Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 Make it a good one

Happy New Year 2016
Make it the best yet. Enjoy your family & friends.
                    Cheers ! LesF

  Here is a quick youtube vid singing "Auld Lang Syne "


                                                                        All the 2016

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas 2015

Very Simply ...................................... Merry Christmas!

Montreal old days

Montreal in the 60's from Jim Dayshine on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dickie Moore Dead @ Eighty-Four

Another one of the Habs greats checks out, it seems the old Forum Ghosts have had plenty of additions to their Habs in the Sky team, & today they add Dickie Moore, a great kockey player as well as a good businessman ,very successfull & always 'gave back' with his generousity, & willingness to help others. ........the following is straight from the Montreal Canadiens website.-Les

MONTREAL - The Canadiens organization was deeply saddened to learn that former player and Hall-of-Famer Richard “Dickie” Moore passed away earlier today in Montreal. Moore was 84.
Born in the Montreal borough of Park Extension on January 6, 1931, Dickie Moore was one of the most exciting and productive players of his era. After two consecutive Memorial Cup championships, in 1949 with the Montreal Jr. Royals and the following year with the Montreal Jr. Canadiens, recording 24 points in a mere 13 games, Moore made his NHL debut with the Canadiens mid-way though the 1951-52 season. In his Canadiens debut at age 21, he managed to record 33 points in as many games and was a deserving candidate for the Calder award as Rookie of the Year.
Moore’s NHL career really took off in 1954-55 after he first etched his name on the coveted Stanley Cup in 1953. The skilled left winger would quickly become one of the league’s most prolific point getter. After successively recording 36, 50 and 58 points from 1954 to 1957, Dickie Moore rose to the top in 1957-58, notching 36 goals and a total of 86 points to earn the Art Ross trophy for the first time. Considering that he had played the last three months of the regular schedule with a cast on his left forearm, his achievement was nothing short of remarkable. The following year, Moore was even more dominant tallying 41 goals and a league-leading 96 points, shattering the season point record of 95 set by the legendary Gordie Howe and earning his second Art Ross trophy.
Moore would end his glorious career with the Canadiens in 1962-63 with 594 points, including 254 goals in 654 games donning a Habs jersey. His goal and point production rank him third among left wingers in Canadiens history. Over his 14-NHL seasons, that a season with Toronto and another one with the St. Louis Blues, Dickie Moore amassed 608 points in 719 games. In the playoffs, he was equally productive notching 110 points in 135 match-ups.
In 1974, Moore was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame and in 1998, The Hockey News ranked him among the top 50 greatest hockey players. On November 12, 2005 the Montreal Canadiens paid him tribute by raising his famed number 12 to the Bell Centre rafters.
Dickie Moore is survived by his daughter Lianne, his son John and their respective spouses and by several grandchildren.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

One Year Since 'le gros bil' joined the forum ghosts.......

Today's Gazette story by Dave Stubbs, about Jean Beliveau & his wife Elise
everything about this couple was simply very Classy. Cheers ! LesF
see the interview with Elise in the same article, I couldn't post it,but here is the limk to the article including the video conversation.

