’s just the point: When we go to Montréal, it’s because we want to get away. And Jean Talon has plenty of exotic tastes, including Québec favorites such as Rougemont and Mont-Sainte-Hilaire apples, lamb and pork from the Rigaud hills, and chèvre and Pied-de-Vent cheeses. Open year-round, a market of this size naturally has its share of imports, too. You can grab a Florida orange for nostalgia’s sake, but really. Fromage fans in particular have good reason to make the journey to Jean Talon. Though we have plenty of fine unpasteurized cheeses in Vermont, the market is a prime place to sample Québec’s offerings. Purists believe heat kills much of the earthy texture and place-presence (or terroir) of cheese, and after a hockey-puck-sized serving of a goat’s milk variety called “Tome,” it’s difficult to argue the point. Grassy, sharp and with a white-wine-like finish, it’s a revelation. Such bliss comes with a side order of caution; unpasteurized milk is more prone to have listeriosis and E. coli passengers on board, and pregnant woman should abstain. Though there are at least a dozen great places to buy, Fromagerie Qui Lait Cru — a nifty pun that means both “raw milk” and “Who would’ve believed?” — has a particularly garrulous staff when it comes to answering questions. There are few better examples of Jean Talon’s emphasis on local flavor than Porc Meilleur. Supplied by a family-run farm of the same name in the Maskoutan region, its hormone- and antibiotic-free meat comes from pigs that are fed a combination of grains, yogurt and milk — the proportions are a house secret — and the results are the stuff of local legend. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to come from as far as Ottawa for the bacon, and a shortage of chops can be cause for a near-riot. If veal is your thing, Veau de Charlevoix, just a stone’s throw from Porc Meilleur, is just as passionate about animal raising and quality. Les Délices de la Mer has the unofficial designation of the go-to place for fresh fish in the market. You’ll know it by the number of people standing nearby eating fried fillets out of paper wrappers, eyes turned heavenward in appreciation. Les Délices sells and cooks what’s in season, of course, and at the moment turbot is in abundance. A relative of the flounder, this 10- to 30-pound bottom dweller is prized for delicate (if firm) flesh and a decidedly non-fishy flavor. More than anything else, though, what you see in the market is produce, and again, as long as the harvest lasts, local fruits and vegetables are the stars of the show. For sheer scale and diversity, start with Sami Fruit, just off the market on Rue Jean Talon South. Portage potatoes look appreciably different from their Idaho cousins, while Reliance peaches and Nova Scotia grapes put many in the States to shame. Though these staples of Jean Talon anchor the day, the best part of the market is the unexpected. One day an intrepid shopper might find a small stall offering fresh lobster; the next, a display of crayfish; the next, kosher pickles manufactured by the remnants of the area’s once-sizeable Jewish community. Each visit is different, and as you dip your baguette into a jar of brandied strawberry puree over the low notes of a Mexican guitarron, suddenly the ennui of the border crossing seems worth it. Fruit Flight What’s the point of filling your bags with the wonders of Québec if they end up in the hands of customs agents? Crossing the border is nervewracking enough without worrying about the rules regarding the legal importation of Canadian goods, and the trouble is that these regulations change constantly. With every new potato worm, fruit fly or blight, products that were acceptable yesterday become illegal today. Generally, though, things play out like this: Prepared items such as jam, jelly, sauce, olive oil, mustard, honey, wine and vinegar are permissible, with the very strict exception of anything containing meat. Importing a meat product of any kind is forbidden. For the sake of your stomach, and because it generally falls under the meat heading, leave the fish on your plate, too. The rules are a bit more relaxed regarding Canadian fruit and vegetable importation than with flora of Mexico, Central America or Europe. As long as your plunder is not exotic (eat the last of that pineapple before you leave) and/or bears a “grown in Québec” label either on the fruit or on the bag, you’ll most likely be OK. To be safe, don’t mingle different types of fruit in one bag. Hard cheeses, even those containing raw milk, are generally allowed, but no soft varieties — sorry, Brie lovers. Be further advised, though, that any customs agent can decide for any reason that an item is inadmissible or exceeds the maddeningly vague “reasonable amount” rule. Don’t press your luck by proclaiming your rights — you really don’t have any when it comes to this stuff — or doing your Alan Shore impersonation from “Boston Legal.” Smile, surrender the olives, and move on.
