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Found 13 results

  1. http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2014/03/28/leaving-the-gazette/ Leaving The Gazette March 28, 2014. 6:48 pm • Section: Real Deal I started this blog in 2010 with a story very few of you read about the priciest home for sale in Quebec – that $27 million mega-mansion in Île Bizard. Nearly four years later, I’m writing my final post as The Gazette’s real estate reporter. I am leaving the paper today. Thanks to the many of you over the years who’ve sent me ideas, photos and tips that turned into front page stories. We had a good run. I used this blog to break the story when the famous Schwartz’s Deli went up for sale. Then there was the listing of Brian Mulroney’s Westmount home, zebra print rugs and all. I’ll still be writing occasionally about finance and real estate. Find me on twitter: @RealDealMtl , or send me an email: [email protected]
  2. IluvMTL

    CityLab

    http://www.citylab.com/ https://www.facebook.com/thisiscitylab [h=2]Frequently Asked Questions[/h]General What is CityLab? CityLab is dedicated to the people who are creating the cities of the future—and those who want to live there. Through sharp analysis, original reporting, and visual storytelling, our coverage focuses on the biggest ideas and most pressing issues facing the world’s metro areas and neighborhoods. Is CityLab the same thing as The Atlantic Cities? Yes. Previously known as The Atlantic Cities, CityLab re-launched in May 2014 with an expanded editorial mission as well as a new name, URL, and mobile-first responsive design. Can I still read stories that appeared on The Atlantic Cities here? Yes. All of the content that was on theatlanticcities.com is now on citylab.com. Atlantic Cities urls will redirect to the new site. What is Navigator? Navigator is “the modern urbanist’s guide to life,” a section of the site that launched in 2014 offering tips and strategies for city lifestyles. Check it out here. What is CityFixer? CityFixer is our tool that offers “solutions for an urbanizing world.” It collects the best ideas and stories for a dozen of the leading drivers of modern cities — including schools, civic life, policing, and energy use. A click on “Aging,” for example, will surface all past CityLab coverage on the topic. Check it out here.
  3. I'm looking for funny or memorable ENGAGEMENT RING stories. If you think you know one, post it here or send me a message, I would greatly appreciate it! Je recherche des histoires drôles ou mémorables de bagues de fiançailles. Si vous en connaissez une, envoyez moi un message ou simplement affichez là ici. Ce serait grandement apprécié!
  4. Via The Gazette Lachine Canal was once Canada’s industrial heartland BY PEGGY CURRAN THE GAZETTE MAY 16, 2014 As midnight approached on New Year’s Eve, mothers and fathers in St-Henri, Little Burgundy and Point-St-Charles opened their doors to let in the roar of neighbouring factories. At Redpath Sugar, Belding Corticelli, Stelco, Dominion Textile and Northern Electric, on passing CN trains and freight barges, horns honked and whistles blew to welcome another year in southwest Montreal. For St-Henri natives Suzanne Lefebvre and Thérèse Bourdeau-Dionne, the clarion call is one of those “mysterious and fascinating” memories that pull them back to childhood and the traditions of a time not so very long ago when the neighbourhoods bordering the Lachine Canal were Canada’s industrial heartland. Today, construction cranes dominate the landscape as long dormant factories are converted into luxury condominiums. The canal, upstaged in 1959 with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, has become a rambling waterfront park dotted with walkways and bike paths, a favourite of pleasure boaters and urban fishermen. Every year, more traces of the area’s working-class origins vanish. “This whole zone along the canal is an area of tremendous change,” says Steven High, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Oral History at Concordia University. “Of course, that brings controversy. For the working-class neighbourhoods of Point-St-Charles, Little Burgundy and St-Henri, there are a lot of questions.” Two years ago, High and the team at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling began interviewing about 50 people who grew up, lived, or worked in the area — the first phase in a major project examining local history and the consequences of post-industrial transformation in the working-class neighbourhoods that flank the canal. The first phase of their research, prepared in conjunction with Parks Canada, features an audio walking tour that allows users to listen to some of those stories as they loop back and forth on a winding 2.5-kilometre trail between Atwater Market and the Saint Gabriel Locks. “The canal was the industrial heart of Canada,” High said during a recent tour. “When the factories started closing when they built the Seaway, this became redundant. So what do you do with this thing? It had a slow death from ’59 to about ’72. They finally closed it. They opened up all the gates and it became basically a big ditch