Photo du jour – Ruelle from Hell


Looking south down an alleyway on Duluth Avenue East between Hotel-de-Ville and Laval Avenues.


  1. I’m going to just keep repeating myself until the City (or Province, rather) does something about it:

    there wouldn’t be so much garbage on our streets if we had retail bottle depots and recycling depots, which would give incentive to people who would like to supplement their income to clean the streets of any reusable waste materials.

    to note, also: people don’t throw garbage on the street when they respect their urban environment. it is difficult to respect a municipal government that consistently awards public works contracts to crony companies who perform sub-par workmanship that results in injury and sometimes death of our very citizens.

    for example, it is lovely that the city decided to give the Peel entrance of Mount Royal a facelift, but I find it very hard to believe that the total project actually cost $5 million. looks like it should have cost something closer to $2 million, max.

    people are getting rather tired of these ridiculously expensive subpar public works. no wonder we throw garbage on the street. the city doesn’t care about us, why should we care about it?

  2. Je ne crois pas qu’il y a nécessairement un lien entre les dépenses trop grandes des gouvernements municipaux pour certains contrats et le cynisme de certains citoyens pour leur milieu de vie. Cela dit, je ne dis pas qu’il ne faut pas revoir en détails le financement de certains projets.
    Au contraire, j’aurais même tendance à croire que, vu un certain individualisme, ces gens se désintéressent plutôt de la politique et de ses enjeux.

    La définition de salubrité et de propreté dépend d’une culture à l’autre. Dans certains pays, il est normal de jeter ses ordures par la fenêtre (et paraît-il que certains le font encore à Montréal, faute d’éducation populaire). Toutefois, il est vrai que nous sommes une société qui privilégie la généralement la propreté comme valeur.

    Ce qu’il faut savoir, toutefois, à ce sujet, c’est qu’il existe deux types de ruelles à ce sujet. Le premier type est municipal : son entretien incombe donc à la ville et à ses citoyens. L’autre est privé. Peu importe l’état de la poubelle, la ville a donc peu de pouvoir sur la propreté des lieux.

  3. Vous excuserez quelques fautes d’inattention :

    *qui privilégie généralement
    *qu’il existe deux types de ruelles.
    *l’état de la ruelle

  4. i do not remember where i read this, but i feel it is very valid: “people do not vandalize a space in which they feel comfortable”
    most of montreal’s public spaces do not feel comfortable for me: it is a mix of pollution (air and noise), not feeling very secure (car traffic), lots of beton, which is crumbling and very little green space being left natural
    add to that the garbage flying around from the recycling containers and garbage bags kept on the street, what is the incentive to keep this space clean?
    on top of there are few public garbage cans, so i usually end up carrying it home, especially the stuff that i can recycle …

  5. Agreed, stf, pollution in general is a great, ongoing problem in Montreal. Air, water, earth, and noise pollution is terrible in this city. In summer it is almost unbearable.

    I also agree that there are few garbage cans, and those that do exist are often overflowing. I have been on Mount Royal several times over the past few days and each and every garbage can (of the handful that are actually available) are overflowing to the point that people have resorted to piling garbage next to the can rather than in it.

    I disagree with Angelique, however. In my opinion, there is a direct correlation between the disrespect the City shows for its residents, and the disrespect residents in turn show towards the City. This is not an issue that can be resolved by simply replacing the current mayor but by replacing the MUNICIPAL WORKERS themselves, many of whom have been working for the city for decades and, unlike the mayor, are protected by sweetheart unions who’s sole job, it appears, is to protect municipal workers from being held accountable for shoddy workmanship and ethical responsibilities.

    We have changed mayors a dozen times over the past 50 years, and yet the municipal workers under various mayors do not change at all. Since changing mayors doesn’t seem to resolve ongoing problems, perhaps it’s time to change the workers.

  6. It’s simple, if you don’t own the propriety you don’t care about it. The worst cases of disorder often happen in areas where there’s apartment buildings. The reasoning is obvious: I’m not gonna waste my time picking up the trash up since I don’t own the place. Then others see that the place isn’t up kept so they add to the problem by discarding their trash.

    What I can’t deal with though is vandalism. How many time have you seen a brand new building or recently renovated area that gets tagged with some bullshit initials. It’s as if these morons just can’t handle to fact that someone is doing better than them so they have to smear their shit all over them. And the police doesn’t care if you report the crime since they can’t easily fine anyone for a speeding or parking contravention so the problem doesn’t get fixed, plus they benefit from having these walking turds arounds since they can count these acts as crime and get a bigger budget next year so they leave them alone.

  7. I regularly see people cleaning up the street and sidewalks around the property they own. It is only when the owner owns many properties and cares more about profit than property upkeep do you see owner neglect (for example, the buildings on the Plateau owned by slumlords, among other areas).

