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Found 24 results

  1. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/fp/Quebec+brewers+froth+over+cheap+beer/4072041/story.html#ixzz1AJsv4pHS
  2. Don’t tell anyone, but it’s a myth that millennials hate the suburbs It might not be as cool as living downtown, but a new survey suggests millennials might not hate suburbia all that much. Altus Group, citing its 2015 fall FIRM survey, says 35 per cent of those 35 and under disagree with the statement that they prefer to live in a smaller home in a central area than a larger home in the suburbs. The same survey found 40 per cent do agree with the statement, with everybody else neither agreeing or disagreeing. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — it’s a myth that all so-called millennials are homogeneous in their desires, attitudes and behaviour,” says the report from Toronto-based Altus Group. “While there may be some tendencies that are more pronounced among today’s younger generation, when it comes to the housing sector, segmentation analysis is critical.” The survey, which only considered respondents in centres with populations of more than one million or more, found in almost every age group there was a willingness to trade off the bigger house in the suburbs for a smaller home in a central area. Among those 35-49, like millennials, 40 per cent said they would make the trade-off. <iframe name="fsk_frame_splitbox" id="fsk_frame_splitbox" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px; width: 620px; height: 0px; border-style: none; border-width: initial;"></iframe> Broken into sub categories, 19 per cent of millennials agree completely they are willing to live in that smaller home in a central area versus the larger one in the suburbs. Another 21 per cent somewhat agree. Millennials actually ranked behind those 70 years or older when it comes to strong feelings on the matter. Among those seniors, 22 per cent agreed completely with going for the tinier downtown home. “There is a prevailing view that all millennials in larger markets want to live downtown — even if it means having to settle for a smaller residence to make the affordability equation work. Our research busts that myth,” said Altus Group. The same report finds all those downtown dwellers, many of whom will be settling in high-rise condominiums, are going to need parking sports because they are not ready to ditch their cars. The FIRM survey found that in the country’s six largest markets, defined as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau and Montreal, only about one in 10 owner occupants of condominiums built in the last six years does not have a vehicle. That’s close to the average of all households, but condo dwellers are far less likely to have two vehicles. twitter.com/dustywallet [email protected] http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/dont-tell-anyone-but-its-a-myth-that-millennials-hate-the-suburbs Contrepoids à la discussion: http://mtlurb.com/forums/showthread.php/23922-Bye-bye-banlieue%21
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjTs3iZ7OHI The Montreal Gazette About time. Sucks that they charge 0.40 cents per transaction though.
  4. The New York Times July 15, 2008 Country, the City Version: By BINA VENKATARAMAN What if “eating local” in Shanghai or New York meant getting your fresh produce from five blocks away? And what if skyscrapers grew off the grid, as verdant, self-sustaining towers where city slickers cultivated their own food? Dickson Despommier, a professor of public health at Columbia University, hopes to make these zucchini-in-the-sky visions a reality. Dr. Despommier’s pet project is the “vertical farm,” a concept he created in 1999 with graduate students in his class on medical ecology, the study of how the environment and human health interact. The idea, which has captured the imagination of several architects in the United States and Europe in the past several years, just caught the eye of another big city dreamer: Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president. When Mr. Stringer heard about the concept in June, he said he immediately pictured a “food farm” addition to the New York City skyline. “Obviously we don’t have vast amounts of vacant land,” he said in a phone interview. “But the sky is the limit in Manhattan.” Mr. Stringer’s office is “sketching out what it would take to pilot a vertical farm,” and plans to pitch a feasibility study to the mayor’s office within the next couple of months, he said. “I think we can really do this,” he added. “We could get the funding.” Dr. Despommier estimates that it would cost $20 million to $30 million to make a prototype of a vertical farm, but hundreds of millions to build one of the 30-story towers that he suggests could feed 50,000 people. “I’m viewed as kind of an outlier because it’s kind of a crazy idea,” Dr. Despommier, 68, said with a chuckle. “You’d think these are mythological creatures.” Dr. Despommier, whose name in French means “of the apple trees,” has been spreading the seeds of his radical idea in lectures and through his Web site. He says his ideas are supported by hydroponic vegetable research done by NASA and are made more feasible by the potential to use sun, wind and wastewater as energy sources. Several observers have said Dr. Despommier’s sky-high dreams need to be brought down to earth. “Why does it have to be 30 stories?” said Jerry Kaufman, professor emeritus of urban and regional planning at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Why can’t it be six stories? There’s some exciting potential in the concept, but I think he overstates what can be done.” Armando Carbonell, chairman of the department of planning and urban form at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Mass., called the idea “very provocative.” But it requires a rigorous economic analysis, he added. “Would a tomato in lower Manhattan be able to outbid an investment banker for space in a high-rise? My bet is that the investment banker will pay more.” Mr. Carbonell questions if a vertical farm could deliver the energy savings its supporters promise. “There’s embodied energy in the concrete and steel and in construction,” he said, adding that the price of land in the city would still outweigh any savings from not having to transport food from afar. “I believe that this general relationship is going to hold, even as transportation costs go up and carbon costs get incorporated into the economic system.” Some criticism is quite helpful. Stephen Colbert jokingly asserted that vertical farming was elitist when Dr. Despommier appeared in June on “The Colbert Report,” a visit that led to a jump in hits to the project’s Web site from an average of 400 daily to 400,000 the day after the show. Dr. Despommier agrees that more research is needed, and calls the energy calculations his students made for the farms, which would rely solely on alternative energy, “a little bit too optimistic.” He added, “I’m a biologist swimming in very deep water right now.” “If I were to set myself as a certifier of vertical farms, I would begin with security,” he said. “How do you keep insects and bacteria from invading your crops?” He says growing food in climate-controlled skyscrapers would also protect against hail and other weather-related hazards, ensuring a higher quality food supply for a city, without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Architects’ renderings of vertical farms — hybrids of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Biosphere 2 with SimCity appeal — seem to be stirring interest. “It also has to be stunning in terms of the architecture, because it needs to work in terms of social marketing,” Dr. Despommier said. “You want people to say, ‘I want that in my backyard.’ ” Augustin Rosenstiehl, a French architect who worked with Dr. Despommier to design a template “living tower,” said he thought that any vertical farm proposal needed to be adapted to a specific place. Mr. Rosenstiehl, principal architect for Atelier SOA in Paris, said: “We cannot do a project without knowing where and why and what we are going to cultivate. For example, in Paris, if you grow some wheat, it’s stupid because we have big fields all around the city and lots of wheat and it’s good wheat. There’s no reason to build towers that are very expensive.” Despite its potential problems, the idea of bringing food closer to the city is gaining traction among pragmatists and dreamers alike. A smaller-scale design of a vertical farm for downtown Seattle won a regional green building contest in 2007 and has piqued the interest of officials in Portland, Ore. The building, a Center for Urban Agriculture designed by architects at Mithun, would supply about a third of the food needed for the 400 people who would live there. In June at P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center in Queens, a husband-wife architect team built a solar-powered outdoor farm out of stacked rows of cardboard tube planters — one that would not meet Dr. Despommier’s security requirements — with chicken coops for egg collection and an array of fruits and vegetables. For Dr. Despommier, the high-rise version is on the horizon. “It’s very idealistic and ivory tower and all of that,” he said. “But there’s a real desire to make this happen.” ---------------- Peut-être pour Dubai en premier? Et le silo no.5, un de ses jours?
