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  1. iamthewalrus

    expo67

    encore un autre thread de vieilles photos, j'espère que ça vous dérange pas, c'est mon trip cette semaine. J'ai trouvé deux super bon site sur le sujet, qui montrent tout ce qui concerne l'expo 67 du début jusqu'à la fin, des photos de tous les pavillons, de tous les évènements, ce qui n'a jamais été construit, les célébrités qui ont visité, memorabilia, des plans, etc.... http://www.collectionscanada.ca/expo/0533020304_e.html et http://expo67.ncf.ca Automotive stadium Montréal en 1967 Île Notre-Dame Île St-Hélène Quelques moyens de transport pour se rendre (à part le métro et l'autobus) skyride expo express minirail expo hovercraft construction
  2. Quel choix de sujet pour l'article sur Montreal cette semaine dans la section CITIES dans The Guardian quand on compare avec l'article publie sur Toronto ! Jack Todd me déçoit beaucoup ! Welcome to the new Toronto: the most fascinatingly boring city in the world https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/04/new-toronto-most-fascinatingly-boring-city-guardian-canada-week https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/06/40-year-hangover-1976-olympic-games-broke-montreal-canada?CMP=fb_a-cities_b-gdncities#comments Cities Guardian Canada week The 40-year hangover: how the 1976 Olympics nearly broke Montreal The Montreal Olympics left the city with a C$1.6bn debt, a string of corruption scandals, and a creeping sense of economic and social decline. Forty years on, how did the city survive? Mayor Jean Drapeau stands in the Olympic Stadium, Montreal. Photograph: Graham Bezant/Toronto Star/Getty Cities is supported by Jack Todd in Montreal Wednesday 6 July 2016 07.30 BSTLast modified on Wednesday 6 July 201611.17 BST Shares 714 Comments 93 Save for later There is a moment before all our global sporting extravaganzas when it all seems poised on a knife edge. Helicopters hover above the stadium, keyed-up athletes shuffle and bounce with excess energy, and organisers bite their nails as they try to hold down nervous stomachs, worried that despite years of planning and the expenditure of billions, it will all go desperately wrong. Then the trumpets sound, thousands of young people take part in colourful charades, pop stars fight a losing battle with hopeless stadium acoustics – and the Games begin. The formula is pretty much set in stone, but in 1976 Montreal added a wrinkle. On 17 July, with Queen Elizabeth, Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and 73,000 people looking on, the Greek athletes who traditionally led the Parade of Nations came up the ramp toward the Olympic stadium to find their way almost blocked by construction workers. Out of sight of the cameras and the throng inside the stadium, the staff were frantically wielding shovels and brooms to clear away the building debris left from the manic push to complete the facility on time. In the final scrambling months before the Games, 3,000 labourers had worked in teams 24 hours a day to make it possible for the Olympics to begin at all. They barely succeeded. Two weeks later, when the last athlete had gone home, Montreal woke up to what remains the worst hangover in Olympic history: not just a bill that came in at 13 times the original estimate, a string of officials convicted of breach of trust and the greatest white elephant of a stadium ever built, but a creeping sense of economic and social decline. Forty years on, no other Olympics has so thoroughly broken a city. Facebook Twitter Pinterest The opening ceremony of the 1976 Montreal Games. Photograph: Tony Duffy/Getty Images*** Advertisement When I arrived in Montreal five years earlier, a war resister from Nebraska with little French and less money, the city was enduring its harshest winter on record. Montreal would receive more than 152 inches of snow in 1970-71, including a March blizzard that killed 17 people. The endless snow, in a sense, was a mercy. It turned down the heat on the city’s simmering political crisis, which had boiled over the previous Octoberwhen the terrorist Front du Libération du Quebec (FLQ) kidnapped the British consul, James Cross, and the province’s minister of justice, Pierre Laporte. Prime minister Trudeau responded by imposing martial law. Armoured personnel carriers patrolled the streets and troops detained hundreds of people without charges. The FLQ would murder Laporte on 17 October. They released Cross on 3 December, effectively ending the crisis but leaving the city battered, bruised and tense. Even before the kidnappings, Montreal was jittery from a series of FLQ bombs: 95 in total, the largest of which blew out the northeast wall of the Montreal Stock Exchange. And yet, in those years, the best place to get a sense of what Montreal was and might have been was Le Bistro. It was really Chez Lou Lou, although no one called it that, and it featured more or less authentic Parisian ambience, right down to the surly French waiters. When I could afford it, Le Bistro was my favourite destination on a weekend morning. One especially frigid Saturday, Leonard Cohen sat at the next table with a blonde companion, both of them sporting deepwater tans from the Greek islands, looking blasé about it all. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Leonard Cohen was born in Westmount, Montreal. Photograph: Roz Kelly/Getty ImagesMontrealers could afford to be blasé. The city was everything that Toronto, its rival, 300 miles to the south-west, was not: urbane, sophisticated, hip, a place where you could dine well and party until the bars closed at 3am. In Toronto, they rolled up the streets at 11pm and toasted the Queen at public functions. Montreal was not just the financial capital of Canada, it was also the most European of North American cities, half English-speaking but overwhelmingly French, profoundly cultured and unfailingly elegant, where the old stone of the cathedrals met the Bauhaus steel-and-glass towers of Mies van der Rohe’s Westmount Square. The crowd at Le Bistro was a cross-section of cultural and political life in a city full of tensions, between separatism and federalism, English, French and Jewish, old money and new. There were political tensions that seemed to feed a creative ferment home that produced Cohen, the bombastic poet Irving Layton, the acerbic novelist Mordecai Richler, the politicians Pierre Trudeau and René Lévesque, the actor Geneviève Bujold and the film-maker Denys Arcand. The Olympics can no more run a deficit than a man can have a baby Jean Drapeau, in 1970 When, on 12 May 1970, during the 69th session of the International Olympic Committee held in Amsterdam, Montreal won out over competing bids from Moscow and Los Angeles to be awarded the Games of the XXI Olympiad, it seemed to signal another triumph. The city had hosted one of the most successful World’s Fairs ever in 1967, and a new baseball team, the Expos, began play in 1969, defeating the St Louis Cardinals 8-7 on 14 April at Jarry Park in the first regular season Major League game in Canada. Following those triumphs, the Olympics were sold to the Montreal public as being modest in design and, above all, inexpensive to stage. The mayor, Jean Drapeau – diminutive, autocratic, mustachioed – declared: “The Olympics can no more run a deficit than a man can have a baby.” *** Facebook Twitter Pinterest Leger (left) and Drapeau (right), listen as Taillibert describes the layout of Parc Olympique. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann ArchiveThe 1970 estimate was that the Games would cost C$120m (£65m) in total, with $71m budgeted for the Olympic Stadium itself. Drapeau took a personal hand in the stadium’s design. He and his chief engineer, Claude Phaneuf, selected the French architect Roger Taillibert, who had built the Parc des Princes in Paris and would also design the Olympic Village. Taillibert employed his own team of architects and engineers, and was respected for bringing in projects at, or at least near, budget. (The Parc des Princes, originally budgeted at $12m, cost $18m .) His conception for the “Big O” stadium was grandiose, in a style that might be called space-age fascist: it featured an enormous, inclined tower, the tallest such structure in the world, holding a retractable roof suspended from thick cables and looming over the stadium like a praying mantis over a turtle. There is no evidence, however, that either Taillibert or Drapeau ever had a handle on the management of the various construction sites. There were delays from the very beginning, and construction on the Olympic Park complex (including the Velodrome and Big O) began 18 months late, on 28 April 1973. This put Drapeau right where the powerful and militant Quebec labour unions (the Quebec Federation of Labour and the Confederation of National Trade Unions) wanted him: paying extravagant overtime bills. Out of a total of 530 potential working days between December 1974 and April 1976, the workers would be on strike for 155 days – 30% of the work time available. In one particularly crucial period of construction, from May until the end of October 1975, less than a year before the opening ceremonies were to commence, the unions walked off the job and no work was done at all. Oversight was utterly inadequate on every aspect of the project. During the inflationary 1970s, the price of structural steel alone tripled. In 1973, contractor Regis Trudeau, who had been awarded $6.9m in Olympic construction contracts, built a luxurious chalet costing $163,000 for Gerard Niding, who was Drapeau’s right-hand man and head of Montreal city council’s powerful executive committee. Only when a corruption commission forced his hand, five years later, did Trudeau finally produce a bill charging Niding for the house. Game off! Why the decline of street hockey is a crisis for our kids Read more By 1975, the provincial government had seen enough: they removed Taillibert and formed the Olympic Installations Board (pdf) (OIB) in an attempt to get a handle on the construction. Ironically, no one has since delivered a pithier assessment of the corruption than Taillibert himself. In 2011, he told le Devoir: “The construction of the Olympic Park and stadium showed me a level of organised corruption, theft, mediocrity, sabotage and indifference that I had never witnessed before and have never witnessed since. The system failed completely and every civil engineering firm involved knew they could just open this veritable cash register and serve themselves.” Drapeau himself was never charged or even suspected of personal corruption, but his remark about men having babies came back to haunt him. At the time, the physician Henry Morgentaler was much in the news for openly performing abortions. As the Olympic bill nearly tripled, to $310m, Montreal Gazette cartoonist Aislin drew one of the most famous cartoons of a brilliant career: it depicted a visibly pregnant Drapeau on the phone, saying: “‘Ello? Morgentaler?” *** When the Games finally opened, problems plagued the event itself, too. As it would do with debt, corruption and construction chaos, the Montreal Olympics inspired a trend in boycotts, when 22 African nations refused to participatebecause the IOC would not ban New Zealand for sending the All Blacks rugby team to tour apartheid South Africa. It caught on: western nations boycotted Moscow in 1980 over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and communist nations retaliated in Los Angeles in 1984. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Design Pics Inc/Alamy Stock PhotoMontreal also broke the mould in security. Following the terrorist tragedy at Munich four years earlier, the security bill ended up running to another $100m (more than 80% of what the entire event was initially supposed to cost), not including the cost of the Canadian forces enlisted to help keep order. Meanwhile, some of the athletes were tainted by accusations of doping, including legendary Finnish postman and distance runner Lasse Virén, who was suspected of transfusing his own blood – a practice that was legal at the time, though Viren has always denied it. Far more serious was the treatment of East German athletes, who dominated their events in part because, the world later learned, they’d been fed performance-enhancing drugs for decades, sometimes without their knowledge, under a programme known as State Plan 14.25. Many later suffered psychological problems and had children with birth defects. The struggle in Iqaluit: north and south collide in Canada's Arctic capital Read more In the end, the athletes themselves redeemed at least some portion of the Olympic expense: the Games themselves went off relatively well. If the relentlessly self-promoting American decathlon gold medalist Bruce Jenner caused a few eyeballs to roll, he was overshadowed by the refrigerator-built Soviet weightlifter Vasily Alekseyev, who repeated his heavyweight gold from Munich and set an Olympic record in the snatch while lifting 440kg. And in the first full day of competition, the 14-year-old diminutive Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci earned a perfect 10 on the uneven bars – she went on to become the 1976 Olympics’ unquestioned individual star. Canada, meanwhile, became the first host nation to fail to win a gold medal on home soil, a feat made no less exceptional for being repeated at the Calgary Winter Olympics 12 years later. The glow began to fade with the closing ceremonies on 1 August. The final tally of the cost for the Olympics was $1.6bn, a more than 13-fold increase, including at least $1.1bn for the stadium alone. In popular lore, the Big O had officially become the Big Owe. When all was said and done, the city was left with debt that took 30 years to pay off. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Nadia Comăneci, of Romania, dismounts during a perfect 10 performance. Photograph: Paul Vathis/AP*** On 15 November 1976, running on a platform of good government in the wake of the scandals and cost overruns, René Lévesque’s separatist Parti Québecois (PQ) won its first provincial election. The PQ’s promise to hold a referendum on leaving Canada touched off a full-scale anglophone panic in bilingual Montreal, especially within the business community. Sun Life, the huge insurance company, was the first of a stream of Montreal-based corporations to move down Highway 401 to Toronto. When the referendum was eventually held in 1980, Lévesque and the “yes” side lost decisively, but by the end of the 1980s Canada’s financial capital had shifted firmly from St Jacques Street to Bay Street, Toronto. Between 1971 and 1981, the English-speaking population of Montreal declined by nearly 100,000; over the next 20 years – which included another referendum in 1995, that only kept Quebec in Canada by a narrow margin of 50.6% to 49.4% – it would shrink by another 100,000. It would take 30 years for the city of Montreal to retire the Olympic debt Like some medieval castle under a warlock’s curse, the Olympic stadium – visible from dozens of different vantage points in the city, an inescapable reminder of what went wrong – continued to be plagued with problems. In the 1980s, the tower caught fire. In August of 1986, a chunk of it fell on to the baseball field, forcing the Expos to postpone a game. In September of 1991, a bigger 55-tonne concrete slab fell on to an empty walkway. The OIB reassured the public no one was underneath it, prompting one columnist to ask: “How do they know?” The retractable roof never happened; instead, an orange Kevlar roof was finally installed in April of 1987. It tore repeatedly, until it was replaced in 1998 by a fixed roof, which cost another $37m. In the winter of the next year, that roof tore under a heavy snow load, sending a small avalanche of ice cascading on to workers preparing for a motor show. To this day, in a northern Canadian city that averages roughly 50cm of snow a month in winter, the Olympic Stadium cannot be used if the snow load exceeds 3cm. The OIB claims the only thing more expensive than a permanent steel roof (estimated cost: $200m-$300m) would be to tear the whole thing down (estimated cost: $1bn). Their figure has been widely debunked. The roof remains in place, and the Big O now lacks a full-time tenant: the Expos played their last game in 2004 and the franchise moved to Washington DC. Facebook Twitter Pinterest The 200,000 sq ft, 65-tonne Kevlar roof at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal was expected to last 25 years. Photograph: Shaun Best/ReutersThe stadium aside, Montreal did get some bang for its Olympic buck. The excellent Claude Robillard Sports Centre in the city’s north end is still used by thousands of athletes, and the one-time Velodrome has been converted to the Biodome, an enormously popular indoor nature museum. The claim has also been made that the Montreal Olympics proper turned a profit, which is true only if you chalk up the various purpose-built venues, the stadium in particular, to infrastructure. In any case, it would take 30 years for the city of Montreal to retire the Olympic debt. A commission headed by superior court judge Albert Malouf to probe Olympic corruption spent three years, and another $3m, before releasing a 908-page report in 1980 that laid blame squarely at the feet of the mayor. Taillibert, Phaneuf and others shared some of the responsibility, in Malouf’s view, but Drapeau was the principal culprit, with his hands-on style and his habit of turning a blind eye to the shenanigans around him. Top officials and contractors were convicted of fraud and corruption. They included Niding, Drapeau’s right-hand man, who was convicted of breach of trust and sentenced to one day in jail and a $75,000 fine, and contractor Regis Trudeau, who also received a one-day jail sentence and a $100,000 fine. Even Claude Rouleau, head of the OIB installed to stop the bleeding, was found guilty of breach of trust for accepting gifts in connection with the Olympic construction and was ordered to pay $31,000. Fining the miscreants, unfortunately, didn’t help pay off much of the debt. In order to rid itself of the Olympic burden city hall had to skimp on urban essentials for years. Even now, with a belated rush to repair its crumbling infrastructure,Montreal is still paying the price for decades of neglect. *** Forty years on, however, Montreal has endured. The sour jokes about the stadium, the corruption and the Olympic debt are now part of the culture. The separatist movement that convulsed the city in the immediate aftermath of the debacle also brought some much-needed social change. Welcome to the new Toronto: the most fascinatingly boring city in the world Read more Montreal survived by reinventing itself on a smaller, more viable scale. If Toronto seized the mantle of Canada’s financial capital, Montreal is the unquestioned capital of culture, a vibrant city of street art, sculpture and world-class jazz, fireworks, comedy and fringe festivals, the city no longer just of Leonard Cohen but of Arcade Fire and Cirque du Soleil. Le Bistro is long gone, but Montreal is still hip, the bars and restaurants and clubs the liveliest in the country, a walking city where the cafes are full all day long and joie de vivretrumps quotidian worries over such inconvenient details as bounced rent cheques and unpaid parking tickets. Montreal remains the polar opposite of money and real-estate obsessed Toronto – though where it was once a smaller, colder Paris, Montreal is now more North American, less European, less blithely certain of its position in the universe. Nevertheless, the Olympic debt is paid, separatism is a diminished force and there is even a tentative plan afoot to bring back the Expos. When spring finally comes after the long winters, there is a buoyant sense of rebirth and confidence in the future. If you can ignore the potholes and the still-simmering controversies over municipal corruption, Montreal is once again a great place to live. But you can’t escape the sense that the city might have had it all. In truth, before the Olympics, it did. Guardian Cities is devoting a week to exploring all things Canada. Get involved onTwitter and Facebook and share your thoughts with #GuardianCanada
  3. Mon premier tour d'hélicoptère... malheureusement il y avait beaucoup de smog/humidité et ça rendais la prise de photo pénible... sans compter l'espace très restreint pour manœuvrer une grosse Canon 5D MK3. Certaines photos donnent l'impression d'une aquarelle à cause de la pollution. On a aussi eus une permission spéciale de faire un 360 autour du centre ville, le pilote l'as demandé puisqu'il voyait que je prenais des photos :-) Je vais sûrement refaire le tour une journée moins humide pour avoir de meilleures photos. Here's my helicopter by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's suburb - pool paradise by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's suburb - pool paradise by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's suburb - pool paradise by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's suburb - pool paradise by Malek Racho, on Flickr St-Laurence river by Malek Racho, on Flickr Hazy downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Notre-Dame boulevard and Montreal port by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal density by Malek Racho, on Flickr Olympic stadium by Malek Racho, on Flickr Olympic stadium by Malek Racho, on Flickr Olympic Stadium by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's biodome by Malek Racho, on Flickr Olympic Stadium by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's density by Malek Racho, on Flickr A green oasis in Montreal's density by Malek Racho, on Flickr University of Montreal campus by Malek Racho, on Flickr University of Montreal campus by Malek Racho, on Flickr MUHC and Turcot interchange by Malek Racho, on Flickr MUHC and Turcot interchange by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Construction frenzy around the Bell Center by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr
  4. 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. mascot@montrealgazette.com Twitter.com/JMarianScott
  5. source: http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2016/mar/14/bad-seeds-james-sclavunos-keith-emerson-lake-palmer-elp * must confess i have no idea who he is, but the image was great!
  6. mtlurb

