Saturday, February 28, 2015

Told Ya it was Just Normal........LoL

Today's Montreal Gazette has an article with a bunch of charts & stuff showing avg. temps throughout the years, and good old Global Warming (Climate Change) is Just Weather Back to like it always was.
   I will post the link so you can see the charts in the Gazette, but the jist of the story is printed below.                    (you can copy & paste it, to take you directly there)

This February was the coldest on record

Commuters brave the cold as they wait for the 211 Bord-du-Lac bus, on Monday Feb. 16, 2015 at the Lionel-Groux metro station.
Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette


It wasn’t your imagination. This February really has been the coldest ever.

With an average temperature of -14.7 C, it beat February 1979 — when the average temperature was -13.6 C — as the coldest Montreal has ever seen.
Blame it on the West Coast, which had a strong high-pressure system that caused a peak in the jet stream. “The jet stream rose in Western Canada and brought arctic air down to the eastern coast,” said Adrien Julien, a meteorologist at Environment Canada.
The Gazette analyzed historical weather data going back to 1953 to find just how cold this February was according to the past. The chart below illustrates this.
Last month, we reported that January 2015 was colder compared to recent years, but not so bad when looked at a longer time scale. This February, however, bucked this historic trend. Oddly enough, temperatures were above normal in January almost everywhere else on the planet.
A widely-circulated report by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that January 2015 was the second-warmest on record (after 2007, when there was an El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean). However, Quebec and New England were among the few land areas that saw cooler than normal temperatures that month.
“When the February data comes out, it will be even worse,” Julien said.
Compare this February to the past record-holder, in 1979. Although daily temperatures were lower than present at the start of that month, it got much milder towards the end. Not this year.
This month has also had strong winds, which, combined with the low temperatures, added to the misery with wind chill days. If you average out the wind speeds for the whole month, it comes to 18.3 km/h. 1979 is not too far behind, with an average wind speed of 17.6 km/h.
The wind chill is measured every hour, but only when the temperature is below zero. Because of this, calculating an average wind chill for a whole month can be deceptive, as it doesn’t take into account these above-freezing moments.
Nonetheless, it can be useful for general comparison with past winters. As the chart below shows, the median wind chill for February 2015 was exactly the same as 1979: -23 C.
An interesting pattern emerges when wind chill temperatures in February are averaged out for each hour across all years. The coldest temperatures seem to happen around 7 a.m., and pull back around 4 p.m., providing a handy indication of when to avoid stepping outdoors. This pattern makes sense, Julien said.
“The lowest temperature in a day usually occurs after sunrise. It takes some hours before the sun heats up the earth,” he said.Source for all charts: Environment Canada

Interactive: understanding the wind chill

Friday, February 27, 2015

Remember When......... A neat story in today's Montreal Gazette Feb27th 2015

Little trace remains of Montreal's glamorous theatre era

Undated photo of theatres lining downtown Ste-Catherine St. in Montreal.
George Cree / Montreal Gazette files

There are imaginary ghosts dancing behind the plywood that’s temporarily concealing a vacant storefront on Ste-Catherine St. W. as it undergoes renovation.