  15. Per this article in The Gazette: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Montreal+picked+five+hubs+Future+Earth+project/10008798/story.html Montreal has been selected as one of five global hubs for a United Nations project called Future Earth, an ambitious 10-year initiative to build and connect international research on the environment and sustainable development — and to find ways to intensify and accelerate the impact of that research. It is a united, international effort to create sustainability and advance scientific study on questions of environmental impact, to merge science and public policy — and to address urgent environmental challenges. Future Earth’s globally distributed secretariat will also have hubs in Paris, Tokyo, Stockholm and Boulder, Colo. Those involved in petitioning to get the hub here — there were at least 20 competing bids — believe that Montreal’s star will definitely shine brighter on the international stage now. While the project will involve all of Montreal’s universities, Concordia University will house the local hub that will bring together Quebec researchers to contribute to this major scientific initiative. It is news that has Concordia president Alan Shepard smiling these days, although he is primarily focused on what a coup this is for Montreal and the opportunities he believes will emerge from it. “This is great for Montreal and very good for Concordia,” Shepard said in an interview on Monday. “We’ll be the host but it’s collaborative, an intersection for all the universities in Montreal to work together on climate change and the health of the Earth.” The universities came together to work on a joint proposal to lobby for the hub at the urging of Montréal International, which acts as an economic driver for Greater Montreal. Montréal International vice-president Stéphanie Allard is also convinced that Montreal’s involvement in the project can only be a boon to its universities and to the city itself. “It’s a very big opportunity for all the universities and for Montreal,” said Allard, who oversees international organizations. “It will increase our visibility in the world, it will establish us as an international city and it will certainly make us more attractive to researchers.” Future Earth is the result of a commitment made in 2012, at the United Nations conference Rio+20, to develop a new international network to advance sustainability. It is being overseen by the International Council of Science, a non-governmental association with a goal to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. The project is committed to developing the knowledge for responding effectively to the risks and opportunities of global environmental change and for supporting transformation towards global sustainability in the coming decades. It will mobilize tens of thousands of scientists while strengthening partnerships with policy-makers and other stakeholders in the quest for a sustainable planet. “Solutions to the major sustainability challenges facing humanity require integrated science and a closer relationship with policy-makers and stakeholders than we have seen to date,” said Yuan-Tseh Lee, president of the ICSU. “Future Earth has been designed to respond to these urgent needs, and I am impressed by the innovative consortium that has come together to drive the program forward.” In making its pitch, Montréal International cited that Montreal has a rich, diverse and high quality research network already in place, that it is multicultural and multilinguistic, that it is very well-positioned to be a hub and that office space is cheaper here than in many cities. Shepard said it’s hard to say what financial benefits there could be for the city, but he said having the secretariat will certainly bring UN resources, international visitors, research opportunities, graduate students and lots of attention. “Montreal becomes a neuronetwork and it’s glowing really bright,” he said, adding that the project meshed well with Concordia’s “intellectual values” of integrating different academic disciplines. An added bonus is that it also fits well with a preoccupation of the university’s students, namely sustainability and environmental science. “Future Earth clearly recognizes Montreal’s research capacity and the valuable contribution we will make in developing solutions to global environmental challenges,” said Shepard. “It’s a beautiful thing to have in your city; it will bring great intellectual leadership and passion and opportunity.” [email protected] Twitter: KSeidman
  16. 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.
