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  1. http://www.lapresse.ca/arts/musique/201610/13/01-5029959-le-metropolis-va-se-refaire-une-beaute.php <!-- .excerpt --> Le Métropolis subira une cure de rajeunissement l'an prochain. Son propriétaire, l'Équipe Spectra, cherche actuellement un partenaire-commanditaire pour mener à bien des travaux qui doivent commencer au printemps et se terminer à temps pour la saison des festivals. Il n'est pas question de fermer la salle de spectacle pendant ce réaménagement, qui ne touchera pas à sa structure. «C'est le 20e anniversaire de l'acquisition du Métropolis par Spectra, le 375e de Montréal, et le Quartier des spectacles est vraiment en ébullition. On veut y participer, et c'est un bon moment pour faire ces investissements-là», affirme Jacques-André Dupont, président de l'Équipe Spectra. À 132 ans bien sonnés, le Métropolis n'a pas subi de baisse de fréquentation récemment et sa réputation est bien établie. Le magazine spécialisé Pollstar le classe bon premier au Canada et 13e au monde dans sa catégorie de salle. «Mais comment fait-on pour passer de la 13e à la 4e place au monde et pour que les artistes et le public qui nous adorent nous adorent encore plus?» demande Jacques-André Dupont. «Il faut garder cet actif-là en parfait état et, tant qu'à investir, on va essayer d'aller plus loin et de créer un lieu qui va nous mener vers les 20 prochaines années.» Agrandir Jacques-André Dupont, président de l'Équipe Spectra, qui est propriétaire du Métropolis. Photo Ivanoh Demers, Archives La Presse S'ouvrir sur la rue L'Équipe Spectra veut surtout investir dans l'aspect technologique du Métropolis pour être à la fine pointe de ce qui se fait ailleurs dans le monde. Son président tient également à ce qu'il soit plus accueillant pour les spectateurs et qu'il prenne un peu plus de place au coeur du Quartier des spectacles. «On pourrait ouvrir davantage sur la rue Sainte-Catherine, dit M. Dupont. Notre façade pourrait être plus large que présentement. C'est un petit sas pour entrer dans le Métropolis, et j'aimerais que ce soit plus accueillant. Il y aurait même la possibilité d'ouvrir une terrasse sur la [rue] Sainte-Catherine si on voulait. J'aimerais bien également avoir un accès direct au Savoy. Présentement, pour accéder à cette boîte, il faut entrer par le Métropolis.» Il est également question de changer les systèmes de son de la salle, de rénover les loges des artistes, les toilettes, les guichets, les bars ainsi que, peut-être, les loges au balcon et les corbeilles de chaque côté de la scène. «On a trois objectifs: on veut que le public voie la différence et que son expérience soit améliorée, que les artistes soient mieux accueillis et que les techniciens trouvent ça encore plus facile de travailler chez nous.» Changement de nom? M. Dupont parle d'un investissement «dans les sept chiffres» dont la hauteur dépendra de l'implication du partenaire à dénicher. Ce commanditaire éventuel pourrait provenir du monde médiatique ou encore du milieu technologique, plus présent que jamais dans les arts de la scène. Des pourparlers ont déjà été entrepris, et M. Dupont espère que le partenariat sera scellé d'ici la fin de l'année. Le Métropolis pourrait-il changer de nom et devenir la vitrine d'un commanditaire, comme son grand cousin du Groupe CH, le Centre Bell? «Il est tôt pour parler de cela, mais nous serions ouverts à explorer cette option avec le bon partenaire - un partenaire qui, au-delà d'une contribution financière, partagera nos valeurs et notre attachement au Métropolis et à la métropole», répond Jacques-André Dupont. Le Métropolis au fil des ans 1884: Ouverture du Théâtre français. 1923: Après un incendie qui le détruit complètement à la fin du XIXe siècle, il est reconstruit et sera converti en salle de cinéma. 1930: Au début de la décennie, il est encore la proie des flammes. Il sera rénové et décoré par Emmanuel Briffa, qui a également décoré le Théâtre Outremont. 1960: Le théâtre devient une salle de cinéma érotique. 1987: Le Métropolis rouvre ses portes après une fermeture qui aura duré sept ans. Il a une double vocation de discothèque et de salle de spectacle. 1997: L'Équipe Spectra achète le Métropolis et le réaménage quelques années plus tard pour qu'il soit consacré uniquement au spectacle. w.lapresse.ca/arts/musique/201610/13/01-5029959-le-metropolis-va-se-refaire-une-beaute.php
  2. http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/115-new-jobs-created-in-greater-montreals-fintech-industry---iocs-opens-its-first-north-american-software-development-centre-in-montreal-577237671.html MONTRÉAL and LONDON, United Kingdom, April 27, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - IOCS - the world´s first developer of multi-tenant, end-to-end e-commerce platform for the processing of complex agreements - has chosen Montréal to establish its first software development centre in North America. With the support of Montréal International, IOCS, which is growing at an annual rate of 100%, will pursue its ambitious expansion strategy using Québec's metropolis as a springboard. The company plans to create a team of over 115 highly skilled employees in Montréal within the next three years.
