State-Of-The-Art Construction Elevator

Recently while out for a stroll taking in some of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary festivities we came across a state-of-the-art construction elevator. Much like those pneumatic tubes once used in department stores to send cash to a main cashier, and still used in hospitals, this device gets workers from street level to upper parts of the project.

The elevator is not yet in common use, but as part of a display it had been erected to demonstrate the efficiency of modern technology. Being curious, and always looking to spice things up, I volunteered to give the lift a whirl. In no time at all I was being sucked up the red tube on my way to the top level, then as the pressure was eased back down I gently came.

What will they think of next?

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+

Orange Traffic Cones Have Been True Pests For Centuries

As this image of Montreal indicates, orange traffic cones have been pests to one and all for many centuries!

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 May 17, 2042

With so much excitement brewing this summer regarding Montreal’s 375th anniversary I thought it might be interesting to gaze into a crystal ball and get an idea of what our fair city may look like twenty-five years from now when, in 2042, we mark our 400th. Below is an article from The Gazette of May 17, 2042 (sadly but not surprisingly, available online only).

(Montreal, May 17, 2042) On this 400th anniversary of Montreal, the city council proudly and officially adopted a motion to change the name of the downtown Ville Marie borough to “Jazz” in recognition of the fact that the corporate entity known as the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, marking its 63rd edition this year, now owns more than 54% of the commercial real estate in the borough. However, the vote in council was close, as many considered a second option, to change the name to Sergakis, after the entrepreneur, now in his nineties, who owns the other 46% of the properties.

With so many terraces and Bixi stations, the number of available parking spots not buried is almost nil, leaving motorists and driver-less cars with no alternative but to take their business to the suburbs.

Montreal is living up to its reputation as a pedestrian and bike-friendly city. Council has been lauded by many cycling associations from around the world for clearing the downtown core of essentially all motorized vehicles. This was achieved serendipitously through the issuance of permits for the vast proliferation of street-sidewalk straddling restaurant and bar terraces which reduced several main arteries, including Ste. Catherine and de Maisonneuve, to one narrow lane of traffic. Unfortunately, most of these terraces, once iconic symbols of the city’s joie de vivre, sit empty. With so many terraces and Bixi stations, the number of available parking spots not buried is almost nil, leaving motorists and driver-less cars with no alternative but to take their business to the suburbs.

Actual Cohen mural

The Montreal Canadiens continue to sell-out every home game, as they pursue that elusive 25th Stanley Cup. This year the team made it to the third round of the playoffs only to fall short, going down four games to three to the Calais Burghers, winners of the NHL’s European conference. Speaking in French, English, and Arabic, Habs head coach Abdul Abboud stated, “We need to make a few off-season tweaks and we will come back stronger”.

A late-game home run into the right-field bleachers at Molson Jackie Robinson Stadium crushed all hopes of a Series appearance.

Montreal sports fans did have something to cheer about as the Expos, celebrating the tenth year since returning to the city, came within one pitch of advancing to the North American Series (once inaccurately called the World Series). A late-game home run into the right-field bleachers at Molson Jackie Robinson Stadium crushed all hopes of a Series appearance. A number of older fans felt sadness and a strange sense of deja vu when LA Dodgers’ Freddy Friday played long ball to dash the Expos’ chances.

The final phase of the Turcot interchange overhaul is expected to be completed by year’s end. The work has taken significantly longer than was originally planned some thirty years ago due to several inquiries and commissions that have resulted in a total absence of political corruption. Contractors blame a lack of hands to be greased, and a dearth of kickback recipients for the lagging work.

Proposed Cohen Mural on Crescent Street

The city and its police force are still at loggerheads over pension reform. Council recently adopted new camouflage police uniforms thereby provoking the union to order its members to wear black pants in protest.

And perhaps Council’s most popular action was to pass a motion that will radically alter the number of construction cones in the city. Henceforth only streets without resurfacing, water main repairs, or a festival will be marked by the once ubiquitous orange cones.

The secularization of the city continued with the removal of the cross from Mount Royal.  A new thirty-metre tall illuminated statue of Leonard Cohen has been installed on the same site, bringing the number of Cohen tributes, including schools, Metro stations, murals, streets, libraries, and parks to 163.

And perhaps Council’s most popular action was to pass a motion that will radically alter the number of construction cones in the city. Henceforth only streets without resurfacing, water main repairs, or a festival will be marked by the once ubiquitous orange cones.

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 Buses and Pride Month

In honour Pride Month several Montreal buses were repainted in rainbow colours. The wheels on the bus go round and round …

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+

Expo 67’s Lack of Corporate Branding

Photo credit: © “Expo 67 Montreal Canada.” Toronto: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1968

As we mark the 150th birthday of Canada – rare are references to it as our sesquicentennial, thank God – we are also celebrating the city of Montreal’s 375th anniversary. But for me the most enjoyable reminiscences have been those documenting the 50th anniversary of EXPO 67.

One of the things that has struck me while looking through many photos, is the seemingly total lack of corporate branding at the fair

As a seven year-old the huge World’s Fair was a pure joy for me. Thinking back to those days often tweaks a pang of nostalgia in me. Not surprisingly there is a plethora of tweaking going on as many exhibits and special events are running this summer. While I enjoy these formal presentations, what I find most heartwarming are posted photos of EXPO 67 that were taken by average visitors.

As an example this collection on Flickr comprises over a hundred photos that were found in a scrapbook on the street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I figure sooner or later I will come across a picture with me in the background.

One of the things that has struck me while looking through many photos, is the seemingly total lack of corporate branding at the fair. There were corporate pavilions; Kodak, BELL etc. But when it came to branding  there was little if any. No  Doritos pavilion of the United States or Stella Artois’ Belgium pavilion.

Another thing that comes to mind while looking at these photos is that although there were lines for many pavilions … there never seems to be overwhelming crowds. It always looks comfortable

Given our reliance on corporate branding in today’s overpriced world, this is a breath of fresh air. I know it would be folly to suggest another EXPO 67-like event for any number of reasons, perhaps this is a good thing as another such event would no doubt be riddled with corporate logos and slogans.

Another thing that comes to mind while looking at these photos is that although there were lines for many pavilions (remember admission was free once you entered the site, no fee-per-exhibit) there never seems to be overwhelming crowds. It always looks comfortable – or is that an illusion after fifty years –  even if over 53 million visitors dropped in that summer.

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 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+

Montreal’s Polite Police Cars

 

People often remark that Canadians are very polite. I think I would have to agree. For the most part we use the magic words – please and thank you – and of course we have been known to apologize from time to time. Yesterday I noticed a new aspect of our politeness when I passed a parked police car downtown and spotted a friendly warning on the rear window.

The window is equipped with bars on the inside to make sure no one kicks out the glass, and there is a partition between front and back seat. But what struck me was that printed on the window was a warning: attention à votre tête or watch your head when getting in.

Such a nice touch!

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+