Shopping centre double pop quiz

Shopping centre

The owner of this giant parking lot revently announced measures to become more environmentally-friendly. What did it decide to do?

  1. Remove 100 of its 4,000 parking spaces to add trees and other greenery
  2. Require its buildings to abide by strict environmental standards and ban the use of air conditioners with open doors
  3. Add bicycle lanes to its roads
  4. Partially subsidize an STM bus that would stop inside the shopping centre and take shoppers to the metro
  5. Install recycling bins at street corners and at store entrances
  6. Give away some plants, encourage some merchants to take used batteries and run some composting workshops

Shopping centre

What was taking place when these pictures were taken?

  1. A bankruptcy sale of a major retailer
  2. A sidewalk sale
  3. An evacuation
  4. Family day

Marché Central sidewalk sale

UPDATE: So those are the answers.

Marché Central, the neighbourhood of parking lots and strip malls that represent just about everything environmentalists hate, is trying again to present itself as environmentally-friendly. For their greenwashing efforts, they got a no-questions-asked press-release-as-news article in the Courrier Bordeaux-Cartierville. (It’s also unclear if their used battery plan was dependent on Eco-Centres, who have decided to no longer accept them from retailers.)

And they organized a sidewalk sale that few merchants participated in (even then it amounted to putting a rack of clothes outside and having a very bored sales rep sitting guard outside).

There are plenty of very big ways that Marché Central could reduce its environmental footprint, most of which involve discouraging car travel and excess energy consumption by retailers. But those measures would cause a revolt by the retailers and might affect their bottom line.

Marché Central believes in environmentalism, but not enough to pay for it.

20 thoughts on “Shopping centre double pop quiz

  1. Louis

    5 and 2.
    Recycle bins is the best you’ll get from an environmentally-friendly shopping center.
    As for the second photo, nothing seems to be happening.

  2. soup

    « Le Marché Central, plus vert que vous ne le pensez ! »

    « Recycler, ça rapporte ! »

    and the obligatory ™(tm)(c)()()() following those catchy catch phrases.

    It looks like #6 is the correct answer for the first question. I really hoped it would be #4. Getting to the Marché is a pain in the ass if you don’t have a car or bike.

  3. Maria Gatti

    Even on a bicycle it is a pain – though I don’t live very far away – because it is so car-centred. Often when I’m there, cars will honk at me on my bicycle although I’m doing nothing illegal, foolhardy, agressive or obtuse. Still peeved at MEC choosing that location. (It was funny to see Krispy Kreme right next to MEC, but KK has closed).

    I haven’t got the foggiest idea. What a waste of space. They could have housed thousands of people on that space, with ground-floor businesses.

  4. JF Villeneuve

    They could also have built a regular mall with small stores instead of only big corporate retail chains with each of them having their own parking, where you NEED to use your car to go from one store to another. There is no way that it could be seen as “green”.

    Or like you said, they could have housed people there and built an overpass specially for pedestrian when they rebuilt the l’Acadie exchange, and they could have gone to Rockland center, right next door.

  5. Shawn

    Agree with Maria on all counts: I was surprised and disappointed when MEC decided to open there, of all places. Of course, the way to go by bike from Mile End is to go through Jarry Park, up to the sidewalk on the eastbound side of Cremazie, east of the Blainville commuter tracks. Then cross through that little gap in the tracks. It’s quite bike friendly UNTIL you get to the Marche itself.

  6. Maria Gatti

    But this isn’t in a suburb. There are lots of normal Montréal-style duplexes and triplexes (mostly the more modern styles) in nearby Ahuntsic. This is a lost opportunity to build a lot of housing – and green space – in a very central part of metropolitan Montréal. Steve’s photos give a clear impression of how disastrous this place is as a heat sink (not that this seems to be a problem this “summer”).

    The last time I was there, I was looking for those little metal supports for flower boxes – and found them – at the big hardware store (Réno-Dépôt). None in any hardware or household places closer in Villeray/Petite Patrie or Plateau/Mile End, including Canadian Tire and Home Depot. The Rona on avenue du Parc had them, but at Outremont prices.

