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  1. Lots to lose: how cities around the world are eliminating car parks | Cities | The Guardian Cities Lots to lose: how cities around the world are eliminating car parks It’s a traditional complaint about urban life: there’s never anywhere to park. But in the 21st century, do cities actually need less parking space, not more? Paris has banned traffic from half the city. Why can’t London? Houston, Texas Parking lots dominate the landscape in downtown, Houston, Texas. ‘Though the perception is always that there’s never enough parking, the reality is often different,’ says Hank Willson. Photograph: Alamy Cities is supported by Rockefeller Foundation's logoAbout this content Nate Berg Tuesday 27 September 2016 12.23 BST Last modified on Tuesday 27 September 2016 15.51 BST With space for roughly 20,000 cars, the parking lot that surrounds the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, is recognised as the largest car park in the world. Spread across vast expanses of asphalt and multi-storey concrete structures, these parking spots take up about half the mall’s 5.2m sq ft, on what was once the edge of the city of Edmonton. A few blocks away, a similar amount of space is taken up by a neighbourhood of nearly 500 homes. Despite its huge scale, the West Edmonton Mall’s parking lot is not all that different from most car parks around the world. Requiring roughly 200 sq ft per car plus room to maneuvre, they tend to be big, flat and not fully occupied. Often their size eclipses the buildings they serve. Even when they’re hidden in underground structures or built into skyscrapers, car parks are big and often empty: parking at homes tends to be vacant during the workday, parking at work vacant at night. A 2010 study of Tippecanoe County, Indiana found there was an average of 2.2 parking spaces for each registered car. The US has long been the world leader in building parking spaces. During the mid 20th century, city zoning codes began to include requirements and quotas for most developments to include parking spaces. The supply skyrocketed. A 2011 study by the University of California, estimated there are upwards of 800m parking spaces in the US, covering about 25,000 square miles of land. Nobody goes to a city because it has great parking Michael Kodransky “As parking regulations were put into zoning codes, most of the downtowns in many cities were just completely decimated,” says Michael Kodransky, global research manager for the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy. “What the cities got, in effect, was great parking. But nobody goes to a city because it has great parking.” Increasingly, cities are rethinking this approach. As cities across the world begin to prioritise walkable urban development and the type of city living that does not require a car for every trip, city officials are beginning to move away from blanket policies of providing abundant parking. Many are adjusting zoning rules that require certain minimum amounts of parking for specific types of development. Others are tweaking prices to discourage driving as a default when other options are available. Some are even actively preventing new parking spaces from being built. A typical road in San Francisco. A road in San Francisco. Photograph: Getty To better understand how much parking they have and how much they can afford to lose, transportation officials in San Francisco in 2010 released the results of what’s believed to be the first citywide census of parking spaces. They counted every publicly accessible parking space in the city, including lots, garages, and free and metered street parking. They found that the city had 441,541 spaces, and more than half of them are free, on-street spaces. “The hope was that it would show that there’s actually a lot of parking here. We’re devoting a lot of space in San Francisco to parking cars,” says Hank Willson, principal analyst at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. “And though the perception is always that there’s never enough parking, the reality is different.” Knowing the parking inventory has made it easier for the city to pursue public space improvements such as adding bike lanes or parklets, using the data to quell inevitable neighbourhood concerns about parking loss. “We can show that removing 20 spaces can just equate to removing 0.1% of the parking spaces within walking distance of a location,” says Steph Nelson of the SFMTA. The data helps planners to understand when new developments actually need to provide parking spaces and when the available inventory is sufficient. More often, the data shows that the city can’t build its way out of a parking shortage – whether it’s perceived or real – and that the answers lie in alternative transportation options. Parking atop a supermarket roof in Budapest, Hungary. A parking lot on a supermarket roof in Budapest, Hungary. Photograph: Alamy With this in mind, the city has implemented the