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  1. First the Main, now it's downtown's turn Construction. Major projects have merchants, drivers in grumble mode Motorists negotiate the traffic and construction at de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Guy St. yesterday. The statue of Norman Bethune has been removed while work is under way.DAVE SIDAWAY THE GAZETTE, JASON MAGDER, The Gazette If you want to know how much it has snowed this winter, head for Place Norman Bethune at de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Guy St. The square, which is the cornerstone of a $22-million facelift for the Concordia University neighbourhood, has been cordoned off with metal fences since October. As a result, snow banks have grown to three metres. However, the transformation of Place Bethune is only one of three major construction projects under way on the corner. Motorists negotiate the traffic and construction at de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Guy St. yesterday. The statue of Norman Bethune has been removed while work is under way Like the merchants caught up in the seemingly endless construction on St. Laurent Blvd., those in this corner of downtown feel choked by street work. While improvements are wrapping up on the Main, crews are just getting started on the Place Bethune beautification project that is expected to last at least until 2011. In the meantime, it' a corner of hell for motorists and pedestrians. "Nobody passes by here anymore," said Mohammad Saken, 28, the manager of Dépanneur Beau Prix on de Maisonneuve west of Guy. "It's already our second year with construction here, and it looks like we're going to have long-term construction. That's going to screw up our business big time." Some merchants complain the constant construction is also dangerous. Saad Salem, the kitchen manager at the Château Kabab restaurant, said he saw a man fall into a hole, which had been dug three weeks ago by the city's Electrical Services Commission to work on underground wiring on Guy north of de Maisonneuve. "A few days ago, a handicapped man fell right into the hole because he didn't see it," Salem said, adding the man wasn't seriously injured. "The company came the next day and put up a fence around the area. But they made the hole and then left it like that, without doing any work. That wasn't a great idea." Serge Boileau, president of the Electrical Services Commission, did not return calls yesterday. Merchants say they are pleased the city is spending money to beautify the area, but say the timing is bad, coming after a summer in which they had to contend both with construction on a new Concordia business school and jackhammers installing a bike path along de Maisonneuve's south side. The bike path is completed, but cyclists, pedestrians and motorists have an obstacle course of four construction sites to negotiate just to cross the street. A southbound lane of Guy is closed from de Maisonneuve to Ste. Catherine St. while crews working on Concordia's new John Molson School of Business building, as is part of de Maisonneuve west of Guy. The north side of de Maisonneuve between Mackay and Guy Sts. is also blocked by traffic cones and trailers, which are used by construction foremen as offices. "It's slushy and dirty and it hasn't been cleaned up in ages," said Melissa Ajamian, 21, who lives on St. Mathieu St. "You used to be able to just walk through this area, but now it's very difficult." Sylvain Ducas, the city's project manager of Place Bethune, said it will take two years to complete the work on the square. "We could have done it in one year, but we need to keep the street open," Ducas said. "I'm sure the merchants will agree with that."
  2. Lords of Trafalgar okay $7-million condo facelift MIKE BOONE, The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago A 93-per-cent approval rating is difficult to achieve on this side of the Great Wall. But that's the vote Norman Glouberman got to approve repairs at the Trafalgar condominiums. Fixing the walls and roof of the 70-year-old building on Côte des Neiges Rd. above Cedar Ave. is going to take three years and cost an estimated $7 million. Glouberman, who chairs the eight-member Trafalgar board of administrators, got the okay from residents in 53 of the building's 57 units. Four dissidents are suing to contest the project, but the overwhelming majority has carried the day and work began in May. "The first information session did not go well - $4 million to $5 million for the masonry was a big shock for everyone," says Norman Glouberman, head of Trafalgar's board of administrators.View Larger Image View Larger Image "The first information session did not go well - $4 million to $5 million for the masonry was a big shock for everyone," says Norman Glouberman, head of Trafalgar's board of administrators. There's scaffolding up the Côte des Neiges side of the three-tower complex. Pallets of bricks and mortar are stacked amid luxury sedans in the courtyard. After leaving the keys to my