A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘churchill

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Kingston, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec City, Churchill

  • The vacancy rate in Kingston is easily the lowest of any major Ontario city, even worse than Toronto. Global News reports.
  • CBC notes that Ottawa is continuing to work on building a film centre in its Greenbelt.
  • La Presse notes that residents of the neighbourhood of Glenmount, in the Montréal borough of Côte-des-Neiges, are threatening to separate from the city.
  • Québec City has again been rejected by the NHL, the North American hockey league deciding not to situate a team in this pro-hockey town despite strong local support. CBC reports.
  • After more than a year, regular passenger rail service has finally resumed between Winnipeg and Churchill. CBC reports.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city notes: Churchill, New York City, Stockbridge, Ponce, Ramallah

  • MacLean’s looks at the long and sorry neglect of the Manitoba Arctic port of Churchill in its time of need by the Canadian federal government.
  • Wired looks at the “pink tax” in New York City, the extra costs imposed on women who need to take private transit in order to avoid harassment in public spaces.
  • Eater profiles the efforts of white neighborhoods in the Georgia city of Stockbridge to secede, something ostensibly presented as a desire to attract Cheesecake Factory and other restaurants to these areas.
  • CityLab reports on a sensitive effort to restore an art deco building in the Puerto Rican city of Ponce.
  • The Palestinian city of Ramallah, Guardian Cities reports, has its architectural heritage threatened by an unregulated construction boom.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Montréal, New York City, Amazon HQ2, Churchill, Edinburgh

  • MTL Blog shares photos of the interior of one apartment in Montréal’s Habitat 67 on sale for a mere $C 1.4 million.
  • Justin Petrone writes lyrically about his return visit to New York City.
  • CityLab considers the tax, and other, advantages that would apply to Amazon if it split its HQ2 between two cities.
  • Global News notes that the Manitoba Arctic port of Churchill, newly reconnected by rail, could thrive given global warming.
  • Guardian Cities notes controversy in Edinburgh over notes controversy in Edinburgh over possible gentrification of Leith Walk, an art deco block built of sandstone.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Churchill, Calgary, New York City, Beirut, Jaywick Sands

  • Repair to the railroad that provided the only land connection of Churchill, Manitoba, to the rest of Canada has finally been repaired, and the first train in a year has come in. CBC reports.
  • Jason Markusoff at MacLean’s notes that city council in Calgary salvaged the city’s 2026 Olympics bid, for now.
  • CityLab notes an experiment with commercial rent control in New York City, in an effort to prevent the collapse of the small and independent retail sector.
  • As the trash disposal crisis in Beirut continues, CityLab notes that poor children in the Lebanese capital are trying to scavenge from the city’s waste.
  • The SCMP notes the unhappiness of the people of the English village of Jaywick Sands that an old image of their community was used in an American attack ad.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Canada cities links: Port Hope, Wilberforce, Halifax, Churchill, Hamilton

  • The cleanup of low-level radioactive waste from the area of Port Hope is, at last, underway. CBC reports.
  • The small Ontario town of Wilberforce is apparently undergoing something of a revival as a result of geocaching. VICE reports.
  • Halifax has plans to build a waterfront cultural complex, of galleries and educational centres. Global News reports.
  • The northern Manitoba community of Churchill is enjoying fresh and affordable produce thanks to hydroponics. CBC reports.
  • Hamilton comic artist Michael Walsh is drawing for Marvel, and others. The Hamilton Spectator reports.

[NEWS] Four infrastructure links: Churchill, Hydro-Quebec, Mr. Christie condos in Mimico, Port Lands

  • The failure to repair the railway linking Churchill to the rest of Canada is going to have huge consequences. CBC reports.
  • With relatively green hydro energy, Hydro-Quebec is set to become a major exporter of power to the US. The Globe and Mail reports.
  • The old lands of Mr. Christie to Mimico, in south Etobicoke, is set to become a new condo-heavy Liberty Village. Torontoist reports.
  • Christopher Hume does not at all like the idea of just giving a bit chunk of the Port Lands to the movie industry. He writes in the Toronto Star.

