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  1. Source: Thrillist Sure, sure, sure. This war’s been waged a thousand times, but we found 10 reasons why Montreal trumps the “t-dot” (which is a stupid name, btw) and we didn’t even have to use low-blow examples like Rob Ford, Toronto's "sports" teams, or that shining moment when former mayor Mel Lastman called in the military that time it SNOWED IN THE WINTER. 1. Better bagels, poutine, smoked meat, and sandwiches. Let’s just start by getting this out of the way. Montreal is home to one of the best sandwiches in the world, the best bagels in the world, the greatest poutines, and the best smoked meat. Eat that Toronto. 2. You can drink anywhere in Montreal, all the time. Yes, you can legally drink in public in Montreal as long as you’re eating food. And since Montreal has the best Canadian food in the country, that technicality is pretty much a friendly reminder. Heck, you can’t even drink alcohol on a licensed patio in Toronto after 11p. 3. Obtaining alcohol to drink in public is easier. In Montreal, wine and beer are sold in dépanneurs, the greatest corner stores in the world, until 11p, the time most Torontonians are climbing into bed. Also? The beer here is better in general. 4. "Joie de vivre". People from Toronto don’t even know what this means, partly because it’s French, and partly because Montreal is legitimately one of the happiest places in the world, and Toronto isn't. And on that subject... 5. Fun isn’t illegal in Montreal. This is not hyperbole. Montrealers are often found frolicking joyously in parks whilst flying kites, having civilized outdoor dinner parties wherein alcohol is consumed, or joining a hippie drum circle on the side of the mountain. All of the above are literally illegal in Toronto. Toronto has a problem with fun (for those too lazy to follow that link, it's a Toronto newspaper describing how the city's denizens have to go to Montreal to have anything resembling a good time). 6. All the best parties happen in Montreal. People from around the world come to Montreal for the Jazz Fest, Osheaga, Just For Laughs, Igloofest, etc., or to just take in Montreal’s famously awesome nightlife scene. 7. Montreal has a mountain Sure it ain’t no Mt. Everest, but at least our mountain isn’t made of garbage (Chinguacousy Hill, I’m looking at you), and it means we have way better snow sports. 8. The cost of living will cost you almost nothing. Montrealers live in beautiful, penthouse-sized apartments with large balconies, and it costs them what a Torontonian pays for their monthly subway pass. And talking of the subway... 9. Montreal’s award-winning metro system actually makes sense. Who in the hell designed Toronto’s subway system? The impractical waste of money that is called the TTC basically amounts to a straight line running through a narrow “U” shape. And a monthly pass costs about twice as much as one in Montreal. 10. Montreal isn’t a sprawling suburban wasteland. The Greater Toronto Area is where Torontonians who have given up on life go move into cookie-cutter houses and burden themselves with the worst commute in North America.
  2. Les créanciers ont demandé à la cour la permission d'intenter une poursuite pour que l'imprimeur montréalais a payés à des prêteurs privés avant sa faillite pour racheter sa dette. Pour en lire plus...
  3. L'imprimerie québécoise a annoncé que Pierre Karl Péladeau, Érik Péladeau, Jean Neveu et Jean La Couture ont démissionné de son conseil d'administration. Pour en lire plus...
  4. Du site de BBC News - 2 articles sur la conférence à McGill en fin de semaine, in "the Canadian city of Montreal" - lol Forum tackles genocide prevention Local people in front of burnt out buildings in Darfur Delegates said atrocities continued to this day in Darfur A conference in the Canadian city of Montreal has been discussing ways to try to prevent genocide. Delegates heard from survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, as well as genocidal campaigns in Rwanda and Cambodia. Many delegates referred to the current crisis in Darfur, Sudan, which has been described as "genocide in slow motion". "It seems that for the most part the vow of 'never again' was not taken seriously," Payam Akhavan, the conference chair, told AFP news agency. Esther Mujawayo, a Rwandan woman who lost her mother, father and husband in the 1994 genocide, said she was sceptical about the world's willingness to prevent atrocities. "Don't tell me you didn't know. The world did know. The world looked away. You knew but did not have the will," said Mrs Mujawayo. "When the people were evacuating, the French, the Belgians, the Americans, all the expatriates, they even evacuated their dogs and their cats," while Rwandans were left behind, she said. 'Arm opponents' Much of the discussion at the conference, sponsored by McGill University's law faculty, has centred on how to prevent common aspects of genocides, like media outlets demonising potential victims and foreign bureaucratic inertia preventing intervention. But a controversial thesis was also presented by the French scholar, Gerard Prunier. He said the only way to stop government sponsored mass killings was to give military backing to opponents of that government. "If we decide that in fact what is going to happen is of a genocidal dimension, we have to support, including militarily, the people who are fighting against it," he said. He told the BBC that would mean arming and assisting the rebels fighting against government-backed militia in Darfur. Some two million people have been displaced and at least 200,000 have died during the four-year conflict in western Sudan. Can the world stop genocide? Can the world stop genocide? A conference in the Canadian city of Montreal has been discussing ways to prevent genocide. BBC world affairs correspondent Mark Doyle, attending the meeting, asks whether this can be done. Remains of victims of the Rwandan genocide laid to rest at the Murambi Genocide Memorial. Some 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered in 100 days in 1994 The 75-year-old woman sat on stage in front of hundreds of United Nations officials, legal experts and academics. The day before, Marika Nene had travelled from Hungary to Canada - the first plane she had ever taken on her first journey outside Hungary. She was not intimidated by the gathering. Her long hair was lit up by a stage light and her facial features were strong. But the strongest thing about Marika Nene, a Roma - or Gypsy - woman who was trapped in the anti-Gypsy pogroms during World War II, was her determination to tell her story. "I had no choice. I had to give myself up to the soldiers," Marika Nene said through a translator. "I was a very pretty little gypsy woman and of course the soldiers took me very often to the room with a bed in it where they violated me. I still have nightmares about it". Many members of Marika Nene's Roma family died in the work camps and the ghettos. She had travelled to Montreal to give a reality check to the experts and UN officials at the "Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide". We do not need to have a legal finding that genocide has been committed in order to take preventive action Payam Akhavan Former war crimes prosecutor She was joined by other survivors - from Rwanda, Cambodia and the Jewish holocaust. They all told their horrific stories bravely. But there was something especially extraordinary about the elderly Roma who had transported herself from a village in eastern Hungary into the glare of an international conference in one of the most modern cities in the world. It was an example of what Nigerian Nobel Prize-winning author Wole Soyinka would later describe to me as one of those points where people meet each other in a spirit of "egalitarian awareness". Six million Jews or one million Tutsis are just numbers. But this strong Roma woman was a human being who was not ashamed to tell her story. Betrayal The Montreal conference drew personalities from the UN, academia and the legal profession. Romeo Dallaire Romeo Dallaire could do little to prevent the Rwandan genocide The general aim was to build pressure on politicians to take mass killings - even in far-off places about which we know little and sometimes care less - far more seriously. If that sounds like a fuzzy and vague ambition, Canadian Gen Romeo Dallaire, who commanded a UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, begged to differ. Gen Dallaire led a force in Rwanda which was betrayed by UN headquarters in New York - his mission was starved of resources and so forced to observe genocide rather than stop it. Since that failed mission, he has made a career out of lobbying politicians to do better on issues like peacekeeping, abolishing the use of child soldiers and nuclear disarmament. "This conference is aimed especially at young people," said Gen Dallaire from a hotel surrounded by the campus buildings of McGill University, which organised the conference. "If these young people became politically active," he continued, "they could dictate a whole new concept of what national interest should be and what humanity should be." What is genocide? Payam Akhavan, professor of international law at McGill and a former prosecutor at the UN war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, said defining genocide mattered from a legal point of view - but that analysing how it could be prevented was the real point. Pol Pot in the 1970s, and shortly before his death in the 1990s Pol Pot, who led Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, was never brought to justice "The legal definition of genocide is contained in the 1948 Genocide convention," he told me. "In simple terms, it is the intentional, collective destruction of an entire human group based on national, racial, religious or ethnic identity." "But the key point", Mr Akhavan continued, "is that we do not need to have a legal finding that genocide has been committed in order to take preventive action." That is because, of course, by the time the lawyers have decided a mass killing fits their definition, it is usually too late to act. The Iranian-born professor said it was necessary to think about the ingredients of genocide, which he listed as: * incitement to ethnic hatred * demonisation of the target group * radicalisation along ethnic or religious lines * distribution of weapons to extremist groups * preparation of lists of those to be exterminated Similarities As someone who personally witnessed and reported on the Rwandan genocide, I found it quite disturbing to read about other mass killings. Genocides can only be stopped by the people directly involved Gerard Prunier It was not the details which I found shocking, but the spooky similarities that kept cropping up across the world. The lists prepared by the Hutu extremists in Rwanda, for example, were mirrored by the obsessive recording of the details of victims by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The yellow identity stars Jews were forced to wear in World War II were the equivalent of the ethnic identity cards every Rwandan had to carry. This is the grim opposite of Wole Soyinka's "egalitarian awareness". It is the social science of genocide, which appears to have common features across history. The conference aimed to isolate and analyse Mr Akhavan's "early warning" factors to raise awareness. But what to do with the information? As speaker after speaker reminded the Montreal conference, the US government, among others, has asserted that genocide is being committed right now in the Darfur region of Sudan. It was continuing even as we sipped our coffee in softly carpeted rooms and nibbled our Canadian canapes. Everyone has known about it for several years but virtually nothing had been done to stop it. A dissident voice So all the talk about "early warnings" and "United Nations peacekeeping forces" and "the will of the international community" could be said to amount to little. Local people in front of burnt out buildings in Darfur The US and others have said a genocide is unfolding in Darfur At this point, a controversial scholar intervened with comments which challenged the entire conference. French author Gerard Prunier, like the proverbial ghost at a wedding, said genocides could not be prevented by the international community. "When you see a dictatorial regime heating up, everyone starts talking, talking, talking ... and by the time the talking stops, either matters have quietened down or they have happened." And that is the crux of the matter, according to Mr Prunier - it is difficult for politicians or the military to intervene in a situation that has not yet evolved into a crisis. Give war a chance? So what is Mr Prunier's solution? "Genocides can only be stopped by the people directly involved - and usually that means people involved in the war that accompanies most mass killings." And if it is the government committing the genocide, the solution is "arm the rebels", he says. "It won't be clean - it will be messy," the French author said, "but it is more likely to stop the mass killing than international intervention." To a large extent, Mr Prunier has history on his side. The Holocaust only ended when the allies destroyed Hitler's regime. The killing fields of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge were only stopped when the Vietnamese army moved in. And the genocide in Rwanda only ended when the Tutsi rebels overthrew the extremist Hutu regime. Against this, it could be argued that some interventions have worked - for example the Nigerian intervention in Liberia, which was followed up by a UN peacekeeping mission. It seems that resolving dramatic human rights abuses may require some of the diplomacy and the "international good will" that flowed so freely in Montreal. But as well as what Winston Churchill called "Jaw Jaw", some situations, it seems, may only be resolved by "War War".