type of dynamic pricing system proposed by Donald Shoup, a distinguished research professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. In his book The High Cost of Free Parking, Shoup explains that free or very cheap on-street parking contributes to traffic congestion in a major way. A study of the neighbourhood near UCLA’s campus showed that drivers cruised the area looking for parking for an average of 3.3 minutes. Based on the number of parking spaces there, that adds up to about 950,000 extra miles travelled over the course of a year, burning 47,000 gallons of gasoline and emitting 730 tons of CO2. After San Francisco implemented a pilot project with real-time data on parking availability and dynamic pricing for spaces, an evaluation found that the amount of time people spent looking for parking fell by 43%. And though there’s no data available on whether that’s meant more people deciding not to drive to San Francisco, various researchers have shown that a 10% increase in the price of parking can reduce demand between 3-10%. Sometimes, the supply of parking goes down because nobody needs it. Since 1990, the city of Philadelphia has conducted an inventory of parking every five years in the downtown Center City neighbourhood, counting publicly accessible parking spaces and analysing occupancy rates in facilities with 30 or more spaces. Because of plentiful transit options, a walkable environment and a high downtown residential population, Philadelphia is finding that it needs less parking. Between 2010 and 2015, the amount of off-street parking around downtown shrank by about 3,000 spaces, a 7% reduction. Most of that is tied to the replacement of surface lots with new development, according to Mason Austin, a planner at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and co-author of the most recent parking inventory. Philadelphia Planners in Philadelphia have noted the decrease in demand for parking, and reduced spaces accordingly. Photograph: Andriy Prokopenko/Getty Images “At the same time, we’re seeing occupancy go down by a very small amount. So what that’s telling us is the demand for this public parking is going down slightly,” Austin says. “And that could be alarming if we were also seeing some decline of economic activity, but actually that’s happening at the same time as we’re seeing employment go up and retail vibrancy go up.” And though many cities in the US are changing zoning and parking requirements to reduce or even eliminate parking minimums, cities in Europe are taking a more forceful approach. Zurich, has been among the most aggressive. In 1996, the city decreed that there would be no more parking: officials placed a cap on the amount of parking spaces that would exist there, putting in place a trading system by which any developer proposing new parking spaces would be required to remove that many parking spaces from the city’s streets. The result has been that the city’s streets have become even more amenable to walking, cycling and transit use. Copenhagen has also been reducing the amount of parking in the central city. Pedestrianising shopping streets raising prices of parking and licences and developing underground facilites on the city’s outskirts has seen city-centre parking spaces shrink and the proportion of people driving to work fall from 22% to 16%. Paris has been even more aggressive. Starting in 2003, the city began eliminating on-street parking and replacing it with underground facilities. Roughly 15,000 surface parking spaces have been eliminated since. A world without cars: cities go car-free for the day - in pictures View gallery But progress is not limited to Europe. Kodransky says cities all over the world are rethinking their parking policies. São Paulo, for instance, got rid of its minimum parking requirements and implemented a maximum that could be built into specific projects. Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou are hoping to emulate San Francisco’s dynamic pricing approach. And as cities begin to think more carefully about how parking relates to their urban development, their density and their transit accessibility, it’s likely that parking spaces will continue to decline around the world. “Ultimately parking needs to be tackled as part of a package of issues,” Kodransky says. “It’s been viewed in this super-narrow way, it’s been an afterthought. But increasingly cities are waking up to the fact that they have this sleeping giant, these land uses that are not being used in the most optimal way.” Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion.
  2. Pas certain que retirer la gestion de stationnement des arrondissements est souhaitable. Je comprends le vouloir de simplifier les règles du jeu stationnement mais les fuis de trafique, le nombre et genre de commerces (bar, restaurent, boutique), rue résidentielle etc. sont très différents d'un arrondissement a l'autre voir a l’intérieure même d'un arrondissement. This will no doubt tickle Luc Fernandez.
