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  1. Hey everyone, Last summer I came across some videos on YouTube of tourists filming their experiences in the city - some were really great, and it was nice seeing the city from someone elses perspective, especially people who had never been here before. I started saving the ones I really liked. A few weeks ago Tourisme Montreal started releasing their ads for the 375th celebrations. Here are the first two: Une ville qu'on aime, ca se fete. - YouTube Honestly, what the fuck? Lequipe de hockey le plus titree? Des ruelles pleines de vie? Im so tired of them painting the city with such a shallow brush. Theyve never properly captured the spirit of Montreal. And the Toronto one? Cringe. So, I've been working on this for a little while. Below is a link to a short film I made and posted to YouTube today. Nearly all of the footage is from Tourists/YouTubers/Vloggers. If Tourisme Montreal can't explain our city to the world, maybe outsiders can. I used the music from Tourisme Montreal's first ad.* This one features only English-speaking tourists. Ive saved a bunch of French vlogs as well; when I get time Ill make one in French. I have some truly incredible footage for that one. Let me know what you think - share it, send it wherever and to whoever you like. Maybe we can get it to go viral, and get some attention from people who are wondering what city to check out next. Because it is mostly amateur footage, Ive added subtitles in case you can't understand some of the lines.
  2. via The Gazette : The Restaurant Scene in Montreal : Boom Equals Bust Lesley Chesterman Montreal Gazette Published on: November 21, 2014 Last Updated: November 21, 2014 9:14 AM EST Le Paris-Beurre is an excellent neighbourhood bistro that Outremont residents are lucky to have called their own for more than thirty years. The braised leeks with curry vinaigrette, the goat’s cheese salad, the famous gratin dauphinois and côte de boeuf for two, plus the best crème brûlée in town, make this restaurant a sure bet. Yes, the wine list has been on the predictable side for a decade too many and maybe the soup has a tendency to be a little watery, but the terrasse is divine and the dining room offers the ideal out-of-a-Truffaut-film bistro setting. If Le Paris-Beurre were located in Paris, it would be frequented by both locals and tourists looking for that fantasy French bistro. In Montreal, Le Paris-Beurre has relied on locals to fill its 65 seats. And increasingly, those locals are often grey-haired, owner Hubert Streicher said in a recent interview. Now after 30 years in business, Le Paris-Beurre will be serving its last bavette and duck confit on Dec. 23. Streicher still hopes the restaurant will be sold, yet he’s not holding his breath. “Our sales fell over the last three years,” he said. “We have a very loyal customer base, but those customers are aging. And younger customers are now heading to bistros on Avenue Bernard.” Normally, the closing of this Montreal institution would come as a surprise, but considering the number of iconic Montreal restaurants that have shuttered this year – big players including Le Continental, the Beaver Club, Globe, Le Latini and Magnan’s Tavern – Le Paris-Beurre is just another establishment to give up on the increasingly volatile Montreal restaurant scene. Driving around the former popular restaurant neighbourhoods of our city, and seeing locale after locale with rent signs in the windows, it’s obvious the restaurant industry is hurting. It’s one thing when the bad restaurants close. A regular purging of the worst or the dated is to be expected. But now the good restaurants are hurting as well. There are too many restaurants in Montreal and not enough customers” – Restaurant owner Sylvie Lachance Upon closing, restaurants like Magnan’s Tavern and Globe issued press releases that raised many of the same issues: road work, tax measures, staff shortages, skyrocketing food costs, parking woes, the increasing popularity of suburban restaurants and changing tastes. Add to that list a shrinking upscale tourist clientele, and there are sure to be more closings on the horizon. People have less cash to spend and more restaurants to choose from. Competition is fierce. Tourism Montreal notes that ours is the city with the largest number of restaurants per capita in all of North America. According to François Meunier of the Association des Restaurateurs du Québec, the number of new restaurants with table service increased by 31 per cent from 2005 to 2012 in Montreal. Yet people are spending less. “Sales are down 4.2 per cent in full-service restaurants from last year,” Meunier said. “People don’t have money to spend. We don’t always like to admit it, but Quebec is a poor province.” There’s a definite shift taking place on the Montreal restaurant scene and for many restaurateurs, the obstacles are looking insurmountable. Up the street from Le Paris-Beurre is the restaurant Van Horne. Owner Sylvie Lachance was so discouraged by how the restaurant scene is evolving that she sent an open letter outlining her exasperation to various media outlets last May. “There are too many restaurants in Montreal and not enough customers,” her letter began, before outlining several trends she believed were holding her back from garnering the attention she deserved. Of her chef, Jens Ruoff, she wrote: “(He) is not a hipster, has no tattoos on his arms and does not serve homemade sausage on wood planks.” Of Van Horne’s marketing approach, she said: “We do not have cookbooks for sale, nor a sugar shack, much less a television show. We do not personally know Anthony Bourdain or René Redzepi.” She closed with the final thought: “We are not dying at Van Horne but it is unfortunate, given all the hard work we do, to be forgotten so often.” Now, six months later, Lachance is still discouraged. “Are there too many restaurants in Montreal? Yes!” she said without hesitation. “Everyone is looking for staff. It has become the biggest problem. I have young chefs here who say, ‘I could go to you, Toqué! or Boulud.’ They can go anywhere. And I also see restaurants that open up that are constantly looking for chefs, waiters, bus boys. They don’t even staff their restaurants properly before opening. And as for chefs, they have to be everything these days: creative, good at marketing, eager to meet with suppliers, manage employees, calculate food cost. Good luck finding one who can do all that.” Across town, Carlos Ferreira is facing many of the same concerns at his famous Peel St. restaurant, Ferreira Café. The restaurant’s lunch scene draws the elite downtown crowd. Dinner is equally popular. Now going on 18 years in business, Ferreira should be leaning back, counting the profits, happy with his multi-restaurant empire. Not quite. “Montreal has become a restaurant city focused on fashions and trends,” he said between bites of grilled octopus at lunchtime recently. “New restaurants invest a lot in decor and ambience. In the past, the food in trendy restaurants like Prima Donna and Mediterraneo was very good. But today, it’s not serious. The ambience is exaggerated, the markups on alcohol too. A lot of those restaurants took their clients for granted and now they’re all closed. And today there is this new Griffintown phenomenon. If you don’t go to eat there, you are a loser!” When asked if he thinks there are too many restaurants in Montreal, Ferreira nodded. The problem, he said, is a lack of direction. “We’re losing sight of what a restaurant should be,” Ferreira said. “People are opening restaurants without knowing the business.” Ferreira does know the business – he’s been drawing in customers to enjoy his modern Portuguese food coming up on 20 years. Next year, though, he will be re-evaluating his entire business. “In 2013, we served 1,800 fewer customers,” he said. One of the problems now is that with the ongoing erosion of the high-end restaurant genre and the increasing popularity of casual dining, the middle ground is getting crowded. To Ferreira, restaurants can be divided into four categories: high-end (gastronomic), casual (bistros), cafés and fast-food. “The high-end restaurant is condemned,” he said, matter-of-factly. “They are too expensive and people say they’re very good but … boring. And if people go into a half-full restaurant, they don’t want to return.” Another highly successful Montreal restaurant, Moishes, celebrated its 75th anniversary this year but has faced its share of challenges. Yet owner Lenny Lighter is not willing to blame the lack of business on the booming number of new restaurants. “Competition always makes me nervous,” Lighter said. “And not just another steakhouse but anyone in my price category. But where is that ‘too many restaurants’ statement going? We live in a free society. Anyone can open a business. It’s not for us to tell people what to do. You know what’s not good? Not enough restaurants. The more choices people have, the more interesting the game gets for everyone.” To Lighter, there’s too much going on in Montreal lately to curtail entrepreneurial spirit. Young people willing to raise the capital and take the risk should do it, he said. “Some will close, there will be heartbreaks. But the ones that survive might just be the next big thing. We never know what the next Joe Beef will be or who the next Costas Spiliadis will be. Only the strong will survive. Competition is good. It raises the stakes.” And yet the hurdles in the game may also make for an uneven playing field. Next August, Ferreira will face a lengthy construction period on Peel St. and the makeover of Ste-Catherine St., both of which he is dreading. “I understand it has to be done,” he said. “But it must be done intelligently, so that there is still access to businesses.” The fear of being barricaded by a construction site is a prime concern for many a restaurateur. Even at arguably the city’s most popular restaurant right now, Joe Beef, construction worries loom large. “If the city ripped up the street in front of me here for three weeks,” said co-owner David McMillan, “I’d go under.” At Thai Grill on the corner of St-Laurent Blvd. and Laurier Ave., owner Nicolas Scalera watched his business come to a halt when the sidewalks were widened. For four months, the entrance to his restaurant was accessible only by a small plank set over a mud pit. Construction, estimated to last a month, started in August yet only finished in early November. Scalera said customers not only petered out, many called to see if he was closed. “I paid $68,000 in taxes to the city last year. It would have been nice to see a break during construction.” “I’ve