Montreal To Allow – Recognize? – Rear Bus Door Entry

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is introducing a new wrinkle that is aimed at getting people on buses faster. They will allow passengers with unlimited passes – weekly, monthly, four-month or yearly – to board buses via the rear door. Commuters with a single fare or those paying cash will still have to use the front door.

However, I feel it incumbent upon myself to hereby inform the STM that this system has unofficially been in use at many Metro stations for years.

There are restrictions aplenty; only the long articulated vehicles – commonly known as bendy buses – are involved, and only at Metro stations, and only between 5 a.m and 7 p.m.

Wow, that will no doubt result in a massive reduction in boarding time. However, I feel it incumbent upon myself to hereby inform the STM that this system has unofficially been in use at many Metro stations for years. When long lines form waiting in inclement weather – wet, cold, snowy or all of the above – it is not uncommon for folks to hop on through the back door, even on non-bendy buses.

CBC.ca
Now if we can just build a Metro station turnstile that is too high to jump over and too low to get under we may be getting somewhere.

I suspect the new system will have a means of checks and balances to weed out those just scamming a free ride. Undercover conductors to verify passes and transfers will be required. I believe that the majority of riders will observe the honour system, but there are always a few who take advantage.

It won’t surprise me if this does not result in a great improvement, given people have been doing it to some extent for years. Now if we can just build a Metro station turnstile that is too high to jump over and too low to get under we may be getting somewhere.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Home Children: My Paternal Grandmother

Last year I wrote a piece for a British genealogical magazine, Family Tree, about my paternal grandmother. She came to Canada as part of the Home Children migration program. Here it is.


DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Welcome to Montreal Barack Obama

Dear President Obama,

We are pleased that you are coming to visit us in Montreal. I thought I would take a moment to give you a little background on what to expect. We live in an officially French-speaking province in a country that is officially bilingual; French and English. But at street-level most Montrealers get by just fine in a variety of languages and dialects. But please do not tell anyone, we like to keep that a bit of a secret.

In fact, given this cultural adjustment, it may well be the first time in a long time that you, Mr. President, find yourself the most conservative politician in a room.

Our political views run the gamut – left to right and everything in between. However keep in mind that up here everything is shifted just a wee bit to the left. In fact, given this cultural adjustment, it may well be the first time in a long time that you, Mr. President, find yourself the most conservative politician in a room.

This year the City of Montreal celebrates its 375th anniversary while Canada marks its 150 birthday. You may notice, as you are whisked about the city, many streets closed-off for various festivities. You may therefore be tempted to think that these people are putting on quite a party for their anniversaries, but in fact things are like this most summers in Montreal. It’s a long winter so we tend to make the most of summer. Coming back for the Jazz Festival?

It is my understanding that the United States Secret Service is responsible for your safety. I strongly suggest you make certain they have the absolute most up-to-date GPS information in their vehicles We have been known to have construction related detours with their very own detours! Not that your motorcade will get stuck in traffic what with police escorts and all, but when you send a trusted Agent out for a snack or a pack of smokes, he or she may become enmeshed in our annual Festival of the Construction Cones.

… should you notice a police officer wearing a bright red baseball cap, bullet-proof vest, and shocking pink camouflage pants please take no notice. Labour disputes can take some odd forms here

I have a hunch the local police assigned to your visit may be in full uniform – at least if the mayor has his way – but should you notice a police officer wearing a bright red baseball cap, bullet-proof vest, and shocking pink camouflage pants please take no notice. Labour disputes can take some odd forms here. But let’s face it, cammo pants are a whole lot better that a police strike.

On the topic of food, no doubt there will be calls for you to be photographed eating poutine, bagels or smoked meat. Try to avoid these kitschy shots. Montreal has a wide range of restaurants serving great meals from all over the world, Perhaps a photo at a Latin American cafe might fit the bill. Or better yet, skip the whole photo nonsense entirely and have a quiet meal brought in.

