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World poutine-eating contest to be held in Toronto. Yes, that's right. T.O. By Andy Blatchford (CP) – 20 minutes ago MONTREAL — One of Quebec's cultural symbols has been called everything from disgusting, to heart-attack inducing, to delectable. But can the increasingly popular Quebecois dish known as poutine -that messy mix of french fries, sauce and cheese curds -now be considered a gooey source of Canada-wide pride? When a gang of professional "eaters" from the United States and a handful of Canadian amateurs battle for the world poutine-eating championship, it won't go down in Montreal, Quebec City, or anywhere else in la belle province. It will be held in, of all places, Toronto. And due to provincial contest rules, Quebecers hoping to eat their way to the title won't be allowed to even take part. No longer seen as just working-class grub from small-town Quebec, poutine now has fans across Canada and beyond. The concoction has been integrated into haute cuisine and has secured niches under the bright lights of the Big Apple and Los Angeles. "I think it shows that poutine has become a national meal," Charles-Alexandre Theoret, author of the 2007 book "Maudite poutine!" ("Damned poutine!") said of the upcoming all-you-can-eat showdown on May 22 at BMO Field in Toronto. "It was once a Quebec meal, but now it's everywhere." A dozen stars of Major League Eating, a circuit best known for its stomach-turning, rapid-fire hot dog eating contests, will have 10 minutes to wolf down as much poutine as they can. "You must use a fork, so there's going to be certainly some skill involved," said Mike Antolini, a spokesman for the International Federation of Competitive Eating. "It's going to test their capacity, but also their hand speed and technique." The champ wins a modest sum of $750 and bragging rights. Antolini said organizers considered poutine-serving joints in Montreal to serve the fare, but eventually chose Smoke's Poutinerie, a Toronto-based chain. "I know that Montreal maybe feels like poutine is theirs, but we are going to be crowning a champion in Canada, and I think that's the most important thing because poutine certainly is Canadian first and foremost," he said. Of course, that hasn't always been the case. For years, the towns of Warwick and Drummondville have duelled over the true birthplace of poutine, but one thing has never been questioned: it's from Quebec. Warwick claims the dish was invented by local restaurant owner Fernand LaChance in 1957, while Drummondville insists that restaurateur Jean-Paul Roy blended the first poutine in 1964. To help cement its claim, Drummondville started holding an annual poutine festival in 2008. Regardless of its exact origins, poutine has long had a complicated bond with Quebecers, many of whom have looked down their noses at what some have called a culinary abomination. "It's a love-hate relationship, there are younger generations who feel fine with it, and almost make it a cool icon," said Theoret, whose book takes a historical look at poutine. "But older generations didn't grow (up) with it and think that it's low class, low life. They're really ashamed about it." For the poutine-eating contest, three Canadians will be selected through a sweepstakes to join the race. In an ironic twist, Quebec laws don't allow its residents to apply. "I don't argue with lawyers," said Smoke's Poutinerie owner Ryan Smolkin, who has five restaurants and one mobile kitchen in his growing poutine empire. All of them are in Toronto, but he's expanding to other parts of Ontario and plans to eventually open up shops across the country and around the world. The Ottawa native imports cheese curds from Quebec's Eastern Townships and tops his poutines with authentic chicken-based sauce. But he said he's never tried to pretend he's a Quebecer. "I know where the roots are, I know what it's all about and I'm trying to maintain that heritage for sure, and the Quebec influence," said Smolkin, who opened his first restaurant 15 months ago. "I respect and want to take that heritage and culture into my brand and help spread that across the world." With poutine's popularity spreading in the United States, he wanted to make sure the dish was "Canadianized" before an American restaurant tried to claim it. "It's been too isolated to Quebec," he said. "Nobody's just tried to take it big outside Quebec, so I'm trying to do that."
