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  1. https://austinonyourfeet.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/9-things-people-always-say-at-zoning-hearings-illustrated-by-cats/?utm_content=bufferc065f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer AUSTIN ON YOUR FEET 9 THINGS PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY AT ZONING HEARINGS, ILLUSTRATED BY CATS November 23, 2015Dan Keshet If you watch enough zoning hearings, the testimony begins to sound pretty repetitive. That novel argument you’re making? The Council members have heard it a million times before. Here are 9 of the things we hear most often at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats. 1. I’M NOT OPPOSED TO ALL DEVELOPMENT. JUST THIS DEVELOPMENT. Those 1,000 times you sat on your couch to support developments far away from you surely counterbalance that one time you came out to oppose your neighbor’s development. If you’re opposed, just tell us why; don’t go on about how you’re not a person that opposes things. 2. NOBODY TALKED TO ME! The city notifies neighbors and registered civic organizations about upcoming permits. Developers seek out people they think might be affected. But it’s hard to know who is going to care and notifications are often thrown out. Don’t feel left out! If you’re at the hearing, you’re being heard. Just say what’s on your mind. 3. REALITY IS, EVERYBODY DRIVES A CAR. Usually said while proposing somebody build more parking. If you want that reality to ever change, you have to accept building less car infrastructure. 4. THESE GREEDY DEVELOPERS ONLY THINK ABOUT PROFITS Land development is a business. Like all businesses, sometimes you make money and sometimes you lose money. You just try to make sure that you make enough money on the winners to cancel out the losers. Focusing in on the fact that the developer is hoping to make money makes your testimony sound more like you oppose out of spite than a particular reason. 5. LET ME TELL YOU MY THEORY OF ECONOMICS If council members haven’t learned economics by now, they’re not going to learn it from your three minute testimony. 6.WHAT THIS NEIGHBORHOOD REALLY NEEDS IS A COFFEE SHOP, NOT MORE APARTMENTS For all the mean things people sometimes say about developers, a lot of folks seem to fashion themselves amateur land developers, with a keen eye on exactly what types of businesses will succeed or fail. As it turns out, those things coincide perfectly with the things they personally enjoy. 7. I’M 5TH GENERATION! MY GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER MOVED HERE BEFORE THIS WAS EVEN ON THE MAP! That entitles you to one vote, just like everybody else. Now tell us what you came up here to say. 8. WE NEED TO RESPECT THE HUNDREDS OF HOURS SPENT CRAFTING THIS NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN Respecting people for volunteering time making plans doesn’t mean those plans should never change. Now tell us your reasons for or against this particular change. 9. THIS HOUSING IS TOO SMALL FOR ME! Different people have different needs and desires! Just because you don’t like a particular thing doesn’t mean nobody would like it. sent via Tapatalk
  2. http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/good-architecture-pays-french-expert <header class="entry-header" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 15px; line-height: 24px; font-family: BentonSans-Regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">The good, the bad and the ugly: French expert assesses Montreal architecture MARIAN SCOTT, MONTREAL GAZETTE More from Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette Published on: April 13, 2016 | Last Updated: April 13, 2016 7:00 AM EDT </header><figure class="align-none wp-caption post-img" id="post-783124media-783124" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="http://wpmedia.montrealgazette.com/2016/04/montreal-que-april-6-2016-emmanuel-caille-is-an-edito.jpeg?quality=55&strip=all&w=840&h=630&crop=1" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text" itemprop="description" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Emmanuel Calle, editor of the French architecture magazine "d'a", at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Caille shared his thoughts on Montreal's architecture. MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER </figcaption></figure>SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT What would an international expert think of Montreal’s recent architecture? To find out, the Montreal Gazette took French architecture critic Emmanuel Caille on a walking tour of downtown and Griffintown. He also visited the $52.6-million indoor soccer stadium that opened last year in the St-Michel district. Caille, the editor of the Paris-based architecture magazine “d’a”, was in town to take part in a panel discussion last week on architectural criticism, organized by the Maison de l’architecture du Québec and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Caille’s verdict on our fair city ranged from a thumbs-up for the pricey new soccer stadium to shocked incredulity over a new hotel annex to the Mount Stephen Club, a historic mansion at 1440 Drummond St. <figure id="attachment_783141" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 1000px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> The Mount Stephen Club. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>Built from 1880-83 for Lord Mount Stephen, the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, it has been in the news recently after suffering structural damage during construction of the annex. Caille, an architect as well as an editor, did not comment on the structural problems, but he did give a visual assessment of the hotel addition, an 11-storey cement-panel structure tucked behind the mansion. “It’s quite brutal in the city,” he said. From de Maisonneuve Blvd., the hotel addition presents a view of three blank walls with a shed-style roof. “It’s astonishing. It’s bizarre,” he said. Caille was also perplexed by the front façade, dotted with small windows of different sizes. “What is not obvious is what relationship there is between this building and the mansion. I don’t see any,” he added. The hotel addition shows why projects should not be conceived in isolation, Caille said. City planners should have put forward a vision for the entire block, which includes an outdoor parking lot on de la Montagne St. that would have made a better site for a high rise, he said. Interesting alleyways and outdoor spaces could have been included, he said. “Everybody is turning their back to one another,” he said of how the different properties on the block don’t relate to each other. At the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Sherbrooke St., Caille said a glass condo addition completed in 2013 is a good example of how to update a historic building for modern use. But he criticized white PVC windows on the hotel’s Sherbrooke St. façade for their thick frames and mullions, which don’t suit the building. “That’s horrible,” he said. “Windows are the eyes of a building. When women use an eye pencil to emphasize their eyes, it changes everything.” <figure id="attachment_783158" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 997px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Construction workers work on the District Griffin condo project in Griffintown. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>In Griffintown, Caille was unimpressed by the banal architecture of condo towers that have sprouted in recent years in the former industrial district, which is undergoing rapid transformation. But the former Dow Planetarium at 1000 St-Jacques St. W. caught his eye. Built in 1966, it closed in 2011. The city turned it over to the Université du Québec’s École de technologie supérieure in 2013. ÉTS announced it would transform the building into a “creativity hub” but so far the building has sat vacant. Caille said the domed landmark has great potential to be recycled for a new vocation. “When a building is dirty and dilapidated, people don’t see its beauty. You have to see the beauty underneath the neglect,” he said. Today there is a consensus that older heritage buildings should be preserved but it’s still difficult to rally public opinion behind buildings from more recent eras, like the 1960s, Caille said. <figure id="attachment_783147" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 1000px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> The 26-storey Deloitte Tower between Windsor Station and the Bell Centre. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>The Deloitte Tower, a new 26-storey glass office tower between the Bell Centre and Windsor Station, is nothing to write home about, in Caille’s opinion. “It’s developer architecture,” he said. “There’s nothing interesting about it.” Built by developer Cadillac Fairview, it is part of the $2-billion, nine-tower Quad Windsor project. That includes the 50-storey Tour des Canadiens, which will be Montreal’s tallest condo tower for about a year, until the even taller nearby L’Avenue tower is completed. Most people don’t notice the difference between good and bad architecture when a building is new, Caille said. But over time, the defects of bad buildings grow increasingly obvious, while the good ones become beloved monuments, he said. “People go to New York to see the architecture of the 1920s and 30s,” he said, referring to landmarks like the 1931 Empire State Building and 1928 Chrysler Building. “Good architecture always pays off in the long term.” Unfortunately, much development is driven by short-term considerations, he said. While a developer can walk away from a mediocre building once it’s sold, city-dwellers are stuck with it, he said. “For him, it’s no problem. But for the city, it’s a tragedy,” he said. “Today’s architecture is tomorrow’s heritage,” he noted. Caille is a strong proponent of architectural competitions, which he sees as a way to seek out the best talents and ideas. “It forces people to think and it shows that for every problem, there are many solutions. It’s a way of accessing brainpower,” he said. <figure id="attachment_783196" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 1000px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Kids arrive at the the new soccer complex at the Complexe environnemental St-Michel. PHIL CARPENTER /MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>The St-Michel soccer stadium has been criticized for its high price tag but Caille hailed it as an example of excellent design. The ecological building designed by Saucier & Perrotte has three glass walls overlooking a park in the St-Michel environmental complex. Caille said the stadium could be a catalyst for improvements in the hardscrabble north-end neighbourhood. During Tuesday’s panel discussion, Paul Goldberger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former architecture critic for the New York Times and the New Yorker, said that unlike other types of journalists, architectural critics rarely have an immediate impact on public opinion. “Architectural criticism must take a very long view,” he said. “One learns to think of one’s influence as more gradual, as shifting tastes and judgment over time.” Goldberger, author of books including Why Architecture Matters, published in 2009, has written that the critic’s job is not to push for a particular architectural style, but rather to advocate for the best work possible. He said the time in his career when architectural criticism enjoyed greatest prominence was following Sept. 11, 2001, during discussions over the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. “It was a time when architectural criticism really was, I think, front and centre in the public discourse,” he said. “There it was so clear that an issue of architecture was intimately connected to significant world affairs and one did not have to struggle to help people understand the connection between architecture and the rest of the world,” said Goldberger, who now writes for Vanity Fair and teaches at The New School in New York. In a 2011 review of the new World Trade Center for the New Yorker, Goldberger said the design by architect Daniel Libeskind “struck a careful balance between commemorating the lives lost and reestablishing the life of the site itself.” The panel discussion followed the awarding of two $1,000 prizes to young writers for architectural writing on the topic of libraries. The winning entries by Marie-Pier Bourret-Lafleur and Kristen Smith will be published respectively in Argus and Canadian Architect magazines. [email protected] Twitter.com/JMarianScott
  3. Read more: http://sports.nationalpost.com/2010/09/10/with-leafs-its-never-too-early-to-brainwash/#ixzz0zBLVTio4
  4. Cirque du Gourmet Montréal’s Jean Talon Farmers’ Market is a feast for the eyes, too By Matt Scanlon You can’t beat the people-watching at Café Italia on Boulevard St. Laurent in Montréal. From the coffeehouse’s small sidewalk tables, an observer can take in the city’s swirling blend of color and culture: a Rasta-capped dad pushing a tandem stroller; a reed-thin, ghost-pale city girl; a man-sandaled Red Sox fan, presumably from the States; a fiftysomething Asian woman in a sky-blue business suit. One thing unifies this disparate urban crowd: loot from the Marché Jean Talon. Grasping sacks filled with guava, pineapples, wedges of cheese and the requisite torpedoes of French bread, the shoppers spill out of one of the best open-air farmers’ markets in the city . . . some say the continent. To those who’ve fallen prey to the Jean Talon addiction, the place is much more than an opportunity for bag filling. Since its opening in 1933, the market has been an impromptu park: part “Where am I?” landmark for tourists, part political forum and part all-day hang-out for everyone from skateboard kids to fashionistas. Think of a circus with much better food . . . and no clowns. Situated between avenues Casgrain and Henri-Julien, closest to the Jean Talon metro stop, the Marché Jean Talon is one of only two large farmers’ markets in Montréal — the other is Atwater in the Westmount neighborhood. However, many locals feel Jean Talon represents a more faithful adherence to the “buy local, sell local” motto. Its 300-odd stalls — shaded from the sun by a roof without walls, train-station-style — overflow with cheese, meat, produce of virtually every shape and description, freshly cut flowers, fish just plucked from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Québec crafts such as hand-woven hats and rugs. The outside edges of the market hold restaurants, larger food stores and a raft of cafés. Though the market resides on the northwestern edge of Little Italy, the neighborhood vibe is more Gallic than Latin, and the happiest customers are those who can at least introduce their inability to speak French . . . in French. Stylish epicurians are quick to note that the Atwater market, with its tonier locale, has more cachet these days, and for people less eager to immerse themselves in Québécois culture, its largely Anglophone location is certainly American-friendly. But that’s just the point: When we go to Montréal, it’s because we want to get away. And Jean Talon has plenty of exotic tastes, including Québec favorites such as Rougemont and Mont-Sainte-Hilaire apples, lamb and pork from the Rigaud hills, and chèvre and Pied-de-Vent cheeses. Open year-round, a market of this size naturally has its share of imports, too. You can grab a Florida orange for nostalgia’s sake, but really. Fromage fans in particular have good reason to make the journey to Jean Talon. Though we have plenty of fine unpasteurized cheeses in Vermont, the market is a prime place to sample Québec’s offerings. Purists believe heat kills much of the earthy texture and place-presence (or terroir) of cheese, and after a hockey-puck-sized serving of a goat’s milk variety called “Tome,” it’s difficult to argue the point. Grassy, sharp and with a white-wine-like finish, it’s a revelation. Such bliss comes with a side order of caution; unpasteurized milk is more prone to have listeriosis and E. coli passengers on board, and pregnant woman should abstain. Though there are at least a dozen great places to buy, Fromagerie Qui Lait Cru — a nifty pun that means both “raw milk” and “Who would’ve believed?” — has a particularly garrulous staff when it comes to answering questions. There are few better examples of Jean Talon’s emphasis on local flavor than Porc Meilleur. Supplied by a family-run farm of the same name in the Maskoutan region, its hormone- and antibiotic-free meat comes from pigs that are fed a combination of grains, yogurt and milk — the proportions are a house secret — and the results are the stuff of local legend. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to come from as far as Ottawa for the bacon, and a shortage of chops can be cause for a near-riot. If veal is your thing, Veau de Charlevoix, just a stone’s throw from Porc Meilleur, is just as passionate about animal raising and quality. Les Délices de la Mer has the unofficial designation of the go-to place for fresh fish in the market. You’ll know it by the number of people standing nearby eating fried fillets out of paper wrappers, eyes turned heavenward in appreciation. Les Délices sells and cooks what’s in season, of course, and at the moment turbot is in abundance. A relative of the flounder, this 10- to 30-pound bottom dweller is prized for delicate (if firm) flesh and a decidedly non-fishy flavor. More than anything else, though, what you see in the market is produce, and again, as long as the harvest lasts, local fruits and vegetables are the stars of the show. For sheer scale and diversity, start with Sami Fruit, just off the market on Rue Jean Talon South. Portage potatoes look appreciably different from their Idaho cousins, while Reliance peaches and Nova Scotia grapes put many in the States to shame. Though these staples of Jean Talon anchor the day, the best part of the market is the unexpected. One day an intrepid shopper might find a small stall offering fresh lobster; the next, a display of crayfish; the next, kosher pickles manufactured by the remnants of the area’s once-sizeable Jewish community. Each visit is different, and as you dip your baguette into a jar of brandied strawberry puree over the low notes of a Mexican guitarron, suddenly the ennui of the border crossing seems worth it. Fruit Flight What’s the point of filling your bags with the wonders of Québec if they end up in the hands of customs agents? Crossing the border is nervewracking enough without worrying about the rules regarding the legal importation of Canadian goods, and the trouble is that these regulations change constantly. With every new potato worm, fruit fly or blight, products that were acceptable yesterday become illegal today. Generally, though, things play out like this: Prepared items such as jam, jelly, sauce, olive oil, mustard, honey, wine and vinegar are permissible, with the very strict exception of anything containing meat. Importing a meat product of any kind is forbidden. For the sake of your stomach, and because it generally falls under the meat heading, leave the fish on your plate, too. The rules are a bit more relaxed regarding Canadian fruit and vegetable importation than with flora of Mexico, Central America or Europe. As long as your plunder is not exotic (eat the last of that pineapple before you leave) and/or bears a “grown in Québec” label either on the fruit or on the bag, you’ll most likely be OK. To be safe, don’t mingle different types of fruit in one bag. Hard cheeses, even those containing raw milk, are generally allowed, but no soft varieties — sorry, Brie lovers. Be further advised, though, that any customs agent can decide for any reason that an item is inadmissible or exceeds the maddeningly vague “reasonable amount” rule. Don’t press your luck by proclaiming your rights — you really don’t have any when it comes to this stuff — or doing your Alan Shore impersonation from “Boston Legal.” Smile, surrender the olives, and move on.
  5. Montreal does it. Why can’t we? TheChronicalHerald.ca SILVER DONALD CAMERON Sun. Feb 8 - 8:20 AM Pedestrians shelter from the weather in one of downtown Halifax’s pedways. (Staff) ‘THE GUY never went outside at all," said my friend. "Not for a month or maybe two months. The story was in one of the papers here. He went to the theatre, shopped for food and clothing, did his banking, ate out, all kinds of stuff. He even went to Toronto and New York — and he never went outdoors." "He went to New York without going outdoors?" "He went by train. The Gare Central is underground, right under your hotel. " We were in Montreal, strolling along the underground passageways which are said to constitute the second-largest underground city in the world, after Moscow. I had been working in Montreal for a week. I was staying at Le Reine Elizabeth, on the Boulevard Rene Levesque, and most of my meetings were on Sherbrooke Ouest, 20 minutes’ walk away. The streets were choked with snow and lethally slick with ice — but I wore just a sweater as I walked past coffee shops, jewellers and haberdashers in perfect comfort. It occurred to me that the underground network made Montreal a safer city than any other in Canada, particularly for senior citizens. Walking outdoors in the winter is a hazardous activity for seniors. Every year, hundreds fall and break their arms and legs and hips — a significant factor in the Orange Alert at the Halifax Infirmary ER last month. Old bones don’t knit quickly, and many never really recover. The danger was brought home to me a year ago, when I suddenly found myself lying on the ice beside my car. I had taken my key out, and I was about to unlock the door — and then I was on my patootie. I don’t remember slipping or falling. It was like a jump-cut in a film. One moment I was up, the next I was down. A few bruises aside, I was none the worse for the experience — but it got my attention. Young seniors — from 60 to 80, say — often sidestep this problem by going south. You find them all over the southern U.S., Mexico and the islands, robust and happy, sailing and golfing and swimming. But after 80, snowbirding loses its appeal. At 85 or 90, people don’t feel much like travelling, and don’t travel as comfortably. They’d rather stay home, close to friends and family and doctors. And that puts them most at risk from winter conditions at precisely the point when they’re least able to deal with such challenges. In Montreal, they’re fine. Their apartment buildings connect to the Métro, and the Métro takes them to the under-cover city downtown. They really don’t have to emerge until spring. So at 80, should I live in Montreal? Why not downtown Halifax? The city already has the beginnings of a covered downtown, with pedways and tunnels running from the Prince George Hotel to the waterfront casino, and branching into apartment buildings and office towers. We don’t have to burrow underground. We can just extend the pedway system to link the whole downtown, from Cogswell to the Via station. A large part of Calgary’s downtown is connected that way. In Montreal, I noticed, some of the covered space was captured simply by putting a roof over the space between existing buildings. What was once a back alley becomes a connecting courtyard with a Starbucks coffee shop. In other places, a short tunnel between buildings converts two musty basements into prime retail space. Halifax probably has a score of locations where connections like that would work. And, although a Métro doesn’t seem very practical in rock-ribbed Halifax, we could bring back the downtown streetcars, looping down Barrington and up Water Street, with stations right inside such major buildings as Scotia Square and the Westin. Alternatively, could we use a light elevated rail system like the one that connects the terminals at JFK Airport. I’m no planner, and these notions may be unworkable. Fine: let’s hear better ones. The point is that we’re about to have a tsunami of seniors, and it would be good for them — and for everyone else, too — if we made it possible to live a safe and active life in the middle of the city all year round. We know it can be done. Vive le Montreal! END --------------------------------------------- Funny how the article seems to imply all buildings are interlinked together in one giant underground maze, which is not the case at all. In fact we all know not too many apartment buildings are in fact linked to our underground city. Funny stuff from an outsider nonetheless.
