Tag Archives: Best of Montreal

Cult MTL brings back Best of Montreal readers’ poll

Best of Montreal


When Quebecor shut down Mirror last June, we just assumed the annual Best of Montreal readers’ poll was dead. But fear not, folks, because its unofficial successor Cult MTL is bringing it back.

The concept remains the same: Readers fill out an online form listing their favourite restaurants, clothing shops and media personalities, often following campaigns from those restaurants, clothing shops and media personalities eager for free advertising. The results are compiled and published, often leading to complaints from hipsters that too many mainstream things are popular.

You can fill out the survey here until May 17. The results will be published in the June edition of the paper.

Cult is also encouraging Instagram users to get involved, snapping and sharing pics of their favourite things.

“Best” of Montreal? But seriously, thank you

Mirror readers offer their support

It’s a ridiculous popularity contest, and often it’s not even that, but more of an election, a contest of who can push more friends to fill out ballots for something whose prize is a bit of free marketing but more pride than anything else.

And yet, I’d be lying if I said I was untouched by seeing the name of my blog and Twitter feed listed among the Mirror’s Best of Montreal list yet again. Whatever my feelings about the survey, it’s clearly an indication that there are those of you out there who, when asked what their favourite local blog is, think of this one.

So let me take this opportunity to say thank you, for being fans, for subscribing, for reading some far-too-long posts, for adding insight in the comments, for following me on Twitter despite all the silly stuff I post there, and for justifying my existence and giving me the kind of audience that forces the people and organizations I cover to take me seriously.

Congratulations to my fellow honourees, whose readers also somehow thought of them when it came time to vote:

And, of course, a thought for those who didn’t quite make it, despite trying really hard, and for those who are inexplicably absent from this list, including some of my fellow journalists who were probably left out for not being alternative enough.

Seventh? That's ridiculous. I'm tweeting my outrage

Elsewhere in media categories…

The results of the survey always have to be taken with a grain of salt, despite all the efforts Mirror staff take to weed out duplicate votes and ballot stuffers. Nevertheless, some things of note in media categories beyond the brief analysis the paper itself provides:

  • Radio station: Kahnawake’s K103 (CKRK) isn’t featured in the Best Radio Station category, despite efforts and expense to increase its profile. (Ted Bird earns only an honourable mention in the radio host category). Similarly, CKBE is relegated to “honourable mention” after rebranding from The Q to 92.5 The Beat.
  • Radio show: CHOM’s Bilal Butt managed to leverage social media to push him and his show to top spots in the radio show and radio host categories. Aaron Rand, who was fourth with his Q morning show last year, disappears from the best radio show list with his move to CJAD, though he’s still on the best radio host list and the Beat morning show isn’t on the list at all either. Virgin’s morning show drops from first to 8th with the replacement of Lisa Player by Natasha Gargiulo. Daybreak is way up the list even though not much has changed there in the past year.
  • Radio host: Terry DiMonte unsurprisingly makes up for four years out of the city and quickly rockets up the radio host category, #2 behind Butt. Mike Finnerty is back in the radio host game, and it seems Lisa Player’s votes have shifted to Freeway Frank
  • Local newscaster: No surprises here. Every anglo anchor is on this list except Amanda Margison (CBC) and Richard Dagenais (Global).
  • Best newspaper: Mirror first, Gazette second, then French papers, free papers and student papers, as usual. Absent from the list this year is Hour, something Mirror didn’t note. (For that matter, nothing in the paper at all denotes the disappearance of its main competition.)
  • Elsewhere: Randy Tieman and Mitch Melnick make appearances on the best sports personality list, Mutsumi Takahashi and Orla Johannes are once again factors for most desirable woman, Richard Martineau’s anti-student rants have gotten him on the list for Montrealer closest to hell, and the tackiest personality list is headed by Mose Persico and features Ben Mulroney, Frank Cavallaro and Terry DiMonte.

Second best of Montreal, again

Page from this week's Mirror

It seems there’s nothing I can do to stop myself getting voted on the Mirror’s Best of Montreal list, so I give up. This year, I tried just not updating as often, including spelling mistakes all over the place, and just lowering the quality of the blog in general, but it looks like that didn’t work either.

