Category Archives: Pop quiz

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 70

What is the significance of these numbers:

45, 100, 131, 132, 159, 171, 179, 197, 221, 505

UPDATE: It took a day, but two of you (plam and Kaycee) got it within minutes of each other: These are STM bus routes that end at a métro station and share the same name.

From contributor and transit geek Shanake Seneviratne:

The practice of placing a bus route’s ultimate terminus on the destination sign is not one that has been adopted by the STM. Unlike other systems that indicate the endpoints of a route (Laval, Longueuil, Ottawa, and Toronto all do good jobs with their destination signs), Montreal has adopted a “dominant street or neighbourhood” naming policy. While this works well in principle, in actual fact this can backfire. The 168, for example, hasn’t served Cité du Havre proper in decades. The 460 doesn’t go on the Métropolitaine but rather parallel to it. The 215 is more deserving of the title Brunswick than the 208 is!

With new buses with excellent capabilities with regard to their destination sign, the STM can surely be more flexible and proactive.

Of course, most of these buses are actually named for the streets that the métro stations are named after, but there’s an interesting debate on what names bus routes should take.

Maybe it’s just because I’m so used to the Montreal system, but I tend to like it for the most part. It runs into trouble when routes don’t take any particular street for very long. Naming buses for their destination assumes that people are going to that destination. While métro stations and terminuses are certainly big draws for transit users, they’re not the destination for all.

Besides, with maps at most bus stops now, and the increasing use of smartphones to get information on the go, the importance of the name of a bus route has diminished.

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 68

What is the significance of the shaded area of this map?

UPDATE: COOL FAT MICHAEL FROM THE JERSEY SHORE ‘87 and Jim both got the right answer: these are the borders of the village, town, city and ward of Sainte-Cunégonde, sandwiched between St. Henri (whose eastern border was Atwater) and Montreal.

Not only was this independent city tiny (in 1840 it had 10 inhabitants), it was also short-lived. It was developed after it was bought by Alexandre Delisle and William Workman around 1850. At first, it relied heavily on bordering St. Henri for basic services like schools and a church, but the village’s inhabitants, upset with the distance they’d have to travel and the taxes they’d have to pay, wanted some of their own.

Ste. Cunégonde was founded as a parish in 1875, taking its name from Cunégonde de Luxembourg. It was incorporated in 1887 and became its own city in 1890.

But around the turn of the century, Ste. Cunégonde faced the same fate as many other towns around Montreal at the time: merger. In 1905 it became a ward of the city of Montreal. By the midpoint of the 20th century, the boundaries ceased to have any meaning.

Today, the only remnants of the town are the buildings (including the old Sainte-Cunégonde church, now the Korean Catholic Mission on St. Jacques), and the street and park named after it.

For more on the village, you can read this book, published in 1893 by E.Z. Massicotte.

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 67

This map notes some of the locations of something that used to be all over the city but no longer exists.

What is it?

UPDATE: A bunch of you guessed correctly: These are Steinberg’s store locations on the island.

For those new to the city or too young to remember, Steinberg’s (later without the apostrophe-S) was Quebec’s first and largest supermarket throughout most of the 20th century. Based in Montreal, it expanded throughout the city and then throughout the province and into eastern Ontario as well. But financial pressures led to its decline in the 1980s and by 1992 they had all disappeared.

Their memory is kept alive on Flickr’s Ghosts of Steinberg account, which collects photos of former Steinberg locations. It’s explained by Chris DeWolf on Spacing Montreal in 2008.

You can check out my map (locations taken from Ghosts of Steinberg and a few other locations) on Google Maps here.

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 65

What is this the shape of?

And, for you smarty pants who already know, a tougher follow-up: why is it shaped like this?

UPDATE: This is, of course, a map of the town of Côte Saint-Luc. Those things on the right are exclaves, little pockets of Côte Saint-Luc land sandwiched between Hampstead and Montreal. They’re tiny, but their history is one of controversy, bad blood, political power struggles and, of course, money.

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A photo pop quiz to get the gears moving

No geography trivia quiz this week (still looking for ideas in case anyone has any). Instead, a different kind of challenge:

What are these?

UPDATE: After a dozen interesting guesses, Pascal gets it right: They’re metro turnstiles.