that was a dumping ground for all the factories that were still here.” After debating several options — including a plan to fill in the canal and build another highway — Ottawa handed over control to Parks Canada, which reopened the canal for small vessels and built cycle paths, paving the way for gentrification. “We are looking at the loss of jobs and the old industrial story, but also the subsequent story of rebirth and change, and what that means to the neighbourhoods around the canal,” High said. “The population of the southwest was cut in half between 1960 and 1991. You see how dramatic the change was here and how quickly jobs were lost and factories were closed. It didn’t help that the government was demolishing neighbourhoods, whether it was Little Burgundy for public housing, or making way for the Bonaventure and Ville-Marie Expressways.” Speaking in their own words, some residents recall forbidden joys, such as a furtive swim in the canal or “tours de pont,” which involved jumping on the Charlevoix Bridge as it swung in half to make way for a passing boat. For others, memories are painful. One man who reflects on the racism experienced by black families in Little Burgundy unable to secure work at the factories in their backyard. Then there’s the chilling tale of the prolonged labour conflict at the Robin Hood Flour Mill in summer 1977, where eight unarmed strikers were shot. A man hired as a replacement worker during the eight-month dispute describes the daily journey into the plant by train. Security guards with the physique of wrestlers wore fingerless gloves packed with brass knuckles. “It was an important moment in Canadian labour history,” High said, standing beside the train tracks just beyond the fence surrounding the Robin Hood plant. “Out of that confrontation, we had the first law in North America against replacement workers — the so-called anti-scab law.” While the audio guide is available with narration in English or French, a decision was made to use the oral testimonials in both languages. “People speak in their own language. So when we walk into Little Burgundy, it is more English, in other parts it is more French.” Interview subjects include a broad cross-section of ages, backgrounds and perspectives. “One of the issues in these kind of tours is that there is often a focus on community — that community is good. But how do you get at these stories that maybe divide people, where you haven’t got consensus? “We tried as much as possible to be true to our interviews, in a sense that people were saying different things. One person would say: ‘I live in this condo and they are making a real contribution.’ Another would say: ‘Those condos have their back to the neighbourhood.’ You get to hear these different voices.” High said the structure of a walking tour adds another dimension. “When you are actually listening on site, you are hearing what was, you are seeing what is — and it ain’t the same thing. There is a friction there. It’s political.” This summer, the Concordia team will venture deeper into Point-St-Charles, Little Burgundy, Griffintown and Goose Village, where they will walk around the neighbourhood with interview subjects. “It is another way to get people to remember. You can remember just by sitting down over a table, but sometimes that is more chronologically organized, more family-based memories. But if you are out in the neighbourhood, it brings out more community stories.” High expects those interviews to form the basis for a second audio tour. Meanwhile, Concordia drama and art history students will be working on companion projects for neighbourhood theatre and visual arts events. As an historian who also happens to live in the Point, High said he is interested in the way people have responded to the dramatic changes that continue to shape these post-industrial districts. “In Point-St-Charles, what we saw was a lot of community mobilization. It is very much associated with community health movements, social economy movements. So there was a lot of mobilization. Whereas in other neighbourhoods, you have community demobilization and fragmentation. I want to know why. Why is it like this here and like this there?” But High is also drawn to the simple, compelling truth of people telling their stories. “Ordinary people live extraordinary lives. We forget that.” To learn more about the canal project, or to download a copy of the audio guide and accompanying booklet, go to http://postindustrialmontreal.ca/audiowalks/canal [email protected] Twitter: peggylcurran © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  5. 16 stories planned for south east corner of de la Montagne and Maisonneuve. (still a fucking parking lot) Ground and mezzanine commercial 16 stories of apts 2 story penthouse
  6. Newbie

    Arson

    If you want to laugh a little bit, read this news story and the comment section! http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/12/02/park-avenue-pharmacy-arson-suspect-lights-himself-on-fire.html P.S.: I titled this thread "Arson" so other members can post stories about arson that do not necessarily involve the projects in the "Projects" forum.
