The Bulletin: Montreal seeing annual exoduses, how farms survive in the winter, the REM buckles under the ice, and heritage buildings being sold off for $10 million [Issue #8]

As Montreal continues to get snow dumped, we’re looking at how chilly things are getting in the city with this edition of The Bulletin, a collection of recent news, what’s happening around town, and what’s to come in Montreal and beyond.

The Main

The Main

January 19, 2023- Read time: 9 min
The Bulletin: Montreal seeing annual exoduses, how farms survive in the winter, the REM buckles under the ice, and heritage buildings being sold off for $10 million [Issue #8]Image credit: etiennedelorieux

It’s getting a little frigid out there: People are leaving the city, police officers are leaving the force, there’s nationally popular ice fishing and internationally cool travel locations that are just off-island. Before we get into the depths of winter, however, let’s look at what there is to do this weekend.

Happy birthday to the Quebec flag this weekend and Happy Chinese New Year, by the way! 2023 marks the Year of the Rabbit.

We've been messing around with AI lately. Here's an image we made with the prompt: "A winter scene in Montreal in the 1880s, with people standing in the main downtown square looking at a newly constructed ice palace, in the style of photographer William Notman." Not bad, right?

Weekend events you don’t want to miss

Friends or family visiting from out of town? Or just looking for a good time? We've got you covered.


  • The coldest music festival in the world, Igloofest, returns this week with electronic music performances, some après-ski-like events, and more.
  • To celebrate the 2023 Lunar New Year, the city’s Chinatown is going all out with decorated streets, a heated park, a parade, performances, and “endless activities”. Admission is free!
  • Ten immersive short films selected by the Society for Arts and Technology is coming in hot under the SAT’s dome with PARALLÈLES, exploring limitless possibilities of the mind and the universe.
  • Get hot and sweaty with the Dark 80s Dance Party going down at Bar Le Ritz PDB, an event playing all manner of Italo Disco, Industrial, Goth, Post-Punk, cult hits, and more.


  • MAPP_MTL and SHIFT RADIO have teamed up with Club Soda, MUTEK and other local festivals for the inaugural edition of NUIT AEX, a bold new multi-sensory art experience that will go until 8am.
  • Over at Foufounes Electriques, DJ NA is visiting to spin industrial, dark electro, post-punk, EBM, and other dark beats that will get you moving throughout the night.
  • Author, columnist and editor Catherine Ethier will be reading excerpts from her novel Une femme extraordinaire, the best-selling Quebec book of 2022, at Bibliothèque Frontenac.
  • Casa d'Italia Montreal will be hosting a screening Fire of Love, an adventure film about the loves of French volcano scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft—for both one another and their studies.
  • The Plateau’s going to see a small crowd for a Pink Floyd hommage show taking place at La P'tite Grenouille—mind you, we recommend buying tickets in advance.


  • Remember the Pale Blue Dot, the famous 1990 photograph of Earth? Three TEDx talks plus captivating artistic performances on the topic are planned for an afternoon at Théâtre Corona.
  • The Patinoire du Vieux Port below the Grand Roue is hosting games plus a bit of face painting for the kids during the day—no skates required.
  • Join Montreal’s Urban Sketchers as they’re meeting up at the Esplanade Tranquille to take in the sights and enjoy an afternoon sketching skaters from the cafe overlooking the rink.
  • If Sunday doesn’t mean the party’s over for you, Bootlegger is bringing back JAZZEBO, featuring a jazz quartet and drinks. Admission for the performance is free to boot.
  • Saint-Henri’s Crossover Comics is hosting a board game day where you can either bring your own or borrow one from the store that you've never tried before—great for finding a new fixation.

All of Montreal: What you need to know

A weekly round-up of the latest local news, from food and entertainment to current affairs.

Is Montreal growing or just showing?

We love this city, but nothing is a one-size-fits-all when it comes to where you live. According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ), the island recorded a net gain of 14,000 people between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022. However, 34,500 others chose to move elsewhere in Quebec. (Montreal Gazette)

Montreal’s population increases — slightly — as exodus slows
The island recorded a net gain of 14,000 people between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022. Still, 34,500 chose to move elsewhere in Quebec.

We’re number one!—for ice fishing

Whether you know it or not, ice fishing season started this past Sunday. As passionate anglers head out onto the ice to collect around holes in the ice, it turns out one spot in the Montreal area has been named the best place to do it in the entire country thanks to its good conditions. (CTV News)

Quebec lake named top ice fishing destination in Canada
As the ice fishing season begins in the Montreal area on Sunday, Deux-Montagnes Lake is bound to be busy after it was rated one of the top ice fishing destinations in Canada.

