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  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/travel/montreal-green-alleyways-take-visitors-backstage.html?smid=fb-share&_r=1
  2. https://austinonyourfeet.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/9-things-people-always-say-at-zoning-hearings-illustrated-by-cats/?utm_content=bufferc065f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer AUSTIN ON YOUR FEET 9 THINGS PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY AT ZONING HEARINGS, ILLUSTRATED BY CATS November 23, 2015Dan Keshet If you watch enough zoning hearings, the testimony begins to sound pretty repetitive. That novel argument you’re making? The Council members have heard it a million times before. Here are 9 of the things we hear most often at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats. 1. I’M NOT OPPOSED TO ALL DEVELOPMENT. JUST THIS DEVELOPMENT. Those 1,000 times you sat on your couch to support developments far away from you surely counterbalance that one time you came out to oppose your neighbor’s development. If you’re opposed, just tell us why; don’t go on about how you’re not a person that opposes things. 2. NOBODY TALKED TO ME! The city notifies neighbors and registered civic organizations about upcoming permits. Developers seek out people they think might be affected. But it’s hard to know who is going to care and notifications are often thrown out. Don’t feel left out! If you’re at the hearing, you’re being heard. Just say what’s on your mind. 3. REALITY IS, EVERYBODY DRIVES A CAR. Usually said while proposing somebody build more parking. If you want that reality to ever change, you have to accept building less car infrastructure. 4. THESE GREEDY DEVELOPERS ONLY THINK ABOUT PROFITS Land development is a business. Like all businesses, sometimes you make money and sometimes you lose money. You just try to make sure that you make enough money on the winners to cancel out the losers. Focusing in on the fact that the developer is hoping to make money makes your testimony sound more like you oppose out of spite than a particular reason. 5. LET ME TELL YOU MY THEORY OF ECONOMICS If council members haven’t learned economics by now, they’re not going to learn it from your three minute testimony. 6.WHAT THIS NEIGHBORHOOD REALLY NEEDS IS A COFFEE SHOP, NOT MORE APARTMENTS For all the mean things people sometimes say about developers, a lot of folks seem to fashion themselves amateur land developers, with a keen eye on exactly what types of businesses will succeed or fail. As it turns out, those things coincide perfectly with the things they personally enjoy. 7. I’M 5TH GENERATION! MY GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER MOVED HERE BEFORE THIS WAS EVEN ON THE MAP! That entitles you to one vote, just like everybody else. Now tell us what you came up here to say. 8. WE NEED TO RESPECT THE HUNDREDS OF HOURS SPENT CRAFTING THIS NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN Respecting people for volunteering time making plans doesn’t mean those plans should never change. Now tell us your reasons for or against this particular change. 9. THIS HOUSING IS TOO SMALL FOR ME! Different people have different needs and desires! Just because you don’t like a particular thing doesn’t mean nobody would like it. sent via Tapatalk
  3. http://www.thestranger.com/news/2016/05/04/24039262/more-growth-please More Growth Please The "Yes in My Backyard" Movement Builds in Seattle by Heidi Groover "Meditate on this," San Francisco activist Sonja Trauss tells a crowd in a conference room overlooking Lake Union. "What's the difference between being able to afford something that's not available... and not being able to afford something that is available?" The room sits in polite quiet. "Nothing," Trauss says emphatically. "There's no difference. These are both ways that [housing] shortage manifests." Trauss is preaching to the choir: a room of mostly white, mostly male Seattle developers working on plates of steak and green beans. You don't have to tell this group twice about the rules of supply and demand. But in another way, Trauss is screaming into the void. All across Seattle, small fights are playing out over whether new buildings—new housing—should be built. These are fights about the scale and height of new buildings, neighborhood character, and whether Seattle is losing its "soul." They are tedious and they are hurting housing affordability in this city. But for the most part, the only people paying attention to these fights are the people who want to stop the growth. People like the developers in this room, who believe Seattle needs more growth to meet its massive influx of new residents, rarely show up to advocate for new housing unless it's their own project in question. The rest of the city's residents—who, if recent city council election results are any indication, favor new density over parochial NIMBYism—don't often show up, either. Trauss, 34, is trying to change that in San Francisco and encouraging urbanists in Seattle to do the same. Trauss founded the San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation, a blunt, tech-funded, grassroots organization that advocates for more housing in and around San Francisco and was recently profiled in the New York Times as an indication of that city's "cries to build, baby, build." The group is one of many across the country organizing under the banner of YIMBY ("yes in my backyard"). Next month, YIMBYs will convene in Boulder, Colorado, for a conference with discussion topics like "forging healthy alliances between housing advocates and housing developers" and "responding to anti-housing ballot measures." "You guys actually have some non-industry pro-growth people," Trauss tells the Seattle developers. "Seattle has a lot of urbanists. It's just a matter of Laura actually starting a mailing list, and pretty soon you'll have your own pro-development citizen group." In the crowd sits Laura Bernstein, a 40-year-old renter in the University District who recently quit grad school to spend this year studying urbanism on her own and figuring out how to expand the YIMBY movement in Seattle. Before becoming a middle-school teacher, Bernstein studied opera and plant biology. Now she spends her days having coffee with other urbanists, going to community meetings, and running the Twitter account @YIMBYsea. At this time last year, Bernstein wouldn't be showing up in a story about YIMBYs. Then, she was working for a city council candidate who embodies the "not in my backyard" movement—Tony Provine. (By the end of his campaign, Provine was sending out mailers depicting bulldozers threatening to tear down single-family zones across the city. He lost in the primary with just 14 percent of the vote in his district.) Bernstein says when she started working for Provine, she thought he could serve as a bridge between pro-density urbanists and neighborhood advocates afraid of change. With enough reasoning, she thought, anybody could be convinced to welcome growth in their neighborhood. "All of that idealism went right out the window the