Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Montreal Going in Opposite Direction of Toronto

A while back I wrote a blog piece advancing the notion that Montreal is a better place to live than Toronto. Read Why Montreal is Better than Toronto.

A lot of that was based on geography and Montreal's advantage of having a huge park in the center of the city à la Central Park and it's proximity to cottage country, chock full of lakes and mountains. Another fact that influenced my piece was the cheaper price housing and the more 'progressive' thinking of Montreal, making it a more livable city.

But there's always the danger of too much of a good thing and sadly Montreal has clearly gone off the deep end in undertaking feel-good lifestyle projects that are ill-conceived and unaffordable.

So while Montreal is headed in a direction whereby it is orienting itself to serve one sector of it's population, the bicyclists, the granolas, the students and the poor, Toronto, through the election of its new mayor, is reasserting its policy of supporting wealth creation and it's related benefits.

While Montrealers crow about their bicycle lanes as the be-all and end-all, the inconvenience to drivers and the damage done to the economic well-being  of the city is largely ignored.

The massive elimination of lanes and parking spots continues to have a large, yet unmeasured impact that few elected officials dare to acknowledge. The cost of the massive construction project that created these bike lanes is borne by motorists and homeowners as taxes spiral up, ending in an assault of the wallets of the minority that pays. Of course cyclists pay nothing, either for the maintenance or construction of these paths as if it is their God-given right to have others pay their freight.

And so Mayor Tremblay announced that come January, a new tax will be levied on every car registered in Montreal. He also advised homeowners that taxes would rise between 4% and 8%

In Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's first act as mayor was to announce that the city's car tax would be eliminated and that taxes would be frozen for the coming year.

If ever there were two cities going in opposite directions, it is Montreal and Toronto.

While Montreal extols the social benefits of bike lines and public transit, Toronto has decided to back the automobile and halt any thought of bike lanes on busy streets.

Toronto's new populist mayor Rob Ford
To Montrealers Rob Ford may as well be the devil incarnate, his pronouncements so shockingly at odds with what the current thinking is in Montreal. It's clear that  both cities are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Like Montreal, Toronto has chosen to represent the interest of a sector of the population, this time the taxpayers, those who actually pay the bills.
These people have a different agenda, seeking lower taxes, efficient city management and a desire for Toronto to be a place where wealth creation remains a priority.

The Toronto mayor was unequivocal, cyclists and motorists will always be at war. Backing cyclists who return no money to the city, and tramways that choke the streets, means that the economic well-being will be adversely affected.

Here are some  Rob Ford  more interesting remarks; Link
"My campaign was based on a simple idea, that city hall should respect the taxpayer," Ford said

"...we're not going to take away parking spaces for bike lanes!" Link

"Cyclists are a pain in the ass to the motorists. Let's be quite frank.... There's this huge animosity between the motorists and the cyclists.... and it's never going to go away. Link

"Toronto taxpayers expect the wasteful spending and the annual tax increases to come to an end. Toronto taxpayers do not want a larger budget and more spending," 

"I'm going to put money back in the hands of taxpayers."
"Ladies and gentlemen, the war on the car stops today, we will not build any more rail tracks down the middle of our streets."
"Expect the wasteful spending and the annual tax increses to come to an end. There will be no tax increase next year and there will be no cut in service."
If you are a Quebecker who finds these pronouncements frightening, consider that 30% of Montrealers live under the poverty line.
Since homeowner taxes or debt is what pays for grand projects, it's hard to understand how we can afford all these designer projects.

Currently Montreal's debt is almost 40% higher than that of Toronto and this not even considering that the latter is much bigger and richer. It remains to be seen, twenty years down the road, which city made the right decision.

I'm betting on Toronto.


  1. WOW, heyheyhey you just LOVE to provoke! ouch, Toronto? I don't think Toronto is anywhere near as great a city as Montreal, its hugely suburban based (very sad), very ethnically divided, the nightlife is tacky, dangerous and ends early. the drinking age is 19, and its a city based on corporate success.
    Montreal, is the opposite of all this, in Montreal, the urbanites rule (nothing wrong with being maitres chez nous), and we have a population thats luckily involved enough to impose these great initiatives we've seen recently. we also have the french language, a huge plus. Another thing: Montreal is not necessarily a 'money' city (since bill 101), and I think that's a good thing, it has enough economy to subsist, but it doesn't need monumentalism and corporate attention like Toronto. In the words of Klaus Wowereit, the Mayor of Berlin, 'Berlin is poor but sexy', which is true. I'd say the same applies to Montreal, hands down.

  2. And Mississauga and Toronto Guy will chime in to boast about how great life in the GTA is in four... three... two... one...

  3. Life isn't better there, but I worry that one day it will be when the downtown core looks like Detroit's because no one can actually afford to live on the island. I can't get around and when I want to, I have to sit and wait 45 minutes for a bus I've already paid for three times. Montreal sucks money out of my pocket and into Tony Accurso's...

  4. BobisNotUrUncle says:
    Yep montreal has it's clique du plateau driving it's agenda, and since most journalist reside in the plateau, not much criticism has made, except pushing for more. again montreal shoots itself in the foot, and the effect will be felt long term. the core will diminish and the businesses will be driven in the suburbs. They almost pull the 40% reduction of cars with the Turcot redesign, that would have sped up the decline. they are currently going full speed ahead in wrecking my neighboorhood (NDG)

  5. Montreal rents and house prices are on the most part, completely unaffordable. It's the yuppies and those with socialite pretensions that generally swallow the price tag to ride the bikes a few months out of the year while everyone else eats the traffic, the outrageous parking costs or the equally outrageous bus pass prices if you're living off the island. And all this, in a shitty job market where pay does not meet the costs of living but only the cost of credit, partially, and where the ideal of social betterment is not creating jobs and opportunity but rather, restricting them with linguistic bullshit tailored to the xenophobia of rural Quebec that elects that other class of freeloaders, Quebecois politicians.
    No wonder the drinking age is set low. I suggest we lower it further, say 14. That way, by the time everyone's done with AA it'll be too late to know that they've been getting fucked.
    There's a reason Quebec reigns supreme in North American suicides.

