I've just come back from a very enjoyable long weekend in Montréal. I first got the idea to head east down the MacDonald-Cartier Highway when I heard that the new touring Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit, Focus : Perfection, would be making a visit to the Musée des beaux-arts. Once I recognized that it had been far too many years since I had last been in the city, I had more impetus to go. When I realized that the weekend before the exhibit closed contained my birthday (the 14th), I realized that I had to go. So, I did. I will be sharing a lot of the photos that I took here in the next weeks.
One thing I was interested in doing was comparing the transit services offered by the Société de Transport de Montréal with those of the Toronto Transit Commission. The two transport networks are generally comparable but the STM has an edge in a few areas. The rubber wheels on the subway trains of Montréal do save passengers' ears from the occasional screech of metal against metal that's background noise for Torontonian passengers, and the level of investment put into making Métro stations not just functional but attractive is something rarely found in Toronto.
The one STM artifact that I was most taken by was not the trains and not the stations, but L'occasionelle. This RFID-equipped smart card, printed on durable cardstock, is a revelation for someone used to TTC Metropasses with their dumb magnetic stripes and Presto cards which keeping failing to work. For just $C 18, I was able to buy a card that let me travel everywhere within reach of the STM for a three day period. It's really nice. Perhaps Toronto can try to emulate Montréal on this?