minute I started knocking on doors and talking to voters," Bernstein tells me over Skype while she's in Vancouver to see an interactive art exhibit about growth there. Knocking on doors is when Bernstein says she began "hearing how cynical of downtown, cynical of politicians, and so put upon [homeowners were], like 'They're doing this to us.'" By "this," the neighbors mean growth. It's a common refrain in Seattle's density debate that developers or city officials are inflicting growth onto neighborhoods. In fact, of course, new people will move to Seattle whether we build for them or not. The only thing we have control over—unless we decide to build a wall—is whether we're prepared for those new residents. But Bernstein is holding on to some of her idealism. She doesn't like to use the term "NIMBY" and is deliberate about trying to meet with people she disagrees with. That sounds cheesy, but it makes her a rarity among the city's hardcore urbanists. On social media, Seattle urbanists can be a condescending, dick-swinging crowd, dismissing the lived experiences of displaced and struggling renters because they're busy shouting about the faultless wisdom of the free market. ("NIMBYs are literally the worst," one tweeted as I was writing this story. "Economic terrorists.") The city's well-meaning pro-tenants movement, meanwhile, peddles tired caricatures of greedy developers and focuses almost exclusively on rent control as the solution to Seattle's housing crisis. It's an exhausting split that accomplishes little, except alienating everyone in the middle. A group like SFBARF, led by renters and fighting for growth, could bridge some of that divide. Trauss is wholly pro-development—all types of it—but she also supports increased protections to keep renters from being "economically evicted" (when landlords dramatically raise rents to push out low-income tenants) and temporary rent control while supply catches up with demand. Some local density advocates are skeptical of the YIMBY movement. "Look at the math," Ben Schiendelman, a Seattle tech worker and outspoken pro-density provocateur, says of Trauss's efforts in San Francisco. "They don't win fights, and when they do, it's like for a handful of units in a building. In the time it takes to win those fights, you lose thousands of people out of the city." Schiendelman, 34, believes the only answer in Seattle and San Francisco alike is to get rid of zoning altogether. (Trauss's group is trying to sue the suburbs for restricting growth; Schiendelman supports that and says he's working on a similar lawsuit against Seattle.) Killing zoning would allow all sorts of building all over the city, he argues, creating a denser, more transit-rich city where poor and rich people live alongside each other. He has little patience for community organizing like Bernstein and others are doing. "People are becoming NIMBYs at a faster rate than you could talk them out of it," Schiendelman says. "The rate at which you could possibly organize [pro-growth] people is slower than the rate at which the city becomes less affordable." But a look at the public reaction to modest moves toward more density in Seattle shows what an unwinnable fight getting rid of zoning altogether could be. Last year, Mayor Ed Murray's housing affordability committee—known as HALA—recommended upzones to make certain parts of the city denser, reductions of expensive parking quotas, and new requirements that developers include affordable units in new apartment buildings or pay fees to help pay for new affordable housing. The neighborhood backlash was immediate, particularly against the recommendation to allow duplexes, triplexes, and backyard cottages in some of the city's single-family zones—which make up 65 percent of land (including parks) in Seattle. Meanwhile, others opposed HALA for different reasons. Developer lobbyist Roger Valdez argued the affordability requirements would make housing more expensive. Jon Grant, the former head of the Tenants Union of Washington State and a member of the HALA committee, criticized the recommendations for not including rent control and not charging enough fees on developers. In the middle, a coalition of developers and housing advocates have joined to form a group called "Seattle for Everyone," which encourages lawmakers and the public to support the HALA recommendations. In response to neighborhood backlash, Murray, joined by Council Members Tim Burgess and Mike O'Brien (who claims to be the council's environmental leader), backed away from the HALA recommendations. It will be up to activists like Bernstein to force that discussion back onto the table. With calls to abandon all zoning set as the extreme, allowing backyard cottages and duplexes becomes the moderate position in this debate. Bernstein says she's focused on what happens after HALA is done. The YIMBY movement "is here," she says. "I think we're a super YIMBY city." Back at the developer dinner, Trauss urges builders to show up at meetings and comment in favor of each other's projects and to do an industry survey of their salaries to try to make the point that they're not all getting rich. In San Francisco, she's looking ahead to May 10, when she's asking YIMBYs to all show up and vote in an election on the same day to show that they're a real constituency. "At the end of the day, some people just hate growth and there's nothing you can do," she tells the room. "You're never going to convince that person, so that's fine. Don't waste your energy. You just have to say, 'See you at the ballot box.'" recommended Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
  4. Via The Boston Globe : Montreal’s Little Burgundy, Mile Ex are getting hip artfully By Christopher Muther | GLOBE STAFF OCTOBER 18, 2014 CHRISTOPHER MUTHER/GLOBE STAFF Canned vegetables were seen at Dinnette Triple Crown. Life was taking place behind glowing windows on this preternaturally balmy October night. On a walk in Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighborhood, the streets were quiet but inside restaurants were buzzing and the city’s jeunesse dorée were shoulder-to-stylish-shoulder at gallery openings. If it sounds like I’m romanticizing the scene, I am. I had struck travel pay dirt: a hot new neighborhood laid at my feet, and I had a night to aimlessly explore this turf called Little Burgundy. In my usual know-it-all fashion, I thought I had thoroughly chewed and digested the hot neighborhoods of Montreal years ago. As usual, I was wrong. I knew that the Mile End neighborhood was chockablock with the cool kids (genus Hipster). I was also aware that Old Montreal, the part of the city that was once jammed with tatty gift shops, is now very chic and grown-up. Not so long ago I came to Old Montreal with the intention of writing a story about how Old Montreal is the new Montreal. I was too lazy to write the story — please don’t tell my editor — but my theory was correct. The area is now known for its celebrity chef restaurants and art galleries. Which brings us back to this balmy October night in Little Burgundy. Until a few weeks ago, I thought Little Burgundy