  6. I live on the plateau and am a car owner. The cyclists annoy me, especially as a pedestrian walking in my own neighbourhood. They go backwards up one-way streets, ignore red-lights completely, ride on the sidewalks including Prince Arthur in mid-summer, and act like they are holier-than-thou and have the right to disregard all rules because they are green.

    That said, the formal bike lanes like along Rachel or Cherrier or next to Parc Lafontaine are not a problem to me, they get the bikes off the sidewalks. I find the downtown area easy to get around in a car ... parking is a cinch since I have a parking vignette. It is only if I want to cross a bridge to the South Shore or Laval or get to the West Island that I am stuck in frustrating traffic, and that is due to the suburbanites, not the cyclists. Suburbanites can complain about bike paths, but it is their commutes to get to the closest bike path that is the pain. Just as it is in Toronto.

    Montreal is not going in the wrong direction at all. One day all the people busily buying new developments in Vauldreuil, Mirabel, Saint-Bruno are going to wake up and realise that living close to downtown is a beautiful thing. Then watch the property prices in Verdun, Little Italy, etc soar as they all want to be part where those bike paths, terraces, festivals in parks are.

    It is Toronto that is being short sighted in catering downtown to urban sprawl. Ever been to a car-centric city like Houston, TX?

  7. In effect, the Editor is extremely divisive. I agree very well with the first anonymous.-smart quidam-

    TWO DIFFERENT CITIES, TWO DIFFERENT ENERGIES FOR TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. I see a lot of mistakes in the proposed exposé.
    Montreal is different in its nature. The health care is comparable to THE ONE IN Ontario. Not worse, not better, MORE AFFORDABLE FOR COSMETIC SURGERIES (Montreal cater a lot to woman!). You can have doctors in both languages, services in both languages, (not necessarily from the same Person.)Stop the bragging from Ontario, I know both systems well.

    Housing market is cheaper, Montreal is easier to access than Toronto. Althoug, I much prefer the tramway in Toronto. (Jean Drapeau did a lot of demolition, including the tramway, and build the subway along a lot cold and deserted areas where people cannot connect at all to anything,especially in old Montreal in the horrible cold, wind and snow).
    Montreal would be wise to have a tramway right along its river (Place d'Armes),connecting with the downtown. It is such a beautiful harbour with 4 rows of sidewalks (people, horses, bicycle, rickshaw etc..) flanked by trees overlooked by the sleeping clock.

    The founding of Montreal : (Mount Royal)(Le mont du roi de France) was called after a woman "Ville Marie" (Virgin Mary) who was supposed from the cross of Mont Royal to protect from floods and eruption created from an old volcanoe. If you look around Mont Royal,each area from its architecture will tell you its history: (Scottish/French/Irish/English).

    TORONTO: On May 2, 1793 Simcoe made his first visit to Toronto, in company with seven officers. He was still not certain that he wanted it as his capital, but he viewed it as potentially a good naval station. The advantages of Toronto were that it was not right on the border, and it had one of the very few sheltered harbours on the British shore of Lake Ontario, useful for shipbuilding and as a base for naval operations to control the lake. The reconnaisance party stayed for a week, returning to Newark. He then observed the eastern end of the bay, an oak forest, where he imagined a new town being built.

    Montreal is smaller, there is actually a war between two different mafias, and Toronto has a lot of shooting every week.

    Toronto receives a lot of immigrants where there accent in English makes it very different to comprehend, even if your mother tongue language is English. The English language spoken in Montreal is far better.

    The Plateau in Montreal is exquisite, but they deserve fencing on St.Louis Park and its fountain, as a lot of poverty in the park is entertaining and disturbing. (A lot of bilingual Anglos around the park they could get together and start agitating.

    The Islands of Montreal could have been a beautiful "Cité Universitaire", and the project did not materialise, under Jean Drapeau. But Montreal could have been the Paris of this Continent with such a project. Universities from all countries could have had their opportunity, and the rest of the country as well.

    Yes, both cities could be improved, the City of Toronto is not sentimental about their building codes and there is a lot of demolition of century old building. They haven't learn a lesson from our old "Jean Drapeau" who was a lawyer with borrowed ideas, but just a poor boy with no sense of preservation.

    I still prefer Montreal, it is a better place to live, to retire and despite the cold wheater there are a lot of skating rink (beautiful indoor!!)a joy de vivre which is simply not found anywhere else in the world.

    Place Ville Marie, a cross shaped building from the 60's which became the center of business made Old Montreal deserted. So perhaps Old Montreal will become more residential and hotel appartment in the future, with a tram to serve people better. They can elect a lot of pedestrian streets in this area. (like in Portugal).

  8. Ontarian have a problem with drinking. It is well know. The police react differently in both provinces.Ontarians don't know how to drink. Unlike the French who kow who to enjoy wine.I can smell the comment from that cheapo anonymous... wouah !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. wow, anonymous 12:25
    How depressing.

  10. As a Montrealer, I agree with Toronto's new Mayor.

    Montreal seems to be running down the road like a lunatic. No sense of reality what so ever.

    Last week's budget showed how much the city is run by bad managers.
    They establish the car tax on drivers. Reason? We need to fund public transit. Then the next day, they increase Public Transit fares. Reason, we need to fund public transit. End result for all, more taxes coming from all residents. Then they indicate that they need to raise property taxes again because the city employees pension fund is under funded! Really! Why not have the employees pay more into their pension fund. This pension is above and beyond the Quebec Pension Fund that we all pay into. Why are we being taxed to fund a Pension Fund that only City employees will ever receive? Meanwhile, the rest of us have problems to even contribute any funds into our RRSP's so that we can have something extra to help us when we retire. Bad Managers! Bad public policies. That is what Montreal is all about.

    What the Provincial government should do is let the other cities on the island separate completely from Montreal. Cut off all connections if they so desire. This will provide competition from other cities on the island that will force Montreal to get it's act straight. Right now, even if you move to one of the other towns on the island, Montreal still basically controls the amount of taxes that you will pay. Anybody heard of "No Taxation Without Representation"?

