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New Rules for Montreal’s Wood-Burning Businesses Reportedly Coming Soon

Plus, Café Résonance and Café Bonjour/Hi seek buyers, and shopping at an SAQ could soon require a vaccine passport

bagel and worker putting more bagel in oven St-Viateur/Facebook

The City of Montreal is planning to pass a new regulation "in the near future" to curb air pollution emanating from businesses with wood-fired ovens, per a report from the Montreal Gazette. Under the proposed municipal bylaw, businesses would reportedly be encouraged to convert to electric or natural gas-powered ovens, or be obliged to install specific filtration devices to reduce the particles emitted in the air.

The news follows years of complaints from some Plateau residents who say wood-fired ovens and charcoal-burning grills should be banned — even if they are used by some of the city's most iconic culinary draws (such as famed bagel makers Fairmount and St-Viateur and Portuguese chicken mainstays Romados and Ma Poule Mouillée). Residential wood burning was banned in Montreal in 2018.

In a statement provided to the Gazette, a city spokesperson assured that the municipal government recognizes the historical value of these institutions and will provide financial and technical support to facilitate their transition. As noted in the article, Fairmount and St-Viateur have already voluntarily taken steps to filter their outputs.

There are roughly 70 businesses burning wood or charcoal on the island, according to a 2019 report from the city's public health department. It's unclear whether the forthcoming bylaw will also affect those burning charcoal.

Two Montreal Cafés Announce Closures, Seek Buyers

Amid the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 and corresponding pandemic restrictions, including the temporary closure of restaurants and bars, it seems some business owners have decided to cut their losses. Latin Quarter cafe Bonjour/Hi is on the market now that baker-owner Dave Plant has decided to call it quits, CBC reports. Plant opened the café on Saint-Denis in December 2019, shortly before the pandemic's start, but says that current measures prompted the decision.

Meanwhile, out in Mile End, vegan hangout and live music venue Café Resonance announced on social media, on December 30, that it wouldn't be reprising its activities in 2022, also citing the pandemic as the primary reason for the closure. Like Plant, the owners of Café Resonance, which opened just under 10 years ago, are looking for individuals interested in purchasing their assets.

Province Mulls Vaccine Passports for the SAQ and SQDC

Quebec's liquor commission, the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), and government cannabis retailer, the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), may soon join restaurants and bars in the list of businesses mandated to check vaccine passports, multiple sources are reporting. However, some believe the move may be too little too late.

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