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Found 16 results

  1. Here are some pics I took during the weekend. The safety and medical cars Lewis Hamilton's mclaren A walk in the Paddock Before the drivers parade Ooooh say can you see... Sorry no racing for you today Pitstop time The Podium
  2. Images de Benonie d'un forum belge , enjoy 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26 . 27. 28. 29 . 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46.
  3. The Eaton Center looks to be undergoing a small renovation of the Ste-Catherine entrance. So far they removed the ugly overhead protectors over the side walk and the larger one over the doors.
  4. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1063092--montreal-man-walks-around-the-world?bn=1
  5. Kids will walk without Quebec turnabout KONRAD YAKABUSKI Globe and Mail March 20, 2008 at 6:00 AM EDT Jacques Ménard has got a batting average that has earned him a reputation as the Alex Rodriguez of Quebec investment banking. As Bank of Montreal's Quebec president and chief rainmaker at BMO Nesbitt Burns, Mr. Ménard has been handed some of the toughest M&A mandates Canadian business has ever seen. Yet, like Yankees sensation A-Rod, Mr. Ménard has knocked more than his fair share out of the park. TSX Group's recent $1.3-billion deal to buy an initially hostile Montreal Exchange probably wouldn't have happened – or at least not as quickly – without him. Power Financial's $4-billion (U.S.) purchase, through its Great-West Lifeco unit, of Putnam Investments bore his fingerprints, too. If baseball metaphors come to mind, it's probably because Mr. Ménard saved the sputtering Montreal Expos – twice. In 1991, he put together a group of Quebec Inc. bigwigs to buy the team from Charles Bronfman. And as Expos chairman in 1999, Mr. Ménard negotiated the financially strapped team's sale to Jeffrey Loria, once again preserving major league baseball in Montreal. Even the best strike out now and then, though. Mr. Ménard, now 62, couldn't stop the Expos from ultimately leaving in 2004. And BMO's Quebec team couldn't work miracles for Alcoa in its doomed attempt to buy Alcan last year. Mr. Ménard can accept the occasional walk. It's getting pulled from the batting line-up that really gets his goat. That is essentially what happened when Quebec Premier Jean Charest summarily shelved the 2005 report on the province's cash-sucking health care system that was tabled by a task force led by Mr. Ménard. The latter watched with similar frustration last month as Mr. Charest did the same thing with the recommendations – including higher consumption taxes and user fees – of yet another government-commissioned task force to plug the province's health care black hole. Health care expenses account for 44 per cent of Quebec's program spending. They're headed toward almost 70 per cent by But with the highest debt per capita, highest taxes, shortest workweek, most generous social safety net, lowest productivity growth and most rapidly aging population in Canada, Quebec is already struggling to stay afloat. What kind of future does that suggest for the young Quebeckers who will be left to pick up the tab for the hip replacements and Cialis their baby boomer grandparents seem to consider a God-given right? Hence, Mr. Ménard's cri du coeur in the form of a book, out this week, titled Si on s'y mettait (rough translation: If We Got Busy With It). Part reality check, part road map to growth, Mr. Ménard's essay is aimed primarily at the generation between 18 and 35. They vote far less than their elders, seemingly resigned to watching the politicians of their parents' generation mortgage their future. Few Quebec business leaders these days are willing to go public with their disillusionment with Mr. Charest's failure to tackle such problems. Not Mr. Ménard. “It's astounding the extent to which Quebec's poverty jumps out at you when you come back from a trip abroad,” Mr. Ménard writes, comparing Quebec to a “developing country whose roads have been literally abandoned for generations.” Mr. Ménard dismisses the so-called “Quebec model” of extensive social programs as “a Cadillac with a Lada motor.” The debate over the sustainability of Quebec's public services, given the province's relative demographic and economic decline, has been turning in circles for years. In that respect, the most useful contribution of Mr. Ménard's book probably comes from polling data on young Quebeckers and Canadians the author commissioned himself. It's long been thought that the language barrier and Quebeckers' attachment to their distinct culture is a natural barrier against their mobility. Indeed, governments seem to take for granted that francophone Quebeckers will never leave home. Mr. Ménard's research tells a very different story. Not only are young Quebeckers more outward-looking than their English-Canadian peers, they're more willing to move for a better job. More than half (51 per cent) of Quebeckers between 18 and 35 say they like the idea of working in a foreign country, compared with 43 per cent in the rest of Canada. Forty-five per cent of young Quebeckers say they would “without hesitation” leave Quebec to work elsewhere if a more interesting or better-paying job came up. So, if the best and brightest leave, who's going pay for the boomers' new hips? A wealthy investment banker like Mr. Ménard doesn't have to personally worry about that – leading his critics in Quebec's still-powerful union movement to charge that his policy prescriptions are just part of the same old right-wing agenda to privatize public services. Mr. Ménard denies that. He admits, though, to having his own selfish reasons for writing the book: “I'd like to watch my grandkids grow up without having to go through airports … Mea culpa. I've a got a conflict of interest.” http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080319.wyakabuski0320/BNStory/Business/home
  6. J'ai trouvé un site plutôt cool (je trouve). Walk Score™ Le site évalue par différent critères savants le degré de marchabilité (je sais pas si il y a un meilleur mot ?) d'un quartier. Il génère un score de 1 à 100. * 90–100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car. * 70–89 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car. * 50–69 = Somewhat Walkable: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car. * 25–49 = Car-Dependent: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must. * 0–24 = Car-Dependent (Driving Only): Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car! Il donne aussi une liste de tous les commerces par catégorie et leur distance du point de mesure (l'adresse de recherche) Le site est principalement destiné au É.U. mais il fonctionne pour le Canada. Le plus gros bug que je remarque, c'est le manque de d'information sur les commerces environnants. En fait il semble avoir moins de commerces inscrits dans la banque de donnée Google au Canada qu'au É.U. Pour mon quartier, il manquait plusieurs commerces dans le relevé. C'est certains que ça doit affecter à la baisse le score finale. J'ai vérifié pour des endroits centrales comme le plateau et le centre-ville et le score est plutôt bas. Il me semble que plusieurs quartier de Montréal devrait être des Walkers' Paradise