    Expos de Montréal

    Expos gone, baseball alive in Montreal Aspiring baseball players and history keep sport going By Stephen Ellsesser / Special to MLB.com MONTRÉAL -- On a Sunday morning, the corridor between Pie IX Station and Olympic Stadium is almost completely deserted. Based on some of the crowds that came out to the Big O in 2004, the final season for Major League Baseball in Quebec, it almost seems the Expos never left. After touring Olympic Stadium, it's almost as if they were never there. Montréal, the world's most truly bilingual city, is known for its tolerance, but Stade Olympique may have walked away from the Expo-dus with hard feelings. Baseball in Canada's Sin City existed long before the Expos became the Washington Nationals, and today it lives on in many different forms, some nearby and some farther away, but hardly any of it at Olympic. A catcher, a piece of meat and a glorified Muppet form an interesting picture of the ville's offerings to the sport. Catcher Russell Martin is bringing back Dodger Blue to Montréal, giving the city another Major Leaguer to support, along with Eric Gagne, who won a National League Cy Young Award with the Dodgers, but now comes out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. Both played for the same high school, and both are among the greatest offerings to come from Baseball Quebec's feeder system, which remains strong, according to Gilles Taillon, the group's administrative director. "The actual departure of the Expos had no impact whatsoever," Taillon said. "The major impact was in 1995-97, when the Expos got rid of a championship team. We experienced a decrease in our membership mainly due to the bad publicity that baseball was getting in the media." In 1994, the strike-suspended season clipped an Expos club that was cruising along, on pace to win 105 games. The ensuing firesale disenchanted the fan base. The team parted with Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker, Delino DeShields and John Wetteland after the year, and the foundation began to crumble. By the time the Expos rolled into their final season, Montréal had lost all momentum, not to mention a considerable amount of local interest. After the Expos' fate was sealed, there was no last-minute spike of support. For the opener of the final series at the Big O, a crowd of 3,923 watched the home team fall to the Florida Marlins. The worst part? That was only the fifth-smallest turnout of the year. Yikes. "You really can't blame them with some of the decisions that were made," said former third baseman Tim Wallach of the fans who stayed away. "When fans follow guys and they have no chance of staying when it's time for them to get paid, that turns people off." The Expos succumbed to a combination of economic factors, all of which, Wallach said, slowly took hold after original owner Charles Bronfman sold the team in 1991. "I feel bad because there were a lot of people who loved that team," said Wallach, who played for the Expos from 1980-92. "It was good, and it should have been good for a long time. But it went bad, and now it will never be there again." Martin remembers fondly the Expos and their days north of the border. "It was different for me because I loved baseball," he said. "I could care less how big the stadium was or how many fans were there, as long as I was at the stadium. I grew up going to that stadium and watching the Expos, so that was a big thing." Montréal, with a metro-area population of 3.6 million, is large enough to support an MLB club, but what the area baseball community is most focused on is starting smaller. "For MLB to come back, it would have to go through the Minor League route first," Taillon said. "At this point in time, efforts are being made to bring a Can-Am League team in." The Can-Am League is an independent league composed of eight U.S.- based teams, one road team and one Canadian club, based in provincial capital Québec City. "It would be nice to see baseball back up there, but they would have to give it a better venue, a smaller stadium and more fan-friendly activities," Martin said. As for the piece of meat, sometimes life is stranger than fiction. On eBay, someone (Cirque du Soleil's founder, interestingly enough) paid $2,605 Canadian for what was billed as "The Last Hot Dog of the Expos," which was -- as one might expect -- a hot dog, which was almost a month old at the time of sale. All of a sudden the $2,100 sale price of Montreal-Expos.com looks like a bargain. "It was different there because there wasn't that many fans that loved baseball," Martin said. "But those that did love baseball, they were always at the stadium." Indeed. Nothing says loving quite like a thousand-dollar piece of processed meat. But the apocalypse is not upon us yet ... proceeds went to charity. Ignoring any discussions of shelf life, the Expo with the most staying power has been mascot Youppi!, who joined the rotation at Bell Centre, home of the Canadiens, Montréal's hallowed NHL franchise. Youppi! hit the ice just more than a year after his team's departure put him out of work. His presence, along with that of a banner honoring the Expos' 1969-2004 existence and the team's retired numbers, makes Nos Amours more visible there than at the Big O. The luxury condos that stand where Labatt Park -- the proposed downtown stadium that would have helped the franchise stay put -- would have been built are only a couple blocks away from Bell Centre, so it almost makes sense for it to feel closer to home. Where the sport thrives, however, is in Baseball Québec's tight infrastructure. The organization emphasizes getting kids involved early through two main programs, Rally Cap and Winterball, which is sponsored by MLB. In Rally Cap, players ages 4-7 are taught skills and techniques, being evaluated as they meet different performance targets. With each level advanced, they get a new hat of a different color. "Winterball," Taillon said, "is designed to provide gym teachers with plans to initiate students in grades 3, 4 and 5 to baseball." Prospective players are evaluated for Baseball Québec's high-performance leagues between ages 14 and 15. From there, it is Midget AAA and the Ailes du Québec program, the province's U17 team. Those who continue play in the ABC program in the fall and winter and the Elite League in the summer. Players at this level are at the top of their game, and many are either drafted or signed to play college baseball in the United States. Martin and Gagné are veterans of the ABC program. One player hoping to follow in their footsteps is James Lavinskas, a 20-year-old third baseman for the Montréal Elites, one of the only shows in town for baseball fans. A three-sport star in football, baseball and hockey at a Connecticut prep school, Lavinskas came up through the Elite League's feeder programs, and now he is heading to the United States for college ball. Lavinskas will play for Seminole State College in Oklahoma, following once again in Gagné's footsteps. "Guys are getting drafted every year," Lavinskas said, summing up his hopes after moving on from the Elite League. With Baseball Québec's work, the sport's foundation in Montréal is stabilizing, with or without Olympic Stadium's help. Aside from a single postcard and one or two minutes of a 30-minute tour, baseball's only other fingerprint on the facility stands right out front, a statue of Jackie Robinson. After signing Robinson, Branch Rickey sent him to Triple-A Montréal. On the road, Robinson was jeered just as he would be when he was promoted, but in Montréal, fans loved their star second baseman. Robinson batted .349 with the Triple-A Royals that season, leading the team to a 100-win season. During Robinson's final game with the team, fans gave him a standing ovation, and a second curtain call, amazing support for a black athlete in 1946. "The fans just chased him after the game because they loved him and didn't want him to go," Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO Tom Valcke said. "Rachel Robinson once said, 'That must have been one of the first times a white mob was chasing a black man for a good reason.' Don't tell me Montréal has bad baseball fans. They've always been great." Even if baseball did not live on at Olympic Stadium, at least baseball left a marker of tolerance in its place, and that is worth more than a hall of jerseys and signed balls. Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. Associate reporter Jayson Addcox contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. A ballpark that never was MONTREAL -- Labatt Park has had two deaths -- not bad for something that never actually existed. Condos now stand where the downtown park would have been built, and after the project was canned, the model of the park was passed to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. On one truly unlucky night in the Hall's archives, the model also met its destruction. "They just destroyed it, the two very troubled young men," said president and CEO Tom Valcke, recalling a day he said literally brought tears to his eyes. "It could have been a stagecoach or an old ping-pong table, but they wanted to destroy whatever got in their way that night." The 12-by-12 model, too large to be a regular fixture at the St. Marys, Ontario, museum, was in storage. Although a smaller Labatt Park model exists, the larger one (valued at $80,000 Canadian) was a sight to behold. "It was something -- one of the showstoppers in our collection," said Tom Valcke, director and CEO of the Hall. "I've never seen anything else like it, nothing before and nothing since. The detail -- individual seats, trees, all the concession stands -- it was beautiful." The model made an initial showing at the Hall, then Valcke put it away until a proper space could be created for it. Less than a month after the Expos franchise began its new life at RFK Stadium, two teenagers broke into the building where the model was kept and destroyed it, adding a bizarre and somewhat ironic twist to the life of the park that never was and never would be. Valcke said the Hall kept the pieces and that it could be reassembled, but that the task would be daunting and that it would be difficult to recapture the piece's original majesty. "We kept every single splinter of it," he said. -- Stephen Ellsesser
  7. http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/19/world/canada-montreal-olympic-legacy/index.html?hpt=hp_c2
  8. SaveOnBrew 2011 NHL Stadium Beer Price Review SaveOnBrew.Com has released their 2011 beer price findings for all 30 NHL stadiums. Not surprisingly, prices edged upward from 2010 but the good news is the average increase is less than two percent. Of course, when prices start at five dollars for a 12 ounce serving, every little penny tacked on hurts. Five dollar beer can still be had while watching a Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, or Tampa Bay Lightning home game. The lowest price to grab a cup of suds was at a Sabres Game where $5.00 will get you a generous sixteen ounce cup. The most expensive brew belongs to CentreBell, home of the Montreal Canadians, winners of 24 Stanley Cups. A 16 ounce cup will set you back $9.94 – that’s 62 cents per ounce (adjusted to U.S. dollars). To put that in perspective, a six pack would put a hockey fan back almost 45 dollars. Two stadiums actually sell suds for less this year. United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks, went from a 16 ounce serving to a 20 ounce serving, but only raised the price for those four additional ounces by 25 cents. The Winnipeg Jets, recently relocated to the MTS Center, sell their for about 30 cents less this year. The good news is that you can always find great deals on beer outside the stadium by checking our beer price search engine - go ahead and give it a whirl now!
  9. MTLskyline