In closing let me welcome you to Montreal. I hope you enjoy whatever time you have here, I believe you will find you are much admired in my city. As for your successor, well, perhaps the less said the better, after all, we are having a party!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Karla Homolka’s Children Are Innocent

Convicted killer Karla Homolka in Montreal, on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. DAVE SIDAWAY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

There has been a very heated debate in Montreal over the last few days. To get an idea of just how emotional this has become requires a bit of background. The person at the eye of the storm is one Karla Homolka, a convicted sex murderer. Well, sort of convicted.

When she was married to Paul Bernardo the two of them raped and murdered three young girls, one Homolka’s younger sister. Needless to say the country was rocked by news of these heinous crimes, however the Crown prosecutor, was concerned that a lack of evidence may be a problem in getting a conviction.

While most people rightly call her a monster, there are three innocent children who call her mom.

Believing Bernardo to be the main culprit, the crown struck a deal with Homolka whereby she would plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, receive a twelve-year sentence, and provide the Crown with enough evidence to put Bernardo away for life for murder. People were irate not only when the deal was made known, but when a video later emerged proving Homolka was just as involved in the crimes as was her husband.

Now Homolka has served her time, left prison, married her lawyer’s wealthy brother and, after a time in a halfway house left Montreal for a tropical home. Now she is back. Her kids attend a private Christian school in a residential area. It has recently been discovered that she has volunteered at the school, and has even brought her dog for show and tell. Just a great mother.

Not surprisingly the media have gone into overdrive and have been lurking about outside the school for a glimpse and a photo. People are outraged that this person is involved with children. In response the school issued a statement saying Homolka will no longer be allowed to volunteer with children.

Fine and dandy.

Is it acceptable to have a phalanx of photographers and journalists, to say nothing of jeering neighbours, waiting for her and her children at the school?

But lost in the frenzy and anger are her kids – innocent children. Is it acceptable to have a phalanx of photographers and journalists, to say nothing of jeering neighbours, waiting for her and her children at the school? While most people rightly call her a monster, there are three innocent children who call her mom.

By all means complain about the situation, but let’s give the kids a break. They will have enough to deal with when they grow up. Or do some of these people think it is fair to try to exact revenge on her children for her crimes? That would be twisted logic at best.

Too many innocent young lives have been affected – indeed snuffed out –  in this horrific episode. Shouldn’t we be trying to protect these kids?

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Montreal Irish Community Has Old Sod Pulled Out From Under Them

In the late 1840s Ireland was in the throes of what has become known as the Great Potato Famine. Though what was so great about it is a mystery to me. Sadly many were forced to leave the Old Sod and head off for new lives in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and, Montreal. That sounds much easier than it was.

More than 6000 Irish migrants died in these sheds. Subsequently workers who were erecting the Victoria Bridge came upon a mass grave. To this day the ground is considered sacred by Montreal’s vibrant Irish community.

Passage was hardly cruise ship style and many died en route, having contracted typhus. So horrific was the loss of life that the vessels came to be known as coffin ships, their human cargo unloaded and moved to hastily built fever sheds.  

More than 6000 Irish migrants died in these sheds. Subsequently workers who were erecting the Victoria Bridge came upon a mass grave. In 1859 a large monument, the Irish Commemorative Stone, known more commonly if less creatively as  Black Rock, was set in place to commemorate the nameless victims.  

To this day the ground is considered sacred by Montreal’s vibrant Irish community. Every spring there is a march from St. Gabriel’s parish to the Black Rock to pay respect to the victims there buried and ensure their memory survives.

There is a piece of land, a green space, located very close to the rock that all three levels of government informally promised to the Irish community as a memorial park to which the Rock could be moved. Currently the rock is located on a median between two lanes of traffic making access tricky at best, and downright dangerous at worst. However recently it was announced that Hydro Quebec had bought the land to build a power station for a transit system project.

As for building a power station on land abutting a mass grave of Irish immigrants, I believe the potential for banshees and Little People to cause construction havoc is great.

Not surprisingly Montreal’s Irish feel they have been betrayed and scammed and are making a kerfuffle about it. On a couple of occasions city mayor Denis Coderre, who was this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade Grand Marshall, promised to “champion” the park project.

Calling Mayor Coderre.

Perhaps hizzoner has a trick up his sleeve to make things right. Or it may be too late. The annual march is this Sunday. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but I’ve got to think that a community of Irish descendants who feel scorned by some old sod may just cause some grief.

