One of the hottest topics being discussed in Montreal right now is the future of St. Catherine street. Deciding whether the street should be fully pedestrianized, or equipped with heated sidewalks, or cater more to the needs of drivers have all been disputed, with no clear forerunner. Richard Bergeron, head of Projet Montréal has a solution: make St. Cats like Place des Arts.
François Cardinal of La Presse was intrigued by Bergeron's idea, proposed last Thursday, and decided to follow up with the official opposition leader to fully explain his idea.
Specifically, Bergeron is looking towards the stretch of St. Catherine that lies within Quartier des spectacles, between Place des Arts and Complexe Desjardin. A semi-pedestrian walkway with cars still allowed on the road, Bergeron applauds the flexibility of the street, being able to meet specific roadway needs depending on the season.
During the summer months/festival season, Quartier des Spectacles becomes a full-on pedestrian zone, while cars are allowed to use the road during the less busy months of fall, winter, and spring. Bergeron believes the same can be done with the to-be-re-purposed section of St. Cats. He also notes the St. Cats could be closed off to cars for the Christmas season as well, from December to Januaru 10th.
The aesthetics of Quartier des Spectacles road/walkway were also applauded by Bergeron, as the materials used are a bit more upscale than standard pavement. The street also accommodates roadside furniture and terrasses, all of which could be implemented on St. Catherine.
Bergeron believes this model will make St. Catherine suitable "not for the next 25 years, but for the next 100 years," as St. Catherine will remain a flexible roadway able to meet changing needs. Given how functional, and visually pleasing, the stretch of St. Cats in QdesS is, we're inclined to agree.
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Montreal is certainly no stranger to a traffic jam, which makes taking public transit a more viable option to not only get around faster but do more good for the environment.
As Canadian cities take the initiative to improve their transit systems and reduce their carbon footprints, Montreal has become one of the country's greenest metropolitan areas when it comes to transport, according to one ranking.
A December report from Kijiji Autos analyzed green transport options in Canada's most populated cities, evaluating their use of electric cars, bikes, scooters, and the number of electric charging stations.
With its metro and bus systems, BIXI rentals, bike lanes, and availability of electric cars, Montreal found itself in third place among Canadian cities that offer the greenest transport with a score of 5.5/10.
Although Vancouver and Ottawa/Gatineau snagged the top two spots, Montreal takes the lead as the most bicycle-friendly city in all of North America, with a total of 2,163 bicycle paths, says the Copenhagenize Index.
Montreal's third-place ranking is encouraging news, said McGill University Assistant Professor of Geography, Grant McKenzie, who specifically boasted about Montreal's metro system, "especially compared to other Canadian cities," as well as its "substantial investment towards electric buses."
While McKenzie said "we can always do better" and bemoaned the city's ban on e-scooters, he called the popularity of the BIXI and the inclusion of electric bikes in its fleet an "excellent move in the right direction."
As for electric cars, Kijiji Autos looked at new registrations of electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2021, as well as total charging stations. Montreal landed second to Toronto with a total of 3,633 new registered electric cars, and 1,258 electric charging stations throughout the city.
Kijiji Autos also looked at the number of hybrids and electric vehicles for sale on their platform. Montreal led the way with 1,063 hybrid vehicles and 375 electric vehicles, states the report.
With the province of Quebec offering residents a rebate for the purchase or lease of electric cars, Quebec estimates that there will be 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
Downtown Montreal's Christmas market, the Grand Marché de Noël, is making its long-awaited return — and it's bringing part of Alsace with it.
This holiday season, the market in the Quartier des spectacles will include a makeshift neighbourhood inspired by the French region known for its German roots and charming medieval architecture.
The centrepiece of the market will, of course, be a giant illuminated Christmas tree.
The Grand Marché de Noël will be just one of three large Christmas events in the city this year. The Atwater and Jean-Talon markets are also set to host a collection of local vendors in holiday-themed huts.
In total, according to organizing company La Lutinerie, over 100 artisans and producers will be selling their goods.
La Lutinerie promises mulled wine and churros to keep you warm and filled with holiday cheer.
Women will lead five of Quebec's eight largest cities following the 2021 municipal elections.
The biggest headline of the night may have been Valérie Plante's triumph over old foe Denis Coderre in Montreal, but across the province, the faces of municipal politics have become more gender-balanced.
According to the latest counts and projections, France Bélisle (Gatineau), Catherine Fournier (Longueuil), Évelyne Beaudin (Sherbrooke) and Julie Dufour (Saguenay) are all also on their way to their respective (and figurative) city hall corner offices.
In Quebec City, it seemed for a while like Marie-Josée Savard would join them. Multiple outlets had even called the election for her until the vote count for her opponent surged into the evening. Bruno Marchand ultimately claimed victory.
Mayor Plante commented on the historic nature of her second mandate in her victory speech Sunday night.
"Four years ago, Montrealers elected the first woman mayor in the history of the City of Montreal," she said.
"Tonight, they told us again, 'yes, this mayor, we're going to continue to work with her, we trust her!'"
This year, for the first time, Montrealers will have two women leading the city, as Projet Montréal's Dominique Ollivier is set to take over as president of the Executive Committee.
The government is in the process of filling a Service Canada job bank and it's advertising salaries of between $61,152 and $65,887.
On an online recruitment page, the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) office says it needs to fill 45 benefits officer and program officer positions in Quebec and encourages qualified individuals to apply.
The only education requirement is a high school diploma.
While benefits officers review and process employment insurance applications, the government describes a wide range of duties for program officers, including coordination with local stakeholders regarding services from the ESDC.
Service Canada says it has EI processing centres and "program branches" in Montreal, Laval, Boucherville, Drummondville, Thetford Mines, Shawinigan, Quebec City and Saguenay, but that it may assign alternative workplaces to applicants who don't live in these areas.
In addition to a high school diploma, Service Canada is looking for applicants who have experience totalling six months "in delivering services or programs to the general public" or "interpreting and applying legislation or policies."
The language requirement is either French-only or French and English, depending on the position, according to the recruitment page.
Complete details about the positions available and the application process are online.