    By allowing Montreal to have such a central effect on Southern Quebec, the province risks putting the economy of all Quebec into jeopardy. Montreal City Hall is a unchecked beast. Let the suburbs go, they will be able to create more effective public policies that will be wealth create centers on the island. If Montreal wants to commit suicide, it should not be allowed to take with it the other towns in the area. And in the end cripple the entire provincial economy.

    Montreal has Poverty Creation Policies. Not Wealth Creation Policies.

  11. The costly barrier added to Toronto’s Bloor Street Viaduct has not reduced the city’s overall suicide rate, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.

    “Although the barrier prevented suicides at the Bloor Street Viaduct, there was no change in the absolute rate of suicide by jumping in Toronto due to increases in suicides from other bridges and buildings,” Dr. Mark Sinyor, the study’s lead researcher, said in a statement.

    “While there is clear evidence that barriers decrease or eliminate suicides at bridges commonly used for suicide, this is the first study to demonstrate that when a barrier is placed on one bridge, there can be a significant increase in suicide-by-jumping from other bridges in the area.”

    Dr. Sinyor and colleagues studied the barrier’s effectiveness in its first four years by reviewing records from the Office from the Chief Coroner of Ontario and comparing them to suicide records spanning 1993 to 2001, nine years before the barrier was erected. The records included the deaths of nearly 15,000 people in Toronto and around Ontario.

    The researchers found Toronto’s yearly rates of suicide by jumping remained unchanged before and after the Bloor Street barrier was built. While deaths at the Bloor Street fell from an average of 9.3 deaths per year to zero, the number of suicides at other locations went up.

    Before the barrier was erected, the Bloor Street Viaduct was one of the most popular bridges in the world for suicides until a costly and controversial barrier was added to the bridge in 2003. Only San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge attracted more jumpers.


  12. Why do we always have to discuss something between: do you prefer a dog or a cat ? Mr. Editor you are not reasonable and your blog should be shut down, for the sake of Canada's
    peace of mind.

  13. BobisNotUrUncle says:
    Yep montreal has it's clique du plateau driving it's agenda, and since most journalist reside in the plateau, not much criticism has made, except pushing for more.

    You can say that again. The clique du plateau is driving the city’s agenda, and the Plateau is the worst area of all. The borough is manically anti-automobile and commerce. They want to outlaw bill board advertising. They reduced snow removal on side streets and sidewalks making them impassable and dangerous to navigate. They removed much needed parking spaces for Biki bikes, which few people rent. They plan to install parking meters on residential side streets to make things worse. They constructed bike paths on busy streets like Parc, Rachael and St. Urbain creating a dangerous mix of beleaguered automobiles, wary pedestrians, and entitled and incompetent bike riders weaving about ignoring all of the traffic rules with impunity. These self-righteous bike riders are creating huge traffic and safety problems, and they pay for none of the infrastructure they greedily demand under the guise of the green agenda. Montreal is definitely headed in the wrong direction with no common sense to guide and no aim to achieve a workable balance.

  14. "If you are a Quebecker who finds these pronouncements frightening, consider that 30% of Montrealers live under the poverty line."


    La toile de fond des Québécois provient de l'époque de la grande noirceur. Ceci dit depuis la colonisation française, les "pure-laine" ont prouvé qu'ils étaient capables eux aussi d'utiliser d'autres humains comme esclaves ou main d'oeuvre à bon marché. Parmi les Québécois qui ont été exploités on peut compter des vrais criminels, des faux criminels, des orphelins, des sans-emploi, des Québécois d'origine japonaise, africaine, et nord-américaine (divers nations autochtones), des femmes de tous les groupes ethniques, des immigrants sans-papiers ou illégaux, et la domination des anglophones qui ne nous faisait pas entrer dans des postes cadres.

    La misère des Québécois eut plusieurs causes:

    1.-Système d'éducation déficient et difficile d'accès:

    Pendant longtemps, des Québécois ont été privés d'une instruction de qualité parce que:

    Des chefs politiques refusaient de s'occuper des services essentiels au bien-être des citoyens (santé, éducation, assistance publique) laissant ces responsabilités à la secte catholique;

    La secte catholique était contre l'instruction obligatoire et gratuite, et attachait plus d'importance à l'endoctrinement religieux qu'à l'instruction; [Le pouvoir religieux va de pair avec le maintient de l'ignorance]

    Le clergé franco-catholique déconseillait aux francophones de fréquenter les écoles protestantes où ils auraient pu apprendre à parler correctement l'anglais, et profiter des programmes plus modernes dont bénéficiaient les protestants; [le clergé voulait probablement empêcher les "hérétiques" (les protestants), de "contaminés" ses ouailles]

    Des payeurs de taxes ne voulaient pas financer l'instruction gratuite. (la guerre des éteignoirs).

    2.- Pas de contrôle des naissances:

    Pendant longtemps, la pauvreté se transmettait de génération en génération parce que les familles catholiques n'avaient pas accès à la pilule. La pilule est devenue légale au Québec seulement vers 1966. Avant la Révolution tranquille, les familles catholiques devaient faire beaucoup d'enfants même s'ils n'avaient pas les moyens de leur payer une bonne instruction.
    3.- Système d'aide sociale déficient:

    Des pauvres ont été privés d'une aide suffisante parce que :

    Ds chefs politiques ne voulaient pas s'occuper des pauvres (Duplessis était contre la sécularisation de l'assistance publique parce que ça coûterait cher);

    La secte catholique aussi était contre l'étatisation de l'assistance publique. Elle préférait que les pauvres dépendent de la charité, et refusait d'aider les pauvres qu'elle jugeait immoraux;

    Des payeurs de taxes ne voulaient pas payer des taxes pour étatiser l'assistance publique.

    4.- Système de santé déficient:

    Pendant longtemps, les soins de santé dans les établissements franco-catholiques étaient confiés aux religieuses dont plusieurs ne détenaient aucun diplôme en soins de santé. Certains des "traitements" n'avaient rien à voir avec la médecine.

