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Old 06-08-2018, 02:15 PM   #4501
fattony
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Re: Open Thread

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Currently in Toronto and it's amazing how much construction is going on in this city. There's a new high-rise project going up every 3 or 4 blocks. I feel like there are more construction here than NYC.
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I'm going to Toronto for the first time this weekend and I'm excited to see all the action.
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One thing you'll notice on your way into the city from Pearson is that the construction is not restricted to downtown. There are several pockets of high-rises dotting the area, several of which already have towers at least 500ft tall with more under construction and are big enough to look like a skyline for a mid size city. The core itself isn't as dense as Chicago yet but give it 5 years and they may just surpass them.
Toronto is indeed growing vertical at an astounding pace. They absolutely understand transit oriented development. From what I could tell, you can trace the Line 1 subway by following the swath of 500 foot residential towers.

What I was surprised and bit disappointed by was that all those towers didn't seem to create a lot of weekend street-level vitality. That not to say it was a ghost town, but if you didn't look up you would never guess there were thousands of homes per block.

The most fun, bustling parts of the city were the 2-3 story streetcar districts that flank downtown. Makes you really wonder who lives in those towers because not many of them were outside on a beautiful, warm Saturday. Downtown by the waterfront (where the sports stadia are) is particularly densely populated by skyscrapers and distinctly devoid of anyone but tourists (and not all that many by Boston standards).

On a side note, Bellwoods Brewery was by far the best beer in Toronto and I highly recommend a visit.

And finally, I loved their subway system. Station spacing was much tighter than ours, but it didn't make the trips seem particularly long. The trains accelerated and decelerated very quickly, stopping every half mile or so to let a handful of people on/off through comfortably wide doors. I'm hoping that the new Orange and Red cars are similar and it gives me hope for a few well-chosen in-fill stations to relieve station congestion (particularly in Cambridge).
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Old 06-08-2018, 03:21 PM   #4502
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Re: Open Thread

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Originally Posted by fattony View Post
Toronto is indeed growing vertical at an astounding pace. They absolutely understand transit oriented development. From what I could tell, you can trace the Line 1 subway by following the swath of 500 foot residential towers.

What I was surprised and bit disappointed by was that all those towers didn't seem to create a lot of weekend street-level vitality. That not to say it was a ghost town, but if you didn't look up you would never guess there were thousands of homes per block.

The most fun, bustling parts of the city were the 2-3 story streetcar districts that flank downtown. Makes you really wonder who lives in those towers because not many of them were outside on a beautiful, warm Saturday. Downtown by the waterfront (where the sports stadia are) is particularly densely populated by skyscrapers and distinctly devoid of anyone but tourists (and not all that many by Boston standards).

.
I think Toronto definitely suffers a bit from the effects of foreign buyers purchasing condos and using them as speculative developments or pied a terres, leaving units empty for much of the year.

While foreign buyers certainly aren't responsible for all of the condo boom there - and Toronto's population is legitimately growing at a rapid pace - it is certainly makes up a sizeable chunk of the condo purchases.

In terms of vitality, I agree that the more low-rise neighborhoods just west of downtown along King Street and Queen street are much more active as 24/7 neighborhoods.

The Canadian cities in general all seem to be going through some sort of condo building boom. After years of stagnation, Montreal has really picked it up in the past few years. What used to be a swath of parking lots surrounding the Bell Centre has been completely filled by large condo towers with ground floor retail - including a large Provigo supermarket. Also, an entire neighborhood south of downtown that used to be a forgotten post-industrial hinterland (Griffintown) has been completely transformed into a viable residential/retail neighborhood.

What's more amazing is that - unlike Toronto and Vancouver - Montreal has not really been on the radar for foreign investors, though from what I have been reading, that trend has begun reversing in the past year.

