Canada, DCMontreal Light, Justin Trudeau, News, Politics, Wordpress

Election Day in Canada. SO VOTE!!!!!

Vote

DCS_Grad_2 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Canada, Canadian election 2015, DCMontreal Commentary, History, Montreal, News, Opinion, Politics, Wordpress

Time to Take an Interest in the Canadian Federal Election

Welcome to October. After a Montreal September that was record-setting in terms of high temperatures, more above average conditions are forecast for October. Great for enjoying all those wonderful October events: Apple picking, Canadian Thanksgiving, post-season Major League Baseball – including of course the World Series – Halloween and … well … a Canadian federal election. Four out of five isn’t too bad.

The campaign, one of the longest in Canadian history, began in August, a time when most people were still chilling while on summer vacation. But I guess we can’t put it off any longer. It’s time to shift our focus north from the Cirque du Trump in the US that has been providing entertainment if not logic for the past several weeks, and pay attention to an election that we can actually have a say in.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Polls indicate a very close race heading into the last 19 days of the campaign. I figure the best place to start is by having a gander at the party leaders. The current Prime Minister is Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). He was first elected PM in 2006 albeit with a minority which he would grow into a majority in 2011.

The CPC is the latest incarnation of Canada’s version of conservatism. In another era there was the Progressive Conservative Party; sounding a bit oxymoronic, it was an attempt to lure liberal voters, and it worked. The CPC has its roots in the Reform Party, a Christian-based party from Western Canada that looked more like a US right wing party than Canadian conservatives.

Mr Harper is himself a conservative Christian, but he manages to keep it quiet if not hidden. For some this is good, while others see him as being sneaky about imposing his religious views on the nation.

We don’t have a tradition of attack ads in Canadian politics, yet the CPC has been running a TV spot in which a group of Canadians is apparently looking over resumes of potential Prime Ministers. Regarding Justin Trudeau, they conclude that they won’t say no forever, in fact ‘Justin’ may one day be a suitable candidate, but for now he’s ‘just not ready’! Ain’t that vicious? It seems to me that if you are going to run an ad that puts your opponent down rather than one that illustrates your strengths, then you should actually put him down, not point out that  he may one day be a good candidate.

Then there is the Liberal Party of Canada under the leadership of Justin Trudeau. He is the son of longtime Canadian Prime Minister the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Trudeau pere was a brilliant if divisive leader. His popularity in the east was matched by the dislike he invoked in westerners. Of course as a staunch federalist, he was also reviled by those in Quebec who wanted an independent state. Often referred to as Canada’s natural governing party, having been in power more than any other party, the Liberals are facing some stiff competition from the NDP. Mr. Trudeau is clearly not his father, and to expect he will live up to that specter is unrealistic. He is, however, young which may help or hinder him. Only time will tell.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair

Finally we have the New Democratic Party (NDP), the traditional third-place finisher. As close to a socialist party as we come in Canada. The leader is Thomas Mulcair, a fluently bilingual lawyer from Montreal. I worked with Mulcair for a short time during the eighties; he was clearly bright, and driven, if a wee bit arrogant. He seems to be keeping that in check, and is a hit on the  campaign trail. His party is, for the most part, scandal-free, if only because they have never been in power.

My opinion: it is time for a change, and a return to true Canadian values, which I believe are best represented by either the Liberal party or the NDP.

 

DCS_Grad_2 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Back when I was young, EXPO 67, Humor, Montreal, Nostalgia

Rerun: Montreal’s History of Anglo/Irish Pubs

They say that one of the signs you’re getting old is that you find yourself, more and more often, using phrases such as: When I was a boy/girl, Back when I was young, In my day, When I was a kid. Well, you get the idea. Rather than fight this tendency I’ve decided to embrace it by posting, on occasion, blog entries the title of which will begin with “Back when I was Young”.


John Bull Pub ad from The Gazette October 1972

John Bull Pub ad from The Gazette October 1972

Back when I was young, during the mid-seventies,  it seemed Montreal was awash with Anglo/Irish Pubs. There’s still a good number of them today including Hurley’s, McKibbin’s , The Irish Embassy and the Old Dublin to name but a few, but when I was cutting my drinking teeth there was a circuit of pubs in the western downtown area. They all had similar décor; after all, there’s only so much variation you can have on the theme. There was lots of brass and not much plastic,  easily cleaned concrete or tiled floors (no carpets, thanks), wood paneling and large tables for large groups (remember, this was a time when people bought drinks in “rounds” and managed to do so without having to mortgage their homes). The requisite dart boards, and very small stages, often just a raised area in the corner because floor space was at a premium.