  3. Protectionism in full swing once again in Japan. Why should their cars be eligible for cash for clunkers in the US, if American cars are not there. That is not free trade. Hopefully President Obama puts an end to this nonsense.
  4. Alex Wurz on Montreal Last updated: 3rd June 2008 F1 Drivers Championship 2008 Drivers Championship Raikkonen 10/11 - Lewis 13/8 - Massa 7/2 - Click Here for a full range of markets. Also see F1 forum Live coverage Bet now with Sky Bet Honda's test driver, who finished third in last year's Canadian Grand Prix, describes a lap of the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, venue for Sunday's race... "Montreal is a nice Grand Prix. It feels quite similar to Australia in that everyone likes going there and there is a great city nearby that offers good restaurants and a vibrant atmosphere. I made my F1 debut at this race in 1997, so I associate it with the moment when it all came together for me and I like going back to Canada as a result. "Coming straight after Monaco, the cars feel strange to drive in low-downforce trim. They are always sliding around and you have to get your head around the fact that you rarely find a good balance. Tyre graining is also a big issue. "You arrive at Turn 1 in sixth gear and it's one of those corners that invites you to brake too late. You want to use the left-hand kerb as much as possible and if you brake too late, the car becomes unstable and the kerb feels much worse than it actually is. "This corner leads straight into a first-gear right-hander, which is very slippery early on in the weekend but improves as more rubber goes down. "Turns 3 and 4 make up another chicane and as the track improves you can jump the chicanes and be very aggressive. You run very close to the right-hand barrier at the exit, before positioning the car on the left in preparation for the flat-out right-hander. "The next chicane is quite bumpy under braking, but you can still brake very late and use the kerb on the left. You have to be careful not to unsettle the car because you need to be flat through the right-hander, which is followed by a long straight. "Then you go under a bridge and you're into another chicane, which has only one turn-in point. It's very easy to miss the entry point here and every year we see drivers getting it wrong and going straight on. "Next comes the hairpin. It is second or third gear, depending on your gear ratios, and it's very important to have good traction at the exit because the longest straight on the lap follows. You're flat-out for 15 seconds, before stamping on the brakes for the final chicane. "You try to brake later and later into here, but you have to be careful because things can go wrong very quickly. A small mistake and you'll be in the 'wall of champions' before you know it. "The two best overtaking points on the lap are into the hairpin and the last chicane, but it's not so easy due to the marbles off-line, especially late in the race."
  5. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) WOW I am happy I don`t live on St Pierre anymore. This city has gone to the dogs. I guess its time to really go out and buy a bulletproof vest and armour up my car.
  6. J'aimerais bien vous inviter à ce qu'on détende l'atmosphère sur MTLURB. Il y a des personnes qui prennent les débats trop au sérieux. Or un débat, s'il est fait de façon respectueuse est important et peut apporter des solutions constructives aux problèmes débattus. Je veux continuer à contribuer aux débats sans entraves, sans me faire censurer, mais je ne veux pas qu'on s'indigne inutilement. C'est un forum publique (tout le monde peut le voir) et privé (MALEK en est le propriétaire). Ça cause une ambiguité, car nos discussions sont modérées par MALEK et c'est ce qui donne un peu ce ton trop sérieux, et trop béliqueux (à mon goût). C'est pourquoi je vous invite à décrocher un peu, faire des farces, pas prendre tout ça trop au sérieux... comme si on étais tous autour d'une table entre gars (car il y a pas de filles ici). Friendly, mais avec des débats houleux. Si vous êtes d'accord
  7. Ces risques diminuent en raison car les constructeurs devraient toucher jusqu'à 50 G$ US en prêts du gouvernement américain. Pour en lire plus...
  8. J'avais envi de vous donner une vision du Portugal, principalement de Lisbonne car je trouve qu'on entant rarement parlé du Portugal à par le vin et le soccer et nos bon restaurant ici a Montreal.