  17. Merci à MTLCity pour m'avoir aiguillé sur le sujet! http://w5.montreal.com/mtlweblog/?p=49437&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter http://vtdigger.org/2015/06/30/vermont-pbs-soaks-up-montreal-qulture/
  18. MONTREAL - When James Essaris looks out over his flat concrete kingdom of 20 downtown parking lots that he started collecting in 1956, he sees a precious urban resource where others see ugliness. The much-maligned parking lot, long considered an urban eyesore and enemy of public transit, is becoming an increasingly rare feature on the downtown streetscape. Essaris, longtime owner of Stationnement Métropolitain, sees his barren concrete as more than just a chance for him to pocket some cash on the barrelhead: he believes in the good that parking lots do and considers the spaces to be the lungs of downtown commerce. “The City of Montreal should give free parking to come downtown. We’re chasing people out to the shopping centres,” he said. The new parking lot tax was adopted in 2010 and brings in $19 million a year to fund public transit. The tax is determined by a complicated formula that Essaris says in practice makes city taxes about twice as expensive on a surface lot as it would for another type of structure. The city held public hearings on the issue this spring and response to the surface parking eradication campaign — through the new parking tax and allowing larger-scale buildings on the empty lots — was greeted positively, according to City of Montreal Executive Committee member Alan DeSousa. “It brings more money into the city coffers and removes the scars in the downtown area,” he said. He said that some of lost parking spaces have been replaced by indoor parking in the various projects. But after seeing his taxes double in recent years, Essaris is now doing what many other parking-lot owners have done: He has started sacrificing his supply of parking spaces for housing, most recently building a 38-storey Icône condo tower at de la Montagne St. and René Lévesque Blvd. He has some misgivings, however, knowing that those spots will be sorely missed. “We cannot survive without parking in the city. I wish everybody could take the bus and métro, it’d make things easier, but you cannot force people onto the métro when they have a car,” he said. Urban retailers have long begged their merchants associations to create more places to park, perhaps no more than on the Main where about half of all members regularly plead for more parking, according to Bruno Ricciardi-Rigault, president of the SDBSL. “It would be really nice if we had a few more parking lots,” he said. However, the dearth of spaces is only going to intensify as the few remaining parking lots near St. Laurent Blvd. are slated to be redeveloped. Ricciardi-Rigault is bracing for more complaints from restauranteurs who have lost customers because their motorist clientele was fed up with circling the block. “Some people want to spend the whole afternoon, shop, go to Jeanne Mance Park, come back for a beer. Paying $20 to park on the street, that‘s asking a lot,” he said. Condo towers have been replacing lots in the downtown core at an impressive pace and the result is higher prices at indoor garages, reflected in a recent Colliers study that ranks Montreal as having the second-highest parking prices of any big Canadian city. Rates have risen an eye-opening 11 per cent since last year, as the average monthly price for an unreserved spot in a downtown underground commercial lot was $330.96 — $88 above the national average. The proliferation of private parking lots once inspired many to liken Montreal to a bombed-out city, but that is no longer the case. “We were spoiled by having tons of parking lots, now Montrealers will have to get used to much higher parking costs,” said Colliers representative Andrew Maravita. He credits a lower commercial vacancy rate for pushing prices higher. Up until the 1960s, Montreal tacitly allowed even historic buildings to be demolished and replaced by parking lots and until recently turned a blind eye to the countless rogue illegal lots that dotted the downtown core. For ages, Montreal surface parking lots were fly-by-night operations, changing ownership to avoid bylaw restrictions ordering them to be paved, landscaped. The city always said they couldn’t chase every owner down. But in recent years, authorities have increased taxes and cracked down on illegal lots, combining the stick of punishment with the carrot of juicy rezoning booty. In the past, many property owners failed to see the point of building on their parking lots, as the zoning frequently only allowed for small buildings. Those restrictions have been lifted on many of those properties, resulting in a bonanza for parking-lot owners whose land increased in value. The strategy was put into place with input from architect and former Equality Party leader Robert Libman, who previously served on the city’s Executive Committee. “A lot of projects going on now, on streets like Crescent and Bishop and that area, were previously zoned for two or three storeys. The urban plan capped those at a minimal height. The rezoning has made it more alluring for owners to build instead of leaving it vacant,” he says. Libman’s war against above-ground parking lots is personal. “They’re ugly and they undermine the downtown urban fabric,” Libman said. But he concedes that commerce relies on people being able to drive to a business. “You’ve got to find that careful balance between offering too much parking, making it too easy vs. your objective of discouraging people to take their car downtown and using public transit, that’s the fine line you have to find between the two,” he said. Developers are required to include parking in new projects, but the amount varies from place to place. In Laval, many projects are required to have two parking spaces per condo unit, while in the Plateau it’s close to zero spaces, although a typical recipe calls for one spot per two units. The one part of the city perhaps most challenged by a dearth of parking facilities is the booming Old Montreal area. The issue has long been considered such an urgent problem that one proposal from a decade ago even suggested