  7. C'est souvent intéressant de voir comment des Montréalais se connectent avec le reste du monde. May 11, 2008 Art By CAROL KINO PITTSBURGH BY celebrity standards the cartoonist Lynda Barry leads a reclusive existence. When she first developed a cult following in the 1980s, she cut a highly public figure, with frequent appearances on “Late Night With David Letterman” and the like. But after the market for her work began shrinking in the late 1990s, she gradually withdrew, refusing to talk on the phone with reporters or her editors. Today she draws her 30-year-old weekly strip, “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” on a dairy farm just outside Footville, Wis., where she lives with her husband, Kevin Kawula, a prairie restoration expert. Since moving there six years ago, the couple have been relatively self-reliant, growing much of their own food and chopping their own wood for fuel. Even though Ms. Barry has a new book coming out next week — “What It Is,” which explains her method of making drawings and stories — she isn’t always eager to emerge. “I can go three weeks without leaving, or driving my car,” she said in a recent interview. But you would never guess that from Ms. Barry’s behavior on a recent weekend here. On a balmy spring day she stood at the front of a classroom, effusively greeting 25 strangers who had signed up for her two-day workshop, “Writing the Unthinkable,” which is also the basis for her new book. “I can’t believe you’re here and you look so 3-D!” she said, grinning toothily at them from beneath thick black glasses. “I was wondering about you all last night!” On a table behind her she had laid out scores of scribbled 3-by-5 note cards, each of which held a nugget of information that she would relay over the next several hours (like “Don’t read it over” and “An image is a pull toy that pulls you”). On the blackboard was a chalk drawing of Marlys, the spunky pigtailed kid protagonist of “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” the strip about growing up that made Ms. Barry a star of new-wave comics soon after it began running in alternative weeklies in 1978. “Dang! I’m in Pittsburgh!” Marlys was saying in a word balloon. And Ms. Barry, who at 52 still has the habit of twisting her own curly red hair into Marlys-like pigtails, addressed her students in a similarly exclamation-mark-studded style. As they snapped open their three-ring binders, she said delightedly, “That’s the only sound I want at my funeral!” Taking the workshop, which Ms. Barry teaches several times a year, is a bit like witnessing an endurance-performance piece. Aided by her assistant, Betty Bong (in reality, Kelly Hogan, a torch singer who lives in Chicago), Ms. Barry sings, tells jokes, acts out characters and even dances a creditably sensual hula, all while keeping up an apparently extemporaneous patter on subjects like brain science, her early boy-craziness, her admiration for Jimmy Carter and the joys of menopause. But this is just camouflage for the workshop’s true purpose: to pass on an art-making method that Ms. Barry learned from Marilyn Frasca, her junior- and senior-year art teacher at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. It involves using a random word, like “cars” or “breasts,” to summon a memory in unexpected, filmic detail; writing about it by hand for a set time period (as she says, “Limitation creates structure!”); and then not reading it or talking about it for at least a week. Within the workshop it also involves positive feedback. As students read aloud, Ms. Barry kneels before them, head bowed, listening intently, and says: “Good! Good!” (“I was a kid who was never read to,” she explains.) This is essentially the method that Ms. Barry has always used, not just for “Ernie Pook” but also her novels: “The Good Times Are Killing Me” from 1988, about biracial childhood friends, and “Cruddy” (1999), whose 16-year-old narrator recounts a long-ago murder rampage. She also deployed it for “One! Hundred! Demons!,” a soulful 2002 graphic memoir that she describes as “autobifictionalography.” “What It Is,” which outlines the method in detail, could be considered a picture book for grown-ups. Using ink brush, pen and pencil drawings as well as collages and luminous watercolors, many of them on lined yellow legal paper, it explores deep philosophical questions like “What Is an Image?” (The answer, Ms. Barry says, is something “at the center of everything we call the arts.”) It also includes an activity book, instructions, assignments and several passages of purely autobiographical writing and drawing in which Ms. Barry recounts her own journey to making art. As the book starts, we see her as a child, crouching as still as possible in a corner, waiting patiently for pictures in her bedroom to come to life. “We lived in a trailer then, and any pictures we had up were taped to the walls,” she writes. “Sometimes they fell. But this is not what I mean when I say they