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  #61  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 3:59 PM
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Originally Posted by MTLskyline View Post
Yup, the area around the forum used to be quite run down. I remember the abandoned Seville theatre with pigeons living in it. .
That building is exactly what I had in mind when I mentioned that area. Though it was far from the only wreck - it was quite symbolic.
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  #62  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 4:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MTLskyline View Post

Around Complexe Desjardins, it's hard to say how much of an improvement there was.. I remember there used to be a lot of big abandoned buildings in that area, not to mention a lot of what was there was quite run down. A lot of that has been cleaned up quite a bit. But then there's things like the demolition of the Spectrum about 10 years ago, but still... nothing has been built in its place.
There are still some holes to patch but it's still pretty good. The Complexe Desjardins in particular has opened up to the street with terrasses that are always packed.
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  #63  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 4:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Martin Mtl View Post

But Kool, to say that Montreal now feels closer to St-Louis than Boston is just trolling, no matter how sincere and felt that observation was.).
I also jumped when I read the St Louis reference.
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  #64  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 4:05 PM
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This almost sounds like Paris Depression Syndrome suffered by Japanese tourists.
I know, I know Thing was, this was a very unique trip as it occurred right at a real juncture in life. It was the first time my fiancee had been to either Canadian metropolis and circumstances meant that each city was essentially auditioning for a role in our future with Stockholm and Copenhagen as the contenders.

Toronto was a city that I knew I enjoyed, but was mainly included for the sake of friends and family there. Montreal was the main event, and a city we had really been discussing. After all, it has the better bones, the better real estate market, and unlike Toronto, Stockholm, or Copenhagen, it's not a bubble economy. It has an enormous reputation in certain relevant artistic fields.

I had thought the visit almost a formality; Montreal was obviously 'Canada' for us.

The shock and severity of the upset brought about a lot of emotions. I read my replies in the thread and see I am still vacillating on certain levels, still qualifying and hedging and lashing out.

But it was a blowout.

I mean, we were on realtor.ca. We were mortgage calculating and salary reviewing. We were bringing in everyone we know to get a sense of how they'd made it work for them in each city.

Toronto, Stockholm, and Copenhagen are hard towns. Resentably so...

...but that deadness. Like I said, I turned on the place a bit. It let me down. I tried to show it off, this place that unlike all the others was mine, and it kept stepping on its dick.

I don't really give a shit if this seems like it's about Icelandic moss tacos or whatever. It isn't, but it is about my life and as such it's pretty particular to me and I am just sharing it for fun and because of what the word 'forum' means.

On Prince-Arthur around 7 p.m., and at Saint-Laurent near Saint-Viateur around 9, I felt cause to mutter "c't'un espèce de ville B.S.".

But it's not really Montreal's low-rent quality; Toronto can be plenty low-rent. There is no shortage of zombie-stagger on, say, Parliament or Sherbourne.

It's that emptiness.

Notre-Dame between McGill and Guy. Saint Laurent from Laurier to Bernard. Atwater. Saint-Denis from Rachel to Sherbrooke, and above Saint-Joseph too. Saint-Laurent below Sherbrooke. Saint-Laurent the whole way, fuck.

Saint-Antoine. Saint-Jacques.

Sainte-Catherine is certainly a step above Yonge (which is really strange right now as condo towers are starting to destroy its haphazard quality for whole stretches) but where is her Queen stretching miles in each perpendicular direction? Where is her Bloor?

Sainte-Catherine exists in isolation while Yonge is just the spine of a whole ecosystem.

Montreal feels empty. It's like there's not enough business activity to fill its streets. And I don't know why that is. I am prepared to accept the toll taken by the construction; on paper, again, everything seems a lot better than it did when I celebrated the city as Canada's only really/historically legit metropolis on here between 2004-2010.

I really don't know what happened or what to think.
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  #65  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 4:07 PM
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Can anyone?
Good point. However, they don't feel compelled to reply to a dozen different posts in one page. You may have just set a new world record for posts in a row.

