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
(Courtesy of Monocle Magazine)
It is an interesting list of cities. I am happy that Honolulu beat out New York. Though New York has been growing on me. One thing certain cities I did not expect to see on this list especially: Vienna.
Life in Montreal - Telegraph Mentor
Patricia Smith says Canadians are genuinely nice people; friendly and welcoming, fond of the British and very proud of their homeland.
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 28/11/2007
Patricia Smith is willing to answer your questions about Montreal.
Our mentors are volunteers and any information they provide is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Click here to access the message boards terms and conditions.
My family moved to Montreal in early 2000 when my husband was offered a job with a Biotech company here. I also worked in the Biotech sector in Montreal for two years but left to start my own relocation company, Home Thoughts.
My company is a Destination Services company that specialises in helping Brits who are moving to Montreal to find housing and schools, showing them where to shop, helping them to get drivers licenses, finding them cleaners, doctors, dentists, child-minders etc. Basically, all the things I wish someone had helped me with when I moved here!
In addition to my experience of international relocation, having worked here as well, I understand the work ethos, which is very different from that in the UK and in the US. If anyone has any questions about visiting or moving to Montreal I am more than happy to answer them.
Ask questions and read the answers on the Mentor Noticeboard.
Geography: Montreal is located on an island gently nestled within the St. Lawrence Seaway in Eastern Canada in the Province of Quebec. The city is dominated by a large hill in the centre, grandly called 'The Mountain' by the locals, and only slightly less grandly officially 'Mont Royal'.
This beautiful parkland, with the Mansions of Westmount and Outrement cut part way up it, has a chateau at the top and a lookout from which you can see right across to the States. Looking down you can see the business center of Montreal, the McGill University campus buildings and the bridges that cross the St. Lawrence. To the north of Montreal only 45 minutes away are the Laurentian mountains with their superb ski resorts, golf courses, lakes and cottages for summer and winter. To the East an hour away, are the Eastern Townships, again with superb skiing, golf, lakes and holiday cottages.
The US is 40 minutes away to the south with Boston and New York six hours drive away and one hour by air. There are several daily flights to London only 7 hours away, and to the rest of Europe.
Cuisine: The French influence means that the food is great; the croissants and pastries are second only to France. It appears that everyone who has ever emigrated here also loves food because there are restaurants of every nationality serving good food to suit every budget. Eating out here is so cheap compared to the UK, the portions are large, the service is great and children are welcome everywhere.
There is a lot more smoking here than in the UK so ask for a non-smoking table if that is your preference. Wine and spirits are very expensive as they are sold by a Quebec government agency, the SAQ.
The wine sold in the supermarkets is more like Ribena. Beer is more reasonably priced and can be bought in supermarkets or corner shops called depanneurs.
People: Canadians are genuinely nice people; friendly and welcoming, fond of the British and very proud of their homeland. It has been said that Canada is a bit boring, but this is really not the case in Quebec. The European influence, particularly that of the French, really livens things up.
After Paris, Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world. 69% of its three million people speak French as their mother tongue, 12% speak English and 19% don't speak either. The reality of the situation, however, is that in this tolerant, vibrant, and youthful city most of its inhabitants are functionally bilingual, often trilingual, and so coming here only speaking English is not a problem. Even if you speak perfect French you will be spotted as a visitor as the Quebecois accent is very different. I have lived here for four years and people still start speaking in English to me the minute I say 'Bonjour'.
Montrealers love Brits and the shop assistants always want to chat, telling you who in their family is British, and how much they love your accent. There are also large numbers of immigrants from non-English or French cultures and there is no obvious racial tension. I suspect this is because they are not perceived scroungers or benefit seekers but just as new additions to a long line of immigrants, who are here to work hard, learn French and get on with life.
Weather: Montreal has four distinct seasons. Winter is long lasting from November until the end of March. It has usually snowed by the middle of December and carries on intermittently until March. January and February are the coldest months with temperatures averaging -10ºC but on the odd day it does fall to -40ºC with the wind chill factor. -10ºC sounds cold but it isn't really provided you have the right clothes. It is a dry cold and so it doesn't penetrate through to your bones as it does in the UK. The children love the snow, which is dry and brushes off easily, and you can always appreciate the beautifully clear blue skies.
Spring is very short lasting from April to the end of May, but everything grows extremely quickly and it is delightful to see the grass and flowers pushing through past the residual snow. Summer runs luxuriously through June to September and is hot and often humid. The temperature can reach the mid 30's in July and August and it is truly fantastic. Fall (Autumn) runs from October until mid-November and is beautiful with red, brown and gold colours abounding. It is a great time to travel to Vermont and the Laurentians or anywhere woody and rural.