Regarder vers devant nous fait du bien. En voici un premier exemple. Trouvé sur le blog de Marc Gauthier http://www.marcgauthier.com/blog_en/category/architecture/ In January of 2008, the History Channel proposed a contest to architects based in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and San Francisco. The purpose: to imagine what their metropolis might look like in 100 years. They had a week to come up with a concept and three hours to build a scale model. San Francisco firm IwamotoScott Architecture won the $10,000 grand prize for its entry. Their concept buried the network of infrastructures to create more surface for buildings. Furthermore, the city’s energy came from algae fields that generate hydrogen. The site of the tv channel has all the information on the contest. The winning firm posted their images on their Flickr account. http://www.history.com/minisites/cityofthefuture
STM plans to build solar-powered bus shelters Panels could be used to power lighting * and illuminate revenue-producing ads By Monique Beaudin, The GazetteFebruary 2, 2009 Montreal’s public-transit agency is planning to spend $14.4 million to buy 400 new bus shelters – some of which would use solar panels to provide electricity. The new shelters need an energy source to allow the Société de transport de Montréal to use new tools to provide customer service and advertising. In some cases the shelters would be powered by solar energy, in others the shelters would be linked into a local source of electricity. Several other cities – including London, Vancouver and Toronto – already have bus shelters that use solar panels to charge batteries that power their lighting systems. Blainville, north of Mont-real, put up four such shelters in October and plans to replace all its bus shelters with solar-powered ones by 2010, said spokesperson Yves Meunier. Blainville’s plan was to make their bus shelters self-financing, by using revenue generated from selling advertising in the shelters. For that they needed an energy source to illuminate the ads. “People selling advertising want the ads to be visible for a certain number of hours every day, especially during the winter,” Meunier said. Blainville’s bus shelters – which cost about $30,000 each – were designed and built by a local firm, Meunier said. The city will recycle the old shelters by selling them to other municipalities, he added. The STM also expects that by selling ad space in its new shelters they’ll pay for themselves over a 10-year period. While the STM has already tested several different kinds of solar-powered bus shelters, spokesperson Isabelle Tremblay said the agency hasn’t chosen a specific bus shelter model to buy yet. The transit agency is still waiting for the results of a bus-shelter design contest announced by Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay last September. Tremblay called on the city’s designers to come up with new ideas for five things – the Champs de Mars métro station, the eastern wall of the courthouse, bus shelters, taxis and temporary festival furniture. Design Montreal has not yet launched the contest, spokesperson Stéphanie Jecrois said yesterday. The agency is still meeting with its partners to determine how the contest will work, but she said the contest details should be announced with a few weeks. The contest will be held in 2009, she said. Meanwhile, at the STM, Tremblay said the agency will only go to tender for new bus shelters after the Design Montreal contest wraps up. The STM now has 2,977 bus shelters, serving about one-third of its bus stops. It would like to install 100 new bus shelters over the next two years, and 100 more each year from 2011 to 2013. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
There are an article in The Gazette (which I shall put after this post) that speaks about Montreal embracing open data. Also, anybody every been to Ottawa, Quebec? lol How Open Data Initiatives Can Improve City Life by Aliza Sherman Major city governments across North America are looking for ways to share civic data — which normally resides behind secure firewalls — with private developers who can leverage it to serve city residents via web and mobile apps. Cities can spend on average between $20,000 and $50,000 — even as much as $100,000 — to cover the costs of opening data, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider how much is needed to develop a custom application that might not be nearly as useful. Here are a few examples of initiatives that are striving to make city governments more efficient and transparent through open data. 1. Apps4Ottawa – Ottawa, Quebec Careful to adhere to security and privacy regulations for their open data program, the City of Ottawa started sharing data in several areas: geo-spatial (roadways, parks, runways, rivers, and ward boundaries); recreation facilities; event planning; civic elections data; and transit, including schedules. Other data the city is pursuing includes tree inventory, collections schedules for garbage, recycling and compost, and bike and foot paths. Ottawa aligned their first open data contest, Apps4Ottawa, with the school year (September 2010 to January 2011 ) to involve colleges and universities as well as residents and local industry. Categories for the contest included “Having Fun in Ottawa,” “Getting Around,” “Green Environment/Sustainability,” “Community Building,” and “Economic Development.” The winner is scheduled to be announced later this evening. Guy Michaud, chief information officer for the City of Ottawa, said their open data efforts have already spurred economic development and is meant to be good for local entrepreneurs. The city receives no revenue through the apps, and the developers can sell what they create. In turn, Ottawa residents get improved services from applications that are created, with better access to city data and more user-friendly formats and platforms. 