The past long weekend was hands-down one of the hottest Weekends we may have ever had in Montreal. Temperatures reached that of tropical heatwaves, at it's highest surpassing 48 degrees. Needless to say, if you were outside this Weekend you probably weren't out for too long.
Those of us with dogs most likely didn't partake in any long distance walks, and left out a big bowl of cold water for our four-legged companions to avoid any risk of heat-related issues. Realistically, if it's too hot outside for us it's probably safe to keep our animals out of the sun too, right?
For the calèche horses in Old Port, this Weekend was no different than others as they were put to work providing tours around the historic neigbourhood during the unbearable heat. Since a horse collapsed from exhaustion late last year in Old Port, many have been protesting the harsh conditions these animals have been working in.
Quite a few people were protesting on social media of the horses in the Canada Day heat. Pointing out that the horses are covered in leather and metal, standing right under the sun while their coachmen took refuge in shaded areas, it's not difficult to see why many are upset by the conditions.
Luckily, the City of Montreal has just implemented a few new rules that will ensure the horses aren't worked to the point of exhaustion, and are kept in relatively humane conditions.
One of the rules is that the calèche can not circulate the streets once the temperature is 28 degrees or higher, opposed to the original 30 degree cut-off. To ensure the rule is being followed, temperature displays will be kept at each boarding station. An alarm will activiate once the temperature reaches unsafe conditions, prompting the coachmen to post-pone anymore tours for the time being.
The horses are also only allowed to work for 9 hours a day, and after each ride horses will get a mandatory 10 minute break. The city has also included some new regulations for the coachmen themselves. Including updated uniforms, a valid permit in good standing with the SAAQ, and training on customer service.
Although calèches will officially be banned by 2020, they are still all over Old Montreal and don't seem to be losing business at all. Hopefully with these new rules the calèche horses will have an easier and safer time while on the job.