that the massive silos in the Old Port be used to park cars. More recently, Old Montreal planners have installed an electronic billboard indicating where spaces could be found, but the pressure on parking endures, according to Georges Coulombe, whose real-estate company has been snapping up properties in the area for the last four decades. Coulombe concedes that area commerce has been hurt by a lack of space for cars. “People from places like Longueuil want to come shop on the weekend, but they can’t do it anymore, it’s too expensive to park, they end up going to malls closer to home.” He attempted to address the problem through a plan to build a high-tech robotic parking facility that could accommodate twice as many cars as a regular indoor lot. However, he did the math and found that it wouldn’t make sense because of city taxes. “I had a small 3,000-foot terrain that I would have turned into 300 spaces, but the city wanted to tax not just the building but the machinery inside. It made it impossible.” Much-hyped futuristic robotic parking systems are seen by some as a potential solution to parking woes and have actually been around for quite some time. The city has had at least three pigeon-hole parking systems as the earlier incarnations were known; one was opened on de la Montagne St. in the 1950s and another on Mansfield, where a worker was crushed by an elevator. A third more recent one was in operation at St. Jean and Notre Dame until a decade ago. Authorities frequently cite the fear of being unable to put out a car blaze in their opposition to such facilities. And although a few such high-tech robotic lots could elegantly alleviate parking pressures, one expert says that the standalone dedicated parking buildings will probably never get built. Chris Mulvihill, the New Jersey-based President of Boomerang Systems, a high-tech car-stacking parking lot system, notes that any landowner would most probably opt for a different sort of project. “Take any place where it’s very hard to get a parking spot,” Mulvihill says. “You’d think building a garage and charging for parking would be a good business model, but the economics dictate that if there’s a high demand for parking in that area, it’s because it’s a hot, happening place, so there are real-estate developers who want to build on that land. The demand makes it uber-expensive. A landowner could make a lot more money doing something other than parking on it.” © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Parking+squeeze+Downtown+businesses+feeling/7453989/story.html#ixzz2ASqBCwJE
  19. January 11, 2009, 10:00 pm What Will Save the Suburbs? For a long time now I’ve been obsessed with suburban and exurban master-planned communities and how to make them better. But as the economy and the mortgage crisis just seem to get worse, and gas prices continue to plunge, the issues around housing have changed dramatically. The problem now isn’t really how to better design homes and communities, but rather what are we going to do with all the homes and communities we’re left with. In urban areas, there’s rich precedent for the transformation or reuse of abandoned lots or buildings. Vacant lots have been converted into pocket parks, community gardens and pop-up stores (or they remain vacant, anxiously awaiting recovery and subsequent conversion into high-end office space condos). Old homes get divided into apartments, old factories into lofts, old warehouses into retail. Projects like Manhattan’s High Line show that even derelict train tracks can be turned into something as valuable to citizens as a vibrant public park. A brownfield site in San Francisco has been cleaned up and will house an eco-literacy center for the city’s youth. Hey, even a dump (Fresh Kills, on Staten Island) is undergoing a remarkable metamorphosis into a recreation area. But similar transformation within the carefully delineated form of a subdivision is not so simple. These insta-neighborhoods were not designed or built for flexibility or change. So what to do with the abandoned houses, the houses that were never completed or the land that was razed for building and now sits empty? Lands cleared to make way for houses that were not (and may never be) developed. (DigitalGlobe, Sanborn, GeoEye, U.S. Geological Survey; 2008 Google Imagery) Cover of Julia Christensen’s “Big Box Reuse.” Take as an analogous example their symbiotic partner, the big box store. As I learned in artist Julia Christensen’s new book, “Big Box Reuse,” when a big box store like Wal-mart or Kmart outgrows its space, it is shut down. It is, apparently, cheaper to start from scratch than to close for renovation and expansion, let alone decide at the outset to design a store that can easily be expanded (or contracted, as the case may be). So not only does a community get a newer, bigger big box, it is also left with quite an economic and environmental eyesore: a vacant shell of a retail operation, tons of wasted building material and a changed landscape that can’t be changed back. The silver lining in Christensen’s study are the communities she’s discovered that have proactively addressed the massive empty shells they’ve been left with, turning structures of anywhere from 20,000 to 280,000 square feet into something useful: a charter school, a health center, a chapel, a library. (And, in Austin, Minn., a new Spam Museum.) The repurposing of abandoned big-box stores is easier to wrap one’s head around: one can envision within a single volume (albeit a massive one) the potential to become something else. But exurban communities are a unique challenge. The houses within them are big, but not generally as big as, say, Victorian mansions in San Francisco that can be subdivided into apartments. So they’re not great candidates for transformation into multi-family rental housing. I did visit a housing development last year that offered “quartets,” McMansions subdivided into four units with four separate entrances. These promised potential buyers the status of a McMansion with the convenience of a condominium, but the concept felt like it was created more to preserve the property values of larger neighboring homes than to serve the needs of the community’s