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  1. A very nice quote from the guide: INTRODUCTION Montréal is by far Canada's most cosmopolitan city. Toronto may have the country's economic power and Vancouver its most majestic scenery, but the centuries-old marriage of English and French cultures that defines Montréal has given the city an allure and dynamic unique to North America - a captivating atmosphere that is admittedly hard to describe. Its ethnic make-up is in truth fairly diverse, what with plenty of Italians, Greeks, Eastern Europeans, Jews, Chinese and Portuguese putting down roots in various neighbourhoods over the last century. But ever since the French first flew the flag here back in the 1600s, the struggle for the city's soul has centred on - and largely set apart - its English and French factions. As such Montréal has always been a pivotal player in the politics of Québec separatism, the tension between the two main linguistic groups having reached a searing low in the late 1960s, when the Front de Libération du Québec waged a terrorist campaign on the city as the province was undergoing a "francization" that would affect Montréal most of all. In the wake of legislation that enshrined French-language dominance in Québec, English-Quebecers fled in droves, tipping the nation's economic supremacy from Montréal to Toronto. After decades of linguistic dispute, though, a truce appears to have at last settled in, and nowadays it's hard to believe that only a few years ago a narrowly failed 1995 referendum on separation transformed the city into a pitched battlefield over linguistic and territorial rights. It seems virtually everyone can speak French, while the younger generation of Francophones also speak l'anglais - certainly a blessing for English-speaking visitors who should have no problem finding someone who speaks the language. The truce has also gone hand in hand with the city's economic resurgence, which sees Montréal at the fore of Canada's high-tech industry. The duality of Montréal's social mix is also reflected in its urban make-up. Sandwiched between the banks of the St Lawrence River and the forested, trail-laced rise of Mont Royal, the heart of the city is an engaging melange of Old and New World aesthetics. Busy downtown, with its wide boulevards lined by sleek office towers and rambling shopping malls, is emblematic of a typical North American metropolis, while just to its south, Vieux-Montréal preserves the city's unmistakable French heritage in its layout of narrow, cobblestone streets and town squares anchored by the radiant Basilique Notre-Dame. Balancing these are traces of the city's greatest international moment, Expo '67, echoes of which remain on Parc Jean-Drapeau, the islands across from Vieux-Montréal that hosted the successful World Fair. A few kilometres east stands perhaps the city's greatest folly, the Stade Olympique built for the 1976 Olympics, its leaning tower overshadowing the expansive Jardin Botanique, second only to London's Kew Gardens. Specific sights aside, it's the street-level vibe that makes Montréal such a great place to visit. Like the homegrown Cirque du Soleil, Montréal has a ceaseless - and contagious - energy that infuses its café and lounge culture, its exciting into-the-wee-hour nightlife, and the boisterous summer festivals that put everyone in a party mood. Nowhere captures this free-spirited ethos better than Plateau Mont-Royal, the trendiest neighbourhood in town and effective meeting point of Montréal's founding and immigrant cultures. Here, the best restaurants, bars and clubs hum and groove along boulevard St-Laurent, the symbolic divide between the city's French and English communities, under the watchful gaze of the city's most prominent landmark, the cross atop Mont Royal that recalls Montréal's initial founding as a Catholic colony. In some contrast, Québec City, around 250km east, seems immune to outside forces, its walled old town steadfastly embodying the province's French fact. Perched atop a promontory with a commanding view of the St Lawrence and laced with winding, cobblestone streets flanked by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century stone houses, it ranks as Québec's most romantic and beautifully situated city. Closer to Montréal, two other enchanting regions - the Eastern Townships (Les Cantons-de-l'Est) and the Laurentian mountains (Les Laurentides) - provide excellent getaways, along with top-notch skiing, away from the teeming city centre.
  2. (CNN) -- From time to time, Sasha Raven Gross can be seen teetering around a neighborhood drinking hole. She flirts with strangers, talks gibberish and sometimes spins in circles for no apparent reason until she falls down. In one hand is her liquid of choice -- watered-down orange juice in a sippy cup. The 14-month-old toddler is the sort of barfly who's at the center of a recurring and heated debate: Should parents be allowed to bring their babies and children to bars? It is a question in Brooklyn, New York, that's fired up online arguments, prompted unofficial protests and made outsiders giggle. And while the issue may not be exclusive to that area, it's the stuff disputes are made of in what Sasha's dad, Matt Gross, calls the kid-heavy "greater stroller zone" of Park Slope and its surrounding neighborhoods. Single hipsters and others without (and sometimes with) kids complain about being asked to watch their language, to not smoke outdoors near strollers and to keep their drunk friends under control so as not to scare the little ones. They don't want to feel pressure to play peekaboo. They want to cry over their beers, they say, without having an infant drown them out. If anyone is spitting up, they want it to be them. "I will get up on the subway for kids. I will be tolerant of them kicking the back of my seat while seeing a G-rated movie. But let me have my bars," said Julieanne Smolinski, 26, who feels guilty sucking down suds in front of staring 5-year-olds. The adults who bring their offspring to bars, she suggests, are "clinging to their youth." Parents, on the other hand, say that as long as they're responsible and their kids behave, they deserve the right to grab a quick drink with friends. And, they might add, in a place like New York -- where the cost of baby sitters can be prohibitive and tight living quarters can make hosting guests at home difficult -- they need places to hang out, too. "As a stay-at-home dad, it can be kind of isolating. Bars, as much as they're places to drink, they're places to socialize and meet people," said Gross, 35, a freelance writer, an editor for the blog DadWagon and the columnist behind the Frugal Traveler in The New York Times. "I long for adult contact. ... I don't want to be excluded from the adult world." But the divide remains wide in the blogosphere. Around 150 readers weighed in recently when someone posted on the Brooklynian, a neighborhood blog, the simple query: "Which bars are child free?" One writer shared the tale of a drunk father standing at a bar while his beer sloshed on his stroller-strapped kid's face. Another poster announced a bar crawl in which "no crawlers" would be allowed. The public debate about babies in bars ignited about two years ago when the bar Union Hall, a popular stomping ground, banned strollers from the premises, Gross said. (...) Rest of the article here http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/03/02/brooklyn.babies.in.bars/index.html#disqus_thread ------------------------------------------- Franchement stupide. Un bar n'est pas une place pour un enfant, point final. Si tu veux prendre un verre, arrange toi pour trouver un gardien ou invite tes amis chez toi.