They’re the spirits of vaudeville and Hollywood, of stars of first silent and then talking movies, of singers, dancers and “manufacturers of mirth,” as one newspaper reviewer described a pair of vaudeville entertainers, and of generations of Montrealers who flocked to live shows and movie premieres while the location was known as Loew’s Theatre.
You wouldn’t know it today, but the skinny, towering storefront a few metres west of Mansfield St., which most recently housed a Foot Locker shoe store, was once the entrance of a majestic theatre that served as Montreal’s principal vaudeville house and one of its main movie theatres for many years after it was built in 1917.
  • Then: A print from about 1910 of His Majesty's Theatre, which was located on Guy St., just north of Ste-Catherine. Guy St., just north of Ste-Catherine St.
  • Now: His Majesty's Theatre was demolished in 1963, where today stands Concordia University's engineering, computer science and visual arts complex.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
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    Then: The York Theatre opened in 1938 on the northwest corner of Ste-Catherine and Mackay Sts.
  • Now: The York Theatre was demolished in 2001 to make way for Concordia University's engineering, computer science and visual arts building.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: A 1972 photo of the Loews Theatre, on Ste-Catherine just west of Mansfield St. Built in 1917 by architect Thomas W. Lamb. With more than 3,000 seats, it was the largest in Montreal when it opened, and for years was the principal vaudeville stand in the city.
  • Now: The Loew's Theatre was subdivided into five cinemas in 1976. Boarded up today, the building most recently housed a Foot Locker store.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: The Strand built in 1912 on the southeast corner of Ste-Catherine and Mansfield Sts., and the first major movie theatre in Montreal's downtown.
    Roméo Gariepy / collection Cinémathèque québécoise / Roméo Gariepy / collection Cinémathèque québécoise
  • Now: The Strand Theatre ended its days as the Pigalle before being torn down in 1973, with the neighbouring Capitol Theatre, to make way for an office tower.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: The Capitol Theatre, about 1925. The Capitol opened in 1921 on the south side of Ste-Catherine, just west of McGill College Ave.
  • Now: The Capitol Theatre, along with the neighbouring Strand Theatre, was torn down on this block in 1973, to the chagrin of many Montrealers.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: A print of the Colonial Theatre from about 1915. The theatre was renamed the Regal in 1920.
  • Then: The Palace Theatre on Ste-Catherine St. between McGill College Ave. and University St. The Palace Theatre was built as the Allen Theatre for movies in 1921.
  • Now: The site of the old Regal (and Colonial) theatres is now the SuperSexe strip club, and the former Palace Theatre, next door, is a restaurant.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: The Gaiety Theatre, on the northeast corner of Ste-Catherine and Aylmer Sts., became a movie house in 1909. Renamed the London Theatre around 1912, later renamed The System, renamed Le Cinéma 539 in the 1970s and showed X-rated films.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette files
  • Now: The exterior of the former Gaiety Theatre remains recognizable. Building most recently housed a store.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: Bennett's Theatre opened in Montreal in 1907, on the north side of Ste-Catherine at City Councillors St.
  • Now: The former Bennett's Theatre, renamed the Orpheum in 1910, is now the site of an office tower.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: A large crowd gathers outside Montreal's Princess Theatre in 1936 during the opening of Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times". Original Princess was built in 1908, on Ste-Catherine at City Councillors, across the street from Bennett's Theatre. Original theatre burned down in 1915.
  • The former Princess Theatre was later renamed Le Parisien, and is now a newly renovated retail outlet up for rent.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Imperial Theatre in 1913, the year it opened ion Bleury St., just north of Ste-Catherine.
  • Now: The Cinéma Impérial.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: An undated photo of Montreal's Nickel Theatre at the southeast corner of Ste-Catherine St. W. and Bleury St. After 1912, it became known as The Tivoli Theatre. It was destroyed in a 1923 fire.
  • Now: There's no trace now of the old Tivoli Theatre on Ste-Catherine St. at Bleury St.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: The Gayety Theatre, in 1957, at the corner Ste-Catherine and St-Urbain Sts. It was the leading burlesque theatre in Montreal in its day, later transformed into the home of the Comédie Canadienne theatre company.
  • The site of the former Gayety Theatre today is the Théâtre du nouveau monde.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: The Ouimetoscope at the corner Ste. Catherine St. E. and Montcalm St., was inaugurated in 1906.
  • Now: Condos and a commercial space now occupy the site of the former Ouimetoscope, but a privately erected plaque draws attention to the site's historical significance.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
  • Then: The Théâtre National, was built in 1900 on the south side of Ste-Catherine at Beaudry St. Considered the oldest French professional theatre in North America.
  • Now: The Théâtre National, built in 1900, is now Le National, a music and live entertainment venue.
    Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette

By the end of its reign in the 1990s, the once glorious Loew’s was a five-screen cinema that had been eclipsed by even larger multi-screen movie theatres.
The Loew’s was just one of more than a dozen lost movie and live entertainment palaces that once lined Ste-Catherine, long before Gap and Second Cup made their debuts.
And you wouldn’t know that, either, because the story of Ste-Catherine’s role as a theatre row cannot be found on the street. Unlike Sherbrooke St. W. to the north, downtown Ste-Catherine boasts no historic plaques to point out its landmarks and recount the street’s history.
“It was the Quartier des spectacles before there was Quartier des spectacles,” Heritage Montreal policy director Dinu Bumbaru said of the downtown stretch of Ste-Catherine. He was referring to the name of the entertainment block the city and the provincial government are building around Place des Arts between Ste-Catherine and De Maisonneuve Blvd. east of Bleury St.
On its own initiative, Heritage Montreal installed 19 interpretative plaques along Sherbrooke in 1992 for Montreal’s 350th anniversary. It was an ambitious undertaking for a private, non-profit organization as it sought the cooperation of building owners to put up the plaques. The funding was provided by philanthropist Liliane M. Stewart and a number of foundations. Stewart, who presided the Stewart Museum and the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, died in May.
The downtown theatres were the most important theatres in town. -Dane Lanken
Heritage Montreal also installed 15 plaques around Dorchester Square in 2004. Stewart and the owners of some of the buildings in the area provided the funding.
Now, with Montreal’s 375th anniversary coming in 2017, Bumbaru suggested that the city install historic plaques along Ste-Catherine. Coincidentally, city hall is in the midst of developing a revitalization plan for Ste-Catherine between Atwater and Bleury, which creates an opportunity and a budget for such an improvement, he said.
Ste-Catherine began life as a residential street. It was transformed starting 120 years ago into an artery of grand stores, churches and theatres.
In 1907, the city of Montreal boasted 53 cinema and concert halls and theatres, notes the Répertoire d’architecture traditionnelle, published by the former Montreal Urban Community in 1985. By 1911, the number had grown to 63. Two years later, in 1913, the city had 77 cinemas, concert halls and theatres. The most popular among them were concentrated on the downtown portion of Ste-Catherine.
Today, almost all of Ste-Catherine’s early-20th-century theatres have vanished. Even the buildings that housed the theatres are mostly gone.
Among the only traces of the street’s past are the Imperial theatre, still showing movies on Bleury just above Ste-Catherine, and the theatre hub formed by such venues as Club Soda, the Metropolis, the Société des arts technologiques and the Monument National at Ste-Catherine and St-Laurent Blvd. “The corner of Ste-Catherine and St-Laurent is the only place where you can still feel the concentration of theatre,” Bumbaru said.
Another hint of Ste-Catherine’s connection to old cinema and live theatre is a discreet bronze plaque – again, privately erected – on a building on the southeast corner of Ste-Catherine and Montcalm St., east of the downtown core.
A commemorative plaque recognizes Le Ouimetoscope in Montreal.
A commemorative plaque recognizes the site of the historic Ouimetoscope theatre on Ste-Catherine St.
Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
The plaque pays tribute to Léo-Ernest Ouimet, an engineer and projectionist who erected on the street corner what is widely considered to have been the first theatre in Canada built specifically for movies. Ouimet opened the Ouimetoscope in 1906 out of a former recital hall. Soon after, he tore down the building and built a new and fancier Ouimetoscope dedicated to movies, which opened on the same spot in August 1907.
The Cinémathèque canadienne (later renamed the Cinémathèque québécoise) put up the plaque in 1966. A commercial and condominium building sits on the site today.
