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  1. Un autre article intéressant du Telegraph de Londres. Ils publient régulièrement des articles touristiques sur Montréal et le Québec, toujours très flatteurs, d'ailleurs. Montreal: a thrilling collision of cultures Part French, part English and a lot more besides, Montreal is stylish, intriguing, and full of joie de vivre, says Kathy Arnold. On a sunny Saturday morning, we stroll through the Quartier Latin. Apart from a few dogwalkers and the occasional cyclist, the streets are quiet. We take a table at an outdoor café, order café au lait and read through La Presse, the local newspaper. It is all oh-so French, but when an American sits down nearby, the waitress slips effortlessly into English. We are in Montreal, the third-largest French-speaking metropolis in the world (after Paris and Kinshasa) – and one of the most intriguing cities I know. Montreal is proud of its Gallic roots. From its founding in 1642 until 1763, when the British took over, this island in the St Lawrence River was an important outpost of France. Down by the harbour, 19th-century banks and warehouses testify to the wealth generated by the port. It still ranks as one of the largest in North America, despite being 1,000 miles from the Atlantic. Traditionally, the Anglophones lived on the west side, the Francophones to the east. The dividing line was - and still is - the boulevard Saint-Laurent, referred to as “The Main” in English or “La Main” in French. The look of the city reflects this mixture of cultures, as if, in an architectural game of tit-for-tat, classic French designs are matched by traditional British. In front of the Hôtel de Ville, we crane our necks to look up at columns and porticoes as grandiose as any on a 19th-century town hall in France. By contrast, at Christ Church Cathedral, Anglican Gothic rules, from arches to spire. Then there are the street names: Saint-Jacques and Victor-Hugo share the map with Sherbrooke and Queen-Mary. And where else boasts a rue Napoléon and a rue Wellington? Canada’s second city may rest on European foundations, but its mirror-windowed skyscrapers are pure North America. So is the grid system of streets that spreads from the St Lawrence up to Mont-Royal, the hill for which the city is named. But unlike many US cities, Montreal is very walkable. We saunter along cobbled streets and lanes in the oldest part of the city, the Vieux-Port, where harbourside seediness has given way to galleries, trendy hotels and restaurants. Up the hill, in the Plateau area, we photograph the escaliers - the outdoor staircases that are a feature of the century-old duplex townhouses. Some insist that the curved steps reduced building costs; others say they created space for a front garden. Local lore suggests otherwise. “We are very Catholic,” a friend explains. “To ensure propriety, the church insisted on exterior entrances so everyone on the street could always see who was going in and out of each apartment.” Many Montrealers still live downtown, so the urban bustle continues after work and at weekends. Thanks to a passion for the arts, there is always plenty going on. Over the years, we have been to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Grands Ballets Canadiens, enjoyed jazz and comedy at small clubs. And we have always eaten well. Like their cousins in the Old World, Montrealers love good food. As well as four busy, European-style markets, piled high with local produce, there is a huge range of well-priced restaurants. Some offer hearty Québec favourites such as smoked meat, tourtière (meat pie) and, thanks to the Jewish community, arguably the best bagels in North America. My favourite restaurants are those offering a modern take on traditional recipes; the most famous is Toqué!, whose chef, Normand Laprise, was in the vanguard of the foodie revolution. Still others reflect the influx of immigrants from Italy and Greece, Spain and China. These newcomers have spiced up the pot-au-feu that is Montreal: Vietnamese-run flower stalls look like mini-garden centres and red-shirted Benfica supporters celebrate the Portuguese club’s victory. Although locals still talk about the “French” and the “English”, meaning Francophone and Anglophone, Montreal today embraces so much more than just these two cultures. It all adds up to a city that is vibrant, confident and forward-looking, with a joie de vivre that is impossible to resist. As the franglais slogan for a local radio station puts it: “Plus de hits! Plus de fun!” Essentials Montreal is five hours behind UK time; the international dialling code for Canada is 001; the current exchange rate is C$1.88 to the pound. Where to stay Luxury The city is dotted with designer-cool hotels, such as the 30-room Hotel Gault at 449 rue Sainte-Hélène (514 904 1616, http://www.hotelgault.com; from £90), on the edge of Vieux-Montreal. Behind its elegant 1871 façade are bare brick and modern art. Traditionalists should opt for the Auberge Bonaparte at 447 rue Saint-François-Xavier (514 844 1448, http://www.bonaparte.com; £80), with its romantic ambience, excellent restaurant and 30 comfortable rooms. In fine weather, take in the views over Vieux-Montreal from the sixth-floor roof terrace. Mid-range The 60-room Hôtel XIXe Siècle at 262 rue St-Jacques Ouest (877 553 0019, http://www.hotelxixsiecle.com; from £70) scores for price and location – on the edge of Vieux-Montreal and an easy walk from downtown. The lobby and bar still have the high ceilings from the building’s origins as a 19th-century bank. Budget When the Auberge Les Passants du Sans Soucy at 171 rue St-Paul Ouest (514 842 2634, http://www.lesanssoucy.com) opened as an art gallery-cum-b&b some 15 years ago, Vieux-Montreal had yet to be revived. Today, guests staying in this 1723 stone house are steps away from galleries, shops and restaurants. Nine rooms only, so book early; Daniel Soucy’s breakfasts are lavish. What to see Museums For a quick history lesson, visit Pointe-à-Callière, built right on top of the city’s first Catholic cemetery (1643-1654). Look down through glass to the graves of Iroquois Indians buried near people named Tessier, Thibault and Hébert, family names that are still in the local phone book. On the top floor, L’Arrivage restaurant has great views over the port (514 872 9150, http://www.pacmusee.qc.ca). As well as the obvious European Old Masters, the Musée des Beaux-Arts (514 285 2000, http://www.mbam.qc.ca) has fine Canadian works. Paintings by the renowned Group of Seven capture the ruggedness of the country in the early 20th century; more contemporary are Quebecois talents such as Jean-Paul Riopelle and Serge Lemoyne . The Olympic Park From the 1976 Olympic Stadium, the Montreal Tower rises 537 feet (164m) - at an incline of 45 degrees. Take the funicular up to the Observatory for spectacular views across the city. Another legacy of the Games is the pool. For £2, you can swim where David Wilkie of Scotland took gold in the 200m breaststroke, breaking the world record in the process (514 252 4737, http://www.rio.gouv.qc.ca). Then there is the velodrome, recycled as the Biodôme. Under a vast roof, this space is divided into four eco-systems, which are always in season. Sloths hide in the Tropical Rainforest, cod and salmon swim in the St Lawrence Marine Eco-system, beavers build dams in the Laurentian Forest, but the biggest crowd-pleasers are the penguins, which torpedo into the icy waters of the Antarctic (514 868 3000, http://www.biodome.qc.ca). Montreal Botanical Garden An easy walk from the Olympic Park is the city’s answer to Kew Gardens (514 872 1400, www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin). Within its 180 acres are 10 giant greenhouses and 30 themed gardens. Learn all about toxic and medicinal plants; compare Chinese and Japanese horticultural styles. Montreal Insectarium Across from the Botanical Garden is the Insectarium (514 872 1400, www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/insectarium), a must for children. This is a world of creepy-crawlies, with dung beetles, stick insects, cochineals, bees and more. There is even a set of scales that registers your weight, not in pounds or kilos but in ants. A 10-year-old weighs in at about 1.5 million. What to buy Shopping With sterling riding high, shopping is a pleasure. All the international brand names are here, but most fun are the boutiques featuring the work of stylish local designers. Downtown, head for rue de la Montagne, between Boulevard de Maisonneuve and rue Sherbrooke; up on the Plateau, check out rue Saint-Denis, chock-a-block with shops, and the funky boulevard Saint-Laurent. The three big department stores are Holt Renfrew, La Baie (Hudson’s Bay Company) and La Maison Ogilvy, where noon is still marked by a kilted piper playing the bagpipes. Markets Join locals shopping for produits du terroir at the art deco Marché Atwater, with its cheeses and maple syrup, and, next to Little Italy, the Marché Jean-Talon, ringed with busy bistro tables. The Marché Bonsecours in Vieux-Montreal no longer sells fruit and veg: the handsome 1847 building is now devoted to arts and crafts. Where to eat Toqué! Back in the early 1990s, Normand Laprise startled locals with his flavour combinations and the dramatic look of his dishes. As inventive as ever, his seven-course, £45 “mystery menu” could include scallops marinated in strawberry and bell pepper jus and suckling pig with a curry glaze (900 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle; 514 499 2084, http://www.restaurant-toque.com). La Porte At this family-run operation, Pascale Rouyé looks after front of house while her husband, Thierry, and their son cook. They do what the French do best (local ingredients, classic techniques), and the five-course, £22 menu would be hard to beat in their native Brittany (3627 Boulevard Saint-Laurent; 514 282 4996) . Olive + Gourmando Wood floors and chairs and young, cheerful staff make this a pleasant place to start the day with steaming café au lait and a blueberry brioche (351 rue Saint-Paul Ouest; 514 350 1083, http://www.oliveetgourmando.com). Garde-Manger The disco beat gets louder as the evening progresses in this brick-walled restaurant. Get stuck in to ribs and platters piled with crabs, mussels and shrimp from Québec’s Iles de la Madeleine. Finish with maple-pecan pie (408 rue Saint-François-Xavier; 514 678 5044). Aszú In this basement oenothèque, David Couture’s modern cuisine is matched with 50 wines by the glass (212 rue Notre-Dame Ouest; 514 845 5436). Night owls During Prohibition, Americans escaped to Montreal for whisky and jazz. There is still no shortage of clubs and bars. Join the fun on rue Crescent, boulevard Saint-Laurent and rue Saint-Denis in the Quartier Latin. One of the best jazz clubs is The Upstairs (1254 rue MacKay; 514 931 6808, http://www.upstairsjazz.com). Getting there Canadian Affair has return flights from London Gatwick and Manchester to Montreal Trudeau International from £198; flights and six nights’ three-star accommodation from £396, based on two sharing (020 7616 9184 or 0141 223 7517, http://www.canadianaffair.com). Getting about No car is needed. The STM three-day tourist pass (£9) offers unlimited travel on the fast, safe metro and bus system. Metro stops are part of RÉSO, the network of cheerful, brightly lit underground walkways that stretches for some 20 miles, linking shops and apartment blocks, restaurants and museums. Getting in The Montreal Museums Pass gets you in to the 30 principal museums, and includes the three-day travel pass (£23, http://www.museesmontreal.org). More information Tourism Montreal: http://www.tourisme-montreal.org. At Tourism Québec, talk to a real person on 0800 051 7055 (http://www.bonjourquebec.com/uk). In the know Three of the best events on the city’s calendar include: Canadian Grand Prix, June 6-8 (http://www.grandprix.ca). International Jazz Festival, June 26-July 6 (http://www.montrealjazzfest.com). Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, July 10-20 (http://www.hahaha.com).
