More than the traffic, more than the decaying roads, more than the cheap and (mostly) reliable public transit, the reason most people reject the idea of driving in Montreal is trying to find a damn parking space. There isn't a single person in this city that has had more positive parking experiences than negative ones. It just doesn't happen.
Parking is an ordeal. And it can be broken down into five stages:
“I only have five minutes until my dinner reservation... That’s plenty of time to find parking! Totally!”
“That bastard saw I was heading for that space and took it anyway!”
“One-hour parking… Maybe I’ll be back in time… Maybe I won’t get a ticket this time…”
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) released Quebec road accident stats for 2021, showing a 6.06% increase in fatal collisions compared to 2020, when lockdowns and travel restrictions forced many people off the roads.
According to Thursday's statement by the SQ, the Quebec police force responded to 245 deadly car accidents in 2021. In those 245 accidents, 262 people were declared dead, a 4.8% increase from 2020.
Combined, the Mauricie and Lanaudière regions had the most deadly traffic accidents (47), closely followed by Montérégie (40), Estrie and the Centre-du-Quebec (33), the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches (26), the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine (26) and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and the Côte-Nord (26).
Deadly accidents also occurred in the Outaouais and Laurentides regions, as well as the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec regions.
"The figures presented are above the average of the last five years," the Sûreté said in its release. They also released information about the key factors surrounding many of these accidents.
"The Sûreté du Québec maintains its efforts to ensure the safety of road users," added the Sûreté. "We would like to remind drivers that they must adopt safe driving behaviour and exercise caution to reduce the risk of being involved in a collision."
20% of road deaths occurred in instances where victims were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision. According to police records, 24.5% of deadly road accidents were caused by reckless driving or speeding.
Impaired and distracted driving were also reported as dangerous behaviour, causing 14% and 7% of deadly accidents, respectively.
If you and your bubble are looking for places to see in Quebec this summer, just to make you forget that we can't leave the province, below are nine suggestions to add to your bucket list to enjoy the good weather.
There's no question of staying at home during the summer season, so we've found a few places where you can get away from it all, walk in nature and get your fill of sun.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.
Address: 100, rue Bord-de-l'Eau, Tadoussac, QC; 108 de la Cale-Sèche Street, Tadoussac, QC
Reasons to visit: This short, less than one-kilometre route is right next to the Tadoussac wharf and loops around the waterfront. The sunsets and marine animals you'll be able to see make the experience even more unique.
Reasons to visit: Located in the Bellechasse region, this park is full of breathtaking scenery. On-site, you can walk along the 5-kilometre-long trails, walk along a footbridge and see the huge 28-metre-high waterfall.
Address: 10, rue de la Découverte, Quebec City, QC
Reasons to visit: This is one of the most beautiful and little-known places to see the Laurentians. You can go for a nature walk, enjoy the water pools and hike to one of the highest peaks in the region.
Reasons to visit: To get there, follow the Lusk Cave trail from Parent Beach and after about five kilometres you will find the cave. The trails are easy to get to, but you should allow about four hours to get there and back, and you may end up getting soaked.
Reasons to visit: Once at the ski mountain reception, you must follow the Altitude circuit. Once at the top, you will discover a path on stilts on the side of the mountain that overlooks the Eastern Townships and it's quite impressive.
Francis Plouffe, the creator of the event, wrote, "The question is to find a way to pressure our leaders and society as a whole to understand that physical training and sport are essential to our mental health.
"This is why we are calling all those who care about this issue to a collective training as a way to protest," they continued.
The plan is for all attendees to meet in the parking lot of Monster Gym in Dorval at 12 p.m. and everyone brings their own equipment to work out with.
Social distancing is highly encouraged. "We are aware that there are risks, but on the other hand, we are confident that it can all be done safely. We will try to provide bottles of antiseptic hand gel and as for masks, we have no problem if you want to wear them as a preventive measure."
What is the Monster Gym's reaction?
Monster Gym communications manager Christopher Michaels says the gym will not allow the protest to take place on its property.
He identified Plouffe as a gym member. "We reached out to him and asked him not to [hold the protest]," Michaels told MTL Blog.
Michaels said that the company does not want such a protest taking place on its private property "because we have other businesses that are open right now, we have a barbershop, a supplement store and a physiotherapy clinic [and] those businesses would be directly impacted."
"I understand where people are coming from, [...] we're all frustrated. [...] I think there are other ways to demonstrate it. I just don't think using a fitness facility's property is the way to do it."
"[The protest would be] more destructive to the businesses that are there right now than to the government," Michaels concluded.
Why were gyms closed in the first place?
Montreal gyms were allowed to reopen their doors as of March 26.
Then, on April 6, François Legault announced during a press conference that starting two days later, gyms in Quebec red zones would have to close, yet again.
Legault said this new restriction is being put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a statement from the Monster Gym, which says it has not authorized the planned protest in its parking lot.
The building, located at 3485 Avenue Papineau, is owned by Jeremy Kornbluth and Brandon Shiller, who were responsible for the rent hike that forced Le Cagibi out of the Mile End. Shiller's father's real-estate firm — Shiller Lavy Realties — was also recently in the news for hiking up the rent at the Mile End's S.W. Welch bookstore.
Tenants received "Avis de réparation ou d’amélioration majeure" letters signed by Kornbluth on March 30 and are being given until June 30 — exactly three months, which is the legal minimum requirement — to completely vacate their apartments.
In an April 1 Facebook post, a tenant named Jean Bellefeuille noted that residents include elderly people, families and a pregnant woman.
According to the letters, tenants will receive the equivalent of three months' rent in compensation.
However, Daniel Garcia, who has lived in the building for eight years, told MTL Blog the offer did not take his indoor parking spot into account, nor the fact that rent has increased in the area in recent years.
"I pay $975 per month plus $90 indoor parking [...]. We are a family that works and studies in the neighbourhood and to relocate to a four-and-a-half would cost us $1,500 minimum without parking," he said.
Another tenant, Gregory Krief, said, "it will be very complicated to find an apartment [...] especially in this period of a pandemic and housing shortage."
Is it a renoviction?
"It is important to note that there is no eviction and that this is a temporary situation. Tenants will be able to return to their homes as soon as the emergency repairs are completed and the building is in safe condition," said Shiller in a statement provided to MTL Blog.