  5. Méga article très intéressant du magazine The Economist Lien The world economy A glimmer of hope? Apr 23rd 2009 From The Economist print edition The worst thing for the world economy would be to assume the worst is over THE rays are diffuse, but the specks of light are unmistakable. Share prices are up sharply. Even after slipping early this week, two-thirds of the 42 stockmarkets that The Economist tracks have risen in the past six weeks by more than 20%. Different economic indicators from different parts of the world have brightened. China’s economy is picking up. The slump in global manufacturing seems to be easing. Property markets in America and Britain are showing signs of life, as mortgage rates fall and homes become more affordable. Confidence is growing. A widely tracked index of investor sentiment in Germany has turned positive for the first time in almost two years. All this is welcome—not least because the slump has been made so much worse by panic and despair. When the financial system was on the brink of collapse in September, investors shunned all but the safest assets, consumers stopped spending and firms shut down. That plunge into the depths could be succeeded by a virtuous cycle, where the wheels of finance turn again, cheerier consumers open their wallets and ambitious firms turn from hoarding cash to pursuing profits. But, welcome as it is, optimism contains two traps, one obvious, the other more subtle. The obvious trap is that confidence proves misplaced—that the glimmers of hope are misinterpreted as the beginnings of a strong recovery when all they really show is that the rate of decline is slowing. The subtler trap, particularly for politicians, is that confidence and better news create ruinous complacency. Optimism is one thing, but hubris that the world economy is returning to normal could hinder recovery and block policies to protect against a further plunge into the depths. Luminous indicators Begin with those glimmers. It is easy to read too much into the gain in share prices. Stockmarkets usually rally before economies improve, because investors spy the promise of fatter profits before the statisticians document a turnaround. But plenty of rallies fizzle into nothing. Between 1929 and 1932, the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared by more than 20% four times, only to fall back below its previous lows. Today’s crisis has seen five separate rallies in which share prices rose more than 10% only to subside again. The economic statistics are hard to interpret, too. The past six months have seen several slumps, each with a different trajectory. The plunge in manufacturing is in part the result of a huge global inventory adjustment. With unsold goods piling up and finance hard to come by, firms around the world have slashed production even faster than demand has fallen. Once firms have run down their stocks they will start making things again and the manufacturing recession will be past its worst. Even if that moment is at hand, two other slumps are likely to poison the economy for much longer. The most important is the banking crisis and the purge of debt in the bubble economies, especially America and Britain. Demand has plummeted as tighter credit and sinking asset prices have exposed consumers’ excessive borrowing and scared them into saving more. History suggests that such balance-sheet recessions are long and that the recoveries which eventually follow them are feeble. The second slump is in the emerging world, where many economies have been hit by the sudden fall in private cross-border capital flows. Emerging economies, which imported capital worth 5% of their GDP in 2007, now face a world where cautious investors keep their money at home. According to the IMF, banks, firms and governments in the emerging world have some $1.8 trillion-worth of borrowing to roll over this year, much of that in central and eastern Europe. Even if emerging markets escape a full-blown debt crisis, investors’ confidence is unlikely to recover for years. These crises sent the world economy into a decline that, on several measures, has been steeper than the onset of the Depression. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook expects global output to shrink by 1.3% this year, its first fall in 60 years. But the collapse has been countered by the most ambitious policy response in history. Central banks have pumped out trillions of dollars of liquidity and, in rising numbers, have resorted to an increasingly exotic arsenal of “unconventional” firepower to ease credit markets and loosen monetary conditions even as policy rates approach zero. Governments have battled to prop up their banks, committing trillions of dollars in the process. The IMF has new money. Every big rich country has bolstered demand with fiscal stimulus (and so have many emerging ones). The rich world’s budget deficits will, on average, reach almost 9% of GDP, six times higher than before the crisis hit. The Depression showed how damaging it can be if governments don’t step in when the rest of the economy seizes up. Yet action on the current scale has never been tried before and nobody knows when it will have an effect—let alone how much difference it will make. Whatever the impact, it would be a mistake to confuse the twitches of an economy on life-support with a lasting recovery. A real recovery depends on government demand being supplanted by sustainable sources of private spending. And here the news is almost uniformly grim. Searching for new demand Take the country many are pinning their hopes on: America. The adjustment in the housing market began earlier there than anywhere else. Prices peaked almost three years ago, and are now down by 30%. Manufacturing production has been falling at an annualised rate of more than 20% for the past three months. And the government’s offsetting policy offensive has been the rich world’s boldest. As the inventory adjustment ends and the stimuli kick in, America’s slump is sure to ease. Cushioned by the government, the economy may even begin to grow again before too long. But it is hard to see the ingredients for a recovery that is robust enough to stop unemployment rising. Weakness abroad will crimp exports. America’s banks are propped up with public capital, but their balance-sheets are clogged with toxic assets. Consumer spending and firms’ investment will be dragged lower by the need to pay back debt and restore savings. This will be a long slog. Private-sector leverage, which rose by 70% of GDP between 2000 and 2008, has barely begun to unwind. At 4%, the household savings rate has jumped sharply from its low of near zero, but it is still far below its post-war average of 7%. Higher unemployment and rising bankruptcies could easily cause a vicious new downward lurch. In Britain, given the size of its finance industry, housing boom and consumer debt, the balance-sheet adjustment will, if anything, be greater. The weaker pound will buoy exports, but fragile public finances suggest that Britain has much less scope to use government spending to cushion the private sector than America does—as this week’s flawed budget made painfully clear (see article). The outlook should in theory be brighter for Germany and Japan. Both have seen output slump faster than in other rich countries because of the collapse in trade and manufacturing, but neither has the huge private borrowing of the sort that haunts the Anglo-Saxon world. Once inventories have adjusted, recovery should come quickly. In practice, though, that seems unlikely, especially in Germany. As the output slump sends Germany’s jobless rate towards double-digits, it is hard to see consumers going on a spending spree. Nor has the government shown much appetite for boosting demand. Germany’s fiscal stimulus, although large by European standards, falls well short of what it could afford. Worse, the country’s banks are still in trouble. Germans did not behave recklessly, but their banks did—along with many others in continental Europe. New figures from the IMF suggest that European banks face some $1.1 trillion in losses, hardly any of which have yet been recognised (see article). This week’s German plan to set up several bad banks was no more than a down payment on the restructuring ahead. Japan has acted more boldly. Its latest package of tax cuts and government spending, unveiled in early April, will provide the biggest fiscal boost, relative to GDP, of any rich country this year. Its economy is likely to perk up, temporarily at least. But its public-debt stock is approaching 200% of GDP, so Japan has scant room for more fiscal stimulus. With export markets weak, demand will soon need to be privately generated at home. But the past two decades offer little evidence that Japan can make that shift. For the time being, the brightest light glows in China, where a huge inventory adjustment has exaggerated the impact of falling foreign demand, and where the government has the cash and determination to prop up domestic spending. China’s stimulus is already bearing fruit. Loans are soaring and infrastructure investment is growing smartly. The IMF’s latest forecast, that China’s economy will grow by 6.5% this year, may prove conservative. Yet even China has its difficulties. Perhaps three-quarters of the growth will come from government demand, particularly infrastructure spending. Not much to glow about Add all this up and the case for optimism fades quickly. The worst is over only in the narrowest sense that the pace of global decline has peaked. Thanks to massive—and unsustainable—fiscal and monetary transfusions, output will eventually stabilise. But in many ways, darker days lie ahead. Despite the scale of the slump, no conventional recovery is in sight. Growth, when it comes, will be too feeble to stop unemployment rising and idle capacity swelling. And for years most of the world’s economies will depend on their governments. Consider what that means. Much of the rich world will see jobless rates that reach double-digits, and then stay there. Deflation—a devastating disease in debt-laden economies—could set in as record economic slack pushes down prices and wages, particularly since headline inflation has already plunged thanks to sinking fuel costs. Public debt will soar because of weak growth, prolonged stimulus spending and the growing costs of cleaning up the financial mess. The OECD’s member countries began the crisis with debt stocks, on average, at 75% of GDP; by 2010 they will reach 100%. One analysis suggests persistent weakness could push the biggest economies’ debt ratios to 140% by 2014. Continuing joblessness, years of weak investment and higher public-debt burdens, in turn, will dent economies’ underlying potential. Although there is no sign that the world economy will return to its trend rate of growth any time soon, it is already clear that this speed limit will be lower than before the crisis hit. Start preparing for the next decade Welcome to an era of diminished expectations and continuing dangers; a world where policymakers must steer between the imminent threat of deflation while countering investors’ (reasonable) fears that swelling public debts and massive monetary easing could eventually lead to high inflation; an uncharted world where government borrowing reaches a scale not seen since the second world war, when capital controls ensured that savings stayed at home. How to cope with these dangers? Certainly not by clutching at scraps of better news. That risks leading to less action right now. Warding off deflation, for instance, will demand more unconventional steps from more central banks for longer than many now seem to foresee. Laggards, such as the European Central Bank, do themselves and the world no favours by holding back. Nor should governments immediately seek to take back the fiscal stimulus. Prolonged economic weakness does far greater damage to public finances than temporary fiscal activism. Remember how Japan snuffed out its recovery in the 1990s by rushing to raise taxes. Japan also put off bank reform. Countries facing big balance-sheet adjustments should heed that lesson and nudge reform along, in particular by doing more to clean up and restructure the banks. Countries with surpluses must encourage private spending at home more vigorously. China’s leaders are still doing too little to boost private citizens’ income and their spending by fostering reforms, from widening health-care coverage to forcing state-owned firms to pay higher dividends. At the same time policymakers must give themselves room to change course in the future. Central banks need to lay out the rules that will govern their exit from exotic forms of policy easing (see article). That may require new tools: the Federal Reserve would gain from being able to issue bonds that could mop up liquidity. All governments, especially those with the ropiest public finances, should think boldly about how to lower their debt ratios in the medium term—in ways that do not choke off nascent private demand. Rather than pushing up tax rates, they should think about raising retirement ages, reining in health costs and broadening the tax base. This weekend many of the world’s finance ministers and central bankers will meet in Washington, DC, for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Amid rising confidence, they will be tempted to pat themselves on the back. There is no time for that. The worst global slump since the Depression is far from finished. There is work to do.