  9. Why does montreal have worse roads than any other north american city? If climate really plays a role, why does ottawa or toronto have much smoother roads with a nicer texture and color, other than the newly repaved hwy 40, i don't think there is a single nice road in this city, i am very cautious while i drive around i just never know what's on the way, i own a brand new car which i paid alot for and i keep fealing that these roads will destroy the suspension components prematurely. Will there ever be a solution for this problem? I mean even brand new pavement is usualy wavy and unproportionate and ends up looking just as bad as before after 2-3 years Oh and i'm new here! Hi everyone
  10. Ce projet semble déjà bien entamé car on parle d'une livraison en mars 2012. De plus, il y aurait deux phases alors j'irai faire un tour bientot pour voir de quoi il en retourne.
  11. Petit projet situé juste en face du métro Charlevoix. Lors de ma tournée la semaine dernière j'ai aperçu le terrain sur lequel sera construit ce petit projet et il est littéralement en face de la station de métro. Je suis estomaqué que l'on puisse construire des stationnements pour un si petit projet alors que le métro est à 30 secondes de marche. Si quelqu'un peut uploader la photo allez-y car je n'y arrive pas.
  12. Nouveau projet dans Verdun. D'ailleurs il est déjà en construction car c'est en me balladant au hasard que je l'ai remarqué. Sur le site web il y a quelques photos mais je n'arrive pas à les ''uploaders''.
  13. L'avion du futur en mettra plein la vue Un modèle unique d’avion vient d’être dévoilé à Londres par l’entreprise Airbus, apprenons-nous sur MailOnline. L’appareil en question, dont le haut est transparent, ne conviendra pas aux voyageurs de 2050 qui ont la peur de l’avion. Ceux qui y monteront vivront un vol hors du commun, car sa conception leur permettra d’admirer l’extérieur, de nuit comme de jour. Cet avion futuriste a aussi été pensé en fonction de la détente. Par exemple, les sections aujourd’hui réservées aux classes affaires et économiques seront remplacées par des zones de relaxation. Des jeux holographiques et d’autres divertissements, tous engendrés par la chaleur du corps, seront aussi proposés aux passagers. © Airbus S.A.S. Ceux qui y monteront vivront un vol hors du commun, car sa conception leur permettra d’admirer l’extérieur, de nuit comme de jour. Si la plupart des technologies qui seront employées pour les fonctions de cet avion sont déjà connues, on ne sait toujours pas les secrets technologiques concernant sa fameuse coque supérieure transparente. On sait malgré tout que la structure de la cabine a été inspirée par l’efficacité osseuse de l’oiseau. Cela permettra la force nécessaire pour soutenir ladite cabine, mais aussi pour intégrer une membrane intelligente qui gèrera les différences de température et permettra la transparence. Le but d’une telle conception est d’offrir aux touristes un voyage en avion qui est aussi enrichissant que la destination en elle-même. Le haut de l'«avion du futur» sera transparent.
  14. Complètement dans l'est cette fois-ci, dans le vieux P.A.T. Un projet qui me surprend car il a de la gueule et les prix sont très accessibles.