Élise Béliveau sometimes finds herself in conversation with her late husband, Jean, sharing a thought with one of his many photos that adorn her South Shore condominium.
“I have pictures of John in every room,” Élise says today, calling Jean by the English form of his name as she has for just about forever.
Among them on a table is a favourite sepia print, a framed image of a young man who then was her beau with the early 1950s senior-league Quebec Aces. And there is another not far away, a magnificent portrait taken decades later.
“Some of my friends say, ‘Why are you keeping all those pictures?’ ” Élise says. “And I say, ‘They’ve been there all my life and they’re going to stay there. That’s it.’ Sometimes I go by him and say something to him, a few words passing in front of a picture. It’s still the same as when he was there.”
A very early 1950s portrait of then Quebec Aces centreman Jean Béliveau, taken about the time that the Quebec Senior league star and his future wife, Élise, began dating. The photo is prominently displayed in the Béliveau condo on Montreal's South Shore.
A very early 1950s portrait of then Quebec Aces centreman Jean Béliveau, taken about the time that the Quebec Senior league star and his future wife, Élise, began dating. The photo is prominently displayed in the Béliveau condo on Montreal’s South Shore.DAVE STUBBS / MONTREAL GAZETTE
It was a year ago Wednesday night that Jean Béliveau died at home at age 83 after a lengthy struggle with declining health and illness that followed a summertime bout of pneumonia, strokes in 2012 and 2010 and a battle with cancer a decade earlier.
In his final days, Béliveau confided in Élise, his soulmate and wife of 61 years, that he was tired and ready to go.
“I knocked on the door, but they weren’t ready for me,” he told me philosophically in 2012 as he recovered from his second stroke.
News of Le Gros Bill’s passing was a dagger in the heart of millions, particularly the countless thousands whose personal paths had crossed that of the hockey icon from even before he joined the Canadiens full-time in autumn 1953.
This was a man who dominated his sport, winning 10 Stanley Cups during 18 full seasons with the Canadiens — he was captain from 1961 to his retirement in 1971 — with seven more championships earned as a senior vice-president of the club.
Jean Béliveau’s remarkable grace and leadership on and off the ice made him the greatest ambassador hockey has known. That he devoted much of his life to charity and humanitarian causes, while playing and then in retirement, made him a figure who transcended sport unlike any hockey player.
A year since his passing, Jean’s memory remains vibrant in the memories of Élise; of Hélène, the couple’s only child; of Mylène and Magalie, Hélène’s two adult daughters; and of the Canadiens family and countless fans and admirers worldwide.
Last Saturday night, a half-hour before the Canadiens would play the New Jersey Devils, Élise and I sat to talk in a team conference room on the seventh floor of the Bell Centre, photos of her late husband prominently displayed in offices and corridors that were deafeningly silent.
You feel Jean’s presence everywhere: beyond his statue outside the arena in La Place des Canadiens, his eyes straight ahead, posture erect as he carries the puck; beyond the banners and bronze plaques and photos and murals that grace the Bell Centre’s walls inside and out.
Élise and I had last sat at length in her home late last January, her life then almost in suspended animation. And now, a year has passed since she lost an enormous piece of her heart.
“Oh my gosh, no,” she says, asked whether it seems she’s been a year without Jean. “It went by so fast. When he passed away, I was quite busy, there was always something going on. But in the month of June, I didn’t feel too good. I was lonesome, I cried for nothing.
“Then, after that, well, my doctor came over and said, ‘Hey, you’re not going to act like that. No, no, no. We’ll look after that.’ He gave me a little (antidepressant) and ever since then I’ve been OK.
“Can you believe that sometimes I’m at home right now, I’ll be sitting there and all of a sudden I feel as if the door would open and he’d come right in? It seems to me it’s not that long ago that he’s gone. But my God, the house is empty. It’s unbelievable.”
Jean Béliveau spent endless hours in his tidy office, Montreal’s skyline sprawled out below him to the north. Here he would answer his mail, read, plan his busy days. As his health grew more fragile, he was warmed here by his books and the shelved souvenirs that marked his life in hockey and beyond.
The office sits undisturbed now, as it has for a year.
“It’s exactly the same as when he left it,” Élise says. “(Family) didn’t take anything away. Nothing. Everything is still there.
“I don’t know … I go in there. …” she adds, the thought left unfinished.
Élise considers what she misses most about her husband and with a laugh she replies, “Everything. We were always together. Always. We’d have dinners, come to the hockey games, we’d go on a trip somewhere, beautiful trips. But no more. I’m not interested (in travelling) alone.”