2. CivicApps.org – Portland, Oregon After tracking Vivek Kundra’s efforts at the federal level with data.gov, Portland, Oregon launched CivicApps.org, a project initiated out of the mayor’s office to bring a more localized approach to the open data movement. Skip Newberry, economic policy advisor to the mayor, say that the project’s main objective is to improve connections and the flow of information between local government and its constituents, as well as between city bureaus. To call attention to the release of public data, they also launched an app design contest, highlighting the tech talent in Portland’s software community. According to Rick Nixon, program manager for the Bureau of Technology’s Open Data Initiative for the city of Portland, CivicApps.org took a more regional approach to cover the multiple layers of local government: County, Metro, TriMet, and the City of Portland, all of which collect and maintain various kinds of public data. Data sets released include regional crime, transit, infrastructure (i.e. public works), and economic development programs. Additional projects, such as the PDX API, have been launched in order to make the raw data from CivicApps more useful to developers. In addition to developer-specific apps, a number of transit related apps — bike, train, bus, mixed modes — were also developed. A very popular and established transit app, PDXBus, was re-released as open source under the rules of the CivicApps contest. Other popular apps helped provide residents greater awareness of their surroundings such as where to find heritage trees, where to find urban edibles, and where to locate each other during disaster relief efforts. 3. CityWide Data Warehouse – Washington, DC For years, the District of Columbia provided public access to city operational data via the Internet. In keeping with the mayor’s promise to be transparent, the program CityWide Data Warehouse was launched, and provides citizens with access to over 450 datasets from multiple agencies. The first two datasets released were service requests from the mayor’s call center, including trash pickup, pot hole repair, street light repair, snow removal, parking meter issues and crime data. According to David Stirgel, program manager for Citywide Data Warehouse, the project looks for data that be of interest to the widest possible audience and which will remain reusable over time. Some of the applications that have come out of the program include Track DC, which tracks the performance of individual District agencies, and summary reports that provide public access to city operational data. Some of the applications built by companies and individuals using the data include Crime Reports and Every Block. In 2008, the District Mayor’s office, the District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and digital agency iStrategyLabs launched Apps for Democracy, an open code app development contest tapping into District data that cost $50,000 and generated 47 apps. The contest was repeated in 2009. Over 200 ideas and applications were submitted, and the winner was an iPhone and Facebook app called Social DC 311. It could be used to submit service requests, such as reporting potholes and trash problems. An honorable mention was given to FixMyCityDC. Unfortunately, neither app is maintained today. 4. NYC Data Mine – New York, NY NYC BigApps 2.0 is part of an initiative to improve the accessibility, transparency, and accountability of city government. According to Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost, the company and technology powering the NYC BigApps 2.0 Software Challenge, Mayor Bloomberg challenged software developers to use city data from the NYC.gov Data Mine to create apps to improve NYC, offering a $20,000 in cash awards to the winners. The second annual challenge closed its call for submissions at the end of January 2011 and opened the vote to the public. Voting ends on March 9. Requirements included that the software applications be original and solely owned by the entrants, that they use at least one of the datasets from the NYC.gov Data Mine, and be free to the public throughout the competition and for at least one year after the challenge. The panel of judges reads like a “who’s who” of New York tech luminaries, and includes Esther Dyson of EDVenture, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, Jack Dorsey of Square and Twitter, and Kara Swisher of All Things Digital. One of the first year’s winning apps was WayFinder, an augmented reality Android app which allows users to point their phone in a direction and see which subways and Path trains are in front of them. 5. DataSF – San Francisco, California Like other city governments, San Francisco’s goal for their DataSF program was to improve transparency and community engagement as well as accountability. Ron Vinson, director of media for the city’s Department of Technology also stated potential for innovation in how residents interact with government and their community. With an emphasis on adhering to privacy and security policies, the city can stimulate the creation of useful civic tools at no cost to the government. Before launching, they reached out to Washington, DC to identify the most popular datasets, and learned that 20% of the datasets represented over 80% of the downloads. With this information, they went out first with crime, 311, and GIS data. They also allowed the public to request data through a submissions mechanism on the website where others could vote on their suggestions. This input is now required reading for the city administrator thanks to an executive directive and open data legislation. Since launching in August 2009, DataSF has accumulated over 60 applications in its showcase. According to Vinson, the city stays engaged with their tech community by participating in local unconferences and meetups. http://mashable.com/2011/02/15/how-open-data-initiatives-can-improve-city-life/