  6. via The Gazette : The Restaurant Scene in Montreal : Boom Equals Bust Lesley Chesterman Montreal Gazette Published on: November 21, 2014 Last Updated: November 21, 2014 9:14 AM EST Le Paris-Beurre is an excellent neighbourhood bistro that Outremont residents are lucky to have called their own for more than thirty years. The braised leeks with curry vinaigrette, the goat’s cheese salad, the famous gratin dauphinois and côte de boeuf for two, plus the best crème brûlée in town, make this restaurant a sure bet. Yes, the wine list has been on the predictable side for a decade too many and maybe the soup has a tendency to be a little watery, but the terrasse is divine and the dining room offers the ideal out-of-a-Truffaut-film bistro setting. If Le Paris-Beurre were located in Paris, it would be frequented by both locals and tourists looking for that fantasy French bistro. In Montreal, Le Paris-Beurre has relied on locals to fill its 65 seats. And increasingly, those locals are often grey-haired, owner Hubert Streicher said in a recent interview. Now after 30 years in business, Le Paris-Beurre will be serving its last bavette and duck confit on Dec. 23. Streicher still hopes the restaurant will be sold, yet he’s not holding his breath. “Our sales fell over the last three years,” he said. “We have a very loyal customer base, but those customers are aging. And younger customers are now heading to bistros on Avenue Bernard.” Normally, the closing of this Montreal institution would come as a surprise, but considering the number of iconic Montreal restaurants that have shuttered this year – big players including Le Continental, the Beaver Club, Globe, Le Latini and Magnan’s Tavern – Le Paris-Beurre is just another establishment to give up on the increasingly volatile Montreal restaurant scene. Driving around the former popular restaurant neighbourhoods of our city, and seeing locale after locale with rent signs in the windows, it’s obvious the restaurant industry is hurting. It’s one thing when the bad restaurants close. A regular purging of the worst or the dated is to be expected. But now the good restaurants are hurting as well. There are too many restaurants in Montreal and not enough customers” – Restaurant owner Sylvie Lachance Upon closing, restaurants like Magnan’s Tavern and Globe issued press releases that raised many of the same issues: road work, tax measures, staff shortages, skyrocketing food costs, parking woes, the increasing popularity of suburban restaurants and changing tastes. Add to that list a shrinking upscale tourist clientele, and there are sure to be more closings on the horizon. People have less cash to spend and more restaurants to choose from. Competition is fierce. Tourism Montreal notes that ours is the city with the largest number of restaurants per capita in all of North America. According to François Meunier of the Association des Restaurateurs du Québec, the number of new restaurants with table service increased by 31 per cent from 2005 to 2012 in Montreal. Yet people are spending less. “Sales are down 4.2 per cent in full-service restaurants from last year,” Meunier said. “People don’t have money to spend. We don’t always like to admit it, but Quebec is a poor province.” There’s a definite shift taking place on the Montreal restaurant scene and for many restaurateurs, the obstacles are looking insurmountable. Up the street from Le Paris-Beurre is the restaurant Van Horne. Owner Sylvie Lachance was so discouraged by how the restaurant scene is evolving that she sent an open letter outlining her exasperation to various media outlets last May. “There are too many restaurants in Montreal and not enough customers,” her letter began, before outlining several trends she believed were holding her back from garnering the attention she deserved. Of her chef, Jens Ruoff, she wrote: “(He) is not a hipster, has no tattoos on his arms and does not serve homemade sausage on wood planks.” Of Van Horne’s marketing approach, she said: “We do not have cookbooks for sale, nor a sugar shack, much less a television show. We do not personally know Anthony Bourdain or René Redzepi.” She closed with the final thought: “We are not dying at Van Horne but it is unfortunate, given all the hard work we do, to be forgotten so often.” Now, six months later, Lachance is still discouraged. “Are there too many restaurants in Montreal? Yes!” she said without hesitation. “Everyone is looking for staff. It has become the biggest problem. I have young chefs here who say, ‘I could go to you, Toqué! or Boulud.’ They can go anywhere. And I also see restaurants that open up that are constantly looking for chefs, waiters, bus boys. They don’t even staff their restaurants properly before opening. And as for chefs, they have to be everything these days: creative, good at marketing, eager to meet with suppliers, manage employees, calculate food cost. Good luck finding one who can do all that.” Across town, Carlos Ferreira is facing many of the same concerns at his famous Peel St. restaurant, Ferreira Café. The restaurant’s lunch scene draws the elite downtown crowd. Dinner is equally popular. Now going on 18 years in business, Ferreira should be leaning back, counting the profits, happy with his multi-restaurant empire. Not quite. “Montreal has become a restaurant city focused on fashions and trends,” he said between bites of grilled octopus at lunchtime recently. “New restaurants invest a lot in decor and ambience. In the past, the food in trendy restaurants like Prima Donna and Mediterraneo was very good. But today, it’s not serious. The ambience is exaggerated, the markups on alcohol too. A lot of those restaurants took their clients for granted and now they’re all closed. And today there is this new Griffintown phenomenon. If you don’t go to eat there, you are a loser!” When asked if he thinks there are too many restaurants in Montreal, Ferreira nodded. The problem, he said, is a lack of direction. “We’re losing sight of what a restaurant should be,” Ferreira said. “People are opening restaurants without knowing the business.” Ferreira does know the business – he’s been drawing in customers to enjoy his modern Portuguese food coming up on 20 years. Next year, though, he will be re-evaluating his entire business. “In 2013, we served 1,800 fewer customers,” he said. One of the problems now is that with the ongoing erosion of the high-end restaurant genre and the increasing popularity of casual dining, the middle ground is getting crowded. To Ferreira, restaurants can be divided into four categories: high-end (gastronomic), casual (bistros), cafés and fast-food. “The high-end restaurant is condemned,” he said, matter-of-factly. “They are too expensive and people say they’re very good but … boring. And if people go into a half-full restaurant, they don’t want to return.” Another highly successful Montreal restaurant, Moishes, celebrated its 75th anniversary this year but has faced its share of challenges. Yet owner Lenny Lighter is not willing to blame the lack of business on the booming number of new restaurants. “Competition always makes me nervous,” Lighter said. “And not just another steakhouse but anyone in my price category. But where is that ‘too many restaurants’ statement going? We live in a free society. Anyone can open a business. It’s not for us to tell people what to do. You know what’s not good? Not enough restaurants. The