Élise Béliveau (left) with her granddaughters Mylène, Magalie and daughter Hélène after Jean Béliveau's funeral at Montreal's Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral on Dec. 10, 2014.
Élise Béliveau (left) with her granddaughters Mylène, Magalie and daughter Hélène after Jean Béliveau’s funeral at Montreal’s Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral on Dec. 10, 2014. ALLEN MCINNIS / MONTREAL GAZETTE
The mail still arrives, some of it addressed to Jean. Hélène, who remains devastated by the loss of her father, answered mountains of it with her mother in the weeks and months after his passing.
Invitations still arrive and the phone still rings, kind words coming from friends and from people Élise doesn’t even know.
“If he’s up there seeing all what’s gone on since he passed away, I don’t think he’d believe it,” she says, shaking her head.
All of us marvelled at the strength of the Béliveau women — wife and mother, daughter and granddaughters — in the days that followed Jean’s passing, especially during a two-day Bell Centre visitation when the family greeted every one of the thousands of mourners who came to pay their respects, many dissolving and needing consolation when they reached the front of the line.
“I got that from John. He helped me for sure that day,” Élise says of her resilience. “When it’s time to be solid, I’m solid. When I cry, I cry.”
The Canadiens organized the huge, dignified funeral at Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral on Dec. 10, done to Élise’s precise instructions. Moving eulogies were delivered by Canadiens owner Geoff Molson and team icons Dickie Moore, Yvan Cournoyer, Ken Dryden and Serge Savard.
“When you think of his funeral and … the (visitation), the whole thing, and after, my God, it was so beautiful,” Élise says. “I said, if he sees all that, I’m sure he’d be shy to know all these things are going on.
“Thank you to the Molson family, they’re the ones who did everything,” she adds, saying four generations of Molsons since she arrived in Montreal with Jean in 1953 are like family. “And Réjean (Houle, the Canadiens’ alumni president), all the staff here … at the Bell Centre.
“I told them what I wanted. I didn’t want anything flashy, just something very simple. Jean was a simple man. He was down to earth, we wanted something very plain but nice, nice songs. That’s what they did and it was perfect.”
The funeral was held during a blizzard of heavy, wet snow, which Élise remembers as a magical setting.
“It was a hockey day. A hockey player needs snow and we had a lot of it, a nice little storm,” she recalls, smiling. “It was OK. It was fine. But that was a nice ceremony, my God almighty.”
Élise and Hélène still attend many Canadiens games, sitting in the family’s seats three rows behind the team’s bench. They often feel Jean in their midst and, in many ways, this routine has been a salve for their souls.
Élise laughs when I call her a shameless fangirl, so obvious is her deep affection for the team in general, especially defenceman P.K. Subban, captain Max Pacioretty, whose leadership reminds her of her husband’s, and goalie Carey Price.
The feeling is mutual; she loves the fact that Subban will blow her a kiss before games.
If Élise sometimes seemed to be in Jean’s shadow, that was by her choice. They were a wonderful team, and where Jean couldn’t say no to anyone, in later years Élise would put her foot down and read him a necessary, gentle riot act.
Following his second stroke, it was she who wanted him at home, not in the hospital where he had been at length.
“I was glad he stayed home and passed away at home,” Élise says. “We took him out of the hospital. I said, ‘He’s coming home.’ We had nurses there. They helped me. Everything was perfect. And we had his friends come in and see him.”
Would Jean be proud, I asked, of what his wife has accomplished in the past year?
“Well, I hope so,” she replies. “I’ve been trying to do something that at least he’d say, ‘My wife is not that bad, she can do things.’ ”
Jean had a higher opinion than that, needless to say. Whether or not Élise heard it, he often said the greatest linemate he ever had was his wife.
On Wednesday, the Béliveau family will gather for a quiet dinner. They’ll tell stories, remember special moments in their lives, and they’ll laugh about traditions, including one about Jean always buying Élise chocolate on Valentine’s Day, aware that her distaste for it left him the full box.
“We’ll talk about the old days,” Élise says. “We have some tapes, we’ll probably look at that.”
Of course, the remarkable legacy of their husband, father and grandfather is secure, and many Jean Béliveau stories will be shared far beyond a dinner table where the memories will be strongest and most poignant and most emotional.
“He was such a good man,” Élise says at last. “That man was a wonderful person. He was already ready for old people, young people, kids. He had them all around him.
“I think he’ll be remembered for that – he was always ready go and meet people. Always.”

Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau holds his team's ceremonial torch prior to the start of the opening game of the 2013-14 NHL season at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. Béliveau died on Dec. 2, 2014 after a lengthy illness.
Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau holds his team’s ceremonial torch prior to the start of the opening game of the 2013-14 NHL season at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. Béliveau died on Dec. 2, 2014 after a lengthy illness. JOHN KENNEY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Moe's Diner Closing Dec 7th Another Piece of Montreal Dispaears

Late-night institution Moe's Diner to close in December

“It is with great sadness that Big Ed and the Moe’s family must let you know that we are officially closing.”
That was the sad news shared via the Facebook page for Moes – Corner Snack Bar, which you might know better from its Coke sign, reading “Casse-Croute du Coin,” around the corner from the old Forum, at Lambert-Closse St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd.
It’s not the first time that news of closure has circulated about the breakfast and late-night institution, a regular stop since 1958 for its Western sandwiches, slices of lemon meringue pie and the famous Big Ed burgers.

    rIn the spring, every media outlet in Montreal did stories on the family’s hope to sell the diner, but, as noted in last night’s posting, circulating with vigour on social media, there were no eleventh-hour saviours.
As everyone knows, businesses in general are not doing well as of late and unfortunately, Moes is not excluded from this fact. We were planning to sell and hoping that someone would be able to keep it going, but no one is interested in taking on the responsibility of owning a 24h diner as it is undoubtedly a lifetime of work. …”
The family thanked all of its customers, from like-family regulars to occasional customers (“We love you just as much”), and invited us all down before Dec. 7.
Please, please, if you have a sec, stop by sometime before we shut the doors forever, for old time’s sake.
Well the Montreal, we all knew & grew up with is steadily becomming unrecognizable, I guess we will always be Montrealer's at heart, but the reality is it will be only kept alive in memories for most of us, & I have to say that I doubt I will ever make the visit back there again. (Maybe to binge eat and see a few Habs games, but even the prospect of that does not hold as much interest to me any more.What is the old adage " You can't go home again"  I think that may be true. what landmarks are really left, the old Ogilivy's Flour Sign ( Farine Five Roses Flour) , the Orang Julep I guess, Jacques Cartier Bridge, the PVM,..... but even the flavour of the city seems to have really changed.......anyone else think so ? cheers ! LesF

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Buy American" -----------------------the Chinese Do.

What will the future be like for our kids, thinking of French Immersion for your kids & grandkids,.you may want to think about Mandorin or Cantonese instead.
 It will help them more than we know.Just a thought.
  How about this youtube video explaining how GM ( & others) were bailed out by tax dollars on both sides of the border & now are primarily being bought up or owned by Chinese interests...........oh the world is a changing.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pinochio Do We Settle Again or Get Rid of Him

Ahh .. afew more days to go, however many of us have already cast our ballot in the advance polls.
I have to say Herr Harper is being caught in a lot of his own BS., lately.
 I love what Hurricane Hazel has to say to Haper.....she calls it as she sees it.

        Now it's time to get rid of Harper.........but you have to vote.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
--  Aesop

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Got Nothing to do & all day to Do It.

Found an interesting new book , "Understanding Women & How They Think"
in paperback:                      

...better take notes guys,this is long read...........Cheers ! LesF

...and girls you already know how we think & with 
.......Just a Comic Relief Day I guess..

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Played for Verdun in 1939 Bobby Fillion Sails On

Well another Habs player of old heads off into the sunset, Bobby Fillion passes away at 95.......Salute Bon-Homme , now get those old ghosts of the Forum into helping the nowaday Habs actually Win some Silverware....Cheers ! LesF

the following is from the Montreal Gazette:

Canadiens mourn loss of wartime Canadiens forward Bob Fillion, a two-time Stanley Cup champion who died Thursday at age 95, was more than a decent two-way checking winger.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

One of Verdun's More Colourful Characters Passes Away (Roddy Diamond)

Turns out Roddy would be a neighbour of mine twice once in Verdun on Wellington ST. & again later on in Ville Lasalle on 9th. He was certainly a colurful character to say the least ,but he was also a pretty funny & a good guy.(IMHO) He actually ran for mayor of Verdun at one time, and also had a small restaurant where the burgers were great. See ya Roddy, cause we will all be along at some point. Cheers ! LesF
 I have added the obit to the ever growing "In Memoriam" page that I started here along time ago (10 years at least) I know I have missed plenty of peoples obits but sadly there are plenty there to see. So if you want to remember someone have a look at the page & keep their memory alive as you read.
  Click on the link to take you to the old "In Memoriam" page

 Here is his obit from the Montreal Gazette :

Roderick (Roddy) DIAMOND


DIAMOND, Roderick (Roddy)
1941 - 2015
After a lengthy illness and a courageous battle, Roddy passed away on July 27, 2015 in his 74th year. He was predeceased by his mother Hilda, father Roddy, son Patrick and brother Robert. Roddy will be sadly missed by his son Roddy Jr., his brothers Rickey and Randi, sister Darlene, as well as many nieces and nephews. Donations may be made to Dans la rue, 514-525-5222, Private family funeral.    