  7. Un autre article faisant l'éloge de la gastronomie montréalaise Hungering for beauty and the bistros The Boston Globe La tire, maple syrup frozen on a stick, for sale at Marche Atwater. (Jonathan Levitt for the Boston Globe) By Jonathan Levitt Globe Correspondent / May 4, 2008 Interstate 89 north of Burlington, Vt., is as big, remote, and windswept as the Western plains. I cross the Canadian border at Highgate and drive through the flatness, past miles of tidy dairy farms - pert suburban-type houses with barns and cows in back - and keep going over the Saint Lawrence River, looking down to spot Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" and her gypsy cabin, but she's long gone. Then there it is, the island of Montreal, and at the base of Mount Royal, the skyscrapers, just a few, but tall, and huddled together. Like most big cities in Canada, Montreal feels like one last great human place before the bleakness of the northern wilderness. At Hotel St-Paul in Old Montreal, I stare at the manicured cedar bushes and the 1900 Beaux Arts façade, then walk into the lobby, past the Spanish alabaster fireplace to the front desk. Everyone who works here looks younger than 30. With the key I go upstairs and into my room with the low-slung bed, faux fur throw, ebony-stained wood floors, and view of another Beaux Arts building across the street with a giant perfectly accurate clock. I take off my shoes, turn on the flat-screen television, and watch "The Age of Innocence" dubbed into French, and I nap. When I wake up it is still light out. The streets of Old Montreal are hushed and narrow. It's the oldest part of the city, along the river, and near the original French settlement of 1642. In the twilight it's easy to imagine fur traders and Iroquois attacks. I wander through Chinatown and across rue Sainte-Catherine with its grime and strip clubs, and accidentally make eye contact with some "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" punks. They are begging and drumming, exotic with tattooed faces, dreadlocks, and big handsome dogs. The last time I walked around Montreal it was January and so cold that inside my coat pockets I wore socks on my hands. But now it's April and sunny and 60 degrees, and at the outdoor cafes it looks as if everyone pretty shoved off early from work to eat and smoke and drink cold beer. On Duluth Street in the middle of the flat, graffiti-clad Plateau neighborhood I stop for dinner at Au Pied de Cochon. P.D.C., as it is known, is a former wood-fired brick-oven pizza place converted into a temple of excess and neo-Quebecois peasant food by celebrity chef Martin Picard. I order venison steak frites. On the walls are jars of preserved summer tomatoes, and in the bathroom, a showerhead for a sink faucet, and a bucket of beer on ice by the toilet. It's early but crowded. Word has gotten out because the food press seems to write about the place every few weeks. But it still feels like a chummy club, and every portion could serve two or more. Picard is giant, hairy, balding, and looks like Shrek. The fries come fried in duck fat with a side of good mayonnaise; the venison steak is smothered in a rich jus with mushrooms and caramelized onions. On the plate is a cartoon of Picard, wearing a tall chef's hat, riding a pig or a shrimp, depending on the plate. After dinner I walk and walk, then wander into the bistro next to the hotel. It's called Restaurant Holder, and the music sounds like the soundtrack to a video game. They've stopped serving real food, so I order the Quebec cheese plate and eat lots of baguette. Benedictine monks make one of the cheeses, and it tastes like cleaning out the chicken coop, but in a good way. For breakfast I walk down St-Paul Street to the bakery Olive + Gourmando where, once again, everyone is beautiful. They are carrying yoga mats and ordering coffee and pastries like almond croissants and apple tarts that look too good to be real, and so I order the same. By now I am certain that the food here is better than back home, better than the over-hyped poutine, those french fries soaked in gravy and studded with cheese curds for which Quebec is known. So I think only of food and have lunch at L'Express, a bistro that has been in the same place on rue St-Denis for almost 30 years. I order duck confit on greens and frites with mustardy mayonnaise. The waitress brings a crunchy baguette and a jar of even crunchier cornichons to grab with worn wooden tongs. There is white paper on top of the marble tabletop. The duck skin stays crispy and is the prettiest golden brown. L'Express is as reserved as Au Pied de Cochon is boisterous. The bill comes on a tin plate. It seems like a good bistro can be like a diner, like a place to go every day, a kitchen away from home. And so I go to another bistro, the restaurant Leméac, at the base of the mountain, and this one is much more posh. I get the veal a la Lyonnaise, which is just a fancy way of saying liver and onions. Now it's late, and I'm tired, but I poke my head into Garde Manger, a new place people are raving about, but all I see are rich kids with their cocktails and lobster poutine, so I go back to the hotel and fall asleep in front of the TV. In the next morning's cold rain, la tire, maple syrup frozen on a stick at Marché Atwater, makes for a smoky sugar high of a breakfast. Marché Atwater is the smaller and more expensive of the city's two public markets. Afterward, I wander around the cleaned up and condo-fied, but still gritty, St-Henri neighborhood until it's dinnertime and time to go to Restaurant Joe Beef. The place is named for Charles McKiernan (1835-89), the inn and tavern keeper nicknamed Joe Beef because of his knack for rounding up meat and provisions for hungry fellow soldiers during the Crimean War. The legend goes that McKiernan kept wild animals - black bears, monkeys, wildcats, a porcupine, and an alligator - in the basement of the tavern and brought them up for entertainment and to restore order at the bar. When he died the animals were in his funeral procession. Joe Beef preserves the innkeeper's outlaw attitude and supposedly his bathroom door. At the bar, John Bil from Prince Edward Island shucks oysters. He is a Canadian shucking champion and an elite marathon runner. He feeds me oysters and bourbon until chef-owner Frédéric Morin brings out the deep-fried white bait with tartar sauce, and the whole king crab, and more bourbon. Then we go next door to Liverpool House, a quirky sort of Italian/French/Quebecois place that Morin also owns, and we eat black pudding with foie gras and ribs braised in Dr. Pepper. Morin makes rum punch and brings out a cheese plate with warm green grapes. The restaurant closes and I follow the cooks to their favorite dive bar, and after it closes, I go along to their favorite diner where just before dawn I have a plate of poutine, soggy and wonderful. Jonathan Levitt, a freelance writer in Maine, can be reached at [email protected]
  8. Newbie

    Do you litter?