  6. Tant qu'à moi c'est un plus pour un moins. Dommage pour Quebecor, mais tant mieux pour l'environnement. ---------------------------- Disparition du catalogue annuel Canadian Tire * Alexandre Paillé, Lesaffaires.com * 28 mars 2008 Canadian Tire ne précise pas combien elle économisera en coûts d'impression, mais précise que l'argent économisé servira à la publicité. Photo: Bloomberg Autre tuile pour l’imprimeur Quebecor World puisque le détaillant Canadian Tire a décidé de ne plus faire imprimer ses catalogues qui sont envoyés à des millions de foyers canadiens chaque année. Le gant du commerce de détail affirme avoir fait plusieurs analyses d’habitudes de magasinage de ses clients pour conclure que les consommateurs passent maintenant beaucoup plus de temps en ligne pour obtenir des informations. D’autres études confirmant que le lectorat et la conservation des catalogues annuels diminuent ont convaincu Canadian Tire de mettre un terme à l’impression annuelle d’un catalogue qui sera maintenant disponible en ligne. Canadian Tire ne précise pas combien elle économisera en coûts d'impression, mais précise que l'argent économisé servira à améliorer la présentation en ligne, de même qu’en publicité. La décision de Canadian Tire est un autre coup dur pour Quebecor qui avait fait savoir la semaine dernière qu'il ne s'opposerait pas aux efforts du magazine The Economist pour préserver son droit de mettre fin à son contrat plus tard cette année. The Economist a demandé à un juge américain la permission de fournir un avis formel à Quebecor World, avis qu'il dit être nécessaire parce que l'imprimeur poursuit ses activités en bénéficiant de la protection de la loi sur les faillites pendant qu'il tente de se dépêtrer de ses difficultés. Avec Canadian Press http://www.lesaffaires.com/article/0/commerce-et-produits-de-consommation/2008-03-28/474790/disparition-du-catalogue-annuel-canadian-tire.fr.html
  7. Some organic architecture of the sort, which is really nice. Now if only we can get more buildings like that all over Canada and the US. We are decades away from looking like a real life version of "Final Fantasy"
  8. http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/06/02/north-korea-one-of-the-happiest-places-in-the-world-according-to-north-korea/ http://hken.ibtimes.com/articles/153551/20110528/north-korea-happiness-index-rank-china-top-us-bottom-photos.htm
  9. Vive Montreal! It may not be Paris, but city is awash with Old World charm, warmth for Christmas By Mary Milz Special to The Courier-Journal Some say if you can't afford Paris, try Montreal, the most European city in North America. Not quite. Montreal is no Paris. And thanks to the strong Canadian dollar, it's not the bargain it once was, either. But it's still well worth the trip even on those nippy December days when temperatures hover in the 20s. With its strong French Catholic heritage, Montreal dresses in its Christmas finest and lights up for the holidays, encouraging visitors to join in the revelry. Montreal transported this Midwesterner worlds away without jumping time zones, without confusion over currency and without need of a pocket translator. It's just a two-hour fight from Chicago, Canadian coins pretty much mirror American, and while French is the primary language, everyone we encountered spoke English too. Montreal is Canada's second-largest city. More than 3.6 million people call the greater metropolitan area home. At first glance, Montreal stands out as a modern city with its gleaming skyscrapers, upscale shopping and internationally known restaurants. But bundle up and stroll its vibrant and varied neighborhoods and you find Montreal oozes Old World warmth and charm. Montreal provides the perfect three- to five-day getaway for travelers wanting big-city excitement without big-city hassles. Culturally diverse and rich in history, Montreal offers everything from top-notch museums and centuries-old churches to fabulous food and lively night life. Travelers intent on holiday shopping may feel giddy at the options. Saint Catherine Street, one of the longest streets in North America, is home to scores of trendy boutiques as well as the city's most prominent retailers, including Ogilvy. The landmark department store is famous for its bagpipers, who announce the noon hour each day; and its legendary Christmas windows, which come alive with animated toy animals. Shoppers wanting edgier, funkier gifts will enjoy browsing Saint Laurent Street. And if it's too frigid outdoors, shoppers can escape to the underground city. Twenty-two miles of subterranean walkways link shopping centers, boutiques, restaurants, cinemas, hotels and the subway. No need for a rental car. The Metro is fast, cheap and easy to navigate. Underground trains make stops every five to 10 minutes, taking passengers to 68 stations across the city. A single fair is $2.75; a three-day pass, $17, is also good for buses. Several police officers assured us it was safe at all hours. Montreal also enjoys a reputation for being well-kept. A recent survey by Mercer Human Resources Consulting rated it the 10th cleanest city in the world. Beware; this city takes its clean image seriously. As of last spring, anyone caught flinging trash on the ground faced a fine of up to $1,000! In addition to its cleanliness, Montreal prides itself on diversity, reflected in its assorted ethnic neighborhoods ranging from Chinatown to the Latin Quarter (also great areas for finding fun and unusual gifts). One afternoon, we wandered into the Mile-End neighborhood and stopped in the Fairmount Bagel Bakery where it's nothing but bagels and matzahs. It has been in business since 1919. Employees roll the bagels by hand, boil them and then bake them in wood-burning ovens. Scrumptious! No wonder they turn out more than 1,500 a day. We walked across the street to a small market selling imported cheeses, marinades, olive oil and specialty chocolates, striking up a conversation with owner Luigi DiVito. When we asked what he thought distinguished Montreal from other Canadian cities, such as Toronto, he said, "People are very open, very friendly, very welcoming. There's more life here. We like to live. The food and restaurants are amazing." Our stomachs agreed. Montreal is known for its fine cuisine, and with close to 6,000 restaurants, the choices are daunting. While French-style restaurants and bistros were once the mainstay, diners now find a hearty selection of Middle Eastern, North African, Asian and Latin-American eateries, to name a few. Our hotel's concierge proved especially helpful in narrowing the choices. While we found prices comparable with large metropolitan cities, many Montreal restaurants offer table d'hote or fixed-price meals. You can get a three- or four-course meal for slightly more than the price of an a la carte main course. After a week of experiencing Montreal and its popular attractions, we left enamored and singing a decidedly different tune: Even if you can afford Paris, try Montreal. http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071028/FEATURES05/710280350
  10. (Courtesy of The Financial Post) Plus they forgot, soon to be one of the largest producers of lithium. Thing is the US could get all their "black gold" from the Bakken Formation (part of it is in Canada but the rest is in the US). Here some info on the Bakken: Research
  11. http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/apr/23/sane-way-run-megalopolis-urban-governance?utm_source=SFFB Protesters march through the streets of Ferguson in August. Aaron M Renn Thursday 23 April 2015 15.39 BST Last modified on Thursday 23 April 2015 16.57 BST The death of Michael Brown, shot by a police officer last year in Ferguson, Missouri, triggered civil unrest and protests that have yet to subside, with two police officers recently shot in the city. The media has blamed lots of things for the chaos that has engulfed Ferguson, from racism to inequality, but one factor might raise an eyebrow: municipal fragmentation in the St Louis area. There are 90 separate cities and towns in St Louis County alone, which has created a landscape of small, cash-strapped cities pulling on tiny tax bases to finance their governments. The US Justice Department has specifically accused Ferguson of using its police department as a revenue-raising arm, with a racial bias and as such it could be argued that municipal fragmentation played a role in creating the conditions that produced police-community tensions in Ferguson. A few year earlier, in 2010 and 800 miles to the north-east, Toronto elected the suburban politician Rob Ford from Etobicoke as mayor. Ford swept into office pledging to “stop the gravy train” and cut spending, cancelling bike infrastructure and streetcars. His sensibilities appalled urban Torontonians. The urban studies theorist Richard Florida called him “the worst and most anti-urban mayor in the history of any major city”. His mayoralty ultimately collapsed in a wave of scandals, including when he got caught on video smoking crack. People in ​​living in cities and those in their suburbs often have different values, priorities and cultures One of the factors blamed for the Rob Ford phenomenon? Amalgamation, or the consolidation of the city of Toronto with several formerly independent municipalities, including Etobicoke. It is amalgamation that allowed suburbanites to take control of governance over the inner city by electing one of their own as mayor. Welcome to the wonderful world of governing urban regions, where between fragmentation and amalgamation no one actually knows what the right-sized box for local government is or how to change it – but everyone can see the problems of most of the existing governance models. An election on 7 April was seen as a critical step toward ending racially discriminatory practices that thrust the St. Louis suburb into the national spotlight last year. An election on 7 April was seen as a critical step toward ending racially discriminatory practices that thrust the St Louis suburb into the national spotlight last year. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters Municipal fragmentation has been criticised for decades. In Cities Without Suburbs, his influential 1993 book, former Albuquerque mayor David Rusk argued that Rust Belt cities in the US failed to succeed in part because they were unable to expand, and found themselves hemmed in by a jigsaw puzzle of independent suburbs. Advertisement But with cities having become central to national governance in the 21st century, institutions like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank are weighing in, too. Both recently sounded the alarm about the risks of urban fragmentation on a global level, for the developed and the developing world. “Often, administrative boundaries between municipalities are based on centuries-old borders that do not correspond to contemporary patterns of human settlement and economic activity,” the OECD observed in a recent report. The thinktank argued that governance structures failed to reflect modern realities of metropolitan life into account. Behind the report’s dry prose lies a real problem. Fragmentation affects a whole range of things, including the economy. The OECD estimates that for regions of equal population, doubling the number of governments reduces productivity by 6%. It recommends reducing this effect with a regional coordinating body, which can also reduce sprawl, increase public transport satisfaction (by 14 percentage points, apparently) and improve air quality. The World Bank, meanwhile, is worried about the way rapid growth in developing cities has created fragmentation there, too. Metropolises often sprawl well beyond government boundaries: Jakarta, for example, has spread into three separate provinces. The World Bank calls fragmentation “a significant challenge in the East Asia region”. Urban fragmentation in Jakarta Urban fragmentation in Jakarta. The urban area covers 1,600 sq km and 12 jurisdictions. Photograph: World Bank/University of Wisconsin-Madison “It’s quite a surprise how much fragmentation there is,” says Judy Baker, one of the authors of the World Bank’s recent report titled East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape. “It’s a challenge for almost every city.” Among the surprising findings of the report is that 135 of the nearly 350 urban regions they surveyed in East Asia had no dominant local jurisdiction. The glaring example here is of course the largest urban area in the world, the Pearl River Delta region in China, a megapolitan region that includes many major cities, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and others. In Manila in the Philippines, no less than 85 municipalities are involved in the megacity’s governance. Advertisement Planners love efficiency, but even on a piece of paper it can be hard to know what size box to draw. As the OECD put it: “Even if policymakers try to reorganise local governments according to functional relations within urban agglomerations, it is often difficult to identify boundaries between functionally integrated areas.” In plain English: nobody really knows where to draw the lines. And as the Toronto example shows, amalgamation – bringing fragmented government regions together – comes with downsides of its own. Of course, you can put people in the same governmental box, but that won’t necessarily create common ground – instead, it can create a zero-sum, winner-takes-all dynamic. People in living in cities and those in their suburbs often have different values, priorities and even a different culture. They can be, as was famously said of English and French Canada, “two solitudes”. Urbanites who support regional governance frequently assume that means more power, money and resources for the central city. But as Rob Ford so richly illustrated, that’s not always the case. Among those who stand to lose from regional government are minorities. In Ferguson, black residents were already under-represented in government relative to their population. But as a voting block they would find their strength heavily diluted in a merged government: Ferguson is more than two-thirds African-American, while St Louis County plus the city of St Louis together are about 70% white. Unsurprisingly, central cities tend to prefer regional revenue-sharing without giving up political control. Detroit, despite serious financial problems, has viciously fought sharing control over city assets, even where they serve a broader region. Detroit’s convention centre is a good example of the tensions that can arise: it took years to agree renovations to the building, as despite arguing the suburbs should help pay for the building they partly enjoy, the city did not want to cede any control over it. Part of the city’s bankruptcy “grand bargain” involved raising regional water rates to funnel money back into the city while retaining city ownership over a regional water utility. But simply creating revenue streams, via regional cash sharing or consolidation, doesn’t guarantee better governance, as Detroit proves. Putting people in the same governmental box doesn’t necessarily create common ground, as the example of Toronto shows. Putting people in the same governmental box doesn’t necessarily create common ground, as the example of Toronto shows. Photograph: Alamy Indianapolis is also an instructive case. The city established a consolidated regional government in 1970 called Unigov (which Rusk hailed as a model). Unigov expanded the city’s tax base by amalgamating most of its new, fast-growing suburbs into the city. But the urban region continued to sprawl, eventually going beyond even the newly consolidated boundaries. Today’s growth in Indianapolis is all happening outside Unigov’s borders, and the city now finds itself supporting ageing suburban areas – just like Ferguson in St Louis – that it can’t afford. Consolidated government arguably gave Indianapolis four decades of financial breathing room, but that simply let it put off reform. Similarly, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was originally a well-functioning regional governance body, but is now a quagmire of dysfunction. The soaring costs of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s $4.2bn PATH subway station at the World Trade Centre – and a proposal to spend $10bn to replace a bus station – are examples of an agency that has lost its grip on fiscal reality. No perfect solution exists, some cities have got it more right than others If no perfect solution exists, some cities have got it more right than others. The Greater London Authority (GLA) – because of its limited scope mostly focused on transport, public safety and economic development – has focused on doing a few things well. Its focus on transportation is targeted at an area where regional coordination really is crucial. Clearly, transport has to be designed and implemented on a regional basis, at least for major infrastructure. New York’s Port Authority arguably went off the rails in the late 1960s when it expanded beyond transportation and got into the real estate business by building the World Trade Centre. So the best way to start charting a middle ground between fragmentation and amalgamation might be for cities to look for ways to better regionalise transport governance. It won’t be easy, not least because of the common fighting over territory, both geographical and bureaucratic. London’s success with the GLA, compared with how amalgamation set Toronto’s transport planning back a decade or more, shows that creating a regional entity is only half the battle. The real drive is to create regional agreement and consensus . As cities mushroom and fragmentation increases, that consensus is becoming more crucial – and harder to achieve – than ever. sent via Tapatalk
  12. Selons U.S. News and World Report http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel/RitzCarlton+Montreal+tops+list+luxury+Canadian+hotels+second+time/10764461/story.html Ritz-Carlton in Montreal tops list of luxury Canadian hotels for second time The Canadian Press | 01.26.2015​ U.S. News and World Report has ranked Montreal's Ritz-Carlton for the second year in a row as the best hotel in Canada, citing its stylish decor and amenities including a greenhouse and a French restaurant from celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver, which features an indoor saltwater pool and multiple dining options, was ranked No. 2, followed by the Trump International Hotel and Tower, 65 storeys high, in downtown Toronto. Properties in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal took eight of the 10 spots in the American publication's 2015 list of top Canadian luxury hotels. Included in the ranking were Fairmont Pacific Rim and Loden Hotel, both in Vancouver; Four Seasons Hotel and Ritz-Carlton, both in Toronto; and Hotel Le St-James in Montreal. Outside the three big cities, Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City and Sonora Resort on B.C.'s Sonora Island also made the cut. U.S. News and World Report said the 10 hotels "persistently wow travellers" with upscale amenities, top-notch service and "a sense of individuality." Visitor reviews and expert opinions were among factors used to compile the list, it said.
