Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dual purpose summer/winter playgrounds?

Having children gives you a new view on the world, for sure.

On the way back from the Communauto parking lot, a block and a half from home, we stopped at our favourite close park, the Parc des compagnons, that little park on Mont Royal Ave, just East of Papineau (with a concrete banquet table. More on that in a future post.)

The tots wanted to play in the playground, in the middle of winter. They don’t care that it’s minus 20 with the windchill. Aged 6 and 7 now, they decided they wanted to build a snow fort. So we did, around the legs of one of the slides. It was the perfect size and a pre-made roof to boot. Then it dawned on me that really, playgrounds ought to be designed for both summer AND winter play. We finished the fort in a half an hour, but there was no other structure nearby to build another fort under. Just the one. But you need two snow forts to have a snowball fight, no? (Nod to the pacifists here.)

That got me thinking. Why not rethink the park, with winter functions in mind?

We got to chatting, the tots and I. Nibs said: What about just piling the snow up in the playground, for building tunnel forts? (That was my favourite winter past-time, into (huge) snow-dumps from clearing the back alleyway.) Why not snow slides? (Why not?)

Are any playgrounds getting real use in the winter, in Montreal? or are they pretty much dead wastelands, like the Parc des compagnons, until the spring brings the children back? Can anything be done? Would it really be all that costly or dangerous?

The scale of the universe

This is just fantastic. A scalable infographic that shows relative size of objects in the universe, from the sub-nano size of super strings to the unobservably enormous outer limit of the universe. Takes a little time to load, but it’s worth it.

We need something like this that explains urban planning. And includes the political process. Haha!

Anyone wanna try?



Heated sidewalks….?

How many heated sidewalks are there in Montreal?

You know, walkways that just don’t accumulate snow? Maybe they have coils under them. Maybe waste heat from the building.

The only one I know of was in Westmount, on Redfern, in the Reader’s Digest building.

Are there any others?

Should we have more? Are any other cities using them? Could they ever make sense on a large scale? Solar panel heated bike paths?

Sketching café?

Imagine a café, like any independent café you might imagine. Some hipster joint.

This one expects, allows, encourages and (fill in your fave word here)… sketching.

Maybe sculpture, too.

So the business model is simple enough. Coffee, coffee, coffee. (And teas maybe.)

But the added draw…? Ahh, the added draw….!

Not crepes. Not bike parts. Not …. (fill in your fave coffee complement here)…but:

sketching. Everyone is a potential model to another. Pencils for sale, and sketch pads.

Maybe live models some evenings.

Pencil drawings EVERYwhere, evidently, on the walls, in the bathrooms, constantly evolving….

(I *think* it might work.)  (If the location is right.)  (Montreal is the place for it.)

This is a member-based cooperative, evidently. Art supplies at cost.