  15. En dépit d'un prix du baril à la baisse, l'essence est reparti à la hausse avec une hausse exagérée d'une douzaine de cents depuis ce matin dans la région de Montréal. Et pourquoi croyez-vous qu'on abuse tant? Parce que nous sommes à l'approche d'un long weekend férié et que les pétrolières veulent fêter avec nous, en s'offrant un cadeau dispendieux à nos propres dépends bien sûr. Cette attitude est des plus scandaleuses et bassement mercantile car elles savent que le consommateur est sans recours et qu'elles peuvent le plumer sans risque d'être embêtées par les gouvernements, qui profitent eux aussi d'une hausse de taxe à la consommation, au passage. L'appétit vorace de ces entreprises est encouragé par nos "amis" réformistes-conservateurs qui couchent avec les pétrolières et qui souhaitent en plus les récompenser avec d'autres allègements fiscaux dans leur prochain budget. Pas de doute, nous sommes revenus aux pratiques sauvages d'avant la récession, avec des spéculateurs qui exagèrent nettement les risques de pénurie (puisque le pétrole libyen est compensé par du pétrole saoudien) et rien d'autre dans le monde qui justifie une telle prédation des prix. C'est une nouvelle crise artificielle de l'énergie qui pointe à l'horizon et qui dépassera certainement les hausses de prix qu'on a vu à l'été 2008, avant l'autre crise, créée elle aussi de toute pièce et que tout le monde connait. Nous sommes entrés dans une ère de grande instabilité causée par l'avidité sans limite des grosses corporations et des hauts dirigeants qui siphonnent littéralement les forces vives de la société. C'est un appauvrissement rapide des classes moyennes qui nous guette par un transfert forcé de la richesse vers le privé, et de la dette nationale vers le public. Et qui s'élève contre ces pratiques anti-sociales? Personne, bien au contraire. Pire encore, Harper veut diminuer la fiscalité des grandes entreprises dont profitera directement l'industrie pétrolière, sous prétexte de créer des emplois. Mais ces emplois seront créés de toute façon car le pétrole est devenu l'eldorado qui garantit des profits faramineux à quiconque s'y intéresse de près ou de loin. Ainsi le petit peuple passera deux fois à la caisse: premièrement à celle de la station service qui l'attend pour l'assommer avec son propre porte-feuille, et ensuite indirectement en subventionnant les compagnies qui exploitent des gisements par des baisses de taxes scandaleuses. Cet allègement fiscal enrichira davantage ces ogres financiers qui profitent une deuxième fois de notre argent, mais là sans rien en retour. Est-ce cela que nous souhaitons pour l'avenir de ce pays? Nous pouvons difficilement nous défendre contre les pétrolières, il faudrait une volonté politique énorme pour contrôler la situation et c'est possible avec le temps. Mais nous pouvons immédiatement réagir en mettant le gouvernement Harper à la porte en l'empêchant de donner nos taxes à des bandits en cravate qui, comme eux, n'ont aucune conscience morale ni sociale. Je suis révolté par ces pratiques moyenâgeuses et cette complicité intolérable des réformistes-conservateurs qui ne représentent pas l'intérêt des payeurs de taxes, donc des électeurs, mais de la grande entreprise. Pour reprendre le slogan de Terreneuve lors de la dernière élection en 2008, je propose moi aussi leur formule toute simple, mais à tout le pays: ABC "anyone but conservatives".
  16. J'ai vu une affiche sur Cote-des-Neiges aujourd'hui mais je n'ai aucune idée de l'emplacement du futur projet car ce n'est pas mentionné ni sur l'affice et ni sur le site web.