Maidenhead Inn ad from The Gazette in March 1971

Maidenhead Inn ad from The Gazette in March 1971

Not only was the appearance similar but the entertainment was pretty much the same, at least in style. Usually a duo playing what North Americans considered traditional Celtic pub songs including Farewell to Nova Scotia, Whiskey in the Jar and The Black Velvet Band (and I hope they got those seven old ladies out of the lavatory). The main house act played Thursday through Saturday nights but other acts filled in the rest of the week so there was never a night without live music.

Starting this trip down memory lane, moving east from Atwater Avenue, the first pub you came to was the Maidenhead Inn in Alexis Nihon Plaza featuring the piano magic of Goa, India’s own Ferdie Fertado who would leave Montreal after several years and move to Laguna Beach, California where he passed away about three years ago. The Maidenhead waitresses wore low-cut “wenches” outfits while serving bottled beer and mixed drinks.

Site of former Clover Leaf and Molly Maguires

Site of former Clover Leaf and Molly Maguires

That was another shared feature not only of the Anglo/Irish places, but all Montreal bars at that time; beer came in bottles. Draft beer on tap was served only in taverns (and later brasseries) and was a cheap lower quality beer produced by the breweries for the express purpose of taverns.

Moving along, on the south-east corner of Ste. Catherine and Lambert-Clossé streets (then referred to simply as Closse) adjacent to the Shell Station, was the Clover Leaf that would close and, for a very short time, become Molly Maguires. I’d let you know what the décor was like, but I don’t think I was ever inside.

Next up is the Grandfather of Montreal Anglo-style pubs, the Cock ‘N’ Bull. It is still a going concern today although its red-roof entrance is gone and the inside is slightly different as well. In its original state the bar, complete with embedded British coins, was located halfway along the  east wall, about 15 feet toward the back from its current position, placing it smack in front of the “stage”, which is now the darts corner.

Cock 'N' Bull Pub today

Cock ‘N’ Bull Pub today

The stage was an area about 5 square feet that would give any claustrophobic performer a fit as it was enclosed on three sides by patrons hooting, hollering and singing. (A strict “no dancing” rule was enforced to cut down on accidents.) I also assume they have gotten rid of the sign that read: “Free drinks for anyone over the age of 70 and accompanied by a parent”. In these days of increased longevity that could become expensive!

Late Sunday morning was brunch time at the Cock ‘n’ Bull and Sunday nights were Dixieland Jazz nights. But one of the most popular events was Monday’s Amateur Night. The late Ted Blackman wrote a great column on the amateur spectacular in The Gazette in May of 1974

On de Maisonneuve right across from Sir George Williams University’s (now Concordia) Henry F. Hall Building was the Fyfe and Drum (neither Anglo nor Irish but clearly Scottish). The building was torn down to make way for the Concordia Library, but in its day the Fyfe was, not surprisingly, a hang-out for students.

The old entrance to Finnegan's Irish Pub

The old entrance to Finnegan’s Irish Pub

Just a bit further east on de Maisonneuve in what has most recently been an entrance to Wanda’s Strip Club was Finnigan’s Irish Pub. It had been located on the top floor of the building, but by the time of the 1976 Olympics was a rowdy packed basement pub.

That summer of 1976 saw many bars filled to capacity and beyond as the world once again came to Montreal for the Olympics as it had in 1967 for EXPO 67. When I think back to evenings in Finnigan’s what comes to mind are the words fire trap.

Until a few years ago the Downtown YMCA building extended out over half of de Maisonneuve from Drummond to Stanley Streets. On the north side of de Maisonneuve not actually under the Y overhang, but in its shadow was the John Bull Pub. It was more of a Rock ‘n’ Roll place than traditional pub music. Except as the ad above shows they ran an amateur night on Monday’s as well, hosted by the ubiquitous Ferdie Fertado who clearly made the rounds.

Irish Lancer Pub ad from The Gazette September 1975

Irish Lancer Pub ad from The Gazette September 1975

On Drummond Street below Ste. Catherine Street in the basement of the Lasalle Hotel was the Irish Lancer. The Lancer’s bathrooms were outside the pub itself in a sort of lobby and were shared with guests of the hotel who were often confronted by drunk pub patrons.

On Peel Street just above Cyprus Street and the Windsor Hotel was the Hunter’s Horn. Given its location in the heart of downtown Montreal it attracted a more businessperson clientele – more suits than the other pubs. The upstairs lounge, or Parlor as it was called, was a bit up-market being carpeted and nicely appointed. It hosted the Montreal Press Club for several years.