  13. Cet hebdomadaire qui se consacre aux célébrités et au monde du spectacle est publié par Wenner Media. Ce nouveau mandat d’impression prévoit une augmentation de volume importante. Pour en lire plus...
  14. via the New Yorker : FEBRUARY 28, 2015 Leonard Cohen’s Montreal BY BERNARD AVISHAI PHOTOGRAPH BY ROB VERHORST/REDFERNS VIA GETTY Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”—a hymn to souls too carnal to grow old, too secular to give praise, and too baffled to mock faith—recently turned thirty. Cohen himself, now eighty, came of age in Jewish Montreal during the twenty years after the Second World War, and those of us who followed him, a half-generation later, can’t hear the song without also thinking about that time and place, which qualifies as an era. The devotional—and deftly sacrilegious—quality of “Hallelujah” and other songs and poems by Cohen reflects a city of clashing and bonding religious communities, especially first-generation Jews and French Catholics. Montreal’s politics in the early sixties were energized by what came to be called Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, which emancipated the city’s bicultural intelligentsia from Church and Anglostocracy. The pace of transformation could make the place half crazy; that’s why you wanted to be there. Religious thoughts seemed to be the gravest ones in Montreal then, insinuated, even inculcated, by its architecture, seasonal festivals, and colloquialisms. Cohen grew up in affluent Westmount, the best part of Mount Royal, about a mile from my family home in Snowdon—a neighborhood on a lower Western slope, where “the English” (as my mother called them) had no choice but to make room for Jewish factory owners, lawyers, and doctors. Towering over both our neighborhoods, impressing itself on our senses, was the dome of St. Joseph’s Oratory, Quebec’s great basilica, the dream palace of (the now canonized) Brother André Bessette, who healed the body and spirit of pilgrims—the place we simply called the Shrine. A. M. Klein, the first of the Montreal Jewish poets, wrote, “How rich, how plumped with blessing is that dome! / The gourd of Brother André! His sweet days / rounded! Fulfilled! Honeyed to honeycomb!” Its neon-illuminated cross was visible from my bedroom window, an imposing rival for the whispered Shma Yisroel of bedtime. The city’s ironwork staircases, its streets tangled around Mount Royal, carried the names of uncountable saints (St. Denis, St. Eustache, St. Laurent); the fall air was scented by rotting leaves and, on Rosh Hashana, polished synagogues. Fresh snow sharpened Christmas lights. Our curses, borrowed from Québécois proles, were affectionately sacrilegious mocks of the Mass: “calice,” “tabarnak,” “osti”—chalice, tabernacle, host. For Jews, a sense of rivalry was palpable, triangular, and almost Old Country in character. French public schools were run by the Catholic Church, English schools by the Protestant School Board, and some fifty per cent of Jewish students went to Anglo-Jewish day schools that embraced (and effaced) Old World movements: Orthodox, Zionist, folkish Yiddishist. Montreal’s Jews numbered well over a hundred and twenty thousand in those years. A great many men and women behind the counters of our bakeries, delis, and bookstores spoke (as did my father) the Yiddish-inflected English of immigrants who had come in the twenties. The Soviet revolution had changed the boundaries of Russia’s borderlands, closing Russian markets that had previously been open to Jewish merchants and textile manufacturers in Lithuania and White Russia (now Eastern Belarus), forcing them West—just when the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 closed America to more Jewish immigration. My father and his widowed mother and siblings were trying, in 1928, to get from Bialystok to Chicago, where an uncle lived. The port of Montreal was supposed to be their starting point, before heading down to the Great Lakes. It was where they stayed. (If the accents were heavier, you knew the new arrivals had come mainly from Romania or Hungary after the Nazi defeat, and had witnessed horrors that we did not speak about.) Jewish community life after the war was imbued with a sense of intensely felt tragedy, but so was traditional Judaism as a culture. The world of Yiddishkeit, three generations back for New York intellectuals, was just one generation back for us. Compared with “Dick and Jane” in our English readers, the characters of the Hebrew bible—their violence, jealousies, and treacheries—seemed like family. On a streetcar ride up Queen Mary Road, where the Shrine stood, a nun once told me that I had “the look of Abraham” on my face. Another, apparently reading my mind, asked me if I knew what it meant to have sinful thoughts. (She also kindly shared an amusing word game, so her Inquisition ended with grace.) The largest English talk-radio station had a call-in show on Sunday evenings on which the vexingly courteous Pentecostal Pastor Johnson explained why Jews, in rejecting Jesus, were sadly damned. Most of his callers were Jews who debated and denounced him. Unlike in the United States, Jews in Quebec did not have a neutral civil space to melt into. We had nothing as stipulated as the American Constitution; our liberties derived organically, within the tradition of British Common Law. Canada’s money had a Queen on it, not the founding fathers. The institutions of Jewish Montreal created places in which we fell back on ourselves. The heads of our welfare services and of the Y.M.H.A., the public library, the free-loan society, and political congresses were local celebrities. The family of the liquor baron Sam Bronfman, who supported these institutions, were our nobility. The progressives among us didn’t go to Reform synagogues; we just went to Orthodox and Conservative synagogues, and irregularly. If we got sick, we went to the Jewish General Hospital. My father, a Zionist leader who travelled to Israel in 1954 as if on the hajj, often admonished me with the famous aphorism of Moses Mendelssohn, the eighteenth-century liberal philosopher, that I should be a Jew at home and a human in the street. I understood Mendelssohn more readily than, say, Leonard Bernstein, who, teaching us sonata form on television, seemed human pretty much everywhere. Tolerance meant dialogue and reciprocal recognition, not assimilation. A few years ago, I walked through Bialystok with a historical map of the now destroyed Jewish city—before the First World War, Jews comprised about half the population—and found my father’s house. I was struck by how familiar Montreal’s large immigrant Jewish neighborhoods might have seemed, at least on the surface, to my father in 1928, when he arrived at the age of fourteen: the same hard winter and the same thick-walled constructions, the same forested hills, the same churches, the same easy insular Yiddish dominating commerce in textiles and clothing—the shmate (“rag”) business. The same farmers who had, a couple of generations back, been peasants, speaking a strange national language, working in our factories, speaking against us from hearths and pulpits yet greeting us warmly and with a practiced humility. The same sense that, by contrast, the propertied classes, our local nobility, would tolerate Jews so long as we helped them get richer but did not cross some invisible boundary—the presumably unavailable daughters. In his iconic Canadian novel, “Two Solitudes,” Hugh MacLennan describes Quebec as being defined by two competing cultures, nested in two little nations that were also classes, French and English. The gruff, brilliant, promiscuous Irving Layton—who had been an acolyte of Klein, and who became Cohen’s mentor and advocate—observed many years later that Montreal actually had three solitudes—a Jewish one, too, sitting somewhere between the others. Commercial life was English, so Jews as a community were drawn to the Anglophone world, narrow only in Quebec. Yet immigrant Jews engaged more poignantly, pushing and pulling, with French religious culture, which was locally engulfing. Catholic priests and nuns were ubiquitous public servants, tending to the French population, largely subsidized by provincial taxes and dominating Quebec’s French universities, hospitals, and social agencies, as well as the public schools. Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger, installed in 1953, was a kindly man, concerned for the poor, who ended his days as an African missionary (“a mensch,” my father called him), and the equal of any mayor; he kept anyone under sixteen from entering a movie theatre, except when Walt Disney films made the rounds. In the thirties and forties, the Church in Quebec had been ultramontane, and the not silent partner of the reactionary National Union Party of Premier Maurice Duplessis, who ruled, with a five year interruption, from 1936 until his death, in 1959. He had been xenophobic, populist, ambivalent about the war against Hitler, and classically (if discreetly) anti-Semitic. Behind the scenes, this political establishment instructed French voters, many of whom lived in far-flung farming villages where parish schooling was limited. They were barely literate and easily swayed. Duplessis presided over an apparently impregnable majority, rallied against sinful Montreal—Cardinal Léger sought to ban bingo—and used the provincial police thuggishly, turning it into a personal force. But the war and its aftermath gradually put the Catholic Church on the defensive. The exposure of Québécois soldiers to the triumph over Fascism, the penetration into the countryside of radio and television, the inescapable guilt that Catholic intellectuals felt about the death camps, the Second Vatican Council in 1962—all of these unleashed dissent. The Church’s chief critics were dazzling, cosmopolitan French Canadian intellectuals: Jean Marchand, the charismatic, leftist union leader; Gérard Pelletier and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the editors of Cité Libre magazine (Trudeau would eventually lead the federal Liberals to victory in 1968); and René Lévesque, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s most famous French-language host. When, in the 1960* election, the Liberal Party came to power (Lévesque joined the Liberal’s cabinet as the resources minister), the priests and nuns began losing their grip on the city’s schools and social services, and Quebec entered the humanist insurgency of the Quiet Revolution. The arts began to flourish: the Comédie-Canadienne blossomed, and the filmmaker Denys Arcand joined the National Film Board, producing award-winning French-language documentaries. The University of Montreal and community colleges were infused with provincial funds, and their graduates took social-service jobs in a new, fiercely secular Quebec bureaucracy. Public schools, still divided by language, were taken over more firmly, and funded more lavishly, by the regional government (though the formally “confessional” nomenclature—Catholic and Protestant—was not finally abandoned until 1998). By the spring of 1963, the Quebec government had nationalized old English-owned power companies, disturbing the peace of the residual Anglostocracy. In this loosened political atmosphere, Jews—who voted “Liberal” as faithfully as we conducted Seders—emerged into the culture. We grew infatuated with Trudeau’s federalist idealism. He was elected from a largely Jewish Montreal constituency and remained there throughout his years as Prime Minister. The Quiet Revolution transformed Montreal, at least for a while, into a kind of Andalusia: contesting religious-linguistic cultures rubbing each other the right way. Jews shared professional and literary ties with les Anglais, but we shared an affinity with French Catholics, for religious traditions that were thickly esthetic and that we, each in our own way, both loved and loved to distance ourselves from. We also intuitively understood congregational routine, authoritative interpretation of sacred literature, the prestige of historical continuity—we understood that messiahs matter in this world, that the divine emerged within the precincts of a discipline, commandments, and the mass, all of which produced decorum before they produced grace. As Cohen writes in “Hallelujah,” you cannot feel so you learn to touch: works, not just faith alone. Our rivalry with Catholics at times seemed fuelled by an unacknowledged tenderness, theirs for our historical struggles, professional erudition, and exegetical trenchancy, ours for their majestic spaces, genuflecting hockey champions, and forgiving, suffering servant—a Jew, after all. “I love Jesus,” Cohen told his biographer, Sylvie Simmons. “Always did.” But, he said, “I didn’t stand up in shul and say, ‘I love Jesus.’ ” My mother—the amiably innocent scion of another Bialystoker family—took me, overdressed (oisgeputzt), to Eaton’s department store to see the Christmas pageantry; and then, more reverentially (and to my father’s dismay), she took me to the Shrine’s wax museum, to see depictions of the passions of the saints. When I first heard a recording of Judy Collins’s iconic rendition of Cohen’s “Suzanne,” at McGill in the fall of 1967, a year after my mother’s sudden death—heard about the lonely wooden tower and its occupant searching out the drowning—it occurred to me that I had never expected much empathy from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It also occurred to me that Cohen, whose father had died when he was nine, knew loss, and that the distance from mama’s boy to ladies’ man could be short. Which brings me, finally, to McGill. If our emancipation was not in civil society, it was on that campus. The university had been chartered in 1821 to provide English and Scottish Protestants a colonial piece of the Enlightenment, above the atavism of habitant manors and parishes; the student population at the Arts and Sciences Faculty, in the mid-sixties, was something like forty-per-cent Jewish. Cohen was a legend by the time I got there. He had graduated in 1955, and had published three books of poetry and two novels; the National Film Board had made a fawning documentary about him. It was at McGill that Cohen found Irving Layton (he said of Layton, “I taught him how to dress, he taught me how to live forever”). Klein, Layton’s teacher, had been there in the thirties, studied law, and went on to simultaneously write “The Rocking Chair,” a poetic tribute to French Canada, and edit The Canadian Jewish Chronicle. (Secretly, he also wrote speeches for Sam Bronfman). By the time Cohen got to McGill, Klein had fallen silent, spiralling into, among other sources of melancholy, a never-completed exegesis of Joyce’s “Ulysses.” For our part, we found at McGill a kind of finishing school to make ourselves more sovereign, like Cohen was. There was no need for young Jews to offer Quebec some new model of political insurrection—no American-style howl. The restrained, verbose liberalism of John Stuart Mill seemed insurgent enough, even for Trudeau and Levesque. So was the tolerance—the scientific doubt—of the Scottish enlightenment and the lyricism of English and Irish poets, from Wordsworth to Yeats. Hemmed in by Jewish and Catholic sexual norms—and also by Victorian prissiness—the first right that we thought to exercise was the right to Eros. Cohen told Sylvie Simmons that he was first inspired to write poetry when, in his teens, he read, in English translation, the work of the Spaniard Federico García Lorca. But, like many other Jewish youths at McGill, he shuttled between the debating union and the traditions of the English, immersing himself in the study of liberty and literature as in a yeshiva. This open-spirited time of cross-fertilization did not last. The Quiet Revolution, which prompted Trudeau’s federalism, in time gave rise to a more stridently nationalist idea, encouraged by Charles de Gaulle on his trip to the 1967 World’s Fair, and soon championed by Lévesque, too: that Quebec would be better off as an independent country, maîtres chez nous (masters of our own). Spooked by the vitality of English culture in Montreal, and by the fact that many more French were learning English than the other way around, separatists began agitating for an end to English-language education for new immigrants and English signs in the city. Socialists among the separatists, recalling Lévesque’s nationalization of the power companies, began calling for the nationalization of banks and large businesses. At the beginning of the sixties, radical separatists—impatient with the Liberals’ nonviolent democratic methods—had formed the Front de Libération du Québec, or F.L.Q., and gone underground. By the end of the sixties, they had placed bombs in the stock exchange and in mailboxes in English neighborhoods. In 1970, after a spate of F.L.Q. kidnappings (a Quebec minister, Pierre Laporte, was murdered), Trudeau imposed martial law. The city was roiled by arrests; a friend at McGill known for his New Left sympathies saw his flat raided; the police confiscated books, including, he laughed nervously, one entitled “Cubism”. Lévesque despised the violence of the underground, but was undeterred in his commitment to pursue national sovereignty democratically, ultimately through a referendum. In 1968, he had founded Le Parti Québécois. Jews, like most English-speaking residents of Quebec, were shocked when Lévesque was unexpectedly elected Premier in 1976. This proved the cue. Tens of thousands moved to Toronto. Some Jewish intellectuals, professionals, and artists stayed, but most left, and the amity of the sixties dimmed. Cohen kept a house in Montreal, but as his fame as a songwriter grew he spent little time there. Nevertheless, something of his native Montreal could not be shaken off—the short, sweet tradition of which Cohen was, in a sense, the end. In his 1978 poem “The Death of a Ladies’ Man,” Cohen writes of a lover’s “high religious mood” brought low by the dangers of desire: “She beckoned to the sentry / of his high religious mood. / She said, ‘I’ll make a space between my legs, / I’ll teach you solitude.’ ” You hear the resonances of Cohen’s own religious mood, and Montreal’s, in the lyrics of many songs—“Sisters of Mercy,” “Story of Isaac,” “Who by Fire,” “If It Be Your Will”—culminating, perhaps, with “Hallelujah.” The resonances and the losses are even clearer, I think, when you go to the start of the tradition—roughly, Klein to Layton to Cohen—rather than hear only its end. Klein’s 1947 poem “The Cripples,” about French Catholic worshippers at St. Joseph’s Oratory, which I quoted from earlier, reaches this climax: They know, they know, that suddenly their cares and orthopedics will fall from them, and they stand whole again. Roll empty away, wheelchairs, and crutches, without armpits, hop away! And I who in my own faith once had faith like this, but have not now, am crippled more than they. There you have it: a freethinking Montreal Jew, in whose bones the Torah was bred, inventing precise English lines to express envy for French Catholic piety. “Anything beautiful is not your own,” Cohen told a Jewish student newspaper in 1966. “When I write, I place myself in contact with something much more glorious than anything I can pull up from within myself.” Poetry was unlocked by reverence. But reverence might, ironically, embolden the poet to cross boundaries, to perhaps court one of those beautiful Westmount girls. And if you did, if you touched the dew on her hem, you could throw your crutches away. *Correction: A previous version of this post misidentified the election year that the Liberal Party came to power.
  15. Published On Wed May 26 2010 Noor Javed The artistic pieces have graced the homes of Mughal emperors, adorned the gardens of Persian palaces and educated the masses of the Muslim world. Soon, over 1,000 years of Islamic art and culture will find a permanent home in Toronto. The groundbreaking for the Aga Khan Museum, the first in North America solely devoted to Islamic art, will take place on Friday near Don Mills Rd. and Eglinton Ave. E. The museum will be built alongside an Ismaili centre and park on a 7-hectare site at 49 Wynford Dr. More than 1,000 Islamic artifacts from China to the Iberian Peninsula will be showcased — with 200 on permanent display — when the museum opens in 2013. The pieces, which come from the collection of the Aga Khan family, already have more air miles than most Canadians. They have been featured in museums around the world from London to Madrid. Before they settle in Toronto, they will be exhibited in Istanbul and five other cities in the Muslim world. The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, will arrive Friday to put a shovel in the ground and give his blessings to the $300 million project “While some North American museums have significant collections of Muslim art, there is no institution devoted to Islamic art,” he said. “In building the museum in Toronto, we intend to introduce a new actor to the North American art scene. Its fundamental aim will be an educational one, to actively promote knowledge of Islamic arts and culture.” The 10,000-square-foot building will be designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, who is also working on the expansion of the United Nations building and Tower 4 at the former World Trade Center site. “This project will help to bridge the clash of ignorance,” said Amyn Sayani, a volunteer with the Ismaili Council for Canada. “This is very much an opportunity for people to dialogue and to bridge different cultures and faiths.” A sampling of the art coming to town: Manuscript of the Canon of Medicine by Ibn Sina, Iran or Mesopotamia, c. 1052: This manuscript is considered to be one of the most important collections of medieval medical knowledge in the Islamic world. It was used in the 12th and 13th centuries by medical schools in Europe, almost until the beginning of modern times. The document to be displayed is the fifth book, focusing on drugs and pharmacy. • Emerald green bottle, Iran, Safavid dynasty, 17th century: The Islamic world, mainly due to proximity, has always had close ties to the Chinese world. This bottle was made to imitate Chinese ceramics, in both colour and appearance. • Portrait of Sultan Selim, Turkey, c. 1570: A large album portrait done in watercolour, ink and gold of Sultan Selim II. It was his father, Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, who solidified the geographical borders of the Ottoman Empire. Selim was better known for enjoying finer pleasures such as literature, art and wine. Here, he shown by the painter as larger than life, in a luxurious fur-lined and gold garment. • Standard (alam), Iran, 16th century: Made of steel, standards usually decorated bowls used as drinking vessels or food containers for wandering ascetics. This pear-shaped standard contains an inscription which can be read from different angles. The text from top to bottom says: “Ya Allah, ya Muhammad, ya ‘Ali” (“O God, O Muhammad, O Ali).
  16. All economy seats. If you were ever looking for a credit card with travel rewards and had no idea where to start. The CIBC/TD Aeroplan may be for you, the only issue is that you have to pay taxes for that flight, while with the RBC Avion and BMO World Elite (the points you have covers everything). You probably could get better flights with BMO World Elite Mastercard if you prefer not to fly with Air Canada or Star Alliance members, so the results above may differ.
