Adam Ross Noble holds up a sign and blows a whistle as he and other students, parents and teachers formed a chain around General Vanier Elementary school in St-Léonard on June 5, 2019, “to save our school, raise awareness, solidarity, and raise school spirit.” The school is one of three east end schools that may be taken away from the English Montreal School Board to resolve an overcrowding problem at a French-language board.
John Kenney / Montreal Gazette
Catch up on all the big stories that happened this week in Montreal.
After years of relative calm, Quebec’s anglophones stormed back into the spotlight for myriad reasons in 2019. As far as most anglos were concerned, almost all of them were bad. The government ordered the closing of English elementary and high schools, proposed the eradication of Quebec’s school board system and promised to limit services in English to “historic anglos” without specifying what, exactly, that term means. All of which served to reignite anglo angst. Less than a year into the first mandate of Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government, polls showed Quebec’s English speakers were far more concerned about the erosion of their rights, and held little faith in their new leadership. Given the government’s pledge to toughen up the French Language Charter known as Bill 101, and legal action launched by English-minority groups against school closures, the law banning religious apparel at work and the end of school boards, it appears the the turmoil will persist into 2020.
Lily Kisilevich and her two best friends travelled to Montreal from Toronto over the holidays to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city — and also to buy pot. They are all 18, and in Ontario, the legal age to consume cannabis is 19. So the trio waited patiently in a long line outside the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) store on Ste-Catherine St. But Kisilevich was peeved about one thing: on Jan. 1, Quebec’s new pot-smoking age of 21 takes effect. In a legal twist of fate, Quebec will go from having the lowest minimum age to use cannabis in the country (along with Alberta, which is maintaining the age threshold of 18) to having the highest minimum age. And that means that for the time being, Kisilevich won’t be able to buy legal weed anymore — either in Ontario or Quebec.
With seniors and handicapped people stranded in their West Island homes following the demise of a snow-removal company, dozens of Good Samaritans shovelled the paths and driveways of their neighbours. The call to mobilize came on Facebook, shortly after Bo-Pelouse owner, Marc Guindon, confirmed that he had closed his business after almost 30 years because he couldn’t make ends meet. Susan Weaver, 71, said she woke up on Tuesday morning and saw her neighbour clearing her driveway with his snow blower. “I messaged him and said a huge thank you,” said Weaver, a Bo-Pelouse customer. Within hours of the announcement, Facebook groups were formed in Dorval and Pointe-Claire to coordinate help for those left in the lurch.
It’s going to be a big year for drivers on the island, as the five-year nightmare that is the Turcot Interchange reconstruction project will finally come to an end. But as Turcot concludes, other major projects will rev up. Transport Quebec will begin work to renovate three major tunnels: the Ville-Marie, the Viger and the Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine tunnels.
Where’s the buzz? It’s in the flavour, grasshopper. Believe it. We’re talking burgers and burritos, among other munchies, infused with hemp at Hello 123, a vegan brasserie in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. As anyone who has ever attempted to smoke or eat it in search of a buzz, hemp — although derived from cannabis like marijuana — does not contain the necessary THC content of the latter to get one high. Hemp, evidently the first crop ever cultivated by humankind 10,000 years ago, is primarily known for its industrial use in everything from rope to paper, beauty products to clothing. But food?
Ezra Soiferman prepares to eat a hemp-based burger with co-owner Eric Blake of Hello 123 restaurant on Dec. 2, 2019.
Pierre Obendrauf /