Childhood Revisited

HuntersHorn

UPDATE: During the recent renovation of Alexis Nihon shopping centre, I snapped a couple of shots of what was once the Maidenhead Inn but is now a delicatessen.

Left: Front door Right: Interior

Front door                                                                   Interior

Recently Elaine, who has commented on this post and let me know she worked at the Maidenhead Inn, sent me some pictures from her time there. With her permission I post them here. She also has an interesting online petition regarding Robin Hood’s Well in Nottingham; have a read and consider signing it.

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Me 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Canada, CNN, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, History, Humor, Montreal, News, Opinion, Wordpress

Happy Canada Day 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA / BONNE FÊTE CANADA

CanadaDay2014

On this 148th birthday of Canada I will let others do the writing about my country. No doubt this is in keeping with our reputation of being polite folks.

The CBC has a piece on how Canada is perceived around the word, in which they ask Canadian Studies teachers and researchers to comment on Canada.

Can_VenezI don’t usually take request, but just for today I will: Sorry! You see we also seem to be known for our tendency to apologize. However I explained this in a post a couple of years ago that CNN was kind enough to link to.

Me 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Canada, CNN, Crime, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Media, Montreal, News, Opinion, Quebec, United States, Wordpress

Prison Escape: Matt and Sweat in Canada?

CCCF

As I write a massive manhunt is underway in northern New York State for two escaped murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat. There are roadblocks and  checkpoints on Interstates, school events have been cancelled, and people cautioned to be vigilant and stay indoors as much as possible. The two were able to establish themselves as the first to break out of the 150 year-old Clinton County Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, about twenty-five miles from the Canadian border.

They timed their break to coincide with Grand Prix weekend in Montreal when there are so many English-speaking tourists crossing into Canada that they would not have to be concerned about standing out at the border or in the city.

It seems they used power tools to cut through walls, the noise camouflaged by legitimate construction being undertaken in the prison. The details of how this could have happened will be ascertained once they have been captured, but for now the main goal is to track down these two escapees (and yes I know a debate over escapee vs escaper brews, but I’m giving it a pass).

It is my belief that if these guys are smart enough to get out, they have probably done some research on where to go. I figure the last place they want to go is south, even if one of them has connections in Mexico. No, these guys are headed due north to Canada. They timed their break to coincide with Grand Prix weekend in Montreal when there are so many English-speaking tourists crossing into Canada that they would not have to be concerned about standing out at the border or in the city.

With the weekend over I imagine they have made their way out of Montreal. The only possible other option is that like many a visitor they may have taken a shine to my fair city and decided to stay for a bit. If that is the case let me suggest some places to look.

Richard Matt    David sweat

Richard Matt                                                      David Sweat

Considering these lads have been in prison for sometime, and given Montreal’s many strip clubs I think I know where I’d start my search. Chez Paree and Wanda’s should be checked just for starters. Escort services could also offer some hints.

I’m hoping to never be able to speak from experience on this matter, but I understand prison food is foul. Montreal’s gastronomic reputation is second to none, so I have a hunch these guys may be partaking of some tasty chow. Schwartz’s for smoked meat would be a good setting-off point for two famished men on the lam.

So fellow Canadians I suggest we be on the lookout for two hungry, horny men with American accents. I realize that with tourist season upon us we will soon be inundated with guys who fit that bill to a tee.

One of the escapees, Matt, may also think he’d blend in here because he was imprisoned not only for murder, but for dismembering his victim. Montreal was the home to Luka Magnotta who gained a considerable amount of infamy for killing and dismembering Lin Jun. Did Matt figure it was a trend here?

But there is one sticking point to all this; Richard Matt, aside from several tattoos, also has metal front teeth. Yep, like the grill on an old Chevy, he has had his front teeth chromed. This may be big in prison, but if you’re trying to not stand out while scarpering from the police, you may want to rethink having this done.

So fellow Canadians I suggest we be on the lookout for two hungry, horny men with American accents. I realize that with tourist season upon us we will soon be inundated with guys who fit to a tee that bill. So the key is to get them to smile and look for those metal front choppers. But for god’s sake don’t try to effect this by tickling them!!!