residents. There has been a nationwide shift toward de-construction (led by companies like Planet Reuse and Buffalo Reuse, the surgical taking-apart of homes to salvage the building materials for reuse, but often the building materials used in these developments aren’t of good enough quality to warrant salvaging. I don’t have the perfect solution for how to transform these broad swaths of subdivisions, and while I’ve heard much talk of the foreclosure tragedy, I’ve heard nary a peep about what to do about it. A recent article in The Times spotted an emerging trend of kids usurping the abandoned pools of foreclosed homes for use as temporary skate parks. (Interestingly, this was big in the ‘70s, as you can see by watching the rad skate documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys.”) It’s a great short-term strategy for adolescent recreation (and for ridding neighborhoods of fetid pools, which often harbor West Nile virus), though it’s not a comprehensive solution to the problem of increasingly abandoned, ill-maintained and more dangerous streetscapes. But there are some interesting avenues to be pursued. Part of President-elect Obama’s proposed massive public works program, for example, is to be dedicated to clean tech infrastructure. Included in this is the intent to weatherize (that is, make energy-efficient) one million low-income homes a year. One can already see how those in the construction industry can begin to make the shift from new construction to home retrofitting. It’s the centerpiece of “The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems,” the best-selling, Al Gore- and Nancy Pelosi-endorsed book by environmental activist Van Jones. Though we hear a lot in the news about new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design/) buildings and incentives for implementing the latest green technology, it’s often the case that fixing leaks and insulation are just as effective in reducing the carbon footprint of single-family homes (which account for about 18 percent of the country’s carbon footprint). As people increasingly stay put — and re-sell homes less — this retrofit strategy makes sense. Millions of homes, not just low-income ones, are in need of the sort of weatherization the Obama plan describes. The non-profit Architecture 2030, established in 2002 in response to the global warming crisis, is leading a major effort in this arena with the goal of dramatically reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the building sector by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed and constructed. And after decades of renovation-obsession that has simply gotten out of hand, it seems a prudent time to swap Viking ranges for double-paned windows and high-efficiency furnaces. It’s the perfect moment to fix what we’ve got. Despite their currently low numbers, green homes typically re-sell for more money than their conventional counterparts. I still dream that some major overhaul can occur: that a self-sufficient mixed-use neighborhood can emerge. That three-car-garaged McMansions can be subdivided into rental units with streetfront cafés, shops and other local businesses. In short, that creative ways are found not just to rehabilitate these homes and communities, but to keep people in them. __________________________________________________________ “The Ponzi State” New Yorker, February 9, 2009, p. 81 ABSTRACT: A REPORTER AT LARGE about Florida’s real-estate market and the economic downturn. Writer visits a number of inland real-estate developments near Tampa, Florida. Developers there dreamed up instant communities, parceled out lots, and built look-alike two-story beige and yellow houses. The houses sold to some of the thousand or so people who moved to Florida every day. Now many are ghost subdivisions. In one community, Twin Lakes, property values dropped by more than a hundred thousand dollars in the past two years. Writer interviews Angie Harris, a Navy veteran and mother of five, who says of her neighbors, “It used to be people would wave. Now they don’t.” In another community, Hamilton Park, the writer interviews a woman named Lee Gaither, whose only income came from Disability payments. She was facing eviction and planned to sell many of her possessions on eBay. Florida is one of the places where the financial crisis began. Gary Mormino, a professor at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, tells the writer that, “Florida, in some ways, resembles a modern Ponzi scheme. Everything is fine for me if a thousand newcomers come tomorrow.” The state depends for revenue on real-estate deals and sales taxes. By 2005, the housing market in Florida was hotter than it had ever been. Flipping houses and condominiums turned into an amateur middle-class pursuit. Writer tells about Floridians with modest incomes who made money buying and selling real estate. Mentions one case in which a house appreciated in value by almost fifty per cent overnight. According to an investigation by the Miami Herald, government oversight of the real-estate market was so negligent that more than ten thousand convicted criminals got jobs in the mortgage industry. Flipping and fraud burst the bubble. But in places like Pasco County, it was the ordinary desire of ordinary people to buy their own home that turned things toxic. Tells about Anita Lux, who moved to Florida from Michigan with her husband, Richard. Gives a brief history of Cape Coral, Florida, which was first developed in the fifties by two businessmen from Baltimore. Writer interviews a number of Florida residents who have lost their jobs or homes. A Fort Myers real-estate agent named Marc Joseph tells the writer, “Greed and easy money. That was the germ.” By last year, the highest foreclosure rate in the country could be found in Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Mentions other indicators of the economic hard times, including the closure of auto dealerships and the theft of copper. Writer visits the office of Tampa’s mayor, Pam Iorio, who is determined to build a light rail system to revive the city’s fortunes. A number of people in Florida told the writer that the state needs a fundamental change in its political culture.