was an inexpensive red wine. Nope. It was once a working class neighborhood that has blossomed into a hamlet dotted with incredible restaurants and boutiques. For the sake of ease, I’m going to group Little Burgundy with the Saint-Henri and Griffintown neighborhoods. All are in the southwest part of the city and have a rough-around-the-edges, blue-collar history. The neighborhood volte-face began with the cleanup of the Lachine Canal. Artists scrambled for inexpensive studio space. This inevitably brought in the beginnings of gentrification and a rush of 20- and 30-somethings on the hunt for affordable housing. The scene is anchored by Atwater Market in Saint-Henri. Atwater, a mega farmer's market, is housed in a beautiful Art Deco tower. Set aside an hour or two to wander the aisles and check out the produce, much of it from farms around Quebec. I passed rows of passionate red raspberries and strawberries, but opted for locally made chocolates. We all know a man needs a little sugar to keep up his strength. When I began my Little Burgundy evening excursion, I started with restaurants from the pioneering chefs who rode covered wagons into this new frontier and set up shop. Joe Beef opened in 2005 and received a considerable boost when celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dropped in. The English pub Burgundy Lion sits across the street. It’s part sports bar and part restaurant. I stayed long enough for a drink, but failed miserably when it came to discussing sports. I wanted to chat about the prosecco-scented soap I purchased earlier in the day at a boutique called Beige. The gent on the bar stool next to me wanted to talk about Canadian football. “Who do you think is going to take it?” he asked. “The Alouettes or the Redblacks?” The Alouettes sounded like an effete, all-male a cappella act, so I said the Redblacks. Naturally the Alouettes won. I needed a place where I felt slightly more comfortable discussing my prosecco-scented soap. The trouble was choosing. I passed Tuck Shop, Bitoque, Evvo, and the Drinkerie. All looked pretty wonderful. I stopped in at Code Ambiance, but felt woefully underdressed — and blasted my slovenly American ways! I walked a few doors down to a steak house called Grinder. Like a latter-day Goldilocks, I declared, “This one is just right!” I settled at the bar to start on an amazing meal. Not long after, an animated couple appeared at my side, eager to talk. I love talking to new people, particularly locals, when I’m on the road. But this conversation was making me nervous. It starting getting a bit salty for my liking (I’m not talking about the food), peppered with questions that left me blushing. One of the few French phrases I know, ménage à trois, felt like it was about to be introduced into the conversation. I came up with a hasty excuse to leave, paid the check, and rushed back to my hotel. I guess prosecco-scented soap is a bit of an aphrodisiac. You’ve been warned, people. Sufficiently frightened to go back to Little Burgundy, I met up with my friends Alexis and Julien at a Russian-themed cocktail bar called Kabinet (it’s connected to another Russian-themed bar called Datcha) the next night in Mile End. The conversation focused on Mile Ex, another of Montreal’s hottest new neighborhoods. Like Little Burgundy, I had never heard of Mile Ex. But Julien and Alexis said this once rough-hewn ’hood, which is less than a square mile squeezed between Little Italy and a highway, is also going through a resurgence. More condominiums are going in, and more restaurants are following suit. After cocktails and bowling at the charmingly divey Notre-Dame-des-Quilles (known as NDQ by locals), I drafted a Mile Ex plan for the next day. Mile Ex is very easy to walk (or bike), so I started exploring by going to Marché Jean-Talon on the edge of Little Italy and Mile Ex. Like Atwater Market, the place is mammoth and filled with incredible produce. Again, I skipped anything remotely healthy and jumped to the poutine booth. Bubu Restaurant Gringer One of the first restaurants to open in Mile Ex was Dinette Triple Crown, which didn’t arrive intending to be a forebear of great things to come; the owners say it was pure coincidence and good timing. It’s an unpretentious place where you can order Southern comfort food. Contrast that with Mile Ex’s latest eatery, le Ballpark, which specializes in meatballs. Yes, meatballs. For such a tiny area, there are some fantastic places here. My favorite (not that you asked) was Manitoba, which also opened this summer. “We wanted a taste of the forest in our plates, a taste of nature in our glasses,” reads the restaurant’s website. Much of the food was local and the look of the space was chic and rustic. Braver souls can sample deer heart and veal tongue. I played it safe with duck. I encountered more friendly Montrealers at Manitoba — thank you again prosecco-scented soap — who invited me to a very illegal party at an abandoned warehouse. Generally when I hear the words “illegal” and “party,” I don’t hesitate. It was one of those glorious nights where DJs ironically played music from 1990 to 2000 while revelers danced in a crumbling space that looked like a set from “The Walking Dead.” If you’ve never experienced Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam” in an abandoned Canadian warehouse, you don’t know what you’re missing. Even as I write these words I’m feeling guilty. I want to tell people about Little Burgundy and Mile Ex, but I don’t want to ruin these places by turning them into tourist destinations. I want to greedily keep them to myself. If the masses begin descending, will there be enough meatballs left for me at le Ballpark, poutine at Marche Jean Talon, warehouse dance parties, and swingers on the prowl at Grinder? OK, I’ll make a deal: You take the swingers, I’ll keep the poutine. PATRICK GARVIN/ GLOBE STAFF Christopher Muther can be reached at [email protected]
  5. having recently walked through griffintown from downtown towards verdun i found that while the area is filled with many condo projects most of them look they have been there for quite a while and they all seem to be waiting after one another to 'pop' from the ground ... in the meantime the place still looks awfully desolate and abandoned and you have to think that this has an effect on the health of those projects - it's not like the city lacks any plans for griffintown but don't you think they should be more proactive about it and inject some fund in the neighborhood to help spur the growth of all these residential towers instead of waiting for them to actually get built before they do anything ? chicken and the egg kinda situation now it seems but imo the city should be the first to do actually do something and not the private developers .. after all all these years down the road its the city that will still be collecting tax funds if anything gets built - not the initial investors
  6. http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/travel/36-hours-in-quebec-city.html Hmm... might take a little trip to Quebec for the weekend. Seeing I haven't been in over a decade.
