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Billy Bulletin July 14-20: Montreal's Official Cocktail, DC Celebrates Bastille Day, New York Train Hell Continues

The Billy Bulletin appears every Thursday with news about travel and the cities we cover, to help our readers and passengers navigate the week ahead.

Here’s what we see going on in Billy-land this week …

Montreal

Manhattan has a cocktail named after it, and so do Vancouver and Toronto. But until this, its 375th birthday year, Montreal did not. Now a bunch of local bartenders have come up with an “official” Montreal cocktail; it’s a potent number containing rye, gin, Aperol and a special edition of a French bitter liqueur called Suze. Et voilà, a problem: Even the regular Suze is not currently available at the SAQ, except by online ordering – to say nothing of the special edition. Consumers in lots of places can make a Montreal cocktail, but not ones who happen to be in Montreal. Ah, Canadian liquor laws!

Perhaps more helpfully, downtown Montreal will soon have WiFi everywhere, in keeping with a promise from a couple of years back. As MTL Blog reports, this will require the installation of 825 stations from Griffintown to Quartier des Spectacles.

Washington

You’d think Montreal – with its many French residents – would be the big North American observer of Bastille Day on July 14, mais non. For that you need the DC area, with its 11,000 French expats, that really gears up for the Gallic holiday; see the Washingtonian’s list of parties, festivities and drink specials here. So, uh, grease up those guillotines or whatever!

Flickr user Elvert Barnes Photography

DC Bastille Day reveller in a longest cigar ash contest

New York

The summer of hell for train riders keeps rolling along. What’s the issue now? Long-planned track repairs to New York Penn Station have commenced. The New York Times reports that they’re causing disruption, anguish, consternation (et cetera, et cetera – the usual) for commuters. The upshot for Billy readers: The Newark Liberty-to-New York Penn Station train link was running with some headaches – but not serious problems – as of time of writing. Still, before you rely on it, do yourself a favour and check ahead of time using NJ Transit’s trip planner tool.

Adam McDowel / Billy

Penn Station

Toronto

Toronto is not quite its old self this summer. The islands are largely inaccessible to everyone but residents due to all that rain and flooding. There’s no streetcar service on Queen Street all summer (for the first time in TTC history), the Honest Ed’s signage has been taken down from the corner of Bathurst and Bloor, having long been a fixture of the Annex neighbourhood. The city’s Hard Rock Café – one of few constants at Yonge-Dundas Square – recently shut down to make way for a generic pharmacy.

Believe it or not it’s the Toronto Transit Commission that comes to the rescue with a ray of sunshine: Old-timey streetcars are back and running along certain downtown routes every Sunday this summer. Here’s your chance to chase one down and sit on a bench that’s made of wood, like in the olden days, instead of vomit-resistant fabric!

Flickr user BriYYZ

The city's last remaining 1920s-era Peter Witt streetcar is also available for private bookings

Flickr images shared under this Creative Commons licence.

Published Thursday, July 13th 2017

Header image credit: Penn Station. Adam McDowell / Billy

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