  17. Le Québec exprime depuis plusieurs décennies son insatisfaction dans l'accord constitutionnel, que l'on pourrait comparer par analogie à un contrat de mariage. Pire en fait, car ce fut un mariage arrangé et non d'amour mutuel. Donc les liens qui relient les deux partenaires n'ont jamais vraiment eu le côté émotionnel nécessaire pour en faire une véritable union heureuse et consommée, cela à aucun moment de son histoire. On pourrait au mieux parler de tolérance. Dans la vie de tous les jours le divorce est devenu monnaie courante. Il ne fait plus vraiment peur et représente le plus souvent la décision la plus raisonnable, pour le bien-être et la sérénité des deux protagonistes. On peut aussi développer d'autres types d'ententes qui peuvent favoriser un meilleur partage des droits et responsabilités, tout en reconnaissant le mérite de conserver des liens plus proches et mutuellement profitables. Dans aucun cas cependant il est justifié de préserver le statu quo, car l'insatisfaction si elle n'est pas répondue de manière adéquate, risque de conduire à des actions unilatérales qui pourraient être dommageables à tout le monde. Alors je pose la question puisqu'on est dans un fil de sondage: Si un des deux partenaires n'est plus satisfait de son union avec son conjoint, que doit faire ce dernier? 1 -Ignorer la partie demanderesse et faire comme si rien n'était, en espérant que ça passe. 2- Reconnaitre l'insatisfaction de l'autre mais exprimer son incapacité à y répondre convenablement. 3- Tenter de négocier des accommodements afin de préserver l'union. 4- Soumettre la partie demanderesse à sa volonté et lui imposer sa solution ou sa vision, quitte a conduire à un divorce déchirant. La situation du Québec et du Canada est exactement face ce genre de dilemme. On n'en fera jamais une histoire d'amour, car le désir pour l'autre n'est basé que sur du matériel et son partage plus ou moins équitable, selon les versions de chacun. Une chose est cependant indéniable: le désir d'autonomie et d'émancipation ne peut pas être refoulé de la part de la partie qui se sent étouffée par le poids du couple. Néanmoins cette dernière pourrait, comme dans les bons vieux couples d'habitudes, reprendre une partie de sa liberté tout en respectant un contrat moins exigeant et dans lequel chacun pourra y trouver son compte. On est ici dans une simple logique qui ne demande qu'une part de sensibilité et d'ouverture. Seuls les noms changent, mais la ressemblance avec la réalité est voulue et intentionnelle. D'autres couples sont passés par les mêmes difficultés, certaines unions ont eu un dénouement difficile, d'autres plus heureux, mais l'issue dans tous les cas a nécessité des actions courageuses et appropriées. Saurons-nous faire partie des chanceux qui auront compris à temps, que les problèmes doivent être réglés avant qu'il ne deviennent pratiquement ingérables? Qu'aucune situation n'est permanente, que tout est mouvement, change et se transforme dans une dynamique qui va du plus petit au plus grand dans l'univers. Lorsque certaines parties refusent cette loi implacable de l'évolution du monde, elles disparaissent ou sont brisées par leur propre inertie. Le Canada vit des problèmes internes parce qu'il refuse de s'adapter aux changements qui se présentent naturellement à lui. Aura-t-il la sagesse de sortir de sa sclérose, ou sera-t-il amputé d'un membre qui ne peut s'empêcher de bouger? La question est posée, j'attends vos réponses.
  18. Le promoteur MonDev prépare la construction d'un nouveau projet de condo situé sur la rue Jean Talon entre la rue Léonard de Vinci et la 18e avenue. Le projet compte : - 3 étages + un niveau terrasse. - 75 appartements à condo - 1 espace commercial Site du projet : Street view du site :,-73.594019&spn=0.001065,0.002642&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=45.563668,-73.594019&panoid=ate7DBWeDE1f7rtulrmY1Q&cbp=12,115.04,,0,1.64 Le terrain est dans cet état à cause d'une probable décontamination du site, car il y avait auparavant une station services et un garage.
  19. Its LIVE Took almost 6 months but its finally in Canada. Take that TomTom GPS unit. Navigation is awesome you can drive around and you get Street View at the same time. Check it out <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="385"></embed></object> One other thing. Google and Ford partnered up it seems so you can sync your Google Map info with your car Navigation system!
  20. 3 étages. Samcon. Rien de particulier. Peut-etre une densification timide du secteur car il y a quelques autres projets terminé récemment ou en cours dans le coin.
  21. It is very unfortunate that events that happen in less than a minute can have such a profoundly negative impact on peoples' lives. In this case, I most definitely believe that Michael Bryant is innocent of what is essentially a manslaughter charge. This is one of the rare times I side with a Liberal. By the sounds of things Darcy Allan Sheppard was drunk and riding his bicycle down a major throughfare (Bloor Street). Drinking and riding a bicycle can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving a car. There needs to be laws put in place to regulate cycling just like driving. If it had been the other way around, and Bryant had been drinking and driving, got into an altercation with a cyclist before crashing and killing himself, it would have been completely his fault. But since Sheppard was a cyclist, he couldn't possibly be in the wrong.