  3. November 09, 2010 8:43 AM by Staff & Wire Reports http://www.gamingtoday.com/articles/...SOP_main_event Canadian poker professional Jonathan Duhamel won the World Series of Poker main event title and $8.94 million on Monday night after keeping a stranglehold on his chips and pressuring his opponent. Duhamel took the last of Florida pro John Racener's chips in the no-limit Texas Hold 'em tournament with an ace high after 43 hands where Racener was no better than a 4-1 underdog in chips. Duhamel pushed Racener all-in and the Floridian called with a suited king-eight of diamonds. But Duhamel had an unsuited ace-jack for the lead. A flop of two fours and a nine helped neither player; and Racener didn't improve with a six on the turn and a five on the river. "It's a dream come true right now," Duhamel told the crowd at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino as confetti fell from a theater ceiling. "It's like the most beautiful day of my life." "Come join the party," he said, flanked by some 200 friends and family who rooted him on while wearing Montreal Canadiens jerseys. Duhamel, an online cash game player who said poker has been his primary income for about two years, had his third cash at this year's series. But the money he won Monday night dwarfs the $43,000 he won after entering 17 earlier tournaments at the 57-event series this year. "I love playing poker so much, so I mean I'm going to be playing all those big tournaments and try to make other big scores," he said. "I'll be there next year in the World Series and try to do my best again." Duhamel, a French and English speaker who left the Universite du Quebec a Montreal during his second year studying finance, worked a series of odd jobs before playing poker full-time. He said he played for $5 and $10 minimums before the series. Now he plans to play in the world's biggest tournaments -- and buy Canadiens season tickets. "I didn't expect that at all," he said. Racener won $5.55 million for second place, never finding real traction in the biggest heads-up card match of his life. Racener said his only good hand was pocket queens and he didn't pick up anything besides that better than an ace-deuce. "I could never get anything going," said Racener, 24, of Port Richey, Fla. "It was unfortunate and he played it well." Duhamel came into the heads-up match with a significant chip lead and kept Racener from gaining much ground in a session that lasted just over an hour. Duhamel had nearly 90 percent of all the chips in play when players took a 10-minute break after 36 hands. The Boucherville, Quebec native intensified the pressure after that, pushing all in on three straight hands and dropping Racener's stack to just above 16 million chips. When Duhamel pushed again, Racener unsuccessfully tried to make a stand. Racener doubled his chips 10 hands into the session, after Duhamel had whittled his stack early on. An 11-1 underdog in chips, Racener called Duhamel's all-in wager with pocket queens and they held against Duhamel's king-four. The hand came just after minimum bets rose and gave Racener 36.9 million chips -- but he was back to his original stack less than 20 hands later. Racener began the session a 6-1 underdog in chips, with just 26 big blinds in his stack at 30.75 million. He spent most of the final table that started Saturday on the sidelines, watching as his opponents aggressively ate at each other's chip stacks. He didn't risk all his chips until he called a bluff by Filippo Candio with three queens, and doubled up twice more before watching as Duhamel withstood a high-pressure challenge from third-place finisher Joseph Cheong. The hand brought Duhamel back where he started the final table -- with a big chip lead. Chips have no monetary value in the tournament, and Racener had to lose all his chips to be eliminated. The tournament started in July with 7,319 players paying $10,000 each to enter.
  4. New technology that can detect when graffiti vandals are tagging train cars is being heralded in Australia as a major breakthrough in crime prevention. The electronic sensor, called a "mousetrap," has been tested across the network and has so far led to the arrest of 30 people. It works by detecting the vapours of spray cans and markers while they are in use and alerting transport authorities and police. Australian Transport Minister Andrew Constance said it was a useful tool. "What this means is that those who commit graffiti can now be caught immediately, with can in hand, marker in hand, doing the damage," he said. "[Mousetrap] provides real-time information, triggering closed-circuit TV back to Sydney Trains staff and also real-time information provided directly to the Police Transport command." Sydney Trains declined to say how many of the devices would be rolled out across the network but indicated they would be randomly moved from different train lines. Removing graffiti cost taxpayers $34 million last financial year, up from $30 million the year before. Sydney Trains chief executive Howard Collins said it was a big problem. "Our customers hate it – it's one of the top customer complaints and cleaners work hard to remove about 11,000 tags from trains each month," he said. "We know customers feel unsafe when they are using a train which is covered in graffiti and offenders often place themselves and others in danger by trespassing on the railway or being somewhere they shouldn't. "When I came to Sydney 10 years ago most of the trains had graffiti inside and out. We now work on keeping our trains clean." http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/mousetrap-can-detect-when-graffiti-vandals-are-tagging-trains-1.3066838?cmp=rss
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