Archive for July, 2007

Montreal Demographics

This morning, Kate liked this interesting article on the demographic distribution of the island’s various buroughs.

As she commented, some of the results are not really surprising, i.e. “young single people live downtown and in the Plateau, older folks live in mid-suburbia and young families live in more distant suburbs”. The article also pointed out some more interesting observations, while the Plateau has the lowest median population age, only Ville-Marie has a lower proportion of children under 14.

On the other hand, the greatest proportion of children can be found in my own burough of Pierrefonds/Roxboro; 20.2 per cent of its population of 65,040 is 14 or younger.

In Montreal, We Speak Franglish

More blogging en français in Montreal is when I started writing des textes en French.

I have been enjoying writing in French. I’ve also been enjoying the interaction that comes out of it. There’s a few posts I wrote in French and the comments are mixed up in two languages which I find very cool. A true testimony of a great cultural side of Montreal. Sure, there are a few exceptions where all the comments turn out to be in English even though the post is in French. The one thing that hasn’t happened yet is an English post getting French comments… or maybe I just missed it when it happened.

That’s the online world. Out in the streets, it’s pretty much the same thing. I was at a restaurant last week. We were speaking English to each other, the waitress came and everybody was suddenly speaking French. I was actually observing that and it was… wow. It’s incredible to speak two languages and switch from one to the other as if they were one.

The same thing happens at the office. We’re all bilingual here with a lady that speaks Spanish on the phone all the time. There’s one guy who always speaks French no matter what other people say. The others keep switching languages back and forth. That’s cool.

Et voilà Montréal. Comprendre est plus important que le choix de langue. Personally, I have no preference when talking, mais je préfère tapper en anglais. All the accents in French (é, è, à, ç, ë, ô) are just a pain in the ass to type. Alors pourquoi est-ce que je tappe en français sur Metroblogging Montreal? Le bilinguisme est une caractéristique culturelle importante de Montréal. You take that out and you’ve got no Montreal.

The drawback of this is that these things can get confusing. The graphic design of that sign is so bad that it’s horrible.

The Simpsons Will Search You

Je suis allé voir les Simpsons aujourd’hui au Cinéma Banque Scotia (formerly Paramount Montreal). Ce message sert tout simplement à signaler que les employés fouillaient les sacs de tout le monde. Je ne sais pas pour les autres films, mais certainement pour les Simpsons.

Quant au film lui-même…

Lessons in defective web page design

I recently decided to go medieval on my overgrown backyard and ended up with a huge pile of branches on my front yard. The next step was to contact my burrough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro to have them taken away so I went to the city’s web page and its section dedicated to Citizen Services. All it contained was the following paragraph:

For all types of information on borough activities, communicate with the borough office in person, by phone or by e-mail.

And that’s it. No e-mail address, no telephone number, no “contact us” link, no nothing. Ultimately I had to find the relevant information with a much more detailed Google search.


ashtrayDepuis la fin de l’hiver, je vais souvent au quartier chinois pour manger à midi en passant toujours devant le métro Place d’armes. L’autre jour j’ai remarqué une rangée de cendriers avec une forme bien intéressante. De loin, on dirait des lampadaires.

The Main Revisted

This article by Rima Elkouri I think sums up best my feelings about the main that solicited so many comments. Especially this paragraph and quote:

Trouve-t-il que la «Main» change pour le mieux? «On ne peut pas arrêter le changement. Mais on peut être nostalgique de certaines choses qui ne sont plus», observe-t-il, en notant que le boulevard offre de moins en moins de diversité et de plus en plus de commerces pour plaire aux touristes du Grand Prix.

Si certains commerces mythiques ont survécu, ils sont de plus en plus rares. L’épicier Simcha Leibovich, par exemple, un des derniers commerçants juifs de la «Main», qui avait pignon sur rue depuis 40 ans, n’est plus. Lui qui racontait en riant avoir acheté sa propre stèle funéraire chez son voisin d’en face, L.Berson & Fils, est mort il y a un an et demi.

My article, of which many really missed the point of, was a lamet. It was nostalgia for 15 years ago when the Main still had its charms. You can’t stop “progress” and I never suggested that this be done. Nor was my article about Le Plateau or the surrounding areas of The Main. It was about The Main itself.

As I stated earlier, the Main has changed and that it has changed for the worse.

The Queen of Ottawa


I bike past this sculpture a few times a week. It sits high up on the top corner of a red-brick building in Old Montreal. I have no idea whose artwork this is or even what company is housed in that building. Situated on the corner of Ottawa and Queen, I have decided to aptly name the sculpture The Queen of Ottawa. It is made of sharp and shiny arched sheets of metal in silver and red. In the mornings, the sunlight gleams fiercely off of it and it is just simply beautiful.

Great pictures of the St-Denis fire

Just a quick note to invite you to visit wjpbennett’s Flickr stream if you are interested in seeing some excellent pictures of yesterday’s fire on St-Denis.

Thanks Fagstein.

Back in town, and loving it

Isn’t this just the best July ever? Some of our friends have complained that it’s been too wet. Truth be told, I wasn’t around for the first couple of weeks as I was out on the West coast visiting family. (I’d like to think I brought back the idyllic weather.) And sure we had a rainy day on Friday, but that was a gift. A gift of green grass. Plus it was the perfect time to escape to the cinema for a few hours. (I took in Ratatouille, cute flick.) But the temperature has been delightful. Warm and NOT humid. I haven’t even put our air conditioning to use yet. Just opening the windows and letting the summer breeze through is perfect. I’m sure we’ll have a few hot, muggy spells, and when we do, I’ll be ready to hole up and read Harry Potter. The only complaint I have is that we’ve already gone through our propane tank for the bbq. At this rate, I’ll have to fill it again before the summer is through. It’s hard to believe that I was complaining bitterly about the snow and cold just 3 months ago.

Did The Gazette Get Montreal’s ‘A To Z’ Right?

Today the Gazette finished its 26-part series on the A to Z of Montreal. If you missed any here they are:

‘A’ Is For Airports
‘B’ Is For Bells
‘C’ Is For Character
‘D’ Is For Door
‘E’ Is For Escarpment
‘F’ Is For Food
‘G’ Is For Garlic
‘H’ Is For Horse
‘I’ Is For Imagination
‘J’ Is For Jockey
‘K’ Is For Ketchup
‘L’ Is For Laundry
‘M’ Is For Mardis
‘N’ Is For Night
‘O’ Is For Ouch
‘P’ Is For Pigeons
‘Q’ Is For Query
‘R’ Is For Recording
‘S’ Is For Seeds
‘T’ Is For Trolleys
‘U’ Is For Under
‘V’ Is For Vanished
‘W’ Is For Water
‘X’ Is For … Kisses
‘Y’ Is For Yeast
‘Z’ Is For Zeitgeist

Does that list work for you? Which one do you think the Gazette got most right? .. and which one is the least appropriate? It’s only fair in that case to add what you think they should have chosen for the letter they got most wrong.

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