    Voici certaines raisons qui ont maintenu les Québécois dans la misère longtemps. Ils se sont battus et ont travaillés forts pour devenir ce qu'ils sont aujourd'hui, malgré tout ce qu'on leur reproche sur votre site !!!

  15. Toronto's war on the car may be over but it had a key casualty: the middle lane on Jarvis Street. Jarvis, which runs north-south just east of the downtown core, used to have 5 lanes. In the morning, the centre lane was used by southbound traffic. In mid-afternoon it was switched (by signal lights) over for use by northbound traffic. This was a brilliant solution, loved by everyone that I ever talked about it with, and one that should have been emulated on other major roadways to ease traffic congestion. Ford's idiot predecessor eliminated the 5th lane and used the space for bike lanes. Could we have tested the new layout for 6 months by turning off the lights and repainting the lines to see what the impact was? Not a chance. They ripped the signal lights down. Full speed ahead into the fog. I'm convinced that, in general, the lower the level of politics, the lower the IQ and ethics of the politicians. Hopefully, Ford will be better.

  16. While your bragging is going on Toronto, you are always in the whole, debts one day will have to be paid. Your beggars on the street, your suicide on the bridge, your lovely empty Bloor street, one day, it will collapse.

  17. Who said Montreal is only for cars ! Pedestrian streets are very European.... I wish they will have more. F♪te de quartiers, etc... this is a sign people want to be close as a Nation.

  18. "Only San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge attracted more jumpers."

    Wow!Est-ce que cette anecdote est vraie? Si oui nous pourrions affirmer que Toronto n'est pas la ville du bonheur.Au moins nos mafioso ne sont pas dépressifs,trop de travail peut-être.

  19. Actually I remember back in the 80s and 90s many parts of montreal especially pointe st charles were about to look like Detroit. So many abandoned houses, nothing on the scale of Cleveland, Detroit, Toledo or Buffalo but still significant for a Canadian city.

    Only reason Montreal did not go downhill, was because anglos and allos didn't feel comfortable outside the island. In effect Bill 101 did the opposite of keeping Montreal Francophone, it helped with suburban flight of Francopones and kept the majority of Anglophones and allophones on the island.(the ones that stayed behind). Not only that there is a steady flow of immigrants and new anglophones into Montreal island.

  20. "Toronto receives a lot of immigrants where there accent in English makes it very different to comprehend, even if your mother tongue language is English. The English language spoken in Montreal is far better."

    There are plenty of Montreal Francophones who make a mess of the English language - see the comment left by anonymous at 1:19 PM for instance. And that's when they're willing to willing to speak it at all, thanks to the "this is Quebec, we speak French here" attitude encountered among many Quebecois. Remember that bus driver who called the police because a student from Pakistan asked her a question in English?
    In the context of Immigrant English in the two cities, newcomers to Toronto are more likely to have some knowledge of English because they hail from countries where English has a historical presence like Jamaica, India, or Nigeria. Meanwhile, Montreal attracts immigrants from French-speaking countries like Haiti, Algeria and Vietnam where very few people are able to use English in any meaningful capacity.

  21. "Not only that there is a steady flow of immigrants and new anglophones into Montreal island."

    Yeah, those that can afford the higher prices. The transition from Laval to the West Island for example, is more like moving from a bungalow into a shack for the same price.

  22. Ah come'on, there is always a crank in both sides ! There are more cranks on your side than in the French one, so shut up !

  23. There are plenty of Montreal Francophones who are trying in English, unlike you ANGLOPHONES.

  24. cb harford: Quels sont les efforts en français que vous faites ? Alors ! Où sont-ils ces efforts! Les francophones chez eux parlent l'anglais quand même, vous me prenez pour une fleur fleue ?

  25. TO ANONYMOUS 2:21:
    La période d'industrialisation ne se fait pas sans heurts. De 1871 à 1903, plus de trente grèves sont déclarées. Le véritable syndicalisme apparait avec les Chevaliers du travail en 1882, principalement actifs où se trouve la plus grande concentration industrielle du Canada.

    La crise qui suit le krach de 1929 provoque une vague intense de fermeture d'entreprise et de chômage. Le secours direct et la multiplication des travaux publics viennent suppléer au manque d'emploi. C'est ainsi qu'à Saint-Henri on a construit le marché Atwater, la caserne de pompier de la place Saint-Henri et des tunnels pour traverser le canal et les voies ferrées.

    Ces mesures ne soulagent cependant pas totalement la misère des familles. Il faudra le déclenchement de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale pour revoir la prospérité. À la fin de la guerre, Saint-Henri était redevenu l'un des grands centres industriels du Canada.

    C'est dans ce cadre que Gabrielle Roy campe son célèbre roman Bonheur d'occasion, où les personnages vivent bonheurs et malheurs consécutifs dans Saint-Henri.

    L'ouverture de la Voie maritime du Saint-Laurent en 1959, le développement des banlieues, l'utilisation croissante de l'automobile et le vieillissement des usines vont signifier le début de la fin de la vocation industrielle de Saint-Henri. La fermeture du canal de Lachine en 1970 va marquer un exode massif des entreprises.

    Avec le départ des grandes entreprises, c'est la pauvreté qui s'installe parmi les familles qui ont décidé de ne pas quitter le quartier. Les infrastructures urbaines se dégradent, le canal de Lachine fermé à la navigation affiche un air lugubre parmi les vastes bâtiments industriels désaffectés et laissés à l'abandon.

    Une relance autour du canal

    La vieille tradition communautaire des gens du quartier se réveille avec encore plus de force pour relancer la prospérité. Avec les quartiers voisins, on s'organise. Une nouvelle industrie fait son apparition: la culture. Dans les vastes bâtiments comme ceux de la Merchant (Dominion Textile puis Coleco), et de la Simmons, on voit s'installer designers, artistes et artisans. On voit s'installer des antiquaires et autres nouveaux commerces sur la rue Notre-Dame pour remplacer les anciens commerces acculés à la faillite.

    C'est quand est décrété le vaste programme de revitalisation des berges du canal de Lachine que le réveil définitif est sonné. Les gouvernements injectent des millions de dollars pour redonner au canal de Lachine un attrait unique. En 2002, la réouverture de la navigation sur le canal remet Saint-Henri et tout le Sud-Ouest de Montréal sur la carte des activités de loisirs et de tourisme. La construction de logements de luxe prend un essor jamais vu. Saint-Henri est redevenu une destination. Non plus celle d'y trouver du travail comme ce l'était au début de son histoire, mais celle d'y vivre dans un contexte urbain de plus en plus agréable et attirant.

    Voilà l'histoire d'un des quartiers qui vous aidera à comprendre la pauvreté.

  26. Mississauga Guy said...

    1st of 2:

    Don't have a heart attack readers, but I might be playing the devil's advocate in some ways here.

    Advantage Montreal: More cottage country (Laurentians and Eastern Townships both within an hour of Montreal), better club districts (but T.O. is improving) and a more European look and feel, but Toronto is NOT an American city as some portray it to be...far from it!

    I too gave it that American moniker for a while and it's just because it's less European in character than Montreal and especially Quebec City. Toronto, thus far, has not shown the urban rot suffered by a lot of American cities. Ever since it was given license to build more residential dwellings (mostly condos) starting about ten years ago when Mel Lastman became mayor, any and every deteriorating inch of the past in Toronto (nowhere near the urban blight of any U.S. city) has now been restored.

    As stated by the editor, 30% of Montreal is poverty stricken, and boy does it show! I still see plenty of urban blight in Montreal. Before I left Montreal for good in 1984, that whole area of central Ste-Catherine St. where Dupuis Frères used to be became a big decaying cavity. So did plenty of lots around the Hydro Quebec building--RIGHT DOWNTOWN!

    The late 1980s saw some recovery (Place Montreal Trust, Promenade de la Cathédrale, the resurgence of Pointe St. Charles and Little Burgandy, the cleaning up of the area surrounding the Lachine Canal, etc.), but the early 90s saw another downward spiral and this time with little slow recovery.

    At long last, that Park/Pine Ave. interchange was restructured and patched up (boy was that place scary!) but these projects take forever and a day to do, and they're talked about forever!

    When I left Montreal in '84, the big joke EVERY Montreal ex-pat talked about was where Highway 401 ended and Highway 20 began. You didn't have to see the border signs, all you had to do was start hearing your car tires going thumpety-thumpety-thump over the deteriorating pavement and patchwork on the Quebec side.

    Too, city streets in Toronto were much better planned with long acceleration/deceleration lanes on highways, better and lengthier indentations for left turns on streets and a delay on red lights turning green giving intersections time to clear.

  27. Mississauga Guy said...

    OK, now it's 2nd of 3:

    In Montreal, there are signs reading «Attendez le feu vert» ("Wait for the green signal", when there was English posted on road signs back in the mid-70s). It's a wonder there weren't signs posted "The sky is blue on a clear day"!

    According to my driver ed. teacher, the purpose of that sign was to alert traffic light jumpers that drivers on the other side of the street get a flashing green light before their side gets a green signal. Imbeciles! I've NEVER seen a sign like that one anywhere else in the world!

    There used to be a video game where the object was to chase pedestrians and when they were killed, a grave with a cross appeared. I figured this HAD to be a Montreal invention due to the war between drivers and pedestrians in Montreal. When I first saw pedestrian crossings in Ottawa then Toronto, I thought, wow, a good concept, and drivers actually respected these pedestrian crosswalks! Civility!

    Too, as I write, Montrealers are digging their way out of a snowstorm. The Toronto Area is still waiting, and with any luck, we'll have another green Xmas, just like last year! In 26 winters here, I'd say there were three that fit the description of a classic Montreal winter--early snow that stayed, lots of it, and more cold weather than usual.

    Advantage Toronto: Shorter winters, less cold (but not warm in the winter) and less snow.

    City parks, especially in Mississauga, are large and kept immaculate. Municipal taxes: In Mississauga, there is no debt! Former Gaspésian, Hazel McCallion, now 89 years old and elected mayor for the 12th consecutive time (a Guinness World Record) has run this city on a balanced budget for the last 32 years going on 33. If we don't pay for it now, we don't get it!

    The only bad thing is our water costs, but that's because the water infrastructure needs replacing. In the GTA, water tax is based on consumption, not an arbitrary flat tax that more often than not is part of a slush fund in Montreal and area. I'm sure the Montreal region is undergoing replacement of its water infrastructure, but how is it being financed?

  28. Mississauga Guy said...

    3rd of 3 (and that's it!)

    As previously mentioned, a buddy of mine still in Montreal started a charity baseball team about 7-8 years ago. Most of the summer they play at Hampstead Park, an very well-kept facility, but during the spring, they have to practice on a City of Montreal diamond and the city workers don't--well--work! They won't talk to you until you first present a cheque and they don't do anything! They don't provide bases, chalk the foul lines, there is no attendant to unlock the supply shed and take out the equipment (if there is any to begin with!), the water fountains don't work and the bathrooms are locked! In Hampstead Park, all those facilities are provided, and the supervisor of the park is easy to access and pleasant.

    Unlike Rob Ford whose election platform was to pull the gravy train out of the station, blue collar workers (reserved for lazy-assed Francophones, of course) have been riding it for decades. One does the work, several others watch. I supposed they take turns daily so they really only work one day per week! Too, I'm sure they earn triple the average private sector wage for similar work.

    I have yet to see an overpass or underpass absolutely collapse like one did in Laval ten years ago, and subsequent calamities since! Then Pierre-Marc Johnson, an ex-premier, is well overpaid to investigate the obvious and point his finger where he believes the blame belongs.

    Except for McGuinty and his wreckless spending (he'll be out in less than a year) Ontario has sought maximum bang for the buck. Civil servants, like in Quebec are well overpaid, but not like in Quebec. This is misspending and corruption, but nowhere near the level as in Quebec, esp. in the construction industry.

    Hopefully Ford will be able to do the things he says he will, but like with most politicians, I'm skeptical and I'll believe it when I see it.

    Hurricane Hazel has been the only politician I have found truly trustworthy in over a half century of living, and she has won every election in the 20 years I've lived in Mississauga with great ease. This last campaign in October was her toughest one in ages and she still beat 16 ocntenders with 76% of the vote.

