If you haven't already started binge watching Friends on Netflix (and if you have, who cares!), then this event is for you. Montreal will be hosting a Friends marathon at Gerts Bar. So if you've been meaning to catch up on all your favorite episodes, Gerts will be there for you (when the snow starts to fall).
The event starts today, February 9th starting at 11:00am and ends on February 12th at 6:00pm.
Get ready to go through the typical reaction stages of catching up with Friends
Being amazed at how different they all looked in the first season.
Charting the evolution of Joey's hair.
Noticing that Phoebe has really odd standards when it comes to guys.
Laughing at how big their cell-phones are.
Being surprised that you have no idea what Chandler's job it.
Remembering how they get the monkey, the chicken and the duck.
Being sad at the fact that Eddie is only roommates with Chandler for 3 episodes.
Noticing how stupid Ross and Rachel are.
and of course, seeing a bunch of cameo appearances from actors you now recognize from other shows and thinking to yourself: "Oh yeah, I forgot they were in this."
So have your fill and go watch every episode, one thing's for sure, no one at Gerts is gonna guilt you for overindulging.
The Greenhound Canada Foundation, an ecological advocacy group, will be hosting this free-to-attend market at Leaves House Café McGill from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting on September 18.
This series of markets is "part of Greenhound Foundation's campaign to support mental wellness and community connectedness through plants and nature," according to a press release shared with MTL Blog.
The funds raised from the market will go towards supporting community projects and the development of a "healing garden" in Montreal.
The market this weekend will host creators such as Les Filles Plantées, Ivkaforest, MTL Creation Boutique, MTLA Studio, Soft Earth Forest Therapy, and desputeaux+aubin (creators of Caillou). There will be something for everyone!
A McGill spokesperson told MTL Blog, "Given that the recent incident exacerbated existing damage to the sculpture, it has been removed for repair and restoration. Whether, following this work, the sculpture will return to its current site is not yet determined."
We were further told that "as part of its Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism, the University is committed to exploring its historic record." This action plan pledged an investment of $15 million over five years to address racism and develop better representation in both the faculty and student community.
An investigation regarding the statue's vandalism is currently ongoing, the results of which will decide whether the statue will be returned to its current site or be relocated elsewhere.
In Montreal, summer means more than just fun in the sun. It's a season that brings people together — something many Montrealers have been missing over the past year.
There's no doubt summer 2021 is particularly special. With restrictions easing for the first time in months, the spirit of celebration is in the air, and people are ready to make this season one for the history books.
Is there any better way to kick off summer in this city than with Saint-Jean-Baptiste? As a celebration of Quebec's heritage and history, it’s one of the province's favourite holidays and with good reason. From bonfires and barbecues to fireworks and fêtes, St-Jean is when Montreal truly comes alive.
This summer, Pepsi® may even help you to seriously upgrade your plans. The Drink Pepsi Get Summer Stuff contest is giving Canadians the chance to win thousands of prizes like bicycles, paddleboards, barbecue grills, merch and more, including a weekly chance to win $10,000.
Whenever you grab a Pepsi cola this summer, submit the unique codes found on specially marked Pepsi products at www.pepsistuff.ca for your chance to win! Make this June 24 one to remember with one of these seven outdoor ideas.
Why You Need To Do It: No St-Jean would be complete without a feast to match the fête, so fire up the grill and get cooking.
With COVID-19 gathering restrictions shifting in Montreal, you might be able to even kick it up a notch and have a backyard potluck — while following all pertinent COVID-19 safety guidelines, of course. Include some fave Quebec cuisine, like the famed poutine, to really go all-in on the holiday.
Watch Fireworks From A Rooftop
Why You Need To Do It: You're never too old for fireworks, and there's nothing quite like watching this spectacular display each St-Jean.
This holiday, call up your crew and find your way to a viewpoint, like a rooftop terrasse, to catch a glimpse of the show for yourself.
Have A Picnic In A Park
Why You Need To Do It: Whip out your picnic basket and fill it up with your fave food and drinks for an idyllic — and free — way to celebrate the holiday. You could even pack a Pepsi for each of your friends and submit those unique codes for a chance to win some sweet summer stuff.