    Beeston not against Jays' game in Montreal

    I would buy the best seats I possibly could for sure!! Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/baseball/story/2011/04/06/sp-beeston-bluejays-montreal.html#ixzz1Inasrob6
  10. theWestisDead

    Expos Office Complex (1998)

    This is a La Presse article from May 1998 regarding the Expos building an office complex to support their stadium construction project. The two towers next to Windsor station represents the two 50 floor towers that was part of the Canadiens original building plans, as mentioned in the second part of the article.
  11. Source: Bored Panda Via: Journal Métro Strangebuildings.com has a wonderful collection of the world’s most unusual architecture and together with Bored Panda presents you an incredible list of 33 strangest buildings in the world, and best of all, it’s not just another random list, but it is based on 4.520 unique visitor votes. 1. Mind House (Barcelona, Spain) ... 13. Habitat 67 (Montreal, Canada) 15. Olympic Stadium (Montreal, Canada) 28. Montreal Biosphere (Canada)
  12. jesseps

    Marina Bay Sands Resort (Singapore)

    Infinity pool 55 storeys up. EAT your heart out Article Someone please pitch this to the City of Montreal to allow developers to build to the sky is the limit or at least turn the tower at the olympic stadium into a huge water slide lol
  13. MONTREAL — U2 is putting up $3 million to expand Montreal's former horse racing stadium so it can accommodate 60,000 to 80,000 people for a show this summer. The fact that the band is fronting the costs of building the venue for the July 16 event is a testament to its love of Montreal, according to Jacques Aube, vice-president and general manager of promoter Gillett Entertainment Group. Gillett and tour promoter Live Nation have been working on the possibility of a Montreal date for months. The biggest problem was finding a venue big enough to host the show (including the 150-foot-wide (45-metres) stage, featuring a massive, steel spider-like structure) and comply with U2's request for an open-air stadium. The Olympic Stadium's roof is not retractable, so that 60,000-seat venue wasn't viable; Jean Drapeau Park is too small and even the Hippodrome, the former racetrack, wasn't big enough originally, which led to talks of constructing a venue specifically for the concert. http://www.canada.com/entertainment/expand+stadium+play+Montreal/2229285/story.html © Copyright © Canwest News Service
  14. ErickMontreal

    Pendant ce temps à Minneapolis...