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Bells , the Bells , the Bells shut the F %^7 up Quasimoto. It's in

Verdun church's bells may soon ring again thanks to multimillion-dollar renovation

“(The church) is the heart of Verdun,” said Louis Brillant, the architect for the renovation project. “All of the work done to create a community centred around this building.”
Monsignor Joseph-Arsène Richard, who established the parish in 1899 from which the church takes its name, advocated for a hospital in Verdun and served as president of the neighbourhood’s first school board. (A secondary school in Verdun is named after him.)
“Nearly everything was done by him and created by him,” said Georges Bossé, a former president of the church’s restoration committee and a former mayor of Verdun.
The church boasts a carillon of 18 bells, which have been largely silent for at least 10 years, Bossé said during a tour of the church with local media to provide an update on the renovations. The carillon bells have been out of commission partially because the bell towers are not stable enough, according to Bossé.
Bossé said he believes the bells could be ringing within the next two years. While the construction work on the bell towers should be completed by next summer, a specialist will have to work on the bells to get them ringing again.

The Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs Church is in the process of renovating the two belfries in Verdun, on Tuesday, August 4, 2015.
The Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs Church is in the process of renovating the two belfries in Verdun, on Tuesday, August 4, 2015. DAVE SIDAWAY /MONTREAL GAZETTE

Efforts to launch the renovation project started about 10 years ago with the work getting underway a few years ago.
Provincial programs and private donations are funding the renovations. “Since the church is in the provincial program for patrimonial value, they give us a small amount every year,” Brillant said.
The church received $300,000 for the restoration of the bell towers from the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec, a non-profit organization that supports and promotes the conservation and enhancement of the province’s religious heritage, according to its 2013-14 annual report.
Forty-one other churches across the province received over $9 million during the same period, including 10 in Montreal alone.
In 2011-2012, Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs also received funding from the program for a new roof.
Though the renovations are partially funded by the Conseil’s program that explicitly recognizes the religious nature and value of the building, Bossé noted that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated by people who are not Catholic but are still interested in preserving a piece of Verdun’s heritage. The church has received nearly $800,000 in private donations so far, according to Bossé.

Worker Louis Bertrand works high up the Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs Church in Verdun, on Tuesday, August 4, 2015.
Worker Louis Bertrand works high up the Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs Church in Verdun, on Tuesday, August 4, 2015. DAVE SIDAWAY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

The borough has also provided some financial support, said borough mayor Jean-François Parenteau. “It is a central part of the community,” he said. “Everyone knows about this church.” Parenteau said he would like to see the church continue to improve, particularly by becoming more accessible to residents.
Parenteau said he was excited to see the result of the renovations and the prospect of hearing the bells ring again. “It will be beautiful,” he said.
“Every generation has contributed something (to the church),” Brillant noted, “whether it’s the organ, the stained glass, the decoration or the electronic systems. We’ve now reached the point where the most significant and important contribution we can make is to maintain it.”

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Griffintown story from the Montreal Gazette (hopefully in it's entirety ,I had trouble posting)

Too little, too late? Urban plan for Griffintown came after the fact

The parking lot is promised as a park, one of at least six new parks slated for Griffintown. It is an echo of the desolation of the area just a few years ago; one can imagine that a park would provide much needed green space amid the condos and concrete.
The city, which is now in the process of expropriating the land, might have to shell over a small fortune for the lot if it pays market value. With the average price of land in the sector now about $300 a square foot, the lot of almost 90,000 square feet could be worth about $27 million.
In fact, the city has earmarked just over $28 million to acquire the lot.
Ten years ago, you could have bought any piece of land in Griffintown for between $8 and $20 a square foot, said community activist and landowner Harvey Lev. The same rising cost applies to future schools, he added.
“Why did the city not designate land for parks and schools 10 years ago?” asked Lev, who sees a disaster in a landscape of bland condo towers.
The price tag for the park land is just a hint of the repercussions brought on by lack of planning from the outset, critics say.

