I live in the plateau and I'm always heart-broken when I'm near prince Arthur. You walk by and it just looks like some random alley. You're greeted by the sight of a Cafe Depot that's been abandoned since last winter. You venture deeper and you find empty restaurants you've never heard of. It's really sad when you consider how busy and popular the area used to be.
Well it looks as though things are about to change. Because the city of Montreal has unveiled its new plan to revitalize Prince Arthur.
There are 2 proposed scenarios for the set-up.
The first scenario wanted to take work around the fact that for a huge part of the day, half the street is sunny while the other half in the shade as seen here:
So the idea is to put all the terrasses, pop-up shops and benches in the middle with pedestrian walkways on either side. That way both pedestrians and restaurant patrons can have the option of being in the sun or shade.
Here's what it would look like:
The second scenario definitely looks more original but in reality it offers no new advantages and it might cause a few problems.
As you can see the zig-zag looks cool but why would you funnel people like that? This scenario only works if the street stays as empty as it is now. Maybe that's their plan. If the street looks smaller then it will look less abandoned.
Having locked in plans with his friends to help with the proposal on July 2 and without expecting the Canadiens to still be in the playoffs, McCooeye planned to decorate a beach near the Pointe-Claire windmill with thousands of LED lights and pop the question.
But the Canadiens' playoff winning streak proved inconvenient to his plan because much like the rest of the city, the couple were gripped with Habs fever.
"My proposal plan was virtually out the window at this point, and I really considered changing the date and plan entirely," said McCooeye.
"I was scrambling and freaking out, trying to think of a way to watch the game and also pull off my proposal on the originally intended date and time."
So, he thought, "what if I convinced her that there was a projected broadcast of the game at the Pointe-Claire windmill, which was right beside the spot of beach where I was going to propose?"
In order for his plan to work, McCooeye first had to photoshop an Instagram post that claimed that the windmill was hosting a screening of a Stanley Cup Final game.
"If she was to see MTL Blog saying that there was a game being broadcast at the Pointe-Claire windmill, that would probably convince her," he said.
"Come Friday, the plan was in motion."
McCooeye enlisted their group of friends and even a waiter at a bar for the adorably elaborate ruse. In the end, he pulled it off masterfully.
"We walked towards the windmill, and on our way, we arrived at the entrance to the hidden beach where I was going to propose," he said.
"At that point, she said something to the effect of 'pretty cool that MTL Blog posted about this.' I [...] responded 'oh, you mean that MTL Blog post that you knew was fake and you scrolled through your Instagram to check? Because you might have been right about that.'"
"We are reaffirming the importance that the City of Montreal places on French as an official and common language," Cathy Wong, executive committee member responsible for diversity, employment inclusion, the French language and the fight against racism and discrimination, said in a press release.
Montreal's Action Plan for the Promotion of the French Language is a 24-point plan that aims to promote "the French language while preserving the cultural and linguistic rights of the English-speaking community and Indigenous nations," according to Mayor Valérie Plante.
The new commissioner will be responsible for making sure the action plan is properly implemented at all levels.
The plan applies to all 19 boroughs.
"The French language is a collective treasure and an essential element at the heart of our Montreal identity," the mayor added.
Montreal is a hotbed of ableism, especially when it comes to nightlife, says Alicia-Ann Pauld.
"In Montreal, one of the things that is most inaccessible, in my opinion, is nightlife," said the 23-year-old Concordia University student. "Things like bars, nightclubs, strip clubs, they are just so inaccessible for people with reduced mobility."
Pauld, who has muscular dystrophy, wants the city's vaunted party scene to be way more accessible for disabled people, and even went so far as to call Montreal "one of the least accessible cities in North America," in a recent Disability After Darkpodcast episode, though she admitted to not having travelled much.
"But the reason why I said that is because I honestly cannot imagine a city being worse," the writer and disability rights activist told MTL Blog.
Boulevard Saint-Laurent 'is just an absolute nightmare'
For disabled people, even making it downtown can be a struggle because not all metro stations are accessible.
Then they might not be able to enter their chosen establishment because it does not have a usable ramp or the business might be located up a flight of stairs, she said.
And boulevard Saint-Laurent, arguably the city's best party street, is also one of its least accessible, said Pauld.
"That street is just an absolute nightmare. Not a thing on that street is accessible," she said, listing a number of multi-level clubs and bars on the Main that don't have elevators.
She called Montreal's bars and clubs: "gendered and sexualized social spaces and when they're inaccessible we make it difficult for disabled people, and people with reduced mobility, to be social, sexual, gendered beings, which everybody else gets to be, because they get to go to these places way more easily than we do."
Pauld did give a shout-out to three establishments that she said are accessible including Bar Ganadara on rue Sainte-Catherine, "great Korean food, great drinks," and the Atwater Cocktail Club on avenue Atwater.
Disabled people have just as much a desire for drink, drugs, and inclusion as anybody else, said Pauld.
"We're going to need people to understand that disabled people belong in every type of space," she said. "We're going through the same stuff. We have the same sexual awakenings and we have the same desires to meet people, and to make friends, and to be in relationships, and to drink, and do drugs, or to go out and party, like we want to go out and do all these things but because there's this belief that we don't, we aren't included in those spaces."
Disabled people have all those same needs, she said, "and to pretend that people with disabilities don't is obviously wrong but also really violent because it's literally stripping away from us something that is quite vital in terms of our development and our overall happiness as individuals."
How can Montreal become more inclusive?
Montreal is full of old buildings that can be less than friendly to people with disabilities.
And though the Régie du bâtiment du Québec, which controls the laws regarding the accessibility of buildings, adheres to a grandfather clause exempting some historical structures from having to comply with more current regulations, Pauld would like to see a renewed commitment from the city to make things more inclusive.
"I know that a lot the charm that is Montreal is how old the buildings are and while I understand that in terms of the architecture, I think it's important to understand this city should not keep its people out," said Pauld.
"We shouldn't allow the city to discriminate against those that live in it or the tourists who want to visit it," she continued.
"Every single building should have to be accessible by law."
According to the Politique gouvernementale pour accroître la participation sociale des personnes handicapées, Quebec had more than 750,000 disabled persons in 2006, which was 10% of the population.
Only a few days after a large number of Montrealers called out mayoral candidate Denis Coderre's proposal to ban park drinking at night, he himself flip-flopped on the issue.
Coderre, whose suggestion to impose an 8 p.m. drinking ban in parks has been intensely scrutinized and even mocked by fellow mayoral candidates, had said that this move would "help citizens regain a sense of calm."
In a statement posted to Twitter on June 2, Coderre deplored the "violence on the territory of Montreal, particularly in the parks and in the streets" and criticized Plante's administration as "laissez-faire."
"Police need tools," he wrote. "Temporary measures should be advocated until Montreal gets back to normal."
On Wednesday, MTL Blog asked Coderre's team whether he thought the drinking curfew proposal would deter young Montrealers from voting for him in the next election but did not receive a response.
Montreal mayoral candidate Balarama Holness called out Coderre's drinking curfew plan as a "discriminatory policy that would disproportionately affect young people, marginalized folks, and low-income or unhoused populations in Montreal."
In a statement, Holness said that "the rationale behind Coderre’s proposed ban — to 'make sure everybody feels safe' — elides histories of racial and social profiling in the city that were made abundantly clear in the OCPM’s report on systemic racism and discrimination in Montreal."