  20. Montreal goes to Chicago Windy City gets its own comedy festival Montreal’s prestigious Just For Laughs comedy festival is spreading its wings – with a new festival in Chicago. The 25-year-old event, a long-time favourite of talent-spotting American TV executives, has teamed up with the TBS network for the new festival in summer 2009. It comes after the rival HBO cable network cancelled its comedy arts festival in Aspen, Colorado, in favour of a less industry-orientated event in Los Angeles. Ellen DeGeneres will headline the five-day event, but the rest of the line-up – including stand-up, improv and sketch shows, plus Latino and black showcases, will not be announced until the autumn. Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, sad: ‘We couldn’t be happier that the enormously talented and always funny Ellen DeGeneres is on board. Just For Laughs: A Very Funny Festival is a perfect opportunity for us to showcase some of the best talents in the comedy industry.’ Just For Laughs president Gilbert Rozon added: ‘Looking back, it’s hard to believe that Just For Laughs started out as a small local comedy showcase and has grown and evolved to become one of the biggest producers of comedy in the world. We are thrilled to be involved in this endeavour with TBS, and to have Chicago as our flagship comedy event in the US.’ Chicago has an illustrious comedy heritage, especially with improv and sketch acts, with comedians such as John Belushi, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, and Steve Carell starting their careers there. http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2008/02/20/6439/montreal_goes_to_chicago?rss
  21. http://www.playboy.com/playground/view/ben-affleck-batman-playboy-interview [h=1]PLAYBOY INTERVIEW: BEN AFFLECK[/h]by Michael Fleming[h=3]PHOTOGRAPHY BY LORENZO AGIUS[/h] PLAYBOY: The Sum of All Fears. AFFLECK: I met Morgan Freeman, which was great because I was able to ask him to work for free when we did Gone Baby Gone. We shot The Sum of All Fears in Montreal, and it almost killed me. That town never closes. The food is amazing, the drink is amazing, the girls are gorgeous. It’s not a place to focus on your work.
  22. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/look+Moishes/4889398/story.html#ixzz1OFxMp0Np
  23. China’s Stock Market Passes US as Leading Indicator Published: Wednesday, 4 Aug 2010 | 12:43 PM ET By: John Melloy Executive Producer, Fast Money China may be the second biggest economy in the world behind the US, but it is No. 1 in terms of influence over global stock markets, analysts said. “The Chinese equity market has shown signs of ‘leading’ global equity markets at turning points over the past three years,” wrote Geoffrey Dennis, Citigroup’s emerging markets strategist. “As a result, the 13 percent rally in the Shanghai Composite since early-July has been a major support for improved overall global sentiment over the past month.” It’s only natural China’s stock market would take a leading role following structural changes such as a jump in listings and the allowance of short sales. After all, the economic influence speaks for itself. Among other things, China is the biggest consumer of energy products, accounts for 70 percent of iron ore demand, and in 2009, became the No. 1 auto market, according to analysts’ reports. The Shanghai Composite Index has led the US market back from its 2010 low. It’s no coincidence that the leading US stocks during this comeback have come from the stocks in the industrial and raw material industries such as Caterpillar [CAT 71.56 -0.40 (-0.56%) ] and Freeport-McMoRan [FCX 74.61 0.54 (+0.73%) ]. Ford [F 13.04 0.06 (+0.46%) ] shares are up 30 percent in one month. “China’s rapid growth in auto sales is merely a reflection of the rise of middle class consumption patterns,” wrote Marshall Adkins, Raymond James energy analyst. “Add in increasing Chinese trucking, petrochemical and aviation consumption, and total Chinese oil demand growth in 2011 should be well north of 500,000 barrels per day and could drive over half of the global oil demand growth next year.” It’s no coincidence then that oil topped $80 this week before retreating today. The iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index [FXI 41.95 -0.08 (-0.19%) ], an ETF traded here on the NYSE, is supposed to be a direct play on the Chinese market, but it has underperformed China’s local market over the past month. The ETF contains only the large Chinese stocks that are listed as ADRs on US exchanges. What this data shows is that you may be better off buying a US index fund, industrial stocks or a broader emerging market ETF if you believe China is going higher. Citigroup sees the Chinese stock market rising five to 15 percent higher by the end of the year as fears of an economic slowdown are priced in. "Based on a 'no double-dip' scenario, solid growth in emerging markets, low interest rates 'for longer' and attractive valuations, we remain bullish on emerging market for the long-term, including Chinese equities," wrote Citi's Dennis. The closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange used to ripple through the rest of the world, dictating trading in Australia, Asia and Europe that followed it. No longer. The US traders’ day may be decided before he or she even wakes up. http://www.cnbc.com/id/38558580