unluxurious car with the Trafalgar doorman yesterday, I rode the vintage elevator, with its sliding brass grate door, up to Glouberman's fourth-floor condo. He and his wife have a seven-room, 2,200-square-foot unit, and Glouberman's share of the repair bill will be $170,000. Even at this elevated socio-economic stratum, that's not chump change. And no one turned handsprings - probably ill-advised at their age, anyway; two of the condo owners are 90-somethings - when residents were told the Trafalgar needed a facelift. "Unlike apartments, in a condo arrangement everyone has a say," Glouberman said. "Normally, people don't say anything. But when there's money involved ..." The Trafalgar was built - by the grandfather of Montreal restoration architect Julia Gersovitz - as apartment units in 1933 for $1 million. That was serious money in the Dirty Thirties. "The sad part," Glouberman said, "is I've been told that during the 1970s, which was really tough times for real estate, the building was sold for $1 million." That was then. The Trafalgar is evaluated at $55 million. A 3,300-square-foot condo recently sold for $1.4 million. Glouberman has lived there nine years. There's been minimal turnover - about 20 per cent in that time. Who would move? It's a honey of a location on the slope of Mount Royal, with dazzling views of downtown. Glouberman, who's an architect, walks to his Ste. Catherine St. office. Even great buildings start to crumble. The Trafalgar underwent masonry repairs in 1995, but a three-year renovation project was stopped after one year because residents didn't want to spend money on repairs that were not deemed necessary. That was a mistake. "We knew there were minor problems with the masonry," Glouberman said, "but not major problems." Three years ago, the condo board commissioned a thorough study of what ought to be done. The leaky roof could be repaired for $1.5 million and the garage could be fixed for $750,000. "But $4 million to $5 million for the masonry was a big shock for everyone," Glouberman said. "The first information session did not go well." No one - not even a rich downtown condo owner - likes a $150,000 repair bill. But almost every property owner realizes home repair is a good investment - especially in a high-class building like the Trafalgar. Not that it's perfect. The elevator remembers only the floor number pressed by the first passenger to board. Rosemary's Baby vibe notwithstanding, that's the charm of the Trafalgar: a 93-year-old resident drives her car, and the elevator has Alzheimer's. [email protected]
  3. http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=5417,25613580&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL Les Montréalais se souviennent de Norman Bethune (1890-1939) et rendent hommage à sa formidable contribution. En effet, bien qu’il soit né en Ontario et décédé en Chine, c’est à Montréal que Norman Bethune a vécu le plus longtemps, pendant 8 ans, de 1928 à 1936. C’est au cours de son séjour à Montréal qu’il est devenu un réputé chirurgien pulmonaire et que ses idées et convictions se sont développées, le poussant dans la voie de l’engagement social et humanitaire. Les partenaires Pour raviver la mémoire de ce grand Montréalais et faire connaître son œuvre, plusieurs institutions et organismes montréalais se sont associés pour offrir différentes activités tout au long d’une année hommage, qui s’échelonnera de l’automne 2008 à l’automne 2009 – une période qui souligne le 70e anniversaire du départ de Norman Bethune en Chine, en 1938, et le 70e anniversaire de son décès, en 1939. <map id="logo_partenaires_bethune" name="logo_partenaires_bethune"></map> Lancement de l'année hommage Le lancement de l’année hommage a été marqué par le dévoilement, le 14 octobre 2008, de la statue de Norman Bethune nouvellement restaurée. Cette statue est située à l’angle de la rue Guy et du boulevard De Maisonneuve au cœur de Montréal dans la place éponyme. En 2008, ce site fait l’objet d’importants travaux dans le cadre du projet de réaménagement du boulevard De Maisonneuve. Dans la partie située au nord de la place, la statue a été restaurée et la géométrie du boulevard a été modifiée pour créer une toute nouvelle place publique en deux sections. Le concept d’aménagement vise à donner plus de place aux piétons, à relier l’axe cyclable majeur du centre-ville ainsi qu’à créer une plus grande place publique avec la plantation d’arbres et l’installation d’un mobilier urbain contemporain. La section sud de la place Norman-Bethune sera complétée en 2009, après le déplacement des infrastructures souterraines. Bulletin souvenir de l'inauguration de la statue nouvellement restaurée [388,7 ko - 4 pages] Pour en savoir plus sur les travaux (document PDF) Médecin de renommée internationale, chercheur, internationaliste et grand humaniste, Norman Bethune dominera dorénavant une des plus jolies place au centre-ville de Montréal : celle qui porte son nom. Ce site vous aidera à connaître un peu mieux cet homme remarquable, aux multiples facettes, et son héritage.