A lot of the dynamism in Toronto is of the Wahlburgers (and soon Chick-Fil-A) variety.

We dined in a pretty nice restaurant downtown and they still had Stand Back by Steve Knicks and Listen to the Music by the Doobie Brothers blaring on the Muzak. Our waiter was nice and affable but had a demeanour not too different that you'd get from a waiter at Kelsey's in Peterborough. Even if his name was Ranjiv.

For starters the downtown core was a lot "whiter" than I realized when I actually chose to pay attention to this. It wasn't noticeably more diverse colour-wise than downtown Ottawa or downtown Montreal. I know this will be disputed by many on here but that was the feeling that I got. This was both during the day on weekdays and weekends and also in the evenings up until around 9 pm and even later in the entertainment district. This also applies to service staff we dealt with at any time of day. I've often disputed the notion that Toronto feels more white than London or NYC myself on SSP and other forums, but I think I may have been wrong. There are a number of major prosperous non-ghettoized cities in the U.S. that are not NYC that probably feel less white than Toronto does.

This is more of the impression of a person seeking things to fit their narrative than actually experiencing what the city has to offer.

Corporate consumerism dominates Toronto's culture which reflects in the passionless residents. The different ethnicities tend to stick to themselves. The downtown isn't really diverse at all and the majority is made up of, the usual suspects, those impassionate English Canadians. This is your shtick.

There's a lot of truth to you posts but, not enough where ones biases doesn't interfere with the interpretation.

Anyways, not to beat a dead horse. I just find it always interesting.
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  #66  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 4:08 PM
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But Kool, to say that Montreal now feels closer to St-Louis than Boston is just trolling, no matter how sincere and felt that observation was. Why do I have the feeling that you're like the guy who introduced his family to his girlfriend wanting her to like them, but knowing in advance that she would probably click more with the neighbors ? You said so yourself a while back that your girlfriend was excited about visiting Montreal but had no expectations about Toronto, but you suspected that she would prefer the later. It's as if you saw Montreal through her eyes and maybe you oversold Montreal to her in the first place ? Would all this have been different if you came back alone ? You sound so bitter about your stay in Montreal, so heartbroken, it's all a little over the top. I don't recognize the Montreal you are describing, like a city that lost his soul and pulse and became boring and flavorless.

I don't think it's necessarily closer to St-Louis, just that it's not Boston. It doesn't have the high-end or the packed quality, and so St. Louis came to mind as a city of quiet graceful bones.

I'm not trolling, though; I'm just kind of heartbroken, as you say.

The reality is probably that no portrait of urban Canada should really contain quite this level of angst or emotion, but there it is.

It is entirely possible that there are a lot of weird personal internal things skewing these thoughts.
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  #67  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 4:13 PM
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The Montreal of the '90s was so obviously broken that this itself was part of the drama of experiencing the place. It was a city in total turmoil, the scar tissue of a country dealt a near-fatal blow. It wasn't quite Detroit, but it was certainly Belgrade.

I am glad to have been there.

Perhaps a lot of this comes from the fact that a city I once enjoyed as a bit of a special historical anomaly is now competitive enough to be judged on more everyday merits versus its less-scarred peers, and that background shows through. It struggles a bit for normalcy.

I may be using different metrics than I once did, also -- maybe more bourgeois ones.

Scandinavia is nothing if not that.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 4:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Martin Mtl View Post
I think and hope that one day you will fall all over again in love with Montreal. Cities do that sometimes (coming back from a trip in London I was once turn off by Paris, because that was my mood at the time - even though I absolutely love Paris, just as much as London).