  24. Some of the measures in the Snøhetta concept sound familiar... http://nymag.com/arts/architecture/features/times-square-2012-4/ Could it become a place where New Yorkers actually want to hang out? By Justin Davidson Published Apr 15, 2012 Snøhetta's plan for Times Square: a low-key, pedestrian-friendly base for the riot of lights above. (Photo: Rendering courtesy of MIR) For two decades, New Yorkers have viewed Times Square as the city’s heart of brightness, a candy-colored hellhole to be avoided whenever possible. At either end of a workday or just before curtain time, we may dart and jostle past slow-moving out-of-towners, but the notion of meeting friends for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe or whiling away a weekend afternoon held rapt by the symphony of screens doesn’t cross our minds. Starting next fall, workers with jackhammers will tear apart the bow tie, temporarily making it an even less congenial place to hang out. But one major goal of the $45 million construction project is to persuade New Yorkers to love Times Square—to convince them that it’s not just a backdrop for a million daily snapshots but Manhattan’s most central, and most convivial, gathering spot. Architects and visionaries have often addressed that old ambition with high-energy concepts that gave us the current high-tech razzmatazz. Even in this round of ideas, the city has fended off proposals for colored LEDs embedded in the pavement, for ramps, staircases, pavilions, digital information kiosks, heat lamps, trees, lawns, canopies, and, of course, more video screens. Instead, the city hired the architectural firm Snøhetta to produce a quiet, even minimal design that doesn’t try vainly to compete with the glowing canyons. Its beauty lies in dark, heavy sobriety and a desire to be a lasting pedestal to the frenzied dazzle above. In the most straightforward sense, the new plan enshrines a transformation that has already taken place. Ever since vehicles were banned from Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets, in 2009, Times Square has felt like a temporary art installation. Pedestrians have been able to step off the curb and into the weirdly motor-free street. Rickety red café tables, which replaced plastic beach chairs, dot a blue river painted on the asphalt. Streetlights, lampposts, mailboxes, hydrants, and pay phones remain clustered along the Broadway sidewalk, staying clear of nonexistent traffic. The new construction will eliminate that feeling of making do. Curbs will vanish. Pedestrian areas will be leveled and clad in tweedy concrete tiles that run lengthwise down Broadway and the Seventh Avenue sidewalks, meeting in an angled confluence of patterns. Nickel-size steel discs set into the pavement will catch the light and toss it back into the brilliant air. Instead of perching on metal chairs, loiterers will be able to sit, lean, sprawl, jump, and stand on ten massive black granite benches up to 50 feet long and five feet wide. Electrical and fiber-optic-cable outlets will be packed into the benches so that, for outdoor performances, special-event crews will no longer need to haul in noisy, diesel-burning generators or drape the square in cables and duct tape. Even on ordinary days, the square will be de-*cluttered of the traffic signs, bollards, cones, and boxes that cause foot traffic to seize up. With any luck, crowds will gather and mingle only in the center plain between the benches, leaving free-flowing channels on either side for the rest of us, who have somewhere to be, people! Originally based in Norway and now firmly ensconced in New York, Snøhetta in 2008 created one of the most successful public spaces in recent memory: the pedestrian pathway that winds its way around, inside, in front of, and on top of the firm’s new opera house in Oslo. It’s a cosmopolitan yet utterly local place, an exquisite juncture of sea, sky, and glacier-like building, which seems to be slipping calmly into the fjord. It suggests that the architects understand the interaction of local culture and public space. “We’re not trying to make an instant photograph of happiness,” says the firm’s co-founder Craig Dykers, explaining that Times Square needs a little grit. “There’s been quite a lot done to make the city feel more delicate, which is good, but we shouldn’t forget its industrial history. At Times Square, there were rivets on the old marquees, the steelwork on the signs was industrial, and the lighting was naked bulbs. We want that whole history to be reflected in the experience of the space.” That may be a lot to ask of benches and pavers. Toys ’R’ Us isn’t slinking back to the suburbs, and all the happy, shiny logos won’t be dimming anytime soon. But Times Square has always reinvented itself every decade or two, and it may be shifting again. It’s been the epicenter of the media world, but Condé Nast will soon be moving to the World Trade Center, and Google has