  5. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Hear+that+anglo/2557359/story.html#ixzz0fTOymy7v This was a fairly interesting article. It's true that Italian, Jewish, and British anglophone Montrealers tend to speak differently. Being the latter, I tend to find that I don't have any accent whatsoever (in fact, my family from other parts of Canada says it sounds really "clean". I talk exactly like the anchors on Canadian news.) Strangely, this phenomenon is unique to Montreal it seems. Do you have an accent in English that is impacted by your first language, ethnicity, or place of origin?
  6. Proposed: Current: NOTE: This is a Karsten Rumpf project announced back in JUNE 2011 with little to no indication that any work started. Since he is currently active with the Bishop Court condo conversion, I figured this project would be worth posting here. But this thread probably belongs to "projects oublie" for now.
  7. Toronto Star, May 19, 2010. By Carol Perehudoff I don’t dare sit down in this glass-encrusted dress. If I break one of the attached silvery rectangles, not only will I damage a piece of art, the splinters would be a serious pain in the you-know-what. “You’re the first person to try it on,” says designer Jessica MacDonald as I twirl around Espace Verre, a glass arts school, studio and exhibition centre housed in a former firehouse in southwest Montreal. I’m not sure how I convinced Jessica to let me try on the dress or how it fit over my hips after the almond croissants this morning at Patisserie Kouign Amann, but it’s a great introduction to “Montreal, City of Glass,” a year-long celebration of the city’s most translucent art form with more than 100 glass-themed events. That’s reason enough to visit, but I’m also on the trail of a mystery: “The Mystery of the Disappearing Windows.” This intriguing headline on the website of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel appealed to my inner Nancy Drew. It’s hard to sleuth in a glass couture outfit, however, so reluctantly — and carefully — I shed the dress and accompany my guide, Marie José, to Old Montreal, where the chapel was founded in 1655 by Canada’s first female saint, Marguerite Bourgeoys. Unfortunately the church doors are locked. “How am I going to solve the Mystery of the Disappearing Windows now?” I ask. “Do you mean the disappearing glass at Notre-Dame Basilica?” Marie José asks. “There’s a mystery there.” Either there’s an awful lot of vanishing glass in Montreal or I’m mixing up the two Notre Dames. To find out, we head down to Notre-Dame Basilica at Place d’Armes Square. Completed in 1829, this towering neo-Gothic basilica is a stained-glass showcase containing windows from three different historical eras. Like celestial skylights, three rose windows are set in the ceiling; in an unusual touch, the side windows depict historical rather than biblical themes. “But what about the mystery?” I ask, gazing up at a scene of Jacques Cartier coming upon the Iroquois village of Hochelaga (today’s Montreal). “It started with arson.” Marie José leads me to the back of the church. “In 1978 someone set fire in a confessional, causing millions in damages. During renovations, five stained glass windows were found behind a brick wall. They’d been walled up and forgotten for more than 80 years.” Two of the windows, St. Peter and St. Louis, now hang in the Basilica’s Sacred Heart Chapel. Masculine and medieval-looking, they glimmer with deep tones of blue, burgundy and gold. “Why would anyone cover them up?” I ask. Marie José offers a solution. “The windows were right behind the altar, so parishioners couldn’t see the priest during services because of the sun shining through.” Well, that’s one mystery solved. It’s not my original mystery, however, so the next morning I return to Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. The current domed church dates to 1771, the foundations of the original chapel now mere stone traces deep in the church cellar. I hunt up Karine St-Louis, head of educational programming, who gives me a rare peek into the cellar’s depths. An eerie-looking room with ancient timber supports, it lay abandoned for decades, filled with dirt and debris. Then, during an archaeological dig here in 1996, two stained-glass angel fragments were found. “They were part of a much-larger window made around 1855,” Karine says. “It was either the Assumption of Mary or the Immaculate Conception.” “Who made them?” “We don’t know.” We visit one of the angels — now on permanent display in the chapel museum. Backlit, the angel glows with a luminous calm, his green wings and golden hair framing an unreadable expression. It’s hard to imagine that before Canada was even officially a country he stood watch in the chapel, then waited more than a century to re-emerge. “Who saved it, I wonder? And what happened to the rest of the window?” Karine smiles. “That’s the mystery.” “Why would anyone remove it?” This is something she can solve. “Like anything, glass goes in and out of fashion.” From stained glass angels to couture cocktail dresses, it certainly does. Evidently it can disappear and reappear, too, carrying with it fragments of history. Montreal may be the City of Glass, but it’s a city of secrets, too, making me wonder what other mysteries lie hidden behind its historical walls. http://www.thestar.com/travel/northamerica/article/811043--montreal-a-city-of-glass-and-secrets Here is a video by Ms. Carol... a little bit funny! http://www.thestar.com/videozone/811042 "In the end, I've come to the conclusion that Montreal is alot like glass. It shimmers its tiny shiny pieces that make up an incredible whole. And if you catch it in the right light, it's iluminating! "
  8. http://world.time.com/2013/04/08/quebecs-war-on-english-language-politics-intensify-in-canadian-province/ To live in Quebec is to become accustomed to daily reminders that French in the Canadian province is the most regulated language in the world. Try, as I did recently, to shop at Anthropologie online and you’ll come up empty-handed. The retail chain (which bears a French name) opened its first Montreal boutique in October, but “due to the Charter of the French Language” has had its site shut down: “We hope you’ll visit us in store!” Montreal’s transit authority maintains that under the present language law, its ticket takers must operate in French, which lately has spurred complaints from passengers. Last year, the city of Montreal erected 60 English safety signs nearby Anglophone schools in an effort to slow passing vehicles. The Quebec Board of the French Language and its squad of inspectors ordered that they be taken down; a snowy drive through town revealed that all had been replaced by French notices. Since the Parti Québécois (PQ), which calls for national sovereignty for Quebec, won a minority government in September, the reminders have become increasingly less subtle. In February, a language inspector cited the swank supper club Buonanotte, which occupies a stretch of St. Laurent Boulevard, Montreal’s cultural and commercial artery, for using Italian words like pasta on its otherwise French menu. The ensuing scandal, which has come to be known as “pastagate,” took social media by storm. “These are problems we had in the 