  22. Life in Montreal - Telegraph Mentor Patricia Smith says Canadians are genuinely nice people; friendly and welcoming, fond of the British and very proud of their homeland. Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 28/11/2007 Patricia Smith is willing to answer your questions about Montreal. Our mentors are volunteers and any information they provide is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Click here to access the message boards terms and conditions. My family moved to Montreal in early 2000 when my husband was offered a job with a Biotech company here. I also worked in the Biotech sector in Montreal for two years but left to start my own relocation company, Home Thoughts. My company is a Destination Services company that specialises in helping Brits who are moving to Montreal to find housing and schools, showing them where to shop, helping them to get drivers licenses, finding them cleaners, doctors, dentists, child-minders etc. Basically, all the things I wish someone had helped me with when I moved here! In addition to my experience of international relocation, having worked here as well, I understand the work ethos, which is very different from that in the UK and in the US. If anyone has any questions about visiting or moving to Montreal I am more than happy to answer them. Ask questions and read the answers on the Mentor Noticeboard. Geography: Montreal is located on an island gently nestled within the St. Lawrence Seaway in Eastern Canada in the Province of Quebec. The city is dominated by a large hill in the centre, grandly called 'The Mountain' by the locals, and only slightly less grandly officially 'Mont Royal'. This beautiful parkland, with the Mansions of Westmount and Outrement cut part way up it, has a chateau at the top and a lookout from which you can see right across to the States. Looking down you can see the business center of Montreal, the McGill University campus buildings and the bridges that cross the St. Lawrence. To the north of Montreal only 45 minutes away are the Laurentian mountains with their superb ski resorts, golf courses, lakes and cottages for summer and winter. To the East an hour away, are the Eastern Townships, again with superb skiing, golf, lakes and holiday cottages. The US is 40 minutes away to the south with Boston and New York six hours drive away and one hour by air. There are several daily flights to London only 7 hours away, and to the rest of Europe. Cuisine: The French influence means that the food is great; the croissants and pastries are second only to France. It appears that everyone who has ever emigrated here also loves food because there are restaurants of every nationality serving good food to suit every budget. Eating out here is so cheap compared to the UK, the portions are large, the service is great and children are welcome everywhere. There is a lot more smoking here than in the UK so ask for a non-smoking table if that is your preference. Wine and spirits are very expensive as they are sold by a Quebec government agency, the SAQ. The wine sold in the supermarkets is more like Ribena. Beer is more reasonably priced and can be bought in supermarkets or corner shops called depanneurs. People: Canadians are genuinely nice people; friendly and welcoming, fond of the British and very proud of their homeland. It has been said that Canada is a bit boring, but this is really not the case in Quebec. The European influence, particularly that of the French, really livens things up. After Paris, Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world. 69% of its three million people speak French as their mother tongue, 12% speak English and 19% don't speak either. The reality of the situation, however, is that in this tolerant, vibrant, and youthful city most of its inhabitants are functionally bilingual, often trilingual, and so coming here only speaking English is not a problem. Even if you speak perfect French you will be spotted as a visitor as the Quebecois accent is very different. I have lived here for four years and people still start speaking in English to me the minute I say 'Bonjour'. Montrealers love Brits and the shop assistants always want to chat, telling you who in their family is British, and how much they love your accent. There are also large numbers of immigrants from non-English or French cultures and there is no obvious racial tension. I suspect this is because they are not perceived scroungers or benefit seekers but just as new additions to a long line of immigrants, who are here to work hard, learn French and get on with life. Weather: Montreal has four distinct seasons. Winter is long lasting from November until the end of March. It has usually snowed by the middle of December and carries on intermittently until March. January and February are the coldest months with temperatures averaging -10ºC but on the odd day it does fall to -40ºC with