The idea of the artificial urban beach is not entirely new. It’s been a good decade since Parisians were first able to disrobe and flop their sunscreen-lathered selves on the moderately hot sand of Paris-Plages. There are similar projects elsewhere - in Brussels, Shanghai, and Chicago, among other places. For most of the 20th century, though, the sorry state of the waterfronts in major North American cities kind of rendered the whole concept of sunbathing anywhere near them a stunt falling somewhere between the eccentric and the absurd. Fortunately, things are changing...
Almost 30 years in the making, not even exactly finished, actually, and drawing out not much more than a collective yawn from the local press for its architectural qualities, the new Montreal Symphony Hall (la Maison symphonique de Montréal
) nevertheless opened its doors to a select group of invitees and hosted the inaugural concert on Wednesday...
Last year we wrote about the massive reconstruction project in the
Quartier des Spectacles - namely, a new plaza for the yearly Jazz Festival and similar events. One year has passed and the project bore its first visible (or, rather, walkable) fruit.
The $40-million Place des Festivals plaza was unveiled last month with an inaugural show featuring fluttering multi-colored water jets (a rather expensive spectacle, opined some local journalists) and packs of awe-stricken tourists enjoying the last warm days of Montreal’s short summer.
Having snubbed the inauguration festivities, I went by with my camera to take a look a few days later...
With only a minimal delay, Le Westin Montréal by Starwood opened
this month in the Quartier International, right next
to the Palais des Congrès. The hotel appears to be
a solid, reasonably stylish choice for business visitors,
although some PR claims do seem a bit exaggerated...
The voting process for the name of Montreal’s citywide bike rental program is over and the winner is chosen. The system is going to be called “BIXI”.
Over the next month, demo bikes will be wheeled around the city and public demonstrations will be held. According to the city’s mayor, Gerald Tremblay, by next spring Montreal will have 2,400 bikes at more than 300 solar-powered stations...