1980s,” says restaurant owner Massimo Lecas. “They were over and done with; we could finally concentrate on the economy and fixing potholes. And then this new government brought them all back. These issues might never go away now, and that is a scary sort of future.” It’s true: despite the nuisances and controversies generated by Bill 101, Quebec’s 1977 Charter of the French Language, the province had settled in the past years into a kind of linguistic peace. But tensions have mounted considerably since the separatist PQ returned to the fore. In the wake of pastagate, the language board allowed that its requests were maybe overzealous; the head of the organization resigned. And yet the PQ has prepared for the passage of Bill 14, a massive and massively controversial revision to Bill 101. The bill’s 155 proposed amendments go further than any previous measures have to legislate the use of French in Quebec. Most English speakers see the changes as having been designed to run them right out of the province. “Definitely non-Francophone kids who are graduating are leaving,” says restaurateur Lecas. “If you don’t have a mortgage yet, if you’re not married yet, if you don’t own a business yet, it’s like, ‘I’m so outta here.’ But leaving is not the solution because when you leave, they win.” In a poll conducted by the research company EKOS in January, 42% of the Anglophones surveyed said they’ve considered quitting Quebec since the PQ was elected. If Bill 14 passes, military families living in Quebec but liable to be relocated at any time will no longer be permitted to send their children to English-language schools. Municipalities whose Anglophone inhabitants make up less than 50% of their populations will lose their bilingual status, meaning, among other things, that residents won’t be able to access government documents in English. For the first time, companies with 25 to 49 workers will be required to conduct all business in French, a process set to cost medium-size businesses $23 million. French speakers interested in attending English-language colleges will take a backseat to Anglophone applicants. The language inspectors will be able to instantly search and seize potentially transgressive records, files, books and accounts, where currently they can only “request” documents that they believe aren’t in accordance with the law. And no longer will they grant a compliance period. As soon as a person or business is suspected of an offense, “appropriate penal proceedings may be instituted.” Jamie Rosenbluth of JR Bike Rental is among the business owners who’ve had run-ins with the ever more bold language board, which already has the authority to impose fines and, in extreme cases, shut enterprises down. A month ago, an inspector asked him to translate the Spanish novelty posters that paper his shop and increase the size of the French writing on his bilingual pricing list by 30%. Says Rosenbluth: “I told her, ‘You want me to make the French words 30% bigger? O.K., how about I charge French-speaking people 30% more?’ It is so silly. Are they 30% better than me? Are they 30% smarter than me?” Since the encounter, he has covered the offending posters with placards of his own that say, in French, “Warning: Non-French sign below. Read at your own discretion.” The PQ is trying to reassure its separatist base of its seriousness as a defender of Quebecois identity. To pass Bill 14, it will need the support of at least one of the province’s two primary opposition parties. In other words, if the bill doesn’t succeed, Premier Pauline Marois of the PQ will be able to hold the opposition accountable and remain a hero to the hard-liners. The PQ knows that, in its present incarnation, it will never drastically expand its core of support, but it can galvanize its troops. Some of those supporters rallied together in Montreal last month to protest “institutional bilingualism” and champion the bill. Cheers and applause resounded when journalist Pierre Dubuc called out: “If someone can’t ask for a metro ticket in French, let them walk.” Public hearings on Bill 14 began in early March at the National Assembly in Quebec City and are ongoing. “I can tell you that if someone came to Côte-St.-Luc to tell us we would lose our bilingual status, you will have chaos, you will have opposition of people you wouldn’t think of who will take to the streets,” testified Anthony Housefather, mayor of the municipality of Côte-St.-Luc, on the first day. “People are scared, people are very scared.” By the time Quebec’s largest Anglophone school board, Lester B. Pearson, came forward on March 19, it had already collected 32,000 signatures on a petition against the bill. “There are many ways of protecting French, and coercion isn’t one of them,” says Simo Kruyt, a member of the board’s central parent committee. “Fourteen of our schools have closed over the past seven years. We are getting fed up. We are getting tired of having to fight to be who we are. English is the language of commerce and we parents believe we are part of a world that’s larger than Quebec.” It’s hard yet to say if the bill will make it through. The opposition Liberals have flat-out refused to support the legislation. The Coalition Avenir Québec, which holds the balance, has said that it might — if certain of the more controversial measures are “improved.” In fact, the Coalition has only come out against four sections of Bill 14, and these don’t include the provisions that would give the dreaded language inspectors new and extraordinary powers. In the face of such antagonism, it’s no wonder some are leaving. Kruyt’s eldest son, a bilingual 27-year-old engineer, is preparing to relocate to Ottawa, the Canadian capital that sits near Quebec’s western border. Says Kruyt: “There, they’ll appreciate his French and won’t hammer him because of his English.” Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/04/08/quebecs-war-on-english-language-politics-intensify-in-canadian-province/#ixzz2PxmWuSHp
  9. http://www.boston.com/travel/destinations/2013/03/10/search-the-perfect-bagel-montreal/W6wUPos6bHvcOPGTrjPoiO/story.html 2e partie de l'article:
  10. Infographic: Every Person In The U.S. And Canada, On One Crazy, Zoomable Map FORGET LAKES, RIVERS, STATES, AND CAPITALS--THIS MAP JUST SHOWS PEOPLE. ALL OF 'EM. Most maps are curious combinations of the natural and the man-made, charts that show us the rivers, lakes, and mountains that have developed across millenia as well as the lines we humans have established, in much more recent history, to divide them all up. But this map by Brandon Martin-Anderson, a graduate student at MIT’s Changing Places lab, shows one thing and one thing only: people, as counted in the most recent U.S. and Canadian censuses. Martin-Anderson’s map (which is really worth a look in its full, zoomable glory) is dizzyingly dense, with some three hundred million data points, but it’s also exceedingly straightforward. One dot per person--nothing else. The designer says he got the idea when he was looking at a series of race and ethnicity dot density maps created by designer Eric Fischer. Curious about what his own neighborhood would look like in greater detail, he started plotting census data. "I started with the University District neighborhood