    Every morning since a few days ago I go out of my apartment relatively happy, I get on the bus, I see all the litter inside it, I get angry, I consider posting this poll to inquire about people's habits, then I decide to post it later when I'm not feeling angry, so I don't write things I will later regret. But during the day I always walk around a lot, so there is no way that I'm going to be calm enough on a normal day. Luckily today I have not gone out yet, so I'm still happy Please answer the poll!! I am not necessarily looking to understand why this happens, as I know it has been discussed many times before. I find most other cities I've been to a lot cleaner than Montreal. I know some of them are dirtier in some aspects (Toronto, for example, appears to be home to a crazy amount of careless litterbugs), but I have not had to walk on piles of newspapers inside a bus shelter (see, for example, Plamondon and surroundings) anywhere else in the world, even when I don't remain within city centers. Sometimes I feel I'm too obsessive about litter, but then I hear friends complain about how "people from here are so dirty" (I do not share these generalizations!) while looking at the ground or at newspapers flying around, and then praising other cities like Vancouver, Columbus, San Francisco or Houston while on conferences. Most of the friends who complain are professionals from South America, some of them visiting Montreal under my recommendation. Educated Latin Americans tend to be very vocal about these things, so I guess other friends have similar thoughts but do not say anything.
  9. Montreal is the top Canadian city in non-car commuting, with 29.5 per cent of people using public transit, walking or cycling to work, according to a Toronto Board of Trade report that compares global cities. Four other Canadian cities are not far behind, but the rankings were a little different when it came to commuting times, according the report, titled "Toronto as a Global City: Scorecard on Prosperity - 2010." The report, released Monday, compares a variety of urban issues among 21 cities in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. It looked at urban economic health, affordability, education, immigration and lifestyle and was created with research support from the Conference Board of Canada. Montreal ranks at the top among Canadian cities for non-car commuting, but was No. 11 overall. Hong Kong ranked first with 89 per cent of commuters not using cars to get to and from work. Paris was second at 73.7 per cent. In Toronto, 28.8 per cent of commuters take public transit, walk or cycle to work, the report said. In Vancouver, that rate is 25.3 per cent. In Halifax it's 24.1 per cent and in Calgary it's 23.2 per cent. With the exception of New York, seven American cities that were measured in the rankings placed in the bottom quarter for non-car commuting. Rates ranged between 21.6 per cent for San Francisco to just 4.6 per cent for Dallas. Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2010/03/30/consumer-commuting-times.html#ixzz0jhNPYITA
  10. Walk this way Michelle Kay, Yahoo! Canada News - Fri May 28, 4:01 PM The top-five cities -- Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Toronto and Halifax -- have high population densities, which affect how people interact with space and urban planning, he said. The magazine gathered its information through a number of sources, including StatsCan and individual city statistics and then developed a 12-point questionnaire on topics such as the percentage of people who walk to work, park areas, vehicle use, etc. The information was presented to a panel of judges -- author, broadcaster and director of Jane's Walks, Jane Farrow, Guillermo Penalosa, consultant, planner and executive director of the non-profit 8 ? 80 Cities, and sustainability professional Amanda Mitchell. Up! discovered a city with a higher population density embraced a visitor-centric approach when it came to urban planning. The more walkable a city, the more livable it was for its citizens (and easier for tourists to navigate). It comes as no surprise that Vancouver came out on top (see below for the complete list). The city has a number of factors in its favour, from its population density (about 5,000 people per square kilometre), pleasant climate to expansive parkland. Nearly 40 per cent of downtown residents walk to work and it's easy to see why. Vancouver is packed with attractive streetscapes and a progressive street pattern with many maps that help pedestrians find their bearings, Gierasimczuk said. The city provides ample opportunities for its inhabitants and tourists to be active. "It's got this mystique. It has built a reputation as this walkable, active, car-free paradise," he said. A walkable place means a city respects its inhabitants enough to want to provide a manageable and livable space. "All these factors that make a city walkable means that a city celebrates its citizens," Gierasimczuk said. Walking is also one of the simplest, cheapest and healthiest ways to get around. Not only is walking a great way to shed the pounds, it doesn't cost anything to use our own two feet. More often than not, when you go for a walk you discover something new. You notice things you normally wouldn't see from the vantage point of a car or even a bicycle, since walking is an activity that forces you to slow down, breathe, look around and take things in. Now, who wants to go for a stroll? Canada's Most Walkable Cities 2010 1. Vancouver 2. Victoria 3. Montreal 4. Toronto 5. Halifax 6. Quebec City 7. Ottawa 8. Calgary 9. St. John's 10. Winnipeg http://ca.travel.yahoo.com/guides/Other/891/walk-this-way