As for building a power station on land abutting a mass grave of Irish immigrants, I believe the potential for banshees and Little People to cause construction havoc is great. To say nothing of problems over the years to come.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

UPDATED: Happy Birthday Montreal; Thanks For The Free Transit

Today marks the beginning of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations. A whole summer of activities is planned and it all kicks-off today. I have written about my take on the festivities before. As a way of encouraging folks to participate, the Société de transport de Montréal will waive all bus and metro fares all day today. Yep, you can ride the system all day-long for free. A nice gesture.

… how long it will take for someone who has paid for a monthly pass for the month of May to realise that they have already paid for service today.

Now call me a cynic if you will, but I am just wondering how long it will take for someone who has paid for a monthly pass for the month of May to realise that they have already paid for service today. Everyone without a monthly pass is getting something for nothing today, but if you bought a monthly pass, you paid for 31 days of use. When in fact there are only 30 days when fares are charged this month.

I sense a class action lawsuit being launched, claiming two one-way fares  – or $6.50 – for every monthly pass sold. I imagine we are on the precipice of some lawyer getting his or her name in the media by suggesting this. Hardly in keeping with the spirit of the gesture.

Happy Birthday Montreal!

UPDATE: The answer to how long it will take for someone to publicly bitch is … drum-roll please … one week!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Beware Canines Baring K-9s

ALLEN MCINNIS/MONTREAL GAZETTE

If you read this blog with any regularity you will know that once the City of Montreal announced a pit bull by-law, I took it upon myself to seek out and interview an actual pit bull. This led to me subsequently being contacted and let in on how pit bulls were coping with the enacted law.

“No arsehole “ he growled. “Take the lead that is around my neck. Make it look like you are taking me for a walk”.

In the latest chapter of this ongoing saga, last Friday afternoon as I arrived at a favourite downtown watering hole for a few pints, I noticed a large poodle, in fact it was hard to miss given it was pink. Yep, a large pink poodle standing outside the door evidently unattended, but wearing a collar and leash. As I passed by I heard psst coming from the direction of the pink poodle. Turning back I saw the dog raise its paw to chest level, look both ways to insure secrecy, pull back its fur and there it was, Velcro.  Only then did I realize this was my pit bull contact in disguise.

“Let’s walk,” he said under his Milkbone breath. As I was about to take a step he said “lead”. So I went ahead of him and looked back to see if he was following.

He explained that his original cover had been blown a few weeks ago. He told me it was a chihuahua; I immediately understood his problem

“No arsehole “ he growled. “Take the lead that is around my neck. Make it look like you are taking me for a walk”. I know many people in this part of downtown so I was hesitant to be seen walking a large pink poodle. I expressed my concern and he muttered (mutt-ered?) something about my being lucky if I don’t have to pick up after him. He had a point. He explained that his original cover had been blown a few weeks ago. He told me it was a chihuahua; I immediately understood his problem

As we strolled along the street, me keeping my head down as best I could, he brought up the subject he wanted to address. As part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary events, last weekend the city was visited by giants. Hideous goddamned three-storey tall nightmare inducing marionettes on cranes. There was a deep-sea diver, a little girl and her dog. A giant dog. He explained how Operation Trojan Dog followed by Operation Frolic would be played out on Sunday afternoon. My task was to be there and write about it. With this he broke loose and dashed off.

Hideous goddamned three-storey tall nightmare inducing marionettes on cranes.

There I was on Sunday afternoon, one of about nine gazillion people waiting for the giants to wake up and make their way through the city. Just before the scheduled departure time I noticed that several pit bulls seemed to be coming out of the reclining giant dog. There were soon many more pit bulls, leaving the giant and frolicking with those in attendance. Clearly those present thought this was part of the performance,  but I knew this was a means of pit bulls returning to public and showing their softer side. No catapult (dogapult?) for these tall thinkers. A shrewd public (puplic?) relations ploy if ever there was one.

Much as Virgil wrote in the Aeneid about how the Greeks scammed the Trojans with that wooden horse full of soldiers, the pit bulls of Montreal returned to the city in a huge dog. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts and certainly beware canines baring k-9s.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+