could move.” Later we see her as a young adult, puzzling over the method as she learns it from Ms. Frasca. And later, on the farm with her husband, we see her battling depression and frowning as she struggles to quiet her inner editor’s voice and get back to making pictures and stories happen “in a way that didn’t involve thinking.” Meditations, stories and images float past in a random fashion, segueing between darkness and hope, or adulthood and childhood, the way they might in dreams or memory. “I think of images as an immune system and a transit system,” she said; not only does working with them keep her emotions running smoothly, but it has also taken her to unexpected places. (As she told the class: “I am here in Pittsburgh because I drew a picture. And all of you are in this room because you saw this picture.”) Clearly her ability to draw and tell stories was her ticket out of a difficult childhood. When she was 5, her family moved from Wisconsin to Seattle, where they at first lived with five Filipino families (Ms. Barry’s mother immigrated from the Philippines) in a house whose rooms were subdivided by bedsheets. Her father, a butcher, decamped a few years later, leaving Ms. Barry and her two younger brothers at the mercy of what she describes as an unhappy mother. (Ms. Barry said she has had no contact with either parent for more than 15 years, and “it’s been mutually joyful.”) Although her more fictional work has always focused on children, she is not sure why. “I used to think it was easy to write about them because their world is small,” she said. “But it might be because writing about what’s happening with people my age, I’m too deeply in it.” (Surprisingly, her next novel is about a man in his 70s.) Perhaps she has memorialized childhood because she didn’t have much of one herself. By 16 Ms. Barry was virtually independent, supporting herself by working nights and weekends as a hospital janitor. “I lived at home,” she said, “but that was it.” The experience gave her great exposure to people’s stories. “I don’t think it was good for me, necessarily, but I saw stuff, and I grew up really, really fast. And I wrote all this really sad janitorial poetry.” With savings, a scholarship and work-study Ms. Barry made it to college, where she struck up a long friendship with a fellow student, Matt Groening, the creator of “The Simpsons.” In those days Mr. Groening was editor of the school newspaper, and she was a reporter. As a self-described hippie, “I used to love to torment him because he looked really straight,” she said. “I always kind of mixed up drawings and words,” she said, “but college is where I definitely started to do cartoons, and it was mainly for Matt.” In secret she began to concoct odd drawings and zany letters to the editor, which she submitted anonymously. Mr. Groening, who knew it was her all along, called her bluff and published the lot. “I had a policy of running all letters to the editor, and Lynda took advantage of it,” he said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “She was very, very funny,” he said. “It seemed obvious that creative self-expression was going to be her life.” It was a happy accident that Ms. Barry graduated just as alternative weeklies were springing up around the country and searching, as she put it, “for oddball comics.” She soon became one of a small elite, her strip appearing with Mr. Groening’s “Life in Hell” alongside the work of Jules Feiffer. At its peak in the mid-1990s her strip appeared in 75 papers. She also published books and collections, and in 1991 her theatrical version of “The Good Times Are Killing Me” had an Off Broadway run. But her career took a nose dive as alternative weeklies fell victim to corporate acquisitions and mergers in the 1990s. “Ernie Pook’s Comeek” now appears in only six papers, and the bulk of her books are out of print. These days, Ms. Barry said, her most reliable source of income is eBay, where she sells original artwork, and MySpace, where she markets her workshops. She hit a low point in 2002, she said, right after the publication of “One! Hundred! Demons!,” when her longtime publisher, Sasquatch Books in Washington, rejected an early proposal for “What It Is” and declined to publish more new work. “It was like an ax in the forehead,” she said. But today her career seems on the verge of resurgence. In early 2006 Drawn & Quarterly, a small comics publisher in Montreal, approached her with a surprise offer to reprint her old work and collect all the Ernie Pook strips. Ms. Barry leapt at the opportunity and proffered her new book. The plan is to publish one Ernie Pook collection a year, starting this fall. In early 2009 another new book, “The Nearsighted Monkey,” on which she is working with her husband, will be issued. To Ms. Barry her career trajectory still seems somewhat unbelievable. “The fact that anybody knows what I do and likes it feels surreal to me,” she said. “It feels like the Make-a-Wish Foundation.”