settled in Chelsea. In the nineties, Times Square lured law firms and financial outfits with the city’s freshest, most technologically advanced office towers, but new models inexorably supersede the old, and this time they’ll be in lower Manhattan and Hudson Yards. This is not to say that the glitter is flaking off, only that the least likely option for the future is stasis, so Snøhetta had to design a permanent platform for the unpredictable. There are two distinct approaches to public-space renovations: the grand design and the perpetual tweak. If Snøhetta is pursuing the first path, the apostle of the second is Daniel Biederman, who led the fabulously successful renovation of Bryant Park in the early nineties and has been managing it ever since, filling it with activities, temporary structures, and retro details. “If I were the czar of Times Square design, I would do the traditional stuff: plants, kiosks, movable seating, games, programming—small touches,” Biederman says. “Most people look down as far as two feet from the ground and up to fourteen feet off the ground, so at Times Square they have a chance to waste a ton of money on a surface that nobody’s going to see.” Yet Bryant Park’s charms don’t constitute a recipe. Times Square is not a graciously bounded piazza, and it shouldn’t be a verdant oasis. It’s an accidental wedge formed by two major avenues. Seventh Avenue will keep its traffic, and so will the cross streets. Even below ground, ancient water mains, electrical lines, telephone cables, subway tunnels, and long-buried trolley tracks tangle chaotically. The square’s getting a face-lift and major surgery at the same time. Quaintness has no place here. Every bit of this area acts as a showcase of some kind. The new design is to the street what the M&M’s store is to candy and Good Morning America is to television: an urban launchpad for a global commodity. In this case, the product is the philosophy of public space preached by the Bloomberg administration’s impassioned transportation commissioner, Janette *Sadik-Khan. For decades, American cities have treated their streets as traffic conduits meant to speed cars along as efficiently as possible (which is often not very efficiently at all). Instead, the new thinking goes, they should be a flexible network equally comfortable for drivers and dawdlers, parents with strollers, cyclists, truckers, and anyone who would rather just sit for a while and rest. Until 2009, the theater district embodied the disjunction between the way streets were conceived and the way they were used, as Sadik-Khan points out with data-driven fervor. “Times Square had 137 percent more accidents and crashes than any other avenue in the area,” she says of the way she found it when she took office in 2007. “It was a hot spot of congestion. You had 356,000 people coming through on foot every day and less than 10 percent of the space allocated to pedestrians. It wasn’t working, and it was a problem that had been lying in plain sight for 200 years.” You remember: Crowds spilled over the curbs into the street, gridlock stranded taxis in the triangular crossroads, and hurried theatergoers battled through the stationary herds. The Times Square Alliance, which represents local businesses, suggested an incremental solution: Widen the sidewalks a little bit. Sadik-Khan one-upped them and completely closed five blocks of Broadway to traffic. The result was a harvest of happy data: fewer accidents, cleaner air, more satisfied survey respondents, and popular events like the Summer Solstice free yoga classes that last year attracted 6,000 people. (The 2012 edition takes place on June 20.) Clearing out cars also brought a surprising economic roar. Before, annual commercial rents in the area averaged about $800 per square foot. Last week, the eyewear emporium Oakley opened a new store, paying about $1,400 per square foot. Everyone in the Bloomberg administration is watching the countdown to the end of the mayor’s term, and Sadik-Khan’s Department of Transportation seems to be rushing to set her revolution in concrete so that her successor can’t merely paint it over. Times Square is only the most visible representative of a program that spans all five boroughs: Another 50 permanent plaza renovations are completed or in the works, from Madison Square to Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn and Roberto Clemente Plaza in the Bronx. Uncharacteristically for a city agency, the DOT is resisting uniformity, trying to gear each project to local desires, so the Snøhetta design won’t be an archetype, but it will be a much-*scrutinized example. Tourists already make the crossroads of the world an obligatory visit, but Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, wants to change both the composition of the crowds and the reasons they come. “Ten years from now, we want people to want to see what public art is happening here,” he says. There is of course the possibility that a rejuvenated Times Square will appeal to New Yorkers so intensely that it will once again become as unbearably crowded as it was before. That’s a risk the city is willing to take.