  7. Cirque du Gourmet Montréal’s Jean Talon Farmers’ Market is a feast for the eyes, too By Matt Scanlon You can’t beat the people-watching at Café Italia on Boulevard St. Laurent in Montréal. From the coffeehouse’s small sidewalk tables, an observer can take in the city’s swirling blend of color and culture: a Rasta-capped dad pushing a tandem stroller; a reed-thin, ghost-pale city girl; a man-sandaled Red Sox fan, presumably from the States; a fiftysomething Asian woman in a sky-blue business suit. One thing unifies this disparate urban crowd: loot from the Marché Jean Talon. Grasping sacks filled with guava, pineapples, wedges of cheese and the requisite torpedoes of French bread, the shoppers spill out of one of the best open-air farmers’ markets in the city . . . some say the continent. To those who’ve fallen prey to the Jean Talon addiction, the place is much more than an opportunity for bag filling. Since its opening in 1933, the market has been an impromptu park: part “Where am I?” landmark for tourists, part political forum and part all-day hang-out for everyone from skateboard kids to fashionistas. Think of a circus with much better food . . . and no clowns. Situated between avenues Casgrain and Henri-Julien, closest to the Jean Talon metro stop, the Marché Jean Talon is one of only two large farmers’ markets in Montréal — the other is Atwater in the Westmount neighborhood. However, many locals feel Jean Talon represents a more faithful adherence to the “buy local, sell local” motto. Its 300-odd stalls — shaded from the sun by a roof without walls, train-station-style — overflow with cheese, meat, produce of virtually every shape and description, freshly cut flowers, fish just plucked from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Québec crafts such as hand-woven hats and rugs. The outside edges of the market hold restaurants, larger food stores and a raft of cafés. Though the market resides on the northwestern edge of Little Italy, the neighborhood vibe is more Gallic than Latin, and the happiest customers are those who can at least introduce their inability to speak French . . . in French. Stylish epicurians are quick to note that the Atwater market, with its tonier locale, has more cachet these days, and for people less eager to immerse themselves in Québécois culture, its largely Anglophone location is certainly American-friendly. But that’s just the point: When we go to Montréal, it’s because we want to get away. And Jean Talon has plenty of exotic tastes, including Québec favorites such as Rougemont and Mont-Sainte-Hilaire apples, lamb and pork from the Rigaud hills, and chèvre and Pied-de-Vent cheeses. Open year-round, a market of this size naturally has its share of imports, too. You can grab a Florida orange for nostalgia’s sake, but really. Fromage fans in particular have good reason to make the journey to Jean Talon. Though we have plenty of fine unpasteurized cheeses in Vermont, the market is a prime place to sample Québec’s offerings. Purists believe heat kills much of the earthy texture and place-presence (or terroir) of cheese, and after a hockey-puck-sized serving of a goat’s milk variety called “Tome,” it’s difficult to argue the point. Grassy, sharp and with a white-wine-like finish, it’s a revelation. Such bliss comes with a side order of caution; unpasteurized milk is more prone to have listeriosis and E. coli passengers on board, and pregnant woman should abstain. Though there are at least a dozen great places to buy, Fromagerie Qui Lait Cru — a nifty pun that means both “raw milk” and “Who would’ve believed?” — has a particularly garrulous staff when it comes to answering questions. There are few better examples of Jean Talon’s emphasis on local flavor than Porc Meilleur. Supplied by a family-run farm of the same name in the Maskoutan region, its hormone- and antibiotic-free meat comes from pigs that are fed a combination of grains, yogurt and milk — the proportions are a house secret — and the results are the stuff of local legend. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to come from as far as Ottawa for the bacon, and a shortage of chops can be cause for a near-riot. If veal is your thing, Veau de Charlevoix, just a stone’s throw from Porc Meilleur, is just as passionate about animal raising and quality. Les Délices de la Mer has the unofficial designation of the go-to place for fresh fish in the market. You’ll know it by the number of people standing nearby eating fried fillets out of paper wrappers, eyes turned heavenward in appreciation. Les Délices sells and cooks what’s in season, of course, and at the moment turbot is in abundance. A relative of the flounder, this 10- to 30-pound bottom dweller is prized for delicate (if firm) flesh and a decidedly non-fishy flavor. More than anything else, though, what you see in the market is produce, and again, as long as the harvest lasts, local fruits and vegetables are the stars of the show. For sheer scale and diversity, start with Sami Fruit, just off the market on Rue Jean Talon South. Portage potatoes look appreciably different from their Idaho cousins, while Reliance peaches and Nova Scotia grapes put many in the States to shame. Though these staples of Jean Talon anchor the day, the best part of the market is the unexpected. One day an intrepid shopper might find a small stall offering fresh lobster; the next, a display of crayfish; the next, kosher pickles manufactured by the remnants of the area’s once-sizeable Jewish community. Each visit is different, and as you dip your baguette into a jar of brandied strawberry puree over the low notes of a Mexican guitarron, suddenly the ennui of the border crossing seems worth it. Fruit Flight What’s the point of filling your bags with the wonders of Québec if they end up in the hands of customs agents? Crossing the border is nervewracking enough without worrying about the rules regarding the legal importation of Canadian goods, and the trouble is that these regulations change constantly. With every new potato worm, fruit fly or blight, products that were acceptable yesterday become illegal today. Generally, though, things play out like this: Prepared items such as jam, jelly, sauce, olive oil, mustard, honey, wine and vinegar are permissible, with the very strict exception of anything containing meat. Importing a meat product of any kind is forbidden. For the sake of your stomach, and because it generally falls under the meat heading, leave the fish on your plate, too. The rules are a bit more relaxed regarding Canadian fruit and vegetable importation than with flora of Mexico, Central America or Europe. As long as your plunder is not exotic (eat the last of that pineapple before you leave) and/or bears a “grown in Québec” label either on the fruit or on the bag, you’ll most likely be OK. To be safe, don’t mingle different types of fruit in one bag. Hard cheeses, even those containing raw milk, are generally allowed, but no soft varieties — sorry, Brie lovers. Be further advised, though, that any customs agent can decide for any reason that an item is inadmissible or exceeds the maddeningly vague “reasonable amount” rule. Don’t press your luck by proclaiming your rights — you really don’t have any when it comes to this stuff — or doing your Alan Shore impersonation from “Boston Legal.” Smile, surrender the olives, and move on.