been here for 17 years. I have some rights as well. But they don’t care,” Scalera said. “I had (city councillor) Alex Norris (for the Jeanne-Mance district) tell me right to my face that they don’t want people coming in from other areas or Laval to eat in restaurants in this area. He told me the Plateau is for the Plateau residents. I’d like the city to promote our restaurants instead of doing nothing to help us. Instead, I’ve seen a major decline in business. I will never open anything or invest in the Plateau again. It’s too risky. You could lose everything.” Norris, the city councillor in question, disagrees. “The Plateau gets hundreds of thousands visiting our streets,” he said. “We encourage people from all over the city to frequent our businesses. It’s a densely populated neighbourhood, so we’ve had to manage the relationship between commercial endeavours and residents. To suggest we don’t want people to visit our neighbourhood is absurd.” Inflated taxes didn’t help Le Paris-Beurre’s Streicher in Outremont, either. “I was charged $2,500 in taxes (this year) for my terrasse alone, and my terrasse is part of my restaurant, in the back courtyard, not on the street.” Van Horne’s Lachance is also disheartened by the lack of interest from the people who collect her tax dollars. “In Outremont where I am,” she said, “not one elected municipal representative has been to my restaurant. They go to the cheap restaurant down the street. I’ve served Tony Accurso, but I’ve never had any mayor or elected official in my restaurant. There is a lack of appreciation for our restaurant scene. People don’t talk about what show they went to anymore, but what restaurant they ate at. Restaurants are part of our culture now.” When asked if he frequents restaurants in his neighbourhood, Norris could name only one, L’Express. “There are others,” he said. “I’ll have to get back to you.” We’re losing sight of what a restaurant should be.” – Carlos Ferreira Even at the internationally acclaimed Joe Beef, Montreal officials have been scarce. “I’ve served three former prime ministers,” McMillan said. “The governor of Vermont has eaten at my restaurant four times, but not one Montreal mayor or one municipal councillor from my area has eaten at Joe Beef. The last five times I ate in restaurants in New York, three of the times I saw the mayor eating there, too.” “I have taken note of the comments, and I am pleased to see that the people at Joe Beef’s want to see more of me,” Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said via email on Thursday. “I was happy to see them recently at the Corona Theatre, where they catered an event celebrating David Suzuki. Unfortunately, the last time I was near Joe Beef’s restaurant, I was in a hurry and went to eat at Dilallo Burger.” “The city doesn’t understand how important the restaurants are in Montreal,” Ferreira said. Lighter is less dismissive, though he does see a lack of interest from above. “They’re not understanding the risk people take,” Lighter said. “There are payroll taxes, property taxes, operating taxes, school taxes. Government should be supporting you, not always policing you. And ultimately, with more sales, they get more taxes. Good business is profitable for them, too.” Despite the many factors hindering business, Montreal restaurateurs are not blaming customers. Client fidelity is at an all-time low, they say, yet they understand the desire to go out and eat around. “Montrealers follow the buzz,” Lachance said, “but they come back.” And yet there is one clientele all restaurateurs would like to see more of: tourists. “There is gigantic work to be done,” Ferreira said. “The summer of 2014 was the worst summer for tourists. Tourism Montreal says it was a record year, but they are drawing in the cheap tourists. These people aren’t spending.” Ferreira would like to see the city attract high-end conventions and tourists with money to spend by focusing more on the luxury market. “But no one will talk about that,” he said, discouraged. Pierre Bellerose, vice-president of Tourism Montreal, agrees the restaurant scene is hurting but with about 6,500 restaurants in the city, that’s to be expected. “We have more restaurants per capita than New York,” he said. “But we’re a poor city. Many close, many open. It’s a lot to ask the population to support the industry.” According to Bellerose, tourism is up 50 per cent from 20 years ago, and drawing visitors to the restaurant scene is one of the agency’s priorities. Bellerose said: “There is a good buzz about Montreal. It’s estimated that between 20 to 25 per cent of the clientele at high-end restaurants are tourists. There’s a lot of interest in food. But that interest varies. Some people just want smoked meat and poutine. And tourists are mostly circulating in the central areas of the city. We can’t follow them around and tell them where to go.” McMillan thinks Tourism Montreal could find better ways to promote our restaurant scene. “Tourism Maine and Tourism New York follow me on social media, but not Tourism Montreal,” he said. “And they keep paying for these bloggers to come in and discover the city. Instead, why not send some of us chefs out to promote Montreal restaurants abroad at food festivals or even in embassies? I’ve never been asked to promote my city or cook in an embassy – and if asked, I