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MTL BeachThe 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 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...

Read the rest of: "The Sandy Shores of.. Montreal
Better Late New Montreal Symphony Hall Opens Its Doors
Posted by Slavito in Montreal + Places on 09/Sep/2011
Montreal Symphony Hall (teaser)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...

Read the rest of: "New Montreal Symphony Hall Opens Its Doors
Place des Festivals (teaser)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...

Read the rest of: "Place des Festivals Opens, Fountains Operational
Le Westin Montréal Opens
Posted by Slavito in Montreal + Places on 23/Jun/2009
Le Westin Montreal (illuminated sign)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...

Read the rest of: "Le Westin Montréal Opens
BiXi Launched
Posted by Gromco in Montreal on 20/May/2009
Bixi Tremblay DelanoëThe moment has finally come! After many months in the making, the much-talked-about Montreal public bike rental system, Bixi, has launched. Over the past few weeks the city has installed a number of automated bike rental stations and launched a web site allowing users to see availabilities in real time (both the number of available bikes and available docking slots).

Although the system is geared mainly towards residents of the city, tourists can take advantage of it as well, with monthly and even daily tariffs available.

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on Montreal MetroA bewildered American tourist who vacationed in Montreal this summer recently wrote a letter to the Gazette, the local anglophone daily, wondering why announcements on the metro are delivered only in French.

The newspaper's response and the quotes it extracted from various officials highlighted an interesting contrast in policies between Montreal and Paris public transportation services. While in Paris, announcements are routinely delivered in three languages (French, English and a rotating third major language), Montreal metro will only play a pre-recorded bilingual tape in emergency situations ("fire! get out!"). "Routine" messages such as announcements of delays are delivered only in French as a matter of policy...

Read the rest of: "Montreal Métro Passengers Lost With No Translation
BIXI: Bike, Taxi, Montreal
Posted by Slavito in Montreal on 22/Sep/2008
bixi (teaser)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, Gérald Tremblay, by next spring Montreal will count 2,400 bikes at more than 300 solar-powered stations...

Read the rest of: "BIXI: Bike, Taxi, Montreal
Hilton Garden Inn (Centre-ville)Construction crews are still crawling over the central tower of the new Hilton Garden Inn on Rue Sherbrooke, but the hotel is already open for business, as made evident not only by the banner that says as much, but also by a quasi-permanent line of cabs picking up departing guests...

Read the rest of: "New Hilton Garden Inn / Centre-ville
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