  2. Eat like a local in ... Montreal Poutine may still be a student staple but Kevin Gould finds fresh, inventive dishes in the city's bistros, delis and micro-breweries Kevin Gould The Guardian, Saturday June 7 2008 Slow food ... find friendly service and fresh food as part of Montreal's creative food scene. Photograph: Rudy Sulgan/Corbis I start my search for the fresh local tastes of Montreal at Marché Jean-Talon (7075 Casgrain Ave between De Castelnau and Jean-Talon metro). This is not some bourgeois foodie faux-farmers' market. Held indoors in winter, the market spills outside at this time of year, with countless eat-ins, takeaways, wine shops and stalls, busy with people expecting (and getting) high-quality, well-priced, local, seasonal produce. As with the rest of Montreal's food and drink culture, someone has done a marvellous job of inculcating the virtues of the Slow Food movement, without the pretentious nonsense we're often served up in Europe. Montrealers are disarmingly friendly. A cheerful tubby bloke munching a pickled cucumber on a stick invites me to his restaurant, a minute away from the market. Jean-Philippe's Kitchen Galerie (60 rue Jean-Talon Est,+514 315 8994, no website) has no waiters: you're served by one of the three chefs who cook your dinner. He pours me a glass of excellent red from L'Orpailleur in the eastern townships, which has the grace of a French pinot noir, and the energy of a Californian one. "We're not sommeliers," he smiles, "but we know how to drink!" They sure know how to cook, too. Minestrone with chorizo and calves' sweetbreads with soft-shell crab give a flavour of Jean-Philippe's full-on stance on food. The standout main course is a massive côte de boeuf with tarragon sauce and roast veg. You can "super-size" it with truffles and foie gras. Gloriously, ridiculously rich. Strawberry salad with basil syrup and 7-Up jelly completes the feast. The most creative, interesting food scenes in town are mostly in Le Plateau and Mile End, where you find a mixture of ethnic communities, students and sophisticates. I loved Maison Cakao (5090 rue Farbre, corner of rue Laurier, +514 598 2462) for its cupcakes and brownies, and Le Fromentier (1375 rue Laurier Est), where the bread and charcuterie are at least as good as anything you'll find in Paris. Fairmount Bagel (74 rue Fairmount Ouest, fairmountbagel.com, open 24 hours, 365 days) is a tiny local institution that hand-makes 18 varieties and bakes them in wood ovens. Another institution worth its reputation is Schwartz's (3895 blvd St Laurent, +514 842 4813, schwartzsdeli.com, all you can eat $15. No reservations, expect to stand in line), whose smoked meat - think salt beef with deeper flavour - is sensational and worth queuing for. Order your meat "lean" unless you're in with a cardiologist, and eat too much of it with gorgeous dark brown fries, crunchy pickles and a soda. Around the corner, Le Reservoir (9 rue Duluth Est, +514 849 7779) is a micro-brewery with a kitchen. It is the most happening place in the area for Sunday brunch - expect fresh cranberry scones with yoghurt; cod cheeks and chips with home-made ketchup; fried eggs and smoked bacon over sublime Yorkshire pudding. Poutine is a Quebecois speciality, consisting of oily french fries strewn with curd cheese and smothered in salty gravy. Oddly comforting, and excellent for mopping up alcohol, together with every last drop of saliva in your mouth. The Montreal Pool Room (1200 blvd St Laurent), an appealingly grungy, noisy and popular diner, is a good place to try it. If poutine is old-school Montreal cuisine, the Cluny ArtBar (257 rue Prince, +514 866 1213, cluny.info) is its new wave. Cluny is in the centre of town, only a short walk from the touristy joints of the old town. It's near the riverside, attached to a gallery in an ex-foundry. Come here for generous, innovative salads and grills. A few steps away, Le Cartet (106 rue McGill, +514 871 8887) is everything you'd ever want for a buzzy, Scandinavian-smart take on the communal canteen. Great for lunch, Le Cartet has a deli attached and also offers a blowout Sunday brunch buffet, where you can nurse the hangover you nurtured the night before at Pullman (3424 du Parc ave, +514 288 7779, pullman-mtl.com), the gastro bar du choix for Montreal's beautiful people. They're serious about their wine at Pullman, but also mix a mean cosmopolitan. Try tapas like venison tartare with chips, tuna sashimi with pickled cucumber salad, mini bison burgers and roasted marrow bones with veal cheeks. Were Pullman in London, it would be double the price and snooty. Here, it is honest, exciting and fun. As Montreal reinvents itself as a multicultural, modern city, so its young chefs have thrown off the shackles of classical French cuisine. My favourite example of this pared-down, matter-of-fact excellence was in the 10-table neighbourhood Bistro Bienville (4650 rue de Mentana, +512 509 1269, bistrobienville.com). There are no starters or mains, just whatever's good today. They'll fix you a stunning seafood platter, grill you a beautiful piece of fish, and roast you a perfect fat joint of beef. I also ate excellent local cheeses, drank fantastic wine, and thought that if I lived in Montreal, I'd be in here every day. Instead of parading a love of good food and drink as accessories to an ostentatious life, Montrealers celebrate the joys of the table with the matter-of-fact verve born of living half the year in the teeth of an Arctic gale. · Canadian Affair (020-7616 9184, canadianaffair.com) flies Gatwick-Montreal from £99 one way inc tax. The stylish La Place d'Armes (+512 842 1887, hotelplacedarmes.com) has rooms for around £125 including breakfast, cheese and wine and hammam. The training hotel, l'Institut de Tourisme et d'Hôtellerie (+514 282-5120, ithq.qc.c http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2008/jun/07/montreal.restaurants/print
  3. Je ne suis pas sûr que c'est un compliment de se faire dire que Montréal goûte la poutine! Et les clichés sur notre supposée "joie-de-vivre", juste parce qu'on parle français, c'est un peu éculé, mais comme l'article est positif, on va leur pardonner... A foodie's guide to Montreal USA Today By Michele Kayal For The Associated Press Montreal may sound like Paris, but it tastes like poutines. A mess of french fries, gravy and cheese curds, this signature dish of French-speaking Canada's largest city captures its engaging and independent culinary personality. Originally inhabited by Native Americans, later populated by hunters, trappers and missionaries, and eventually battled over by the French and British, Montreal offers gutsy, creative and hearty fare that honors its diverse forbears. "There is a tradition of English cooking and French cooking, but it's taken on that lusty explorer, wilderness, joie de vivre," says Catherine MacPherson, a food columnist for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio. "It's rib sticking, and it's got that independent spirit." That wasn't always so. Until the early 1990s in Montreal, "good" cuisine meant "French" cuisine, and all the local stars had trained in France. That's also where they got their ingredients — lamb, lobster, artichokes, nearly everything. Until a young chef named Normand Laprise returned from the Continent more impressed by the freshness of ingredients in France than by their Frenchness. He began cultivating farmers and ranchers and launched a movement toward fresh, local ingredients that drew from Quebec's rich landscape. His restaurant, Toque!, opened in 1993, and remains the standard-bearer for upscale Quebequois cuisine. "When you come in Montreal, you feel that the food is more about us, about Quebec philosophy and Quebec roots," he says. "It's our produce, our chefs." Today, Montreal is "bigger and better," Laprise says, as the scene has filled with choice, from bistros to sandwich shops to corner grocers and cheese shops that offer fresh, delicious, local foods. The city claims 6,000 restaurants spanning 80 cuisines for its scant 2 million people, making it a city of foodies, by foodies, for foodies. The food scene could take weeks to explore, but with just a few days — and a big appetite — a dedicated eater can make a thorough and delicious survey. Start the tour at L'Express, a traditional bistro in the Plateau neighborhood where the floor is checkered, the ceilings are high and French is spoken all around. The steak of steak-frites is juicy and fatty, crowned with herb butter. The frites are crispy and light. Pistachio-studded pate literally melts on the tongue leaving hints of thyme and cognac behind. The chocolate tart is so glossy and thick with flavor that the otherwise stone-faced waiter is moved to speak, telling two diners that it is made with 76% cacao. Montrealers have made L'Express their local hangout for nearly three decades, but recently it's gotten some company. Around the corner, Au Pied de Cochon plumps up the bistro concept, making traditionally thrifty Quebecois cooking richer, fatter, heartier. Chef Martin Picard offers pickled venison tongue; a salad of rich, bitter greens topped with crunchy bits of fried pig cartilage; and nearly everything stuffed with foie gras, from peasant food such as pig's foot to the famous poutines. Picard's menu honors the region's sweet tooth not only with the famous tarte au sucre — literally, sugar pie — but even with a playful take on breakfast that features buckwheat pancakes, thick bacon, and yes, foie gras, all of it doused with maple syrup. On the other side of town in the Petite-Bourgogne neighborhood, Restaurant Joe Beef redefines the British pub with a decidedly modern take on roasts, puddings and other delectables. Named after a legendary tavern keeper known for scoring rations for his fellow British soldiers, the tiny restaurant's menu changes with the seasons and the whim of chef Fred Morin. But Joe Beef traffics in items such as fresh lobster tossed with bacon, baby peas and pasta, and dishes for two, such as sliced rib steak with marrow bones, or a whole rack of Quebec lamb with mint sauce. Tucked in the back, but at the establishment's heart, is the oyster bar, a half-dozen seats crowded around a dinged-up counter where three-time Canadian oyster-shucking champion John Bil recently popped dozens of briny bivalves mostly from the waters of Prince Edward Island. No matter where or what a visitor eats in Montreal, it's likely to be decadent. Butter, sugar, lard: these ingredients do not scare Montrealers. "There's never been a fear of indulgence or fats when it comes to their food," MacPherson says. "They see no reason for self-flagellation at the dinner table." Which brings us back to poutines. Gravy-and-cheese slathered french fries, are, perhaps, a dish best understood when inebriated. Or when you're very, very cold. "Imagine yourself being here in February, you're on a ski hill and it's minus 27," says Nathalie Cooke, a culinary historian at the city's McGill University. And she's talking Celsius. "You'd be amazed how good poutines can taste." Au Pied's foie gras-laden poutines are revered by gourmets, but students and bloggers seem to favor the slapped down version at Patati Patata, a tiny corner joint near McGill whose name roughly translates as "blah blah blah." But poutines aren't the city's only casual food. A flourishing culture of quick but delicious — and above all real — food can be found at patisseries, fromageries (cheese shops), and places that fall somewhere between bakery, sandwich shop and grocery store. At Olive et Gourmando in the Vieux-Montreal neighborhood, flaky palmiers are delivered alongside dense Valrhona brownies and hot sandwiches dripping with caramelized onions and succulent pork. "We're not interested in how many tables there are," Cooke says. "We're quite willing to go to a place that has two tables, or even to stand." At Au Pied de Cochon, chef Martin Picard offers a playful take on breakfast that features buckwheat pancakes, thick bacon and foie gras, all of it doused with maple syrup. Chef Yann Laguna puts the finishing touches on a salad at the McCord Cafe in downtown Montreal. The city is packed with bistros, bakeries, markets and cutting edge eateries.