Standard of Living: Everything in Montreal is roughly half the price of that in the UK, from food and clothes to restaurants and housing, and people are not embarrassed to question prices or complain about bad service. Salaries are lower than in the UK but despite this you will still have a much better standard of living in Montreal.
Healthcare: The medical system, Medicare, is very similar to the NHS with the same sorts of advantages and disadvantages. Treatment is free on demand and the doctors and nurses are generally very good but the waiting lists are often long. GP's are in short supply and you have to wait for hours in the Emergency Room (casualty).
Once you arrive on a work permit or land as an immigrant you need to obtain a Medicare card to get treatment. The private health system in Quebec is very limited. You cannot pay to see a consultant or have tests performed in a public hospital more quickly but you can go to a private clinic for certain tests, particularly if you are an adult. Many health insurance schemes will pay for this.
The cost of prescription medicines is borne by the patient or by the private insurance that you will have through your employer.
Dental care is high quality but very expensive and not covered at all by Medicare for adults and even for children the provision is limited. Employee insurance schemes cover dental treatment but cover varies from scheme to scheme.
As in the UK, adults in Quebec pay for eye check ups and children and those on welfare benefits do not. Medicare does not cover the cost of glasses or contact lenses, however, most insurance schemes cover the costs in part or completely. Glasses and contact lenses are considerably cheaper in Quebec than in the UK.
Driving: If you hold a valid British Driving License you can obtain a Quebec license without taking a test. You can drive for a few months on your international license but it is best to get a Quebec license as soon as possible. You can obtain this from the SAAQ (Société de l'Assurance Automobile du Quebec).
You are legally required to carry your license with you when driving as well as the insurance and registration documents for the car. The rules regarding drink-driving, the wearing of seat belts, and use of child car seats are similar to those in the UK, i.e do not drink and drive, wear seats belts at all times and make sure your child has the correct car seat for their size and age.
It is relatively easy to adjust to driving on the right hand side of the road in Quebec, because the speed limits are lower than in the UK and they are, by and large, obeyed.
The general consensus among expats is that drivers in Quebec are not very good. It is not that they are deliberately obstructive or aggressive; they just seem unaware of other cars, not letting you into a lane or out of a side street, pulling out suddenly and rarely indicating. There is 'no fault' insurance in Quebec. That is, if you have an accident your insurance company pays for your damage and the other parties company pays for their damage regardless of who was responsible. Any injury to your person is insured by the SAAQ.
Banking: If you are just visiting banking is fine, you can use your UK cashpoint cards in the ATM's which are everywhere, not just in the banks but in cinemas, depanneurs and supermarkets. Of course, UK credit cards are accepted everywhere. The banks are open 10am until 4pm on weekdays only and have very long queues so use the ATM whenever possible.
If you are planning to move here for a few years banking is more difficult. Your credit reference in the UK is no good here at all and you basically start from scratch proving your financial worthiness to be given a credit card and overdraft facility. Getting as many store cards as possible is one way to improve your credit rating.
Posted: November 15, 2007, 2:46 AM by DrewHasselback
Downtown Montreal is going through a rapid revitalization that has seen the rise of condo towers, university buildings, hotels -- and major international retailers.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the corner of Peel and Ste-Catherine, one of the city's busiest spots.
"The corner has always had a certain amount of vibrancy," says Sam Sheraton, senior administrator for Montreal's Drazin family, which owns property near Peel and Ste-Catherine. "Now, it has become the central core of downtown Montreal."
One-level retailers who once occupied 1,500-to 2,000-square-foot spaces and generated sales of about $400 to $600 per square foot are making way for bigger, multi-level stores that bring in twice as much.
A large Roots store on the northeast corner of Peel and Ste-Catherine recently downsized and hot U.S. retailer American Eagle Outfitters moved in. On the northwest corner, a Guess store opens next month.
Next door on Ste-Catherine is the year-old flagship store of Montreal's own Garage chain, one of Canada's top fashion retailers. And on the southwest side, several retailers, including a Rogers phone store and SAQ liquor outlet, are being relocated by the owner, to make way for a multilevel H& M store, industry sources say.
(On the remaining southeast corner is an HMV store, in the same building as the Montreal Gazette and National Post bureau).
Rumour has it Pottery Barn is looking for a location nearby. A few blocks to the west on Ste-Catherine, next to Ogilvy's, Apple is taking a space formerly occupied by a menswear store.