in Seattle," he says, "but then I was curious about Seattle. Then I was curious about western Washington, then Washington, then the whole West Coast, then the U.S." At first glance, the picture it shows is understandable enough. Major cities are dense pockets of black, with more uninhabited white space cropping up as you move from east to west. But it’s remarkable just how pronounced that drop-off is moving from states like Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri to the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas, and the states beyond. As Martin-Anderson points out, that abrupt drop-off lines up neatly with the average precipitation experienced by those areas. "I love this a lot," he says, "because it illustrates the extent to which humans in large numbers act like something so simple and biological--like a field of grass growing under the reach of a sprinkler." Other observations from the mapmaker? For one thing, the map shows just how sparse northern Canada really is; 64% of the country’s population actually resides south of Seattle. It also illustrates some unique regional trends. The band of black along the Eastern Seaboard isn’t much of a surprise, but the metropolitan axis running from Atlanta to Raleigh-Durham is surprisingly dense. For Martin-Anderson, the process of making the map was also enlightening. Sifting through the census data, he found that the highest density blocks were prisons, dorms, barracks, homeless shelters, and luxury apartments. "It’s an extremely heterogeneous collection of outliers," he says. "People are prone to making politically charged statements about the goodness or badness of population density, but it’s very difficult to make any true and wide-reaching statements about areas with extremely high population density." But the project raises other questions still, mainly about the types of maps we make and use as a society. If the concept behind the dot-a-person map is so straightforward, and the results so insightful, why don’t we see them more often? The answer, says Martin-Anderson, can be traced to the fact that we’ve only recently become familiar with an easy-to-use tool for making sense of insanely dense, multi-scale maps: pinch-to-zoom. "I think designers are scared of overwhelming their users," he says, explaining the dearth of similar efforts until now. "Glancing around my computer’s screen right now I see maybe 3,000 characters of text or clickable regions--3,000 elements. The population map throws about 340 million objects at you at once, and I think most people’s intuition is that that’s just far too many things to display at once." But as we’ve all become masters of our maps apps, designers may need to change that assumption. "It’s super amazing how comfortable the average person is with zooming in and out of an image illustrating data with scale-free structure," the designer says. "I think it’s due to the tremendous amount of work that Apple and Google have done acclimating people to zooming. The majority of traffic to the map so far has been on devices where people are navigating through pinch-zoom. Point being: In the past, unfamiliarity and difficulty in zooming made scale-free graphics difficult, so designers either simplified them or ignored them. Now that people are used to zooming, we don’t have to make decisions for our users about where they should spend their attention. We can just give them everything at once." To test that theory for yourself, grab your iPad and check out the zoomable version of the map on Martin-Anderson’s site. http://bmander.com/dotmap/index.html Via : fastcodesign.com
  11. http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/josh-freed-the-winds-of-change-are-blowing-and-they-just-might-transform-montreal The winds of change are blowing and they just might transform Montreal -WE NEED MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS DAMMIT!
  12. (Courtesy of Financial Times) Just come already, we got some good cheap corporate taxes Plus we need the jobs.
  13. By Jay Bryan, Special to Gazette February 15, 2013 8:04 PM Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/homes/Bryan+housing+numbers+point+soft+landing/7973381/story.html#ixzz2L1fXbpfN MONTREAL — For more than a year, there have been two competing narratives about the future path of Canada’s high-flying housing market: total collapse and moderate decline. The moderates, if we can call them that, still seem to me to have the better argument, especially when you consider the unexpectedly upbeat housing resale figures last month. Friday’s report from the Canadian Real Estate Association demonstrates that national home sales continue to be significantly lower than those of a year ago, but that virtually all of this decline happened abruptly last August, reflecting a tough squeeze on mortgage-lending conditions in July by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Since then, however, there’s been no further month-to-month downtrend, notes CREA chief economist Gregory Klump. Prices, which don’t necessarily track sales right away, have also weakened, but less. While sales are down five per cent from one year ago, average national prices are actually up by three per cent, as measured by the CREA Home Price Index. However, this year-over-year price gain has slid gradually from the 4.5 per cent recorded in July. What’s the bottom line? In my opinion, it’s that the catastrophist scenario detailed not just by eccentric bloggers but also in national newspapers and magazines, looks increasingly unlikely. That’s not to say this outcome is utterly impossible. At least one highly regarded consulting firm, Capital Economics, has been predicting for two years that this country faces a 25-per-cent plunge in average home prices. This is the kind of drop — almost comparable to the 30-per-cent-plus crash in the U.S. — that would probably trigger a bad recession, especially in today’s environment of subdued economic growth. David Madani, the economist responsible for this frightening prediction, understands the housing numbers very well, but he simply doesn’t share most other analysts’ relative equanimity about what they mean. Yes, Canada’s banks are financially stronger and more prudent in their lending than their U.S. counterparts, he acknowledges, and yes, there’s little evidence of the fraud and regulatory irresponsibility that worsened the U.S. catastrophe, but he sees the psychology of overoptimistic buyers as uncomfortably similar. What looks like enormous overbuilding of condos in the hot Toronto market help to make his point, as does the still-stratospheric price of Vancouver housing. Madani certainly has a point, but the countervailing evidence seems even stronger. A key example is the behaviour of Canada’s housing market over the past six months. The latest squeeze on mortgage lending, the fourth in five years, is also the toughest, points out economist Robert Kavcic of BMO Capital Markets. It drove up the cost of carrying a typical loan by nearly one percentage point, or about $150 a month on a $300,000 mortgage. And as this shock was hitting the housing market, Canada’s employment growth was slowing. In a market held aloft by speculative psychology, it seems very likely that such a hammer blow