would do it.” And there is plenty here to promote. The New York-based website Eater.com recently dropped both their Toronto and Vancouver pages yet held on to their popular Montreal site. Though low on the high-end restaurant count, Montreal has an impressive number of chef-driven restaurants, with an increasing number of them drawing international attention to our scene. Plus, Montreal remains a far more affordable restaurant city than the likes of Paris, London or even Toronto – although the down side of being an affordable dining destination means less money in restaurant owners’ pockets (the ARQ estimates profits at a paltry 2.6 per cent). “We should be a premier destination,” Lighter said. “We have a unique culture, a great reputation. But Montreal has suffered economically. We’re highly taxed. There’s not a lot of disposable income and it’s expensive to eat out. I sense there is a certain defensiveness restaurateurs have with customers, but we have to learn from customers, too. We always have to have our eyes and ears open, ready to adjust.” Restaurants in Montreal: 6,500 People per restaurant in Montreal: 373 People per restaurant in New York City: 457 Increase in the number of new restaurants in Montreal from 2005 to 2012: 31 per cent Decline in sales at full-service restaurants in 2013: 4.2 per cent Sales at high-end Montreal restaurants from the tourism industry: 20 per cent End-of-year profit margin on all sales for Montreal full-service restaurants: 2.6 per cent Restaurants closing this year : Le Paris-Beurre : The bistro on Van Horne Ave. in Outremont will close on Dec. 23 Le Continental : Closed in May Le Latini : Closed in September Beaver Club : Closed in March Magnan Tavern : Will close on Dec. 21 Globe : Closed in September
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/05/schwartzs-sold-rene-angelil_n_1255654.html?ref=canada Not sure what to make of this. :biting:
  4. jesseps

    Tourism up in 2010

    (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Congrats Montreal Lets hope 2011 will be another amazing year.
  5. Malek

    'Paris Syndrome' strikes Japanese

    By Caroline Wyatt BBC News, Paris The reality of Paris does not always live up to the dream A dozen or so Japanese tourists a year have to be repatriated from the French capital, after falling prey to what's become known as "Paris syndrome". That is what some polite Japanese tourists suffer when they discover that Parisians can be rude or the city does not meet their expectations. The experience can apparently be too stressful for some and they suffer a psychiatric breakdown. Around a million Japanese travel to France every year. Shocking reality Many of the visitors come with a deeply romantic vision of Paris - the cobbled streets, as seen in the film Amelie, the beauty of French women or the high culture and art at the Louvre. The reality can come as a shock. An encounter with a rude taxi driver, or a Parisian waiter who shouts at customers who cannot speak fluent French, might be laughed off by those from other Western cultures. But for the Japanese - used to a more polite and helpful society in which voices are rarely raised in anger - the experience of their dream city turning into a nightmare can simply be too much. This year alone, the Japanese embassy in Paris has had to repatriate four people with a doctor or nurse on board the plane to help them get over the shock. An encounter with a rude Parisian can be a shocking experience They were suffering from "Paris syndrome". It was a Japanese psychiatrist working in France, Professor Hiroaki Ota, who first identified the syndrome some 20 years ago. On average, up to 12 Japanese tourists a year fall victim to it, mainly women in their 30s with high expectations of what may be their first trip abroad. The Japanese embassy has a 24-hour hotline for those suffering from severe culture shock, and can help find hospital treatment for anyone in need. However, the only permanent cure is to go back to Japan - never to return
  6. Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/06/17/mtl-asbestos-parody.html#ixzz0r9x8BNIT
  7. ChrisDVD

    Canada's most Walkable cities

    Walk this way Michelle Kay, Yahoo! Canada News - Fri May 28, 4:01 PM The top-five cities -- Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Toronto and Halifax -- have high population densities, which affect how people interact with space and urban planning, he said. The magazine gathered its information through a number of sources, including StatsCan and individual city statistics and then developed a 12-point questionnaire on topics such as the percentage of people who walk to work, park areas, vehicle use, etc. The information was presented to a panel of judges -- author, broadcaster and director of Jane's Walks, Jane Farrow, Guillermo Penalosa, consultant, planner and executive director of the non-profit 8 ? 