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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Ride your bike to the Belgo: two new blogs

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I have to admit that you’ll rarely find me at the Belgo. Although I’m familiar with the collection of contemporary art galleries and studios, housed in an imposing old industrial building at the corner of Ste. Catherine and Bleury, I only seem to venture in once or twice a year. (Nuit Blanche, when many of the galleries are open all night, is a great opportunity to explore the building.) That’s why I appreciate the arrival of Bettina Forget’s Belgo Report, which provides news and reviews of art exhibitions at the Belgo. Since its launch in January, the Belgo Report has compiled a full list of the Belgo’s galleries and a comprehensive collection of reviews and listings.

One current show that might interest Spacing readers is the Galerie Joyce Yahouda’s screening of the classic 1929 film Man With a Movie Camera, a silent one-hour documentary of urban life in 1920s Russia. (That description hardly does the movie justice — I suggest you check out some of the clips on YouTube to get a better of idea of what it’s like.) What you’ll actually see at the Belgo is not just the original film but a contemporary remake that plays simultaneously across the room. Conceived by Perry Bard and shot by volunteers from around the world, the remake consists of reshot scenes that are submitted by internet, indexed, and synchronized with the original. “The effect of this double-projection is hypnotic, as your eye continually wanders back and forth between the two versions, looking for visual and semantic echoes,” writes Forget.

Man With a Movie Camera plays until April 26. See the Belgo Report for more information.

It’s April 15th, the official opening date for Montreal’s bike paths, so it’s no coincidence that the Gazette chose today to launch its latest foray into the world of blogging: On Two Wheels, which deals with urban cycling.

Given how many thousands of Montrealers rely on their bikes to get around, especially in the warm months, cycling has been strangely underrepresented in the blogosphere. Gazette copy editor, freelancer and cyclist Kate Molleson has set out to change that with a blog that seems aimed at providing practical, everyday information to cyclists. The plan is to cover “how to get a bike, where to go on it, how to fix it, how to keep it and you safe,” she writes. “I’ll be asking messengers and mechanics and other city cyclists to contribute regularly.”

So far, Molleson has written about an in-town cycling route that will take you from Mount Royal to the Olympic Stadium and back; andhow to get your bike back in shape after a long winter. It’s a good start, and Molleson’s interview with Bicycletterie JR’s Jonathan Reed, a bicycle mechanic, is especially appropriate and useful. In the future, though, I hope she takes advantage of her position as a journalist to ask some hard questions about cyclist’s rights, street design, the provision of bike parking and so forth.

Anyone interested in city cycling should also check out Cycling Fun Montreal, a frequently-updated blog with news and reports on cycling in and around Montreal.



  1. Well, so far she has mentioned the late Claire Morrissette, egerie of Le Monde à Bicyclette and Cyclo Nord-Sud, and alluded to the latter collecting bicycle parts to refurbish bicycles for shipment to communities in the Global South. Hope she takes on the social and spatial issues around cycling and traffic calming…

    We’ll see. For now, I wish her luck and happy trails.

    One thing cyclists and motorists can unite on right now is the unprecedented crop of potholes – dangerous and expensive for one’s ride. (After all, many motorists nowadays are also cyclists, and not just on a Sunday).

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