    Shawn, there are several ways to get there: you can also go through Parc-Extension, cycling along Querbes, which actually crosses the 40. I prefer to avoid cycling up St-Laurent as there is a risky intersection just south of the expressway: a couple of streets east of there one of the streets (Henri-Julien?) has a light with a pedestrian button under the expressway. In that case you have to travel through Ahuntsic, and at least part of the way along Chabanel (very busy during garment-industry hours, quiet at weekends). I do cycle along the very wide sidewalk of the underpass along Chabanel (they should mark a bicycle path along there); there are never many pedestrians.

    Yes, of course I don’t think cyclists should use sidewalks, but with many badly-designed viaducts and underpasses, there is no safe alternative.

  7. Shawn

    BTW, last year there was supposed to be a shuttle bus taking people from store to store in the far-flung complex, presumably so they can leave their own cars parked in the same spot. I never actually saw that bus, though. I assume it’s as much a crock of shit as the rest of their environmental measures.

  8. Jim J.

    It is a terrible location, indeed, for MEC. I’ve been to the stores in Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto, and they are much more easily accessible. I’ve used metro & the 179 bus to get from downtown to the store on Acadie, and it’s not exactly a treat.

    I recall when MEC opened in Marche Centrale, they said it was difficult for them to find suitable space closer to downtown. It’d be interesting to know the backstory there, since their Montreal location contrasts so starkly with the choices they have made for theiir other urban locations. (One exception there being their new store in Burlington, Ont., which is right next to the QEW/403. (Okay, so it is LEED-Gold certified, which is a nice accomplishment, but I suppose they could have put it in, for example, downtown Hamilton. NOTE: I have no idea what downtown Hamilton is like.)

    I am looking forward, accordingly, to the Blvd. Taschereau location when it opens. It’ll be far easier to get to when I come up from New York, since I won’t need to go very far out of my way.

  9. Maria Gatti

    During extended rush hours (check times with you can take the 55 bus (boulevard St-Laurent) north almost to the end of the line, then take the Chabanel bus west, and do the opposite to return. Still, it is an absurd location in light of MEC’s supposed outlook.

    There is also a store in Québec City, in the central Lower Town, near the public library and the redeveloped rue St-Joseph stretch.

    By the way, it is Marché central (no e). Marché is a feminine noun in French (think mercato in Italian and mercado in Spanish).

    I live near the Jean-Talon market, so Marché central is much closer than the South Shore location will be; it is just hell to get to and around, for people without cars. Jim, I just wish the fast train to NYC (and the one to Boston) will eventually get built. It takes forever by train to NYC and the bus sucks, and it is an environmental absurdity to take a plane that distance.

  10. Shawn

    Well, actually, as far as buses there a number of options, of course. You can take the 80 north and transfer to the 179 Acadie bus, which I suspect may run more often than the Chabanel line (though I’ve never taken the latter).

    And both the westbound 100 and 460 express bus (now with extended hours) run quite from Cremazie metro.

  11. Jim J.

    I am chagrined by my deteriorating ability to distinguish between the masculine and feminine. That’s what I get for living in the States.

    As for alternative modes of transport between NYC and Montreal, you are right – current train service takes, typically, around 10 hours and, assuming two people, is considerably more expensive than taking a car, even factoring in tolls & parking.

    I lived in Plattsburgh for a few years, in the mid- to late-90’s, and I was able to get to Montreal in about an hour and 10 minutes by car. The train takes nearly 4 times as long, and that’s assuming some idiot doesn’t show up at the border without any ID, thus delaying the entire train while CBSA tries to sort them out.

    I am disheartened to say that getting a fast train to NYC is a loooong way away, not only because of financing, but because the most logical route would necessarily run along the very eastern edge of the Adirondack Park, which has some very strict environmental and land-use protections, thus requiring all manner of environmental studies.

  12. Raphaëlle

    What?! MEC is opening a new branch on Boulevard “Royaume du Char” Taschereau?!

    And to think I lobbied every single MEC board member candidate for them to pick a greener location in the future… I’m outraged!

    But then again, maybe 20,000-square foot stores can never be sustainable.


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