  11. http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/city-life/324311/montreal-je-tadore Montréal, je t'adore 10 years ago, I went to Montreal for the first time on a whim. I was 20 years old, living in Ottawa and working for the Canadian government when I had just found out that my mother had breast cancer. Right after I received this upsetting news, a French Canadian guy - who I’d only met a few weeks earlier - invited me to hang out with him in Montreal. I was in such an emotional state that I decided to risk it and go spend time with someone I barely knew and have him show me his city. From that day forward, I fell madly in love with Montreal (not the boy, though - we remained friends and thankfully my mom recovered from cancer shortly after). I have gone back every few years since then, including spending three weeks in a French immersion program, just a few years after my first visit. When I returned to the city last week with my husband and son, I was reminded why I love Montreal. Here are my ten favourite things - in no particular order - about North America’s coolest city. Bikes - Montreal was one of the first cities in North America to establish a public bike sharing system with its Bixi bikes. The system was launched on May 12, 2009, and currently has 450 stations around Montreal’s central core. The city has embraced bike lanes and bike infrastructure ever since. It’s King/de la Commune station, with 110 docking points, is the biggest bike sharing station in North America. You will find people of all ages and backgrounds on bikes…like this guy:image Street art - Montreal is home to many talented street artists - and it shows, especially around the Plateau/Mont Royal area, which is bursting with colourful, impressive street murals. The city supports these artists through the recently launched MURAL festival. It is a free art festival that aims to celebrate urban art and graffiti painting, sculpture and installations, dance, music, film, and performance. The second edition took place in June on the famous Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Each festival brings new street murals to the neighbourhood. I could write a whole post on Montreal street art (and I probably will).image Advanced walk signals - In some Montreal intersections, pedestrians actually get to proceed on a green light BEFORE cars! A brilliant show of respect for people and a great way to promote safe walkable cities. Babies - I noticed everyone loves babies in Montreal. In Vancouver, people without children tend to avoid eye contact with me/pretend I don’t exist. In Montreal, everyone smiles and wants to help you when you have a child- from grandmas to young male hipsters. In all of the restaurants we went to, people never seemed to mind if my son was fussy or needed tending to. One male server even offered to watch him while my husband and I shopped on St.Denis Street. I’m pretty sure he was joking, but he mentioned that he also has children (and he was under 30). Maybe it is because Quebec’s fertility rate is higher than the Canadian average, but there appeared to be a lot of young families there. Public spaces - Montreal has many fun, creative public spaces - parklets, green laneways, urban forests, public swings, and as I mentioned before, spectacular street art. Here is a shipping container converted into a pleasant seating area:image Festivals and Culture - I remember when I was staying in Montreal for a French immersion program, it was July and the streets were constantly being closed off for some big party, complete with concerts, fireworks, outdoor movies, fashion shows, drum circles and more - Tam Tam at Mont Royal, The Indy, The Festival du Mode et Design, The Comedy Festival, The Festival du Jazz. Of course at the time I found this amazing, because festivals of this scale were so rare in my hometown of Vancouver. We may finally be catching up, but nobody throws a party like Montreal. Whimsy - When I walk around Montreal, I don’t see a city of monotonous glass towers. There are little bits of whimsy all around, like purple accents on heritage buildings, a bold red staircase on a rowhome, street trees made of ribbon, amusing murals, and even garbage cans made to look like maple syrup containers. Montrealers definitely have a sense of fun.image Mid rise buildings/row homes - You can walk down some streets in Montreal and forget you are in a city. I loved getting off the main roads and finding myself on a quiet street surrounded by lush trees and row homes, very much like New York. The city also seems to prefer mid-rise buildings to high-rise towers. Bilingualism and Multiculturalism: Montreal is one of the rare cities where people speak two languages - French and English - and that is a beautiful thing. To be able to walk into a store or restaurant and have the option of being served in French, English, or a bit of both, is a treat for me as I continue to work on improving my French skills. The city is also home to many different ethnicities - from Portuguese to Chinese to Italian and Haitian. On my last visit, I loved spending time in Little Portugal on upper St Laurent St, where I bought a lucky Portuguese rooster and ate an enormous roast chicken sandwich and egg tart. Style: Many Canadian clothing brands got their start in Montreal, such as Jacob and Le Chateau, and the city is home to several clothing designers and manufacturers. Montrealers have a sense of style that is bold and eclectic. This makes for great shopping (especially around the Mont Royal area) and people watching. As one Montrealer states: In Montreal, dressing in what makes you feel awesome and sexy, no matter how outlandish, is just a normal part of life. Thinking of cutting off the arms of an old fur coat and wearing them as legwarmers? Great idea! Want to max out the use of your Dracula Halloween costume by rocking a floor-length cape year-round? By all means, please do! You can understand why Cirque du Soleil had to come from Quebec and nowhere else. Walkable. Bikeable. Hip. Fun. Stylish. Edgy. If I haven’t already convinced you of Montreal’s effortless cool and fun-loving ways, you should go and see for yourself why it’s one of the best cities in the world.
  12. I've lived in Montreal almost 10 years, and I've come to the pretty clear conclusion that we have a huge litter problem in the city. I've decided to start a conversation and to try to do something about it, so I'm going to go ahead and gather some thoughts, and I invite anyone interested in the subject to pitch their ideas. Step 1. Admit there is a problem. It seems that this is one of the hardest steps for us to take. Try taking a walk down a couple of residential streets in the Plateau for example, or up Du Parc or Cote Des Neiges. Have someone from another city visit you. A couple of people from Latin America have said to me something like "people here are disgusting" while looking at all the litter in the street. I've pointed out how offensive this is by the way (it's common in some Hispanic cultures, including my own, to say things like this), and I don't think the same way, but it does highlight our litter problem. A friend who lives in New York thinks that Montreal doesn't "need" to be this dirty. Many arguments against the idea that Montreal is dirty are based on comparisons to other cities; "it's the same everywhere." Although I don't think this invalidates the point that Montreal streets are dirty, I'm also sure that it is not the same everywhere. You don't find this much litter in dense neighbourhoods of Chicago for example. Other arguments are about Winter, but then again, just take a walk today. It hasn't snowed in months. You may not notice the issue if you have lived here since childhood, but visitors do notice it, and people from outside of Canada are the most surprised. Step 2. Identify the direct causes of the problem. There are many causes of this problem. I'd like to identify the direct ones, even if they are not to be tackled directly. Let me explain what I mean; Instead of saying "there are not enough garbage cans" I will say "Many people don't wait to see a garbage can before they dispose of their garbage". It is important to understand direct causes because it allows us to break paradigms and think of the problem from different perspectives. Here is the list of direct causes I have noticed over the years (in no particular order): 1) Many pedestrians don't wait to see a garbage can before they dispose of their garbage. 2) Many drivers throw litter from their vehicles. 3) Many residents dispose their garbage outside without using proper garbage bags. 4) Many residents dispose their garbage outside during the wrong hours/days (see the next point). 5) Garbage bags are attacked by squirrels and other animals, as well as by people looking for cans to recycle. 6) Often garbage bins/cans overflow. 7) Garbage collection is often done without care, letting some of the litter fall off the bins and trucks. 8) Many people leave their litter behind in public parks and squares. 9) Sometimes wind blows garbage out of bins/cans. 10) Many smokers throw their cigarette butts on the ground. I'm going to pause here for now, but I'd like this conversation to go on and produce ideas and solutions. Feel free to give me your thoughts!
  13. 'The city is mine' The home secretary Jacqui Smith says she feels unsafe walking London's streets after dark, and, undoubtedly, she's not alone. What a shame, says confirmed nightwalker Kate Pullinger - how could anyone not love a great city at night? Tuesday January 22, 2008 The Guardian I've always loved the city at night, even before I knew what it was like. I come from a rural suburb of a small town on the west coast of Canada and I spent my adolescence dreaming of cities in the dark. To go anywhere when I was a kid you had to drive; there was no public transport. And when you got there, wherever There was, there wasn't anything to do, except drink. I knew that when I finally made it to the city the night would sparkle and shine and pulse and that when I walked down the street, night music - Roxy Music, the Velvet Underground, Curtis Mayfield, Ultravox even - would accompany me. My first ever city was Montreal, where I spent a dissolute 18 months struggling with the concept of university. Montreal at night was always romantic but bipolar: a continuous street party during the summer - hot sweaty nights in cafes and bars that spilled on to the streets; phenomenally cold, encased in ice, in the winter. I would bundle up in multiple layers before heading out. In January and February I would wear both my coats. Montreal at night involved a lot of trudging, carrying your party shoes in a bag, stamping the snow off your boots. Falling snow at night in the city is irresistible; it squeaks and crunches beneath your boots on the pavement and comes to rest on your eyelashes and cheeks like glitter, only even more precious, more fleeting. Walking by myself through Montreal at night was to feel a kind of freedom that was completely new to me - the people are sleeping, the city is mine, all mine. Through the frozen air I could hear and see myself breathing - walking at night always makes me feel more aware of my own physicality somehow; it's the unexpected silence, the unsolicited peace - and my joy at escaping the suburbs was complete: I'm alive, I'm my own person, and I'm at home in the city. After Montreal I came to London, where a lot of women are afraid to walk alone at night. When Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, said at the weekend that she wouldn't walk at night in Hackney, or Kensington and Chelsea, she was just being honest, despite her aides' subsequent attempts at spin. In a world where we are afraid to let our children cross the street by themselves, this is hardly surprising. Our levels of fear bear little relation to the statistics - Smith was right that crime rates have fallen, too - but we are told to be afraid, so many of us are, both despite of and because of our experience. But not me. For me, growing up was all about becoming free, becoming who I wanted to be, not who other people expected me to be, and London was a part of that. It was the 1980s and London had an urgency to it, made all the more vivid by the fight to the death between that era's David and Goliath - Ken Livingstone and Margaret Thatcher. I was young and broke and needed to save my money for pints, books and movies: walking was the cheapest way to get around and most nights out ended with a long walk home. The city was huge, and foreign