    Mauer, Twins open Target Field, top Red Sox 5-2 By: DAVE CAMPBELL, Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have finally moved into their own place. They held the housewarming party outdoors. After 28 seasons inside the dingy Metrodome, the Twins broke in Target Field by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-2 Monday behind hometown star Joe Mauer in the first regular-season game at their new ballpark. The Minnesota Twins have finally moved into their own place. They held the housewarming party outdoors. After 28 seasons inside the dingy Metrodome, the Twins broke in Target Field by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-2 Monday behind hometown star Joe Mauer in the first regular-season game at their new ballpark. Jason Kubel hit the first home run — "I'll remember for the rest of my life," he said — and Carl Pavano earned the first victory. "I've been waiting a long time," said Mauer, who grew up less than 10 miles away in St. Paul. "It's definitely a special place, and I'm glad it's here." Red-white-and-blue bunting hung from the ledges and commissioner Bud Selig was in attendance for the celebration, which started hourse before the crowd of 39,715 snapped cell-phone pictures of the first pitch by Pavano. The unpredictable spring weather played right along, too, with a blue, breezy 65-degree afternoon. "It was colder in spring training than here today," said center fielder Denard Span, a Florida native who acknowledged concern about the early-season conditions here. "All around, a perfect day for everybody." On the Twins side, at least. Pavano (2-0) gave up four hits and one run in six innings and the Twins bullpen backed him up, with Jon Rauch recording his fifth save in as many attempts. Jon Lester (0-1) struggled for the second straight start and labored through five innings for the Red Sox, throwing only 59 of his 107 pitches for strikes while giving up four runs on nine hits and three walks. He struck out five. "I just stunk," Lester said. "Didn't make pitches, and I really don't know what else to say." Kubel hit his home run into the right-field seats in the seventh inning to finish with three hits and two RBIs. Mauer did the same. "It's only fitting, a Minnesota boy playing in his home ballpark," Span said. "You can't write a better script than that. He's probably going to be doing that about 80 more times here. You guys might want to go ahead and get used to that." Twins baseball started in suburbia in 1961 at Metropolitan Stadium and moved downtown to the Metrodome in 1982, the year before Mauer was born, sharing both facilities with the Vikings football team. Now, in their 50th season, they've merged fresh air with city energy in this cozy ballpark of their own with rail tracks, parking ramps and bike racks, warehouses and skyscrapers, and bars and restaurants all around. "It's beautiful," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who frequently compared the Metrodome to an office building. The Twins wore 1961 throwback jerseys and brought back Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek and dozens of former players who graced the Met and the Dome to tribute their history. The weather was ideal. At least on this day, the fans wouldn't have minded even a monsoon. "We're from Minnesota. We've got plenty of rain gear. We fish. We hunt," said Tony Carlson, who struck poses next to the Puckett statue on the plaza outside before the game with his friend, Bryan Spratt. Marco Scutaro, batting leadoff for Boston in place of Jacoby Ellsbury, who sat out with sore ribs, got the ballpark's first official hit, a single to center. He was picked off by Pavano. The Red Sox were, unusually, a sideshow and not the main attraction. The Twins got their offense going right away, with Michael Cuddyer driving in Span for the first run and Kubel coming next with his own RBI single. Even Mauer was more of a background character, with the $545 million, limestone-encased ballpark the star of the day. Not to be totally outdone, though, AL MVP hit an RBI double down the left-field line in the second. Mauer hit a grounder up the middle that skipped off second base for an RBI single in the fourth when Scutaro couldn't handle it. Sputtering designated hitter David Ortiz, who went 2 for 18 with nine strikeouts during the season's first week, helped his confidence with an RBI double that left fielder Delmon Young nearly caught over his shoulder — but dropped in an awkward collision with the wall in the fourth inning to give the Red Sox their first run. "I thought I hit it better than that," Ortiz said, hoping for a homer. Mike Cameron hit a long drive to center with two out and one on in the seventh, too, that was caught by Span with the Twins leading 4-1. So far, it doesn't look like the ballpark will be a bandbox. "That's all I got," Cameron said. "I don't know what else to say." NOTES: This is the fifth time the Red Sox have been the visiting team for the first official game at a new ballpark, though the first since 1923. Boston also helped open Oriole Park (Baltimore, 1901), Shibe Park (Philadelphia, 1909), Griffith Stadium (Washington, 1911) and Yankee Stadium (New York, 1923). The Red Sox lost all five. ... Selig said Target Field is a high-priority site for a future All-Star game, possibly as early as 2014. ... Pavano stopped a line drive in the sixth by Victor Martinez with his hand, grabbing the ball, getting the second out and slapping his thigh in reaction to the pain. Pavano finished the inning and said afterward he was all right. "I was glad to get the out and get out of there," he said. Photo :: http://www.flickr.com/groups/targetfield/pool/
  15. this is kinda old, but it's well written and pretty interesting from an 'historical' point of view, of sorts ... it's a 1999 washington post tourism piece, set in the context of a d.c. man visiting montreal, and going to a ball game "to see the team washington will probably inherit". it nicely highlights the city's unique attractions, all the while quite accurately summing up the general mood that surrounded baseball in montreal at the time. oh, and for extra sentimentality, read with in the background ... ----------------------------------- Montreal, Expos'd Visiting the City Whose Team Might Call D.C. Home By Mike Tidwell The Washington Post Sunday, July 11, 1999 Hundreds of crazed fans in this crowd of 5,000 foreigners begin standing and savagely slamming the backs of their chairs up and down, up and down to register their intense approval of what's going on on the playing field. The act creates sharp explosions of sound not unlike small-arms fire. The only people not banging chairs, it seems, are the sticky-fingered children eating deep-fried dough or forking strange mounds of fried potatoes laced with cheese and gravy. Suddenly, down on the field halfway through this "match," something bad happens for the home team. The French-speaking fans begin yelling at the mostly Spanish-speaking players: "Pourri! Pourri!" Rotten! Rotten! People whistle and blow long, booming plastic horns. I am, of course, taking in a major league baseball game in Montreal. I'm watching the pinstriped Expos on their home turf, a nine-inning experience that's perhaps the best multicultural adventure available to Washingtonians within easy flying distance of Reagan National Airport. It's a spectacle, a combination of God's two greatest inventions: baseball and international travel. As a junkie for both, I'm borderline apoplectic, immersed in fastballs and home runs, foreign billboards and surnames I can't pronounce. But a worrisome question nags as I sip my Molson: Do we really want these guys? Unless you're tone deaf to sports news, you probably know there's rampant speculation that the financially troubled Expos may move to the D.C. area. So I've come here as more than a sports tourist. I'm on a scouting mission, crossing the border for a sneak preview. I've already told my 2-year-old son, an emerging fan back in Takoma Park, that this is his team. He wears a tiny Expos hat when we play Whiffle ball in the back yard. But seeing this team firsthand reveals the naked truth: They're awful. Just now, an Expos batter strikes out on four pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies, triggering grumbles from the sparse crowd at Olympic Stadium. The team mascot--an orange and hairy something called "Youppi" (French for "hooray")--leads the fans in more chair-slamming fun, trying to keep a rally alive. The next batter runs the count full, teasing the fans, before popping out to the pitcher. More grumbles. The Expos have the lowest team payroll in baseball and some of the youngest players--and they are off to one of their worst starts in the team's 30-year history. Two nights ago, the players committed six errors in a single game. Again: Do we really want these guys? The answer, of course: Oui! Si! Yes! Please! Pretty please! Pretty please with whipped cream and a new, stylishly retro downtown stadium within easy walking distance of the Metro on top! Expos second baseman Wilton Guerrero steps to the plate as Youppi waves his hirsute arms wildly and the fans begin yelling things in French I can't understand. Guerrero, like the rest of the team, is in a terrible slump, and he falls behind in the count just as I come to a realization: Whatever happens in this game, I'll leave without regrets. If the Expos decamp for Washington, this will be the last summer to see French Canadian big-league baseball, a phenomenon worth catching before it goes, if for no other reason than it provides something found nowhere else in North America: minor league baseball with major league players. For anyone fashionably tired of big pro salaries, high ticket prices, arrogant players and the hassle of big crowds, the Expos offer the best of all worlds. I took a cheap Air Canada flight here, spent two days touring one of the world's great cities, and now I'm getting the farm league treatment: a tiny crowd, players barely old enough to shave, a crazy marriage proposal in the stands brokered by the mascot, and a wooden outfield scoreboard with numbers updated manually by teenagers. All this for the ridiculously low ticket price of less than $5 U.S. and a seat so close to the action that I can almost smell the pine tar. Guerrero bounces to second for an out, ending the inning. I do the only sensible thing. I order another Molson. My innkeeper in downtown Montreal, Madeline, says in accented English, "So what if the Expos leave town? There are many things fantastique and unique in Montreal besides just the Expos." She's right, of course, and during my two-day stay I'm determined see some "things fantastique" before hitting the ballpark. I begin by renting a mountain bike and pedaling straight to the top of Mont Royal, the dramatic, forested mountain (okay, a big hill) in the dead center of town that gives the city its name. A winding gravel road takes me through stands of Canadian maples to a beautiful summit park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It's odd to stand at the grassy pinnacle and be eyeball to eyeball with the tops of skyscrapers just 10 blocks away. On the way down, pausing for great views of the lovely St. Lawrence River, I pass a pair of oddly segregated cemeteries--one for French speakers, one for English speakers--a site that mutely summarizes the long-festering cultural divisions within Quebec. I pedal to the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, a 40-square-block delight of colonial structures and alleyways filled with horse-drawn caleches and itinerant artists. A warm spring sun has unloosed crowds of diners on the city's Euro-gamut of outdoor cafes, bistros and restaurants. The legendary French Canadian reputation for highly developed leisure skills is on full display this Sunday afternoon amid a sea of white tablecloths and red wines so good that even the vin de maison is a pretty sure bet. I eat grilled salmon served rare with escargots on a bed of scallions and garlic, and nearly swoon. The next day is game day. I visit the Old Fort on St. Helen's Island, in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, before heading to Olympic Stadium. After the War of 1812, the British prepared for a possible American invasion of Montreal by building this moated fortress with eight-foot-long cannons and two-meter-thick stone walls. As something of an invader myself, I grow slightly self-conscious inside those walls. Maybe I'm paranoid, but the eyes of those period-dress sentries make me think they're onto me, pegging me as the expeditionary fingertip of Washington's long arm reaching up to snatch the Expos. I make a discreet but hasty exit. I arrive three hours before the game, leaving plenty of time to tour the flag-festooned Olympic Park. I buy a ticket for the highly touted gondola ride rising from the spine of Olympic Stadium. Photos of the 1976 Games ornament the waiting area: Nadia Comaneci, Kornelia Ender, Sugar Ray Leonard. But I soon learn something unexpected about myself: Facing backward in a gondola rapidly moving upward at a 45-degree angle makes me afraid. At the top, pale and sweating, I take in a dramatic aerial view of the famous Olympic Village, the Montreal Botanical Garden and the city's 1967 international Expo site. Back on terra firma, there's time for one more stop: Moe's Deli and Bar, where Expos fans gather. It's a friendly place with exposed-brick walls, barbecued ribs and desserts kept in an old phone booth by the bar. It's happy hour--two-for-one Labatt beers--till well past game time, perhaps to anesthetize the fans for the poor play sure to follow. I sit at the bar next to Daniel, a baseball-hatted Expos loyalist, who has a message for D.C. fans. "Don't accept our Expos," he tells me. "You've lost two teams of your own before, so you know what it feels like. Please don't do this to us." I grimace and finish my second Labatt and push back my stool while Daniel, like all Montrealers I meet, remains a friendly sport to the end. "When you reach the stadium," he says, "buy the cheapest ticket in the house. It's only $7 Canadian [$4.80 U.S.]