  8. Is America's suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare? Suburban neighborhoods are becoming refuges for those outpriced in gentrifying inner-cities. By Lara Farrar For CNN (CNN) -- When Shaun Yandell proposed to his longtime girlfriend Gina Marasco on the doorstep of their new home in the sunny suburb of Elk Grove, California, four years ago, he never imagined things would get this bad. But they did, and it happened almost overnight. art.jpg "It is going to be heartbreak," Yandell told CNN. "But we are hanging on." Yandell's marriage isn't falling apart: his neighborhood is. Devastated by the subprime mortgage crisis, hundreds of homes have been foreclosed and thousands of residents have been forced to move, leaving in their wake a not-so-pleasant path of empty houses, unkempt lawns, vacant strip malls, graffiti-sprayed desolate sidewalks and even increased crime. In Elk Grove, some homeowners not only cut their own grass but also trim the yards of vacant homes on their streets, hoping to deter gangs and criminals from moving in. Other residents discovered that with some of the empty houses, it wasn't what was growing outside that was the problem. Susan McDonald, president of a local neighborhood association aimed at saving the lost suburban paradise, told CNN that around her cul-de-sac, federal agents recently busted several pot homes with vast crops of marijuana growing from floor to ceiling. And only a couple of weeks ago, Yandell said he overheard a group of teenagers gathered on the street outside his back patio, talking about a robbery they had just committed. When they lit a street sign on fire, Yandell called the cops. "This is not like a rare thing anymore," he said. "I get big congregations of people cussing -- stuff I can't even fathom doing when I was a kid." Don't Miss For Yandell, his wife and many other residents trying to stick it out, the white picket fence of an American dream has faded into a seemingly hopeless suburban nightmare. "The forecast is gloomy," he told CNN. While the foreclosure epidemic has left communities across the United States overrun with unoccupied houses and overgrown grass, underneath the chaos another trend is quietly emerging that, over the next several decades, could change the face of suburban American life as we know it. This trend, according to Christopher Leinberger, an urban planning professor at the University of Michigan and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, stems not only from changing demographics but also from a major shift in the way an increasing number of Americans -- especially younger generations -- want to live and work. "The American dream is absolutely changing," he told CNN. This change can be witnessed in places like Atlanta, Georgia, Detroit, Michigan, and Dallas, Texas, said Leinberger, where once rundown downtowns are being revitalized by well-educated, young professionals who have no desire to live in a detached single family home typical of a suburbia where life is often centered around long commutes and cars. Instead, they are looking for what Leinberger calls "walkable urbanism" -- both small communities and big cities characterized by efficient mass transit systems and high density developments enabling residents to walk virtually everywhere for everything -- from home to work to restaurants to movie theaters. The so-called New Urbanism movement emerged in the mid-90s and has been steadily gaining momentum, especially with rising energy costs, environmental concerns and health problems associated with what Leinberger calls "drivable suburbanism" -- a low-density built environment plan that emerged around the end of the World War II and has been the dominant design in the U.S. ever since. Thirty-five percent of the nation's wealth, according to Leinberger, has been invested in constructing this drivable suburban landscape. But now, Leinberger told CNN, it appears the pendulum is beginning to swing back in favor of the type of walkable community that existed long before the advent of the once fashionable suburbs in the 1940s. He says it is being driven by generations molded by television shows like "Seinfeld" and "Friends," where city life is shown as being cool again -- a thing to flock to, rather than flee. "The image of the city was once something to be left behind," said Leinberger. Changing demographics are also fueling new demands as the number of households with children continues to decline. By the end of the next decade, the number of single-person households in the United States will almost equal those with kids, Leinberger said. And aging baby boomers are looking for a more urban lifestyle as they downsize from large homes in the suburbs to more compact town houses in more densely built locations. Recent market research indicates that up to 40 percent of households surveyed in selected metropolitan areas want to live in walkable urban areas, said Leinberger. The desire is also substantiated by real estate prices for urban residential space, which are 40 to 200 percent higher than in traditional suburban neighborhoods -- this price variation can be found both in cities and small communities equipped with walkable infrastructure, he said. The result is an oversupply of depreciating suburban housing and a pent-up demand for walkable urban space, which is unlikely to be met for a number of years. That's mainly, according to Leinberger, because the built environment changes very slowly; and also because governmental policies and zoning laws are largely prohibitive to the construction of complicated high-density developments. But as the market catches up to the demand for more mixed use communities, the United States could see a notable structural transformation in the way its population lives -- Arthur C. Nelson, director of Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute, estimates, for example, that half of the real-estate development built by 2025 will not have existed in 2000. Yet Nelson also estimates that in 2025 there will be a surplus of 22 million large-lot homes that will not be left vacant in a suburban wasteland but instead occupied by lower classes who have been driven out of their once affordable inner-city apartments and houses. The so-called McMansion, he said, will become the new multi-family home for the poor. "What is going to happen is lower and lower-middle income families squeezed out of downtown and glamorous suburban locations are going to be pushed economically into these McMansions at the suburban fringe," said Nelson. "There will probably be 10 people living in one house." In Shaun Yandell's neighborhood, this has already started to happen. Houses once filled with single families are now rented out by low-income tenants. Yandell speculates that they're coming from nearby Sacramento, where the downtown is undergoing substantial gentrification, or perhaps from some other area where prices have gotten too high. He isn't really sure. But one thing Yandell is sure about is that he isn't going to leave his sunny suburban neighborhood unless he has to, and if that happens, he says he would only want to move to another one just like it. "It's the American dream, you know," he said. "The American dream." http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/06/16/suburb.city/index.html
  9. I thought this was interesting: http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/ikea-is-assembling-its-own-london-neighborhood.html IKEA is Assembling its Own London Neighborhood IKEA is going into the business of selling walls, floors and roofs, in addition to furniture, housewares and rugs. Inter IKEA Holding Services, the intellectual property owners of the home-goods retail monolith, recently announced plans to build an entire neighborhood in Stratford, East London, just south of the Olympic Park, where the 2012 Olympics will take place. The new district, Strand East, will include 1,200 homes, of which about 40 percent will have three or more bedrooms. Strand East will also have a 350-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel, 480,000 square feet of offices, shops, cafes, restaurants, a school, a nursery, and a health-care facility, allowing residents to accomplish daily errands and needs without having to drive. The 26-acre neighborhood-in-progress is being designed to include car-free pedestrian zones, courtyards and landscaped grounds, while the planned underground parking means vehicles will be stowed tidily out of sight. The parcel is bordered on two of three sides by waterways, so the community might take on a Venice-like feel, with a water taxi service, a floating cocktail bar, and moorings that will be available for residents’ use Strand East will be constructed by Landprop, a unit of Inter IKEA. Harald Müller, the managing director for LandProp and the business development manager for Inter IKEA, emphasizes that while IKEA values such as family safety and smart design will be represented, this project is completely separate from the retail branch — so don't expect the apartments to come fully furnished with IKEA catalog items. Müller isn't saying exactly how much the land cost, but the amount was higher than the speculated £25 million (about $39 million) cited in The Daily Mail. It was obtained at "a very interesting low price, but not this price," he said. Of the total land buy, Müller says that two big parcels were foreclosures. One foreclosure was bought from a bank, and the other was from the Olympic Legacy Company. Inter IKEA had the advantage of making an equity-financed purchase, which has allowed it to create similar developments in Poland, the Baltics and Romania. Demolition has begun in what was once an abandoned industrial area of Stratford, dating from the 15th or 16th century. Gin was distilled in the area during the last century until the war, but in the intervening time it became "completely empty and rubbish and ugly," says Müller. Although some planning approvals are pending, construction is planned to begin in 2013 — after the Olympics — and is expected to take about five years. However, one section, Dane’s Yard (pictured at top) has been approved. It will feature a 40-meter-high (131-foot) illuminated sculpture in its public square, and a Grayson’s restaurant that will focus on ethically and locally sourced foods. It will also retain renovated versions of some of the historic buildings. "We will turn it around for sure," says Müller. "Not being arrogant, but for sure it will be a new hotspot in London."