to me, and I needed to map it out in my mind by stalking the twisty streets with their ever changing names: Eversholt Street becomes Upper Woburn Place becomes Tavistock Square becomes Woburn Place becomes Southampton Row becomes Kingsway all inside 15 minutes. It was only through walking that this would ever make sense, and it was only when walking at night that I witnessed the secret lonely heart of the city; for a time it seemed as though every other doorway in the centre of town was temporary shelter to at least two homeless people. Alone at night I could repeat the street names and practise the English-as-in-England words that were new to me: "wanker", "loo", "pants", "tuppence", "sacked", "fanciable", "shag". I had a bicycle some of the time and there is nothing to match riding a bike by yourself through the streets of London late on a summer's night when the air is so soft it feels like velvet and your wheels spin and your hair gets messed up under your helmet but you don't care and you have to peel off the layers to stop yourself sweating. I was living in Vauxhall and working in Covent Garden at a catering job that required an early start before the tube was running, and crossing Lambeth Bridge on foot at 5am provoked in me a kind of epiphany, an ecstatic communion with the city and its only-just-buried layers of history. At night it's as though the city's history comes alive, bubbling up from where it lies dormant beneath the tarmac: when the crowds are gone, modernity slips away, and the city feels ancient and unruly. How could anyone not love London late at night, or early in the morning? How could the wide black Thames with the city reflected upon it not remind you of everything that is most desirable and glamorous in life? But sinister, too, of course, and this is part of what makes the city at night such a grown-up, adult, provocative space. There are parts of town that always have been, and always will be, creepy. In London: the backend of Whitechapel. Stockwell on a rainy night. Acton when you're a bit lost. And Hampstead, because everyone there seems to go to bed very early. In attempting to recant her comment about not walking alone at night in Hackney, Smith named the parts of the city where she does feel comfortable (for her, Peckham), and this is something that most women would recognise: we make our routes, we do what we feel comfortable doing, and it's not possible to ask anything else of us, home secretaries included. I've lived in Shepherd's Bush, west London, for 11 years now and I always feel safe on the Uxbridge Road. It's one of those wide, long streets that is full of life, full of commerce and connection, full of people I sometimes know and often recognise. The walk home from the tube feels safer than the shorter walk home from White City, with its looming football ground and empty pavements, cars zipping past too quickly. Just before Christmas I walked home by myself from a party; several people asked if I would be OK before I left. When I got outside the night was foggy and the street lamps glowed through the freezing mist; a black taxi passed with its yellow light blazing, the low purring sound of its diesel engine reassuring. I wandered along, a bit drunk, bundled up, and the residential streets were completely empty. When I got into bed I put my cold hands on my husband's warm back and woke him up, happy. I wear sensible flats and carry my party shoes in a bag still, not because of the snow, obviously, and not because I want to be able to run away if I can, but because I like to do my walking in comfort. I don't walk at night as much as I used to, but that's because of children and work and the fact that the days and nights aren't as long as they used to be. It is true that I would not take out my mobile phone on a dark street for fear that someone might think it worth snatching. It's also true that I do not listen to music through headphones when I walk by myself, but that's because I've never liked listening to music through headphones: it has always made me worry that someone is about to sneak up behind me, even when - or especially when - I'm lying on the couch in an empty house. Plenty of people don't love London, I realise that, and plenty of people probably love it even less at night; I'm well aware that it might take only one incident for me to change my mind about walking alone at night. I have been mugged in London, but that was in broad daylight in Finsbury Park on the way to the tube station; I lost volume one of a two-volume Complete Plays by Shakespeare that my mother had given me. The young man who pushed me against a brick wall to wrestle my bag away from my shoulder had a look of desperate determination; the police later found the bag and the wallet, but not the Shakespeare. I've walked these streets for 25 years now. I'm not a young woman any more - aren't the young more likely to be victimised? - and I'm fairly tall - aren't little women more preyed upon? - and on dark winter nights I walk quickly with a hat jammed down over my head. But when I look up from the pavement and see the sparkling lights, I hear the night music; could it be that I am who I always wanted to be, and the city at night belongs to me? By the light of the moon ... Nightwalking across Britain's cities Birmingham As a proud Brummie and shamelessly debauched hedonist, I, and the city I truly love, properly come alive at night. Birmingham has more canals than Venice and those moon-washed nightwalks along the most famous ones at Brindley Place and Gas Street Basin are just as magical as the Italian city's finest. By day, Birmingham's Victoria Square and Centenary Square are thick with office workers, tourists, shoppers, teens and trolls. But after dark you can peacefully appreciate the floodlit beauty of the historical council house, the Floozy in Jacuzzi fountain (well, that's what we locals call her, anyway) and Iron Man sculpture, the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Victorian listed buildings on Colmore Row - before popping into the late-night bars One Ten or the once-famous cigar lounge at the Hotel du Vin. St Paul's Cathedral and Square are intoxicating before dawn - not simply because of the drinking opportunities, but because of the path they lead towards the charm bracelet streets of the Jewellery Quarter. I've often done a