    SUBURBANITES RULE!!! ...as we should!

  29. "Before the barrier was erected, the Bloor Street Viaduct was one of the most popular bridges in the world for suicides until a costly and controversial barrier was added to the bridge in 2003."

    Say what you will about a bridge in Toronto. Quebec still has the highest suicide rate in North America and one of the highest suicide rates in the world!

  30. Mississauga Guy to Troy...

    You're right! I wasn't going to let this one go unanswered!

    ...to Anon @ 2:41PM...

    This ANGLOPHONE continues to try speaking French (and succeeds). I just completed a whole day of French calls on the phone here in beeeeee-autiful Mississauga (no snow yet!)

    Don'cha wish you were here (except for the Leafs)? I have to get HNIC to show more Habs games.

    Yummy smoked meat at the Centre Street Deli in Thornhill, and an ex-employee from St-Viateur Bagel started the Bagel House in the GTA. Less reason to miss Montreal, but I still do have my missives.

  31. "...you are not reasonable and your blog should be shut down, for the sake of Canada's
    peace of mind."

    What do you care about "Canada's peace of mind?" I think you are referring to the peace of mind of racist Quebecois nationalists/separatists. Tell them to shut their blogs down. It is great that the awful truth about Quebec is being exposed on this blog, which is accessible to people around the world. I hope the editor gains many more readers and keeps this blog active well into the future.

  32. You are leaving out a big one: prettier girls. And that is not a Québécoise racial thing, the Italian girls here are prettier than the Italian girls in TO, Jewish girls prettier than those in TO, etc. It is something cultural. The girls here wear higher heels, longer hair, more judiciously applied make up, lower cleavages, more sass.

    Just bar-hop across the river in Ottawa / Hull any night of the week and see the short haired, khaki short and flat sandal wearing Ontarians turn into beautiful Quebecers and you will be sold on it.

  33. MTL better than toronto, hands down. and btw, mississauga is a suburban wasteland and doesn't even deserve having its own name.

  34. "You are leaving out a big one: prettier girls. And that is not a Québécoise racial thing, the Italian girls here are prettier than the Italian girls in TO, Jewish girls prettier than those in TO, etc. It is something cultural. The girls here wear higher heels, longer hair, more judiciously applied make up, lower cleavages, more sass."

    Not necessarily. Walking the streets of Montreal you see plenty of frumpy-looking women who plainly don't put much effort into their appearance. I have never bought into whole "[ethnicity] women are so hot!" thing. Any woman can look good if she eats right and takes care of herself. If anything, it's surprising that Quebec's women look as good as they do given the unhealthiness of Quebec cuisine with its poutines, tourtieres and sugar pies.

  35. Wow, I cannot believe the level of stupidity and ignorance spewed by so many Montrealers.

    Holy crap, Montreal is the most depressing, run down, dirty, broken, backwards, racist and poverty stricken region in North America. Culture? Hah, what is culture...being the heaviest group of smokers in the world? Stuffing your faces with Poutine? Quebecois "French" that sound just like hillbilly accents? The corruption that is all Quebecois bath in?

    Toronto ain't no utopia, but it's a functional, working and alive city. Things are being built and expanded, modernized and people have jobs. No one will spit on you for not being Pure-Wool Ontarian either. THAT alone is the number one reason Quebec is a unappealing to live in.

    Godamn it, Montreal just sucks beyond words. There is no positive. You're mixing up Montreal circa 1967 with Montreal circa 2010. Two different worlds, worlds apart. I suppose it's good some people in Quebec can live in a toilet up to their neck if fleeces and only smell roses and see paradise. Pretend it's something else all you want, it won't change that Quebec is the toilet of North America. Anyone with eyes and a brain can see it.

  36. Yes, there are prettier girls. Now you are talking, [well CB Haverford] the men are nicer looking too, better dressed and more polite; they will still open doors for you, unlike Toronto. (Unless you walk at the time the late shift cleaning buildings is off !!!)

    Generally speaking we live an era which fashion came to the time of the MISERABLES, from Victor Hugo. In the 60's, there was something to see back then... a real cinema on Sainte-Catherine street: designer shoes, two-piece suits, mini-skirts, long hair, pretty and good taste was on the street, on the windows and nice looking cars from good looking man!

    Sugar pie like other pies are part of our national dessert in Quebec. It is a tradition, as you don't seem to have this knowledge either. Maple sugar is one of our basic resource. So it isn't like your UNHEALTHY TORONTO HOT DOGS, MADE OF PRESS RAT, LYING AROUND VERMIN... FOR DAYS.

    It is less difficult to find work in Quebec if you are French than in Toronto. The coloured French have priority;
    Toronto is dirtier and bigger;
    Montreal has lovely dining rooms, restaurants and nice wines, specialty foods and is generally cleaner than Toronto.
    People are pushier on the sidewalks in Toronto. A lot of police have to watch in Toronto downtown.

    QUEBECOIS ARE NOT RACIST. you are THE ONE WHO IS racist, BY imposng your lousy culture and awful English slang. LIVE AND LET LIVE OTHER PEOPLE ! Would you say that to the people of Sénégal,of Aosti, in Luxembourg, in Belgium !
    (QUEBEC ACT 1774) ALSO UNITED NATION is helping to protect 6,750 languages in their country.

    The French quartiers are a lot cheaper to rent, unless you buy a condo.English rentals or houses are high.

    Condos in Toronto are extremely small for the money asked, rents are higher and the neighbours are often terrible if you find the price reasonable.

  37. Montreal has a lot of fun in the winter:

    -skying or simply sliding with a flying saucer;
    -skating: lac des castors, arenas and indoor rinks very poche from the Metro line !
    -contests of snow sculptures;
    -excellent evening shows;
    -Montrealers are people who like to dance ! This is part of their tradition ("joie de vivre" unlike their fellow English Canadian who followed their puritanism instincts;
    -eating in restaurants are lasting sometimes a whole night long !
    -fun in walking with snow shoes in Montreal, in the Mountain etc..!
    There used to have Ice palaces in Montreal:
    The winter "cabanes à sucre" sugering off are a beautiful experience;
    If you want to visit and know in advance their activities, festivities or exhibition call free of charge:
    If you want the service in English, be polite, and ask for it. You will be well served. REMEMBER: be polite people on the blog!!!!