  17. The Telegraph - Property picture galleries http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/propertypicturegalleries/9126031/Are-these-the-ugliest-buildings-in-the-world.html?frame=2159769
  18. We are living through a great turning point in world history. In just a few short months, our economy and our society are on their way to being transformed. The U.S. and Canadian stock exchanges have lost as much as a third of their value. Gone are the days when regions will grow wealthy from ephemeral finance capital. Only those that build their real economy from the only true capital we possess - the creative energy of our people - will enjoy sustainable prosperity. Gone, too, are the days when one's identity can be purchased literally off the shelf through designer brands and a Sex and the City lifestyle. Times are tight, credit is no longer freely available, and the house is no longer an infinite piggy bank that can be used to finance luxury consumption. The regions that will succeed and be attractive are those that offer history, authenticity and realism - and where the price tag is more affordable. Montreal is well positioned not just to weather the economic storm but to flourish in the long run. The city and its surrounding region have underlying economic and social capacities which, if properly harnessed, will position them to develop a truly sustainable prosperity and perhaps to serve as a model for other regions in Canada. By no means am I trying to pooh-pooh the problems facing Montreal. Some of them stem from external economic forces, while others are self-inflicted - and I'll get to them in a moment. But Montreal has not just the opportunity but the obligation - to itself, Canada and the world - to lead the way out of the current financial crisis. With credit tight and in some cases unavailable, the real economy, real people and real creativity replace finance capital as the new coin of the realm. Montreal has this in spades. My research shows that more than a third of the region's workforce comes from the creative class - scientists, technology workers, entertainers, artists and designers, as well as managers and financial types - putting it in the top 10 per cent of all regions in North America, and a global leader as well. Nearly a fifth of the Montreal region's workforce forms a super-creative core made up of the techies plus cultural and entertainment types. Some years ago, when I conducted a study of Montreal's creative economy with colleagues Kevin Stolarick and Lou Musante, we identified the region's unique capacity to blend arts and culture with engineering and technology, and to combine that with street-level creativity energy. We were convinced the region would benefit from its ability to generate "spill-acrosses" between companies and industries, driving powerful creative economic engines. And look now at its video-game and movie production industries, at the burgeoning music scene, at the Cirque du Soleil. Montreal also benefits from its dense, compact geography. Most experts agree that innovation and productivity are driven by density, and Montreal ranks third among all North American cities in average population density. Montreal is a real and authentic place - perhaps the most authentic city in North America. It mostly avoided, and certainly did not suffer from, the insanely out-of-control, finance-powered new-wealth spiral, Gatsby-esque lifestyles and real-estate bubbles seen in places like New York, London, Miami and L.A. Its genuineness and history are in sync with the social and economic pendulum's swing away from opulence and hyper-consumption. People today, especially creative people, are looking for authentic creative places that are affordable and allow them the openness and social space to do their work. Urban thinker Jane Jacobs long ago said that "new ideas require old buildings." Montreal has old buildings in spades, many of them in stunning historic neighbourhoods. These attributes contributed greatly to Montreal today having one of the most innovative music scenes in the world with bands like Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Islands and Sunset Rubdown. It has attracted not just local musical talent, but musicians from all over the world. As Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler told the British newspaper The Guardian last year: "I felt like I discovered Montreal ... There's this great weird city, and it's full of arts and culture, and I was so shocked. A year in Boston, nothing. I come to Montreal, and I had a performing band straight away. It's hard not to think of it as fate that I found myself there." The region's personality predisposes it to innovation and creativity. Regions, like people, can be sorted across five basic personality types, according to Cambridge University psychologist Jason Rentfrow. For example, Chicago is an extroverted city. Atlanta is agreeable, Indianapolis is conscientious, and Boston is neurotic. Montreal is an open-to-experience region. Like New York and San Francisco, the city craves new experiences. Such regions, like open-to-experience people, may appear a little aloof or introverted and at times a bit prickly, but they are the source of innovation and a springboard for human creativity. They are magnets for those who may not fit into more conventional surroundings, but want to express themselves and try new things. Open-to-experience cities have higher rates of innovation and new business formation. Creativity requires openness to self-expression, and it requires diversity. My own research - along with that of world values expert Ronald Inglehart - has found that a society's openness to gays and lesbians is linked to overall happiness, technological innovation and economic well-being. These are things etched in Montreal's very DNA. In fact, Montreal tops our new ranking of Canadian regions on the gay and lesbian index. It ranks sixth on our bohemian index. The Gay Village and festivals such as DiversCité are visible evidence of this openness. Montreal has a broad structural economic advantage in being part of the fifth-largest mega-region in North America and 12th-largest in the world. The future will be defined by the mega-regions - urban agglomerations that reach far beyond a single core city and its suburbs, and that host business and economic activity on a massive scale. The 40 most important "megas" house 17 per cent of the global population, but account for two-thirds of its economic activity and more than 90 per cent of innovation. Montreal is part of a mega-region that stretches through Ottawa to Toronto and out to Kitchener-Waterloo, and south to Rochester and Buffalo. Home to more than 20 million people, this economic powerhouse produces more than half a trillion dollars in annual economic output, making it one of the leading mega-regions driving the world economy. Montreal also abuts a second, even larger mega-region: "Bos-Wash" stretches from Boston through New York to Washington, D.C., and has more than 50 million people and more than $2 trillion in economic activity. That makes it the second largest mega-region in the world, larger than most countries. This positions Montreal as a key node in one of the world's largest and most formidable economic centres. All these factors have resulted in real successes. For the Canadian edition of my book Who's Your City?, my colleague Kevin Stolarick ranked the nation's cities on their suitability across five key life stages: recent university graduates, young professionals, families with children, empty-nesters and retirees. Montreal ranked in the top five in every category and performed even better when housing affordability was accounted for. And a recent global ranking by Monocle Magazine named Montreal among the world's 20 best cities. Still, Montreal struggles with substantial challenges and obstacles. There is the high dropout rate in secondary schools, the low level of college graduates, the crumbling infrastructure, and the legacy of lingusitic and cultural tension. They must be addressed head-on if Montreal is to realize its full potential. In fact, these obstacles and challenges have been in place for a long time, setting in motion a kind of institutional and civic sclerosis that keeps the city and region from doing better. Montreal is not alone in this; many, if not most, regions in the world have their own sorts of paralysis. The point is we are in the midst of a historic turning point set in motion by the financial crisis. Those regions that can overcome the internal issues holding them back and can capitalize on their creativity and economic assets have powerful first-mover advantages that will position them for long-run economic advantage and sustainable prosperity. Right now Montreal is wasting a lot of human creative energy. The city still has a very high number of people with low incomes, many living on social assistance. It has a high school dropout rate of nearly a third. This is not just a social problem; it's an economic issue that leads to lower rates of productivity and growth. The region also has lagged on what we call human capital accumulation, with one of the lowest levels of post-secondary education despite having the lowest tuition in Canada. But it has the great advantage of being home to four universities, one of the biggest higher-education sectors of any city. And it has a fluidity across class lines. It needs to use these advantages. It needs to develop a broad regional initiative to tap and harness the creative energy of all, giving these young people and those on social assistance the motivation to use their talents and participate in the creative economy. It has to make this a priority. Montreal can take a cue not from economic development policy but from its own Cirque du Soleil, which combines the talents of circus performers and street musicians with those of designers and engineers. It can also learn from the world's most successful manufacturing company, Toyota. Long ago when I studied Toyota, its top managers told me point -blank that they would beat the Big Three U.S. automakers for one simple reason: While the Big Three gave super-rewards to their CEOs, MBAs and top engineers, Toyota worked day in and day out to harness the collective creativity of every worker on the factory floor. Imagine if Montreal could become the world's first region to tap the creativity of all its people. This is not just a key challenge for Montreal; it's the key challenge of our time. It's here that Montreal can forge a real global leadership position and develop a new sustainable model for economic development: by extending the creative class far beyond a creative elite, and by stipulating that it will no longer waste either its natural resources or its human talent. Creativity is in the region's DNA. More than just about any other region, Montreal has the underlying capacity to broaden the reach of the creative economy to service business, manufacturing plants, and even agriculture. But the city and the region need a government that can help get them there. Governmental structures in Montreal and most other places are not up to the task. They are fractured and fragmented and filled with contradictions - complicated and clumsy. Hardly anyone who isn't involved full-time can understand them. In Montreal, there are local boroughs, municipalities, the agglomeration council, and a regional administration as well. I saw similarly overbearing structures in Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and many other places. It leads to what people in Montreal call "immobilisme" - the tendency for nothing significant to happen because governments, business, social groups and unions are so at odds and so stuck in their ways that no one can provide clear direction and make anything happen. Many people say a strong leader is the answer. They look back to Mayor Jean Drapeau and the successes of Expo 67 and other landmark projects. They ask what's happened and worry that Montreal has become gun-shy. How does the region get its mojo back? But today's regions are too complicated for top-down, single-leader strategies. The key is to create a broad shared vision that can mobilize the energy of many groups - an open-source approach that can harness the energy and ideas of networks of people. Some may say the region needs a large-scale marketing or branding campaign to overcome this legacy. In the creative age, the best marketing is viral. Here's a simple suggestion: Capitalize on the region's growing music scene and audio identity. Pop Montreal, for example, has emerged as one of freshest and most offbeat musical festivals in the world. Where else could Burt Bacharach share buzz with an up-and-coming indie band like Black Kids? Where some music festivals rent hotel ballrooms and other traditional venues, Pop Montreal used the Notman House. Still, the festival is largely unknown outside the mega-region. Montreal should follow the lead of Austin, Tex., home of the famed South by Southwest music and media festival, and transform Pop Montreal into a magnet for the most innovative music acts, blogs and talent scouting. That would extend the region's reputation as a creative centre, virally and organically. This is just an example of the general principle; many other organizations, festivals and events can be marshalled in similar fashion. This kind of vision must go beyond Montreal per se and extend to the entire mega-region. That's a tall order, but a necessary one, and there are signs it can be done. The positive relationship between Premier Jean Charest and his Ontario counterpart, Dalton McGuinty, has been widely reported. It has even been jokingly referred to as a burgeoning "bromance." Provincial governments have authority over transportation, environmental and educational policies. Why not work together to build a powerful vibrant mega-region from Montreal through Ottawa and Toronto and down into the U.S. as a world example of cross-jurisdictional and cross-border co-operation, putting in place the transit infrastructure of high-speed rail, addressing environmental and natural resources issues, and harnessing the broad talent and skills of the workforce on this massive geographic scale? But to be successful in these areas, provinces need to recognize that transportation and environmental systems are more faithful to economic boundaries than to provincial ones. That brings me to perhaps the toughest issue of all. Montreal has been the focal point of a long history of linguistic, cultural and political issues that have held back the city and the province. On one hand, bilingualism is a huge advantage in the global economy. On the other, language laws and the threat of separation have scared people and businesses away and continue to discourage some companies from investing. The region can ill afford to lapse into historic battles. It needs to overcome its past and use its uniquely French heritage and bilingualism to its advantage. Montreal must continue to work on making linguistic diversity into a strength rather than a weakness. Recent events put us at a pivotal point - one that provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for Montreal. Now it's up to the region's leadership and people to develop a vision of how to overcome the challenges and obstacles of the past. Montreal can be a model for how to flourish in the new era of financial and economic turbulence.