would bring about the very crash that pessimists have been predicting. Instead, though, the market reacted pretty much as it had during previous rounds of Flaherty’s campaign to rein in the housing market, notes Derek Burleton, deputy chief economist at the TD Bank. Sales dropped moderately, but the decline didn’t feed on itself as it would in an environment of collapsing speculative hopes. Instead, the market proved to be rather resilient, with sales plateauing and then actually rising a bit in January. Burleton, along with Kavcic and Robert Hogue, an economist at the Royal Bank who follows housing, believe that we’ve already seen most of the market downside that will result from Flaherty’s move. Jay Bryan: New housing numbers point to soft landing This doesn’t mean that the market is out of the woods. It’s still overvalued, not hugely, but by something like 10 per cent, Burleton estimates. But moderate overvaluation can persist for years unless the market is hit by some shock to incomes or interest rates. While there’s no agreement on the path prices take from here, some of these analysts think they’ll drift down slowly, maybe three to eight per cent over a few years. At the same time, rising take-home pay will be shrinking the amount of overvaluation, creating a more sustainable market. Let’s hope they’re right. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/homes/Bryan+housing+numbers+point+soft+landing/7973381/story.html#ixzz2L1ew0d8Y
  14. J'y suis déjà allé, et c'est pas mal bon. Ça pourrait faire du super street food! http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Authentic+taste+Venezuela+alive+Catherine/8889481/story.html
  15. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1230226--toronto-ers-feel-weight-of-downtown-condo-boom Sarah-Taïssir Bencharif Staff Reporter Anil Chopra can’t believe some of the things happening in his emergency departments’ waiting rooms. Or triage areas. They’re just too crowded. It’s clear to him where the surge of people comes from. “You just have to look outside your window,” says Chopra, head of emergency medicine at the University Health Network, which comprises four hospitals: Princess Margaret, Toronto Western, Toronto General and Toronto Rehab. “Toronto has a great reputation as being a condo king in North-America,” he says. Amidst the debate ignited by Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday over who should live in the city’s downtown core, Torontonians are wondering what services are available for the increasing number of people who do. Chopra and other doctors and hospital administrators say the rate at which downtown Toronto’s density is increasing is outpacing the area hospitals’ capacity and infrastructure. Both Toronto Western and Toronto General’s emergency departments have exceeded their capacities, with a combined total of more than 100,000 visits to the ER every year. “We do things I wouldn’t have imagined,” says Chopra. Nurses in his department started doing some therapies right in the triage area. Patients with IV drips are sitting in chairs — there aren’t enough beds. Chopra’s had to examine patients’ right in the waiting room, “knowing full well I’m in earshot of other people,” he says. “Otherwise, they will wait four more hours.” He doesn’t like saying it, but they’re just trying to survive. The city and province’s plans to curb urban sprawl have pushed development vertically with a multitude of condos sprouting up in the downtown core. While there are environmental and social benefits to building up, doctors say hospital infrastructure hasn’t been able to catch up. The emergency waiting rooms are getting as crowded as Toronto’s skyline. “We’re seeing a 5 to 10 per cent increase (in emergency room patients) year after year after year,” says Chopra. “It seems to be endless.” Planning for downtown urban growth can be challenging, says Sandeep Agrawal, professor of planning at Ryerson University. Usually, when planners prepare new subdivisions, they design and allocate services according to the planned density. “Downtown, it’s a bit the other way around, where the population has increased multiple folds and hospitals have to keep up with that,” he says. “Obviously they were not designed initially to cater to that density.” Agrawal is worried urban planners have forgotten their discipline’s original purpose which was to mitigate the spread of disease caused by living in close quarters. “City planning as a profession has moved far from health planning agencies with relatively little or no contact with health and health planning agencies,” he writes in an email. In downtown Toronto, the quarters are getting closer. The city’s population grew by almost 112,000 residents, a rise of 4.5 per cent between 2006 and 2011. That’s more than five times the growth reported in the previous five-year period, according to Statistics Canada. The city of Toronto’s website reports there are 132 high rises currently under construction. It’s the most out of any city in the world. The Ministry of Infrastructure’s plan for Toronto is to increase the density of residents and jobs in downtown Toronto to a minimum of 400 per hectare by 2031. That figure is already at 708 jobs and residents per hectare in Toronto Centre, according to MPP Glen Murray’s office. The downtown population boom has also put pressure on St. Michael’s Hospital. When its emergency department was built in 1983, it was designed to handle 45,000 patients a year. Today, that department annually sees more than 70,000 patients. That figure is growing alarmingly fast. “We’ve been going up 5 to 8 per cent a year over the last five years,” says Doug Sinclair, St. Mike’s executive vice-president and chief medical officer. He says there are likely other factors behind the rapid increase in the number of ER visits, but the increased downtown population is an important one. “The vast majority of patients who come to St. Mike’s are from the downtown area . . . most of the emergency department visits are local. We’re presuming it’s had an effect,” he says. It’s hard to beat the rush. Since securing government approval for a hospital revitalization project which will include a new 17-storey patient care tower, they’ve had to revise the emergency department’s size and resources to fit the new volume of patients. But it’s nearly impossible to really build for future projections. “We can design it for the number we have now or guesstimate a few thousand more, but clearly the government never wants to build something too big,” says Sinclair. Money is tight. The Ministry of Infrastructure sets its density forecasts and communicates them to other relevant ministries, like the Ministry of Health. The two are responsible for funding and building hospitals in the province. The Ministry of Health changed its funding model from an across-the-board increase to funding hospitals based on the services they deliver. This should provide funding that better matches each hospital’s changing population and needs, according to Tori Gass, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health. But emergency doctors like Chopra aren’t sure the new funding model or all the cost-saving strategies already in place will help them much. “I’m not that optimistic,” he says.