[URBAN NOTE] Four links on cities around the world: Churchill, Halifax, London, New York City

  • CBC reports on how the Hudson Bay port of Churchill could profit from global warming opening up sea lanes but suffer from heaving land wrecking infrastructure.
  • Brett Bundale reports on how Halifax, Nova Scotia, is booming, unlike the rest of the Maritimes.
  • This article describing how the London police remain vague about the number of dead in Grenfell Tower is horrifying.
  • Global News reports on how many in Harlem dislike the idea of renaming their neighbourhood’s south “SoHa”.

[URBAN NOTE] Two links on the questionable prospects of the Arctic port of Churchill, Manitoba

Scott Gilmore of MacLean’s wrote in the atmospheric Abandoned Churchill” about the distress of people in the northern Manitoba port of Churchill, a perpetually promising port on Hudson’s Bay, that their port is being shut down.

I flew up to Churchill in a small private plane, with a map in my lap so I could trace our progress north.

This is a good way to appreciate how vast and empty this country is. Churchill is as far from Winnipeg as Toronto is from Nashville. From the cockpit, on a clear August day, the pilot and I could see for more than 100 km in every direction. It was simply forest, muskeg and hundreds of lakes, most left nameless on my map. But it did show the occasional mine, fishing camp or radio tower, and each of these was marked with the same bracketed annotation: (Abandoned).

We began our descent just as Hudson Bay appeared on the horizon. The town sits on a narrow point of land bounded by the sea to the north and the Churchill River to the south and west. The first visible landmarks were the grey stone walls of Fort Prince of Wales (abandoned 1782) and the white grain elevators of the Port of Churchill (abandoned 2016).

The massive superstructure of the port is visible from everywhere, and the main street ends right at its gates. When I pulled up in my rental pickup, these were open—the guard shack empty.

Other than the concrete elevators and the loading gantries there was not much to see. A rusting tugboat sits on blocks. There are no train cars waiting to be unloaded, and no ships to take on cargo. Other than seagulls and the wind, it was quiet.

At 4:30 p.m., though, a few people began to emerge and walk toward their cars. This was the last shift, leaving for the last time.

In the National Post, Brian Hutchinson’s “Port in a storm” also looks at length at the dire situation for the town. Without the port–something that might well be useful in time of global warning–what point is there to keep Churchill, isolated in the far north, functioning as a community?

Bobby deMeulles sits at his usual perch, next to a window at the Reef coffee shop, keeping an eye on Churchill’s main drag, and beyond that, the town’s old train station and the tracks.

This time of year, railway cars filled with prairie wheat should be rolling past the station for the port of Churchill, 500 metres down the line on Hudson Bay. There are no grain cars today.

There haven’t been any all summer, because Canada’s only deep-water Arctic port — the only port of consequence along 162,000 kilometres of northern coastline — has suspended all grain shipments, a decision made by its Denver-based owner, OmniTRAX Inc.

DeMeulles figured something was up, long before the company announced last month it was halting port operations, save for the movement of local freight to small communities further along the Hudson Bay coastline, mostly in Nunavut.


A private transportation company with most of its holdings in American short-line railways, OmniTRAX Inc. claims none of its regular grain suppliers wanted to do business at Churchill this year. “The grain season for 2016 has passed the solutions stage,” it says. Townsfolk wonder if it ever really tried to salvage the season.

DeMeulles understands how things are done in Churchill. He spent 60 years working at the port, receiving grain, cleaning it, running the elevator. He retired just four years ago, when he turned 75. “I worked until I couldn’t work no more,” he says. “I was well looked after.”

But things looked bleak, well before OmniTRAX pulled the plug on the current shipping season.

“We’d always know how many ships were nominated (coming to the port) well ahead of summer,” deMeulles explains. “We’d first start to hear about the nominations in March. Grain would starting coming up in railcars around the June 15. If you don’t hear nothing, and you don’t see nothing, and there’s no grain coming, you know something’s wrong.”

He shakes his head. “It’s a terrible thing, for a small town.”

Written by Randy McDonald

August 27, 2016 at 3:02 pm