I have to admit that after Boston, Montreal has quickly become among my favorite cities. I'm especially excited about the new light rail system that has just began construction and is scheduled for completion in 2021/2022. If completed as planned, the system will connect downtown to the airport, west island and the south shore via the new Champlain Bridge. It seems the only thing that might derail this project would be if the soverignist party is elected in October (the west island of Montreal tends to skew anglophone, so the PQ doesn't like to spend provincial money out there)
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:09 PM   #4503
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Re: Open Thread

^I'm headed to Montreal for the first time come September. Any restaurant/off-the-beaten-path recommendations?
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:43 PM   #4504
jdrinboston
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Re: Open Thread

^ I could write a novel,but I'll try to keep it as brief as possible :-)

As a first-time visitor, you definitely will want to spend some time in Old Montreal. It's architectually beautiful and vibrant and will certainly give you a great feel for the "tourist" side of the city. However - depending how much time you spend in the city - be sure to venture into the downtown propper (Victoria Square, Saint Catherine Strett) along with some of the more residential neighborhoods.

A couple of our favorites are right on the Metro's Blue Line. The first neighborhood we really like is Cote-Des-Neiges. This is genuine mixed income, multi-cultural neighborhood with a real vibrant street scene, particuarly in the 1/2 mile walk around the Metro station. You won't find a ton of real fancy or niche places to eat, but you will see some local and national chain retailers/restaurants that the locals gravitate to and enjoy. (Some of them are actually quite good). There is also an open air farmes market right across from the Metro station, which has a lot of good stuff!

Another neighborhood we enjoy is Outremont, a few stops East on the Blue Line. This is a bit more of an upscale neihborhood, but it has a really charming main street area with a bunch of local eateries and pubish type places.

Of course, you can't go wrong walking around the plateau, which generally follows the northeastern branch of the Orange Line and is the center of the French retail/dining scene. A lot of different things to see and try up there.

Closer to downtown, here are a couple of restaurants we always make a point to stop at; There is the Deville Dinerbar on Stanley Street. The concept is basically an upscale diner, but the food is high quality and atmosphere is comfortable.

One other place my husband and I both love is the Bar-B-Barn on Guy Street on the west end of downtown, not far from the Bell Centre. Simply put, the place is a dive. It's been around forever and is very popular with the locals, particularly the anglophone community. But the food - basically chicken and ribs - is tremendous, the prices are reasonable, and the staff is extremely friendly and very welcoming to US tourists. In fact, although we've only been there 5 or 6 times, a couple of the waitstaff have already begun to recognize us.

Hope this helps! Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions as I could certainly give you a ton of other pointers/recommendations.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:32 PM   #4505
KentXie
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Re: Open Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by fattony View Post
Toronto is indeed growing vertical at an astounding pace. They absolutely understand transit oriented development. From what I could tell, you can trace the Line 1 subway by following the swath of 500 foot residential towers.

What I was surprised and bit disappointed by was that all those towers didn't seem to create a lot of weekend street-level vitality. That not to say it was a ghost town, but if you didn't look up you would never guess there were thousands of homes per block.

The most fun, bustling parts of the city were the 2-3 story streetcar districts that flank downtown. Makes you really wonder who lives in those towers because not many of them were outside on a beautiful, warm Saturday. Downtown by the waterfront (where the sports stadia are) is particularly densely populated by skyscrapers and distinctly devoid of anyone but tourists (and not all that many by Boston standards).

On a side note, Bellwoods Brewery was by far the best beer in Toronto and I highly recommend a visit.

And finally, I loved their subway system. Station spacing was much tighter than ours, but it didn't make the trips seem particularly long. The trains accelerated and decelerated very quickly, stopping every half mile or so to let a handful of people on/off through comfortably wide doors. I'm hoping that the new Orange and Red cars are similar and it gives me hope for a few well-chosen in-fill stations to relieve station congestion (particularly in Cambridge).
What part of the city did you end up staying? I got lucky and got an Airbnb on the 30th floor of the Pantages Tower right near Dundas Square, Eaton Centre, and City Hall. I went on a good week, with sunshine and warm temperature and the whole area was flocking with tons of people (thought 70% were probably tourists). I think there are certain areas in downtown that will always have a ton of activities, especially down major arteries like Yonge Street, Dundas St, Queen St, and Spadina Ave which happens to be located near on the 1 line.

I also love their PATH system which is an underground mall that connects the major office buildings in downtown (maybe that's why you might see some dead areas in the core).