  16. The first installment in a new Gazette series about living in Montréal. http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/montreal-az/index.html Being a Montrealer can be tough: the winters, the crumbling infrastructure, the corruption scandals ... But the start of the summer party and festival season has finally arrived, making this a perfect time to bask in all that this city has to offer, and to celebrate why we love Montreal, from A to Z. There’s so much to celebrate about living in Montreal If overcoming adversity is the secret to communal happiness, then we’re due an extra helping of joy. We ask some prominent Montrealers what they love most about our city BY RENÉ BRUEMMER, GAZETTE CIVIC AFFAIRS REPORTER JUNE 7, 2014 9:11 AM Things are looking up: Montreal’s skyline as seen from the lookout on Mount Royal. Photograph by: Megan Martin/Special to The Gazette MONTREAL — In order to truly appreciate life, a wise friend once told me, one has to suffer a little. We were descending from the peak of Mt. Algonquin in the Adirondacks after an unexpectedly harrowing five-hour hike through snow and ice that allowed ample time to ponder the question: “Why did we choose to inflict this on ourselves?” But as we descended, elated, my friend pointed out that it was the hardships we overcame that made the journey so special, and brought our disparate band of hikers closer. If overcoming adversity and suffering en masse is the secret to communal happiness, then Montrealers are due an extra helping of joy. Just as a sailor trapped in the darkness of a long storm may forget the existence of the sun, many Montrealers swamped by waves of corruption scandals and a particularly nasty political climate have lost sight that they live in one of the greatest and most vibrant cities in the world. One that manages to remain mostly harmonious in spite of, or perhaps because of, its vast diversity. More tarnished jewel than island paradise, Montreal is all the more precious to those who choose to live here — in part because of its imperfections. There are signs, finally, that Montrealers are starting to feel that glimmer of warmth again, and with it a rebirth of their pride. The shift in attitude coincides with the re-emergence of the sun, a glorious Habs playoff run, and Grand Prix weekend, what radio host Terry DiMonte refers to as “the starting gun for the summer.” It’s a time when we see our metropolis through the eyes of outsiders who see it as a special place for its unique French-English mix, harmonious multicultural melding and its expertise in the art of joie-de-vivre. The Gazette asked a handful of prominent Montrealers what they think makes our metropolis stand out. Alongside these perspectives, today we kick off a Gazette summer series on the many things that make this city a special place to live, from A to Z. We’ll run daily features — one for each letter of the alphabet. Congratulations, Montrealers, we’ve made it through some dark times. Now, it’s time to celebrate under the sun. The last many months have been hard on the soul, CHOM morning man Terry DiMonte notes. “I’ve told family and friends across the country that it has been very difficult to live in Montreal over the past 18 months, even more difficult than normal,” DiMonte said. “I had a French friend who told me, ‘Anglophones love the city so much because they have to fight so hard to stay.’ “When I first came back from Calgary, my first summer was the Maple Spring (season of student protests), which I found incredibly difficult, and that was followed by the election of the Parti Québécois (government) and all the disharmony and divisiveness (that followed), and that I found really, really soul-sapping.” In his four years in Calgary, DiMonte found that city clean, well-run and “all of those things that Montreal isn’t.” Yet he returned, for there is something about this city’s chaos that attracts. “As much as I hate to say it, part of what makes Montreal special is it demands a lot of you to live there — the construction, the politics, the closed highways, the potholes, the things we argue about, it’s all of those things that make the place in an odd way a special place. … It gives it a flavour you can’t find in any other city in Canada.” All that adversity breeds a certain toughness, said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. The city has shown resiliency in the face of a slew of crises, including loss of status as Canada’s top business metropolis, the flight of head offices and a decimated manufacturing sector. “Despite all that, there is an optimism, or will, to develop the city that always comes back,” Leblanc said. “We are an ambitious city. That doesn’t mean we necessarily realize all our ambitions, but when we say Montreal will be a cultural metropolis, and we way Montreal is a city of creativity, we actually create those two Montreals, we project ourselves as an international metropolis.” After a long decline, Montreal is rebuilding its roads and bridges, and residential and commercial office towers are sprouting everywhere, and especially downtown. There are 86 building projects over $5 million underway in Montreal and its demerged municipalities, Quebec’s construction commission reported this week. That indicates a positive outlook by developers, and the banks that saw fit to finance them, Leblanc said. The challenge, however, will be putting up with 10 years of construction zones. Beyond the current building boom, Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal also notes the city’s unique geography. “What I think is wonderful, somehow, is the space of the city itself,” Bumbaru said. “The architecture is not an architecture of immense landmarks, but one of streetscapes, and the connection between those, in a way. We can have a stroll on Gouin Blvd., or a stroll from the mountain down to the Lachine Canal. It is a strollable city. “It is the scale of the city, the notion of neighbourhoods and the fact that we have a living core.” (Eighty-four thousand people live in the Ville Marie borough, making for the most populated downtown core in North America after New York City, La Presse reported this week). While many cities are statistically diverse, their cultural groups are often grouped into ghettos that inhibit interaction and can create tensions. Montreal has a “mixity,” notes Bumbaru, “a porosity in the city fabric” that allows the multitudes to merge. That coming together creates a unique collectivity among people from all over the globe, says comedian Sugar Sammy. “People say there are two solitudes — I think there’s actually all these cultures that are starting to meld together,” said Sugar Sammy, whose bilingual standup shows have drawn 235,000 fans in Canada and India over the last two years, and whose new French TV show, Ces gars-là, is drawing a wide anglophone audience. It helps, he notes, that most Montrealers are bilingual, if not trilingual. The easy mixing allows Montrealers, often strongly attached to their own neighbourhoods, to visit the city’s other many varied locales and yet always still feel at home, Sammy said. “It’s not just biculturalism, but so many cultures and the fact that people know about each other here,” he said. Despite the division caused by Quebec’s proposed charter of values, Montreal’s “mixity” is actually a source of unity, Sammy said. Montreal’s city council and its mayor unanimously defied the charter, and the PQ, which proposed the charter, were trounced in the April elections. Communications strategist Martine St-Victor describes Montreal’s intermingling as harmony, as opposed to mere “tolerance.” “Harmony means not only that you have Asian friends, it’s that you love Asian restaurants — that you actively seek out other cultures and make them your own,” she said. “There is this human contact that you don’t find, for example, in New York or Paris,” she said, in part because many of Montreal’s neighbourhoods, with their local cafés and small cordonneries, maintain their village feel. “You sense you are part of a collective, that we are not just individuals, which is great.” It’s also a city where people aren’t afraid to look one another in the eye. And the city has a new champion, she said, in Mayor Denis Coderre. “He’s taking the city where it hasn’t been in a long time because he has guts. He has a big mouth, but he backs it up.” Since his election in November, Coderre has travelled to municipalities throughout Quebec, and to New York City, Paris, Lyons, and Brussels to forge bonds. And to proclaim: “We’re back.” “Our role is to make the city known, to make sure we are contagious. We have a great reputation internationally,” Coderre said. “When people come to Montreal, they fall in love with it.” At home, Coderre’s message has been: Tackle the issues, stop beating ourselves up about past transgressions and gain more power as Quebec’s major metropolis. If city council is proactive and takes decisions, the people will appreciate it, he argues. And they will forgive your mistakes, which allows for progress. “When we step back and look at ourselves in a bigger way, I think this is one of the greatest places in the world,” Coderre said. And a city that suffers as one also gets to celebrate as one. “We have this sort of sense, I think, of going through something together,” Sugar Sammy said. “We live whatever the pulse is, and if you live it together you feel it, and I think it makes you fall in love with the city even more.” [email protected] Twitter: ReneBruemmer