MONTREAL, QUE.: JULY 06, 2015 -- Parking lot in front of restored New City Gas, on Monday July 06, 2015.The lot is meant be become a municipal park. (Pierre Obendrauf / MONTREAL GAZETTE)
The market value for this parking lot, which the city plans to buy to transform into a park, has climbed to about $27 million. PIERRE OBENDRAUF /MONTREAL GAZETTE

Meanwhile, Griffintown has become a trendy name, with burgeoning condos and businesses generating buzz.
“But trendiness is not a long-term solution,’’ said Heritage Montreal policy director Dinu Bumbaru, noting that much of St-Laurent Blvd. has gone downhill as other areas have come up. “We want this to become an attractive place for a generation, not just a season.”
Jeffrey Dungen, a resident who campaigned against zoning changes in 2008 that allowed for towers as high as 80 metres in some sectors, said activists made a concerted effort to brand the Griffintown development as controversial.
Today, Dungen said, when you hear the name Griffintown, “you think of New City Gas, rooftop parties and condos and having good time. It seems trendy.”
For him, the toughest part about the changes is seeing all those towers on “a city grid almost 200 years old that was never made to see buildings 60 metres tall.”
The activists’ efforts did pay off, however — there is a lingering stigma to the changing Griffintown.


Sud-Ouest borough mayor Benoît Dorais acknowledges Griffintown’s bad reputation. Like many people, he contends that the administration of former mayor Gérald Tremblay did a poor job of planning for the district’s development.
“It’s a paradox,’’ he said, ‘’because Griffintown has this bad press — on planning, on the construction sites, on the belief that it’s just condos, which is not true. But at the same time it’s growing incredibly, it’s incredibly popular; people want to live there and developers want to invest, and there are a huge number of businesses opening.”
As development moves forward, Dorais is armed with the borough’s Programme particulier d’urbanisme (PPU) — the special urban plan for Griffintown’s development — set in motion in 2009 and adopted in 2013, as well as $141 million the city has earmarked for infrastructure and parks in the area.
Dorais said only about half the land in Griffintown is spoken for at the moment. That there is a lot of land left to develop is a good thing, he said, because there is still much to accomplish.
The borough is planning “rue habitées” — streets designed to favour pedestrians over cars — on small stretches on Montfort and St-Paul Sts., with other nearby streets to be redesigned later.
A concept for Peel St. is to come next year, Dorais said.
There are also early plans for a cultural corridor on Ottawa St., with commercial zoning for the ground level, and plans to highlight remaining heritage buildings such as New City Gas, the Griffintown Horse Palace, art galleries and fire stations.
The city is also working with the STM to create new bus lines linked to the métro system, while infrastructure needs are being studied before new streets are laid.
But is it too little and too late? Has Montreal lost the opportunity to create a world-class development? It all goes back to planning.


In 2008, long before the Sud-Ouest borough’s urban development plan was adopted in 2013, the Peel-Wellington sector of the area was re-zoned to allow developer Devimco to build a commercial centre similar to its Dix30 mega mall in Brossard, with towers as high as 80 metres, or 20 storeys.
As Dungen recalls, early public outcry to the Devimco plan resulted in “Mickey Mouse consultations’’ during which a lot of people rallied around preserving the neighbourhood. The consultations were undertaken by the borough, not the independent Office de consultation publique de Montréal.
Dungen calls the consultations: “A little fake show.”
Devimco’s $1.3-billion plan died with the 2008 recession, perhaps also deflated by the public’s opposition.
We have a slogan at Heritage Montreal, which is ‘Give Peel a chance’
Fast-forward to the borough’s new urban plan, in which zoning stands at 80 metres near the Bonaventure Expressway, 60 to 70 metres south of William St. from Ann to Murray and on several blocks west of du Séminaire St., with the majority of the area zoned at about 25 metres.
The tallest buildings in Devimco’s scaled-down District Griffin project, the Griffix condo tower and the Philippe Starck Yoo condo building, top out at about 20 storeys.
To Bumbaru, the tallest structures went up with little regard for public spaces.
He says the area around Peel near William, with its “forest of towers,” is a missed opportunity.
There is hope, Bumbaru said, although Griffintown and neighbouring downtown Ville-Marie borough are not co-ordinating to connect with one another.
“We have a slogan at Heritage Montreal, which is ‘Give Peel a chance,’ ’’ he said, explaining that Peel is a key axis for the city as the only street running directly from the water to the mountain. “It needs a champion.”
Bumbaru cites the Griffintown Bassins du Havre condo and park projects as having been properly handled, with consultations carried out by the Office de consultation publique, and “a long-term view on the public benefit of the project, not just private returns.”
Bumbaru also doffs his hat at the row of fine red-brick Victorian houses next to the future Brickfields mixed condo-commercial project on de la Montagne St. Not only should they be saved, Bumbaru says, “They should bear a little plaque, an homage from the city of Montreal for being the pioneer that resisted the devastation of the area.”