For the second year in a row, I’m #2 behind Midnight Poutine (despite the fact that their RSS feeds have been down since February), and judging from the comment by the paper’s editors it seems I’m a perennial favourite, much like Mutsumi Takahashi, Justin Trudeau and Gérald Tremblay in their categories.

I won’t spend too much time talking about this, except to link to the other blogs on the list:

  1. Midnight Poutine (local culture)
  2. Fagstein
  3. Indecent Xposure (music)
  4. Spacing Montreal (local urban planning)
  5. 25stanley (hockey gossip)
  6. Said the Gramophone (music)
  7. BitchinLifestyle (lifestyle)
  8. Montreal City Weblog (local news)
  9. Fashionista514 (fashion)
  10. Habs Inside/Out (hockey)

Honourable mentions:

Even though I don’t put much stock in the collective wisdom of Mirror readers, it’s nice to see at least one francophone blog on the list (25stanley, even if it isn’t exactly highbrow) among the ballot stuffers and lazy asses such as myself.

With Midnight Poutine, Spacing Montreal, Montreal City Weblog, Habs Inside/Out and Coolopolis all listed above, I can’t think of any offhand I think were snubbed this year. Are there any good quality local blogs that you think should be here but aren’t?

Spacing’s Alanah Heffez suggests Luc Ferrandez’s blog (he’s the mayor of the Plateau borough and the bearded cutie from Projet Montréal), which is a really good one but hasn’t had enough time to really build an audience yet.

A highlight from this year’s poll: a roundup of the “weirdos” suggested by readers. My favourite: “Naked dude with a spear with a tennis ball on it”

What do I have to do to get you to stop honouring me?

The Mirror, May 14, 2009, Page 14

The Mirror, May 14, 2009, Page 14

I give up.

Last year, I asked you specifically not to vote for me in the Mirror’s Best of Montreal poll. You (or at least some of you) wilfully disobeyed me and I placed eighth on the list of best blogs.

This year, I decided to avoid the reverse psychology and say absolutely nothing about the annual readers’ survey when it came out. That failed miserably, because this year I placed No. 2 (behind Midnight Poutine, who are again humble about taking the top spot) and the paper has an interview and picture for all my friends to see (it’s at the bottom, below the giant head of Ted Bird).

The article by Lorraine Carpenter is complimentary (though “Fagstein” wasn’t a schoolyard taunt – they really didn’t need to invent a new name to make fun of me), and Rachel Granofsky’s photo – well let’s just say she took about a hundred shots of me and that was probably the best one (the best photos of me are the ones where part of my face is hidden).

The full list of most popular local blogs, for those interested:

  1. Midnight Poutine
  2. Fagstein
  3. ThriftyTable.com
  4. Mike Ward (*cough*)
  5. Pregnant Goldfish
  6. Said the Gramophone (*cough*)
  7. Nouveau Queer (*cough*)
  8. Spacing Montreal
  9. Black Sheep Reviews (*cough*)
  10. Bitchin Lifestyle (*cough*)

Honourable mentions:

It’s sad that in order to place on this list you essentially have to whore yourself out to your readers (half of the top 10 asked their readers to vote for them in this poll, though some tried to remove the evidence after the fact – I’m looking at you Mike Ward). Two others – Spacing Montreal and Pregnant Goldfish – pimped themselves last year but not this year and subsequently fell in the standings.

But hey, it’s a popularity contest, and that means Céline Dion is on the list for “Most desirable woman”, Jean Charest is on “best politician”, Global on “best TV station”, Metro on “best newspaper”, 3 Amigos tops “best Mexican” and McDonald’s places in multiple food categories.

Unfortunately, that means many high-quality candidates are left off the list. Among them Montreal City Weblog, Coolpolis, Patrick Lagacé, Dominic Arpin, Indyish and Urbania (feel free to nominate your favourite unhonoured blog below).

All that said, I’d still like to thank those who think so highly of this blog and voted for me (which, in the interests of full disclosure, I should admit includes myself – but only once!)

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go pick up a few extra copies for my mom.