 

DCS_Grad_2 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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Canada, DCMontreal Light, driving, F1, Formula One, Humor, Media, Montreal, News, Sports, Wordpress

Montreal Grand Prix Signage Help for Tourists

GP15

Should you be considering visiting my fair city this weekend to take in the Formula One Grand Prix, as many are if hotel and restaurant reservations indicate, I am suggesting to Mayor Coderre the following sign. Rather than infuriate visitors with thousands of roadwork detour signs and road closures notices, on top of our potholed streets, let’s put the signs below on all streets that are:

A) Not currently under construction/repair;
B) Not likely to soon be under construction/repair;
C) Essentially pothole free;and
D) Free of exposed streetcar tracks.

NoWork

No Road 2

Unfortunately I suspect the only place worthy of the signs is the short strip of Notre Dame that runs right in front of City Hall! So if you do visit, assume all roads are under construction, or in need of same!

DCS_Grad_2 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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Blogging, Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, News, Opinion, Wordpress

Thanks For The Referral CNN

Thanks CNN.

CNN_Refer

DCS_Grad_2 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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Canada, DCMontreal Light, driving, Montreal, Weather, Westmount, Wordpress

Montreal: A Winter Wonderland

Warning

With upwards of 25 centimetres of snow expected over the next day or so in Montreal, a White Christmas seems assured. Mind you, telling motorists this as they slogged through wet snow and slop this morning on their way to work may have resulted in language not suited to a pretty Winter Wonderland-like day! Not to despair dear readers, there is an up side to a snow fall. Early in the morning, before the snow becomes an annoyance, and with the wind apparently stopped for breakfast after a very busy night of howling, the city looked grand.

Bike Trees_Car Ingle_Street Melb_Street Stop Melv_Street_Reil Melv_Street_2jpg Melb_Street_2 Melv_Street

 

DCS_Grad_2 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, History, Montreal, News, Nostalgia, Opinion, Published, Westmount, Wordpress

The New Face of Canadian War Veterans: DCMontreal in The Globe and Mail

Below is a link to my article about the changing face of Canada’s war veterans as it appears today on the Globe and Mail site.

Just click on either image.

 

(Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

(Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

GlobeMailArticle

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+
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Canada, Crime, DCMontreal Commentary, News, Opinion, Politics, Quebec, United States, Wordpress

Ottawa Shooting: A Link in a Chain of Terror?

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo/FACEBOOK

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo/FACEBOOK

Today, in the wake of yesterday’s calamity in Ottawa that saw the nation’s government locked down, and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a brave soldier and young father with his whole life ahead of him, gunned down in a cowardly ambush while on ceremonial guard duty, nothing seems funny.

As a proud Canadian I am usually pleased to see the world’s media congregate here for one reason or another. Olympic Games, a World’s Fair, even Quebec’s two independence referendums all drew international attention. Once again numerous international media agencies, including CNN and BBC, are setting up camp in Canada, but for all the wrong reasons.

On many occasions I sit down in front of this computer screen and document my take on a current item in the news. Given that the blood that flows through my veins has a good dose of Irish in it, I usually find some way to work humour into my piece, even when the subject is anything but funny.

Today, in the wake of yesterday’s calamity in Ottawa that saw the nation’s government locked down, and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a brave soldier and young father with his whole life ahead of him, gunned down in a cowardly ambush while on ceremonial guard duty, nothing seems funny.

Virtually an entire city was put on lock-down as police searched for possible additional terrorists, and a whole country came to a stop and held its breath. No doubt as the days pass there will be many questions that must be answered. But yesterday the only question on people’s minds was “How is it possible that this could be happening here, this is Canada?”.

Yesterday’s killing, and the brutal slaying on Monday of  Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent just outside of Montreal, may be unrelated. But, frankly,  we Canadians were never so naive as to believe that.

Living as close as we do to the United States, Canadians are all too familiar with senseless attacks on democracy by terrorists. We have always extended a hand to our neighbours in times of trouble, but we were, at least until this week, one step removed from such events, even if just a short step. We have now lost our domestic terror innocence.

I feel it is important to point out that we are not quite as naive as some would have you believe; we have had our share of mindless tragedies, the most revolting of which was Montreal’s École Polytechnique Massacre in 1989 when a gunman took the lives of 14 young women. This incident, the work of one deranged madman, was a blow to the school, the city and the country.

Yesterday’s killing, and the brutal slaying on Monday of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent just outside of Montreal, may be unrelated. But, frankly,  we Canadians were never so naive as to believe that. These murders appear to be links in a chain of random, insidious and cowardly acts of terror that has been unleashed on Canada. Are we being targeted because of our much criticized but democratically determined decision to join in the US fight against ISIS? If so we may have our hands full.

Daily Post

Me 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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