Downburst, you will also find something similar to this in Montreal. I think it's a pretty neat concept.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:02 AM   #4506
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Re: Open Thread

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Originally Posted by jdrinboston View Post
^ I could write a novel,but I'll try to keep it as brief as possible :-)

As a first-time visitor, you definitely will want to spend some time in Old Montreal. It's architectually beautiful and vibrant and will certainly give you a great feel for the "tourist" side of the city. However - depending how much time you spend in the city - be sure to venture into the downtown propper (Victoria Square, Saint Catherine Strett) along with some of the more residential neighborhoods.

A couple of our favorites are right on the Metro's Blue Line. The first neighborhood we really like is Cote-Des-Neiges. This is genuine mixed income, multi-cultural neighborhood with a real vibrant street scene, particuarly in the 1/2 mile walk around the Metro station. You won't find a ton of real fancy or niche places to eat, but you will see some local and national chain retailers/restaurants that the locals gravitate to and enjoy. (Some of them are actually quite good). There is also an open air farmes market right across from the Metro station, which has a lot of good stuff!

Another neighborhood we enjoy is Outremont, a few stops East on the Blue Line. This is a bit more of an upscale neihborhood, but it has a really charming main street area with a bunch of local eateries and pubish type places.

Of course, you can't go wrong walking around the plateau, which generally follows the northeastern branch of the Orange Line and is the center of the French retail/dining scene. A lot of different things to see and try up there.

Closer to downtown, here are a couple of restaurants we always make a point to stop at; There is the Deville Dinerbar on Stanley Street. The concept is basically an upscale diner, but the food is high quality and atmosphere is comfortable.

One other place my husband and I both love is the Bar-B-Barn on Guy Street on the west end of downtown, not far from the Bell Centre. Simply put, the place is a dive. It's been around forever and is very popular with the locals, particularly the anglophone community. But the food - basically chicken and ribs - is tremendous, the prices are reasonable, and the staff is extremely friendly and very welcoming to US tourists. In fact, although we've only been there 5 or 6 times, a couple of the waitstaff have already begun to recognize us.

Hope this helps! Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions as I could certainly give you a ton of other pointers/recommendations.
This is great! How about tips for a 5th or 6th time visitor who REALLY wants to fall in love with the city, but can't quite seem to get over the hump?

I like Montreal. It's walkable, the transit network is very good, and the food and drink rival any place I've been. Seriously, from cheap eats to fine dining it's one of my favorite places. I even find the stereotypes about the rude Quebecois to be wrong. But I have yet to really fall head over heels for Montreal the way I have with New York, San Francisco, Chicago, CDMX, Copenhagen, Tokyo, London, DC, and even Montreal's little brother, Quebec.

I'm thinking that my problem is that Montreal is so close that I typically go for a long weekend at most which doesn't give me time to really branch out too much. In addition to the touristy spots, I've done Jean Talon and some of the neighborhoods around the city center and enjoyed them. I've seen bits of the "undeground city" and eaten/drank great food. But I'm not crazy about the place in the same way that other people seem to be and I can't put my finger on the "why?" because on paper it's my perfect city. But I'd rather drive a bit further to Quebec (even though the food isn't nearly as good) which is, in my opinion, absolutely charming and fun. I'd rather do a weekend in New York, DC, or even hop a cheap flight to Chicago.

I'm heading back to Montreal from July 5-8 and I'm hellbent on getting out of the city center and seeing more of the city. I'm just not sure where to begin. I'm convinced I'm going to enjoy it more this time. So please, as someone who knows/loves the city, please let me know what you suggest.
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Old 06-12-2018, 05:02 PM   #4507
jdrinboston
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Re: Open Thread

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Originally Posted by Lrfox View Post
This is great! How about tips for a 5th or 6th time visitor who REALLY wants to fall in love with the city, but can't quite seem to get over the hump?

I like Montreal. It's walkable, the transit network is very good, and the food and drink rival any place I've been. Seriously, from cheap eats to fine dining it's one of my favorite places. I even find the stereotypes about the rude Quebecois to be wrong. But I have yet to really fall head over heels for Montreal the way I have with New York, San Francisco, Chicago, CDMX, Copenhagen, Tokyo, London, DC, and even Montreal's little brother, Quebec.