  10. Imaginez le monde entier couverts de de milliard de tuiles, combien pouvez-vous en découvrir? Description en anglais: Imagine the entire world is covered in billions of tiles. How many can you open up? Strut is a game of exploration where you compete with other players around the world to uncover the map of the earth. –––––– TRACK YOUR TRAVELS Whether you walk, run, bike, drive, sail, ride a goat or take a hot air balloon, use Strut to keep track of exactly where you've been in the world. Share your map with friends, or keep your wanderings private... we won't tell. EXPLORE YOUR SURROUNDINGS Take a new route to work. Go down that street you never walked through. Visit every nook and cranny of your city. See more of your neighborhood – who knows what you might find? OPEN UP YOUR WORLD Strut around, level up and climb to the top of the leaderboards – there's a top 10 for every city, state, country, and the entire world. There are also a ton of medals to earn, so keep exploring and see what pops up in your adventures around the globe. Mon compte que j'ai ouvert il y a quelques jours! Qui d'autres est là dessus? Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Have Some Champagne With That Brisket? Montreal is just bubbling with Jewish culture November 08, 2007 Kathy Shorr Jewish Exponent Feature Ever since the Parti Quebeçois came to power three decades ago, bringing with it greater nationalism and stricter language laws favoring French, it's been easy to feel uneasy about Jewish life in Montreal. The Jewish community has shrunk from a high of about 120,000 before that 1976 election, to just under 100,000 now. Many who left were the younger, well-educated postwar generation of Ashkenazi descent, who had been educated primarily in English. (Barred from attending the Catholic, French-speaking schools, they'd attended the English-speaking Protestant ones.) But come to Montreal today, and you'll find a Jewish world that feels more vital than many American communities with comparably-sized communities. You can see live Yiddish theater, visit a new world-class Holocaust center and sample kosher restaurants serving everything from Chinese food to Moroccan chicken tagine. The Jewish community in Montreal is one of the most traditional in North America. According to a report by B'nai B'rith Canada's Institute for International Affairs, the community has a remarkably low intermarriage rate (less than 7 percent) and a remarkably high rate of religious observance (50 percent keep kosher). At roughly the same time that wave of Ashkenazi Jews left, about 20,000 Sephardic, French-speaking Jews arrived -- most of them coming from North Africa, especially Morocco. And with a continuing influx of Jewish immigrants, including as many as 10,000 Russian Jews in recent years, the city has maintained a vibrant Jewish culture that is now about 25 percent Sephardic. In Search of 'Duddy' Visitors looking for signs of Jewish life have several sections of the city to explore. Anyone interested in history will want to go to the Mile End neighborhood, the setting for Mordecai Richler's famous novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Just east of Mount Royal Park is a five-street-wide area between the Avenue du Parc and the Boulevard Saint-Laurent -- the Jewish neighborhood for much of the first half of the 20th century. The old neighborhood was increasingly abandoned after the war, as Jews started to make their way out to the suburbs. But Mile End is still home to a large Chasidic community. And it still looks a lot like it did when Richler wrote about going to Tansky's store for a package of Sen-Sen. The rowhouses remain, with their outside staircases and little balconies. And some of the old haunts, like Moishe's Steakhouse and Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen, are open for business as usual. The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre People come to Moishe's for the best steaks in town, while Schwartz's long, narrow dining room teems with crowded tables of patrons ordering sandwiches piled with smoked beef. Several blocks north is the St. Viateur Bagel Shop, celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is open day and night, 24/7, and regularly wins the prize for best bagels in Montreal -- as much for the atmosphere as for the bagels themselves. You can see the flames coming out of the wood-burning brick oven, and watch the bagels being pulled out on a long-handled tray and then dumped into a long, sloping bin. They still use the same recipe from 100 years ago -- hand-rolling the bagels and dropping them into boiling water for five minutes before baking. And forget about cinnamon-raisin or chocolate-chip bagels: It's sesame or poppyseed, and that's it! For a completely different scene, head west out Côte St. Catherine Road to Snowdon, a neighborhood of duplex and split-level homes, where many Jews moved after the war. There, you'll find a small campus of Jewish community and religious organizations and cultural groups. The Segal Centre for Performing Arts at the Saidye Bronfman Centre mounts plays of both general and Jewish interest, including an annual play in Yiddish. Montreal has the largest Holocaust-survivor population in Canada; across the street from the Saidye Bronfman are the Jewish Public Library and the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, with 5,000 square feet of exhibit space. The library sponsors all kinds of lectures, readings, films, and live-music and other events for both residents and visitors. A few blocks south of Côte St. Catherine Road is the commercial Queen Mary Road, which feels something like the way Mile End must have felt a few generations ago. There are charcuteries (delis that specialize in meats) where everything is labeled only in Russian, with vats of sweet-and-sour cabbage and trays of whole smoked fish and caviar. There's Israeli fast-food at Chez Benny and kosher pizza by the Snowdon metro station. Cell phones ring, voices chatting in French and Arabic more often than in Yiddish. Yes, indeed, Jewish life in Montreal has changed, but remains alive and well. For more information, go to: www. tourisme-montreal.org.