    I grew up in Dorval and we regularly cleaned not only the street in front of us, and the sidewalk, but also the area behind our backyard. Any area within 15 feet of our property line was cleaned by yours truly. In fact, it was a household chore, all the kids in our house had to grab a garbage bag every season and clean up the litter around our property. Our neighbours did the same. Our entire neighbourhood was litter-free.

    As for graffiti, I do not a single tag or sign of it in the photo posted. Graffiti has nothing to do with litter, it, like all other art, is merely a form of self-expression.

  8. I do not see a tag or any graffiti in the photo posted. Am I missing something?

  9. I don’t think people who don’t own property are necessarily uncaring of our urban environment – the relationship is rather more complex.

    It is a point in favour of developing cooperatives – like the other co-ops on my street (near Jean-Talon market) we are careful to keep street, gardens and ruelle clean and tidy, though none of us are likely to have the money to own and property outright.

    Of course if there aren’t apartment buildings or what we call “logements”, that would mean single-family housing, which means far more pollution per person – car dependency, more sewer length etc.

    Someone should really clean up this ruelle – it is a blight on what is actually quite a trendy area.

  10. ce n’est pas toujours la faute de la ville… ou des autres. il y a des dizaines de gens qui habitent cet endroit. Au printemps, prennez donc 2 minutes pour nettoyer votre environnement (si vous y tenez). sinon, et bien, vivez dans votre merde, un jour quelqu’un la ramassera pour vous…

    ok, si c’est toujours les memes qui jettent leurs ordures partout. Ma suggestion: 1- allez leur parler, 2- portez plainte.

    Mais avant tout, si vous tenez a la proprete de votre coin: Montrez le en donnant l’exemple!

  11. Niomi, if you let me know where you live, I can bring a couple of spray paint cans and express myself on your front door. I won’t even charge you for the art. Let me know…

  12. I have lived with several McGill/Concordia/UdeM students from out-of-province and out-of-country who thought it was both amusing and perfectly acceptable to throw bags of garbage out the window onto the front sidewalk at any given time, or into our courtyard for us to pick up after them.

    Just saying.

  13. I think it would be nicer for neighbourhood people to organise a cleanup…

    Some graffiti is artistic or clever, but most of it nowadays is just damned tags.

    I liked the little “I love you – je t’aime” a while back. Would enjoy seeing those small sweet graffiti in many other languages.

  14. I love the “I love you – Je t’aime” tags…! they make me smile every time I walk by one. :)

  15. I’m not sure ownership is the only major variable keeping a neighbourhood clean. I’ve lived in Point St Charles where by far the majority of residents rent, and they keep their streets clean (and decorated!). I’ve also lived in Ottawa and spent alot of time in other Cdn cities. Montrealers seem to have this unique attitude where it’s every person for themselves. The good side is that it translates to a kind of mass tolerance, the bad side is that no one really cares about each other. Which in turn translates into an ability to tolerate copious amounts of garbage.

  16. I hardly like garbage on the streets, and the city is particularly dirty in April before the big cleanup has started, but compared to most cities I’ve seen, Montréal is very clean — Forbes even rated it as #10 if that’s worth anything.

    So aside from the Japanese, the Scandinavian coutries, Switzerland, and a few other places, most of the world would probably view us as being obsessed with cleanliness and our garbage collectors as models of conscientious hard workers.

    Just putting it into perspective.

    As for Montrealers not caring about each other: it’s a fair-sized city, so of course it’s more anonymous than smaller towns, but there is also a mass friendliness and a flatter social structure that’s hard to beat and makes interaction between strangers easier and simpler than in many places. Plus, during the ice storm I called the phone line where if you had power you could offer lodging for those without: the person on the line said thanks very much, but that they had 3 times the number of people offering to the number of people asking. Hearing that warmed my heart to no end.

  17. I agree, I find that Montrealers care about each other a great deal. I have always felt safe in this city, and am fairly certain someone would come to my aid if I was ever in trouble or needed help.

    Vancouver, by comparison, is genocidal. However, Vancouver has better environmental policies. Like I’ve said many times before, Vancouver and Montreal could learn a lot from each other and benefit from each other’s particular culture.

  18. Ça fait longtemps que je le dis: Montréal est sale. De plus ça fait aussi très longtemps que je sais que les gens habitant le Plateau Mont-Royal ont besoin de cours d’éthique sur la consommation à outrance à laquelle ils semblent si bien s’adonner sans jamais réfléchir ni au sort de la planète ni à la propreté de leur environnement immédiat. Ça fait longtemps que je dis d’utiliser des sacs transparents pour recycler. C’est une des meilleures façons de garder son quarier propre. Patience ils vous restent deux mois à cochonner avant de voir la propreté surgir autour de vous. Pensez donc avant d’acheter du tout emballé et vous les élus, soyez donc plus audacieux et moins tatillonneux à vous décider lors de prises de décisions…

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