  19. Merci, Au Revoir,Montreal and Hello New York I had the chance to escape from New York (no not like the movie) and visit Montreal, Canada this long Memorial Day Weekend. Wow was I impressed. This was not my first trip to Montreal by a long shot, but it was my first trip as an adult. When I was in college, Montreal meant three things to me: Hockey, Concerts and Strip Clubs. And not always in that order. I failed to see the beauty and the thriving cultural scene through my beer goggles. The city is charming, as are the people, restaurants and scenery. If you want a little bit of Europe without actually going to Europe, Montreal may be just your ticket. Yes, Montreal is in Canada, and Canada is another country, not located in Michigan as one of my crestfallen fellow countrymen discovered on line at the airport when asked for her passport. Much to her chagrin, she discovered she would need a passport to travel to Canada, as Canada is a country, not a state or a city. So much for those improved New York State Regents requirements in geography. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I had the opportunity to visit my friends in Montreal, and they, along with the city, were charming and delightful hosts. While I did not get a chance to take in the whole city, they gave me their perspective. It’s always good to visit a city where you know people, they can show you the off the beaten path gems and diamonds in the rough. If you are located in New York or its environs, East Coast, Montreal is about an hour flight and a world away. I can see why it made the list as one of the world’s cleanest cities. Walking around I was puzzled my first day there. I was thinking to myself “what’s wrong with this picture” and then it hit me - the place is so clean you could probably eat off the sidewalk. I mean not a gum wrapper, plastic bag or tossed away soda can anywhere in sight. It’s obvious that people respect their city and the city does a good job keeping things tidy. A small thing to notice, but when you live in New York, where littering is an art form, you notice these things. Don’t worry New York, you are my hometown and I still love you, and you have vastly improved since the days of my youth, I was just dancing with another girl this weekend and in terms of littering and cleanliness, she just danced better than you. Montreal has a lot to offer - if you are into the nightlife, they have a thriving club and bar scene. Food more your thing? Plenty of top notch restaurants. It’s a city of festivals, and a city of fun. Art and culture more your thing? Plenty of that with galleries and museums, and just the architecture and landscape of the city will leave you breathless. I managed to see a great exposition of Cuban art which I probably would not have had the chance to see since that sort of thing is embargoed in the United States (what, you thought I was not going to get political in this post, that it was all going to be travel tips and city reviews, think again, this is me). The city has a famous Formula One Grand Prix coming up in June, not to mention one of the world’s largest comedy festivals, Just for Laughs, and from what I hear, a kick ass fireworks competition. It also has a casino, located near the famous Biosphere from the 1967 World’s Fair (known as Expo 67). I managed to do what I always do whenever I walk into a casino - lose money. But it has great dining and the trip on Montreal’s Metro was an experience. Makes the average New York City subway ride look like a scene straight of “Nightmare on Elm Street”. Okay, as you might guess I have a come down with a bad case of culture envy, city envy, country envy, with a side order of IAS (Inferior American Syndrome). I get this a lot. I travel somewhere and see how things are and begin to feel like a savage. I tend to forget that in terms of culture, America is extremely young on the world’s stage, we are the bratty teenager compared to most of the world. If you have a brain and a conscience, it’s hard not to hang your head in shame these days. My country is prosecuting a war that is not popular abroad, and is currently lead by a man who is despised and looked upon as a clown by most of the world. Try as we do, we Americans are really culturally naive, and I really feel this when I travel. Let’s just say that after Starbucks, Sex and the City and McDonald’s, our cultural lexicon is extremely limited and we are kidding ourselves when we pump ourselves up with this feeling of superiority. Yes, for now, we are a super power, whatever that means. Our motto should not be “In God We Trust” but “The Sword is Mightier than the Pen”. Okay so this blog entry seems like and exercise in self-hatred and country shame. It is. But as my Canadian friend reminded me this weekend, “You Americans are too hard on yourselves.” That was a refreshing point of view. As I continually feel the necessity to apologize for being an American and living in a country who’s government has sponsored and supported war, misery, crime, and tyranny, I need to be reminded of this - that I, and we as a nation, are indeed too hard on ourselves. Like everywhere else, we have our good and we have our bad. Maybe I will never be a flag waving patriot, but I still love my country and want it to grow and thrive, and yes I want us to stand out in the world, not for what we can do to our enemies if they cross us, but what we can achieve once we set our minds to it. There are a lot of challenges that are currently facing us a nation, and indeed as a globe. The environmental crisis, poverty, hunger, tragedies on a global scale, and lack of faith and trust in established institutions have exploded to the surface and kick us in the balls on a daily basis. Now we can turn away, ignore these issues, grab a beer, watch a ball game, become obsessed with “American Idol” or overindulge in the multitude of distractions that are available to us. Or we can see this as an opportunity to take up these challenges and work with others around the globe to come up with creative solutions. The death toll in the Chinese earthquake alone was over 60,000 people. Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma) has claimed over 140,000 lives. Here in the United States, and estimated 37 milllion people live in poverty according to 2006 data from the US Census Bureau. Domestic violence, addiction, lack of health care coverage, a crippled education system - these are all bigger challenges our country has faced than anything the terrorists can do to us. Soon, we will have the opportunity to select a new President, who will supposedly guide us through this quagmire. But it’s not too early to think about what we can do on the micro level - that means the nation of one - you and I. Can one person change the world - yes believe it or not one person can - one at a time. Keep your eyes open, and you may just see an opportunity to do that.
  20. Pale Blue Dot It’s the twentieth anniversary of the famous “pale blue dot” photo – Earth as seen from Voyager 1 while on the edge of our solar system (approximately 3,762,136,324 miles from home). Sagan’s words are always worth remembering: Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
  21. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/04/new-toronto-most-fascinatingly-boring-city-guardian-canada-week Cities Guardian Canada week Welcome to the new Toronto: the most fascinatingly boring city in the world From the endless scandals of Rob Ford to the endless hits of Drake, Stephen Marche reveals the secret of his hometown’s transformation into the 21st century’s great post-industrial city Toronto’s multicultural waterparks show the true radical potential of the city. Photograph: Alamy Cities is supported by Rockefeller Foundation Stephen Marche in Toronto Monday 4 July 2016 10.43 BST Last modified on Tuesday 5 July 2016 00.04 BST The definitive moment of the “new Toronto” took place, somewhat inevitably, in New York. On the TV variety show Saturday Night Live in May, Toronto’s hip-hop icon Drake played a gameshow contestant named Jared – a cheerful goof with dreadlocks and a red check shirt with a slight Caribbean lilt. The skit, called Black Jeopardy, was a take on the long-running game show Jeopardy, using a series of African American cliches: uncles who wear long suits to church, the cost of hair weaves, the popularity of Tyler Perry movies, and so on. In this matrix of stereotype, however, Jared didn’t quite fit. To the answer: “This comedian was crazy in the 80s with his Raw and Delirious routines,” (clearly indicating the question: “Who is Eddie Murphy?”) Jared instead asked, to the perplexity of all: “Who is Rick Moranis?” When they also didn’t know hockey legend Jaromir Jagr, Jared was stunned: “The man won the Art Ross trophy four years in a row, fam.” Jared is black, but not a kind of black that the host or the other contestants recognised. “I’m from Toronto,” he explained. “Wait, you’re a black Canadian?” the host asked. “Obviously, dog.” The miscomprehension built from there to a confrontation in which Jared angrily demanded: “Why do I have to be your definition of black?” Was the host’s confusion understandable? To Americans, and outsiders in general, the new Toronto and its people can seem disconcertingly familiar and strange at the same time. It’s a city in mid-puberty, growing so rapidly, changing so suddenly, that often it doesn’t quite know how it feels about itself. *** Last year, the increasing population of Toronto passed the declining population of Chicago. Comparisons come naturally. What Chicago was to the 20th century, Toronto will be to the 21st. Chicago was the great city of industry; Toronto will be the great city of post-industry. Chicago is grit, top-quality butchers, glorious modernist buildings and government blight; Toronto is clean jobs and artisanal ice-creameries, identical condos, excellent public schools and free healthcare for all. Chicago is a decaying factory where Americans used to make stuff. Toronto is a new bank where the tellers can speak two dozen languages. You feel a natural ease in time when you touch down from another city; you don’t have to strain for hope here. The future matters infinitely more than the past. Toronto is now grown-up enough to be rife with contradictions Toronto’s growth has been extravagant. If you approach from the water, almost every building you see will have been constructed in the past two decades. The city has been booming for so long and so consistently that few can remember what Toronto was like when it wasn’t booming. There were 13 skyscrapers in 2005; there are now close to 50, with 130 more under construction. The greater Toronto area is expected to swell by 2.6 million people to 7.5 million over the next decade and a half. A line has been crossed. Toronto is now grown-up enough to be rife with contradictions – and its contradictions are making it interesting. It is, for example, by far the safest city in North America – an extraordinarily law-abiding place by any measure. It also produced Rob Ford, the world’s most famous crack-smoking mayor, a man whose criminality did little to affect his popularity. Other contradictions reveal themselves only on closer examination. Toronto’s dullness is what makes it exciting – a tricky point to grasp. Toronto’s lack of ambition is why the financial collapse of 2008 never happened here. The strong regulations of its banks preventing their over-leverage meant they were insulated from the worst of global shocks. In London and New York, the worst stereotype of a banker is somebody who enjoys cocaine, Claret and vast megalomaniac schemes. In Toronto, a banker handles teachers’ pension portfolios and spends weekends at the cottage. Mist rises from Lake Ontario in front of the Toronto skyline during extreme cold weather. The population of the greater Toronto area is expected to reach 7.45 million by 2031 – and approaching from the water almost every building you see was built in the past two decades. Photograph: Mark Blinch/AP The worship of safety and security applies across all fields and industries. A reliable person is infinitely more valued than a brilliant one. The “steady hand” is the Toronto ideal, and Toronto’s steadiness is why people flock here – and all the people flocking here are making it exciting. That’s why Toronto is the most fascinating totally boring city in the world. The fundamental contradiction of the new Toronto, however, is that it has come into its own by becoming a city of others. In the Canadian context, Toronto is no longer first among equals in a series of cities strung along the railroad between the Atlantic and Pacific. It has become the national metropolis, the city plugged into the global matrix. At the same time, Toronto is 51% foreign-born, with people from over 230 countries, making it by many assessments, the most diverse city in the world. But diversity is not what sets Toronto apart; the near-unanimous celebration of diversity does. Toronto may be the last city in the world that unabashedly desires difference. Toronto may be the last city in the world that unabashedly desires difference This openness is unfortunately unique. In a world in which Australia runs “You will not make Australia home” advertisements, Donald Trump is the presidential nominee of a major American political party, and a British MP was killed by a man shouting “Britain first”, Canada has largely escaped this rising loathing for others. A 2012 study, by the chair of Canadian studies at Berkeley, found that “compared to the citizens of other developed immigrant-receiving countries, Canadians are by far the most open to and optimistic about immigration.” The lack of political xenophobia (which must be distinguished from the various crises of integration) has emerged for reasons that are peculiar to the Canadian experience, and not because we’re somehow better people. Toronto’s success in 2016 began in the national near-catastrophe of 1995. The 1995 referendum on Quebec independence brought the country within a photo finish of not existing anymore. In an infamous drunken ramble of a concession speech, the then premier of Quebec, Jacques Parizeau, blamed the loss on “money and the ethnic vote”. I was 19 when he said that, and I knew even then that for the rest of my life, Canada’s future would be built on money and immigrants. I wasn’t wrong. Most Canadian business headquarters had already taken the five-hour drive west. After 95, the rest followed. Montreal decided to become a French-Canadian city. Toronto decided to become a global city. The gaze into the abyss separated English-speaking Canadians from the rest of the Anglosphere. The most important finding from the Berkeley study was that “in Canada, those who expressed more patriotism were also more likely to support immigration and multiculturalism. In the United States this correlation went in the opposite direction.” That’s the key difference between Toronto’s relationship to immigration and the rest of the world. Canada can only survive as a cosmopolitan entity. Blood and soil rip it apart rather than bind it together. With the US border to the south and three brutal oceans on the other sides, Canada is protected, as few places are, from uncontrolled immigration. There are no desperate huddled masses, yearning to breathe free here. Instead we cull the cream of the world and call it compassion. Syrian refugees are greeted by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on their arrival from Beirut at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Syrian refugees are greeted by Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters To take the case of the Syrians, the federal government took 25,000 refugees since the Trudeau government came to power last year, which sounds impressive when you compare it to the 2,800 that the US has allowed. It isn’t when you consider the specifics of the case. There are already plenty of Muslim families in Toronto and they are as boring as any other Canadians. In my own existence, the people of Muslim heritage I have known have served some of the following roles: they were my father’s business partners; they have prepared my taxes and my will; they gossiped constantly in the cubicle beside mine at a legal publishing house where I used to work until I had to buy noise-cancellation headphones; they gave me tips on how to pass my special fields examination while I was doing my PhD; they looked after my children at the local daycare centre. So when I heard that 