  4. Le Petit Maghreb By Joel Ceausu Little Italy and Chinatown are getting a new sibling — and since it’s just a few blocks, maybe Louise Harel won’t mind. Le Petit Maghreb is now more than just a casual moniker for a certain part of the city: it’s an official part of Montreal’s commercial destination network, and an unofficial but growing tourism draw. The area in the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough has received $40,000 from the city of Montreal’s Programme réussir à Montréal ([email protected] Commerce) recognizing the efforts of the local Maghreb business association for revitalization of Jean-Talon Street between Saint-Michel and Pie-IX boulevards. “Thanks to this support, local businesspeople finally have the means to create an official new district in Montreal,” said a clearly delighted borough mayor Anie Samson. “It’s excellent news for the Maghreb community, as well as the growing attraction of our borough and Montreal.” The local Maghreb community hails mostly from North Africa, particularly Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Over the years, this important stretch of Jean-Talon has become a gathering place for Montreal’s Maghreb community — estimated at about 150,000 people. The funds will be used to develop a master plan to mobilize businesses, reach targeted communities, and carry out an economic and physical strategy to define a public image for the sector. About half of the 105 area businesses are related to Maghreb culture in bakeries, butchers, Arab pastry shops, restaurants and tearooms, along with hairdressing salons and travel agencies. Malik Hadid is also happy that after three years of work the designation will become official. “I am very happy that the Association can count on the support of [email protected] Commerce,” said the travel agency owner and local association president. He was quick to add that the Maghreb association also enjoys close cooperation with the borough, the local economic development agency and Station 30 police. The city’s [email protected] program is already at work in other neighbourhoods around the island, helping spruce up commercial districts and adding appeal to important arteries using architecture, infrastructure and marketing, and helping boost investment by matching funds of local investors. Other east-end streets selected for the program include Promenade Fleury, Jean-Talon St. in Saint-Leonard, and Charleroi in Montreal-Nord.
  5. Local architect pledges to stop the ‘joke’ of high-rise Rotterdam World War II saw the destruction of many cities around Europe and not least hit was the city of Rotterdam. While devastating on a human and financial scale this allowed the city to evolve into what is now considered as the ‘high rise city of the Netherlands’. But local architect Jan Willem van Kuilenburg, principal of Monolab Architects has derided this label as ‘a joke’ calling for an extension to the local authorities’ planned high rise zone to the south and proposes Rotterdam's first super-tower, the 450 m high City Tower. “Rotterdam is too hesitant, too defensive and too much like an underdog. After the Erasmus bridge we are in need of a real skyscraper of European scale of which Rotterdam can be proud,” says Kuilenburg, “All currently realised towers in Rotterdam are of mediocre quality and very primitive. As we should save in prosperous periods, it makes the current economic crisis the right time to invest.” Kuilenburg proposes City Tower as the leader in this campaign. The 450 m mixed-use tower with a photovoltaic skin would be built in the water by the Maas Harbour. According to Kuilenburg it would allow the high-rise zone to serve the whole city and help to connect Europe’s largest port to the rest of the city. The tower would be connected to land via a steel pedestrian boulevard to a separate parking lot with the capacity for 1000 cars. Kuilenburg believes this element of the project could aid the local authorities’ plans to liberate the downtown area of traffic by creating a 6th park and ride zone with its close proximity to the Metro. Asked about the likely response from the people of Rotterdam to what would be a very bold visual landmark, Kuilenburg said: “I don’t know. In general Rotterdam people are proud of the skyline, they are energetic and ready to go for new proposals. It has always been a scene for experiment. Rotterdam was bombed in the Second World War and so new buildings emerged, since then people are used to change.” Kuilenburg is currently in talks with developers and calling for international investment for the project. Niki May Young News Editor http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=10909
  6. City has designs on becoming fashion centre $2.4 million for clothing industry. Quebec, Montreal launch 3-year plan to promote local couturiers The GazetteMarch 4, 2009 Retail sales are declining and people are thinking twice before spending money to renew their wardrobe. But as far as Quebec's minister of economic development is concerned, support for the province's clothing industry never goes out of fashion. "It's clear that consumers are slowing their spending because they don't know what's going to happen to them," Raymond Bachand told reporters yesterday as the Quebec government and the city of Montreal announced plans to promote this city as a centre of fashion design. "But there are still 92 per cent of Quebecers who are at work," he noted. "This is the best timing because what we're doing ... is focusing on our designers, helping our designers ... getting buyers from around the world to come to this fashion show, getting our designers to go elsewhere in the world ... branding Montreal as a city of creation and design and putting it on the world market. "This is not a one-shot deal. ... This a long-term vision of building Montreal. ... We always have to keep in mind where we want to be in 18 months, where we want to be in two years." Bachand and Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay met with reporters during the first full day of Montreal Fashion Week to announce a three-year plan to promote internationally this city's fashion and design industry and the people working in it. During Fashion Week's kickoff Monday night, the province announced a $1.1-million investment in three local fashion enterprises in addition to the $82 million over three years earmarked in 2007 to bolster the industry. Tremblay, who this week confirmed the economic downturn has compelled the city to trim $100 million in costs, shared Bachand's opinion that the $2.4-million set aside for the plan would be money well spent. "Everyone's talking about stimulus in the economic situation we're going through," Tremblay said. "We want to encourage Montrealers, Quebecers and Canadians to buy local, to encourage our local designers, the ones that are known and the ones that are less known. "We want to make sure we have better recognition around the world. ... We don't want to copy what is happening in other cities or by being Paris, London or New York. "We want to be different." The local fashion industry employs about 50,000 people and accounts for more than 80 per cent of the exports by Quebec's clothing industry. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  7. Canada to switch to plastic bills next year Last Updated: Saturday, March 6, 2010 | 2:19 PM ET CBC News They say money doesn't grow on trees. Well, the federal government has taken that adage to heart — it announced earlier this week that Canada's paper-cotton banknotes would be replaced by newly designed plastic ones next year. It's part of a plan to modernize and protect Canadian currency against counterfeiting. The new plastic bills, made from a polymer material, are harder to fake, recyclable, and two to three times more resistant to tearing, the Bank of Canada said. Australia has used polymer banknotes since the 1990s, and an Australian company will provide the material for Canada. Several other countries have adopted polymer banknotes including New Zealand, Vietnam and Romania. The new notes won't be in circulation until sometime in 2011. In the meantime, the central bank is keeping mum on what the new bills will look like. "I can't divulge that information because they will be issued in about 18 months — that's a long ways away," said Bank of Canada spokesperson Julie Girard. "We want to keep a little bit of information from potential counterfeiters so they don't get a leg up and start producing any counterfeits." CBC News wanted to get some local Canadians' impressions of the polymer bills. Reporter Sandra Abma took an Australian banknote and a classic cotton-paper Canadian bill and asked people on the streets of Ottawa to compare. The opinions were mixed. "It would be easier to lose, I think," said one woman, after rubbing her fingers on the polymer bill. "It's soft and smooth and it could slide out easier." "This feels like Monopoly money actually," said a young man. "It's like I took this out of a board game and then went to buy Timmy's with it." Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2010/03/06/ott-plastic-money.html#ixzz0hXA51DI4
  8. Many cities bum rush towards bankruptcy, raising taxes instead of cutting spending, but one city – Colorado Springs – has drawn the line. When sales tax revenues dropped, voters were asked to make up the shortfall by tripling their property taxes. Voters emphatically said no, despite the threat of reduced services. Those cuts have now arrived. More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops — dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled. The parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter. Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once every two weeks… City recreation centers, indoor and outdoor pools, and a handful of museums will close for good March 31 unless they find private funding to stay open. I bet they do find private funding. That and community involvement is a better solution than throwing more money to government bureaucrats. A private enterprise task force is focusing on the real problem; the city’s soaring pension and health care costs for city employees. Broadmoor luxury resort chief executive Steve Bartolin wrote an open letter asking why the city spends $89,000 per employee, when his enterprise has a similar number of workers and spends only $24,000 on each. Good question, and also the subject of my Fox Business Network show tonight. Government employee unions are a big reason cities spend themselves into bankruptcy. Some union workers in Colorado Springs make it clear that they are not volunteering to help solve the budget problems. (A) small fraction of city employees have made perfectly clear they won’t stand for pay cuts, no matter what happens to the people who pay their wages. The attitude of a loud minority of employees, toward local taxpayers, sometimes sounds like “(expletive) them.” Maybe those workers should sense change in the air. Colorado Springs residents understand that if you can’t pay for it, you can’t have it. And if a rec center has to be closed, or the cops lose their helicopters, or government workers get a pay cut, so be it. Read more: http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/02/11/colorado-springs-walks-the-walk/#ixzz0fH4d5Mpd