. Then, after the first pitch, sit wherever you want." "A $7 seat, please," I tell the stadium ticket seller moments later, handing over my money. I walk through the turnstile, past the popcorn and pennant venders, toward Section 139, right field. Virtually alone in my area, I take in batting practice amid thoroughly modern trappings: artificial turf, a space-age stadium roof, a gargantuan replay screen in center field. But already it doesn't quite feel like major league baseball. First, of course, there's the ticket price, about a quarter of what you'd pay at Camden Yards. Then there's the action on the field. An Expos coach is pitching batting practice using a wobbly shopping cart full of baseballs, and he's throwing to the beat of French rock music blasting over the P.A. Thirty feet below me, two teenage boys are standing on a crude scaffold, diligently updating a sprawling pre-World War II-type wooden scoreboard that gives results from around the league. This old-fashioned work, utterly exposed to those of us in the cheap seats, involves taking scores from a press-box official, then reaching into several wooden troughs for wooden slabs hand-painted with numbers and sliding them into the appropriate slot. One of them wears a felt Gatsby hat. I exit the stands for a quick pregame bite. "One order of poutine," I tell the uniformed attendant at a concession stand. Poutine, a uniquely Quebecois concoction combining french fries, cheddar cheese and beef-stock gravy, is so popular that it's served at McDonald's restaurants throughout the province. I watch the cook in back combine the fries and cheese in a tall paper cup, then slop on a ladleful of thick gravy from a stainless-steel vat. He pauses and then, momentarily indecisive, adds a second, heaping ladleful. I'm back at my seat in time for the national anthem, spearing dripping mouthfuls of poutine with a fork. For extreme junk food, it's not so bad, though halfway through the serving my stomach begins making odd noises that compete with the junior high school band playing "O Canada" with tubas and French horns on the field. The Expos take the field next, and the crowd, sprinkled more or less evenly across the stadium, begins banging empty seats up and down in preparation for the opening pitch. Twenty-five-year-old Expos pitcher Mike Thurman is on the mound, and as he warms up you can almost sense the whole place cringe. With an 0-2 record and an ERA of 8.05, he's the worst pitcher on the second-worst pitching staff in the National League. Just two nights ago, Expos pitchers gave up 17 runs in a game. But the first pitch from Thurman is a strike on the outside corner, and cheers go up just as the strange migration begins. True to Daniel's prediction, everyone in the stands not already seated behind home plate makes a beeline for amazingly choice (and empty) lower-level seats just 20 rows from the field (above a narrow VIP section) in an arc from dugout to dugout. I grab the rest of my poutine and join the exodus. By the end of the first inning, we fans are huddled cozily around home plate. In the third inning, the Expos stage a mini rally. Third baseman Mike Mordecai lines a clean single to left, and the juices start flowing in the stands. I get caught up in the excitement--this is my team, too--so I stand and begin slamming the back of my chair and cheer madly like those around me. The noise coming from these fans is, no exaggeration, as much as I've heard from crowds four times as big in other parks. Despite the high-decibel support, the rally sputters when Thurman strikes out trying to lay down a bunt. Next to me, a serious fan named Jean Yves Leduc is studiously scoring the game. He says he's attended at least 40 Expos home games every year for the past two decades. He puts down his scoring pencil and reminisces about highlights, including the 22-inning game against Los Angeles in 1987 and the time he shook hands with third baseman Tim Wallach in the parking lot before a game. "I could feel all the calluses on Wallach's hand from taking extra batting practice every day," Yves says. "I'll never forget those calluses. He was so dedicated to this team and to the game." And what will Yves do if the Expos leave town? "I had a talk with my girlfriend," he says, "and I decided that, with all my new free time, I would just go ahead and get married and have a life." It's the top of the fourth when Thurman makes a mistake pitch and Phillies right-fielder Bobby Abreu lifts a second two-run homer into left field. Four-zip, Philadelphia. "One more Phillies run," mutters the old farmer next to me after removing his teeth, whistling and putting them back in, "and I'm going home to watch hockey." Halfway through the fifth inning, Yves gets into an animated conversation with a hot dog vendor. It's all in French, and they both laugh a great deal, and I ask Yves what's so funny. "The crowd's so small tonight that the stadium is telling all the vendors--when they go back for more hot dogs--to go home. They're getting paid for only half a game. But this vendor's decided to avoid the order by not going back to resupply. That way, he can at least get his base pay for the rest of the game." Sure enough, the vendor walks away with a smile, barking to the crowd, "No hot dogs here! No hot dogs! Pas de chiens chauds!" Unexpectedly, the Expos make a heroic comeback with three runs in the seventh, while a young relief pitcher called up from Double-A somehow keeps the Phillies scoreless. By the bottom of the ninth, the drama escalates. The Expos are down 4-3 with two outs and a man on second. First baseman Ryan McGuire, who has power, steps to the plate. We may be few, but we fans do our best. Youppi claps his hairy orange hands and directs our cheers to the field. Chairs are banging. The vendor has stopped not selling hot dogs and is rooting like everyone else. The scoreboard guys are smoking nervously, peeping through a hole in the outfield scoreboard. The guy with the false teeth, true to his word, has stayed to the end. On a 2-1 pitch, McGuire lifts a towering blast to left field. We jump for joy and cheer louder and louder. But the Phillies's left fielder refuses to give up on the ball. He drifts back, back, back and, incredibly, makes the catch standing against the outfield fence. Five thousand people collapse in their seats in anguish and disbelief. It was a good game, and the young Expos have no reason to drop their chins. But there is something very sad about the way these previously boisterous fans shuffle slowly out of the stadium. An unusually large number stop and linger at souvenir stands by the exit gates. Souvenir. A French word meaning "to remember." For many of these fans, this may very well be the last time they see their Expos. They buy hats, T-shirts, pennants. To remember. I take the Montreal Metro back to downtown thinking two things. First, I sincerely hope Montreal figures out a way to keep its team, and prosper, even if it means we in D.C. don't get one. Second, if the Expos do come to us, I can't wait for the day when I can take the Washington Metro to a baseball game with my son. I'll really show him how to make a stadium chair hum. ----------------------------------- :rolleyes:
  16. CZWG's Wembley student housing passes planning consent kick starting regeneration A £25m student accommodation project for Victoria Hall Ltd which was initially refused planning permission has passed on appeal and will soon join the landscape near London's Wembley Stadium. “The proposed building is of an outstanding architectural and urban design quality,” said the inspector. “It would create an attractive landmark enhancing the Stadium environs as well as the Capital” continues the report which upheld the recent planning appeal and granted consent. 435 student rooms will be provided on a 0.32 hectare site at the edge of the regeneration area around the new Stadium, near the entrance to Wembley Park Station. The building is planned as three wings around a central tower which steps and spirals up to 20 storeys. The wings are differing heights responding to neighbouring lower and higher residential and commercial buildings and an adjacent amenity space. The facades of the two wings that face south are to be partly clad in photovoltaics, their dark colour contrasting with the silver grey of the other metal cladding panels. The windows which are set in a diagonal pattern across the facades are recessed in chamfered reveals to increase their visual scale and depth. Active frontages to the street include a spectacular double height central entrance, a launderette, management offices and extensive bicycle parking. There are two landscaped amenity areas, the one to the west is intended for gatherings, the other which adjoins and visually extends the neighbouring residents garden will be reserved for quieter uses. The scheme had the recommendation of Brent Council officers and the support of the GLA but was turned down by councillors. The inspectors report and consent is the result of the subsequent public inquiry (enclosed). Piers Gough of CZWG said, “We are very happy for our client who had backed good design over expediency to resolve the issues on this key site”. The building will be on site in late 2009 and completed by mid 2011, acting as one of the first properties to kickstart the regeneration. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11376
  17. Federal cash could put CFL team in Quebec City RHEAL SEGUIN Globe and Mail Update September 3, 2008 at 3:31 PM EDT The federal government will announce today a multimillion dollar infrastructure program for Quebec that could pave the way for a Canadian Football league franchise in Quebec City. The federal funding includes the expansion and renovation of Quebec City's Laval University sports centre where local investors are offering to expand the football stadium in their bid for a CFL franchise. According to prominent Quebec City lawyer Marc Bellemare, local investors have already set aside half of the $40-million needed to expand the stadium with the other half expected to come from other potential investors once the project is approved. However the head of Laval University Denis Brière has been reluctant in giving his full support to the stadium's expansion for a CFL franchise. “It would be irresponsible to say no to the expansion of the football stadium.,” Mr. Bellemare said on behalf of the anonymous investors in an interview on Tuesday. “The investors need to settle the situation involving the stadium. And then we can move and show the rest of Canada that Quebec City is truly a city capable of attracting a CFL franchise.” According to a marketing conducted on behalf of the investors the marketing firm Impact Recherche, 71 per cent of Quebec City residents support a CFL franchise. The study obtained by the Globe and Mail showed that 43-per cent of the 1001 people polled would be interested in purchasing a season ticket and that 85-per cent believed that Laval University sports centre would be an appropriate location to hold CFL games. The investors worked closely with the Montreal Alouettes in preparing their project for a CFL franchise. Alouette's president Larry Smitth said in a recent local radio interview he embraced Quebec City as a potential CFL franchise location saying it would create a healthy rivalry between the two city that would boost interest for the league throughout Quebec. According to Mr. Bellemare, CFL director general Michael Copeland also indicated to him that Quebec City would be an ideal location for the league's proposed expansion project. Quebec City has one of the most popular university football teams where the Laval University Rouge et Or has attracted as many as 19,000 people to local games in a stadium that only has slightly more than 10,000 seats. The marketing study showed that the attraction of CFL franchise in the city would not have a negative impact on the popularity of local university foot ball games. “The university hold four local games per season. Most of the CFL local games could be scheduled in July and August and would no compete with the university games,” Mr. Bellemare said. “Now it's up to the government to urge the university to change their plans for a new sports centre to allow for the stadium's expansion. Laval University's current $85-million sports centre proposal includes the construction of an indoor soccer field on empty land next to the current football stadium. The city has announced it will inject $10-million in the project with the other $75-million coming from equal contributions from Ottawa and the province. The investors have proposed that the university modify the plan in order to move the soccer stadium further east and use the empty field for the expansion of the football field. Today federal Minister of Transport, Infrastruture and Communities Lawrence cannon will confirm Ottawa's contribution to the university's sport centre proposal. Mr. Cannon as well as Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget are expected to respond to investors' proposal for changes to the University's plan that could pave the way for a CFL franchise in the city.
  18. ErickMontreal