Ouimet, meanwhile, sold the Ouimetoscope in 1915 and moved to Hollywood. In 1920, he produced a feature film called Why Get Married? that played at Loew’s Theatre in Montreal, author Dane Lanken writes in his 1993 book Montreal Movie Palaces, a seminal work on the history of Montreal’s grand theatres. Lanken’s book also notes the Ouimetoscope may have been the first fancy movie palace in the world, and not just in Montreal.
Lanken was working as a film critic at the Montreal Gazette in the early 1970s when the downtown theatres started to get demolished or have their grand interiors chopped up into multiple cinemas.
Palace theatres were going the way of silent movies decades earlier.
“It was really the end of the line for the big old theatres,” Lanken said in an interview. He spent 20 years gathering photos and conducting research and interviews on the city’s movie palaces for his book.
People by and large lived in very dreary, cold-water flats. But for a quarter, you could go out and sit in this palace. And the doorman would open the door for you, and there would be an usher who would show you to a seat. You were treated royally for 25 cents. -Dane Lanken
Lanken wasn’t the only theatre buff to lament the loss of the palace theatres.
Montrealer Janet MacKinnon, who fought to preserve historic theatres in Canada, documented the significance of this city’s theatres with her organization, Historic Theatres Trust. MacKinnon died in 2011, but the Historic Theatres Trust collection is now housed at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
The theatres’ history, architecture, ownership and size may be recorded, but Lanken says he agrees with Bumbaru’s suggestion to erect plaques at Ste-Catherine’s landmarks to help keep the history alive.
“The downtown theatres were the most important theatres in town,” Lanken said, adding that Montreal’s principal theatres for decades were the Loew’s, the Capitol, the Palace and the Princess, all located within a few blocks of each other on Ste-Catherine.
“From the early days of the movies, probably 1920 or so, until the the system broke down around 1970, movies would play first at one of these four downtown theatres,” Lanken said. “And then they would go out on what were called double bills at what were called the neighbourhood houses, like the Monkland in N.D.G., or the Rialto up north (on Parc Ave.). There were a couple dozen of these theatres in the neighbourhoods, but the prestige place to see a movie or for a movie to open in Montreal was at one of these four theatres. That’s why they were so important. And those blocks (along Ste-Catherine) certainly were the Quartier des spectacles of that time.Most of the early 20th century theatres, such as the Loew’s, offered both films and live theatre. The decorative style of those theatres was classically inspired, based on ancient Greece and Rome, Lanken said. As a result, theatres like the Loew’s boasted columns and plaster low-relief decoration.
“The grandeur of these theatres was an important selling point for them,” Lanken said. “People by and large lived in very dreary, cold-water flats. But for a quarter, you could go out and sit in this palace. And the doorman would open the door for you, and there would be an usher who would show you to a seat. You were treated royally for 25 cents.”
If the theatres had sprouted somewhat organically on Ste-Catherine in the early 20th century, their destruction was in large part due to an under-appreciation of their architecture, decoration and history, Lanken said.
Emblematic of the palace theatres’ plight in the 1970s was the Capitol, on Ste-Catherine just west of McGill College Ave.
Lanken calls the Capitol “the greatest theatre ever built in the city.”
“It was the grandest, the most spectacular and just about the biggest,” he said. “It’s so rare to walk into a room anywhere where there’s 50 feet of space over your head. But you could certainly get that in a theatre like the Capitol.
“A lot of theatres would have walls or columns made of plaster painted to look like marble, but in the Capitol there was real marble. It was a very expensive theatre to build.”
The Capitol was built in 1921 by Thomas W. Lamb, the master theatre architect of New York. Lamb who also built the Loew’s and hundreds of theatres across North America, for the then-new Famous Players Canadian Corp., which would become the largest chain in Canada.