  9. Brazil’s economy The devil in the deep-sea oil Unless the government restrains itself, an oil boom risks feeding Brazil’s vices Nov 5th 2011 | from the print edition DEEP in the South Atlantic, a vast industrial operation is under way that Brazil’s leaders say will turn their country into an oil power by the end of this decade. If the ambitious plans of Petrobras, the national oil company, come to fruition, by 2020 Brazil will be producing 5m barrels per day, much of it from new offshore fields. That might make Brazil a top-five source of oil (see article). Managed wisely, this boom has the potential to do great good. Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, wants to use the oil money to pay for better education, health and infrastructure. She also wants to use the new fields to create a world-beating oil-services industry. But the bonanza also risks feeding some Brazilian vices: a spendthrift and corrupt political system; an over-mighty state and over-protected domestic market; and neglect of the virtues of saving, investment and training. So it is worrying that there is far more debate in Brazil about how to spend the oil money than about how to develop the fields. If Brazil’s economy is to benefit from oil, rather than be dominated by it, a big chunk of the proceeds should be saved offshore and used to offset future recessions. But the more immediate risks lie in how the oil is extracted. The government has established a complicated legal framework for the fields. It has vested their ownership in Pré-Sal Petróleo, a new state body whose job is merely to collect and spend the oil money. It has granted an operating monopoly to Petrobras (although the company can strike production-sharing agreements with private partners). The rationale was that, since everyone now knows where the oil is, the lion’s share of the profits should go to the nation. But this glides over the complexity in developing fields that lie up to 300km (190 miles) offshore, beneath 2km of water and up to 5km of salt and rock. To develop the new fields, and build onshore facilities including refineries, Petrobras plans to invest $45 billion a year for the next five years, the largest investment programme of any oil firm in the world. That is too much, too soon, both for Petrobras and for Brazil—especially because the government has decreed that a large proportion of the necessary equipment and supplies be produced at home. How to be Norway, not Venezuela By demanding so much local content, the government may in fact be favouring some of the leading foreign oil-service companies. Many would have set up in Brazil anyway; now, with less price competition from abroad, they will find it easier to charge over the odds. Seeking to ramp up production so fast, and relying so heavily on local supplies, also risks starving non-oil businesses of capital and skilled labour (which is in desperately short supply). Oil money is already helping to drive up Brazil’s currency, the real, hurting manufacturers struggling with high taxes and poor infrastructure. When it comes to oil, striking the right balance between the state and the private sector, and between national content and foreign expertise, is notoriously tricky. But it can be done. To kick-start an oil-services industry, Norway calibrated its national-content rules realistically in scope and duration, required foreign suppliers to work closely with local firms and forced Statoil, its national oil company, to bid against rivals to develop fields. Above all, it invested in training the workforce. But Brazilians need only to look at Mexico’s Pemex to see the politicised bloat that can follow an oil boom—or at Venezuela to see how oil can corrupt a country. Petrobras is not Pemex. Thanks to a meritocratic culture, and the discipline of having some of its stock traded, Petrobras is a leader in deep-sea oil. But operating as a monopolist is a poor way to maintain that edge. Happily, too, Brazil is not Venezuela. Its leaders can prove it by changing the rules to be more Norwegian.
  10. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Deal+would+bring+Citytv+Montreal/6560252/story.html Rogers Media buys Montreal TV station Metro 14 By Steve Faguy, The Gazette May 4, 2012 9:36 AM MONTREAL - Citytv could be coming to Montreal soon. Rogers Media announced on Thursday that it had reached a deal to purchase Montreal multicultural television station Metro 14 (CJNT) from Toronto-based Channel Zero Inc. Rogers plans to turn CJNT into a Citytv station, expanding the national network’s presence. Citytv has stations in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The company also announced that it will sign long-term affiliation deals with three stations owned by the Jim Pattison Group: CHAT-TV in Medicine Hat, Alta., CJFC-TV in Kamloops, B.C., and CKPG-TV in Prince George, B.C. All three have been Citytv affiliates since 2009, and are, like CJNT, former members of the Canwest CH/E! network. Rogers also announced in January it would purchase educational regional cable channel Saskatchewan Communications Network from Bluepoint Investment Corp. and rebrand it as Citytv Saskatchewan. “Citytv, up until recently, has only been available in 7.2 million homes, and when we buy and produce programming, the cost of that is similar to what other networks pay when they buy national footprint rights,” Rogers Media president of Broadcast Scott Moore told The Gazette. “It’s essential for us to expand our footprint.” Though the new deals give Citytv good coverage west of Montreal, there are no stations east of the city. Moore said there are no specific plans for expansion into Atlantic Canada, but said it represented a gap in the network and “we’ll continue to work on that in the next six to 12 months.” The deal must be approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission before Rogers Media can take over. In the meantime, Rogers and Channel Zero have signed an affiliation agreement that will see Citytv programming on CJNT as of June 4. Citytv programs include American shows like New Girl, Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother, as well as original productions like Canada’s Got Talent and the upcoming The Bachelor Canada. Channel Zero president Cal Millar told The Gazette the station also will air some programming from Rogers’s OMNI network of ethnic stations. Channel Zero also owns CHCH television in Hamilton, Ont. It purchased CHCH and CJNT from Canwest for $12 in 2009 after the struggling company (which also owned The Gazette) decided to shut down its secondary network of conventional television stations. Moore said he would not comment about the purchase price, but joked that it was “more than double” the $12 Channel Zero paid for it. CJNT’s licence requires it to broadcast 14 hours of local ethnic programming each week and at least 75 per cent ethnic programming from 8 to 10 p.m. But after the sale from Canwest to Channel Zero, the station stopped producing its ethnic programming. It has since been airing reruns – some of them three years old – of its local ethnic shows. The rest of its schedule is made up of music videos, foreign films and some low-rated U.S. programming whose Canadian rights haven’t been scooped up by CTV, Global or Citytv. Moore did not comment on any changes Rogers might propose for CJNT’s licence, or whether it would even continue to be a multi-ethnic station. “We’ll be spending the next couple of months in Montreal, speaking with stakeholders in the community,” he said. As far as local programming, Moore said it was still too early to tell, but it was unlikely the station would produce a daily newscast. “I don’t know that Montreal needs another English-language supper-hour newscast,” he said. Citytv stations outside of Toronto meet local programming requirements with morning shows. Moore said it was “a good bet” that a similar strategy would be used in Montreal. Millar said the sale was bittersweet for Channel Zero, which he said had been making progress building its audience with a new morning show that’s heavy on music videos. He said Rogers has been trying to buy the station since “shortly after we acquired it” and made multiple offers. But this time, “Rogers was more determined than ever to expand their national reach,” Millar said. “It was far more valuable to them at that point than to us.” Channel Zero had been in talks with a local producer to bring back some local ethnic programming this fall. Millar said he doesn’t know if those plans will continue as the company waits for a decision on the acquisition. Rogers said it would expect a decision by the CRTC in the fall. [email protected] Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Rogers+Media+buys+Montreal+station+Metro/6560252/story.html#ixzz1tuid8rb0
  11. Nouvelle adresse dans le Quartier des spectacles : Café Parvis : un petit nouveau, rue Mayor Publié le 4 février 2014 par Quartier des spectacles Les huit partenaires derrière le Furco frappent encore. Situé dans le grand local adjacent au populaire bar, le Café Parvis, ouvert depuis quelques jours à peine, est un café et une pizzeria. L’endroit séduit déjà les Montréalais le jour et on prévoit une ouverture en soirée d’ici le printemps. Rencontre avec Éric Bélanger, chef superviseur et associé au Café Parvis, au Furco et à la Buvette Chez Simone. Comment est né le Café Parvis? Quand nous avons ouvert le Furco, en octobre 2012, nous avions prévu qu’il serait en opération midi et soir. Nous avons d’abord ouvert le soir, pour le rodage, puis, après une semaine, le bar était déjà plein tous les soirs. C’est devenu très rapidement un endroit où c’était continuellement la fête. Nous n’avons donc jamais ouvert le midi. Puis, on nous a proposé le local adjacent. Au départ, nous étions plus ou moins intéressés parce que nous étions satisfaits du Furco. Mais l’idée d’ouvrir un café me trottait dans la tête depuis un moment. Puisque le local était parfait et que ça fonctionnait bien avec les associés du Furco, nous avons décidé d’aller de l’avant. Le Parvis, lui, sera ouvert seulement le midi? Notre objectif est de l’ouvrir matin, midi et soir! Le Parvis ouvre dès sept heures le matin. Nous servons un café haut de gamme – notre barista est même allée suivre une formation en Oregon! – ainsi que des viennoiseries qui sont cuisinées sur place. Nous nous préparons pour l’ouverture de soir, qui se fera d’ici le printemps, quand tout sera à mon goût. Pour le moment, donc, nous sommes ouverts du lundi au vendredi, de 7 h à 15 h, et, bientôt, nous ouvrirons les soirs et les week-ends. Qu’est-ce qu’on retrouve au menu? Il y a six sortes de pizzas, autant de salades et une soupe. On peut manger sur place ou commander pour emporter. Le concept ressemble à celui de la Buvette chez Simone [où Éric Bélanger est aussi associé], c’est-à-dire