This does have to be an extreme local reaction of that sort. It was such a shock and a departure from what I have long felt.
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  #69  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 4:21 PM
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It's sort of funny that this thread didn't instead turn into a thing about how great Toronto is. Because it really is. Where are the TO people?
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  #70  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 4:47 PM
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It's sort of funny that this thread didn't instead turn into a thing about how great Toronto is. Because it really is. Where are the TO people?
Out being fabulous, one imagines ....
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  #71  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 5:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
It's sort of funny that this thread didn't instead turn into a thing about how great Toronto is. Because it really is. Where are the TO people?
Gutsy thread and posts Kool. Think the ancient cliche that what keeps the country together is the mutual "hate" for Toronto (decades and counting) is still alive, regardless of real knowledge.

But as you've observed this is silly, always has been.

Toronto makes nearly as many mistakes every day as Trump's Twitters.

But it is truly stumbling towards something really good, as it has for years. City was built by immigrants and continues to celebrate diversity (corny but true).

Everyone loves Montreal... pretty sure you can't renew a passport without admitting this ;-)

Appreciate your honest, fearless impressions. Cheers.
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  #72  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 5:19 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
The Montreal of the '90s was so obviously broken that this itself was part of the drama of experiencing the place. It was a city in total turmoil, the scar tissue of a country dealt a near-fatal blow. It wasn't quite Detroit, but it was certainly Belgrade.

I am glad to have been there.

Perhaps a lot of this comes from the fact that a city I once enjoyed as a bit of a special historical anomaly is now competitive enough to be judged on more everyday merits versus its less-scarred peers, and that background shows through. It struggles a bit for normalcy.

I may be using different metrics than I once did, also -- maybe more bourgeois ones.

Scandinavia is nothing if not that.
Living in different cities lends perspective for sure - as you say, maybe you're evaluating Montreal based on different metrics.

As such, maybe Toronto is the better move for you? You may come to appreciate Montreal more after living here. Alternatively, Toronto may grow on you even more. Plenty of people fall in love with Toronto and it's not hard to see why.

On another note, I wouldn't discount anglophone Montreal just yet though. Obviously, its decline is well documented so no need to get into that. I hear considerably more English on the streets now than I used to. Are these tourists? Are these Montreal expats home from Toronto for a long weekend like myself? Maybe. But maybe the community is no longer in peril.

It's a different community than it used to be, but it seems to me to be somewhat healthy where it's at. Today's anglophone community has generally matured when it comes to some of the political/linguistic dramas of yesteryear. It bottomed out in the early 2000s and has slowly been increasing in population (emphasis on slowly) ever since. Understanding that its relative weight has decreased (so has that of francophones as the allophone population in Montreal and Quebec continues to outgrow them), the use of English at home in Montreal has increased slightly. This isn't particularly remarkable in and of itself but it's important to remember that there are enough anglophones in Montreal to populate a mid-sized Canadian city. Not just curiosity-seekers and independent wanderers. I'll accept that Montreal is no longer an essential part of English Canada, but I think your comparison of Montreal's anglophone population to that of Prague or Berlin is off the mark.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 5:21 PM
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Posts like this do the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

It comes off as petty and like you're trying too hard, very insecure. This thread was nothing more than an opinion piece but here you are trying to defend Montreal's honour like there is no tomorrow. Just aligns with what kool was trying to say to be honest.

Obviously it's fine to have counterpoint opinions but at the same time you gotta take this thread with a grain of salt rather than taking needless insecure shots at Toronto.
Yes, I apologize to Niwell for that. It’s just that I was reminded of a friend of mine in TO (recently Richmond Hill) who mentions the ethnicity of every person she interacts with. Her conversation will go something like this: « Before we go to the Philippino place I have to stop at the Pakistani convenience store next to the Korean cleaners that my Romanian friend (who married a Brazilian) recommended because it’s much cheaper than the Indian place across from that cute Zimbabwean resto in Little Bangladesh that I used to go to... »
And on and on she goes. We’re old enough friends that I finally told her « Robin! Fuck off with the diversity checklist! » That works until she has a few drinks..
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  #74  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 5:30 PM
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Yes, I apologize to Niwell for that. It’s just that I was reminded of a friend of mine in TO (recently Richmond Hill) who mentions the ethnicity of every person she interacts with. Her conversation will go something like this: « Before we go to the Philippino place I have to stop at the Pakistani convenience store next to the Korean cleaners that my Romanian friend (who married a Brazilian) recommended because it’s much cheaper than the Indian place across from that cute Zimbabwean resto in Little Bangladesh that I used to go to... »
And on and on she goes. We’re old enough friends that I finally told her « Robin! Fuck off with the diversity checklist! » That works until she has a few drinks..
LOL not sure telling Robin to fuck off should be encouraged. I like her dialogue.
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  #75  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 5:43 PM
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Sweden has badly mishandled its (customary Western) attempt to balance falling native birthrates through immigration, but it has had a good century economically.