I’m very disappointed in all of you

My request was simple: Don’t vote for me in the sad popularity contest that is the Mirror’s Best of Montreal readers’ poll. Instead, it appears, someone did do exactly that because I came in eighth.

I’d say I was honoured, but I placed just below Drunken Stepfather. That doesn’t exactly fill me with pride.

Still, congrats to those who did end up on the list, especially those who didn’t use their blogs to inflate their votes (Montreal City Weblog, Spacing Montreal, Pregnant Goldfish).

I should also point out some other blogs on that list, which I’ve never frequented because they aren’t about the city, but are still interesting:

I also think Coolopolis should have been there somewhere, as well as some francophone blogs. But this is about popularity, not quality, right?

No news here

As for the rest of the poll, nothing is particularly surprising for anyone who’s seen BOM results before. Chain restaurants still dominate the best eats categories (McDonald’s is there twice).

In the media categories:

  • CKUT won best radio station
  • CFCF best TV station (with Mutsumi Takahashi and Todd van der Heyden best news anchors, though the Mirror seems to think the later is the evening news guy, when last time I checked it was 8th-placed Brian Britt)
  • K103‘s Don Smooth best radio host (the Mirror has a profile)
  • Mix and CHOM’s morning shows as best radio shows
  • Nightlife Magazine won best magazine
  • The Mirror, shockingly, came in first for Best Newspaper, again. The Gazette was second, which I think says something, followed by the three franco dailies, Voir, Hour, The Link, Metro and the McGill Daily.
  • The Gazette’s Aislin won for Best Cartoonist, beating ballot-stuffing Radomsky and La Presse’s Serge Chapleau

And Boustan, who also mounted a self-promotion campaign to improve its standing, maintained its dominance in the Middle Eastern categories, improved in others and added two new ones:

  • Best Middle-Eastern (still 1st)
  • Best Falafel (still 1st)
  • Best Late-Night Eats (2nd from 3rd)
  • Best Delivery (2nd from 4th)
  • Best Cheap Eats (3rd)
  • Best Sandwich (5th)

However, people weren’t convinced enough to vote for it as Best Fries or Best Vegetarian.

Elsewhere in the bragosphere:

Best of Montreal: Don’t vote for me

It’s that time of year again, when the city’s wannabe-next-hot-things measure their penis sizes and get all their friends to vote for them in the Mirror’s Best of Montreal poll.

It’s not just the bloggers this year that are shamefully pimping themselves and their friends. As I stopped by Boustan this week for my garlic-sauce fix, I was handed a card encouraging me to vote for them in every category they could think of (except, perhaps, best celebrity or Montrealer closest to sainthood). They were also stapled to all deliveries.

Boustan BOM flyer

Boustan actually does pretty good in the BOM poll without the effort. Their proximity to Concordia puts them in touch with the Mirror’s key demo (young anglos), and the delicious food and friendly service makes them a favourite of everyone who’s been there. Last year, they came in third in Best Late-Night Eats, fourth in Best Delivery, and first in Best Middle-Eastern and Best Falafel. Unsatisfied with a mere two first-place finishes, they’re looking to expand, making the case for the Best Sandwich, Best Fries, Best Cheap-Eats and Best Vegetarian categories.

As for Best Blog, a category I was sadly shut out of last year, I’ll buck the trend and encourage my readers not to vote for me. Instead, I’ll point to some better Montreal-based blogs that are more deserving of your votes and who (so far) have shown the class to not beg readers to stuff ballots for them. And if I don’t see my blog on that list when the results come out, I’ll know my campaign was successful.

So for Best Blog, vote for (in no particular order):

Remember, The Mirror is not a fan of ballot-stuffers. Be sure to fill out the entire survey with suggestions and not just one category. (And do some research for those please, no Céline Dion or McDonald’s)

Go vote.

UPDATE: I see that within hours of my having congratulated them for not pimping themselves on their blogs, Montreal City Weblog and Spacing Montreal have done exactly that. Therefore, I will encourage you not to vote for them.

*Full disclosure: I work for The Gazette, which produces Habs Inside/Out. So take my praise with a grain of salt.