que, sur le menu, vous encerclez ce que vous voulez et nous l’apportons sur des plateaux pour permettre le partage entre les convives. C’est parfait pour le midi. Cela nous permet de faire un service rapide en moins de 45 minutes. Nous proposons des pizzas romaines, qui ont une pâte plus épaisse et plus croustillante que la pizza napolitaine. Les recettes se veulent inventives. Il y a, par exemple, une pizza avec du boudin maison et des oignons caramélisés. Une autre est garnie de saumon fumé maison, de salade fraîche et d’huile citronnée. Vous avez un permis d’alcool? Oui. C’est un permis pour restaurant, donc il faut manger pour consommer de l’alcool. Nous proposons six bières en fut d’une microbrasserie québécoise. La carte des vins est restreinte, mais bien choisie : il y a douze bouteilles et au verre, nous proposons deux vins d’importation privée qui ont été créés spécialement pour nous. Le vrai bar, il est à côté; c’est le Furco. Ici, nous voulions créer une pizzeria conviviale où les prix sont abordables. Quelle est l’ambiance du Parvis? Nous avons voulu créer une ambiance un peu seventies. Nous souhaitions déménager l’esprit du Mile-End au centre-ville, parce qu’il n’y a pas vraiment d’établissement de ce genre ici. C’est le designer Zébulon Perron, aussi partenaire dans l’aventure, et moi-même qui avons pensé le décor qui comprend des références rétro et beaucoup de plantes. Quels autres projets avez-vous en tête pour le Parvis? Nous souhaitons avoir des places de terrasse sur la rue dès le printemps. La demande de permis a été faite. La terrasse serait ouverte du matin jusqu’à environ 21 h ou 22 h. Nous pourrions la garder ouverte jusqu’à 23 h, mais nous voulons nous assurer d’une bonne cohabitation avec le voisinage. Aussi, j’aimerais ajouter une serre sur le toit. Nous pourrions y faire pousser nos propres piments. Nous allons probablement commencer les travaux en mai. Quelle image vous vient en tête quand vous pensez au Quartier des spectacles? L’Église Unie Saint-James. J’aime beaucoup l’architecture et je venais souvent me promener dans le quartier pendant les travaux de revitalisation de l’église. C’est comme ça d’ailleurs que j’ai trouvé le local de la rue Mayor, derrière l’église, et que nous nous sommes installés ici. Café Parvis 433, rue Mayor
  12. http://www.cyqm.ca/en/home/aboutus/news/kfaerospaceannouncesnewdomesticandinternationalcar.aspx Too bad YUL (prob due to curfew) and YMX couldn't get this business. Does anyone know how the Cargo Market in YMX and YUL are doing? Anything besides just local services?
  13. as much as Aubin is a loud mouth - he;s not far from the truth. A wake up call to forum members.. we all love Montreal but we need to seriously wake up. 2011/2012 was a bad 2 years - we need to improve MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Inc. — founded by francophone Montrealers, headquartered in Montreal and active in engineering and construction projects in more than 100 countries — has long been the proud symbol of Québec Inc. Now, however, it risks becoming a symbol of something else — the decline of Montreal’s place on the world stage. The company announced last week that it is creating its largest corporate unit (one focused on hydrocarbons, chemicals, metallurgy, mining, the environment and water) and locating it not in Quebec but in London; heading it will be a Brit, Neil Bruce. As well, the company also said it was creating a global operations unit that would be based in the British capital. To be sure, SNC-Lavalin denies speculation by a La Presse business columnist that the company might be slowly moving its head office from Montreal. The two moves to London must be seen as reflecting “our healthy expansion globally,” says a spokesperson. “The corporate headquarters and all its functions still remain in Montreal.” Nonetheless, this unmistakable shift of authority abroad takes place within a broader context of fewer local people atop the SNC-Lavalin pyramid. In 2007, six of the top 11 executives were francophone Quebecers; last year, three. Note, too, that only two of 13 members of its board of directors are francophone Quebecers. When the company last fall replaced discredited Pierre Duhaime of Montreal as president, CEO, and board member, it picked an American, Robert Card. What’s happening to the company based on René-Lévesque Blvd. is the latest sign of the erosion of Montreal’s status as a major business centre. Of Canada’s 500 largest companies, 96 had their head offices in this city in 1990; in 2010, says Montréal International, only 81 remained, a 16-per-cent decline. It’s true that Toronto, too, has seen a decrease (with some of its companies heading to booming Calgary), but it’s only of six per cent. As well, because Hogtown has more than twice as many head offices as Montreal, the trend there has far less impact. Anyone with a stake in Montreal’s prosperity should care about what’s happening here. Head offices and major corporate offices, such as the SNC-Lavalin’s units, bring more money collectively into the city than do big events — the Grand Prix and the aquatics championship — whose threatened departures cause political storms. Such offices employ high-spending, high-taxpaying local residents and attract visiting business people year-round — people who represent income for cabbies, hoteliers, restaurateurs, computer experts, lawyers and accountants. Indeed, this week’s controversy over the absence of direct air links from Trudeau International Airport to China and South America is pertinent to this trend. It’s not only federal air policy over the decades that’s responsible for this isolation. It’s also that Montrealers have less money, and one reason for that is, as Trudeau boss James Cherry notes, “there are far fewer head offices in Montreal.” Keep losing them and we’ll be a real backwater. But how do we avoid losing these offices? We don’t need more studies. Tons of studies — good ones — already exist. The No. 1 factor for a company when choosing a head office location is corporate taxes, according to a Calgary Economic Development study. Quebec’s are the highest in Canada and the U.S. Thirty-four per cent of the executives at 103 local companies say that Montreal’s business climate had “deteriorated “ in the previous five years, Montreal’s Chambre de commerce found a year ago. The main reason: infrastructure (not only roads but also the health system). A study called “Knowledge City” that Montreal city hall commissioned in 2004 is still relevant. Its survey of 100 mobile, well-educated people (some of whom had already left Montreal) found that their top three biggest complaints with the city were, in descending order, high personal taxes, decaying infrastructure and political uncertainty from sovereignty. All studies agree that the quality of Montreal’s universities helps attract companies. Weakened universities would lower this power. The Parti Québécois government’s minister for Montreal, Jean-François Lisée, declared before Christmas that he was “Montréalo-optimiste.” He did not, however, spell out concrete steps for addressing the above-listed problems. Too bad that his government on Jan. 1 imposed higher personal taxes for people with high incomes — which hits business people. Too bad it has reduced spending on infrastructure by 14 per cent. Too bad that it has not only reduced funds to universities by $124 million over the next three months but that it says it might cut their funding in other years as well — in effect weakening them. And, finally, too bad that Premier Pauline Marois said this week her party would soon launch a campaign to promote sovereignty and that her government would step up its strategy of wresting powers from Ottawa. In the next few says, she’ll further promote Quebec independence with a meeting in Edinburgh with Scotland’s sovereignist leader. Staunch the hemorrhage of corporate offices from Montreal under this government? The very idea is Montréalo-irréaliste. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Henry+Aubin+avoid+losing+head+offices/7862525/story.html#ixzz2IrXbVaOH
  14. Best deals in real estate by Don Sutton, MoneySense Wednesday, June 16, 2010 It’s a crazy time for real estate in Canada. Prices are sky-high, people are feeling pressured into selling into a hot market and buyers fear purchasing an overpriced home only to see the bubble burst. But MoneySense magazine has come to the rescue and crunched the numbers to identify the best real estate deals in the best cities. Using hard data on 35 major housing markets, the magazine has awarded a letter grade based on how reasonable the house prices are, whether home prices are likely to rise and how prosperous the local economy is. Surprisingly, none of the winning cities are Canada’s largest, but instead reflect medium-sized cities with affordable house prices that have the ability to grow strongly with local economic conditions. The best deals in real estate in Canada are to be found in Moncton and Regina, both of whom received an A-, while Fredericton, St. John’s, Ottawa, Gatineau, Winnipeg, Guelph and Saint John all received a B+. The criteria for the study was strict and comprehensive. MoneySense compared average rents to average home prices, which gives a great indicator of how valuable a home is. Next it compared local wages as to average home prices to see how long it would take for a family to purchase a home. The magazine also evaluated how quickly homes sold and prices increased over the years. Last, the economic environment of the city was also analyzed. The magazine looked at how fast a community grew, what the unemployment rate was and what kind of discretionary income the citizens had. This method avoided identifying cheap real estate in communities where prices were unlikely to increase due to a poor local economy or widespread unemployment. The analysis gives a comprehensive overview of where to get the best real estate deals in Canada. The study is also useful for identifying which real estate markets to avoid. For example, Abbotsford and Montreal both only rated Cs. MoneySense’s study also identified overpriced markets. For instance, Kelowna, B.C., scored well in the category of growth potential and has a great local economy. But the average house price makes it hard for the typical family to buy into the market. With this aspect in mind, Kelowna rated a D+ in the value category and a C+ overall. Windsor, Ont., where house prices are among the best values in Canada, is in the opposite situation. It rated an A for affordability, but since the city is slowly recovering from deep layoffs in the car industry, it only rates a C in the momentum category and a C+ for local economy, giving it a B+ overall. In concrete terms, what the best cities for real estate like Regina and Moncton have going for them is big-city growth and opportunities without big-city prices. While the affordability and growth value of a home are not always the prime reasons to buy in a particular location, knowing that your home is a sound investment in an economically vibrant city offers great peace of mind. Top 5 cities: 1. Moncton A- 2. Regina A- 3. Fredericton B+ 4. St. John's B+ 5. Ottawa B+ http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/personal-finance/article/moneysense/1662/best-deals-in-real-estate
  15. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Congrats Montreal Lets hope 2011 will be another amazing year.