more choices people have, the more interesting the game gets for everyone.” To Lighter, there’s too much going on in Montreal lately to curtail entrepreneurial spirit. Young people willing to raise the capital and take the risk should do it, he said. “Some will close, there will be heartbreaks. But the ones that survive might just be the next big thing. We never know what the next Joe Beef will be or who the next Costas Spiliadis will be. Only the strong will survive. Competition is good. It raises the stakes.” And yet the hurdles in the game may also make for an uneven playing field. Next August, Ferreira will face a lengthy construction period on Peel St. and the makeover of Ste-Catherine St., both of which he is dreading. “I understand it has to be done,” he said. “But it must be done intelligently, so that there is still access to businesses.” The fear of being barricaded by a construction site is a prime concern for many a restaurateur. Even at arguably the city’s most popular restaurant right now, Joe Beef, construction worries loom large. “If the city ripped up the street in front of me here for three weeks,” said co-owner David McMillan, “I’d go under.” At Thai Grill on the corner of St-Laurent Blvd. and Laurier Ave., owner Nicolas Scalera watched his business come to a halt when the sidewalks were widened. For four months, the entrance to his restaurant was accessible only by a small plank set over a mud pit. Construction, estimated to last a month, started in August yet only finished in early November. Scalera said customers not only petered out, many called to see if he was closed. “I paid $68,000 in taxes to the city last year. It would have been nice to see a break during construction.” “I’ve been here for 17 years. I have some rights as well. But they don’t care,” Scalera said. “I had (city councillor) Alex Norris (for the Jeanne-Mance district) tell me right to my face that they don’t want people coming in from other areas or Laval to eat in restaurants in this area. He told me the Plateau is for the Plateau residents. I’d like the city to promote our restaurants instead of doing nothing to help us. Instead, I’ve seen a major decline in business. I will never open anything or invest in the Plateau again. It’s too risky. You could lose everything.” Norris, the city councillor in question, disagrees. “The Plateau gets hundreds of thousands visiting our streets,” he said. “We encourage people from all over the city to frequent our businesses. It’s a densely populated neighbourhood, so we’ve had to manage the relationship between commercial endeavours and residents. To suggest we don’t want people to visit our neighbourhood is absurd.” Inflated taxes didn’t help Le Paris-Beurre’s Streicher in Outremont, either. “I was charged $2,500 in taxes (this year) for my terrasse alone, and my terrasse is part of my restaurant, in the back courtyard, not on the street.” Van Horne’s Lachance is also disheartened by the lack of interest from the people who collect her tax dollars. “In Outremont where I am,” she said, “not one elected municipal representative has been to my restaurant. They go to the cheap restaurant down the street. I’ve served Tony Accurso, but I’ve never had any mayor or elected official in my restaurant. There is a lack of appreciation for our restaurant scene. People don’t talk about what show they went to anymore, but what restaurant they ate at. Restaurants are part of our culture now.” When asked if he frequents restaurants in his neighbourhood, Norris could name only one, L’Express. “There are others,” he said. “I’ll have to get back to you.” We’re losing sight of what a restaurant should be.” – Carlos Ferreira Even at the internationally acclaimed Joe Beef, Montreal officials have been scarce. “I’ve served three former prime ministers,” McMillan said. “The governor of Vermont has eaten at my restaurant four times, but not one Montreal mayor or one municipal councillor from my area has eaten at Joe Beef. The last five times I ate in restaurants in New York, three of the times I saw the mayor eating there, too.” “I have taken note of the comments, and I am pleased to see that the people at Joe Beef’s want to see more of me,” Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said via email on Thursday. “I was happy to see them recently at the Corona Theatre, where they catered an event celebrating David Suzuki. Unfortunately, the last time I was near Joe Beef’s restaurant, I was in a hurry and went to eat at Dilallo Burger.” “The city doesn’t understand how important the restaurants are in Montreal,” Ferreira said. Lighter is less dismissive, though he does see a lack of interest from above. “They’re not understanding the risk people take,” Lighter said. “There are payroll taxes, property taxes, operating taxes, school taxes. Government should be supporting you, not always policing you. And ultimately, with more sales, they get more taxes. Good business is profitable for them, too.” Despite the many factors hindering business, Montreal restaurateurs are not blaming customers. Client fidelity is at an all-time low, they say, yet they understand the desire to go out and eat around. “Montrealers follow the buzz,” Lachance said, “but they come back.” And yet there is one clientele all restaurateurs would like to see more of: tourists. “There is gigantic work to be done,” Ferreira said. “The summer of 2014 was the worst summer for tourists. Tourism Montreal says it was a record year, but they are drawing in the cheap tourists. These people aren’t spending.” Ferreira would like to see the city attract high-end conventions and tourists with money to spend by focusing more on the luxury market. “But no one will talk about that,” he said, discouraged. Pierre Bellerose, vice-president of Tourism Montreal, agrees the restaurant scene is hurting but with about 6,500 restaurants in the city, that’s to be expected. “We have more restaurants per capita than New York,” he said. “But we’re a poor city. Many close, many open. It’s a lot to ask the population to support the industry.” According to Bellerose, tourism is up 50 per cent from 20 years ago, and drawing visitors to the restaurant scene is one of the agency’s priorities. Bellerose said: “There is a good buzz about Montreal. It’s estimated that between 20 to 25 per cent of the clientele at high-end restaurants are tourists. There’s a lot of interest in food. But that interest varies. Some people just want smoked meat and poutine. And tourists are mostly circulating in the central areas of the city. We can’t follow them around and tell them where to go.” McMillan thinks Tourism Montreal could find better ways to promote our restaurant scene. “Tourism Maine and Tourism New York follow me on social media, but not Tourism Montreal,” he said. “And they keep paying for these bloggers to come in and discover the city. Instead, why not send some of us chefs out to promote Montreal restaurants abroad at food festivals or even in embassies? I’ve never been asked to promote my city or cook in an embassy – and if asked, I would do it.” And there is plenty here to promote. The New York-based website Eater.com recently dropped both their Toronto and Vancouver pages yet held on to their popular Montreal site. Though low on the high-end restaurant count, Montreal has an impressive number of chef-driven restaurants, with an increasing number of them drawing international