  8. 1-50 Regulation in Effect for all Aircrafts as of August 1, 2015 Transport Canada has announced that the 1:50 ratio will be the new regulation in effect for both wide and narrow-bodied aircraft effective August 1, 2015. Airlines will be able to “flip flop” between the former 1:40 ratio and the new 1:50 ratio according to their operational requirements. Exit doors may also be left uncovered on wide-bodied aircraft, a major change from previous proposed regulations. Your Union views this development as a completely unacceptable and unnecessary risk to the safety of both crewmembers and the public. In changing the regulation without the usual consultation process, Transport Canada and the Harper government continue to act on behalf of the airline industry and in a manner that is without sufficient parliamentary and public scrutiny. Decades of privatization, deregulation and hyper-competition have led to a relentless drive to cut labour costs. Transport Canada makes no secret of this, and has calculated that the regulation will allow operators to achieve cost savings of $288,469,940 during the next ten years by reducing the number of Flight Attendants and associated costs including salaries, hotel stays and per diems. To read the new regulation, please see: http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2015/2015-06-17/html/sor-dors127-eng.php. For the federal government and its transportation officials to so baldly place profit over safety is a national disgrace. It appears this government has learned nothing from the rail tragedy in Lac Megantic, which has also been linked to deregulation and the loosening of safety rules Your Union is reviewing all available options to continue our legal fight against the 1:50. We will update you on our intended response as soon as possible. We also look forward to the upcoming federal election, which we are confident will oust Harper and elect a government that supports worker rights and public safety. But to achieve that goal, our members must do their part. The Airline Division Political Action Committee will be working hard between now and the election to turn out Flight Attendants to vote. We will bring the full weight of our safety expertise forward to the new government and the public. Our research on this issue has been extensive, and is grounded in the real life understanding of the safety risks associated with reduced cabin crew. In fact, we believe our members’ real life experience is the best possible evidence that 1:50 jeopardizes safety, disrupts service, and reduces the job satisfaction and morale of Flight Attendants. During the past several months we have been compiling our members’ stories about the effect of 1:50. In the coming weeks, we will publish a series of bulletins that capture the voices of members describing how 1:50 has affected them on and off the job. Each bulletin will describe a different aspect of how 1:50 has affected them, including at work where members report increased fatigue, anxiety about decreased safety and service; and at home, where members report reduced income, greater stress and depression, and harm to personal relationships and overall wellbeing. These stories are gleaned from the responses of well over 100 Flight Attendants who responded to questionnaires made available by the Component and CUPE Local 4092. We encourage members to continue to share their stories in the months to come. Please follow the next bulletins. Your Union remains committed to fighting the 1:50 ratio on the legal, regulatory, and political levels. http://accomponent.ca/
  9. Details on first page here: http://www.westmountindependent.com/WIv7.6a.pdf Essentially: Demolish building, build condos Developer: EMD Construction 2 story underground parking 57 unites, six stories
  10. MONTREAL - Montreal must be the bad-news capital of Canada. That’s the impression I got from an email I received last Saturday from Jean-François Dumas, the president of a Montreal-based media-monitoring service, Influence Communication. Dumas was responding to my column in Saturday’s Gazette. In the column, I speculated that negative publicity outside Quebec about the Pastagate affair may be a factor in what so far has been a disappointing summer tourist season in Montreal. “Pastagate” refers to the furor last February over the unsuccessful attempt by Quebec’s French-language-protection agency to force a Montreal restaurant to add French translations to the Italian names of dishes on its menu. As I mentioned in my column, Dumas’s firm reported less than a week after the story broke that Pastagate had become the subject of 350 articles in 14 countries as far away as Australia, and many more articles in Canada. Dumas’s firm started monitoring media coverage in 2000, And he said in his email that for the first several years, it found that Quebec received “softball” (bonbon) coverage in the international media. Most of it, 58 per cent, was about either Quebec’s culture or its tourist attractions. “The foreign press essentially praised Quebec for its European character, its dining, its hospitality and its cultural richness and dynamism. “The foreign press essentially praised Quebec for its European character, its dining, its hospitality and its cultural richness and dynamism. “It was even said often that Montreal was an ‘incubator for cultural products and ideas.’ “The only criticism addressed to Quebec concerned its exploitation and exportation of asbestos to developing countries.” That began to change early last year, during the disruptive and sometimes violent student protests against the former Liberal government’s university-fee increases. In the last 18 months, said Dumas, a series of events had “considerably changed” Quebec’s image in the foreign media. “In fact, one might even say that Quebec has become one big news story” in itself — and a mostly negative one. Dumas listed a “Top 15” of the Quebec stories that received the most coverage in international media since the beginning of 2012 (see accompanying list). Except for the papal candidacy of Quebec City Cardinal Marc Ouellet, most of the stories were negative. (Pastagate ranked No. 11). And most of them were linked to Montreal. If that doesn’t make Montreal the bad-news capital of Canada, I don’t know what is. I can’t think of another Canadian city that has produced nearly as many big, negative news stories in the same period. The mayor of Toronto is alleged to have smoked crack? Pfft. The actual arrest of Montreal’s mayor only made it to No. 8 on Dumas’s list. A police raid at Montreal city hall just cracked the list at No. 15. In a demonstration of the media version of Gresham’s law in economics, the bad coverage of Montreal has driven out the good. Dumas noted that in the past 18 months, Quebec’s cultural and tourist attractions have lost 65 per cent of their share of international media coverage. And, he concluded, the damage to the images of Quebec in general and Montreal in particular is not good for their economies. “If one accepts that a city, a province or a country is a bit like a brand in foreign media, and that the interest of others helps generate tourism, immigration and investments, I believe that we should seriously question ourselves about the state of our collective assets.” Montreal hoteliers might agree. The latest figures obtained from the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal show that last month, compared with July 2011, the number of nightly room occupations in its 77 member hotels in the metropolitan region was down by 40,000. Top 15 Quebec news stories by volume of international media coverage since January 2012 (Source: Influence Communication) 1. Lac-Mégantic disaster 2. Magnotta case 3. Student protests 4. Helicopter jailbreak 5. Charbonneau inquiry and corruption 6. Quebec papal candidate 7. Metropolis shooting 8. Arrest of Montreal mayor Applebaum 9. Gatineau shooting 10. Explosion at fireworks factory 11. Pastagate 12. Turban in soccer 13. Resignation of Montreal mayor Tremblay 14. Shafia “honour” killing trial 15. Police raid at Montreal city hall [email protected] Twitter: MacphersonGaz © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  11. Confessions of a Condo Architect Halanah Heffez Right after completing her Masters degree in Architecture, Alex got a job with a local firm that designs those condominiums you always see cropping up in the Plateau, Rosemont and Villeray. We have all seen these new constructions and shuddered, or perhaps just sighed it could be worse. The blocks are neither offensive nor inspiring: they're mediocre at best. “We’re creating a generation of condos that are really ugly," Alex says,"It’s as bad as the 'eighties. Frankly, I think it’s going to be worse.” She runs through a list of all-too-familiar features: cramped juliettes where balconies should be; basement apartments with dug-out cours anglaises surrounded with bars that end up looking like jail cells; the use of different tones of brick to break up the façade; the random insertion of incongruous colours to add a semblance of architectural variety... As Alex describes it, designing condos is a constant give and take between respecting the building code while maximizing the client's profits that leaves little space for creativity. Here's an example: the City of Montreal requires 80% of building fronts to be masonry and monotone bricks in taupe matt, grey anthracite and Champlain orange-red are inexpensive (how cheap it feels to reduce the urban landscape to colours in a catalogue). The most an architect can hope to do is to add a splash of coloured plexiglass, and only if the borough's CCU lets it through. Within the envelope, the constraints are event tighter: Alex describes her workdays as "trying to shove too much into a space that’s inherently too small.” She recalls debating with a colleague about the ethics of sketching a double-bed into the plans when a queen simply wouldn't fit in the room. "'If you can’t fit a Queen-sized bed in your apartment, then it’s not an acceptable apartment," Alex insists. But most people don't have much experience reading architectural plans so they don’t necessarily realize what they’re getting. The developer, on the other hand, knows exactly what they want: "they come to you and say: this is the lot, and we want 8 condos in it." That leaves room for only a couple two-bedroom apartments, and the rest bachelors, all within the footprint of what was once a duplex or triplex apartment block. "It’s more profitable to sell more condos than to sell more bedrooms,” Alex points out. There's another catch: buildings under three stories fall within part 9 of the building code, which is more lenient in terms of fire safety regulations. But by sinking in a couple basement suites and adding a mezzanine (which must not exceed a certain percentage of the floorspace), it's possible to squeeze five levels into a building that is officially only three stories high. At least there's a sliver of good news: just this year the city stopped allowing windowless rooms. And while we may be in favour of urban density, tightly-packed residential units are not synonymous with density of inhabitants. "All these properties with great potential are being turned into one single type of real estate that is not family friendly: it’s all geared to young professionals without children. They’re not big enough for a growing family and there’s no flexibility in the space," says Alex. Another thing that she laments is that, with the requirement to transform every square inch of the lot into square-footage of floorspace, there's a tendency to lose the individual entrances, balconies and outdoor staircases that are typical of Montreal's urban landscape, and that create a dialogue between public and private space. Of course, being an architect, she also dwells on the aesthetics: “It’s all going to look very 2010," she sighs, "....and not in a good way.” http://spacingmontreal.ca/2011/12/19/the-architecture-of-mediocrity/
