Someone (or some people) has an axe to grind with Christmas trees on boulevard Saint-Laurent. According to a December 8 post by the Société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent (SDBSL), seven trees have been stolen from the street in the last two weeks.
The trees, paid for by local shop owners, were installed along the boulevard "to bring a little bit of sweetness and magic to Christmas during these difficult times," the SDBSL wrote.
We wish you all a happy holiday season and thank you for your support of the Main's businesses and companies.
Société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent (SDBSL)
Photos accompanying the Facebook post appear to show the empty spots where two trees once stood: one ripped from its box and another cut off from the base, leaving only a few straggly branches — like a scene from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
Other installations also line the street between rue Sherbrooke and avenue Laurier to attract shoppers.
The SDBSL wrote that it "[hopes] that the remaining facilities will make your shopping experience enjoyable."
SDBSL Director Tasha Morizio told MTL Blog that there haven't been any thefts since the December 8 Facebook post, but the stolen trees will not be replaced out of fear they will just disappear again.
Specifically, Coderre and his party, Ensemble Montréal, say their administration would study the possibility of turning the surface above a stretch of sunken highway between chemins Queen Mary and Côte-Sainte-Catherine into a "new green urban park" with "outdoor sports facilities, family facilities and a relaxation area with a fountain."
🏗️ Le recouvrement de Ville-Marie mettra la table pour l’agrandissement du Palais des Congrès, qui permettra à Mont… https://t.co/E5o0nS5jba
"It's been 50 years since we've been talking about covering the Décarie Expressway and no one has yet taken the time to commission a detailed and ingenious feasibility study with a budget and a timetable for the project to become a reality," Ensemble Montréal candidate for CDN-NDG borough mayor, Lionel Perez, said in a statement.
The party says it would reduce the roads on either side of the highway to two lanes each.
Coderre also has a plan to cover part of the Ville-Marie Expressway downtown through the expansion of the Palais des congrès and the creation of a public square between rue Sanguinet and boulevard Saint-Laurent.
Ensemble Montréal says covering the Décarie would cost $700 million and covering the Ville-Marie Expressway would cost $400 million.
There's magic in the air and the jingle bells are ringing — wait a minute. It's not Christmas, so what's going on? You're not hallucinating, you're just in Blainville on Montreal's North Shore, taking in the town's Christmas in July celebrations.
During your visit, you'll cross into an illuminated tunnel that'll transport you to a Christmas playground complete with elves, lit-up trees, and other giant decorations including a 25-foot-tall Christmas tree.
There is also a traditional Christmas market, so you can buy your gifts early. VERY early.
Blainville residents have even decorated their homes with Christmas lights to really immerse visitors in the Christmas spirit.
The site is open by reservation only during three time slots: 8:30 p.m., 9:15 p.m. or 10 p.m. You will have 45 minutes to stroll the area and take in all the wonderful sights.
"These were not cute storybook Eric Carle's 'hungry caterpillar' but rather something out of a horror movie," she said. "One or two would be sweet but to see each tree coated with these critters made us uneasy."
Experts told MTL Blog the bugs are most likely LDD moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) caterpillars, an invasive species that has been defoliating trees and pooping everywhere across Quebec, Ontario and the northeastern United States this year.
The moths, commonly known as "gypsy moths," were first brought to North America in 1869 by French artist Étienne Trouvelot, according to an online resource from the University of Wisconsin.
Without "many natural enemies," the moths were able to expand beyond Trouvelot's suburban Boston backyard to become "one of the most important insect pests of forest and shade trees in the eastern United States," the university explains.
McGill university insect pathologist Dr. Gary Dunphy told MTL Blog that, due to the natural ebb and flow of the population, LDD moth outbreaks occur every seven to 10 years.
They like trees such as oak, white pine, white spruce and birch, according to a fact sheet from the Invasive Species Centre.
Also, the caterpillars' tiny bodies are covered in hairs, called setae, which can cause a rash "somewhat like poison ivy," in some people, though it can be treated with antihistamines and over-the-counter medication, said Dunphy.
"The setae or hairs of the insets may elicit rashes several months after the larvae are gone, the hairs being entrapped in tree bark," he said.
They also poop everywhere and their feces, known as frass, makes an audible sound as it falls like rain, covering outdoor furniture, clothes and hair.
Like all LDD moth outbreaks, this year's problem will take care of itself as fungal and viral infections reduce their population, entomologist Gard Otis told MTL Blog.
"But we don't know what next year will bring," he said. "We don't know if the virus is going to sweep through this year and kill them. Or if we're going to have another high number next year before the virus takes them down."
Some communities spray a bacterial insecticide called BTK to control the pests, which "though totally harmless to your pets, to your children, and to yourself," can harm the food chain as it kills all moth and butterfly species.
"That's the insects that provide all the food for your little baby birds," said Otis. "Most of the songbirds here are feeding their young with caterpillars. So, what are they going to feed on?"
He said a more environmentally-friendly defence involves wrapping a burlap sack around the trunk of any tree in need of protection.
"What happens is the caterpillars crawl down out of the tree and rest on the trunk in the daytime. And they like to hide so they hide in the burlap and then you just shake them off into soapy water and that kills him," said Otis.
"So, if you have a few trees that you're worried about, you could do that and cut the infestation back to the point where it's not going to seriously harm them."
As for the caterpillars' long-term effect on the trees, themselves, Otis suggested that repeated visits can cause some damage.
"You have too many gypsy moths for too many years, a few trees will die, but most of them will bounce back."
Whether it's near Quebec City, the Outaouais, the Laurentians or Montreal, there is plenty of choice when it comes to finding a home in the seven figures. And they're way more fun to peruse than $1,000/month rental apartments.
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