attention to our scene. Plus, Montreal remains a far more affordable restaurant city than the likes of Paris, London or even Toronto – although the down side of being an affordable dining destination means less money in restaurant owners’ pockets (the ARQ estimates profits at a paltry 2.6 per cent). “We should be a premier destination,” Lighter said. “We have a unique culture, a great reputation. But Montreal has suffered economically. We’re highly taxed. There’s not a lot of disposable income and it’s expensive to eat out. I sense there is a certain defensiveness restaurateurs have with customers, but we have to learn from customers, too. We always have to have our eyes and ears open, ready to adjust.” Restaurants in Montreal: 6,500 People per restaurant in Montreal: 373 People per restaurant in New York City: 457 Increase in the number of new restaurants in Montreal from 2005 to 2012: 31 per cent Decline in sales at full-service restaurants in 2013: 4.2 per cent Sales at high-end Montreal restaurants from the tourism industry: 20 per cent End-of-year profit margin on all sales for Montreal full-service restaurants: 2.6 per cent Restaurants closing this year : Le Paris-Beurre : The bistro on Van Horne Ave. in Outremont will close on Dec. 23 Le Continental : Closed in May Le Latini : Closed in September Beaver Club : Closed in March Magnan Tavern : Will close on Dec. 21 Globe : Closed in September
  7. Ooh La La Kelly Ripa finds romance in Montreal. By Joseph Guinto. Photograph by Robert Ascroft. Kelly Ripa has talked to every single living celebrity in America. Twice. Maybe even more. I have not verified this fact, per se, but she’s served alongside TV legend Regis Philbin for almost seven years as cohost of Live with Regis and Kelly, so it must be true. Or close to it. And yet, Ripa — plenty famous in her own right, known for acting on All My Children and in sitcoms as well as for playing the role of TV talker — is still genuinely interested in the vaporing of the vainglorious, the gabbing of the glitterati. You know, the stuff that famous people talk about. She Said… Here’s where Kelly Ripa parle français in Montreal. LODGING Hôtel le St-James, very expensive, (514) 841-3111, http://www.hotellestjames.com Hotel St-Paul, expensive, (514) 380-2222, http://www.hotelstpaul.com DINING Eggspectation, inexpensive, (514) 282-0119, http://www.eggspectation.ca Ferreira Café, moderate to expensive, (514) 848-0988, http://www.ferreiracafe.com Olive & Gourmando, inexpensive to moderate, (514) 350-1083, http://www.oliveetgourmando.com NIGHTLIFE Vauvert, expensive, (514) 876-2823, http://www.restaurantvauvert.com THINGS TO SEE AND TO DO IN *MONTREAL Formula One Grand Prix du Canada, http://www.formula1.com Just for Laughs Comedy Tour, (514) 845-2322, http://www.justforlaughs.ca Montreal International Jazz Festival, (514) 871-1881, http://www.montrealjazzfest.com Old Montreal, http://www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca Spa Diva, (514) 985-9859, http://www.spadiva.ca SHOPPING Les Cours Mont-Royal, (514) 842-7777, http://www.lcmr.ca “I’m a pop-culture junkie,” she says from her office inside ABC’s Manhattan headquarters, where Live is produced. “I never get tired of it. There’s always something they haven’t revealed, something that you’ve never heard anywhere else. I really find it fascinating.” Then again, not everything the famous and rich say and do is fascinating. And, to be sure, some things are simply better left unrevealed. To wit, do you really want to know that Britney Spears had a number-three value meal with a Coke at McDonald’s last night? Probably not. But many of us — or at least I — still manage to obtain this type of knowledge on a daily basis. It would be wrong to blame Ripa for that. She’s certainly never grabbed a camera and followed a pop star to a fast-food restaurant. (I have not verified this fact, per se, though surely it is true.) But Ripa, 37, does regularly open her own life to the other pop-culture junkies in the world, right down to discussing what she had for dinner last night. Each weekday morning on Live, she and Philbin, 76, engage in 20 minutes of remarkably unscripted banter that touches on everything from their noshing habits to the day’s news (well, celebrity news, anyway) to where babies come from — specifically, where Ripa’s babies come from, in at least one case. I had somehow forgotten about this when Ripa and I recently chatted. We were talking about Montreal, her favorite romantic getaway and a place that she and her husband, fellow All My Children alum Mark Consuelos, visit nearly every year sans the kids (Michael, 10; Lola, 6; and Joaquin, 4). But then, exactly 10 minutes and 34 seconds into our conversation, Ripa reminds me that she keeps few secrets from the public. “One of our children was conceived in Montreal, actually,” she says, quite unprompted. “Mark and I went for our anniversary one year, and Joaquin was our souvenir.” This is one of those things that we — okay, maybe it’s just me — actually don’t want to know. Or maybe it’s just something that we — or again, maybe it’s just me — don’t know how to react to. Regis would likely come up with something witty or wacky to say in reply. The best I can do is, “Oh, so Joaquin came right out speaking French, eh?” I am no Regis. Thankfully, since Ripa talks for a living, she bails me out. “That’s why we gave Joaquin the exotic name,” she says. “I was going to name him Jean Pierre. But I thought that was too much. Jean Pierre Consuelos doesn’t really go together.” Jean Pierre. It’s probably just a joke. But still, I hadn’t heard that before. It’s funny — and, sure, fascinating. You know what else is fascinating? Montreal. Especially Kelly Ripa’s Montreal. Here are the things you do want to know about. We Said… Here’s where we allons in Montreal. LODGING Novotel Montréal Centre, moderate, (514) 861-6000, http://www.novotelmontreal.com. The Canadian dollar is no longer a bargain, but the Novotel still is. Its budget-friendly digs are comfortable and convenient, and it’s near the intersection of Rue Sainte-Catherine and Rue Crescent, where clubs, restaurants, and shops abound. Opus Hotel Montreal, moderate to expensive, (514) 843-6000, http://www.opushotel.com. If you were a touring rocker with a touch of fame, you’d probably stay at this slick, modern downtown hotel. It would be a smart move. The Opus offers its style at a discount, compared with prices at Montreal’s other sleek digs. DINING Au Pied de Cochon, moderate to expensive, (514) 281-1114, http://www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca. You will be fighting for a reservation with foodies from around the world at this simply decorated eatery, where pork and foie gras are the main attractions. Yes, they cook them together. Banquise, inexpensive, (514) 525-2415. Located in the Plateau neighborhood, largely a French-speaking area of town, this diner-style restaurant serves more than a dozen different kinds of poutine. That’s a Quebec specialty featuring, when at its most basic, french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. C’est magnifique! Le Réservoir, inexpensive to moderate, (514) 849-7779. This neighborhood joint is just off what Montrealers call the Main — Boulevard Saint-Laurent, the old dividing line between the French- and English-speaking sides of town. Celebrate the détente with international snacks, and drink house-brewed