MONTREAL, QUE.: JULY 14, 2015 -- Victorian houses on dela Montagne St. next to new condo project Brickfields in Griffintown on Tuesday July 14, 2015. (Pierre Obendrauf / MONTREAL GAZETTE)
Victorian houses on de la Montagne St. in Griffintown, next to the Brickfields condo project. PIERRE OBENDRAUF / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Pockets of row houses remain in the district, Bumbaru notes, including some rather shabby low-rise dwellings on Peel near Wellington, almost in the shadow of the District Griffin towers. Bumbaru says they are old workers’ tenements.
“You don’t have to demolish everything,’’ he said. “These little houses, if they are well treated, can provide that oasis of sky on what could be otherwise a rather densified area.”


Raphaël Fischler, director of the school of urban planning at McGill, says the creation in 2013 of the Quartier de l’innovation (QI), a partnership between the École de technologie supérieure (ETS), McGill and other parties, is centred on the notion of a creativity hub in Griffintown.
The two veins — innovation and condo development — are not easy to reconcile, he said.
“It’s not been so easy, because developers are interested in putting down as many condos as possible that sell as well as possible. They are not so interested in innovation, although they benefit from the branding,” Fischler said.
“The future of Griffintown is uncertain,’’ he said, in terms of who will be there, how it will function, and what the rest of development will be.
The rapid change characterized by condo construction — meaning land prices go up and many people are displaced — does not promote QI’s objective, he said. “Condo land is not a creative milieu.”
Despite the fact that being a landowner and seller in the now-trendy area has made him rich, Lev said is not impressed with how Griffintown is transforming.
“Who in their right mind wants to live in a neighbourhood that’s interspersed with 20-storey non-architectural towers? There’s no imagination,” Lev said.

Harvey Lev, who restored the New City Gas building in Griffintown, in the main garden in front of the nightclub.
Harvey Lev, who restored the New City Gas building in Griffintown, in the main garden in front of the nightclub. PIERRE OBENDRAUF / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Nobody walks in 20-storey neighbourhoods, with their wind tunnels, he said — the best neighbourhoods are those with three- and four-storey dwellings, like the Plateau, Rosemont, and N.D.G.
Seeing that downtown had nowhere to grow but south, Lev’s father started buying land in the area in the 1950s and 60s. Lev has since sold buildings and land to developer Prével and others.
“They made me rich, richer than I ever needed to be or wanted to be,” Lev said. “I also know that I can’t stop the juggernaut.”
The city could have created something special in Griffintown, Lev said. “What major city in the world can you find, let’s say two or three square miles, that needs rehabilitation right next to downtown?”
Jacques Charette, president of the Georges-Vanier Cultural Centre, points out that 10 years ago, there was not a word to be heard about Griffintown.
“Now, everything is called Griffintown,’’ he said. “The Griffintown Vet is opening up in Little Burgundy.”
Charette and Paul-Émile Rioux, a local gallery owner and president of the merchants association for the Quartier du Canal, tried to convince the city to plan for a central square or hub, a public place where people would gather, but to no avail.
Despite his disappointment over a lack of input from Griffintown’s residents, Rioux said he is happy that there’s life in the area again.
“We missed an occasion to do something right in a place that was wrong,’’ he said. “Now, (city and borough planners) are correcting the problems, trying to do their best.”