    Rogers Center : Cutting to the chase

    Cutting to the chase Sean Fitz-Gerald, National Post Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 TORONTO -- If he had told the truth while walking into that south Florida bar that winter, in 1969, nobody would have stopped to listen. So Paul Godfrey lied, just a little, and introduced himself to the commissioner of Major League Baseball as a councillor from Toronto - and not from nearby North York, where he actually worked. Then he asked for a baseball team. "Son, where are we going to play?" Bowie Kuhn asked back. "Sir," Godfrey said, "you give us a team and we'll build you a stadium." Kuhn, with his imposing 6-foot-5 frame, put a hand on Godfrey's shoulder. "Son, let me tell you the way we do it in Major League Baseball," he said. "First, you build us a stadium, then we'll decide if we want to give you a team. Nice meeting you." After plenty of negotiation and a bit of luck, the Toronto Blue Jays staged their first regular-season game at Exhibition Stadium eight years later. And by the mid-80s, Godfrey had turned his attention to the NFL, shaking hands and making friends with the league's power brokers. Today, it is Godfrey's employers at Rogers Communications who have taken up the chase, and Godfrey's employers who are faced with the same stadium-related questions for football that the former councillor faced for baseball. Rogers Centre is too small for the National Football League. Its seating capacity has been set at about 54,000 for an upcoming eight-game series featuring the Buffalo Bills, placing it firmly behind each of the league's existing 31 stadiums in terms of size. Renovations are a possibility, but would not be executed without complication. If a new facility is deemed to be the answer, then where would it be built? And who would pay for it? Ted Rogers and Larry Tanenbaum had to navigate a number of obstacles just to secure the series, and the stadium issue is still only one in a line of hurdles stretched out between them and the finish line of their quest to land their own NFL team. There are politicians on both sides of the border who would want to be heard before the relocation of any team; there are the NFL owners who would have to be convinced the time is right to move beyond the U.S. borders; there are other, American billionaires who would likely join in the bidding for any available team; and then there is the Canadian Football League, which would loudly protest any further encroachment onto its turf. "Getting a franchise, it's like getting the games here," Rogers vice chairman Phil Lind said. "It's extraordinarily complicated." Rogers Communications will pay $78-million to lease eight games from the Bills over the next five NFL seasons. And there has been rampant speculation the move eventually could become permanent. Sports investment banker Sal Galatioto, president of Galatioto Sports Partners, was asked why Toronto does not already have its own NFL franchise, despite decades of lobbying. "There are a bunch of reasons," he said. "One is Toronto doesn't have a stadium that really is NFL-ready, that meets NFL specs. That's a big problem. And it's like the chicken and the egg - unless you have the building, it's difficult to entice an NFL team to move there, but you don't want to build a building not knowing if you're going to have a team." Rogers Centre, formerly known as SkyDome, opened in 1989 at a cost of $578-million. It was overshadowed just three years later when Camden Yards opened in Baltimore, unleashing a new wave of stadium architecture, which favoured the quaint and the retro over the futuristic feel of the concrete and steel dome. SkyDome was sold to Rogers four years ago for just $25-million. Some feel the stadium could be renovated to house an NFL team by, among other things, digging and lowering the floor. The obvious conflict that would arise, though, is how the construction schedule might interfere with the Blue Jays, the stadium's primary tenant - and another of Rogers' holdings. According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the league does not have a minimum size requirement for stadiums. But the smallest facility, Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, holds 61,500 fans, 7,500 more than Rogers Centre. Opinions vary about where a new stadium might be built. There would seem to be some potential along the water just east of downtown, but the lack of public transit and room for added traffic flow has ruled it out for some. Downsview Park, in the city's north end, has often been cited as prime real estate, but Liberal Member of Parliament Joe Volpe vaguely suggested there was "some maneuvering" that might rule out its candidacy. "Probably the best place - and it was the best place 30 years ago when they were talking about the SkyDome - is Downsview," Volpe said. "And the second-best place is just past Canada's Wonderland." Building a new stadium is not cheap, but some believe the Toronto group might be able to avoid asking for public money by selling personal seat licences. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is reportedly charging as much as US$150,000 for a PSL - which only really gives a fan the right to buy tickets - in his new, US$1.1-billion stadium. Private financing might be the only way to proceed in Toronto. "When SkyDome was built, Metro Toronto put in $30-million, because at that time, the municipality had felt there was a need for a major sports centre," Toronto Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone said. "There's no political will in this town, that I'm aware of, to basically subsidize an NFL team in Toronto by putting taxpayers' money in it." "It'd be tough," Volpe said. The same could be said of the competition to land an NFL team. Ralph Wilson founded the Bills for US$25,000 in 1959, and has indicated the franchise will be placed up for auction after his death. Wilson turns 90 this fall, and Forbes values the Bills at US$821-million. "When an NFL team comes on the market, Ted Rogers is great - he's a bidder, but not necessarily the winning bidder," Galatioto said. "There are other people just as wealthy as he is, if not wealthier, who want an NFL team." Galatioto suggested the Bills could have more than a half-dozen wealthy suitors, from those who might want to keep it in Western New York to those who might want to return the league to Los Angeles after an absence of more than a decade. "You're going to have a lot of interest around the Bills," he said. "Believe me, there are a lot of people who ask me that same question: Some people interested in keeping it in Buffalo; some people interested in the dream of L.A.; some people talking about Toronto. The Bills are a big, hot topic." Especially in Western New York, where the NFL acts as one of the region's final ties to the national spotlight. Senator Charles Schumer is reportedly scheduled to meet with Wilson and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at training camp this summer, seeking to ensure the team's future in Buffalo. Other politicians have made their voices heard, and only on the mere speculation the team might be in danger of moving. The Toronto consortium would face headaches at home, too, where B.C. Lions president Bob Ackles has pledged to make as much noise as possible in defence of the CFL. Senator Larry Campbell, a former Vancouver mayor, recently tabled a bill that would ban the NFL from playing regular-season games in Canada. "I do believe in the tradition of the Canadian Football League," Godfrey said. "And it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that there are ways that both can survive. I really believe that the CFL can not only survive, but I think with the co-operation between the two leagues, it can put teams in cities that they're not in today - possibly Quebec City, Halifax." According to Rogers Communications, though, the Southern Ontario market is NFL territory. "The NFL owners have to cross the threshold and decide whether they are international, or whether they are just American," Lind said. "And they lose a certain amount if, say, Toronto or Moose Jaw gets a franchise. They gain a lot, too, because there's a huge market in Canada that would be energized way more than it is right now." Godfrey, who started the chase more than 20 years ago, is admittedly not in the foreground of the most recent pursuit, focusing on his role as president of the Blue Jays while Rogers, Tanenbaum and Lind lead the hunt. But even from the background, he claims he can still see the finish line. "A team is coming here," Godfrey said. "Can I predict whether it will be two years, or six years, or 10 years? I can't. I have no inside information, but I do know the NFL wants to go global, and it's the only sport that has not gone North American - never mind global."
  19. mtlurb