  16. Montreal by the mouthful POSTED: October 7, 2010 It's a city that loves France, but its tastes lean to the rich local bounty. By Craig LaBan Inquirer Restaurant Critic http://www.philly.com/philly/restaurants/20101007_Montreal_by_the_mouthful.html?viewAll=y
  17. http://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/dining/a5818/montreal-restaurant-scene/ Asked to name the best restaurant city in America—meaning the United States—I offered the only reasonable answer: Montreal, a city with the culture, the cooks, the restaurants, the provisions, and the hospitality. (Also of significance is Canada's nicely diminished dollar, which makes dining a deal.) Such a welcome package was neatly summed up by a Canadian pal, Mike Boone, who worked with me at the Montreal Star in the 1970s. He said, "We're not just nice, we're cheap." Of course, Montreal isn't exactly in the United States, should you be hung up on such details as international borders. (Obviously, I am not.) The city is in the province of Quebec, a part of Canada as long as there has been a Canada. My belief that Montreal is really a lost colony of the United States is strengthened by the indisputable fact that our Continental Army captured and briefly held it in 1775. One need only glance at a map from those days, when the province of Quebec was nestled just north of the 13 colonies, to admire the logic. Allow me to add this: The citizens of Quebec practically exhausted themselves trying to secede from Canada in the latter half of the 20th century, only to fail when a 1995 referendum lost by a few thousand votes. To me Montreal is spiritually a part of the U.S., a kind of New York City in miniature, although it's even more like an independent city-state. OLD MONTREAL AT NIGHT. DENNIS TANGNEY JR./GETTY IMAGES The restaurants of Montreal are the attraction. Their evolution, which started in this century, has been swift. They are modest in size and technically proficient, and they provide a sense of casual fine dining that is embraced more wholeheartedly here than anywhere in the U.S. The dining culture is descended from those of both France and England— thankfully, more from France—leaving Montreal a sort of culinary orphan, free to seek its own path. New York, which was considered the best American dining city in most eras, but no longer, has become ground zero for casual dining. (A restaurant critic for the New York Times recently announced his top dish of the year: a sticky bun.) Montreal has developed an engaging dining personality at the same time that New York has been losing the one it had. Famed Montreal restaurateur David McMillan (Joe Beef, Le Vin Papillon) says, "I'll tell you why Montreal is the best restaurant city, and it's not about the skill of our cooking. We have the most advanced dining public in North America. I serve lamb liver cooked rare to 17-year-old girls. I sell tons of kidneys and sweetbreads. Manhattan is one giant steakhouse. Everybody there wants steak, or red tuna. I don't want to know how much red tuna is sold every day." Chef Normand Laprise, the grand old man of Montreal chefs (even if he is only 54), adds, "I visit pastry shops in the States, and I know Americans are not open- minded customers. It's hard to sell any- thing other than cupcakes and macarons." Montreal has had multiple culinary revolutions in the past 50 years. When I worked for the Star the restaurants primarily served French cuisine, albeit not quite what you'd find in Larousse Gastronomique. The Beaver Club at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel featured such fantastical dishes as Le Coeur du Charolais Soufflé aux Splendeurs du Périgord. The top chefs, who came to Canada from France following World War II or stayed in Montreal after working at Expo 67, were a little too fixated on flambéing and melting cheese. After the financial debacle of the 1976 Olympics, which almost bankrupted Quebec, the restaurants declined precipitously. The only noteworthy and enduring establishment was Toqué!, operated by Laprise. In 2001 came Au Pied du Cochon, which was informal and inventive. Chef Martin Picard embraced local products and reinvented old, somewhat primitive dishes such as jellied pig's head and poutine, an ungodly assemblage of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy that arose in rural Quebec in the 1950s. Picard created a regional cuisine and, more important, prized local products as few before him had. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW Joe Beef, the next great restaurant, did away with tablecloths and menus (using blackboards instead). That was followed by Les 400 Coups (in the French tradition) and Lawrence (quite Anglo), establishments embracing either side of the local language divide. They were among the places that made Montreal the best for restaurants in this hemisphere, one where fine dining has been transformed into a modern ideal. No other city does it as well. DAY 1: FARM FRESH MEETS CRAZY GENIUS Daniel Boulud, who has a restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, tells me that a visitor can grasp the essence of the dining culture before arriving, simply by looking out an airplane window. "Twenty minutes before you land, you pass over the farms, the greenhouses. This isn't California. Here you have really small farms next to each other, not industrialized." So as I fly in I peer out the window. First I see mountaintops and lakes, then silos and barns. Boulud is right. After we land, my traveling companion and I head to Les 400 Coups for lunch. The room is primarily in shades of charcoal and black, understated. The clientele, like most people in this city, dresses stylishly. The food is auspicious. Our squash soup is not like other squash soups. No bulk. No boredom. It's speckled with drops of olive oil, as though they had floated down from a cloud. The duck croquette is precisely as duck should be: rich, savory, skinless, and easy to eat. If there were such a thing as a wagyu duck burger, this would be it. AN ARRAY OF DISHES FROM LE MOUSSO, WHICH FEATURES A NEW TASTING MENU EVERY DAY. @ONDEJEUNE Les 400 Coups also has a pastry chef, a category of professional disappearing from American restaurants. I don't mean to overdo the compliments, but the desserts are notable as well: delicious and artistic, a little Georges Braque, a little forest tableau; the lemon cream dessert includes sea buckthorn. I would not be surprised if the pastry chef forages when off duty. I feared that our choice for dinner, Le Mousso, an all-tasting-menu restaurant that had just opened, would be like all the tasting-menu joints in America, the chef desperately seeking to express himself. Such food is occasionally brilliant. Too often it's awful. My friend was intrigued, certain it would be different here. She was correct. The restaurant is very Brooklyn, with an array of seating options at tables and counters, plus hanging lightbulbs and a chef, Antonin Mousseau-Rivard, who sports a short beard, a knit cap, tattooed arms, and Adidas shower sandals. He is self-taught, mostly via Instagram, and he says, "I didn't even work at a good restaurant in my life." We are handed a printed menu. It looks weird, but tasting menus always do. We eat seven dishes, all marrying ingredients never previously combined. But the wagyu beef from Quebec accented with slightly salty sturgeon caviar is masterful, as is the cool arctic char nestled in what appears to be a paint box of colors and flavors. Even the desserts are arresting, and desserts prepared by savory chefs are rarely that. The first is labeled sang, which means blood. I'm frightened, as I'm sure the chef means me to be, but it's blood sausage ice cream as Häagen-Dazs might make it, plus Quebec cheddar crumble in an apple-vinegar reduction. (Yes, Quebec has a flourishing cheese industry.) I suggest to Mousseau-Rivard that he might be a crazy genius, and he replies, "I like the word crazy more than genius." DAY 2: LOCAL HEROES A few blocks from the Parc du Mont- Royal, a revered green space designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, sits Beauty's, a luncheonette owned by Hymie Sckolnick, 95. He is always there. Hymie bought the shop in 1942 for $500. He is nice enough not to brag about his investment prowess. BREAKFAST AT BEAUTY'S, A LOCAL FIXTURE SINCE 1942. MICKAEL BANDASSAK Breakfast at Beauty's followed by a park stroll serves two vital purposes: The park provides visitors with an aware- ness of the physical glory of the city, as it's built on the slopes of the multitier hill Mount Royal, and Beauty's remains a notable example of Montreal's enduring (and somewhat inexplicable) fascination with Jewish food, most famously its bagels—smaller, sweeter, and superior to New York's—and its pastrami-like smoked meat. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW At Beauty's, bagels from the St.