beers until the last call, at three a.m. NIGHTLIFE Casa del Popolo, (514) 284-0122, http://www.casadelpopolo.com. Maybe you’ll get lucky and catch the next Arcade Fire performance at this venue, which is popular with the indie-rock set. Les Deux Pierrots, (514) 861-1270, http://www.lespierrots.com. Does sitting in a brick-walled bar in Montreal’s oldest neighborhood while singing along to French and English cabaret songs sound silly? Well, then, it’s time to get silly. SHOPPING Marché Bonsecours, (514) 872-7730, http://www.marchebonsecours.qc.ca. Unfortunately, they’re no longer selling fresh vegetables at this European-style marketplace. But they are selling locally made crafts, so that’s nice. ATTRACTIONS La Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, (514) 842-2925, http://www.basilique nddm.org. Is the interior of this scaled-down, nineteenth-century replica of Paris’s Notre-Dame more dramatic than the original’s? That depends on how you feel about the stunning use of the color blue. Le Mont Royal, (514) 843-8240, http://www.lemontroyal.qc.ca. Frederick Law Olmsted, who laid out New York’s Central Park, also designed this sprawling space. It’s filled with hiking and biking trails and is capped by a 98-foot-high cross, which honors Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, the city’s founder. About Montreal: There are more than 3.6 million people in Montreal and its immediate urban area. That’s nearly half the population of the province of Quebec. Some 70 percent of those people are native French speakers, making Montreal the second-largest francophone city in the world, after Paris. Plus, Montreal is in Canada. About Kelly Ripa’s Montreal: “My husband has friends who live in Montreal,” Ripa says, “and he’d been raving about it for years, telling me how wonderful it is and that we just had to go and that I would love it. The first time I went, I think, was for our fourth or fifth wedding anniversary. When we landed, everyone at the airport was speaking French. So I turned to Mark, and I said quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever said in my life. I said, ‘You’re right; it’s so romantic and wonderful. It’s just like being in another country.’ He said, ‘I hate to burst your bubble, but we are in another country.’ ” About Montreal: The city has seen a boom in swank boutique hotels in recent years, especially in Old Montreal, a neighborhood with narrow, cobblestoned streets that dates back to the founding of the city, in 1642. Plus, Montreal smells nice. About Kelly Ripa’s Montreal: “The St-James in Old Montreal is a wonderful hotel,” Ripa says. “It is simply luxurious. Also, the St-Paul Hotel is very boutiquey and kind of rock and roll. They give you these wonderful colognes that you can take with you when you leave. I sometimes call the hotel and ask them to send me some because they smell so good.” About Montreal: The city claims to have more restaurants per resident than any other city in North America. It is famous for café au lait, smoked meats, and game-based Quebecois cuisine. Plus, some of the restaurants serve breakfast even at lunchtime. About Kelly Ripa’s Montreal: “Mark and I go there without our kids,” Ripa explains. “It’s the only place we go without our kids. I mean, I know it’s wonderful for children, but it’s just been our romantic-getaway place. So we usually get up and have breakfast at lunchtime — which, you have to *understand, with three kids, that’s such a luxury for us to not have to get up early. So we usually go to Eggspectation. It’s a very good sort of diner-breakfast place. There’s also a specialty place called Olive & Gourmando in Old Montreal. It has café au lait and croissants and beautiful breads. Unfortunately, I don’t know the street it’s on. Mark and I just sort of wander around there.” About Montreal: The city has thriving live jazz and rock scenes — the noted indie act Arcade Fire is just one rock band to emerge from Montreal. And the city is packed with watering holes. There are, on average, 9.5 bars per square kilometer. Plus, there are lots of restaurants and music venues (which can also be called watering holes). About Kelly Ripa’s Montreal: “If you [can], go to Old Montreal. There are these little cobblestone streets, and every place is a jamming supper club or an amazing jazz bar,” Ripa says. “I just think it’s magic. “You have dinner very late there. It’s very European in that way. Then a lot of these restaurants that start out serving food will turn into nightclubs. All of a sudden, the tables vanish and a DJ comes out. “They have this place called Vauvert in the St. Paul. You can have dinner, and then right after dinner, the DJ comes in. They call it diabolique when the DJ is there on Saturday nights. It’s like a big party. So you eat dinner, and then you dance. It’s one-stop shopping. Plus, the people are gorgeous, and the waitresses have designer uniforms. It’s all very sleek and very elegant.” About Montreal: More than half the Canadian fashion industry’s workers are employed in Montreal. It’s no surprise, then, that the city is home to numerous fashion designers and boutiques. Plus, there are spas. About Kelly Ripa’s Montreal: “For shopping, I like to go to the Cours Mont-Royal,” Ripa says. “It’s kind of like a mall, but there are a lot of small boutiques in there. I mean, you have to buy something when you travel. You have to at least get the kids something. You’re leaving them. ‘Bye! We’ll be back in two days. Have fun with Grandma and Papa!’ Also, I really love Spa Diva, which is in the Cours Mont-Royal. It’s very relaxing.” About Montreal: Despite the fact that Montreal is known for its French speakers and French heritage, one in four Montrealers is an immigrant, and the city is surprisingly diverse, supporting its own Chinatown and Little Italy. There’s also a slice of Portugal. About Kelly Ripa’s Montreal: “There’s a wonderful place called Ferreira Café, which Mark took me to for my birthday one year,” Ripa says. “It’s Portuguese food and is just fabulous. Mark kidnapped me. I’m not kidding. He flew me blindfolded to Montreal and took me to Ferreira. Well, I was allowed to take the blindfold off when we landed. I didn’t have to eat blindfolded. He had me home in time for the show the next day.” About Montreal: Winters are long and can be stingingly cold, which explains why the city loves its warm-weather festivals. It hosts international mega-gatherings to celebrate jazz, comedy, and film. It also has really fast car races. About Kelly Ripa’s Montreal: “Mark loves the Formula One race,” Ripa says. “He goes every year if he can. That’s in June. They also have the jazz festival. That’s great; it’s in July. But the comedy festival, for me, is the most special. You see the most amazing performers. You just know that any day now, a sitcom is going to come out of one of the great performances you just saw on the stage.” About Montreal: The city is the site of a semi-risqué routine performed at the aforementioned Just for Laughs comedy festival by a certain American star named Kelly Ripa. It included some, ah, other performers. About Kelly Ripa’s Montreal: “Yeah, thanks for noticing that I did that,” Ripa says. “It was amazing fun. The joke was that we hired all these drag queens to do a burlesque striptease with me. I had just had a baby, and they all looked much more like women than I did. So people were like, ‘Oh, look at these beautiful women … and Kelly.’ Then the audience figured out that they were all men … and Kelly.” Career Questions Kelly Ripa explains what she does when she’s not relaxing in Montreal. Did you set out to be an actor/talk-show host? No. My whole career has been a series of accidents. I accidentally got into acting because my friends were doing it. They were doing extra work, and they were making good money. So I was like, Hey, why not? That led to the soap [All My Children], which led to the talk show, which led to the sitcom, which led to the production company. What production company? Mark and I have a TV production company together now. We sold a scripted show that did not get picked up this past fall, and we just sold a pilot to the History Channel for an interesting show called Wild Gourmet. It’s about a man who is a trained chef and an anthropology major. He takes you through a culture’s hunting and eating of a specific animal. Why production? You can’t be on camera forever. Very few people can. So I’m one of those people who would eventually like to work behind the camera. Wait — hasn’t Regis been on camera forever? He’s the one in a million. He’s always relevant. He’s always charming. He’s always gorgeous. [Laughs] I don’t see it turning out that way for me. Speaking of Regis, I’ve heard people say he’s quitting when his contract is up. True? I don’t believe that. I’ve been hearing that since I got here. He loves it. I love it. It’s a great place to work. It’s a fun, sort of easy schedule for people like us, who really just want to be on vacation all the time. You did voice work for two animated movies that are coming out soon. What was that like? I don’t even remember. You do these things, and then for, like, the next seven years or something, they animate the film. It’s all that computer animation. I had almost forgotten that I did them. One of them, Fly Me to the Moon, my son is also in. I play a fly, and my son plays the friend of one of my maggots. It’s very cute. http://www.americanwaymag.com/tabid/2855/tabidext/3465/default.aspx
  8. http://entertainment.time.com/2013/06/15/o-canada-the-cool-pleasures-of-the-montreal-jazz-festival/
  9. 1. You pronounce it “Muntreal”, not “Mahntreal”. 2. You have ever said anything like “I have to stop at the guichet before we get to the dep.” 3. Your only concern about jaywalking is getting a ticket. 4. You understand and frequently use terms like ‘unilingual,’ ‘anglophone,’ ‘francophone,’ and ‘allophone.’ 5. You agree that Montreal drivers are crazy, but you’re secretly proud of their nerves of steel. 6. The most exciting thing about the South Shore is that you can turn right on a red light. 7. You know that the West Island is not a separate geographical formation. 8. In moments of paranoia, you think that there’s no red line on the Metro because red is a federalist colour. 9. You have to bring smoked meat from Schwartz’s and bagels from St-Viateur if you’re visiting anyone west of Cornwall. 10. You refer to Tremblant as “up North.” 11. You know how to pronounce Pie IX. 12. You have an ancient auntie who still says “Saint Dennis.” 13. You believe to the depth of your very being that Toronto has no soul, but your high school reunion is held in Toronto because most of your classmates live there now. 14. You greet everyone, from lifelong bosom friends to some one you met once a few years ago, with a two-cheek kiss. 15. You know at least one person who works for the CBC, and at least one other person who used to work for Nortel. 16. You know what a four-and-a-half is. 17. You’re not impressed with hardwood floors. 18. You’ve been hearing Celine Dion jokes longer than anyone else. 19. You can watch soft-core porn on broadcast TV, and this has been true for at least 25 years. 20. You cringe when Bob Cole pronounces French hockey player names. 21. You get Bowser & Blue. 22. You were drinking cafe-au-lait before it was latte. 23. Shopper’s Drug Mart is Pharmaprix, Staples is Bureau en Gros, and PFK is finger lickin’ good. 24. You really believe Just For Laughs is an international festival. 25. For two weeks a year, you are a jazz afficianado. 26. You need to be reminded by prominent signage that you should wait for the green light. 27. Everyone on the street - drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists - think they’re immortal, and that you’ll move first. 28. You’re proud that Montreal is the home of Pierre Trudeau, Mordechai Richler, William Shatner, Leonard Cohen and the Great Antonio… 29 .And, you consider Donald Sutherland (and by default, Keifer), Guy Lafleur, Charlie Biddle, and Roch Carrier Montrealers, too. 30. You know that Rocket Richard had nothing to do with astrophysics. 31. You know the apocryphal story of the fat lady at Eaton’s. 32. You miss apostrophes. 33. You’ve seen Brother Andre’s heart. 34. No matter how bilingual you are, you still don’t understand “ile aux tourtes.” 35. You know the difference between the SQ, the SAQ, and the SAAQ. 36. You measure temperature and distance in metric, but weight and height in Imperial measure. 37. You show up at a party at 11 p.m. and no one else is there yet. 38. April Wine once played your high school (alternatively, Sass Jordon or Gowan). 39. You know that Montreal is responsible for introducing the following to North America: bagels, souvlaki, smoked meat and Supertramp. Also, Chris de Burgh. 40. You don’t drink pop or soda, you drink soft drinks. 41. You have graduated from high school and have a degree, but you’ve never been in grade 12. 42. The margarine in your fridge is the same colour as lard. 43. Every once in a while, you wonder whatever happened to Luba. 44. You never thought that Corey Hart was cool, but you know someone whose cousin or something dated him. 45. There has to be at least 30 cm of snow on the ground in less than 24 hours for you to consider it too snowy to drive. 46. You remember where you were during the Ice Storm. 47. You used to be an Expos fan, but now all you really miss is Youppi. 48. You know that your city’s reputation for beautiful women is based on centuries-old couplings between French soldiers and royally-commissioned whores (aka Les Filles du Roi). 49. You don’t understand anyone from Lac-St-Jean, but you can fake the accent. 50. You’ve been to the Tam Tams, and know they have nothing to do with wee Scottish hats. 51. You discuss potholes like most people discuss weather. 52. You encounter bilingual homeless people. 53. While watching an American made-for-TV movie, you realize that “Vienna” is actually Old Montreal, that “New York” is actually downtown and that the “The Futuristic City” is actually Habitat ‘67. 54. You find it amusing when people from outside Quebec compliment you on how good your English is. 55. You have yet to understand a single announcement made on the Metro PA system, no matter what the language. 56. You think of Old Montreal as nothing but a bunch of over-priced restaurants, old buildings and badly paved streets. 57. You understand that La Fête Nationale is not a celebration of “Quebec’s birthday”. 58. You don’t find American comedians speaking “gibberish” French even remotely funny. 59. You don’t find it weird that there’s a strip club on every corner downtown. 60. You like your pizza all-dressed 61. You say Métro instead of subway. 62. You only speak English, yet you suddenly realize you have no clue what a “depanneur” is called in English