80 Cities, and sustainability professional Amanda Mitchell. Up! discovered a city with a higher population density embraced a visitor-centric approach when it came to urban planning. The more walkable a city, the more livable it was for its citizens (and easier for tourists to navigate). It comes as no surprise that Vancouver came out on top (see below for the complete list). The city has a number of factors in its favour, from its population density (about 5,000 people per square kilometre), pleasant climate to expansive parkland. Nearly 40 per cent of downtown residents walk to work and it's easy to see why. Vancouver is packed with attractive streetscapes and a progressive street pattern with many maps that help pedestrians find their bearings, Gierasimczuk said. The city provides ample opportunities for its inhabitants and tourists to be active. "It's got this mystique. It has built a reputation as this walkable, active, car-free paradise," he said. A walkable place means a city respects its inhabitants enough to want to provide a manageable and livable space. "All these factors that make a city walkable means that a city celebrates its citizens," Gierasimczuk said. Walking is also one of the simplest, cheapest and healthiest ways to get around. Not only is walking a great way to shed the pounds, it doesn't cost anything to use our own two feet. More often than not, when you go for a walk you discover something new. You notice things you normally wouldn't see from the vantage point of a car or even a bicycle, since walking is an activity that forces you to slow down, breathe, look around and take things in. Now, who wants to go for a stroll? Canada's Most Walkable Cities 2010 1. Vancouver 2. Victoria 3. Montreal 4. Toronto 5. Halifax 6. Quebec City 7. Ottawa 8. Calgary 9. St. John's 10. Winnipeg http://ca.travel.yahoo.com/guides/Other/891/walk-this-way
  8. The upscale new face of Old Montreal More laid-back scene smacks of sophistication Maxine MendelssohnFor Canwest News Service Sunday, March 09, 2008 First came boutique hotels and condos, then yoga studios and shops. Now it's bars, supper clubs and a vibrant nightlife: Old Montreal has become a party destination in its own right. And its more laid-back scene is attracting some of the club kids who once clambered to get into the city's hot spots. While these places still pack in the crowds, a bit of fete fatigue has set in on Montreal's two traditional party streets -- Crescent St. and St. Laurent Blvd. The lineups that don't move, some as long as 100 people, the hefty price tag on drinks; it can be a bit much. Now, chic partiers co-exist nicely with tourists in horse-drawn caleches winding their way through the cobblestone streets. New resto-bars like Santos, Wilson and Cherry are becoming popular destinations, offering their own brand of chic decor, fancy drinks and a party atmosphere. On the weekends, smaller bars in Old Montreal are often filled to capacity, but the larger ones have plenty of breathing room. "In the Old Port, if they don't let you in it's not because you're not having bottle service, it's because there's no room." Some party places on St. Laurent Blvd. have become so in demand that they only let in customers who order bottle service, which can cost upwards of $300. The 20- and 30-somethings who flock to Old Montreal want intimate dinners and drinks, not teens flaunting cash and downing rows of vodka shooters. There are occasional, small lineups and only one club has a cover charge in Old Montreal. It's definitely easier to get your foot in the door. "They make it easy and appealing to party here," said 27-year-old Maria Toumanova. "Everything is getting a facelift and people are coming down to check it out. It's a great alternative to the common party places downtown." Dimitri Antonopoulos has been betting heavily on Old Montreal for the last eight years. His company, the Antonopoulos Group, owns a number of Old Montreal hot spots including Suite 701, Mechant Boeuf and the Place d'Armes Hotel, which opened in 2000. "The W Hotel (which opened four years later) also helped bring people down here, then restaurants and nice shops started opening up, too. All these businesses attracted a savvier customer and hipper tourists," said Antonopoulos, VP of marketing. Mechant Boeuf is Antonopoulos's newest venture. There is always a place to sit, and conversations don't require yelling, something that's standard at the downtown clubs. "These are discerning partiers," Antonopoulos said. "They know the ins and outs of clubbing, but they're growing up and maybe they want something different. It's a new market in Montreal." © The Vancouver Province 2008 http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=2750276e-1761-495b-b845-d1a0490f8856
  9. mtlurb

    Big Conference in Town

    Big Conference in Town Thu, 2007-07-26 15:30. Shuyee Lee 3700 conventioneers are descending on Montreal starting tomorrow for a four day meeting. And they'll be bringing their expense accounts with them - good news for the local economy. Volunteers wearing bright red polo shirts around the city will be welcoming delegates of the MPI - Meeting Professionals International - people who plan conventions, seminars and business meetings. It's the biggest MPI convention ever held, with 3700 delegates from around the world, generating as much as 100-million dollars in short and mid-term economic spinoffs if all goes well. Charles Lapointe head of Tourism Montreal says word of mouth can spread. "Oh, I had a good meeting in Montreal, maybe I should bring my group to that city because my delegates will like it." Lapointe is not too worried about the soaring loonie affecting business, saying the overall drop in U.S. tourists is only about 5 per cent and that's across the country.