    The Myth of Montreal

    The Myth of Montreal Posted 12 Feb 2008 at 12:18 PM by Bill Archer There are a great many of you who will stop reading at the above title and skip right to the comments section which Huss thoughtfully provides in order for all and sundry to heap abuse on poor ink-stained wretches like Dan and I. Fair enough. We can take it. (Just lay off of 10Shirt. He's a sensitive, New Age guy.) So in the spirit of goodwill, mutual respect and bonhomie for which I am justifiably famous, herewith some "Inconvenient Truths" regarding Montreal fielding a team in MLS. First off, let's look at Montreal's geographical dilemma, because lost somewhere in the discussion about whether Montreal is leaving USL1 is the fact that USL1 seems to be leaving Montreal. This concept is illustrated perfectly by the history of the "Can-Am Cup" competition, which was a competition between Montreal, Toronto, Rochester and Syracuse. A nice little regional tournament which added a little drama to the season by highlighting natural rivalries. Except that Syracuse folded in 2004, Toronto left the league in 2007 and there's a good chance Rochester will cease to exist in 2008. So much for natural rivalries. In fact, USL1 used to have quite a few teams within a quick plane flight, and all of them - save the teetering Rochester Rhinos - are now just memories: Long Island collapsed in 2002. Pittsburgh and Indiana in 2003. Syracuse was gone in 2004. Virginia Beach in 2006. Toronto skipped to MLS in 2007. And what new cities have taken their place? Well, there was Portland Oregon in 2001, followed by Puerto Rico in 2003 and Miami in 2005. In other words, if Rochester really does go the way of all things, the shortest road trip and closest "regional rival" will be the Carolina Railhawks, in Cary, NC, a mere 871 miles away. If home and home grudge matches between those two don't light you up, your next choices would be Charleston, SC (1134 miles) St Paul (1240 miles) and their friendly neighbor Vancouver, which is a staggering 3000 miles from the stinky cheese of home. And the league is welcoming a new member this year: Austin Texas (the obnoxiously named "Aztex"). Apparently the Dark Side of the Moon still has some stadium issues to sort out, but look for them in 2009. In short, if you're a travel agent, the Impact is the Mother lode, Holy Grail, put-down-a-deposit-on-oceanfront-property of clients. By the end of 2008 they'll have racked up more frequent flier miles than Barack Obama. Compare this planeride/hotel existence competing against a bunch of far distant cities the average Quebecois couldn't care less about with membership in Major League Soccer East: Toronto anybody? How about New York? New England? DC? Possibly Philadelphia? Think maybe you could gin up a little fan interest in any of those games? Talk about a no-brainer: step up to a Division 1 league offering readymade rivalries with major North American cities and have your travel expenses go down? Where do I sign? Get Garber on the horn! Plus, as everyone knows, because it gets repeated on BigSoccer 50 times a day, Montreal is a) moving into a gleaming new Soccer Specific Stadium this April, b) Draws 12,000 fans a game in a minor league and c) is owned by a scion of the deep-pockets Saputo family, worldwide cheese purveyors. What else could you possibly want? What kind of idiot is Don Garber, wasting time playing footsie with Philly and St Looey while this golden opportunity is just a quick hop across the border? Well, to paraphrase Havey Keitel (Mr Wolf) in Pulp Fiction, let's not start "congratulating ourselves" quite yet, gentlemen. There are a couple of issues getting lost in the confetti here, to wit: First of all, the Impact is not owned by team President Joey Saputo. After the team went bankrupt in 2002 (something nobody ever seems to mention) the team was resurrected as a non-profit organization owned by Saputo, the Quebec Government and Hydro-Quebec. It's charter is to serve as a representative for Montreal tourism and as an incubator for Quebec-born soccer talent. So leaving aside the question of just how Phil Anschutz might feel about being partnered with a bunch of French-speaking politicians, and just how this ownership structure translates to MLS (and, honestly, it doesn't) there's the fact that a good deal of the Impact's success at the box office is due to the fact that they field as many Quebed-born players as they can find, another thing which won't likely translate well into MLS unless their goal is to lose all the time. Furthermore, Saputo, who would have to be the one to take over ownership and become and MLS partner, has been bad mouthing MLS for the better part of a decade, very publicly disparaging the caliber of play and scoffing at any hint that he might be interested in joining up. Back when MLS was desperate for someone - anyone - to step up and buy a team, Saputo ridiculed the idea that it was worth the $10 million asking price. A year or two later, when he could have bought in for $15 million, he announced that it just wasn't worth the money. But maybe, as the USL has migrated away from Montreal, and after seeing Toronto's success last season, maybe he's changed his mind and, being the gracious, good-hearted, forgiving types that we are, why wouldn't we simply forgive and forget and - assuming he's changed his mind, a proposition for which there is but scant evidence - roll out the red carpet and welcome him with roses and champagne? Short answer: his stadium. Now, on any day of the week you can read dozens of BigSoccer expansion experts raving about the wonderful new stadium in Montreal. They'll tell you how, although it only seats 13,000, it is "expandable" to 18,000 (officially it was 17,000 but 18 sounds better, apparently) and if that's still a little small, well, why let that get in the way of a good story? I would suggest to those of you who are dying to put MLS in that building to look at a couple facts. Starting with the cost of construction: Among recent stadium projects, Red Bull Park will come in somewhere between $180-200 million. If memory serves, Bridgeview was built for around $100 million. Sandy Stadium is projected to wind up at roughly $115 million. Chester (Philadelphia) and the proposal in Miami both call for $100 million buildings. Saputo Stadium (Stade Saputo for you Francophones) will be completed this April at a total cost of $15 million. Canadian. By comparison, Columbus Crew stadium, which a lot of MLS fans denigrate as being a cheaply built galvanized erector set high school stadium cost Lamar Hunt over $28 million. Ten year ago. So let's have a look at the gleaming soccer palace which so many of you insist ought to become an MLS venue immediately if not sooner, shall we? The small cement block building in the corner is the combination restroom and concession stand. Just like your local high school only smaller. The expansion to 17,000? They'll put another set of bleachers in the open end, where the consruction trailers are. It'll make all the difference, I'm sure. Now this is a very nice little stadium for USL1. Works very well. But for MLS? Seriously? I mean, the place makes Crew Stadium look like Anfield. Sorry, Montreal. It's just not going to happen. http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/blog.php?b=277
  20. Revisiting Drapeau's personal Versaille Alan Richman, National Post Published: Friday, January 25, 2008 Story Tools Gordon Beck/Canwest News Service The Olympic Stadium adds grandeur to a part of Montreal that is woefully lacking in it, even if it is too large and impractical for just about every sport, including baseball, the sport played there ... Having once worked simultaneously as both the sports columnist and the restaurant critic for the long-defunct Montreal Star - employing a sportswriter as a restaurant critic might well have contributed to its demise - I am used to my commentary being greeted with derision from numerous walks of life. Nothing I said then might equal the mockery I anticipate from what I am about to say now. I take a deep breath. I ask: Is it possible that the Montreal Olympic Stadium, built for the 1976 Games, is an enduring work of art? I have always loathed the stadium, but not for esthetic reasons. I have hated it for far longer than is healthy for a man to despise an inanimate object, entirely because of what the stadium represented: Greed. Extravagance. Envy. Pride. That's more than half the original seven deadly sins. I don't include gluttony, simply because I recall the smoked meat sold during athletic events as being ordinary. I disliked the stadium because of the considerable pain and suffering it caused the city and the province. It infamously cost about $1-billion, and we're talking 1970s dollars. It was wrong for the climate, forever showing water stains, like a suede jacket worn in the rain. It is no longer utilized in winter, because engineers worry it might not be able to withstand the weight of a significant snowfall. It's too large for just about any legitimate sports event except the opening and closing ceremonies of an Olympic Games. The one sport that was played there most often, professional baseball, didn't fit. Famously, the retractable roof never worked properly. The space was finally covered with some kind of hideous fabric. It reminds me of a tarp thrown over a sports car parked out of doors. I have one fond memory of covering an event there. I was standing in line for free food in the press room during the 1976 Olympics. Mick Jagger was in front of me, wearing a lime-green suit with a cigarette burn in the shoulder, looking like a guy who needed free food. A few days later he would send a note down to the field during the women's pentathlon, trying to meet Diane Jones, a member of the Canadian team. I left Montreal in 1977, a year after the Olympics had nearly bankrupted the province of Quebec, so the problems that kept popping up were no longer of concern to me. I stopped covering events, except as an occasional visiting sportswriter. I no longer paid income taxes to the province, so I stopped feeling cheated by the cost overruns. My bad attitude lingered on, though. In 1975 and '76, when I was the sports columnist for the Star, I had written often and angrily about the abuses that were permitted - I should say promulgated - by the city government. I recall being consumed with outrage when two workers died in an accident on the job, and Mayor Jean Drapeau justified the deaths by pointing out that in construction-deaths-per-dollar-spent, the stadium lagged behind virtually every other major project. From then on, I was in a rage. I couldn't really decide whether the mayor or the stadium was the more irrational piece of work. I shouldn't have blamed the government for everything. Let's not forget the unionized workers who built the place. Knowing of the alarmingly tight deadline, they responded with strikes, walkouts and protests. When those led to a crisis, they demanded more money for having to work so hard. The stadium was so impractical, so ridiculous and so wrong-headed that I never considered the possibility that it might be beautiful. Drapeau had it built by French architect Roger Taillibert, calling his works "poems in concrete." To me, the stadium was blank verse. Drapeau was no longer at the peak of his powers when he commissioned it. He was out of touch with practicality. But he was also something of a visionary, successor to the French profligates who built the great tourist attractions of France. The Olympic Stadium was his Versailles. A few months ago, on a visit to Montreal, I was driving through the eastern part of the city in search of a trendy restaurant: Nothing trendy ever happened in the eastern part of Montreal when I lived there. I drove past the stadium. It was sunset, and it seemed to glow. I was caught up in the gracefulness of its sweeping, melodious lines. I thought it was stunning, capable of taking flight. Others have called it a toilet bowl. Writer Josh Freed once said, "It killed the Olympics. It killed baseball and city finances. Please, let's take it down before it kills again." My old pal Mike Boone, who worked with me on the Montreal Star and is now city columnist for the Montreal Gazette, recently reminded me that baseball players never liked it, either. He recalls Ross Grimsley, a pitcher who once won 20 games for the Montreal Expos, telling him, "I was looking for the locker room. I walked a hundred miles, down corridors that didn't lead anywhere." Boone calls the stadium "a bidet with a dildo attached to it." I now think of it as Starship Drapeau. I risk being thought as addled as Drapeau when I say this: shortsighted, all of them. To be fair, even Boone concedes that if you drive up to the eastern lookout on Mount Royal, park your car and look east when the stadium is lit up, it does look lovely at a distance. I don't know if this entered into Drapeau's thoughts, but that part of Montreal is woefully lacking in grandeur, and the stadium provides what little there is. Drapeau believed that great cities needed spectacular monuments. He had wanted a symbolic structure built for his enormously successful Expo 67, but never got the building because it would have cost too much: $22-million. That's about a 50th of what the Olympic Stadium finally cost. Had he been successful in the '60s, the Montreal Olympics might not have been such a fiscal tragedy in the '70s. Of course, the stadium has been a disaster. It remains one. In 1991, a 55-ton concrete beam fell, not killing anybody, an unexpected break. In 1997, the province spent about $40-million for a new roof that was supposed to last 50 years. It soon ripped. Canadians should start thinking of the stadium as a great old pile. Sure it's obsolete, drafty and ruinous. So are castles in France. But if it hadn't been so terrible, it wouldn't be nearly so fascinating. http://www.nationalpost.com/life/story.html?id=264191