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Montreal police learned from previous school shootings
By The Associated Press
When a lone gunman entered Dawson college in Montreal and began shooting last September, police counted on new procedures and a bit of luck to neutralize the assailant quickly.
Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire at the downtown Montreal college last September, slaying a young woman and wounding 19 other people before he turned the gun on himself as police cornered him.
As luck would have it police officers on the scene for an unrelated matter were rapid first responders able to spot the suspect. But in a city which had seen two college shootings in the 17 previous years, police had also gained experience from the previous incidents to keep the situation from getting out of control.
Montreal Police Chief Yvan Delorme said last September that precious lessons learned from other mass shootings had taught police to try to stop such assaults as quickly as possible.
"Before our technique was to establish a perimeter around the place and wait for the SWAT team. Now the first police officers go right inside. The way they acted saved lives," he said.
Montreal police refused to comment Monday about the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, but as Americans try to make sense of the deadliest campus massacre in U.S. history which left at least 33 dead, including the gunman, questions have begun to emerge about the time allowed to elapse before authorities contained the shooting.
In Canada the lessons were painfully learned from the Dec. 6, 1989 college shooting at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique, Canada's bloodiest, during which Marc Lepine entered a classroom at the engineering school, separated the men from the women, told the men to leave and opened fire, killing 14 women before killing himself.
While shots rang out at Ecole Polytechnique emergency personnel "had a perimeter outside and they waited. No one went inside," Delorme recalled last September.
Another shooting in Montreal occurred in 1992, when a Concordia University professor killed four colleagues.
By last September Montreal officers had changed their modus operandi and rushed into the building only a few minutes after the gunman.
"This time it was very efficient, very proactive," Delorme then said.
Aaron Cohen, a SWAT trainer based in California, said time is of the
essence during such circumstances, as the quick intervention in Montreal eventually showed, avoiding a similar bloodbath.
"While they wait another innocent person is dead. There's just no time to sit around," Cohen told Canada's CBC TV. "It has to be fast.
On Monday a gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, shot up a classroom building across campus, killing 32 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. The gunman committed suicide, bringing the death toll to 33.
Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said authorities believed that the shooting at the dorm was a domestic dispute and mistakenly thought the gunman had fled the campus.
Copyright The Associated Press 2007. All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
World vibe at Montreal jazz fest
David Rubien, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, June 21, 2007
"Jazz is a tree that has many leaves," says André Ménard, artistic director of the Montreal Jazz Festival -- a terse and apt summation of not only jazz but also his festival and the city of Montreal itself.
The festival -- beginning its 28th annual edition June 28 and running through July 8 -- is the biggest of its kind in the world, an event that features more than 350 free outdoor concerts and 150 paid indoor shows. It is expected to draw more than 200,000 attendees, yet it manages to feel intimate. It's hard to imagine how a music festival that traffics in such numbers could be as sophisticated, smooth running, user friendly -- and inexpensive -- as Montreal's, but it is.
Purists may raise eyebrows over the fact that two of the festival's headliners are Bob Dylan and Van Morrison (both shows are sold out), but this festival long ago got past distinctions of genre. In fact, in booking nonjazz acts, which Montreal started doing about 20 years ago, it pointed the way to survival for every major jazz festival, including San Francisco, whose fall lineup includes nonjazz acts Caetano Veloso and Ravi Shankar, and Monterey, where Los Lobos and DJ Logic will perform.
"In 1986, when we last programmed Van Morrison, people questioned it, but he was on the cover of (jazz magazine) Down Beat three months later," Ménard says. "I wish every jazz album was as spiritually strong as Van Morrison's music. ... And as for Dylan, the way he redoes his songs -- that's a jazz attitude."
Attitude is the right word. It's the thread that connects jazz acts the festival is producing this year, like Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Wayne Shorter and Bill Frisell, with world music acts like Angélique Kidjo, Femi Kuti and Richard Bona, with rock acts like Garth Hudson, Rickie Lee Jones and the Cowboy Junkies. It's not a punk or grunge attitude, obviously, but a dedication to musicianship and exploration -- a willingness to stretch and take chances. A jazz attitude.
The strong world music presence at the festival -- 30 countries are represented, from a Chinese jazz singer covering Patsy Cline, to French new-wave pop, to Italian barrel percussionists, to Malian kora, to Australian didgeridoo, to Garifuna singers -- is appropriate, given the diverse ethnic mix of Montreal, which, as home to 80 nationalities, is considered North America's gateway to Europe and beyond. That is true even though almost everyone younger than 60 speaks English fluently.
Centrally located downtown at the complex of theaters, museums and hotels called Place des Arts, the Montreal Jazz Festival packs all the action into a relatively compact space. Free outdoor shows are on nine small -- and one whopper -- stages, and 12 indoor venues feature the paid nighttime shows. The festival doesn't only stick the little-knowns on the outdoor stages, either. This year, a Brazilian carnival bash with Carlinhos Brown gets things going June 28; last year, it was the Neville Brothers.