-Viateur bagel shop (officially La Maison du Bagel) accompany the "famous mishmash," a kind of omelet that would be scorned by French chefs, inasmuch as it is not golden yellow or elegantly contoured. It consists of eggs, scrambled and browned a bit, the way my grandmother made hers, plus hot dog, salami, green pepper, and fried onion. You will sigh. You will burp. Unmatched in Montreal (or anywhere) is Le Vin Papillon, owned by David McMillan. The food is casual, mostly vegetables. The place takes no reservations and for a long time was nearly impossible to get into, although recently it doubled in size and the struggle has subsided. I recommend arriving at 3 p.m., when it opens, although take care not to wait by the wrong door, the permanently closed one, or you'll feel as if you've been locked out. We have celery root ribbons bathed in bagna cauda, a Piedmontese sauce made with garlic and anchovies; charcoal-roasted white turnips with housemade pomegranate molasses; and the best dish of all: a curiously savory hummus of hubbard squash with homemade focaccia. LE VIN PAPILLON'S CHALKBOARD MENU. RANDALL BRODEUR We don't leave until 6 and decide to skip a formal dinner, choosing instead a late smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's, which seems to be open day and night. Schwartz's never changes, although the ownership has. The original proprietor, a Jewish immigrant from Romania, is long gone, and Schwartz's is now the property of a consortium that includes Céline Dion. I order my smoked meat fatty—most customers request medium or lean—and the waiter says, "Good for you." Maybe the place has changed: That's a long speech for a Schwartz's waiter. The rye bread continues to be tasteless, the smoked meat is still really good, the cole slaw reminds me of North Carolina, and the fries aren't as great as they used to be, but they're not bad. DAY 3: OLD FRENCH, NEW BRITISH Maison Boulud is admirable for who owns it (Daniel Boulud), for where it resides (in the historic Ritz-Carlton), and for its lovely location adjoining a small garden and duck pond (request a table overlooking both). The restaurant is among the last of its kind, a French one (well, mostly French) in a city where French cuisine is vanishing. (This is happening everywhere in North America; it just seems more baffling in Quebec, where more than half the population is French-speaking.) I order a lunch that spins me back in time: housemade pâté of startling freshness and eminent richness, and confit of guinea fowl leg in a miraculously silken foie gras sauce. The kitchen sends out lovely ravioli stuffed with sheep's milk cheese. It doesn't taste French, and shouldn't—the executive chef, Riccardo Bertolino, is from Bologna. THE MAISON BOULUD KITCHEN. Dinner that evening is entirely anglophile, at Maison Publique, an appealing tavern that offers only Canadian wines (and somehow pulls it off) and plates of mostly meaty foods that sound peculiar, as British cuisine almost always does. I never miss a chance to eat here. We order andouille sausage (reddish, dreamy, and fiery) spread on toast, and tender lonza, or salumi, made from free-range piglets raised for the restaurant in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The main room has an old wooden floor, dark paneling, and mounted deer heads with soccer scarves wrapped around their necks. The menu is a well-lit corkboard to which is pinned a list of food and drink. Folks gather around it to discuss the dinner choices, a sign of changing times. When I lived in Montreal in the 1970s, during the separatist movement, concerned young people gathered in bars and pubs to sing protest songs demanding freedom from Canada. Now they chat about the origins of local meats and vegetables. DAY 4: A POUTINE CHALLENGE We have made no lunch plans, but when desperate I always call the nearest hot dog joint. On Saint Lawrence Boulevard is the Montreal Pool Room, which opened in 1912 in a different location not far from the current one. (Other changes have occurred: no more pool tables.) In case you have trouble finding it, directly across the street is the garish marquee of Café Cléopatre, which features stripteaseuses and danseuses à gogo. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW My friend calls the Pool Room and asks, "Are you open? Are you serving food?" A sweetheart of a counterman replies, "Yes, madame. Hot dog, hamburger, cheeseburger. You come, you eat." She has her first Montreal hot dog. They're famous, even if they're bland compared with New York's. Here they're served correctly: steamed and topped with mustard, relish, and mild chopped onions. She also insists on poutine. I await her disappointment, but she loves it, saying, "It filled my every poutine expectation." If you're from New Jersey and enjoy disco fries, you might love poutine too. Hot dogs followed by poutine can be filling, which makes Hôtel Herman—it's not a hotel and there is no Herman—an excellent option for dinner. It offers small plates that are unusually small. The food is unexpectedly elegant, given the rough-hewn decor (wide plank floors that look as old as Montreal itself, tin ceiling, bare lightbulbs). Little logs of housemade foie gras are brilliantly composed, topped with crumbs and cranberries. The chef, Marc-Alexandre Mercier, bakes his own bread, dark and earthy and easily worth the $2 surcharge. The sweetbreads come with mashed potatoes from a variety called Ozette, grown in Quebec. They are mesmerizing, and it's not just the added buttermilk and cream. Mercier tells me his way with vegetables is a result of childhood trauma: His mother made him eat a bowl of rutabaga so awful it made him cry. DAY 5: GENTRIFICATION FLAMBEE Lawrence, among the most Anglo of the Anglo establishments, is blessed with big windows that allow in an abundance of light, a major reason I love to have lunch there. The staff is sweet, the wine list just right, the crockery seemingly from a church basement sale, and the menu filled with dishes you might never have eaten before. Fried endive topped with snowy crab, an unlikely concoction, is crunchy and juicy, impeccably fresh. The desserts are simple but superlative, the "burnt" chocolate pudding much like an all chocolate crème brûlée, and the warm ginger cake is topped with a crème anglaise that I'm tempted to drink. In the evening we set out to see two new restaurants with unusual appeal. Both feature wood-burning ovens, which are unusual in Montreal, and both are in newly gentrified sections of the city. A TRAY OF OYSTERS AT HOOGAN & BEAUFORT. ALISON SLATTERY PHOTOGRAPHY Hoogan & Beaufort is in a former industrial park in Rosemont where the Canadian Pacific Railway once built locomotives. An excellent consequence: It has stunningly high ceilings. William Saulnier, one of the partners, says that in the restaurant's opening days many of the calls they received started out, "Where are you?" Foxy is in a neighborhood once largely populated by Irish immigrants. Both of these spots are following an established American trend, moving away from midtown to more remote locations where rents are cheaper and space more generous. We weren't able to eat at Hoogan & Beaufort, only peek in, because we were dining with Lesley Chesterman, a friend who is the restaurant critic for the Montreal Gazette, and she was reviewing Foxy. She seemed to like my theory that Montreal belonged to the U.S. She said, "Montreal has never felt less Canadian to me." I leave the analysis of Foxy to Chesterman, enthusiastic about everything except the two dishes prepared in the wood- burning oven. About my favorite she wrote, "I loved the flatbread we ordered. Covered in melted raclette cheese, red onions, potatoes, and house-smoked ham, it was reminiscent of an Alsatian tarte flambée. We scarfed it back in minutes, the only problem being that one of the pieces of ham popped off my slice and, as I discovered the next morning, fell into my purse under the table." DAY 6: END ON A SWEET NOTE For me, departure days begin with a trip to the St.-Viateur bagel shop, where I buy a few dozen to take home. The price these days is 80 cents each. Hymie Sckolnick told me they used to cost two cents. When I complain to the counterman, he laughs and tosses in a few extra. Hymie's is a good name to drop in Montreal. PATRICE DEMERS WORKS HIS MAGIC AT PATRICE PÂTISSIER. MARC KANDALAFT Our getaway meal is lunch at Toqué!, which is run by Laprise, that most essential of Montreal chefs. His new establishment is a member of Relais & Châteaux, and his kitchen is a marvel, overflowing with cooks. The food isn't what I think of as new Montreal cuisine—it's too precise and luxurious—but it's up there with the best haute cuisine in North America. An appetizer of arctic char is creamy and silky, tasting of smoke and lemon. My Montreal Star pal Boone, joining us, calls it "the cotton candy of fish." Chicken, prepared sous-vide, is so moist there's beading on the breast. My friend has what the waitress calls "a perfect egg," cooked slowly, with a sauce made from a long-simmering duck reduction. Dessert is so ethereal—mostly honey, jelly, and cream—that on the way to the airport we stop at Patrice Pâtissier so I can pick up a few stuffed-on-the-spot chocolate-banana cream puffs. Patrice Demers, the owner of this new shop on Notre Dame West, was the first pastry chef at Les 400 Coups and thus is a hero of mine. But then, so many Montreal chefs are. Alan Richman is a 16-time winner of the James Beard Award for food writing.