  12. With Festival Season Underway, Montreal Reflects on 10-Year Cultural Plan BY GREG SCRUGGS | JUNE 17, 2016 Summery electronic beats floated through the air alongside fragrant cheese and the occasional whiff of marijuana. Picnic blankets laden with pâté and baguettes commingled with flowing bottles of beer and wine. Families parked strollers, millennials lounged near their bikes, and techno tourists went gaga for Swedish DJ and producer Peder Mannerfelt. The occasion for such a languid Saturday afternoon earlier this month in downtown Montreal was MUTEK, a festival dedicated to electronic music and digital arts that held its 17th edition this year. Its free programming at the Parterre, a simple plaza easily converted into a performing arts venue, is just a small sampling of the festival overload that takes hold every summer in the city’s Quartier des Spectacles, a downtown cultural district that hosts most of the outdoor fêtes. Even as the 40,000 MUTEK attendees, roughly half from outside the metropolitan area, fluttered among a handful of the Quartier’s sleek venues, workers were busy maneuvering lighting trusses and erecting stages on downtown streets to accommodate the 500,000 that came for Les FrancoFolies, a French-language music festival that wraps up Friday, and the 2.5 million expected for the Montreal Jazz Festival, which starts June 26. Montreal is North America’s undisputed festival capital, with 200 annual medium- to large-size events downtown that generate over 1,000 festival days, according to the city’s Bureau of Cinema, Festivals, and Events. “For the size of Montreal, that’s pretty astounding,” says the bureau’s director, Daniel Bissonnette. The metro area of 4 million has a comparatively low GDP per capita, he points out, but through a combination of dedicated cultural infrastructure and savvy marketing, it punches well above its weight. Cities have come knocking at his door to ask what’s in Montreal’s secret sauce, he says, most recently Los Angeles. At the end of June, Bissonnette will travel to Kraków, Poland, for a meeting of a nascent, as-yet-unnamed international network of festival cities that also includes the likes of Adelaide, Barcelona, Berlin and Edinburgh. But as the city’s international festival acclaim grows, it must also continue to nurture the local cultural community, whose public arts funding is in limbo as the provincial government plans to cut back while the federal government has pledged to increase support. Plus, next year concludes the scope of the city’s 10-year cultural plan and the city council is poised to adopt a new strategy. While it’s still early for any concrete details, the bustling summer scene downtown offers some clues as to what the future might hold. The square-kilometer patch of the eastern edge of downtown Montreal demarcated as the Quartier des Spectacles was once the city’s red light district and a popular cheap housing option for artists. But it was also the home to the symphony and opera halls, a clutch of theaters and music venues, and the Museum of Contemporary Art — now MUTEK’s annual home base. First proposed in 2002, the Quartier des Spectacles came together over the last decade through a series of demolitions, rehabs and new constructions. The artists living there were, by and large, kicked out — whether by eviction or escalating housing costs as new condos came into the neighborhood. Some affordable live-work space was built in the Mile End neighborhood in exchange for the loss, but the artistic community who created the cachet for the neighborhood to become the Quartier des Spectacles was not compensated directly. While some of Montreal’s infamous strip clubs remain, it’s hardly the red light district it used to be — though red illumination on many of the Quartier’s sidewalks pay homage to its seedier days. And new construction continues apace, from outdoor spots like the Parterre and the Place des Festivals to new anchors like a fresh home for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and next year’s planned arrival of the National Film Board of Canada. The result has been a resurgence in downtown living by a more well-heeled crowd attracted to the city’s cultural offerings, which mirrors trends across North America. But while cities like Philadelphia have managed at best an Avenue of the Arts, Montreal has taken over a whole neighborhood and it continues to grow. “The Quartier des Spectacles is not a finished thing,” notes MUTEK Director Alain Mongeau. Chantal Fontaine opened a bistro two years ago in the heart of the quarter along Boulevard Saint-Laurent, which is pedestrianized during the summer festival months. “The golden age of the red light district passed a long time ago,” she says, dismissing any nostalgia for the neighborhood’s previous incarnation. Also an accomplished comedienne, Fontaine lives three blocks away and notes that she can walk out the front door of her condo at 7:45 p.m. to make an 8 o’clock show. She envisions the Quartier as the city’s answer to Broadway in New York and hopes that the city’s new cultural strategy will reflect that ambition. “International renown, that Montreal becomes an incubator of shows that tour the world,” she says. “We must value our local culture abroad, we have the talent for that.” MUTEK, meanwhile, is already doing that and downtown is essential to its identity. “If we moved to another neighborhood we’d have to remap the whole discourse of the festival,” Mongeau says. “We feel like we’re contributing to the brand of the city.” Blending culture and commerce doesn’t sit well with everyone however. “Western society is pushing us to be entrepreneur artists,” laments Ghislain Poirier, a DJ/producer and a fixture on Montreal’s music scene who has played at MUTEK in past years. In 2010, he wrote an open letter to the mayor complaining that the city was kowtowing to new condo dwellers’ noise complaints and shutting down music clubs — the very venues that made the neighborhood appealing for real estate developers in the first place. That issue has since quieted down, with Bissonnette pointing out new building codes requiring triple-pane windows, policies governing the timing of outdoor amplified sound during festivals, and municipal noise inspectors who will come to a complainant’s home to objectively measure interior sound. “That’s the price you pay to have the excitement downtown,” he says. “A park far away from downtown? That’s not how Montreal works.” Nevertheless, Poirier is convinced that the cultural geography of the city has changed as a result. “Downtown is more for performing, it’s not a place of creation,” he says. “Before it was lofts and artists. Now it’s venues and festivals, mass culture and Hollywood big events.” At the same time, such bookings are valuable and Poirier looks forward to the fat paycheck from festival gigs in the Quartier des Spectacles, which help him pay Montreal’s still affordable, but nevertheless rising, cost of living. While the trend of displaced artists is hardly unique to Montreal, the phenomenon of cultural gentrification is atypical — newer, fancier forms of culture displacing older, scruffier types. As the city prepares to plan ahead for the next 10 years, it may be time to put on the brakes, Poirier says. “There are almost too many events. We’re coming to a saturation point.” https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/montreal-festivals-10-year-cultural-plan
  13. A 45 - acre comprehensive, master planned office campus on Nuns' Island. This multi-phased office complex is geared to those tenants looking for the quality environment offered in suburban locations but with the benefits of a site located just five minutes from Montreal's central business district. Availabilities range from 50,000 sq.ft. to 500,000 sq.ft. in various configurations, all of which will be LEED certified. With the arrival of Bell Canada on Nuns' Island, public transportation has improved with investments in infrastructure being made by various governmental authorities; the neighborhood is poised for even more development. Companies such a Yellow Pages, Multi-prêt, Bombardier Recreational Products and the Bank of Canada continue to enjoy the exceptional office environment that Nuns' Island has to offer with its abundant retail offerings, bike paths, nature walks and lush landscaped public areas.