  12. Streetscapes | Exchange Place An Early Tower That Aspired to Greatness G. Paul Burnett/NYT By CHRISTOPHER GRAY Published: July 20, 2008 FIFTY-NINE stories does not seem like much now, but when planned in 1929, the City Bank-Farmers Trust Building was to be the tallest skyscraper in the world after the Empire State Building. With its sheer limestone facade, haunting sculptural treatment and rich marble halls, the building — which is being converted to residential use — is a surprising find on its cramped, odd-shaped block at Exchange Place, at the conjunction of Beaver, Hanover and William Streets. In 1929, the financial district was booming. The architects Cross & Cross were at work on a 50-story office building for Continental Bank at Broad Street and Exchange Place, which ultimately wasn’t built. Then the National City Bank of New York merged with the Farmers’ Loan and Trust Company, and entered the skyscraper sweepstakes. When their architects, also Cross & Cross, filed plans at the Bureau of Buildings on Oct. 2, The New York Times described the new structure, at 71 stories and 846 feet, as the highest ever officially proposed. The design for the City Bank-Farmers Trust tower called for an illuminated globe on top, but the stock market crash a few weeks after filing brought the project up short, and it was reduced to 59 stories. Research by the Landmarks Preservation Commission gives the height as 685 feet, although just before completion The Times reported it as 750 feet. A partial set of engineering drawings from 1930 by the firm of Purdy & Henderson shows the 54th floor — several levels below the roof — as 670 feet high. The exact height of the building remains unclear. But it is safe to say that, when completed, it trailed the Empire State Building (1,250 feet), the Chrysler Building (1,046 feet) and the Bank of the Manhattan (927 feet). In August 1930, The Times reported that Gilbert Nicoll, a 20-year-old messenger, was near death after being hit by an iron bolt dropped from the 57th floor. He had been unemployed for months, according to the article, and the accident happened on his first day as a bank messenger. The building was completed the next year. The outside is plain, even ho-hum, except for 14 moody hooded figures at the 19th floor. The magazine Through the Ages said in 1931 that they represented “giants of finance, seven smiling, seven scowling.” Figures of coins on the ground floor represented countries in which the bank had its main branches. The Times called the building “conservative modern.” According to a 1931 article in Architecture and Building, the two lavish lobbies were fashioned from 45 different kinds of marble, quarried in Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia, France, Spain, Belgium and elsewhere. The brothers Eliot and John Walter Cross formed a talented and versatile partnership. Well born, well educated and socially connected, they did in-town mansions and country estates, banks and garages, lofts and skyscrapers — like the 1931 General Electric building at 51st Street and Lexington Avenue, with its Art Deco radio-wave imagery. The architects’ niece Sarnia Marquand told a reporter in a 1980 interview that John Cross was the designer in the firm and Eliot handled the business side. Their most recognizable design is probably the sumptuously plain Tiffany & Company store at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, which dates to 1940. According to the 1996 Landmark designation report, City Bank-Farmers Trust went through several changes, evolving into First National City Bank, and then, in 1976, Citibank. Its move out of the skyscraper happened in stages, the last one in 1989. The tower is easy to see from a distance but hard to find on the ground in the maze of irregular downtown streets. The City Bank-Farmers Trust banking hall runs along William Street. It is a high, columned space in English oak with polished marble and nickel trim, all handled in the Art Deco classicism that had become a safe alternative to radical European modernism. At Exchange and William, the main entrance to the banking hall is a high rotunda, flush with varying marbles, the most striking a golden travertine from Czechoslovakia, quite different from the pallid ivory-colored stone popular in the 1960s. From the tower there are wide views to the harbor and around to old skyscrapers on the land side. Today, a real estate firm, Metro Loft Management, is renovating the tower for rental apartments, and has 350 units ready on the floors from 16 to the top. A second phase, lower down, will involve office tenants; the company that takes the high banking hall will have a most spectacular retail space. E-mail: [email protected] http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/realestate/20scap.html