  38. Definitely the people who complains about the traffic in Montreal never drove in Paris !
    What a sheltered life you had !

  39. To Anonymous at 9:55 PM:


    immediately followed by: "QUEBECOIS ARE NOT RACIST."

    Methinks you are contradicting yourself. What a fool!

  40. "Sugar pie like other pies are part of our national dessert in Quebec. Maple sugar is one of our basic resource."

    This tradition of eating sweet, sugary foods might explain why the Quebecois rapidly developed such an appetite for May West cakes and Pepsi drinks when these were introduced. No wonder they have the worst, most rotten teeth in the industrialized world.

  41. "Before the barrier was erected, the Bloor Street Viaduct was one of the most popular bridges in the world for suicides until a costly and controversial barrier was added to the bridge in 2003."

    A suicide prevention barrier also had to be installed on the Jacques Cartier bridge in 2004. So many people were jumping to their deaths after losing everything at the Montreal casino.

    The Quebecois tend to follow their nationalistic political leaders like sheep. Too bad they don't follow them like lemmings instead, and commit mass suicide by jumping off cliffs.

  42. @ Anon. at 9:55 PM:


    This is an excellent idea. In Quebec, everyone should have the freedom to choose which language they wish to live and work in. They should be able to select the language of education for their children without intervention from the government. And they should be able to operate their businesses and advertise in whatever language they desire without being harassed.

  43. The suburbs around toronto are alot larger then that of Montreal. Missisauga alone has over 800 000 people. The downtown toronto area is at least double that of Montreal. You don't have to change your shock observers as much and property taxes per sq foot is cheaper. The Gardiner Expressway is alot better designed then both the Met and the 720. I found that on the gardiner even at Rushhour at 5:00 PM traffic is slow but it still moves and rarely will you be completely stalled. Try that between Decarie and l'acadie circles.

    Whats funny is in Montreal, the Quebec Dept. of Transport screwed up L'acadie circle even more then it already was. I am not an engineer but I always thought, why not just straighten the L'acadie circle.

    I wonder if Montreal will again look like it did in the 1980s and 1990s if(when) the PQ win the next election.

  44. It goes without saying that you can not blame less pot-holes in Toronto on better management. Obviously pot-holes are a function of freeze/thaw cycles, the depth of the frost-line (how deep under the surface of the road water freezes and expands), the composition of the soil under the roads and its moisture content, and the amount of snow removal activity scraping on the roads surface that goes on. This is all harsher in Montreal than Toronto.


    Vous êtes un anarchiste monsieur.La France va bientôt appliquer la loi 101 (version Européenne) afin de stopper l'anglo-virus.Les angloches seront bientôt persona non grata chez-nous aussi.

    Bravo cousins!Nous sommes avec vous.

  46. "It goes without saying that you can not blame less pot-holes in Toronto on better management. Obviously pot-holes are a function of freeze/thaw cycles, the depth of the frost-line (how deep under the surface of the road water freezes and expands), the composition of the soil under the roads and its moisture content, and the amount of snow removal activity scraping on the roads surface that goes on. This is all harsher in Montreal than Toronto."

    What about the roads where Quebec borders on Ontario and the northeastern United States? The climate is exactly the same at these locations. But the quality of the roads goes down the toilet (with many more cracks and potholes) immediately upon crossing these borders onto roads within Quebec. Explain that!

  47. "It goes without saying that you can not blame less pot-holes in Toronto on better management. Obviously pot-holes are a function of freeze/thaw cycles, the depth of the frost-line (how deep under the surface of the road water freezes and expands), the composition of the soil under the roads and its moisture content, and the amount of snow removal activity scraping on the roads surface that goes on. This is all harsher in Montreal than Toronto. "

    It goes without saying how incredibly stupid anyone is to gobble up this load of crap excuse spewed from Quebec officials!

    It has EVERYTHING to do with management...

    1) Quebec uses sub-standard materials that make up the mixture roads are paved with. These are lower grade materials than anywhere else in the world. Our roads are not designed to last in any climate, let alone a harsh Canadian climate.

    2) Quebec lays down only a THIN layer asphalt on all roads. Elsewhere in the world, the asphalt is SEVERAL inches thick.

    3) Quebec construction workers, lazy and corrupt as they are, take shortcuts and do not follow standard procedure and protocol in building roads. I've routinely seen cases where they'll pave right over dead leaves and garbage! No joke! Guess what that does in a freeze/thaw cycle.

    Did you know despite all these skimming-off-the-top measures to build roads dirt cheap as possible, Quebec roads cost tax payers MORE than elsewhere in the world? Say 50% more?
    Hah, two years ago they completely repaved most of Sherbrooke Street. Within less than a year cracks formed, now two years later there are holes forming. Great job.

    Mais oui! Spend $1,000, bill tax payers $20,000. Play around with figures in books and pocket all this nice "profit". Cette la vive au Quebec.

    You know, this whole debate about Montreal vs Toronto is pointless as far as Quebecers are concerned. Much like people are brainwashed into believing the weather is the fault of potholes here (yet oddly enough, Vermont and Ontario have the same weather and have virtual NO potholes or crumbling roads) they are brainwashed into believing everything else in Quebec is wonderful, when it's not. One of my friends claim the roads, health care, government, animal protection laws, language laws (!) are the SAME where ever you go in Canada. Even telling me Quebec is better off in these areas. Talk about being a mindless zombie.


  49. TEETH: The only people who are making more money than a GP, and still a minor profession is to be a dentist. Dentists are making a mint in Toronto, they don't kill people generally, but they have less responsibility than a GP. People in Toronto are snobs about their teeth: the Toronto French school is full of kids saying"I have braces, because I can afford it" my parents are rich. So this is the way the English are.Not because of the sugar we use in our food,imbecile. Too bad you were treated of having square ideas hey ? they bounce from one corner to another, you cannot think properly. Not my fault, you are the one who is treating the French of Racist, because they are different and they want to stay there way. Can you write in French dummy ?

  50. @ 7:21 PM:

    It is possible to have very nice teeth without the application of braces. The Quebecois eat tons and tons of sugary foods and it is an accepted medical fact that sugar causes tooth decay. The Quebecois have terrible teeth, especially in their small backwater towns.

  51. YOur tons of sugar are simply not adding up.
    Teetch care is a question of priority. For the anglophones it counts more.
    Let me telle you that Torontonians are eating a lot of fast food which is deficient in dietary fiber and essential micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
    To make matters worse, heaps of fast food are normally guzzled down with gallons of sugar-rich colas which many fast-food restaurants serve free with food as an incentive.
    To make a long story short, all this results in piling up of unused empty calories in the body, which get stored as body fat "“ till one day you look in the mirror and realize that your great figure has been replaced by this creature in the mirror. University of Toronto his filled with vending machine, soft-drinks machine etc... Espacially bad for young female who have problems after a pregnancy to get back to their normal size. LOOK AT YOUR MIRROR, NOW IT'S TIME !

  52. I think the next Plouffe episodes will have to be written from a French bus riding along Toronto: braces, skin heads, beggars dancing on Bloor street, demolishion of old buildings, giant roaches on building, running shoes in the snow, no hats, jeans with holes, jeans with a bit of fabric among the holes, people with no teeth, red hair, pink hair, tattoos on arms,spitting on sidewalks, chewing and walking, very nice...

  53. I think I forgot: people racing with canes, dogs pissing on buildings, bagpacks on people, bagpacks on kids, bagpacks on students, Chineese people, Chineese people, people pushing on the train,Oh, Creeds is no longer there, students with cokes in their hands, gangs of nerds kicking a ball on the sidewalk, the Bata shoe museum is free on week-end if you give a pair of socks away, empty stores, no jobs, someone is going to the washroom in front of the tree oh... dreadful...

  54. C'est quand même pas nous qui avons inventé toute cette merde industrielle.Les anglos sont les plus gros bouffeurs de "donuts" au monde.Il se boit aux États-unis a chaque jour l'équivalent du débit des chutes du Niagara pendant 7 minutes...Ouach!

    Vive les anglos et leurs McDonald's qui ont pour but d'empoisonner la planète.

  55. Erratum:
    Il se boit aux États-unis autant de coke a chaque jour que l'équivalent du débit des chutes du Niagara pendant 7 minutes...Ouach!

  56. Ah! Ah! Ah! les beignes sucrés et le coke de Toronto mais ce sont des choses RACISTES QUE DE PARLER CONTRE CELA !
    Enfin les Torontois n'aiment pas l'histoire, n'aiment pas les autres qu'eux même et aiment leur ville de misérables.
    Merci Cousin, un pour tous, tous pour un. (Dumas)

  57. À la suite de la demande de la Toronto Foundation for Student Success (Fondation) et sous la bannière d’Enfants affamés, ils ne peuvent pas apprendre, le Maire de Toronto, au nom du Conseil municipal de la ville, a proclamé la semaine passée comme une semaine pour «Les enfants affamés de Toronto».

    L’objectif était de sensibiliser les citoyens aux liens qui existent entre la bonne nutrition et l’apprentissage ainsi que la discipline dans la classe. Il était aussi question de soutenir les divers programmes nutritifs pour les élèves de Toronto.

    D’ailleurs, plusieurs études ont démontré que les enfants bien nourris réussissent mieux à l'école et que leurs capacités de concentration améliorent davantage leurs aptitudes d’apprendre.

    Les étudiants de Toronto ont de graves problèmes avec la lecture et le calcul mental. En Chine, aux mêmes niveaux, ils réussissent beaucoup, beaucoup mieux. Sachant que les Torontois n'aiment pas apprendre les langues, la leur fera défaut à coups sûrs !
    Merci 9:49 ! C'est gentil votre appui.

  58. Toronto recherche des Francophones pour le travail. Souvent avec plus d'éducation qu'un anglophone, c'est ce qui se produit:

    Lorsqu'embauchés ils doivent utiliser la porte du personnel de l'entretien,

    ils doivent travailler plus tard sans être payés,

    ils ont droit à peu de temps pour le lunch,

    ils sont insécures de leurs emplois.

    Résultat: Toronto est un camp de concentration pour les Francophones. Je préfère ne plus penser aux Torontoi qui ne font que rire des Francophones,de leurs jouer de sales tours et n'ont aucun respect pour eux. C'est tout comme les années 60 des USA, lorsque les noirs devaient aller à l'arrière du bus.

  59. @ anon 12:18

    There are more French Citizens that are in Toronto then in Montreal. Many of the immigrants from France originally resided in Quebec.

    Its funny. The French Speaking immigrants I met in toronto, many French speakers from France, North Africa and even Haiti in Toronto. They told me that the reason they had to come to Toronto was because the Quebecois would treat them like dirt in Quebec. When applying for a JOB the Quebecois Pur Laine would behave as if they were doing these people a favour by allowing them to be interviewed.

    IF these French speakers are complaining about how they are treated in Quebec, imagine what english speakers have to complain about.

    Worst yet is anglophone and allophones contribute more taxes per capita to subsidise the anti-minority laws of Quebec. When they move to ontario or other parts of Canada they still have to pay for Quebec through equalization.

    I've always felt that it would be in English Canadas' interest to send as many english speaking welfare recipients as possible to Quebec to dilute the population and take a piece of all that equalization thats coming to quebec anyway. At least there would be less money going to the pur laine chauvanists.

  60. Anon 12:32AM: "Je préfère ne plus penser aux Torontoi qui ne font que rire des Francophones,de leurs jouer de sales tours et n'ont aucun respect pour eux"

    I'm wondering, is this the guy's real experience, or is it something he read on vigile.net?

  61. how depressing that this website even exists. you do a disservice to the anglo community of montreal.

  62. This place and the comments do a disservice to all of us.

    Les comments dans ce place ne donnez pas rien pour tout le monde