  18. Mark Pacinda: How do you say ‘Boston Pizza' in French? BERTRAND MAROTTE Globe and Mail Update November 16, 2007 at 6:19 PM EST When Boston Pizza International Inc. decided it wanted to crack the Quebec market four years ago, the B.C.-based chain's executive team was warned by industry veterans that they shouldn't even bother. Outsiders have had a notoriously tough time winning over Quebec consumers, and the eatery business is particularly difficult, given the sometimes puzzling culinary preferences of the francophone majority, they were told. No doubt about it, La Belle Province presents its own challenges as an island of predominantly French language and culture in North America. THE LANDSCAPE Companies keen on making a foray into Quebec with their product or service need to be alert to the differences and respect the predominance of the French language. To cite one recent case of what can happen when you fail to heed Québécois sensibilities: Coffee chain Second Cup sparked public protests and complaints last month when it dropped from some of its signs the two French words – “Les cafés” – that appeared before its English name. BOSTON PIZZA'S ENTRÉE Boston Pizza president Mark Pacinda decided his company was ready to expand into Quebec, but not before it built a credible base in the province. The results so far indicate that the bet on Quebec is a winner. After just 21/2 years, Boston Pizza will have 24 restaurants in the province by the end of the year and is on track to have 50 by 2010. The chain boasts more than 280 Canadian locations and sales last year of $647-million. “We really took our time going in,” Mr. Pacinda says. “The first thing is that we wanted a Quebec team on the ground.” A separate regional head office for Quebec was opened in the Montreal suburb of Laval 18 months before the first outlet was opened, in 2004. Quebec City native Wayne Shanahan was hired to spearhead the Quebec strategy. GOING QUÉBÉCOIS Once the button on a Quebec launch was pressed, no detail was overlooked. For example, research was conducted into whether a French version of the brand name was warranted. “There's obviously no translation for Boston or for Pizza and we decided the name as it is would work,” Mr. Pacinda said. A key discovery was that Quebeckers want to have the option of a multicourse lunch, not just the more packaged “combo plate” offering. “They want a ‘table d'hôte,' in other words an entrée, a salad and desert,” he said. Also, because wine has more of presence in the province than in the rest of the country, Boston Pizza's wine list in Quebec was expanded from the standard eight choices to 25 labels, Mr. Shanahan says. The fine-tuning was even extended to the pizza pie: In Quebec, the cheese goes on as a final layer, not underneath the toppings. The Boston Pizza version was dubbed “La Québécoise Boston.” And two Quebec standards – poutine and sugar pie – were included on the menu. LE FRANÇAIS, TOUJOURS LE FRANÇAIS Making sure that all business is conducted in French was also important, Mr. Shanahan said. Many companies that move into Quebec, and even some local anglophone firms, don't bother to ensure that legal and business paperwork, and even day-to-day communications, are in French, he said. “What you want to do is essentially be a francophone company.” In another first for Boston Pizza, a local advertising agency was hired. A separate ad campaign was created, including billboards that displayed a Quebec vanity licence plate with the words “Boston, QC” on it. LESSONS LEARNED Boston Pizza's carefully plotted wooing of the Quebec market is a strategy increasingly practised by retailers eager to make inroads in the province or consolidate their position. Wal-Mart Canada Corp., for example, went on the offensive in the wake of the outcry over its decision two years ago to shut its Jonquière store after it became the first outlet in North America to be unionized. Wal-Mart insisted the closing was because the store wasn't meeting its financial targets. The retail behemoth nonetheless was portrayed as a cold corporate outsider that cared not a whit about Quebec society. A “Buy Quebec” campaign was launched last year, aimed at sourcing more homegrown products and groceries while playing to the province's regional tastes and local pride. Outfits like Boston Pizza and Wal-Mart will obviously never be known as true Québécois companies. But as Normand Turgeon, a marketing professor at the business school HEC-Montréal, wryly notes: “If you're going to be a bottle blond, you're better off choosing the right shade.”
  19. Lamest Excuse of the Week: Potholes as a "natural traffic calming measure" by Sam Abuelsamid on Apr 17th 2009 at 7:31PM Here in Michigan, we're used to hearing plenty of worthless excuses about the crap condition of our roads. However, this one takes the cake. A local council in Essex, England has deemed broken roads a "natural traffic calming measure." If you didn't catch that, "traffic calming" is a euphemism used by politicians when discussing measures to slow the traffic flow through an area. Generally, the "calming" involves taking active measures, such as installing speed bumps, round-abouts or narrowing the road. To our knowledge it's never been (openly) done by neglecting what most people would consider one of the duties of a government -- maintaining basic infrastructure. According to a councillor in Navestock, repairing roads just encourages people to drive faster. Of course, the counter argument involves safety. Leaving a road marked with craters causes drivers to swerve, as well as damaging suspension components and wheels. It also poses a hazard to motorcyclists and bike riders. Fortunately, the county council appears to be less short-sighted and plans to over-ride the local council and fix the roads. http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle.ASpx?AR=239565
  20. Toronto et Montréal, vues par des touristes anglais.... http://www.mirror.co.uk/advice/travel/north-america/2010/12/18/the-big-maple-lawrence-goldsmith-samples-the-delights-of-a-canadian-adventure-115875-22791873/
  21. The banking system in eastern Europe is increasingly vulnerable to a severe economic downturn, Moody’s has warned, saying western European banks with local subsidiaries are at risk of ratings downgrades. “The relative vulnerabilties in east European banking systems will be exposed by an increasingly tougher operating environment in eastern Europe as a result of a steep and long economic downturn coupled with macroeconomic vulnerabilities,” Moody’s said in a report. The ratings agency said it expected “continuous downward pressure on east European bank ratings” because of deteriorating asset quality, falling local currencies, exposure to a regional slump in real-estate and the units’ reliance on scarce short-term funding. Eurozone banks have the largest exposure to central and eastern Europe, with liabilities of $1,500bn – about 90 per cent of total foreign bank exposure to the region. Shares of the handful of banks with substantial investments in eastern Europe – led by Austria’s Raiffeisen and Erste Bank, Société Générale of France, Italy’s UniCredit (which owns Bank Austria) and Belgian group KBC – tumbled after the ratings agency said it was concerned about the impact of a slowdown and the ability of the parent banks to support their support units in the region. The Austrian banking system is the most vulnerable, with eastern Europe accounting for nearly half of its foreign loans, while Italian banks are exposed to Poland and Croatia and Scandinavian institutions to the Baltic states. Central and eastern European currencies have come under intense pressure in recent weeks. The credit crisis has raised fears over the region’s ability to finance its current account deficits and slowing global growth has heightened concerns over the health of its export-dependent economies. The Polish zloty plunged to a five-year low against the euro on Tuesday, while the Czech koruna hit a three-year trough against the single currency and the Hungarian forint falling to a record low. The Prague and Warsaw stock indices meanwhile fell to their lowest levels in five years, while the smaller markets of Budapest, Zagreb and Bucharest skirted close to multi-year lows. The euro dropped to a two-month low against the dollar on Tuesday on heightened concerns over eurozone banks’ exposure to the worsening conditions in eastern Europe. Amid the growing sense of crisis in eastern European economies, Hungary on Tuesday outlined plans to save Ft210bn (€680m, $860m) this year to prevent an increase in the budget deficit. Hungary’s economy is expected to contract by up to 3 per cent this year, much more than earlier expectations. Antje Praefcke at Commerzbank said eastern European currencies were in a “self-feeding depreciation spiral.” “The creditworthiness of local banks, companies and private households, who hold mainly foreign currency denominated debt, is deteriorating with each depreciation in eastern European currencies, thus further undermining confidence in the currencies,” she said. Ms Praefcke said further depreciation of eastern European currencies was thus a distinct possibility, which was likely to undermine the euro. “The collapse of these currencies is likely to constitute a risk for the euro,” she said. “So far markets have largely ignored this fact, but are unlikely to be able to maintain this approach if the weakness of the eastern European currencies continues.” Western European banks have piled into the former Communist countries in recent years as economic growth in the region outpaced domestic gains. The accession of 10 new members to the European Union in 2004, and of Romania and Bulgaria in 2007, added to optimism about the region. In 2007, Raiffeisen and Erste Bank earned the vast majority of their pre-tax profits in eastern European countries including Russia and Ukraine. Since the onset of the global financial crisis, Hungary, Latvia and Ukraine have all received emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund, with other countries in the region expected to follow.
  22. STM plans to build solar-powered bus shelters Panels could be used to power lighting * and illuminate revenue-producing ads By Monique Beaudin, The GazetteFebruary 2, 2009 Montreal’s public-transit agency is planning to spend $14.4 million to buy 400 new bus shelters – some of which would use solar panels to provide electricity. The new shelters need an energy source to allow the Société de transport de Montréal to use new tools to provide customer service and advertising. In some cases the shelters would be powered by solar energy, in others the shelters would be linked into a local source of electricity. Several other cities – including London, Vancouver and Toronto – already have bus shelters that use solar panels to charge batteries that power their lighting systems. Blainville, north of Mont-real, put up four such shelters in October and plans to replace all its bus shelters with solar-powered ones by 2010, said spokesperson Yves Meunier. Blainville’s plan was to make their bus shelters self-financing, by using revenue generated from selling advertising in the shelters. For that they needed an energy source to illuminate the ads. “People selling advertising want the ads to be visible for a certain number of hours every day, especially during the winter,” Meunier said. Blainville’s bus shelters – which cost about $30,000 each – were designed and built by a local firm, Meunier said. The city will recycle the old shelters by selling them to other municipalities, he added. The STM also expects that by selling ad space in its new shelters they’ll pay for themselves over a 10-year period. While the STM has already tested several different kinds of solar-powered bus shelters, spokesperson Isabelle Tremblay said the agency hasn’t chosen a specific bus shelter model to buy yet. The transit agency is still waiting for the results of a bus-shelter design contest announced by Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay last September. Tremblay called on the city’s designers to come up with new ideas for five things – the Champs de Mars métro station, the eastern wall of the courthouse, bus shelters, taxis and temporary festival furniture. Design Montreal has not yet launched the contest, spokesperson Stéphanie Jecrois said yesterday. The agency is still meeting with its partners to determine how the contest will work, but she said the contest details should be announced with a few weeks. The contest will be held in 2009, she said. Meanwhile, at the STM, Tremblay said the agency will only go to tender for new bus shelters after the Design Montreal contest wraps up. The STM now has 2,977 bus shelters, serving about one-third of its bus stops. It would like to install 100 new bus shelters over the next two years, and 100 more each year from 2011 to 2013. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette