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4. How We Get There

Park Ave Corridor Development Strategy

The Ave du Parc Light Rail Transit project offers an opportunity to create significant improvements to the neighbourhoods it passes through and to the city as a whole. To fully capitalize on the project, the involvement of multiple stakeholders at both the local and regional scale is required.

In this section you will find:
Section 4.1 – “Moving Forward” describes the the stakeholders in the project.
Section 4.2 – “Parc LRT; Live, Learn, Work & Play” provides a summary of the projects goals, and approach.

Section 5 – Reference Materials


Summer Lunch


A neighbourhood squirrel came over to take a drink from my smoothie when I wasn’t looking.

Canadian Street Car Advertising Co.

street car advertising

The classical stonework in the facade of a building on Cote Du Beaver Hall reveals its former tenant.

The Chess Match


Chess games in progress at Place Émilie-Gamelin, Montreal.

Becoming a Communauto ist

This past November faced with escalating repair, insurance and gas costs along with the frustration of having to dig a car that I only used once or twice a week out of the snow bank I decided to retire my old Honda Accord and go car free. My experience being car less was overall a great one. I saved a bunch of money from the running costs and didn’t have to dig anything out of a snow bank, however there were a number of occasions where I found myself wishing that I still had access to four wheels and a trunk. Trips to the grocery store being a perfect example. Sure as a student delivery is only five bucks from my local IGA but what if I wanted to go someplace else, take for example the local food wholesaler:  Aubut, sure it isn’t far from my house but carting home a ten pound bag of rice on my head wasn’t exactly good for my back.

So this year armed with my tax return I decided to take the plunge and join the local car sharing service Communauto. This made in Quebec care sharing company has been around since its creation in 1994 in Quebec City by Benoît Robert and it is the oldest car sharing service in North America. In 1995 it established itself in Montreal as a private business.

The Communauto website lists itself as ‘A different kind of car use’

Communauto provides its members with exclusive access to its vehicles. By becoming a Communauto subscriber, you gain access to a fleet of cars that you can reserve at low cost for a half-hour, an hour, a day or longer, according to your needs. Located in the heart of your neighbourhood, the cars are available without delay, 24/7.

Communauto pays all the costs related to the normal operation of the service: vehicle purchasing, financing, registration, insurance, repairs and maintenance, as well as all administrative costs… and even gas! No more surprise repair bills! Communauto takes care of everything!

I signed up for Package C as I have only ever been an occasional car user and went to the orientation. I found the process all very convenient though as an anglophone I had to wait an extra couple of weeks to get an appointment with a English speaking orienter. My favourite moment of the whole process was when I we were discussing the rates, $35 annual membership fees which included insurance with a 500$ deductible. The orienter then mentioned that I could get a zero deductible for 40$ more.  Being used to regular insurance rates I asked if that was a per month fee to which he replied, nope thats annual. $70 for a year member ship with no deductible insurance? Having paid $50/m for occasional driver insurance with a $500 deductible I was impressed.  Joining Communauto was going to save me $530 per year on insurance alone!

Now a couple weeks into my membership I am impressed and happy, the per mile rates are low and I expect to see my monthly bill around 25$ per month with gas included. The only down sides I have seen so far are that the website is terrible is you are trying to book a car using a black berry. The java keeps getting in the way and I often have  to give up and either find a computer to do it or cave and call in to do my booking.  The only other thing that I find frustrating is some of my fellow users. Most of the cars still have that new car smell, but you can tell when you have gotten into one after someone with a dog, more on that in future posts!

I have to say though, a couple weeks in and I am a convert. Car sharing is the way to go!

The Canuhome

So I have been meaning to write up a post on the Canühome ever since I saw one at the Montreal Design Show but the handout sat on my desk for months and months. However the snails pace at which it took me to post the canühome doesn’t diminish the value of the project. The concept behind the canühome is pretty simple, its 850 square feet of space that can be put almost anywhere.

The project partners have created the canühome exhibit to educate and empower consumers about what they “Can” do to decrease their utility bills, improve indoor air quality and help the environment

“Can Ü make a difference? Yes Ü can…it all starts at the canühome.”

The canühome exhibit is a full-size home that showcases the latest in sustainable and universal design with fea-tures such as improved indoor air and environment qua-lity; a reduced ecological footprint through energy, water and resource efficiency; universal, accessible and adap-table design to meet changing needs; and affordable green financing.

This traveling exhibit brings together a diverse group of partners in an innovative effort to stimulate more intel-ligent housing solutions for Canadians. Partners include Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), George Brown College’s Institute Without Boundaries (IwB), The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Canada Trust), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and numerous product and service providers such as Bosch Home Appliances, Procter and Gamble’s Future Friendly brands and Juice Works Exhibits and Displays.

“CMHC is proud to be a partner in creating and show-casing innovative and intelligent housing solutions through the canühome exhibit,” Peter Friedmann, CMHC Ontario General Manager. “As Canada’s national housing agency and authority in housing technology, construction, design and finance, CMHC recognizes the importance of creating sustainable, equitable and affor-dable communities.”

Designed by IwB, the canühome draws design inspi-ration from CMHC’s EQuilibrium, Healthy HousingTM and FlexHousingTM Initiatives. It is constructed using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood pro-ducts and is eligible for savings through green financial tools available from CMHC and TD Canada Trust.

“IwB’s collaboration with CMHC began in 2006 when IwB adapted housing designs that CMHC had created for non-profit and affordable housing groups. The part-nership continued as IwB incorporated CMHC research into their World House Project in Costa Rica. Building on the research conducted in the World House Project, a team of faculty, students and experts have created the canühome as an exemplary home environment that re-imagines how we may live in the near future,” says Luigi Ferrara, Director, Centre for Arts & Design and Institute Without Boundaries at George Brown College.

Housing affordability is inherent in this intelligent design as it is more durable, adaptable, lasts longer, is more efficient, and less costly to operate.

“To help consumers make environmentally friendly homebuying choices, TD Canada Trust offers green mortgage or home equity line of credit discounts and rebates and a $100 donation to TD Friends of the En-vironment Foundation. As part of the canühome launch we will offer a rebate of up to 1.5 per cent of the green mortgage or home equity line of credit amount, on the customer’s purchase of Energy Star appliances,” says Joan Dal Bianco, TD Canada Trust Vice President,  Real Estate Secured Lending.

In addition, CMHC offers a 10 per cent mortgage loan insurance premium refund to make energy efficient home purchases and renovations more affordable.

The canühome meets LEED® standards through the use of FSC certified wood products.

“Purchasing wood products certified to FSC’s rigorous environmental and social standards is one of the most effective ways of supporting healthy forests and healthy communities. FSC is the only forest certification system supported by environmental groups worldwide and the only one recognized under the LEED® green building ra-ting system,” said Antony Marcil, President and C.E.O., FSC Canada.


Seen In The City: Edifice Du Parc


Historic building on Avenue du Parc in Montreal QC.

Light Rail Transit and the 2007 Montreal Transportation Plan

In the following article the author examines the potential for the City of Montreal’s 2007 Transportation Plan to achieve the goals it has set out for itself in terms of ridership, and improvements to the city over all. The article cross references ‘Urban Rail Systems: Analysis of the factors behind success’ by Babalik-Sutcliff (2002) and ‘Urban development, redevelopment and regeneration encouraged by transport infrastructure projects: The case study of 12 European cities’ by Gospodini (2005).

The Montreal Transportation Plan: Reinvent Montreal, published in 2007, lays out the city’s priorities for public transit development in Montreal. The overall objective of the plan is to meet the mobility needs of greater Montreal, make the city a great place to live and to foster economic development.(Montreal, 2007) The plan forecasts increases in population and jobs between 2007 and 2021 and suggests a corresponding increase in commutes within the island. The transportation plan lays out a number of additions and improvements that should to be made to the road network, subway network, and the introduction of tramways or a light rail transit (LRT) system to the city. The transportation plan proposes concrete measures to reach a balance between the commuting needs of the population and the quality of environment.


Seen in the City: Place Ville Marie

Place Ville Marie at Night

Place Ville Marie at Night

The Abandoned Hearth

Remains of a hearth after a building is removed on Sherbrooke St Montreal

Remains of a hearth after a building is removed on Sherbrooke St Montreal

Dealing with urban heat islands

Temperatures across the Island of Montreal (1985)

Temperatures across the Island of Montreal (1985)

The Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal group in Montreal was interviewed in the Gazette the other day about urban heat islands. If you are unsure as to what these are, just consider the difference between being in a parking lot at the end of a hot day vs. being in a park at the end of a hot day. Chances are you are at least subconsciously aware that the park is much more comfortable and much cooler. This effect has to do with the fact that, while plants and greenery tend to shade and absorb heat, concrete, pavement, and asphalt tend to reflect and then store heat, not only intensifying the heat during the day, but keeping the area warmer over all by releasing it later in the day. If you don’t believe it, try walking past a blank brick wall that has had sun all afternoon and once the sun is down and pay attention to the temperature. Cities tend to exacerbate this problem as these materials form the majority of their components. In many cities the temperature is 5 to 10 degrees above the regional average.

To combat hot spots, the city of Montreal has teamed up with the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal and the Conférence régionale des élus, a regional development group, to create more green spaces with the help of concerned businesses and residents.

So far, their are more than 30 participants, including Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport, Alcoa and Hydro-Québec.

“We need to start building a greener city,” said Helen Fotopulos, the city of Montreal executive committee member responsible for parks and green spaces.

“Instead of heat islands, we need to create more cool islands like this,” Fotopulos said after a news conference yesterday that was held in a city garden. source

Creating more parkspace will not only improve the look of our cities it can also help our bottom line by making the city less expensive to cool. Just in case you needed another reason to love parks.

Gardens of Delight

Koi in the Japanese Garden, Photo by Jonathan Kaiser

One of the great things about living in an urban area are the extras that you only get once cities are of a certain size. Many of these gems are places that as a local you will tend to forget about until you have an out of town friend come to visit. This past weekend we headed to one of these extras when we visited the Botanical Gardens in Montreal. The Gardens in Montréal are comprised of a main pavilion done in a deco style, much like many of the assorted public markets in the city. The Main buildings were designed by Architect Lucien F. Kéroack in 1932, and are completed in 1937 after being stalled for four years. The four years saw the project left in disarray and some of the greenhouses were turned into Rabbit hutches. Work on the project was restarted in 1935 after Camilien Houde is elected mayor and Brother Marie-Victorin makes an impassioned plea about the cities need for a botanical garden.

“We will soon be celebrating Montréal’s three hundredth anniversary. You need to give a gift, a royal gift, to the City, our city. But Montréal is Ville-Marie, a woman…and you certainly can’t give her a storm sewer or a police station…It’s obvious what you must do! Give her a corsage for her lapel. Fill her arms to overflowing with all the roses and lilies of the field!” source.

Over the course of the next 70 years the gardens continued to develop after a wartime lull. The Gardens have an extensive collection of different plant types and species with number different themed gardens, after a trip to the insectarium we took a tour through the Japanese garden which would definitely have to be one of the most calming gardens I have been too in a while.

While I was disappointed by the number of stay off the lawn signs, that’s a discussion for later. If your city has a botanical or public garden take the time to reacquaint yourself.

Montreal Botanical Gardens