Montrealers are spoiled for choice when it comes to parks. From Mont-Royal to La Fontaine, Jarry, Angrignon and more, the only hard part is deciding where to meet up.
Why You Need To Do It: Band together with your roomies or friends to host a pandemic-friendly celebration in your backyard. Organize food, drinks, games, a playlist, and don't forget to decorate with all things white and blue to commemorate St-Jean.
The best part about this one is that you'll never have to go looking for a bathroom.
Grab A Drink At A Terrasse
Why You Need To Do It: With Montreal terrasses open, soaking up the sun while sipping margs, mimosas or an alcoholic-free beverage is a splendid option for a summer afternoon. And on St-Jean, there's no better way to catch up with friends and celebrate all at once.
Why You Need To Do It: Since St-Jean honours Quebec's heritage, it's also a chance to embrace some local history too.
Place Vauquelin Fountain and Dorchester Square are a few of Montreal's fascinating historical sites that you can check out. Plus, with few visitors in the city right now, it's a great time to play tourist in your own town.
Go Swimming At An Outdoor Pool
Why You Need To Do It: During peak summer, especially on a day like St-Jean, escaping to an oasis in the heart of the city can be exactly what's called for. Thankfully, Montreal is home to many outdoor pools, some of which are free and others that require a small fee.
With the Drink Pepsi Get Summer Stuff contest you can make the day one you'll never forget. With a chance to win a weekly Grand Prize of $10,000 and thousands of instant prizes like barbecue grills, bicycles, paddleboards, shirts and more epic summer gear, there may be no better time to sip a Pepsi.
Be on the lookout for specially marked products with on-pack codes. All you have to do to enter is redeem your code on www.pepsistuff.ca for a chance to win.
Five months later, McGill has issued one statement and launched three investigations. But the accusers — who asked to be called "the girls" to protect their safety — told MTL Blog they've been left in the dark.
They said they received no updates on how investigations are progressing or whether the accused is facing any penalties.
Meanwhile, they said the student has continued attending classes.
McGill has been following its protocol for investigations into allegations of sexual assault — but this protocol has left the girls and other students in limbo for the majority of the school year.
"We can't feel safe on campus with him lurking around, viewing us as prey," one of the girls, Eva*, told MTL Blog.
Most of the girls were minors at the time of the alleged assaults, as was the accused student, whose name has not been released by the university or the police.
Eva told MTL Blog the accused student frequented bars near McGill residences where he would "talk to, touch and kiss [girls] who were drunk," and that he would persistently "beg" female students to "hook up."
In written testimonies shared with MTL Blog, each of the girls outlined how the accused student sexually assaulted them both off and on campus.
One of them said the accused sexually assaulted her when she was "completely blacked out" from alcohol.
What was McGill's reaction?
McGill responded to the December petition within three days. A statement written by Deputy Provost of Student Life and Learning Fabrice Labeau assured the student body and the general public that McGill was "looking into the matter."
"Our foremost concern right now is student wellbeing," Labeau wrote. He expressed what he called a "steadfast commitment to a campus community where everyone feels safe."
Though none of the girls had formally reported their assaults to McGill at the time — something Eva said was because "the resources weren't publicized and the social consequences for reporting were immense" — that changed by the end of December.
Eva said one of the girls filed a police report, and three of the girls filed complaints with McGill, initiating three internal investigations. However, neither the police nor the university was able to confirm details of these investigations to MTL Blog.
A month later, the university had not issued any new statements nor updated the girls involved, Eva said.
MTL Blog asked Cynthia Lee, McGill's associate director of media relations, to confirm the status of the investigations in February. She said that according to McGill's Policy Against Sexual Violence, "when a formal report is made, the University must immediately appoint an external Special Investigator to conduct a full and impartial investigation."
She also said "the entirety of this process is covered by confidentiality regulations," and that she could not disclose any further information.
The silence surrounding the allegations began to disturb other McGill students who said they had to interact with the accused student in their classes.
Anna Ni told MTL Blog she attended an online psychology course with the accused student, where she said he would participate in group discussions while he was part of the ongoing investigations.
She said McGill's ambiguous response to the allegations made her feel "small and voiceless."