wee-small-hours West Midland's Audrey Hepburn impersonation by peering into the hundreds of jewellery shops there. There are plenty of midnight munching opportunities - get a night owl down to Ladypool Road, the heart of the city's Balti Belt and where neon restaurant signs blaze above hordes of my fellow, friendly nocturnal buddies. Wersha Bharadwa Manchester Go to eat in Chinatown, and leave around midnight. Stroll back under the gloriously garish Imperial Arch. The unmistakeable smell of oil on hot wok will linger but slowly the grid of streets will wind down and sleep. Emerge into St Peter's Square and hear the hoot of the last tram passing in front of the Pantheon-like circular central library (which has been known to offer small-hours tours of its basement stacks). Move on into Albert Square and wait for the midnight bongs from the clock of the floodlit town hall, Manchester's glorious statement of civic one-upmanship. Then on to Cross Street (where the former home of the Manchester Guardian was long ago replaced by Boots) and turn left into King Street, where the fashion shops doze and dream of bigger profits. Cut through towards St Ann's church and the square after which it is named. If the circular Royal Exchange theatre had a curtain, it would have come down long ago, but memories of entrances and exits long ago live on. Then, past brash Harvey Nicks and Selfridges, to the silent route between the cathedral and the old corn exchange to Cathedral Gardens. Take a seat and gaze at Urbis, the glass ski slope that has become an icon. Behind you, at Chetham's school of music, a sleepless student may entertain you with a Bach partita. David Ward Leeds The best thing to be in late-night Leeds is a bird. Floodlighting is pretty inspired in the city centre generally, but specially good at rooftop level. Get the lift or stairs up any high building - the uni campus has a good selection - and drink it all in. At ground level, the ginnels off Briggate and Vicar Lane are a wonderful maze by moonlight; unchanged since Atkinson Grimshaw did those great Victorian paintings, except nowadays there are lots more bars and places to eat. Try the riverside, too, spooky if it gets too late but lively enough till at least midnight. Cross the canal from Water Lane and thread back through the Dark Arches where the river Aire crashes about beneath the train station. Best for quiet strolling is Kirkstall, with its subtly lit Cistercian abbey, just off the always-busy A65. You can swim at Kirkstall baths till 10pm, get a tapas at Amigos, a Leeds end-terrace that is forever Spain, and then potter across the road and spend as much of the dark as you want to in the 12th century. Headingley is great for strolling, with more shortcuts and alleys through the student-colonised redbricks round St Michael's and the Skyrack and Original Oak pubs. Martin Wainwright Bristol By day, Bristol's harbour area can feel like a place of local authority and corporate regeneration. Fair enough, that's what it is. But by night the magic of the docks returns with the youngsters and bohemians who arrive to party. Walk along the cobbles on Welsh Back alongside the Floating Harbour. Turn into Queen Square with its the wonderful Georgian architecture - much more subtly lit than their counterparts in touristy Bath, and more glorious for it. Look out for the bohos-made-good and London refugees dining in the hip dockside eateries. Cross Pero's Bridge to the Watershed media centre. The laptop brigade who make use of the wi-fi access will have gone, replaced by the art crowd with their red wine and movie talk. The Falafel King van on the Centre is a great, much cheaper alternative to the riverside restaurants. Or get away from the city centre and head to Montpelier. Again, it's a people-watching place - this is eco-trendy territory. Supper at the One Stop Thali cafe, where the locals take their own tiffins to be filled with steaming curry. Walk up to the Cadbury House pub, multiple award winner. And don't forget Clifton. Sorry to be obvious. By day, the Avon gorge can be a little grubby, especially in the winter. After dark, the suspension bridge gleams and the chasm below yawns. Steven Morris Edinburgh Edinburgh's more intimate scale makes it a great city to explore on foot, as long as you don't mind the odd uphill jaunt, and there's no denying the city's beauty at night. There are obvious highlights: a walk along Princes Street gives a great view towards Edinburgh Castle, which is illuminated at night, as are most of the noteworthy monuments, while the Mound has the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Academy Building at its foot - with their regal columns, these buildings look pretty spectacular when floodlit - and the impressive headquarters of HBOS, which includes the Museum on the Mound, at its top. Once you're up there, there are guided walks through the Old Town - the night-time ghost tour routes focus around the Royal Mile - while there are less obvious highlights if you head north into the New Town, which is mainly residential and has some of the finest classical Georgian architecture in the country. There are beautiful terraces to explore, such as Royal Circus or Moray Place, and you can admire the architecture while catching glimpses inside where people haven't closed over their tall Georgian shutters - a bit nosy, but who can resist? Wrap it up with a warming drink in Kay's Bar, a cosy pub in an early 19th-century building on Jamaica Street West, tucked in the New Town's heart. Fiona Reid http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2244671,00.html