  14. I have noticed in the past months in this forum and many others in SSP/SSC the amount of rants about ugly suburb sprawl and design. These days, Many neighborhood planners just build and go. Sure they might build a park here and there, but nothing that might add uniqueness to a city or town. Personally i had the chance to live in Calgary and I once visited a neighborhood called McKenzie Towne which is by far i think one of the best examples as to how i would develop suburbs in Canada. All the amenities in the central area with beautifully constructed houses on the outside with great parks, fountains and bicycle trails. At night the neighborhood is surprisingly vibrant (only 11, 000 people) with restaurants and fantastic pubs. I can only imagine in 30/40 years how this little town will look with all the trees and vegetation matured! I would love to see these kind of developments around Montreal or Toronto! http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=mckenzie+towne&hl=en&ll=50.913702,-113.964581&spn=0.015315,0.042272&z=15&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=50.913702,-113.964581&panoid=rzCDkdLVVG2sB2fGzF2jrg&cbp=12,280.66,,0,8.68 http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=mckenzie+towne&hl=en&ll=50.913536,-113.9698&spn=0.003863,0.010568&z=17&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=50.913536,-113.9698&panoid=lrnqlqsqoGl1FuR1rrDQdQ&cbp=12,100.14,,0,5.57 http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=mckenzie+towne&hl=en&ll=50.913296,-113.969818&spn=0.003863,0.010568&z=17&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=50.913156,-113.970046&panoid=-L2scdoFHHHP5r2uuY0RQg&cbp=12,228.7,,0,4.39 http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=mckenzie+towne&hl=en&ll=50.91634,-113.960246&spn=0.000014,0.021136&z=16&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=50.91634,-113.960246&panoid=u2VS_zIsxUsGQd0xAhB3Pg&cbp=12,74.85,,0,7.49 http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=mckenzie+towne&hl=en&ll=50.91525,-113.960637&spn=0.000003,0.005284&z=18&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=50.91525,-113.960637&panoid=gTpjEsRS8yDtkiCpBpnCOw&cbp=12,222.93,,0,15.08 http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=mckenzie+towne&hl=en&ll=50.913757,-113.962308&spn=0.001931,0.005284&z=18&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=50.913757,-113.962308&panoid=BuvKEP1o_b7-0o-KyMAItw&cbp=12,79.11,,0,2.74 http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=mckenzie+towne&hl=en&ll=50.91337,-113.968863&spn=0.007725,0.021136&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=50.913584,-113.968534&panoid=stfZebx-Ap8oFn19zAJ3RQ&cbp=12,17.37,,0,9.78&z=16
  15. Wednesday, September 26, 2007 Feast on Montreal's wonderful charm Erica Johnston / Washington Post I've been captivated by Montreal since my first trip there almost 20 years ago, drawn in by two things in particular: the bowls of hot chocolate offered at the city's many cafes -- hey, why settle for a measly cup? -- and the people who packed the streets in July and August, soaking in the two-month party they call summer. It seemed as busy as midtown Manhattan at rush hour, but these people were smiling. So when my oldest and best friend and I realized that our 40th "anniversary" was approaching, I managed to talk her into a celebratory trip over a long weekend. To Montreal, of course. When I arrived on a summer-like fall afternoon, a day before Kathy, I hit the streets. It had been eight years since my last visit. Had I exaggerated the city's charms? From our hotel downtown, I walked a mile or so, past the edge of Chinatown and through the Latin Quarter to the Plateau, the neighborhood where my affection for the city first took root. Along the leafy side streets, spiral staircases wind their way up the outsides of cozy rowhouses. Somehow, it seemed that if I knocked on a few doors, I'd find someone I knew. A few blocks away, Mount Royal, the modest mountain and majestic park on the neighborhood's western flank, rises over the city, offering a constant compass and an instant refuge to anyone who needs one. In a bakery, a boy of about 4 offered me his friendliest "Allo!" I did my best to respond in kind: "Allo." "Oh," he responded. His smile never broke. "Hello!" And that seems to sum up the language issue -- for tourists, anyway. It's far more complicated for residents -- in the place generally acknowledged to be the world's second-biggest French-speaking city. French? English? Whatever. We can work with you. Nearly everyone who crossed our path was unrelentingly friendly. Even the illuminated "man" in the crossing signals has a spring in his step; check it out. Along Rue St. Denis, a beautifully dressed woman stepped out of an elegant bakery with an elaborately wrapped sandwich and handed it with a smile to a homeless stranger. By the time a Metro toll taker wished us a good life -- and seemed to mean it -- we weren't especially impressed. We walked along the lovely Rue Laurier from east to west, from a low-key weekend street market to the decidedly upmarket blocks of fancy shops west of Rue St. Laurent. That street, also called "The Main," has historically served as the unofficial line separating the city's French culture from its English-speaking stronghold. Today's Montreal is often a wonderful jumble, with strong strands of distinct cultures living amongst one another. It's been called a salad bowl -- the concept of Canadian diversity as separate components complementing each other, as compared with the American ideal of the melting pot. In few places is this more true than in Mile End, a historically Jewish enclave that was one of my favorite discoveries of the trip. Mile End, the boyhood home of the late novelist Mordechai Richler (along with his famous protagonist, Duddy Kravitz), is gentrifying rapidly. But though the challenge of change in the neighborhood just north of the swanky part of Rue Laurier riles some, others revel in it. To the outsider, the place offers a kaleidoscopic array: The Asian teenager with an Orthodox Jew's side locks ambles along Rue St. Viateur. At a street corner, black-clad Goth girls check out South American pan flutists. Butcher shops of seemingly every Eastern European persuasion line the streets. Here's where you get your Montreal bagels, smaller, denser and sweeter than their American counterparts. Their supporters insist that these rounds, boiled in honeyed water before baking, are the real deal; the recipe allegedly was brought over by Romanian Jews in the early 1900s. From there, we continued on a mile or so north, to the Little Italy neighborhood and -- more to the point -- the Jean-Talon Market, a huge, year-round public market for regionally grown meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. Such spots often serve as my museums, telling me more about a place than most collections of art or artifacts ever could. It was a Saturday, and the joint was jammed with more than 100 stalls and thousands of Montrealers, all pondering the same age-old question: What's for dinner? On Sunday night, as our time wound down, we followed our trip to its logical conclusion: dinner at Au Pied de Cochon, a boisterous bistro that offers an unabashed homage to all creatures fat and fowl, a cuisine that is profoundly, jubilantly Quebecois. Chef Martin Picard, a darling of the back-to-the-land school of cooking, looks like a lumberjack, and kind of cooks like one, too. On the menu: "The Big Happy Pig's Chop," "the Pig's Foot" and steak that tends to be venison, when it's in season. If forced to choose, I'd say our favorite meal was at La Montee de Lait, a smallish refuge tucked into a quiet corner of the Plateau that offers a fixed-price parade of exquisite small plates. And then, sadly, the time came to put down our forks and back away slowly. The air had turned seasonably chilly, and we marveled at the Montrealers sitting at sidewalk cafes. For us, it was freezing, and unthinkable. But they were enjoying it while they could, knowing that everything -- even the temperature -- is relative. And the bowls of hot chocolate couldn't have hurt, either.