With more than 50 performances a day, it's clearly too much to take in, so it's a good thing adventure beckons outside the Place des Arts from any direction you choose. Heading south toward the St. Lawrence River, you'll hit Old Montreal, where you can easily spend an afternoon investigating the cobblestone streets, some with buildings dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Stop at any of the many bistros offering mussels and pomme frites, usually with a good selection of French and Belgian beers and, of course, wine.
Continue south to the river and at 27 De La Commune, you'll find Boutique Ça Roule, where you can rent bicycles -- a great way to see the city. But if dodging traffic sounds daunting, there's a leisurely ride to be had along the tree-lined Canal de Lachine, where heading west you can stop at the Marché Express, Montreal's equivalent of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, only it's open every day.
Less than a mile northeast of the festival grounds are enticing residential neighborhoods of many ethnic flavors along Boulevard St.-Laurent and Rue St.-Denis -- including the Latin Quarter, where last summer a spontaneous parade broke out, clogging streets, when Portugal defeated England in the World Cup soccer quarterfinals.
Keep heading north along St. Laurent and you'll hit the Jewish neighborhood that gave the world, believe it or not, William Shatner. Now we can settle for old-school deli sandwiches and soda-fountain drinks at Wilensky's Light Lunch, or superb bagels at La Maison du Bagel or St. Viateur Bagel.
Heading back south to the festival, consider having dinner at what many call the most authentic French bistro in the city, L'Express. There's nothing pretentious about this spot. It's all business, packed with locals who seem ecstatic to be there, digging into bowls of bouillabaisse or scarfing pate foie gras or bone marrow, and tossing back wine that practically dances in the glass.
There's so much more to do: great museums, galleries, beautiful parks, a 20-mile underground city where people spend much of their time in the frigid winter, day trips to the Laurentian mountains.
Once you've spent a day exploring the city, the music back at the festival -- be it danceable, cerebral or both -- offers a way to relax and synthesize your experiences, processing them through the sensual to the aesthetic to the spiritual and back. That's jazz, and that's Montreal.
If you go
All locations are in Montreal. Prices are in Canadian dollars.
From San Francisco, Air Canada flies nonstop to Montreal. A number of airlines offer one-stop connecting flights.
Where to stay
Hyatt Regency Montreal: Online rates for doubles from $244 (about $229 U.S.). 605 modern rooms and suites across from the Place des Arts. 1255 Jeanne-Mance. (514) 982-1234, montreal.hyatt.com.
Hotel Place des Arts: Eight air-conditioned rooms, studios and suites in a renovated Victorian building downtown. $40-$80 ($37.55-$75.10 U.S.). 270 Rue Sherbrooke W. (514) 995-7515, http://www.hotelplacedesarts.com.
Where to eat
L'Express: Bustling traditional French bistro. Entrees $12-$22 ($11.27-$20.65 U.S.). 3927 Rue St.-Denis. (514) 845-5333.
Wilensky's Light Lunch: Tiny shop serving classic deli fare 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Entrees less than $10 ($9.39 U.S.). 34 Fairmount St. W. (514) 271-0247.
What to do
Montreal Jazz Festival: June 28-July 8. Various venues across the city. $12.50-$87.50 ($11.73-$82.14 U.S.); many free performances. (888) 515-0515, http://www.montrealjazzfest.com.
For more information
Tourisme Montréal: (877) 266-5687, http://www.tourisme-montreal.org.
E-mail David Rubien at [email protected]
This article appeared on page E - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Festivals: The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal wins the prestigious 2007 Silver Posted by: eJazzNews Readeron Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - 11:26 AM Montreal, Monday, January 28, 2008 - The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International presented the prestigious Silver Adrian Award 2007 to the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal during a ceremony held today in New York.
This was the 51st anniversary of the Silver Adrian Award, considered a very high distinction in the travel sector. A jury consisting of experts from the domains of hotel management, travel, tourism and media considered no fewer than 1,300 submissions before choosing the Festival in the category of "Attractions/Theme Park for Feature Placement Print-Consumer Newspaper" after having read an account in the San Francisco Chronicle.
"We are very honoured to receive this prestigious award. It is the result of years of work by the Festival to develop and deploy a marketing strategy, which appears to have paid off handsomely, judging by the growing number of tourists who flock to Montreal each year for our annual 'high mass' of jazz. I would also like to highlight the excellent work and commitment of Lou Hammond & Associates, the agency which has represented us for years in the U.S. market," stated André Ménard, co-founder and artistic director of the Festival.
Every summer, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presents over 650 shows, including over 280 indoor performances and 372 free outdoor concerts on 25 different stages. Close to 3000 musicians from some 30 countries take part in this massive musical party, with over 2.1 million people pouring onto the site to enjoy it all. For its upcoming edition, the Festival is preparing an enticing outdoor program set to groove to the rhythms of the world. The 29th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal takes place from June 26 to July 6, 2008.