Old metro turnstiles

A sea of old turnstiles behind a gate at Pie-IX metro

Turnstile innards, with unrelated celebratory horn

These photos were taken at the Pie-IX metro station, where dozens of the old turnstiles have gone to die. They have been replaced by new Opus-enabled turnstiles, except for the one at each station that was kept for transition purposes (those will be joining them soon) and some exit-only turnstiles that don’t need to be replaced.

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 64

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 64

What is this a picture of?

UPDATE: Just about everyone guessed correctly that these are decomposing railway ties, but Frank was the first to properly guess that these are decomposing tramway ties, uncovered because of excavation work.

Exposed tramway rail and ties on Sherbrooke St. W. near Loyola, taken in September 2006.

Exposed tramway rail and ties on Sherbrooke St. W. near Loyola, taken in September 2006.

The city is littered with tramway rails that were merely paved over after the network was dismantled. Some are later exposed through potholes, others because of excavation work, and are slowly being removed. But much of the vast network still remains, just inches below the surface of the street.

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 63

In Quebec, every named street has an official designation, comprising of a generic (Rue, Chemin, Boulevard, Avenue, Ruelle, Croissant, etc.) and a specific (de Maisonneuve, Sainte-Catherine, René-Lévesque). On signs in Montreal, the specifics are written in large letters and the generic in smaller letters on top.

Where there is no generic, or street type, the default is “Rue”, or “Street”.

There is an exception to this, a named road that has no small type on its street signs (old and new), but that isn’t a “Rue”.

What is it? And what type of street is it?

UPDATE: Couldn’t fool you folks. A bunch of you got it right, but once again COOL FAT MICHAEL 1999 FROM DIRTY JERZY was first: It’s Le Boulevard.

Le Boulevard in Montreal

Le Boulevard in Montreal

But it’s also The Boulevard, depending on the sign:

Another sign at the same intersection, only now it's "The Boulevard"

Another sign at the same intersection, only now it's "The Boulevard"

And, in case it was ever in doubt, Le Boulevard is officially classified as a boulevard. Though calling it “Boulevard Le Boulevard” would be incorrect.

Similar exceptions in other towns in Quebec are stranger than that. In St. Jérôme, there’s 1er Boulevard, 2e Boulevard up to 5e Boulevard, but those are classified as streets, as are Grand Boulevard in Ile Perrot, St. Bruno and St. Hubert.

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 62

Image from Google Street View

Image from Google Street View

That may look like unexplored prairies beyond, but it will soon become an important traffic link on the island of Montreal. Where is it?

UPDATE: It is, of course, Cavendish Blvd. in St. Laurent, overlooking its coming extension to Henri-Bourassa Blvd. Of course, who knows when it will actually happen. Marc was the first with the right answer and is this week’s winner.

Non-Montreal Geography Trivia

Let’s expand our horizons a bit and get off the island this week.

The following is a geography quiz question unrelated to Montreal, but not too far from it either.

Trivia Nov. 23

What is this the shape of?

UPDATE: Well, I didn’t fool nobody this week. Everyone clued in, but Mathieu Leduc-Hamel was the first to say the magic number: 132. The entire highway from the U.S. border at Dundee all the way up to Gaspé and then back to form a loop that ends at Sainte-Flavie is 1,577 kilometres long (according to Google Maps), but only 678 kilometres if you don’t do that loop at the end.

Following a straighter line is Highway 138, which is 1,373km including a ferry trip at Tadoussac on the mouth of the Saguenay river. But that doesn’t include a 70km section near the Labrador border at Blanc-Sablon. Since there’s no road from Natashquan to Vieux-Fort, getting there requires doubling back, taking the ferry to Matane, travelling through northern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, taking another ferry from Sydney to Newfoundland, driving the western Newfoundland coast and taking yet another ferry to Blanc-Sablon, a trip of 2,395km that would take almost two days of continuous driving.

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 59

From Google Maps

From Google Maps

According to Google, it would take an hour to drive this, and 10 hours to walk.

But what are these points?

UPDATE: sco100 gets it right below. These are the residences of the six candidates for Montreal’s mayor (as included in the notice to electors), in the order of their popular vote:

  • A: Gérald Tremblay
  • B: Louise Harel
  • C: Richard Bergeron
  • D: Louise O’Sullivan
  • E: Michel Bédard
  • F: Michel Prairie