  17. via Architectural Digest : True North With its magnetic mix of rugged individualism and European flair, Montreal exudes an irresistible French-Canadian joie de vivre Text by Mitchell Owens Tourists and travel guides often tout Montreal asa North American version of Paris. Pas vrai. Though the two cities’ abundant historic façades are predominantly limestone, Montreal’s are ash-gray, a rough-hewn contrast to Paris’s soufflé-gold luminosity. As for their all-important food scenes, Montreal’s muscular, hearty cuisine offers a robust counterpoint to the French capital’s refined traditions. And while the Québécois vernacular may have a sharper twang than what is spoken in France today, it’s actually more closely connected to French’s roots. Melissa Auf der Maur, the Montreal-born former guitarist for Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, once dismissed the provincial tongue as “hillbilly French”—only to have her mother, literary translator Linda Gaboriau, defend it as “the original French, the French of the kings.” In an increasingly globalized world, Montreal venerates its deep-seated local culture. French colonists settled Quebec in the early 1600s, and their descendants have never forgotten that intrepid foray, hence the province’s enduring separatist movement and its motto, Je me souviens—“I remember,” rendered pointedly en français. As Los Angeles–based AD100 architect Richard Landry, a University of Montreal alumnus, explains, “When you see those words on every license plate, it’s hard not to think about the patrimoine all the time.” Indeed, this city of 1.7 million, set on an island at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, is infused with a pioneer spirit and an unpretentious pride in the homegrown. Cuisine is integral to this rich heritage—and a major reason Montreal remains a compelling destination long after summer’s festivals (most famously the International Jazz Festival) and carnivals have ended. “Montrealers reportedly spend more of their disposable income on eating out than on anything else,” says Andrew Torriani, the CEO and co-owner of the Ritz-Carlton Montréal hotel, a 1912 Beaux Arts landmark graced by the impeccable Maison Boulud restaurant, where executive chef Riccardo Bertolino plates suave international fare. The city is well-known for poutine, a tangle of frîtes topped with cheese curds and gravy. Auf der Maur swears by the version at Patati Patata (514-844-0216), a microscopic café close to Mount Royal Park, a 494-acre oasis designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Diners craving more sophisticated menus can head to chef Normand Laprise’s hushed Toqué!, opposite the glittering business district’s colorful Palais des Congrès convention center and around the corner from the sleek W Montréal hotel. Chef-owners Hubert Marsolais and Claude Pelletier’s surf-and-turf mecca, Le Club Chasse et Pêche, on the other hand, is set amid the colonial gray-stone buildings of Old Montreal. Marsolais and Pelletier also collaborate with chef Michele Mercuri on the Italian-inflected brasserie Le Serpent, at the Ville-Marie arrondissement’s visual-arts center Fonderie Darling. Last year in the working-class Little Burgundy section—not far from the Old Port, where warehouses have been turned into cafés and inns, like the lofty Auberge du Vieux-Port hotel—chef-restaurateurs David McMillan and Frédéric Morin opened Le Vin Papillon, a charming wine bar. The new boîte is on the same block as the celebrated pair’s Liverpool House, a bistro with antler-bedecked walls, and Joe Beef, a tchotchke-filled gastropub that was recently ranked as Canada’s top restaurant, thanks to its lively confections like parfait of foie gras with Madeira jelly. Other daring chefs invigorating the city’s scene include François Nadon of the Latin Quarter’s Bouillon Bilk and Guillaume Cantin at Old Montreal’s Les 400 Coups. The city has a riveting collection of locally designed architecture as well. Starting with Moshe Safdie and his 1967 Habitat housing complex, a number of Canadian and Québécois talents have produced notable contemporary projects, including those in the Quartier des Spectacles, a network of performance halls, restaurants, galleries, fountains, and squares in the Latin Quarter. One of the district’s stars is the Grande Bibliothèque, a joint venture between Croft-Pelletier Architectes and Gilles Guité, both of Quebec City, and Vancouver’s Patkau Architects. The green-glass behemoth, containing multistory rooms walled with yellow-birch louvers, was hailed as “simple but wonderful” by Phyllis Lambert, Montreal’s architecture doyenne. The same could be said of Lambert’s own Canadian Centre for Architecture, which occupies an elegant 1989 building attached to a historic mansion in the Shaughnessy Village neighborhood. (The city does have a few outsider icons, namely Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 1967 Westmount Square mixed-used complex, I. M. Pei’s 1962 Place Ville Marie skyscraper, and Roger Taillibert’s futuristic Olympic Stadium, a 1976 structure Landry calls “a very, very cool white elephant.”) Québécois art offers major-league delights, too. The works of powerhouse midcentury geometric painters Claude Tousignant and Guido Molinari are highlighted at the multivenue Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. And things are only looking up for current local talents, according to Lesley Johnstone, a curator at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, which hosts the Montreal Biennial from October 22, 2014, to January 4, 2015. “Today the wealthy younger crowd whose families supported hospitals and the symphony are focusing on Canadian artists,” she observes. Among this new generation are Anne-Marie and Pierre Trahan, the maestros behind the two-year-old Arsenal Montréal, a contemporary art complex housed in a former shipyard in the Griffintown neighborhood. The 83,000-square-foot space is also home to the couple’s Division Gallery, which focuses on domestic talents such as multidisciplinary artists Nicolas Baier and Bonnie Baxter. After taking in Arsenal’s exhibitions, one can visit another Griffin-town magnet, a stretch of rue Notre-Dame Ouest known as Antiques Alley, where cafés alternate with treasure troves like Milord Antiquités and Antiquités L’Ecuyer (514-932-8461). Stylish Montrealers also dress Canadian, heading to Boutique Unicorn and Philippe Dubuc for fashions by their compatriots, while apparel star Marie Saint Pierre operates an eponymous flagship in downtown’s Golden Square Mile area. Boho-chic women—including Sharon Johnston, the wife of Canada’s governor general—step out in fascinatingly funky jewelry that designer Charlotte Hosten makes in her tiny appointment-only Mile End atelier. And at nearby Clark Street Mercantile, the brands primarily come from far beyond the province but share an earthy authenticity that feels absolutely Canadian. It’s a quality worth keeping in mind when exploring a city where roots and remembrance are everything. See more of Montreal's can't-miss destinations.
  18. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) This is the first part of three. Plus you get more visuals in the paper today.