25,000 Syrians were coming, I did not imagine 25,000 poor angry men. I imagined 25,000 accountants and dentists. Which is exactly who has come. Toronto’s multiculturalism no doubt has its crises, and those crises are accelerating. When the province of Ontario (of which Toronto is the capital) announced a new sex education curriculum that included open discussions on homosexuality, recently arrived socially conservative Muslim and Chinese-Canadian Christian parents pulled their children from public school in protest. The premier, Kathleen Wynne, responded with a statement that basically amounted to: “Tough.” The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, passed in 1982 – the same document that established multiculturalism as national policy – is very clear that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is un-Canadian. There is a strain of granite in Toronto’s much-vaunted tolerance. More serious are the issues around race and policing, which have consumed the city for the past two years. The carding scandal, in which the police were revealed to be racially profiling the black community, exposed profound problems with our police force, which is in dire need of reform. The crowd watches the speakers at the Black Lives Matter rally at Toronto Police Headquarters at 40 College in Toronto. The crowd watches the speakers at the Black Lives Matter rally at Toronto police HQ. Photograph: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images This is a story that has been playing out in American cities as well. But Black Lives Matter here has been distinctly Torontonian. Activists protested outside the police headquarters for 14 days, received a meeting with the mayor and the premier, and then disbanded peacefully. There was no hint of a riot, nor even of bad behaviour. Toronto’s activists sought redress for poor government in an entirely orderly fashion, and their demands, which were utterly reasonable, belonged to the best traditions of polite Canadian politics. The activists were pursuing, just like Canada’s motto, “peace, order and good government.” *** On any given morning on the Sheppard subway line in the north of the city, you can sit down in perfect peace and order, although you will find little evidence of good government. As the latest addition to Toronto’s fraying infrastructure, the Sheppard subway is largely untroubled by urban bustle. The stations possess the discreet majesty of abandoned cathedrals, designed for vastly more people than currently use them, like ruins that have never been inhabited. Meanwhile, in the overcrowded downtown lines, passengers are stacked up the stairs. The streetcars along a single main street, Spadina, carry more people on a daily basis than the whole of the Sheppard line, whose expenses run to roughly $10 a passenger, according to one estimate. A critic has suggested that sending cabs for everybody would be cheaper. Canadexit: how to escape the clutches of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage This ludicrous state of affairs – money wasted in one corner of the city while it’s desperately needed elsewhere – is the typical result of Toronto City Hall’s idea of consensus. The council is a pack of hicks and rubes, a visionless amalgam of small-c conservatives and vaguely union-hall lefties, all of them living resolutely in the past. Both sides want to stop what’s happening in the city. The lefties want to slow gentrification, and the conservatives think we’ve all been taxed enough. Of course, when most people think of hicks and rubes in Toronto City Hall, they think of Rob Ford, who died of cancer earlier this year. But Giorgio Mammoliti, councillor for Ward Seven, has proposed a floating casino, a red-light district on the Toronto Islands, and an 11pm curfew for children under 14. He has blamed a few of his erratic comments on a brain fistula he had removed in 2013, but nobody has since been able to tell the difference in his behaviour. Add another contradiction to Toronto’s growing list: it must be the best-run city in the world run by idiots. The current mayor, John Tory, is not an idiot, although he is hardly a figure of the “new Toronto”. He represents, more than any other conceivable human being, the antique white anglo-saxon protestant (Wasp) elite of Toronto, his father being one of the most important lawyers in the city’s history. The old Wasps had their virtues, it has to be said – it wasn’t all inedible cucumber sandwiches and not crying at funerals. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford responds the media at City Hall in Toronto, October 31, 2013. Rob Ford served as mayor of Toronto from 2010 to 2014. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters After the Rob Ford years, the attractions of a “steady hand” have been stronger than ever. Last week, Tory finally took the step of acknowledging that Toronto needs new revenue-generating streams, which took immense political courage even though it is obvious to everyone. Then, almost immediately, he proposed a “net-zero” budget with no new revenue streams – the steady thing to do, the gutless thing to do, the traditionally Toronto thing to do. The cost of having narrow-minded representatives in power is to limit the city. The catastrophic state of transit has had a host of unintended consequences; the explosion of downtown construction is due largely to the fact that commuting from the suburbs has become more or less unendurable. The poor infrastructure is symptomatic of larger problems. Because somewhere deep in its heart Toronto has not planned for growth – because Toronto hasn’t expected to be a real grown-up city – it keeps making the same mistakes. Toronto’s place in the world is not fixed. That is what is so exciting about the city Billions of dollars are being used to build more subways in suburban Scarborough where ridership will carry, at one stop, an astonishingly low 7,300 people at peak hours. Just last week, it was announced that another C$1.3bn will be spent on the project. It is very easy to blame the political class for this small-minded nonsense, but in their lack of ambition they represent a truth of the city. It is the most diverse city in the world and one of the richest, but it is unclear what its money and its diversity amount to. There is no Toronto sound. There is no Toronto flavour. There is no Toronto scene. There is no Toronto style. Rather there are sounds and flavours and scenes and styles borrowed from elsewhere. At the corner of Spadina and Bloor Street, there is a small series of panels commemorating the activists who prevented the Spadina Expressway – a megahighway into the urban core – from being built in the 1970s. Those activists weren’t wrong. That proposed highway would have destroyed some decent neighbourhoods. But only Toronto would commemorate not building something. It’s proud of what it hasn’t done. *** Go to the waterparks in this city on any hot summer day and you see the true potential of Toronto. The meaning of multiculturalism in Toronto is not theoretical; it is not found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or in the decisions of the refugee board. The meaning of multiculturalism is found in the waterparks, among the slides and fountains, and lazy rivers and wave pools: a collection of various people of various shades speaking various languages, lounging in the shade, drinking overpriced rum drinks, eating greasy food, staring at each other’s naked and tattooed flesh, and shouting at their kids to stop splashing. History in Toronto does not bend toward justice. It bends towards the hot tub. There is something radical about these people leading their quiet lives out together, without much fuss. Are they one people? Does it matter if they aren’t? It is a city whose meaning is not found in shared history but in the shared desire to escape history. It is a light city, a city floating up and away from the old stories, the ancient struggles. Craic addicts and Hogtown heroes: Canada's urban tribes explained Again Chicago makes a good comparison. In Chicago, they once changed the course of the river – one of history’s greatest feats of will and engineering. In Toronto, for a hundred years, the authorities let the construction companies just dump their landfill into Lake Ontario, until it turned into a pile of rubble so large that it attracted deer and coyotes and warblers in migration. So, reluctantly, they turned it into a rather gorgeous little park, the Leslie Street Spit. Chicago has dreams, dreams that mostly fail but sometimes triumph. Toronto keeps any dreams it might have to itself, stumbling into much more reliable happiness. Toronto’s place in the world is not fixed. That is what is so exciting about it. The question that Toronto faces, the question that its various crises and contradictions pose, is whether the city will rise into a glorious future of a mingled and complicated humanity, an avatar of a singular cosmopolitanism, or whether it will shrink back and be swallowed by the provincial miasma that inveigles it. This is a real question – the city could legitimately go either way. How much longer can Toronto endure its terminal lightness? How much longer can a city so interesting insist on being so boring? Guardian Cities is devoting a week to exploring all things Canada. Get involved on Twitter and Facebook and share your thoughts with #GuardianCanada Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
  22. 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.
  23. Scraping the Sky, and Then Some Renderings from left, Eka/Civicarts; Prnewsfoto, via Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Llp; Foster + Partners; John Portman & Associates; Dbox/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, via Associated Press; Weber Shandwick, via Bloomberg News Among many new skyscrapers being planned are, from left, the Mubarak al-Kabir tower in Kuwait, Burj Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Russia Tower in Moscow, Incheon Tower in South Korea, the Freedom Tower in New York, and the Chicago Spire. By AMY CORTESE Published: June 15, 2008 THE world’s population is expected to climb to nine billion by the middle of the century, from six and a half billion today, according to the United Nations, and a staggering number of those people are likely to be living in big cities. A pressing question for developers and urban planners is how to accommodate the growing urban masses, especially in developing countries of Asia and Africa. But one point is clear: The skyscraper will play a central role. Nearly seven years after the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York portended a pullback from cloud-grazing construction, the world is in the midst of a huge wave of tall building construction, both in number and in size. Some 36 buildings rise more than 300 meters, or roughly 1,000 feet, the threshold generally used to define “supertall” buildings, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a nonprofit organization based at the Illinois Institute of Technology. An additional 69 supertalls are under construction, the council estimates. Some of the most ambitious developments are in the petro-fueled economies of the Middle East and Russia. Among the most anticipated is the $1 billion Burj Dubai, a massive tower being developed by Emaar Properties in the United Arab Emirates. Although it is not yet complete, the tower has already surpassed the current record holder: Taipei 101 in Taiwan. The final height has been a closely guarded secret, though the Burj Dubai’s 160-plus floors and spire are expected to reach more than 2,600 feet into the sky when it is completed next year, nearly 1,000 feet more than Taipei 101, which was completed in 2004. To put it in perspective, that’s almost an entire Chrysler Building higher. Not to be outdone, the Saudi Arabian multibillionaire Prince al-Walid bin Talal recently unveiled plans for a mile-high tower near the Red Sea port of Jeddah that, if built, would be twice the height of the Burj Dubai. “It is the modern equivalent of New York in the 1920s,” said David Scott, a principal at Arup, an engineering firm, and the chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. A three-part exhibition in Manhattan at the Skyscraper Museum — “Future City: 20|21” — explores this theme by comparing New York in the 1920s and ’30s, when audacious skyscrapers rose up and captured the public’s imagination, with its modern-day peers in Asia, namely Hong Kong and Shanghai. “New York Modern,” the first leg of the exhibit, concludes later this month, and will be followed by “Vertical Cities: Hong Kong|New York.” An examination of Shanghai is planned for next year. As the show suggests, the center of gravity today has shifted from North America and Europe to Asia and the Middle East, where supertalls are rising at a frenetic pace. (In Dubai, the construction crane is jokingly called the national bird.) Supertalls are also going up in countries like India, Kazakhstan and Brazil. The trend, said Carol Willis, an urban historian and director of the Skyscraper Museum, reflects the expanding economies of those regions and their desire to compete for international status and business. In contrast, she says that large developments in New York and other Western cities these days are likely to encounter public opposition — as evidenced by initial public reaction to Forrest City Ratner’s plan for the 22-acre Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, and Jean Nouvel’s soaring Midtown Manhattan tower, commissioned by Hines, an international real estate developer. And tighter credit in the United States has developers increasingly looking at emerging markets. “People are looking at where else they can put their money to work,” said Jeff Cushman, executive managing director of Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate services firm. The newest skyscrapers are breaking old molds. In the United States, the tallest buildings have tended to be office towers, but in Asia and the Middle East, the towers now going up are often residential or mixed-use buildings, with developers selling off residential units to generate cash flow. The new towers are also likely to be built from concrete or composite materials rather than traditional steel and to incorporate so-called green design features. In many cases, they serve as a focal point for larger-scale master plans. The Burj, for example, is at the center of a $20 billion, 500-acre development of downtown Dubai. Residential units in the Burj are selling for as high as $3,500 a square foot. The tower’s presence has already increased the value of nearby properties by as much as 60 percent, according to Emaar. To get a sense of the pace of change, the Council on Tall Buildings has projected what will be the tallest 20 buildings in 2020, measured by height from sidewalk to their architectural top. (Its researchers included only buildings that have developers and financing and have moved beyond the concept phase, but there is no certainty that they will be built, especially given the current economic downturn. The list does not include developments that are being planned but kept under wraps, like the Saudi mile-high tower.) Icons like the Empire State Building in New York and the Sears Tower in Chicago, which have long been enshrined among the tallest buildings in the world, are bumped from the list. The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, currently just behind Taipei 101, fall to 20th place. Only two towers in the United States make the list. At 2,000 feet and 150 stories, the Chicago Spire, a twisting residential tower designed by Santiago Calatrava that broke ground last summer, ranks sixth on the list. It is being developed by the Shelbourne Development Group, a developer based in Dublin that took over the project from Fordham Development. One World Trade Center in New York, also known as the Freedom Tower, from Silverstein Properties and designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, comes in at No. 11, at a symbolic 1,776 feet. By that time, the fruits of other urban-planning ideas may emerge. At the World Science Festival last month, a session titled “Future Cities” explored ideas like vertical urban farms growing local produce and zero-carbon mini cars that can nest like airport luggage carts when not in use. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/realestate/commercial/15sqft.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin