Barcelona, from the beach to my apartment, what I see when I go to the beach.
Olympic beach / port:
The Olympic port from another perspective (the big fish is from Ghery)
More beach moments and twin toers on the background:
Art Noveau buildings at the most luxurious street in Barcelona, Passeig de Gracia:
The same building from another point of view:
The hall of my home :
Well my first Photo Thread, I hope you like it. Soon more !
Montreal church stands as mariners' rock
A view westward, toward the core of downtown Montreal, from a tower of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel in the Old Montreal district. The Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum is adjoined to the church. (Marcos Townsend for the Boston Globe)
By Patricia Harris and David Lyon, Globe Correspondents | May 9, 2007
MONTREAL -- Poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen was hardly the first Montrealer to gaze fondly on the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours when he wrote "the sun pours down like honey / on Our Lady of the Harbour" in his pop hit "Suzanne." While the statue of the "Lady" wasn't erected until 1893, homecoming mariners have watched for the welcoming visage of the Old Port church since the first wooden chapel was erected on the spot in 1655.
Although the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is equally a monument to its founder, Marguerite Bourgeoys , who was born in France in 1620 , became known as "the mother of the colony," and was ultimately canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1982 . In an era when most women rarely left their villages, Bourgeoys crossed the Atlantic Ocean seven times in her mission to educate the women of Montreal and raise money in her homeland to support the Congrégation de Notre-Dame , the religious order she founded.
Just as Bourgeoys's legend became ever more expansive over the years, so did the church. She persuaded the community to rebuild it in stone in the late 1670s , and when that church burned in 1754 , it was replaced with the stone structure that stands today. In 1893 it sprouted a central tower topped with the nearly 20-foot-high open-armed statue of "Mary, Star of the Sea," flanked by two herald angels. The single-vault chapel's intimacy contrasts sharply with Montreal's more bombastic churches, and ship models suspended from the ceiling as ex-votos for voyages survived identify the church as the mariners' own.
With the rapid secularization of Montreal (the Catholic Church dominated education, health care, and social services through the 1960s), public recognition of Bourgeoys has declined. But she remains one of the rocks on which the city was built, and the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum , attached to the chapel, memorializes her accomplishments.
The exhibits evoke an intimate vision of the early years of Montreal. Visitors can inspect the original foundations of the early chapels and view artifacts exhumed during archeological work here in the 1990s . Cracked blue and white porcelain cups and plates, discarded belt buckles, and broken pipes seem to conjure up their long-ago owners, who were determined to maintain the veneer of civilization in the distant wilds. They never stopped thinking of themselves as French, as the green glass wine bottles attest.
The tour winds up a 69-step staircase to the 19th-century tower. Walls along this level's open walkway are lined with images of the St. Lawrence River and the port of Montreal in 1685 . For a perfect juxtaposition of old and new, turn and look outside to see people strolling and cycling along the modern-day Old Port promenade while the grand geodesic dome of the Biosphère shines in the distance. Another 23 steps lead up to the belvedere, where visitors are suddenly almost face to face with the herald angels and the broad expanse of the modern city extends down the waterfront to the horizon.
By 1668 , Bourgeoys had moved her religious order from the center of the town to a rural farm on Pointe St-Charles near the Lachine rapids , a short bike ride or bus trip from Old Montreal. Bourgeoys originally taught the women of the colony to read, but soon expanded her activities to include schools for surrounding First Peoples villages and the care of the "filles du roy," the young women given dowries by Louis XIV and sent to the colony to marry and multiply.
The old stone farmstead, Maison St-Gabriel , now functions as a heritage museum of 17th-century rural life with a focus on the filles du roy, who still loom large in Quebecois legend. Often recruited among the urban poor, many of the women lacked even rudimentary skills for colonial life. Tours in English and French by guides in 17th-century garb focus on the transformation of the filles du roy into sturdy colonists. Their re-created period vegetable gardens underline the need for self-sufficiency. The property's 19th-century fieldstone barn holds temporary exhibitions, such as "An Iron in Time," which opens this month. It recounts the evolution of clothes-pressing, lest there be any doubt about the hard work of women in New France.
When Marguerite Bourgeoys died in 1700 , she was interred on the farm. But in 2003 , the 350th anniversary of her arrival in Montreal, her remains were placed in the left side altar of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours below the statue she had brought back from France in 1672.
Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel
400 rue St-Paul Est, Montreal 514-282-8670 marguerite-bourgeoys.com Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. May-October, 11-3:30 November-mid-January and March-April. Adults $5.10, seniors and students $3.40, family $10.20.
2146 place Dublin Pointe-St-Charles 514-935-8136 maisonsaint-gabriel.qc.ca Tuesday-Sunday 1-5 p.m. April 15-June 23 and Sept. 4-Dec. 21, 11-6 June 24-Sept. 2. Adults $6.80, seniors $5.10, students $3.40.
Patricia Harris and David Lyon, freelance writers in Cambridge and authors of the "Compass American Guide: Montreal," can be reached at [email protected]
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
Montreal fest maverick
Serge Losique conquers Montreal scene
By SHANE DANIELSEN
Claude Miller's "Un Secret," starring Cecile de France and Patrick Bruel
In an increasingly corporate fest milieu, Serge Losique is a maverick. Pugnacious, unpredictable, the 76-year-old Montreal World Film Festival chief has for over three decades run his event as a personal fiefdom, as shuttered and inscrutable as the court of Tamburlaine.
He's also a survivor, having seen off a recent challenge that would have sunk many a less determined adversary. Launched amid great fanfare in February 2005, the New Montreal FilmFest quickly signed a high-profile director (former Berlin and Venice topper Moritz de Hadeln) and boasted coin from Canada's major government film offices. It was, its backers claimed, the breath of fresh air the Montreal film scene badly needed.
But in fact, the newcomer proved one of the fest world's more conspicuous train wrecks.
The omens were not good: Both the fest's staff and its board were castigated by de Hadeln in the Canuck press just days before opening night -- but the reality proved far worse, with few (and flummoxed) guests, an empty red carpet and most films unspooling to near-empty houses. "It was," one attendee commented, "like watching the Lusitania go down. For 11 days."
From across town, you could practically hear Losique's sigh of satisfaction. Sure enough, after that first, disastrous edition, the plug was pulled. Bloodied, but defiantly unbowed, the veteran fest celebrated its 30th anniversary last August.
However, the very creation of a rival fest signaled other, more serious concerns -- specifically, a deepening feud between Losique (who runs his event as a private company, even owning its principal venue, the Imperial Theater) and his chief funders, Canadian government bodies Telefilm Canada and Sodec, the Quebec film agency.
Both claimed disenchantment with Losique's autocratic managerial style and "lack of accountability" to the local film community. In electing to side with the NMFF, they expected his event to fold. Instead, the tyro event went under, leaving both bodies with oeuf on their faces.
"The problems we encountered in the last two years with Telefilm Canada and Sodec are due to the fact that they are judge and jury," Losique reports. "Sooner or later, this approach to culture has to change."
Losique has challenged the status quo before: "We raised these questions (just) as we raised questions about the rules of FIAPF (the Intl. Federation of Film Producers Assn.). We quit them. Now FIAPF is better, with new rules, and we are a member again." In the same way, he says, the relationship with Telefilm Canada is "becoming more normal." His lawsuit against them has quietly been dropped: "We're not yet kissing each other, but we are talking to each other."
Still, Telefilm has not committed to reup its funding: a spokesman would say only that MWFF was still "under evaluation." Sodec, however, has returned to the fold, announcing in June that Losique's event would be once again among the eight Quebec film fests to share its annual C$800,000 ($750,000) pot.
For many attendees, the chief virtue of the World Film Fest -- and the reason for its enduring importance on the fest landscape -- is the sheer unpredictability of its programming. Where Toronto, true to its origins as the Festival of Festivals, essentially culls a greatest-hits lineup from Berlin, Cannes and Venice, the Montreal slate comprises many off-the-radar pics from across the globe.
Last year saw entries from 76 countries; this time, filmmakers from Chad to the U.S. will compete on equal terms for the Grand Prix of the Americas, the event's major award. Many of these will be world premieres. As such, it's a distinct change from the homogenous, shopping-list selections of most fest selections.
Or as Losique puts it: "Our goal is to find the best films from as many countries as possible. We are not looking for 'names,' because even great names can produce bad films. In some festivals, you see the parade of stars and starlets offered by the marketing junket machine of Hollywood. We are not here to please dubious merchants, but to display the gems of the film industry."
Still, he admits to a growing sense of dejection: "The emotional mystery of cinema is disappearing. Today you can buy any film on DVD on the same shelves with cat and dog food. Films d'auteur are gradually dying at the box office, and that's a danger for a quality film festival and also for cinema in general." The only way forward, he believes, is to retain a sense of perspective: "If you're too big, it's not good for cinema and discoveries. If you are too small, you do not exist for the media and sponsors. A festival should not be so big that you cannot even appreciate the films. Some middle road must be found."
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.)
In Montreal, a civilizing effect
April 29, 2008
MONTREAL -- Once upon a time in Montreal, public-transit strikes seemed as common as Stanley Cup parades. They occurred almost annually, with devastating results.
There was a month-long walkout during Expo 67; another in 1974 that dragged on for 44 days. In 1977, workers walked off the job for four days, then walked out again during Grey Cup festivities. Each time, Montrealers fumed.
These days, strikes have become almost as rare as hockey playoff victories and when conflicts arise, the effects are diminished, thanks to Quebec's Essential Services law.
Basic transit service is guaranteed in Montreal during strikes, a fact that brings a measure of civility to the city's turbulent labour relations.
"The Montreal system, with predictable essential-services rules, has been a good system," said Allan Ponak, professor emeritus at the University of Calgary who has co-authored a book on the subject. "Predictable rules like you have in Montreal are better than ad hoc rules created in an urgent situation."
The justification used by the Quebec government for declaring public transit an essential service in 1982 went like this: If everyone drove cars during a strike, traffic jams would threaten the safe passage of emergency vehicles.
The law not only had a dissuasive effect on strikes - there have been only two in the past two decades - but it softened their impact when they did occur.
Last May, for example, 2,200 maintenance workers went on strike to press for a new contract. The Essential Services Council ordered full bus and subway service during morning and afternoon peak hours, as well as late at night.
"There's no question that public transit is an essential service just like hospitals," said Reynald Bourque, director of the School of Labour Relations at the University of Montreal. "The system is beneficial because it balances the rights of the striking workers with the rights of users."
Unions have also come around to realizing they need public opinion on their side during conflicts - Quebec has floated the idea of restricting or abolishing the right to strike for public transit unions. So unions, too, have come to live with essential-services rules, a specialist says.
"We really have succeeded in civilizing the right to strike in public transit," said Michel Grant a professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal. "It's a model, and if they'd had had it in Toronto there wouldn't have been a problem and they wouldn't have needed a special law."
Maintenance employees and drivers in Montreal belong to separate unions. Montreal's bus and subway drivers, who belong to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, voted overwhelmingly in February for a new five-year contract. As for maintenance workers, their strike last May ended in only four days. They voted to return to work to dodge the threat of a government-imposed settlement, but remain without a contract.