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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Montréal Monday: Shoes in the Sky, pedestrianizing la rue Ste-Catherine, and Montréal’s hotel boom

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Each Monday, Spacing will bring you some of the popular posts from our sister blog, Spacing Montréal. We’ll keep an eye open for topics and discussions that are pertinent to current public space issues in Toronto.

• When Julie Fournier woke-up one morning she found a pair of yellow sneakers dangling mysteriously from the power lines outside of her bedroom window. This was not the first time she has seen shoes dangling from power lines in the city. In her post, Shoes in the Sky, Julie looks for an answer to the age-old question, what are those shoes doing up there?

• Since the beginning of the year Spacing Montréal has posted a series of articles (1/2/3) on the proposed summertime pedestrianization of Montréal’s Gay Village on la rue Ste-Catherine. As a follow-up, Cédric Sam looks at how the summertime pedestrianization has begun between Berri and Papineau.

• Montréal is soon to be home to Canada’s first Waldorf=Astoria Hotel & Residence, adding to a series of other luxury hotels that have opened in Montréal since the 1990s. Chris Erb looks at the affect the Waldorf=Astoria will have on Montreal’s streetscape in the midst of Montréal’s hotel boom.

Photo by Cédric Sam



  1. Here in Victoria, BC, the power lines at the corner of Rockland Ave. and Pentrelew Pl. (where I live) are routinely festooned by laces-tied-together shoes. They get taken away (mysteriously), and then new ones appear soon thereafter, like a birth (also mysteriously, i.e., unseen). While my bedroom window looks out on the intersection that manifests The Shoes, I have yet to witness the actual heaving of the shoes.

    I often wonder why this corner gets singled out.

    Does it make Rockland (at this intersection’s location a mere 3 blocks from the city’s official boundary of downtown) somehow …signful?

    Well, shoes… You have to wonder. When a heritage mansion burned a block away burned last week, almost all of the tenants in that conversion-to-suites were 20-somethings. Some of them sat on the boulevards, grateful for the shoes their friends brought — for they had escaped the fire in bare feet.

  2. A lovely article on the Jazz Fest in the NY Times recently. Much praise for Montreal’s urban qualities:

    Montreal certainly has no time attracting attention (and tourists) from New York. The pedestrian spaces, the architecture, the culture… The challenge for Toronto is much, much harder.

  3. I meant “has no trouble attracting attention…” above. Sorry, head is filled with typos these days.

  4. Shoes on a wire let people know where dealers hang out. There are two spots near me; sneakers above, crackheads below.

  5. I was told that shoes hanging on lines meant that there was a drug dealer nearby, but I always wondered how someone would go about finding out WHO the dealer is…