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THE WHIPPET: QUEBECKERS' CLASSIC COOKIE Montreal's industrial foundations - built on chocolatey marshmallow goodness PETER RAKOBOWCHUK The Canadian Press October 31, 2007 MONTREAL -- Apopular cookie that's still being gobbled up by Quebeckers today is being given some of the credit for helping to launch the industrial growth of Montreal. The decadent Whippet cookie, a chocolate-coated, marshmallow-topped treat, is more than a century old. Housed in its familiar gold- and chocolate-coloured box, the Whippet made its debut in 1901 and the rest, as they say, is cookie history. The Whippet and Viau Biscuits Corp., the company that made it, are featured in an exhibition at the Écomusée du fier monde, a small museum in the city's east end. Print Edition - Section Front Museum director René Binette says the Whippet was launched when the founder of the company tested it at a hockey game. "People at the game liked it so much that it confirmed to Charles-Théodore Viau that he was on to a good thing," Mr. Binette said in an interview. The cookie, first introduced as the Empire, was considered a luxury item and its sales helped Mr. Viau to expand the company's operations. But Mr. Binette said the cost of vanilla and chocolate also put the Empire out of reach of the average Quebecker. So in 1927, Mr. Viau decided to change the recipe and the name and created the more affordable Whippet. Mr. Viau started the enterprise in a small bakery in Montreal's east end in 1867 and created the Village cookie - a plain, but hugely popular shortbread that Quebeckers loved to dunk in their tea. He continued to expand the business until his cookie and candy factory became one of the area's major employers. Part of Montreal even became known as Viauville, and a church in the neighbourhood was named St-Clément de Viauville. One cookie lover tells the story of his parents buying several boxes and being warned by them not to touch the treats because they were destined for "Whippet-starved" relatives in Ontario. Viau became history in March, 2004, when the company was sold to Kitchener, Ont.-based Dare Foods Inc., another family-owned business, and the factory was closed. But Whippets are still being produced under the Dare banner at the company's plant in St-Lambert, south of Montreal. A Dare spokeswoman says the company markets the Viva Puff, a similar cookie, in Ontario. The Quebec Whippet has "real" chocolate while its counterpart is made with a "compound" chocolate. Contrary to what many Quebec cookie lovers may think, the popular Oreo sandwich cookie has not been around as long as the Whippet. A spokeswoman for Kraft Foods Inc. says it was only introduced in Canada in 1949, although the Oreo was launched in the United States in 1912. The Viau factory has now been converted into a condominium complex that has been appropriately named La Biscuiterie, the cookie factory. Aficionados can visit the Viau: Cookie History exhibition at the Écomusée du fier monde until March 23, 2008.
APRIL 8, 2009, 9:14 PM ET It’s not too surprising that microprocessor guru Marc Tremblay has decided to leave Sun Microsystems, which was experiencing challenges and executive departures well before the brouhaha over stalled takeover talks with IBM. More intriguing is the fact that he is going to Microsoft, which is not exactly a center of chip design. Tremblay, in an email, referred questions to a spokeswoman for Microsoft. She could only provide a statement with a few boiler-plate facts about his new job: He will hold the title of distinguished engineer in the “strategic software/silicon architectures” group under Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer. Marc Tremblay This is not a group that many people knew existed. The spokeswoman could not answer when it began operating, or how many people are in it. But she said Tremblay will manage a team of technologists “who will help set the company strategy for software and semiconductor technologies, as well as maintain relationships with semiconductor companies.” Stepping back, it’s easy to see how a person with Tremblay’s talents could help the company. Microsoft’s Xbox division, for example, has to think about which microprocessors to consider in designing a follow-up to its current gaming console. Its Windows group, meanwhile, has to design new versions of the operating system for the rapid proliferation of chips with many electronic brains rather than one or two. Tremblay, who was chief technology officer of Sun’s chip unit, certainly has the credentials. During 18 years at Sun, he amassed at least 100 patents–the most of anyone at Sun–and led the development of several important members of a chip line called Sparc that has long powered Sun’s flagship server systems. That hardware represents a sliver of the market compared with machines based on x86 chips, the kind sold by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. But Sun in recent years put out an eight-processor Sparc chip–part of a line that had the code name Niagara–that has sold very well for small servers. Tremblay, whose departure was reported Tuesday by the New York Times, is more closely associated with a chip called Rock that was designed for high-end machines. And Rock has not been such a happy story; in February, Tremblay told reporters that the chip, which will have 16 processors, won’t be ready until the second half of 2009–compared to an original arrival date of the second half of 2008. And that part of Sun’s server line faces long-term questions, whether or not IBM decides to buy the company. Billings for those systems declined 32% to $662 million in the second quarter ended in December, while the Niagara-type machines grew 31% to $369 million. (Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for pointing out that Tremblay hails from Quebec, not France). Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
C'est peut-être le temps de déclarer la rue Sainte-Catherine piétonne sur toute sa longueur... http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/story/2013/08/05/montreal-sink-hole-ste-catherine.html Emergency crews are on the scene after a sinkhole opened up in downtown Montreal and swallowed a backhoe. It happened at about 9 a.m. ET at the intersection of Guy and St-Catherine streets. The hole is about eight metres long and five meters across. A section of St-Catherine Street has been closed to traffic. A city official said they received a call about a water leak at the scene on the weekend. Crews arrived this morning to do repairs and that's when the road gave way. "We think that the water leak was because of the sewer pipe. . .it's broken sewer pipe," said Emilie Miskdjian a spokeswoman for the Ville Marie borough. "That's what we think, but we will have to do an inspection to determine the cause." The driver was taken to hospital as a precaution. Engineers and representatives from the CSST, Quebec's workplace health and safety board, are now at the scene to determine the best way to remove the vehicle from the hole.