Archive for August, 2006

Tis the season for sidewalk sales

I checked out last week’s event on St Laurent along with what seemed like everyone in the city. Man, it was crowded. Still, waiting in line for bbq sausages (how can you resist those?) afforded an opportunity to people watch. Now, in my neighborhood, they’ve closed down Ontario street between Dezery and Pie lX through the weekend for the annual back to school sidewalk sale. I’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s all the same crap merchandise that you found last weekend on St Laurent, only cheaper. I picked up a $90 dress shirt for $6 today. That’s my kind of shopping. Another difference in the events is that carnival rides and games are set up along with go karts and remote controlled cars. There’s lots more for the kids at this event. And while the people watching might be (ahem) less riveting, if you need some socks, underwear, leather belts (four bucks! yes, I even dickered the price down from $5) backpacks and a whole host of other goods, go down and check out the sidewalk sale on Promenade Ontario. It lasts through the weekend.

Any news on the Montreal Apple Store?

I was looking at our search statistics this morning and noticed many requests for information on the new Montreal Apple Store “conveniently located” in Carrefour Laval. Right now, all I can give you are few pictures of the “blackboard” as well as the precise store location that were published on Hardmac. I also know that ifo Apple Store has reported rumors of an early October grand opening. These are usually announced 7 to 10 days before the fact but if you have any useful information, links or images, you can always use this link.

Just Plane Spotting


You’ll see them on your right if you leave Highway 13 North to take the 40, on a small roundabout at the northern tip of Pitfield avenue. Plane spotters will gather at this spot, which is directly aligned with Trudeau Airport’s Runway 24R, to see, hear and feel the airplanes passing just a few meters above their heads.

I was at home, watching the sun go down at the end of a very emotional day, and I decided to do something spontaneous. I grabbed my wife and my camera and drove for 20 minutes to the end of Pitfield. We weren’t alone as many families had brought their kids. Next to me, a father was hoisting his young son on his shoulders and telling me how his own dad used to bring him here many years ago, before they built the highway.

For a short while, our worries were gone and I was a kid again…a kid with a kickass camera.

Old Masters in Montreal?

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My August beach book was The Lost Painting, by Jonathan Harr, which sounds too high-brow to mix with tanning butter but is actually a compelling mystery about the rediscovery of a long-lost Caravaggio. The painting — a masterpiece — had been taken to the U.K. by a 19th century English aristocrat, whose heirs (believing it to be by a lesser artist) sold it at auction for a pittance in the 1920s. Art historians had been scouring Europe for the painting, when it serendipitiously turned up in a Dublin religious house.

What does this have to do with Montreal? Some other priceless Caravaggios disappeared in France long ago, and in a country full of art historians, no one has ever uncovered them. That makes me to wonder if any might have made their way to the New World… And where more likely than Quebec?

Stranger things have happened. Last year I interviewed a dealer of Inuit and Northwest Coast art who told me that some of his best finds were in Scotland and England — because colonial administrators had taken the artworks back home with them as souvenirs.

I’m going to look MUCH more carefully at the paintings in my local Cathedrals now, and you should too. Who knows what might be lurking in a shadowy corner, covered in dust?

Free Wine Alert


In slightly less than 24 hours (ie tomorrow afternoon) there is a vernissage at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (the fancy one at Concordia University located here).

I don’t know much about Mike Hoolboom, the artist exhibiting. And I’m not a real big fan of video art to begin with. And I was extremely disapointed that they were not able to continue with the AGYU blog. And I most definitely can’t stand anything that ‘marks the transition of his work from the theatre to the gallery.’ But free wine will go a long way towards making me happier.

Vietnamese restaurants on Sainte-Catherine between Saint-Denis and Saint-Laurent

Phơ Thanh Long is a Vietnamese restaurant on the corner of Sainte-Catherine and Bullion between Saint-Laurent and Berri metros. And the letter ơ in “Phơ” is pronounced “euh”.

No Stop-N-Go

According to today’s news, it seems that the project to synchronize traffic lights will be complete by May 2007. So this means that the new traffic lights will be programmed in different sectors to synchronize in accordance with traffic patterns for different times of the day like morning and afternoon rush hour. At some high traffic intersections, there will be sensors embedded in the road that will synchronize the lights in response to the actual traffic.
I sure hope these measures work to make traffic flow smoother for both drivers and pedestrians alike. I rarely have the need or desire to drive anywhere since I live in the heart of the city but I’ve noticed that driving in Laval is much smoother where they already have sensors in the road. As a pedestrian, it always irks me every morning and never fails to surprise me, when cars block the intersection that I’m crossing because the drivers just have to advance when the light is about to change even though traffic ahead is clearly not moving. Hopefully, if traffic is smoother, this won’t happen as much and I won’t have to give people dirty looks through their windshields…


I have a love hate relationship with the month of September.


1) Cooler temps. I’m no longer taking 5 showers a day or praying for the latest heat wave to leave.
2) Great light. If you are a photographer, the light in September is fantastic. No harsh shadows, softer light, better dusks and dawns.
3) Great riding. I race bikes and most of the spring and summer is spent racing them. While I love racing, it wears you down. September is a great time to just ride nice and easy and enjoy the ride and not have to do another interval.

Cavendish link is all talk

There is a lot of more important news in the world but the one that directly affects me is this little blurb in The Gazette. Go read it, especially if you live out west and your daily commute involves the abomination that is the Decarie Exchangeway.

Most depressing is the timeline:

• April 28, 2000: Montreal Mayor Pierre Bourque and Quebec Transport Minister Guy Chevrette sign a $169-million roadwork program that includes the Cavendish extension, to be built in 2001.
• June 2, 2004: Mayor Gerald Tremblay, two weeks before demerger referendums, announces a timeline for a $100-million extension, but no specific project.
• September 2004: Deadline passes for awarding a management contract for the project.
• January 2005: Deadline passes for approval of preliminary concept and to give notice to Quebec Environment Department.
• June 2005: Deadline passes for approval of “definitive concept.”
• December 2005: Deadline passes for start of preparatory work.
• 28 August 2006: Four proposal presented in a closed session of the St-Luc city council…which means that they still haven’t decided what to do!!!

Quite frankly I don’t give a rat’s ass about Cote St-Luc. Could you at least build the 100 meters necessary to connect Cavendish to Royalmount? We don’t care about traffic and trucks, we’re in an industrial park and there’s tons of that already.

Back to school

Like all the kids, I went back to school yesterday. Sure, it’s in a teaching capacity, but still. After loafing around all summer (but thankfully avoiding the public swimming pools) it was quite the adjustment getting back to work. The first thing I noticed is how crowded the rush hour is in the metro. Oh that’s right, we live in a big city. I was also marveling at how everyone is so purposeful in the morning, rushing about to get to work. No more laxadaisical summer days, it’s all go go go now.

Now how many days until the winter break…..

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