  14. MAGNIFIQUE MONTREAL VISIT THE FRENCH CANADIAN CITY WITH A TOUCH OF OOH LA LA… Posted: Tuesday 22 Jan 2008 COMMENTS (0) Above: Hotel St James Located on an island in the St Lawrence River, Montréal, in the French-speaking province of Québec, offers an intriguing mix of North American culture and European heritage – you’ll find Parisian Metro signs and a statue of Queen Victoria in the main square. Canada’s second city is compact, clean and efficient and has a dynamic entertainment scene. The shopping isn’t bad either – you can stroll from the designer boutiques on elegant tree-lined streets to the specialist shops of Little Italy or China or the antique stores strung along the cobbled streets of Old Montréal. WHEN SHOULD I GO? It’s punishingly cold in winter, but you won’t get cold if you head below ground to Underground City – the vast entertainment and shopping mall. Also, the freezing temperatures mean you can head to a nearby ski resort, such as Mont Tremblant, for a short break. Summers are warm but you can cool off with a cruise down the river or a jet boat ride through the Lachine rapids. The international jazz festival (www.montrealjazzfest.com) is held June 26-July 6, while the Just For Laughs comedy festival (www.justfourlaughs.ca), where Jimmy Carr and Billy Connolly have performed, takes place July 10-20. ABOVE: Montreal at night WHERE SHOULD I STAY? If you’re a boutique hotel fan, look no further than 61-room Hotel Le St James (www.hotellestjames.com), housed in a former bank in Old Montréal. It blends traditional upper crust decor in its public rooms with modern furnishings and technology in its bedrooms. Madonna, U2, the Rolling Stones and Sir Elton John have all stayed and we hear that Paris Hilton checked in the night after OK!. The hotel also has private access to the Underground City, which stretches for nearly 19 miles and connects with Metro stations. WHERE SHOULD I EAT? OK! loved the ’50s-style drive-in experience at the Orange Julep (7700 Decarie Blvd). For a relaxed lunch, try Olive et Gourmando (351 St-Paul West) or go one notch up and book a table at the French eatery L’Epicier (311 St-Paul East) in Old Montréal. For people watching, head to a city institution, the chic Café Cherrier (3635 St-Denis), which has a fantastic outdoor terrace. In the evening, try local favourite Les Deux Pierrots (104 St-Paul East), an intimate French-style cabaret, or for fine dining Bonaparte (447 St-Francois-Xavier). And make sure you try the Québecois speciality poutine – chips with melted cheese curds and gravy. It tastes a lot better than it looks! WHAT MUST I SEE? There are two highlights you shouldn’t miss. For panoramic city views take the bus (number 11 from Mont-Royal Metro station) to the summit lookout. Depending on the time of year, you can walk, snow-shoe in the park or hire a pedalo on Beaver Lake. Next up, Old Montréal. Tour it in a horse-drawn carriage or wander on foot taking in the Pointe-à-Callière museum, which presents Montréal’s history in a fascinating interactive way. Or you can pop into the ornate Notre-Dame Basilica, where Céline Dion was married, or pick up some souvenirs at the Bonsecours market. WHERE SHOULD I STOP? Montréal is a cornucopia of shopping opportunities, with 1,200 boutiques in a nine-block area. The best can be found along Rue St-Denis, Laurier Avenue or in Old Montréal for arty finds. In the downtown core you’ll find department stores Ogilvy (1307 Ste-Catherine) and Holt Renfrew (1300 Sherbrooke West), which house international designers and smaller celeb-coveted labels. Given the exchange rate, there are some fantastic bargains to be had. For shops on St-Denis, head to Moly Klute – not for the shy, retiring type! The funky, recycled clothes and accessories, such as a tote bag made from records, will certainly be talking points. Almost next door is Muse, where designer Christian Chenail offers some fab casual dresses. Dubuc is one label that’s causing ripples internationally. His clothes focus on tailored menswear with slight quirks, like the suit jacket with a vest stitched on top. Foodies will salivate in Arthur Quentin, which has every kitchen gadget imaginable. Finally, Revenge has been at the forefront of Canadian design and brings 25 smaller eclectic labels under one roof. WHICH STARS MIGHT I SEE? Montréal is a hot favourite with filmmakers. Last year alone you could have bumped into Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett filming The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Jason Statham shooting Death Race, or Evangeline Lilly in Afterwards. Meanwhile, Kate Beckinsale was in they city to film Whiteout and Anne Hathaway for Get Smart. WHAT'S THE NIGHTLIFE? There’s plenty to do at night. The best bars and clubs are located on Crescent Street and Blvd St-Laurent above Sherbrooke Street, the latter being more upmarket. It takes 25 minutes to walk between the two streets or it’s a five-minute cab ride. For the best views, head to the sleek lounge bar Club 737 (1 Place Ville-Marie) atop one of Montréal’s tallest skyscrapers, or to Pullmans Wine Bar (3424 Avenue du Parc), a chic-minimalist joint with a lengthy wine list. HOW DO I GET THERE? British Airways (0870 850 9850; www.ba.com/montreal) is currently offering a three-night Montréal Sweet Escape package from £479 per person including flights from London Heathrow and accommodation in a four-star hotel. http://ok.co.uk/travel/view/314/Magnifique-Montreal/
  15. Montreal == Barrayar So, I'm probably not going to get around to doing a really complete trip report post. But there's one thing that eventually got to sticking in my mind, and is probably going to really affect my image of Vorbarr Sultana in the future. The thing is, it gradually became clear that Montreal, at least the part of it that we spent a week in, is a city designed pretty much entirely without regard for the existence of disabled people. There are stairs freaking everywhere. Can't go into most restaurants or shops without going either up or down stairs. Can't, as far as I could tell, use the metro without using a whole ton of stairs. You walk down hallways and there are just little flights of stairs, almost randomly. On the last day there we saw a couple of people in wheelchairs, and I don't know how they manage. It seemed to me that there were all sorts of times when we would be going someplace, and we'd go and go and go on the flat, and then suddenly there would be stairs. And you'd have to turn around and go all the way back where you came from and find a different way, or maybe something entirely different to do. This would drive me completely nuts, were I in a wheelchair. Thankfully I can walk these days, and apart from occasionally feeling like I was in a Bujold novel (not necessarily a bad thing) I had a wonderful time there, and felt something of a connection with the city. It's just a weird piece of setting that struck me rather hard. And a strange thing knowing that as much as I enjoyed being there, it's likely to be somewhat of a fair-weather friend. (Much like San Francisco was, come to think of it.)