Like I said above, Stockholmers are a little more than twice as economically productive as Montrealers.

Could Quebec use the Scandinavian countries as a model for more than the social democratic niceties? These are independent countries with their own cultures and languages that nonetheless manage levels of economic output that are higher on a per capita basis than those of both French and I believe English Canada. This despite lacking the natural resources of Canada; this is particularly true in Denmark, but even Sweden is only 450,000 km2 versus 1.6 million km2 for Quebec.

Why is Sweden so much more productive, then?
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  #76  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 5:43 PM
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I don't actually think Berlin is bad company to be in. Like Montreal it suffered relative to its peers from "lost decades". Many more than Montreal in fact.

It's certainly a more apt comparison than Belgrade.
The Berlin reference struck me as an inadvertant case of damning with prodigious praise!

What I’d give for their transit system, infrastructure, legit 24 hr nightlife..
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  #77  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 5:50 PM
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Berlin is a great city and it does have some of the physical and 'connective tissue' issues that Montreal has. It is all happening on a much larger scale, though. Berlin at full capacity would be something like Paris. Some walks lend the impression that it would be larger still, a big 12-14 million kind of place.

I did an epic Mitte-Prenzlauer Berg-Friedrichshain-Alt Treptow-Kreuzberg walk back in May. It had everything from overflowing rows of seven-storey apartments with raucous parks and commercial strips at their bases to enormous vacant lots, industrial ruins, and dead zones measuring in the square kilometres.

It's sort of an as above, so below thing with Berlin and Montreal.
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  #78  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 5:50 PM
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I mean, we were on realtor.ca. We were mortgage calculating and salary reviewing.
If your four contenders are Montreal, Toronto, Copenhagen and Stockholm, and salaries vs cost of living (as an owner) is a major factor, I think the decision's easy. Welcome back home!
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  #79  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 5:55 PM
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If your four contenders are Montreal, Toronto, Copenhagen and Stockholm, and salaries vs cost of living (as an owner) is a major factor, I think the decision's easy. Welcome back home!

I would have loved that. It's all a bit of a headache now.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:09 PM
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Sweden has badly mishandled its (customary Western) attempt to balance falling native birthrates through immigration, but it has had a good century economically.

Like I said above, Stockholmers are a little more than twice as economically productive as Montrealers.

Could Quebec use the Scandinavian countries as a model for more than the social democratic niceties? These are independent countries with their own cultures and languages that nonetheless manage levels of economic output that are higher on a per capita basis than those of both French and I believe English Canada. This despite lacking the natural resources of Canada; this is particularly true in Denmark, but even Sweden is only 450,000 km2 versus 1.6 million km2 for Quebec.

Why is Sweden so much more productive, then?
Perhaps because Northern Europeans in general and Scandanavians in particular are willing to pay, through taxes, for the types of things that they know will make them more productive? Top notch tansit, infrastructure, schools, social programs save money in the long run. We want all that here only nobody is willing to pay for it - not if it means foregoing the 4th bathroom, 3rd car, flatscreen in every room.

In low tax/no tax North America the shareholder comes first and we seem to be more interested in lining develper’s pockets and subsidizing unsustainable suburban lifestyles than maintaining our schools, sewers, sidewalks, public housing, public spaces and on and on.

I don’t see this changing any time soon under the Trump, Ford et al regimes.
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