  3. http://journalmetro.com/actualites/montreal/885493/denis-coderre-prochain-president-de-metropolis/ Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. Everyone is aware that Montreal has been performing at an unacceptable level according to virtually every measure. The challenges that lay ahead are not simple, or easy, but they can be pursued successfully. Significant change appears to have commenced, and may be gathering strength. At the outset, let’s be clear about something. If Montreal is to become a great city again, it will either need to get some sort of real “special status” within Quebec, become a special economic zone or, later, a city state. As we see it, the fundamental question we face is: Can Montreal become a city of global importance, or is it destined to be a provincial metropolis? We are currently a provincial metropolis not much higher in status than other important provincial metropolises, such as Halifax or Winnipeg. We need to become more important, like Toronto or Barcelona. Under existing constitutional arrangements, municipalities are controlled largely by the provinces. Provincial governments pass most of the enabling legislation that affects the powers cities have. Mayor Denis Coderre has entered into talks with two provincial cabinet ministers, Pierre Moreau and Robert Poëti, regarding some kind of special status for Montreal that would see the city get more responsibilities and funding — but for small things like transport and services for the homeless. Bravo and kudos, but is that enough? No. A recent Bank of Montreal/Boston Consulting Group analysis of Montreal outlined 10 distinct proposals to turnaround the city’s sagging fortunes. If these 10 propositions were to become actionable, they would be implemented within one of the two broader contexts we see for Montreal: evolving provincial metropolis or evolving global city. First of all, Montreal needs to be able to attract and retain the best talent. That is a clearly defined goal to which to aspire. To do this, Montreal must control its own destiny, and that means it must be open to diversity and become a beacon of opportunity. In order to reconnect with the larger North American and offshore business world, Quebec’s restrictive language laws need to be reviewed, and reworked to fit with Montreal’s global ambitions and identity. The thinking should be as follows: Montreal is a French city, first of all. It is also a North American city. It should become a global city. Global cities are defined by their openness to diversity and creativity. And so all students, regardless of ancestry or origin, need to be bilingual at the end of primary school, and trilingual at the end of secondary school. Anglophones and allophones (including immigrants) should be free to choose any school they want, as long as those schools offer a bilingual or trilingual education. Businesses and institutions should be able to use their language of choice. The public should have access to all services in either official language: anywhere, anytime. All of this is possible; we just have to do it. The time is now. Michel David is a business strategist and author of The Genius Is Inside. He is also a director of Fondation Montréal: City-State. He lives in Westmount. Morton Grostern is a consultant to small- and medium-sized businesses in Montreal. He is also a director of Fondation Montreal: City-State. He lives in Hampstead. Michel Lozeau, a strategic consultant and executive coach in Paris, contributed to this commentary. He lives in Montreal and Paris. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  5. Un extrait d'une dissertation très approfondie sur l'humour. August 2008 page 120 Least funny city: Seattle. It's rainy, progressive, and almost kind of European, it's Norway on the Pacific... Funniest city: Montreal. Every summer, our favorite anglophobic metropolis to the North plays host to the biggest, best comedy festival in North America. Drink potent Canadian beer while catching the late-night stars of tomorrow... Maudit que j'les haillis les américains! S't'une joke, lol...
