A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘montréal

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Halifax, Montréal, Detroit, Bonn, land prices

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  • Halifax, despite being the best candidate in the Maritimes, is not going to try to get a new CFL team. Global News reports.
  • Will repairs to the Olympic Stadium of Montréal be enough to bring back that city’s Expos? The consensus seems to be that it won’t be. Global News tells the story.
  • This report on how community activists and non-profits are trying to establish Internet access in Detroit for people neglected by big telecoms is actually inspiring. VICE reports.
  • The former West German capital of Bonn, politico.eu reports, has built a new international role for itself as a UN-linked centre for environmental organizations.
  • Justin Fox at Bloomberg notes that not only are rising prices for land and real estate a global problem, but that no one knows what to do about this inequality-aggravating issue.
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Written by Randy McDonald

November 21, 2017 at 12:44 am

[URBAN NOTE] Five notes: Montréal, New York City, Palm Springs, Johnstown, global warming

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  • The Guardian reports on a new exhibition dedicated to Leonard Cohen in Montréal’s Musée d’art contemporain.
  • Apartments in Manhattan lacking doormen have apparently become cheaper recently. Bloomberg reports.
  • The city council of Palm Springs, long a queer mecca, is now composed entirely of out LGBTQ people. The Desert Sun reports.
  • Politico visits Trump voters of the declining industrial city of Johnston and finds people who still support him.
  • National Observer shares maps of sea level rise revealing the exceptional vulnerability of the cities of Canada.

[URBAN NOTE] Edmonton, Dartmouth, Montréal and Valérie Plante, Trump and the Bills

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  • Global News notes a celebration of Harbin Gate, in Edmonton, a Chinese monument that may not be reassembled.
  • Dartmouth, it’s being said, is becoming the Brooklyn of Halifax. Global News reports.
  • It turns out that Donald Trump was involved in the push to keep the Buffalo Bills from moving to Toronto. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Chantal Hébert places the election of Valérie Plante as mayor of Montréal in the context of a backlash against elites.
  • Toula Drimonis at the National Observer places the election of Valérie Plante in the context of her strengths as a believable politician.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the import of comet A/2017U1, a potential visitor from another planetary system, while Centauri Dreams also takes a look.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly celebrates Montréal’s Atwater Market, with photos.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes one report that Ceres’ primordial ocean may have mixed with its surface, to make a world covered in salty mud.
  • The Map Room Blog links to an interactive French-language map looking at census data on different neighbourhoods in different cities.
  • The New APPS Blog looks at the changing role of the judiciary as enforcing of order in a privatized world.
  • The NYR Daily wonders if North Korea’s government has firm control over its nuclear weapons, given American issues.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the expansion of Google Maps to other worlds in our solar system.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer examines the situation facing Catalonia, and Spain, after the UDI.
  • Roads and Kingdoms takes a photographic look at Little Mogadishu, a Somali neighbourhood in Kampala, Uganda.
  • Rocky Planet notes the ongoing risk of a major volcanic eruption at Tinakula, in the Solomon Islands.
  • Understanding Society takes a look at the role and functioning of overlapping social identities.

[URBAN NOTE] On separatism, and on Toronto and Montréal, and Madrid and Barcelona

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Catalonia’s declaration of independence today is certainly the sort of event that may have longer-term consequences. Me being a Canadian, I was reminded about something I wrote on Quora about the possible long-term future of Barcelona and Catalonia within Spain. Barcelona may be the capital of Catalonia, but it has also been a traditional economic centre for all of Spain, based on Catalonia’s early industrialization and continued prosperity relative to the rest of the Iberian peninsula. Already, though, there have been signs that some businesses are relocated, CaixaBank for instance moving to adjacent Valencia, one of more than a thousand businesses seeking to preserve their positions within Spain if the split becomes real. If separatism remains a major unsettled force for years, is there a possibility of Barcelona losing this position, perhaps to Madrid, as Montréal likewise lost its position to Toronto in Canada?

Now, even before the rise of Québec nationalism and separatism in the 1960s, Montréal had been declining relative to Toronto. As Jane Jacobs had noted in her provocative 1980 book The Question of Separatism, by the mid-20th century Toronto had been demonstrating greater potential for growth than Montréal, Toronto being part of a wider metropolitan area of prosperous industrial cities that was lacking in a Montréal confined to the island of Montréal and migrants from across Canada making their way to Toronto in volumes that were simply not present in Montréal. The metropolis of a province distinguished from others by its distinctive culture and language, Montréal was becoming a regional centre. The slower pattern of growth in Montréal as compared to Toronto is visible on the below chart.