Now: The Capitol Theatre, along with the neighbouring Strand Theatre, was torn down on this block in 1973, to the chagrin of many Montrealers.
Now: The Capitol Theatre, along with the neighbouring Strand Theatre, was torn down on this block in 1973, to the chagrin of many Montrealers.
Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
In 1973, the Capitol and its neighbour, the Strand, also owned by Famous Players by then, were demolished to make way for an office tower.
“They thought there was more money to be made tearing down the theatres and putting up buildings,” Lanken said of Famous Players.
It was the era of mayor Jean Drapeau, to boot, so the demolition of the city’s old theatres didn’t seem to bother city officials, he added.
However, they were tearing down Montreal’s collective memory.
In the early 20th century, the city was on a North American circuit for touring vaudeville acts, Lanken said.
Vaudeville shows were a collection of unrelated acts. “It was family entertainment and anybody could go to it,” Lanken said.
The Loew’s in its heyday was the main vaudeville venue in Montreal, putting everything from skaters to acrobats to “comedy dancers” on its bill, along with movies.
Ste-Catherine also boasted burlesque shows, notably at the Gayety, the leading burlesque theatre in Montreal that was built in 1912 at Ste-Catherine and St-Urbain St. Stripper Lili St. Cyr made her Montreal debut here in 1944, Lanken’s book explains. It has been home to the Théâtre du nouveau monde since 1972.
“Burlesque was vaudeville, except that it had a stripper in it and maybe a chorus line,” Lanken said. “And a dirty comedian was a hallmark of it, as well.”
Then: A large crowd gathers outside Montreal's Princess Theatre in 1936 during the opening of Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times". Original Princess was built in 1908, on Ste-Catherine at City Councillors, across the street from Bennett's Theatre. Original theatre burned down in 1915.
Then: A large crowd gathers outside Montreal’s Princess Theatre in 1936 during the opening of Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times”.
Original Princess was built in 1908, on Ste-Catherine at City Councillors, across the street from Bennett’s Theatre. Original theatre burned down in 1915.
Montreal Gazette files
Vaudeville disappeared with the advent of “talkies” around 1929, but the Loew’s continued its program of vaudeville and movies for another decade, Lanken said.
The Loew’s brought American comedic entertainer Red Skelton to Montreal before his rise from vaudeville to radio and television. Another performer to hit the stage at the Loew’s was Sally Rand, whom Hollywood filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille put in silent movies in the 1920s and who was billed as the world’s most famous fan dancer when she appeared on the bill at Loew’s in 1935 with her vaudeville act. It was said to be tamer than her burlesque act, in which she would use two ostrich feathers to playfully reveal parts of her body – minus the naughtiest parts — as she danced to Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune.
By the time Leonard Schlemm was taking his first dates to the Loew’s as a McGill University commerce undergrad in the early 1970s, the theatre was strictly showing movies. But the grandeur and elegance of the theatre hasn’t faded for Schlemm, who opened the Mansfield Athletic Club inside the belly of what used to be the Loew’s in 2005.
The Loew’s had been built for Marcus Loew, who by 1917 already owned 100 theatres across the U.S. and Canada and would later be a co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Hollywood. With over 3,000 seats, the Loew’s was the city’s largest theatre when it opened.
In 2001, Club Med World spent $8 million to renovate the then-vacant space and turn it into an entertainment complex. When the venture failed, the property was divided into two lots, one for the former entrance of the theatre on Ste-Catherine, which was rented to a shoe store, and the other for the interior belly, which opens on Mansfield. The Mansfield side remained empty until Schlemm’s real-estate agent scouted it in 2004 as a potential downtown location for the international fitness centre operator to open a new club.
Schlemm had opened a gym in a smaller theatre in Madrid, Spain, and says he saw the potential for the former Loew’s. He bought the nearly 50,000-square-foot lot from a real-estate company that had bought the entire property from Club Med World.
The storefront portion on Ste-Catherine, still owned by the real-estate company, has long since lost the old theatre facade. The construction work going on behind the plywood now is on the modern glass exterior, the borough of Ville-Marie says. The work is being done to make way for a new commercial tenant.
However, the interior of the former Loew’s is still evident inside Schlemm’s Mansfield Athletic Club, including the high ceilings and a mural. Four of the original architectural drawings for the theatre adorn a wall that leads into the workout space.
While many of the grand theatres have been razed, the classically-inspired interior of the former Loew's is still evident inside the Mansfield Athletic Club, including the high ceilings and a mural.
While many of the grand theatres have been razed, the classically-inspired interior of the former Loew’s is still evident inside the Mansfield Athletic Club, including the high ceilings and a mural.

“Club Med had done an excellent job of refurbishing it,” Schlemm said, adding that the company preserved the decorations from the old theatre.
(Lanken credits architect Mandel Sprachman for his “sensitive” renovation when he was hired in 1975 to split the Loew’s into a five-cinema theatre. Sprachman saved the dome in the ceiling and decorative elements on the walls to make it possible to one day restore the interior to its former glory.)
Schlemm says he likes the idea of erecting plaques for the theatre landmarks along Ste-Catherine. At the same time, he says he recognizes that the city may have other pressing financial needs.
So for now, the preservation of Montreal’s theatre row on Ste-Catherine – its history, its spirits and its few remaining fragments, anyway – relies on the will of individuals such as Schlemm and Lanken.
A more concerted effort is needed, Bumbaru says. After all, it’s a street where an important piece of Montreal’s story may be lurking behind any ordinary-looking storefront.