  6. The first installment in a new Gazette series about living in Montréal. http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/montreal-az/index.html Being a Montrealer can be tough: the winters, the crumbling infrastructure, the corruption scandals ... But the start of the summer party and festival season has finally arrived, making this a perfect time to bask in all that this city has to offer, and to celebrate why we love Montreal, from A to Z. There’s so much to celebrate about living in Montreal If overcoming adversity is the secret to communal happiness, then we’re due an extra helping of joy. We ask some prominent Montrealers what they love most about our city BY RENÉ BRUEMMER, GAZETTE CIVIC AFFAIRS REPORTER JUNE 7, 2014 9:11 AM Things are looking up: Montreal’s skyline as seen from the lookout on Mount Royal. Photograph by: Megan Martin/Special to The Gazette MONTREAL — In order to truly appreciate life, a wise friend once told me, one has to suffer a little. We were descending from the peak of Mt. Algonquin in the Adirondacks after an unexpectedly harrowing five-hour hike through snow and ice that allowed ample time to ponder the question: “Why did we choose to inflict this on ourselves?” But as we descended, elated, my friend pointed out that it was the hardships we overcame that made the journey so special, and brought our disparate band of hikers closer. If overcoming adversity and suffering en masse is the secret to communal happiness, then Montrealers are due an extra helping of joy. Just as a sailor trapped in the darkness of a long storm may forget the existence of the sun, many Montrealers swamped by waves of corruption scandals and a particularly nasty political climate have lost sight that they live in one of the greatest and most vibrant cities in the world. One that manages to remain mostly harmonious in spite of, or perhaps because of, its vast diversity. More tarnished jewel than island paradise, Montreal is all the more precious to those who choose to live here — in part because of its imperfections. There are signs, finally, that Montrealers are starting to feel that glimmer of warmth again, and with it a rebirth of their pride. The shift in attitude coincides with the re-emergence of the sun, a glorious Habs playoff run, and Grand Prix weekend, what radio host Terry DiMonte refers to as “the starting gun for the summer.” It’s a time when we see our metropolis through the eyes of outsiders who see it as a special place for its unique French-English mix, harmonious multicultural melding and its expertise in the art of joie-de-vivre. The Gazette asked a handful of prominent Montrealers what they think makes our metropolis stand out. Alongside these perspectives, today we kick off a Gazette summer series on the many things that make this city a special place to live, from A to Z. We’ll run daily features — one for each letter of the alphabet. Congratulations, Montrealers, we’ve made it through some dark times. Now, it’s time to celebrate under the sun. The last many months have been hard on the soul, CHOM morning man Terry DiMonte notes. “I’ve told family and friends across the country that it has been very difficult to live in Montreal over the past 18 months, even more difficult than normal,” DiMonte said. “I had a French friend who told me, ‘Anglophones love the city so much because they have to fight so hard to stay.’ “When I first came back from Calgary, my first summer was the Maple Spring (season of student protests), which I found incredibly difficult, and that was followed by the election of the Parti Québécois (government) and all the disharmony and divisiveness (that followed), and that I found really, really soul-sapping.” In his four years in Calgary, DiMonte found that city clean, well-run and “all of those things that Montreal isn’t.” Yet he returned, for there is something about this city’s chaos that attracts. “As much as I hate to say it, part of what makes Montreal special is it demands a lot of you to live there — the construction, the politics, the closed highways, the potholes, the things we argue about, it’s all of those things that make the place in an odd way a special place. … It gives it a flavour you can’t find in any other city in Canada.” All that adversity breeds a certain toughness, said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. The city has shown resiliency in the face of a slew of crises, including loss of status as Canada’s top business metropolis, the flight of head offices and a decimated manufacturing sector. “Despite all that, there is an optimism, or will, to develop the city that always comes back,” Leblanc said. “We are an ambitious city. That doesn’t mean we necessarily realize all our ambitions, but when we say Montreal will be a cultural metropolis, and we way Montreal is a city of creativity, we actually create those two Montreals, we project ourselves as an international metropolis.” After a long decline, Montreal is rebuilding its roads and bridges, and residential and commercial office towers are sprouting everywhere, and especially downtown. There are 86 building projects over $5 million underway in Montreal and its demerged municipalities, Quebec’s construction commission reported this week. That indicates a positive outlook by developers, and the banks that saw fit to finance them, Leblanc said. The challenge, however, will be putting up with 10 years of construction zones. Beyond the current building boom, Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal also notes the city’s unique geography. “What I think is wonderful, somehow, is the space of the city itself,” Bumbaru said. “The architecture is not an architecture of immense landmarks, but one of streetscapes, and