  19. For next rating downgrade, S&P may look at France Commentary: France has lots of debt, and dysfunctional politics LONDON (MarketWatch) — The U.S. is broke? Been there. Italy is bankrupt. Done that. Spain is teetering on the edge? Got the T-shirt. There is, however, one major industrial country that has so far managed to sail through the market turmoil without anyone seriously questioning its credit-worthiness: France. And yet, if you‘re looking for the next downgrade, and the source of the next shock to the global markets, it’s France you should be looking toward. The country’s debt is exploding. It is steadily losing competitiveness against Germany, and running up huge trade deficits. Its political system is every bit as dysfunctional as America’s. And, of course, it is about to be presented with a massive bill for bailing out Italy and Spain. A French downgrade may only be a matter of time. If it happens, it’s going to be a huge blow to already-fragile markets. The country has the fourth largest debt in the world, and its paper is heavily traded by global investors. There would be some nasty losses on a French downgrade. True, there is not much sign of it yet. Almost at the same time as it was downgrading the United States, Standard & Poor’s was reaffirming France’s status as the most rock-solid of borrowers. According to the French newspaper Liberation, an S&P spokesman stated that there were no plans to downgrade France. There were no question marks over the solvency of the nation. Really? Take a closer look and you might start to wonder. First, French debt is escalating rapidly. It might not be as big as that of some other countries yet, but it’s getting there fast. Last year it ran a deficit of 7% of GDP. French debt will total 90% of GDP this year and 95% in 2012, according to estimates by Capital Economics. That isn’t exactly running out of control — but it is getting very close. Indeed, it’s around the same levels of debt-to-GDP that earned the U.S. a downgrade. And France is racking up fresh debt at a faster rate than countries such as Italy or Spain. It is hard to see how you can feel comfortable about that. Next, France is steadily losing competitiveness against Germany — in exactly the same way that countries such as Italy and Spain have, except not quite so quickly. France, a major manufacturing center, used to run healthy trade surpluses; now it runs big deficits. The balance of trade for the six months to June showed a deficit of 37.5 billion euros compared with a deficit of 27.6 billion euros in the last six months of 2010, figures released last week showed. The deficit with Germany, its major trading partner, is running at a billion euros a month. Back in 2004, it was regularly running surpluses of a billion euros a month. Countries with big, persistent trade deficits — as any American can testify — have to borrow to fund themselves. The bigger the debts they run up, the greater the risk of a downgrade. Third, if the U.S. has a dysfunctional political system, then France is not much better. Like the U.S., it has separate elections for the president and the legislature, creating a system that is often close to paralysis. And no other country in the developed world is quite so resistant to economic reform: Any modifications to working hours or pensions or welfare plans brings out rioters and is usually swiftly abandoned. And like the U.S., it has a president who came to power on a wave of optimism, and has since turned out to be fairly ineffectual. France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy is deeply unpopular. He is scoring in the mid-20s in the polls — a slight recovery from the nadir early this year, but hardly a secure position. Marine Le Pen, the far-right National Front leader, is scoring around 20%, and she advocates pulling out of the euro and restoring the franc. Indeed, of all the main euro-area countries, France is the only one where a major (if not exactly mainstream) political movement argues for breaking up the single currency. Far-reaching ramifications Finally, if Italy and Spain have to be rescued, then it will be France that foots a lot of the bill. Germany can afford it; France can’t. Once you add Spanish and Italian debts, the French balance sheet looks in terrible shape. “With the turmoil in Europe there have been many politicians suggesting that the size of the [European Financial Stability Fund, or EFSF] has to be increased,” noted Gary Jenkins of Evolution Securities in an analysis on Monday. “But any suggestion that the EU is turning into a fiscal union (even if by default) could well have an impact on individual sovereigns’ ratings as well as the EFSF structure.” Indeed so. Every time a euro-area country has to be bailed out, it puts more pressure on the finances of the few that remain completely solvent. Add it all up, and if the U.S. is getting downgraded there is no reason for the ratings agencies not to turn their fire on France next. That matters hugely for the financial system. While countries such as Greece and Portugal are largely irrelevant to the global system, France is very important. The country has a lot of paper out there — the government has total outstanding debts of $1.7 trillion, making it the fourth largest debtor in the world after the U.S., Japan and Italy. And that debt is far more widely held — 38% of French debt is held internationally, which is a lot more than Italy (24%), the U.S. (21%) or Japan (2%), according to calculations made by the research house TheCityUK. The cost of insuring against a French default is starting to rise. The markets have started to notice the country’s dire position. It can’t be that long before the rating agencies catch up. If France does get downgraded, then it is going to be a very serious blow to the markets. Just about every bank and every bond portfolio in the world is going to take a hit. Matthew Lynn is a financial journalist based in London. He is the author of "Bust: Greece, the Euro and the Sovereign Debt Crisis," and he writes adventure thrillers under the name Matt Lynn. Il y a déjà des milliers de français qui viennent vivre au Québec chaque année, je crois que cela laisse présager que le mouvement va encore plus s'accentuer...
  20. Took the 55 bus north on St-Laurent yesterday. I was shocked to see dozens of boarded up store fronts on the east side of the street between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal. This is so much worse that I have ever seen in over 20 years! So sad and depressing. How could we let this happen? Go see for yourself. Take a walk on the Main. If anyone wants to record and share the images here, I'm sure you will be shocked too. Here's something I just saw in CULT-MTL on same subject, although IMO the situation is much more serious than the tone in the piece. http://cultmontreal.com/2013/04/st-laurent-montreal-main/ St-Laurent has seen better days There are few greater, simpler pleasures in this town than walking along the Main on a crisp spring afternoon. But given how dire things are looking for Montreal’s multicultural microcosm, I’m not looking forward to doing it this year with my usual enthusiasm. For years, pedestrians had to deal with all the interminable construction, and while many of us courageously traversed those rickety planks masquerading as sidewalks, the street never really recovered from those trying times. Businesses have been shuttering left and right (I weep for BBQ Rocky’s — where I’ll get smokes and watch soaps now I don’t know), so in an effort to make the abyss more enticing to prospective entrepreneurs, the St-Laurent Merchants’ Association is spending $30,000 to dress up the growing number of empty storefronts. Of course, it’s akin to trying to stop the bleeding from a gunshot wound with a few dabs of a wet nap, or more specifically it’s a modern take on Potemkin Village. The obvious, sad truth is that, given how gradual the Main’s depreciation has been, it’s going to take more than a few fancy snapshots to revitalize the area. It’s not a bad idea, per se, because mushy newspapers certainly don’t make for good window shopping, but saving the Main will require progressive thinking. There are plenty of cooler streets around town these days, and history isn’t much of a selling point, even when it’s engraved on ergonomically unfavourable benches. Some streets just never get their groove back: St-Laurent merchants need only look to their cross-street brother Prince Arthur if they want a harrowing look into their future. There’s a municipal election coming up later this year, so perhaps it’s high time that the supposedly “clean” party — the one that rules over the Plateau with a sanctimonious wag and aspires to expand their empire — prove they’re good at something besides pointing out how bloated and corrupt their political rivals are. And if they don’t have any solutions, either, maybe they can just hike parking rates by another buck or two. That’ll help. ■
  21. (Courtesy of the Financial Post) Reason I put it in culture, it seems more of a Quebec culture to be more laid back and no really care about material wealth, but that is my own point of view.