I'm thinking that my problem is that Montreal is so close that I typically go for a long weekend at most which doesn't give me time to really branch out too much. In addition to the touristy spots, I've done Jean Talon and some of the neighborhoods around the city center and enjoyed them. I've seen bits of the "undeground city" and eaten/drank great food. But I'm not crazy about the place in the same way that other people seem to be and I can't put my finger on the "why?" because on paper it's my perfect city. But I'd rather drive a bit further to Quebec (even though the food isn't nearly as good) which is, in my opinion, absolutely charming and fun. I'd rather do a weekend in New York, DC, or even hop a cheap flight to Chicago.

I'm heading back to Montreal from July 5-8 and I'm hellbent on getting out of the city center and seeing more of the city. I'm just not sure where to begin. I'm convinced I'm going to enjoy it more this time. So please, as someone who knows/loves the city, please let me know what you suggest.
Well, let me see if I can be of help. Of course, not everyone will fall in love with certain place. FWIW, I feel the same way about Chicago that you do about Montreal. Love is a visceral thing that is hard to explain sometimes :-)

To be honest, my husband and I made our first trip to Montreal during the winter of 2013. It was a weekend trip, brutality cold and we stayed in the cheapest hotel we could find, located on the very outskirts of downtown. In short, we had a horrid experience.

But, we were determined to give it another shot and returned for 4 days in August. We stayed at a hotel on Sherbrooke Street in the Golden Square Mile and had an entirely different experience and have gone back several times a year since. I'll try to give you a few quick bullet points. If you have any questions, of course feel free to PM me.

- If you haven't done so already, be sure to spend some time walking in areas around downtown not directly around St. Catherines Street. Sherbrooke Street is beautiful, particuarly as you get closer to the Fine Arts Museum. The streets on the north side of Sherbrooke, leading up the mountain are also really nice and full of pre-war brownstones and apartment buildings.

- Make sure you spend some time in Park Mont Royal. Whenever I'm in the city, I love to take the Orange Line to the Mont Royal Metro, and take the 11 bus through the neighborhood around the station and into the park and up the mountain. From the mountain lookout, you have a spectacular view of the city and the surrounding river and moutains. One of the things I love about Montreal is that it is surrounded by a really scenic area. When you want to leave the mountain, you can walk down the path from the lookout area, which will drop you right off at the top of Peel Street in downtown.

- I know you said you went to Jean Talon. I would also recommend visiting Atwater in the southeastern part of downtown. Once there, you can enjoy the food and atmospher and then rent a Bixi bike (basically our Hubway/Blue Bike) and travel along the Lachine Canal - through the development in Griffintown and into Old Montreal. Along the way, you get a great view of downtown.

- As a gay couple, it's not a surprise we enjoy spending time in the Gay Village. During the summer, St. Catherine street is closed to car traffic and adorned with rainbow colored balls. It's quite the festive atmosphere, and seems to appeal to everyone, whether LGBTQ or otherwise.

- In the neighborhoods surrounding the Berri-UQAM metro station and Place Des Artes, - particuarly in the warm weather months - you will find a ton of festivals and seemingly impromptu parties. In fact, I stayed in this neighborhood last summer and was pleasantly surprised to find a giant, outdoor salsa dancing party - complete with dance floor - in the park below my hotel room. It was free, open to all, and was filled with literally hundreds, of people having a great time. To me, that's the type of event that makes Montreal special as it seems to have found a really good balance between work and making money vs. having fun.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:09 AM   #4508
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Re: Open Thread

The trouble with Toronto...... is it's Toronto.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:48 AM   #4509
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Re: Open Thread

I'd highly recommend stopping to check out the CCA - Canadian Centre for Architecture. It's a great architecture museum with rotating exhibits. My friends and I very much enjoyed the bookstore too.

Their website is awful, here's their wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadi...r_Architecture
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Old 06-16-2018, 04:30 PM   #4510
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Re: Open Thread

The Ritz offers some deals. Or at the other end of the scale, you can stay at a McGill dorm.
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