What is also visible, I think, is how the advent of separatism, raising the possibility that Québec might become a new nation-state independent from Canada, taking its metropolis of Montréal with it, accelerated this divergence. Companies, including financial institutions, which were headquartered in Montréal and of national scope shifted their seats of administration to locations safely within any plausible Canada as quickly as possible. Looking at the skyline of Toronto, for instance, the white marbled-clad tower of First Canadian Place stands out even in the context of the city’s condo boom, in this picture featuring just left of the centre.

Pre-boarding #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspointFirst Canadian Place was built to house the bulk of the administration of the Bank of Montreal. A shift west to Toronto may have been inevitable, given Toronto’s growing lead over Montréal, but the prospect of Montréal leaving Canada altogether made it essential for the Bank of Montreal to establish its administration firmly outside of a Québec that might secede at any moment.

The legal headquarters of the Bank of Montreal remains in Montréal, on St. James’ Square.

Bank of Montreal Head Office, nightThe bulk of the activity of this bank, however, remains in the Toronto where it was transplanted to almost four decades ago. The Bank of Montreal was not alone in moving west: other financial institutions, and other companies, also shifted their headquarters and centers of productions to locations more securely located in Canada.

This shift did have a negative effect on Montréal, but the effect was concentrated particularly among the Anglophones of Montréal. Due to a variety of complex historical reasons, including a class structure where Francophones were concentrated more towards the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, the relatively greater concern of Québec’s Francophones with the affairs of their own province rather than with wider English Canada, and the substantial post-Quiet Revolution boom in industry and living standards among Francophones, it’s not clear to me that the decline of Montréal as a Canadian economic centre was much noticed by Francophones in Montréal and Québec. So what if the Bank of Montreal moved the bulk of its activities to Toronto if it was replaced by local businesses? The big entrepreneurial boom of “Quebec Inc” that first became notable in the 1980s was able to fill much of the gap left by departing national businesses in earlier years. If Montréal has become more firmly a regional centre within Canada, or perhaps a national centre for Québec alone, I’m not sure that many in Québec necessarily mind this.

The big problem for Barcelona is that, unlike Montréal and the Francophones of Québec, Barcelona and the Catalans are deeply integrated into the rest of Spain. As best as I can tell, from my reading of secondary sources, ethnic boundaries are less significant in Catalonia and between Catalonia and the rest of Spain than between English and French Canadians. There is little to no equivalent of the language-linked class divide that allowed Francophones to be relatively disinterested in the shift of Canada-focused businesses west to Toronto. If anything, the prosperity of Barcelona and wider Catalonia has been deeply linked to wider Spain. Especially if there are protracted problems–an independence achieved but unrecognized and at least initially outside of the EU? prolonged instability in a Catalonia remaining inside Spain–Barcelona in coming decades may well fare much worse than Montréal did. A firmly Spanish Madrid may well prosper, as might other Spanish cities, but that would be sore comfort.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 27, 2017 at 9:00 pm

[NEWS] Four notes on the future: Toronto-Montréal hyperloop, brain hacking, Puerto Rico, Germany

  • Universe Today reports on the potential game-changing nature of a hyperloop connecting Toronto and Montréal.
  • Hacking of the brain is an obvious risk of two-way brain/Internet interfaces. From VICE.
  • Puerto Rico’s ongoing economic crisis has only been worsened by Hurricane Maria. Bloomberg reports.
  • The problem with the German economy, strong as it may be now, is that not enough has been invested in the future. Bloomberg warns.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Anthrodendum considers the difficulties of the anthropologist in the context of a world where their knowledges are monetized.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about two days she spent in Montréal, with photos.
  • Crooked Timber starts a discussion about the justice, or lack thereof, in Harvard denying convicted murderer Michelle Jones entry into their doctoral program now that her sentence is over.
  • D-Brief looks at the changing nature of the global disease burden, and its economic consequences.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that Equifax’s terribly lax data protection should mark the endgame for them.
  • The Map Room Blog considers the use of earth-observer satellites to predict future disease outbreaks (malaria, here, in Peru).
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes how quantum mechanics helps explain nuclear fusion in our sun.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a report that Muscovites live on average 12 years longer than non-Muscovite Russians.