How Quebec’s agriculture is adapting to winter

While we’re starting to be able to imagine winters without snow around these parts, the cold snaps of the season have huge impacts on what we eat: frozen roots, broken stems, completely destroyed plants. They also, however, can benefit certain crops as things get warmer earlier; here’s how. (Le Devoir)

En agriculture, la neige comme alliée contre le froid
Mais il faudrait qu’il en tombe plus encore…

The upcoming REM’s pushing its winter limits

Freezing rain earlier this month caused a breakdown during extreme condition tests for the REM on the South Shore, but that’s not a bad thing as CDPQ Infra is using these setbacks as opportunities to finetune a system that will need to be working its best when the weather is at its worst. (La Presse)

Tests du REM de la Rive-Sud | Panne d’une voiture poussée à sa limite dans le verglas
Le Réseau express métropolitain (REM) a été confronté à une panne lors d’un épisode de pluie verglaçante au début de janvier sur la Rive-Sud, dans le cadre de tests réalisés dans des « conditions extrêmes », a appris La Presse. Pour CDPQ Infra, la situation illustre que le report au printemps 2023 é…

Getting ready to break the freeze on selling the city’s vacant heritage stock

Last month revealed that the City of Montreal has dozens of vacant municipal buildings, and they now have a strategy to rehabilitate them. Some of them are going for the symbolic sum of a single dollar, provided that whoever wants it will be picking up the $10 million tab to preserve it. (Le Devoir)

Montréal prête à céder des immeubles patrimoniaux vacants
La Ville propose de vendre pour 1$ l’ancien Centre Saint-Paul à une entreprise ou à un OBNL qui voudra le restaurer.

Visiting the cellar in colder months with a seed festival

Out in the East End of the city, the Space for Life collection of museums has announced the return of the Seed Festival at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Organized by a network of farmers, the event will address themes like right of access and workshops like learning how to make seed bombs. (Métro)

La Fête des semences fait son grand retour
Espace pour la vie a annoncé le retour de la Fête des semences à Montréal les 4 et 5 février 2023, au Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan.

Things are getting chilly in the Montreal police force

Exhausted, overworked and underpaid, the Montreal police brotherhood says there’s been a record number of resignations within its ranks with unprecedented numbers of officers retiring or quitting. With rising gun violence and social media criticism hitting fever pitches lately, it’s getting dicey. (CTV News)

Record number of Montreal police officers leaving the force
The Montreal police (SPVM) brotherhood is speaking out over what it says is a record number of resignations within its ranks. Union head Yves Francoeur said officers are exhausted, overworked and underpaid, and that between 2017 and 2021 there was a 56 per cent increase in those accessing the employ…

The Eastern Townships just landed on the map—officially

“This is slow travel at its best,” AnneLise Sorensen wrote of the Eastern Townships, saying it’s among the top travel destinations of 2023. Guess we should be expected a major infusion of travellers over the next year diving into the wine, beer, cheese and humble resorts coming out of the region. (Montreal Gazette)

Eastern Townships make New York Times’ list of top 2023 destinations
“This is slow travel at its best,” according to the Times. “Pedal across the quiet countryside, refuelling on local cheese, wine and, yes, poutine.”

How’s your crumbling infrastructure doing?

In 2022, Quebec had to close at least 27 bridges and overpasses because they became unsafe for travel, the worst among which include two ramps overlooking Highway 20 in Pointe-Claire. Check out this interactive map of the 7,400+ bridges in the province and see how yours is faring. (Journal de Montréal)

[CARTE INTERACTIVE] Dans quel état se trouve le pont près de chez vous?
Consultez notre carte interactive qui répertorie les informations disponibles sur plus de 7400 ponts du Québec.

There's been some movement at the Olympic Stadium

A new FIFA-level, professionally-certified playing surface was inaugurated at the Olympic Stadium, making it the only one of its kind across the entire province. It’s too little too late for the upcoming Soccer World Cup in 2026, but who knows what this’ll mean for the city’s sports moving forward. (Métro)

Le Stade olympique professionnalise son terrain de jeu
Une nouvelle surface de jeu certifié FIFA QUALITY PRO a été inaugurée au Stade olympique ce matin.

Students’ outcry over Concordia University’s child molester-designed font

While it’s been in place for nearly 20 years, Concordia University’s use of the Gill Sans family of font has a problematic past thanks to its creator Eric Gill, a convicted child molester and sexual abuser. Students are now saying—with no disrespect to their institution—that it should be phased out. (Montreal Gazette)

Students decry Concordia font designed by child molester Eric Gill
“A typeface is never truly neutral. The sensibility used to create a font involves arduous labour to communicate a set of ideas,” one student says.

So there you have it, folks. We’ll be back with more curiosities, local stories, and events to discover next week. Stay tuned!

And if ever you read about something we should know, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram.

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