The Bulletin: A robot dog roams the metro, a top Montreal restaurant that doesn’t exist, and what will it take to make Black chefs essential? [Issue #11]
With a musical festival hitting the Plateau fast and hard, snow sculpting in Parc Frédéric-Back, luxury Black art pop-ups and fried plantain workshops for Black History Month, and strange-yet-intriguing politically charged news bites, The Main’s Montreal Bulletin—a collection of what has happened, what’s happening, and what’s to come in and around Montreal—is a scattershot of local curiosities.
Oh, and tuck your pants into your socks if you go out this weekend: Montreal has seen a serious uptick in rats. Fun!
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Here are some upcoming weekend events you don’t want to miss
Here's hoping the worst of the polar vortex is behind us – and we can all look forward to getting back out for some good times. A few ideas include...
- Taverne Tour’s Plateau-based festival is filling up bars and venues with music from Montréal and abroad, and there are big names and free locals shows to check out.
- It's your last chance to jump around in a snowsuit to EDM—at least officially—as the final weekend of Igloofest wraps up with a big, colourful bang.
- Set during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Clare Coulter’s solo performance Planting an Apple Tree at the Centaur Theatre is a narrative of hope, fear, rage, and the search for balance.
- Vance Joy—as in Australian artist selling 2 million copies of his debut album and Australian Rules Footballer Vance Joy—is performing for two nights at MTelus.
- What better than one of Montreal’s first listening bars, Bar Le Record, for a night of vinyl hits from 1955 to 1995 including everything from rockabilly and R&B to soul, funk and disco?
- Drag queens Selma and Uma Gahd will be putting on a PWYC brunch at the Parc La Fontaine-based restaurant of Robin Des Bois.
- It’s the first anniversary celebration of Bar Mamie’s wine and snack shop La Cave de Mamie. Expect bubbles, food and more surprises.
- Discover the creative universe of the Central African artist @the.artiiist at the luxury Black art pop-up, with a performance by Dj KidCrayola.
- Montreal’s Simon Bertrand’s composition for theremin, an instrument that sounds like a human voice-synthesizer hybrid, will have a world premiere at the Maison symphonique de Montréal.
- There’s going to be a meet ‘n’ greet with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to talk about his party’s current priorities and future plans, and it’s at… the downtown Ye Olde Orchard Pub & Grill?
- Learn the basics of Haitian cuisine this Black History Month from Plaza Creole’s own Francia Balthazar, starting with fried plantains both sweet and salty.
- Art enthusiast, collector and Afromusée founder Guy Mushagalusa Chigoho will be showcasing African cultural heritage and contemporary artists with headdresses at Pointe-à-Callière.
- Head out to Parc Frédéric-Back for free snow sculpting, care of La TOHU: A block of snow and a few tools will be provided, and someone will be on site to bring out your inner artist.
- Chinese ballet, classical and folk dancing, plus martial arts, lion dancing, singing, folk music and more is on display at Place des Arts for an annual Chinese New Year performance, featuring over 100 artists.
- Montreal's longest-running sustainability conference, Business Beyond Tomorrow, is back to connect students, faculty, and industry experts over business ideas and sustainable concepts.
What you need to know
ICYMI: Presenting a weekly round-up of the latest local news, from food and entertainment to current affairs.
Montreal’s Turkish community is scrambling to collect donations
Following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed and injured thousands of people in Turkey and Syria—already home to millions of refugees from the civil war—members of Montreal’s Turkish community are stepping up. Here’s where you can donate anything from blankets, shoes, socks and clothing to coats, tents and flashlights. (Montreal Gazette)
Duluth Restaurant Ranks #1 in Montreal, but... huh?
One of the bigger stories this past week was about something that doesn’t exist: Le Nouveau Duluth, the TripAdvisor’s ‘top restaurant’ in Montreal. Thanks to local comedian Charles Deschamps, the dubious side of crowdsourced reviews was revealed through a nonexistent place to eat. (Mashed)
When will Black-owned restaurants be seen as essential to Montreal’s culinary scene?
Black History Month is well underway, and while the city’s Black-owned restaurants are increasing thanks to community chef incubator programs like Desta’s and local chefs blazing trails, more support is needed if Black Montrealers are going to be a greater part of Montreal’s Eurocentric offerings. (CTV News)
Making mountains with colossal environmental impacts
It happens whenever it snows in Montreal: A choreographed ballet of trucks, snowplows and snowblowers taking over the streets, an enormous logistical effort with significant environmental costs from salt and emissions. But what’s the cost, and are there alternatives? (The Peninsula)
Where nature retakes Saint-Laurent Boulevard by design
Maybe you’ve seen it walking up Saint-Laurent Boulevard: Behind an empty façade, there’s a courtyard garden with a green oasis, and behind that? One of the most gorgeous furniture showrooms you’ll probably ever visit in the city. Get a load of those those photos! (Canadian Architect)
Could Montreal’s downtown offices find new lives as apartments and condos?
Pre-pandemic, Montreal thrived for years as a bustling property market, tech-company hotspot and artistic center with new office and condo towers rising up like orange cones. Now, like every other Canadian city, office vacancy rates have reached 16% and the city needs a reinvention. (Bloomberg)
A Montreal conductor nabs two more Grammys
Yannick Nézet-Séguin took home best opera recording for Blanchard: Fire Shut Up In My Bones and best classical solo vocal album for Voice Of Nature — The Anthropocene at the 65th annual Grammy Awards. That brings his total Grammy count to three; here’s the story of the win and his journey. (CBC Montreal)
What happens when you ask AI to unpack the language politics of Quebec?
When asked to generate a controversial opinion about the province’s ‘language situation’ ChatGPT’s AI doesn’t have its own scathing opinion, but it can produce an “argument that represents a controversial viewpoint” that argues French protection laws are a form of linguistic imperialism. (MTL Blog)
The underground deli keeping McGill students fed on the cheap
Ask any McGill alum which restaurant got them through their degree, and the subterranean deli Super Sandwiches inside the Le Cartier building a few minutes off-campus is bound to come up. Thing is, their lightning-fast and cheap sandwiches may not be around for much longer. (McGill Tribune)
Boston Dynamics’ robotic dog roamed Montreal’s metro by night
For ten nights this past summer, between the early hours of 1am and 4am—after the stations had closed—Boston Dynamics’ robot dog Spot surveyed the Bonaventure metro station in downtown Montreal. It yields promise for replacing human labour in maintenance, but it’s eerie to think about. (Le Devoir)
Oui, on parle Spielberg
Since the adoption of Bill 96 last spring, it’s become harder to sell Quebec as a location for Hollywood film and TV shoots, and prominent Quebec film insiders say they now have to regularly explain to executives at Hollywood studios that they are still allowed to shoot in English. (Montreal Gazette)
And there you have it, folks. We’ll be back with more curiosities, local stories, and events to discover next week. Stay tuned!
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