the wind chill factor. -10ºC sounds cold but it isn't really provided you have the right clothes. It is a dry cold and so it doesn't penetrate through to your bones as it does in the UK. The children love the snow, which is dry and brushes off easily, and you can always appreciate the beautifully clear blue skies. Spring is very short lasting from April to the end of May, but everything grows extremely quickly and it is delightful to see the grass and flowers pushing through past the residual snow. Summer runs luxuriously through June to September and is hot and often humid. The temperature can reach the mid 30's in July and August and it is truly fantastic. Fall (Autumn) runs from October until mid-November and is beautiful with red, brown and gold colours abounding. It is a great time to travel to Vermont and the Laurentians or anywhere woody and rural. Standard of Living: Everything in Montreal is roughly half the price of that in the UK, from food and clothes to restaurants and housing, and people are not embarrassed to question prices or complain about bad service. Salaries are lower than in the UK but despite this you will still have a much better standard of living in Montreal. Healthcare: The medical system, Medicare, is very similar to the NHS with the same sorts of advantages and disadvantages. Treatment is free on demand and the doctors and nurses are generally very good but the waiting lists are often long. GP's are in short supply and you have to wait for hours in the Emergency Room (casualty). Once you arrive on a work permit or land as an immigrant you need to obtain a Medicare card to get treatment. The private health system in Quebec is very limited. You cannot pay to see a consultant or have tests performed in a public hospital more quickly but you can go to a private clinic for certain tests, particularly if you are an adult. Many health insurance schemes will pay for this. The cost of prescription medicines is borne by the patient or by the private insurance that you will have through your employer. Dental care is high quality but very expensive and not covered at all by Medicare for adults and even for children the provision is limited. Employee insurance schemes cover dental treatment but cover varies from scheme to scheme. As in the UK, adults in Quebec pay for eye check ups and children and those on welfare benefits do not. Medicare does not cover the cost of glasses or contact lenses, however, most insurance schemes cover the costs in part or completely. Glasses and contact lenses are considerably cheaper in Quebec than in the UK. Driving: If you hold a valid British Driving License you can obtain a Quebec license without taking a test. You can drive for a few months on your international license but it is best to get a Quebec license as soon as possible. You can obtain this from the SAAQ (Société de l'Assurance Automobile du Quebec). You are legally required to carry your license with you when driving as well as the insurance and registration documents for the car. The rules regarding drink-driving, the wearing of seat belts, and use of child car seats are similar to those in the UK, i.e do not drink and drive, wear seats belts at all times and make sure your child has the correct car seat for their size and age. It is relatively easy to adjust to driving on the right hand side of the road in Quebec, because the speed limits are lower than in the UK and they are, by and large, obeyed. The general consensus among expats is that drivers in Quebec are not very good. It is not that they are deliberately obstructive or aggressive; they just seem unaware of other cars, not letting you into a lane or out of a side street, pulling out suddenly and rarely indicating. There is 'no fault' insurance in Quebec. That is, if you have an accident your insurance company pays for your damage and the other parties company pays for their damage regardless of who was responsible. Any injury to your person is insured by the SAAQ. Banking: If you are just visiting banking is fine, you can use your UK cashpoint cards in the ATM's which are everywhere, not just in the banks but in cinemas, depanneurs and supermarkets. Of course, UK credit cards are accepted everywhere. The banks are open 10am until 4pm on weekdays only and have very long queues so use the ATM whenever possible. If you are planning to move here for a few years banking is more difficult. Your credit reference in the UK is no good here at all and you basically start from scratch proving your financial worthiness to be given a credit card and overdraft facility. Getting as many store cards as possible is one way to improve your credit rating.
  23. Story Atleast they got caught. Just can't believe this might be the largest one in Canada.
  24. jesseps

    Mirabel raceway

    (Courtesy of The Canadian Press) It be nice. People would not have too drive to Tremblant for a track.