the connection between those, in a way. We can have a stroll on Gouin Blvd., or a stroll from the mountain down to the Lachine Canal. It is a strollable city. “It is the scale of the city, the notion of neighbourhoods and the fact that we have a living core.” (Eighty-four thousand people live in the Ville Marie borough, making for the most populated downtown core in North America after New York City, La Presse reported this week). While many cities are statistically diverse, their cultural groups are often grouped into ghettos that inhibit interaction and can create tensions. Montreal has a “mixity,” notes Bumbaru, “a porosity in the city fabric” that allows the multitudes to merge. That coming together creates a unique collectivity among people from all over the globe, says comedian Sugar Sammy. “People say there are two solitudes — I think there’s actually all these cultures that are starting to meld together,” said Sugar Sammy, whose bilingual standup shows have drawn 235,000 fans in Canada and India over the last two years, and whose new French TV show, Ces gars-là, is drawing a wide anglophone audience. It helps, he notes, that most Montrealers are bilingual, if not trilingual. The easy mixing allows Montrealers, often strongly attached to their own neighbourhoods, to visit the city’s other many varied locales and yet always still feel at home, Sammy said. “It’s not just biculturalism, but so many cultures and the fact that people know about each other here,” he said. Despite the division caused by Quebec’s proposed charter of values, Montreal’s “mixity” is actually a source of unity, Sammy said. Montreal’s city council and its mayor unanimously defied the charter, and the PQ, which proposed the charter, were trounced in the April elections. Communications strategist Martine St-Victor describes Montreal’s intermingling as harmony, as opposed to mere “tolerance.” “Harmony means not only that you have Asian friends, it’s that you love Asian restaurants — that you actively seek out other cultures and make them your own,” she said. “There is this human contact that you don’t find, for example, in New York or Paris,” she said, in part because many of Montreal’s neighbourhoods, with their local cafés and small cordonneries, maintain their village feel. “You sense you are part of a collective, that we are not just individuals, which is great.” It’s also a city where people aren’t afraid to look one another in the eye. And the city has a new champion, she said, in Mayor Denis Coderre. “He’s taking the city where it hasn’t been in a long time because he has guts. He has a big mouth, but he backs it up.” Since his election in November, Coderre has travelled to municipalities throughout Quebec, and to New York City, Paris, Lyons, and Brussels to forge bonds. And to proclaim: “We’re back.” “Our role is to make the city known, to make sure we are contagious. We have a great reputation internationally,” Coderre said. “When people come to Montreal, they fall in love with it.” At home, Coderre’s message has been: Tackle the issues, stop beating ourselves up about past transgressions and gain more power as Quebec’s major metropolis. If city council is proactive and takes decisions, the people will appreciate it, he argues. And they will forgive your mistakes, which allows for progress. “When we step back and look at ourselves in a bigger way, I think this is one of the greatest places in the world,” Coderre said. And a city that suffers as one also gets to celebrate as one. “We have this sort of sense, I think, of going through something together,” Sugar Sammy said. “We live whatever the pulse is, and if you live it together you feel it, and I think it makes you fall in love with the city even more.” rbruemmer@montrealgazette.com Twitter: ReneBruemmer
  7. Excellent texte de François Cardinal (de La Presse) sur pourquoi Montréal devrait avoir un statut spécial : Manifesto for a city-state Montreal has paid the price for being treated like just another region. Quebec’s economic hub deserves better. François Cardinal Policy Options, November 2013 Far from being a land of forests, plains and prairies, Canada is an urban country. Nearly 70 percent of the population lives in urban centres and more than 90 percent of demographic growth is concentrated in those metropolitan areas. These proportions put Canada at the top of the world’s most urbanized nations. And yet all of Canada’s cities, from Montreal to Toronto, Calgary and even Ottawa, are neglected by federal and provincial political parties. They are short-changed by electoral maps. All are forced by the provinces to labour under a tax system that dates from the horse-and-buggy age. All are relegated to the status of lowly “creatures” subject to the whims and dictates of higher levels of government. It’s as if the country has not yet come to terms with the changes it has undergone since its founding. “Cities do not exist under the Constitution, since it was drawn up in 1867 when we were a rural, agricultural country,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi pointed out when I interviewed him at City Hall. “But today the country is highly urbanized, a fact that, unfortunately, is not reflected in the relations higher levels of government maintain with the cities.” The 2011 federal election offered a good example of this oversight. Every party targeted the “regions,” those wide-open spaces of rural and small-town Canada. The Conservatives’ slogan in French was “Notre région au pouvoir” [Our region in power]. The Liberals cited “rural Canada” as a priority but barely mentioned urban Canada. The Bloc used the slogan “Parlons régions” [Let’s talk about regions] but had no urban equivalent for the metropolis. More critically, the parties felt compelled to appeal to voters in the regions by positioning themselves in opposition to the cities. The most glaring instance came during the French leaders’ debate, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper castigated Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff over his promise to build a new Champlain Bridge. “I would not take Mr. Ignatieff’s approach and divert money from the regions to finance infrastructure for Montreal,” Harper said. The Liberals were not much better. They pledged to develop a plan for public transportation but never specified what it would look like. They promised support for social housing but said they would take the money out of funds for urban infrastructure. The reason for this is not rocket science. With the big-city vote so thoroughly predictable, the parties focus on rural areas or the suburbs where they believe their policies might swing votes. They rarely target the city centres. At the provincial level, the situation is pretty much the same. In fact, the Quebec government was able to relieve Montreal of its “metropolis” title and its dedicated ministry nearly 10 years ago without raising eyebrows. Thus Montreal became just one “region” among all the rest: Administrative Region 06. In the 2012 election in Quebec, Montreal did move up a notch. There was more discussion about the city. But since then, unfortunately, good intentions have been replaced by a charter of Quebec values, which has been broadly criticized in Montreal. Imposing it confirms the implicit trusteeship under which the government rules the metropolis. But even more than urban centres elsewhere in the country, Quebec’s parties have limited reason to take an interest in the city. Montreal is either politically safe (for the provincial Liberals) or a lost cause (for the Parti Québécois). In short, Quebec is no different from other Canadian provinces in treating its major city like a big village that must be attended to, certainly, but not more than any other municipality. The cost of showing the city favour is to risk losing precious votes in rural areas. But major cities are no longer the same municipalities they were in the past. Today, Montreal and Toronto are expected to compete with Paris and New York. They are expected to attract and hold onto businesses, court foreign creative talent, draw more private investment and deliver more and more services to residents, from social housing to public transportation. Providing support services for recent immigrants, developing the knowledge-based economy, building social housing, dealing with antigovernment demonstrations and adapting to climate change are all responsibilities that now fall to cities. They are nothing like the urban “creatures” of the 19th century. Lucien Bouchard could not have been more clear when he said in his 1996 inauguration speech after being elected premier: “There can be no economic recovery in Quebec without a recovery in Quebec’s metropolis.” For once, it appeared the government of Quebec was going to recognize Montreal’s special character and grant it preferential treatment. “The complexity of the city’s problems calls for special treatment and even, I would say, for the creation of a specific metropolitan authority,” Bouchard continued. It seemed as if he was about to usher in an exciting new era. There was now a minister responsible for “the metropolis.” A development commission was set up for the Montreal metropolitan area and it was to be invested with significant powers. A true decentralization of power was in the offing. An economic development agency, Montréal International, was created at this time, as was the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT). But just when it appeared Montreal was going to receive special attention and treatment, the government’s old habits returned with a vengeance. Like a parent who has given too much to one child, the Quebec government decided to restore the balance by giving to the regions with its left hand what it had given Montreal with its right. A local and regional development support policy was introduced in 1997. Then the Ministry of Regions was created and local development centres set up. A few months later, they added government measures for the province’s three metropolitan areas and then, finally, measures for all urban areas. “The reforms demonstrate, once again, the government’s efforts to address Montreal’s specificity without neglecting the needs of the rest of Quebec,” political scientist Mariona Tomàs explained in her fine book Penser métropolitain? But the result was a government policy similar to the previous ones, an across-the-board approach based on a view of Quebec as a collection of communities, rather than a province organized around its main economic hub. “The government’s desire to maintain a territorial balance can be seen in the powers of metropolitan structures,” Tomàs observed. “The law provided the same types of powers for all the urban communities created in 1969, and then for all the metropolitan communities in 2000.” Giving the rural Outaouais region the same powers as Greater Montreal reduces the latter to just one region among many. To this way of political thinking, the metropolis must not be allowed to overshadow any other town, must not be given too much. It cannot receive more attention than others, and cannot be elevated above any other. Canada’s “hub cities,” those few major urban centres like Montreal, are the drivers of economic activity in the country. That was the conclusion of a recent Conference Board study, which pointed to the collateral benefits of a thriving metropolis. It found that strong growth in metropolitan areas spurs growth in neighbouring communities and then in the whole province. But how can Montreal play its role as an economic driver if it is not treated as such? We need only look outside the country to be convinced that we need to roll out the red carpet for the metropolis: to the United States, where big cities have the attention of the country’s leaders; to Asia, where the treatment of major centres sometimes borders on obsessiveness; or even to France, a country that, like Quebec, is marked by a deep divide between “the metropolis” and “the provinces.” France provided a telling illustration of this awareness in early 2013, a few months after François Hollande’s Socialist government took office. Although France was in dire straits, burdened by crushing public debt and being forced to reconsider the fate of its precious social programs, Hollande did not think twice about launching a project of heroic proportions to relieve congestion in Paris. The price tag: the equivalent of $35 billion for a brand new “super metro,” plus $10 billion to extend and upgrade the existing system. Was this completely crazy? On the contrary. Hollande was being logical and visionary. France understands the importance of investing in its metropolis. This is a country that is ready to look after its towns and villages, while not being afraid to give Paris preferential treatment. “A strong Paris is in the interest of the provinces,” commented L’Express magazine in March 2013. Quite so. The article notes, for example, that much of the income generated in Paris is actually spent in the rest of the country. All financial roads — tourism, commuting for work, national redistribution, whatever — all lead to Paris, with benefits to the provinces. L’Express cites the case of Eurodisney to illustrate. Disney had hesitated before settling on building its amusement park in Paris — not between contending French cities, but between Paris and Barcelona. Herein lie the value and importance for the entire country of having a strong metropolis. “Weakening Paris would slow France’s locomotive,” argued L’Express. “And in a train, the cars seldom move faster than the locomotive.” Clearly, what Montreal needs is special treatment, more autonomy and more diverse sources of revenue. In short, it needs a premier who will stand on the balcony of City Hall and proclaim: “Vive Montréal! Vive Montréal libre!” Worryingly, the current state of affairs in Montreal — the revelations and insinuations of political corruption and collusion — is prompting many observers to call for the Quebec government to take the opposite tack and tighten the city’s reins. According to this view, more provincial government involvement is needed to check the city’s propensity for vice. But in fact the only way to make the city more responsible and more accountable is to give it greater power, wider latitude and more money. Montreal’s problem is that it has all the attributes of a metropolis but is treated as an ordinary municipality, subservient to the big boss, the provincial government. Its masters are the minister of municipal affairs, the minister’s colleagues at other departments involved in the city’s affairs and, of course, the premier. Montreal is under implicit trusteeship. This encourages, even promotes a lack of accountability on the part of the municipal administration, which is only half in charge. “It’s not complicated: Montreal is currently a no man’s land of accountability,” says Denis Saint-Martin, political science professor at the Université de Montréal. “There is a political and organizational immaturity problem, which explains the political irresponsibility we have seen in recent years. Montreal needs more power, not less. Montreal needs to be more accountable, more answerable.” Essentially, the metropolis needs to be treated like one, with the powers and revenues that go along with city status. Montreal is a beggar riding in a limousine. Invariably, after a municipal election, the incoming mayor announces a wish list and then gets the chauffeur to drive him up provincial Highway 20 to Quebec City to knock on the provincial government’s door with outstretched hands, hoping for a little largesse. Montreal’s mayor has to beg because the past offloading of responsibilities for delivering services to citizens onto the municipality has not been accompanied by new money. “In Quebec, the province is responsible for much of the regulatory apparatus under which cities operate, which the cities feel restricts their autonomy,” said political scientist Laurence Bherer in 2004, speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Université Laval political science department. “And far from decreasing in recent years, provincial intervention has spread to a variety of areas such as the environment and public security, further relegating the cities to the role of operative rather than architect.” It is unacceptable for the provincial government to be the “operator” of a metropolis. That is why municipalities are rightfully seeking greater autonomy and greater freedom of action from their provincial masters. This is what is starting to happen in other provinces: in Alberta, with its Municipal Government Act, with British Columbia’s Community Charter and especially in Ontario, with the City of Toronto Act, which reads in part: “The [Ontario Legislative] Assembly recognizes that the City of Toronto, as Ontario’s capital city, is an economic engine of Ontario and of Canada.” The Ontario government appears to understand the special role Toronto plays in the wider economy. The City of Toronto Act goes on to say, “The Assembly recognizes that the City plays an important role in creating and supporting economic prosperity and a high quality of life for the people of Ontario [and] that the City is a government that is capable of exercising its powers in a responsible and accountable fashion.” Quebec’s largest city deserves similar treatment: strict accountability in exchange for recognition of its status as an autonomous government and the ability to tap more diverse sources of revenue. Indeed the main reason Montreal is regularly forced to pass the hat in Quebec City is its heavy dependence on property taxes for its income. As a creature of the province, it still operates under the good-old British tax model that sees it derive the bulk of its revenues — 67 percent — from property taxes. This was not a problem a hundred years ago, when Montreal provided only property services to its residents. But its responsibilities have expanded. The standards imposed by Quebec City have proliferated, and the portion of the budget allocated for services to individuals has grown considerably. Yet its tax base remains just as dependent on a single sector: real estate. This situation has a huge drawback. The City does not share the economic benefits that it generates. It might well pour money into the Formula One Grand Prix and summer festivals, invest in attracting conventions and tourists, renovate public spaces to make the urban environment more attractive and friendly. But it will get not a penny back. On the contrary: these investments only increase the city’s expenses in maintenance, security and infrastructure, while the federal and provincial governments reap the sales taxes. Take the city’s jazz festival. Montreal has to pay for security, site maintenance, public transportation to bring visitors to the site, and must deal with the event’s impact on traffic. In return, it gets happy festival-goers and tourists who spend money, stay at hotels, eat at restaurants — and fill provincial and federal coffers with sales tax revenues. They enrich the governments in Quebec City and in Ottawa, but not Montreal, which picks up the tab for the costs. The result is that the hole into which large cities are quietly sinking gets deeper. Big-city economies are dematerializing. The knowledge-based economy, in which Montreal shines, is based on innovation, research and brains, not factories. But for now, grey matter is not subject to property tax. Add to the mix an aging population with more modest housing needs, the increase in teleworking, self-employment and e-commerce, and you have a Montreal that is not only under implicit administrative trusteeship but also in an increasingly precarious financial position. And then people wonder why our metropolis is not playing the role it should be playing. another region. Quebec’s economic hub deserves better.
  8. Even if i'm very intolerant of the PQ - and it's devastating consequences on the Quebec economy - this is why English Canada is half the battle. There's so much bullshit in this article I don't even know where to begin. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/06/conrad-black-as-quebec-decays-toronto-seizes-greatness/ The announcement this week of an effort spearheaded by art collector and impresario David Mirvish, international architect Frank Gehry and innovative developer Peter Kofman to provide Toronto with a novel vertical, arts-based downtown residential complex is potentially a big step in Toronto’s quest to vault itself into the front ranks of the world’s cities — where it has sometimes prematurely claimed to belong. Whether Canadians from other centres like it or not, Toronto is now and will remain the comparative metropolis of the country, having surged past Montreal after that city entered into a sustained suicide attempt based on separatist agitation and accompanying racial and cultural discrimination. Behind the pretenses to egalitarianism that dress up confiscatory Quebec tax laws and repressive language laws, the real driving ambition has been to push the non-French out of Quebec, buy up the real assets they cannot physically take with them, especially their mansions and office buildings in Montreal, and eliminate up to half the emphatically federalist votes in the province. Montreal’s loss has proven to be Toronto’s gain. Historically, almost all Quebec’s non-French (comprising about 20% of the provincial population) are anti-separatist; and about an equal number of Quebec federalists are authentic French-Canadians who have thrown in their lot with the pan-Canadian option, and are routinely reviled by their peppier Quebec nationalist compatriots as vendus, sell-outs. (In my recent debut as a co-host with Amanda Lang on her CBC news program, the only line of mine that was excised was to this effect — so squeamish does the CBC remain about calling Quebec nationalism what it is: outright racism, at least in the worst cases. Radio Canada, the French CBC, is a notorious infestation of separatists.) The principal bulwark of federalism in Quebec, and therefore in Canada, has been the English-Canadians, who have habitually voted Liberal, and have been shamefully neglected by the Liberal Parties of Canada and Quebec (the first now eviscerated and reduced to the unimaginably dubious expedient of elevating a leader whose sole qualification for high public office was surviving childbirth, and the second defeated and discredited, and now about half English, despite all its ingratitude). But 50 years of nationalist pressure in Quebec, uncompetitively high tax-rates on upper income groups and the endless redefinition of the use of English as a “privilege” that can be whittled down and compromised, have driven over 500,000 people out of Quebec, most of them to the Toronto area. These former Quebecers, and the comparative welcome that Toronto has given external immigration (unlike the Québécois, who are generally hostile to any non-French immigration and none too accommodating even to ostensibly francophone immigrants who don’t speak like Québécois and aren’t too preoccupied with Quebec nationalism), has made Toronto an unusually, almost uniquely multi-cultural city. In fact, Toronto is one of the few jurisdictions where multi-culturalism has not been a disaster. The Netherlands has just rolled back its former official deference to the non-Dutch, and required assimilation in the education system, a belated response to an Islamist influx that is threatening domestic tranquility and social coherence. For less defensible motives, Quebec is placing further strictures on the teaching of English in the state school system, a terrible disservice to the province, which despite its ululations of sufficiency, is a demographically dwindling repository of a not overly dynamic French fact outnumbered 50:1 by its English-speaking North American neighbours, and which by its addiction to transfer payments from English Canada has become a white-collar secular clerisy that contributes little economic added value to anything. Electricity, over-unionized base metals and forest products industries, and a scattering of high tech and financial services are all that generate any earned income for Quebec now. The migrations from Quebec and elsewhere have gradually, over 50 years, transformed Toronto from a tank town of low church Protestant bigotry and ugliness, and radical segmentation between the Catholic and Protestant sections of an almost monochromatic white city — where only hotels had liquor licences, and cinemas were not open on Sunday, and even on Saturday night, everything (which wasn’t much) shut down before 11 o’clock — to a serious metropolis by international standards. The forces of racial and cultural snobbery and intolerance have retreated into a few fetid clubs, where the denizens fester like despotic toads in their unregenerate hypocrisy. Greater Toronto has over 6 million people, the fifth metropolitan area in North America, and 160% of Greater Montreal, and about one fifth of the people who live there are non-whites, and over 30% speak a language other than English or French at home, the exactly opposite policy to the desperate and restrictive cultivation of French in Quebec. These trends will continue, and the rise of Toronto as an increasingly important metropolis of a steadily more important Canada is almost inevitable. This is why it is hazardous, as well as dishonest, for the NDP to paint itself into the Quebec corner, complaining of Albertan oil, and calling, in effect, for repeal of the Clarity Act, to facilitate the separation of Quebec by a bare yes majority on a trick question, and committing the federal government virtually to ban English among its employees in Quebec. It is a disgraceful policy of pandering, minority cultural oppression, and regional abrasion, completely unsuitable for the official, pan-Canadian opposition. It is as if Gilles Duceppe and his unlamented Bloc Québécois had held its majority of Quebec MPs but also elected 40 people in other provinces, mainly Ontario and British Columbia. Returning to this revolutionary plan for Toronto’s entertainment district, all three project leaders, David Mirvish, Frank Gehry and Peter Kofman, are, in their different fields, innovators and creators, and precisely what Toronto needs to translate economic boom and ethnic diversity and population growth into a distinctively great city. Toronto is recognized to be liveable by world standards, and relatively safe and prosperous. But as a great city, it lacks history, drama and flair. History, dramatic historic events, epochal personalities, and great cultural achievements and trends can’t just be confected. And drama is mainly violence: the French Revolution and Napoleonic and other wars in Paris; the Civil War and Blitz in London, the drastic changes of regime in Berlin, and the incomparable drama of Rome, as the imperial and ecclesiastical, and then reunited Italian capital. Even New York and Chicago have the tragic mystique that surrounds gang and gangster wars, revolutionary and Indian skirmishes, countless riots, earth-shaking financial upheavals, 9/11. Toronto obviously does not seek tumult and bloodshed to tart up its ambiance; so to be great, it must ensure that more of its growth comes in the form of brilliant architecture — the construction of iconic projects of the future. The Mirvish project consists of a trio of unusually interesting, 80-storey buildings. It will contrast well with the city’s existing skyscrapers. (Three of Toronto’s impressive bank office complexes, for instance, TD, CIBC and BMO, while fine plazas, are just knock-offs from Mies Van der Rohe, I.M. Pei, and Edward Durrell Stone.) Frank Gehry, who appeared to be descending into self-indulgent eccentricity with his proposed memorial in Washington to Dwight D. Eisenhower that featured a statue of the victorious theatre commander and two-term president as a 14-year-old farm boy, has produced a beautiful design (though it would be better if the Princess of Wales Theatre could be preserved). Toronto must avoid the Canadian tradition of nit-picking the ambitious and original and, as it did when it built the new city hall, it must seize and promote this great and self-generated opportunity.
  9. Un communiqué vient tout juste d'être envoyé par Spectra: le Metropolis vient d'apparaître sur la liste Pollstar des 100 meilleurs "concert clubs" au monde. Il est 1er au Canada et 9e au monde! Pas de lien internet encore, c'est trop chaud. Ça viendra bientôt.
  10. jesseps

    Video: Rob Carter's Metropolis

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