"I am grateful for the fact that McGill has resources that can help students struggling with this situation, but McGill's vagueness in their [statement] gave me the impression that they were not actively taking care of this situation," she said.
In a screenshot Ni took of her classmates discussing the accused student's presence in the course via group chat — which she shared with MTL Blog — one student asked, "I thought the school took care of this? Why is he still allowed to study?"
Amrita Kaur, a first-year student unaffiliated with the girls, told MTL Blog that McGill's communications to the student body following the incident — mainly emails consisting of links to support resources — felt "empty."
She emailed the Office of the Dean of Students to express her "extreme disappointment" in the school for allowing the accused student to attend classes "as if nothing ever happened."
"Now I wonder if it's true [...] all great institutions sweep sexual assault under the rug," she wrote in her email to McGill, which she forwarded to MTL Blog.
She said she did not receive a response from the university.
Lee told MTL Blog that at McGill, until an investigation is complete, "disciplinary actions cannot be taken pre-emptively […] however, interim measures are put in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those directly affected."
Possible accommodations include late withdrawal from a course or a change in residence — but they only apply to survivors.
MTL Blog found that according to the Policy against Sexual Violence, the university can take pre-emptive disciplinary action if "there may be a risk of harm to any Member of the University Community."
MTL Blog asked Lee if the fact that the accused student was still attending classes meant that the university did not see him as posing a threat to university community members.
She did not directly respond to the question.
What is the 'Code of Silence'?
There is a legal reason why the university claims it is limited regarding what it can divulge about sexual assault investigations.
Brooklyn Frizzle, vice-president of the Students' Society of McGill University (SSMU), told MTL Blog they believe universities use this law as a "scapegoat" to justify a lack of transparency in cases of sexual violence.
Frizzle said this wasn't the first time students' questions about a case involving sexual misconduct were left unanswered.
"I've lost track of how many emails to the Dean of Students or to the Provost that I've seen, to which there was no response because the university can't legally give a response," they said.
Last year, representatives from l'Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) started a petition to amend the Act so post-secondary institutions could "inform victims of the disciplinary measures taken against their aggressors."
"Evidence shows that [the Act] contributes to victims' lack of trust in institutional channels, since it keeps the person most affected by the complaint from accessing crucial information for their healing process and to their sense of safety at school and/or work," the petition read.
McGill's Policy states that all investigations should be conducted within 90 days. According to this timeline, the girls' investigations should have ended by April.
But even when the investigations are complete, the Code of Silence means the girls cannot be informed of the penalties that may or may not be imposed on the accused student.
As Lee told MTL Blog, "details or updates concerning particular cases cannot be provided to anyone outside those immediately involved."
This means other students won't know if they can expect to see the accused student in their classes again next semester.
Could the 'Code of Silence' change?
While the public may never know if and how the accused student has been disciplined, McGill's Annual Report on the Policy against Sexual Violence gives some indication of the number of investigations the school has conducted.
McGill provided MTL Blog with a copy of the Annual Report, which specifies that, in 2020, eight of nine completed investigations yielding "a finding of sexual violence" resulted in disciplinary action.
These actions included "admonishment and conduct probation, formal reprimand [and/or] cease and desist communication and contact orders," but it's unclear which actions applied to which investigations.
Out of 18 incidents of sexual violence reported to the university in 2020, 83% were submitted by women. Just one report was submitted by a man, while two were submitted anonymously.
In May, a National Assembly committee presented its findings on possibly amending Bill 64. However, whether the amendments pass remains to be seen. For now, those involved can only know that the investigations are finished.
A 2016 Université Laval study found that 36.9% of Quebec students, faculty and staff experienced some form of sexual violence by another person affiliated with their university.
"It feels constant, like there's [always] some big allegation of sexual violence that we're talking about that we're trying to pressure the university to respond to," Frizzle said.
"It's just the name [that] changes every semester."
*The source's name has been changed at their request to protect their safety.
With files from Ilana Belfer, MTL Blog.
If you require resources or assistance surrounding sexual assault in Quebec, the CAVAC helpline is available 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-866-532-2822. Other crisis lines and 24/7 options can be found at The Lifeline Canada.