Park Extension celebrates diversity

True to the composition of its population Park Extension celebrated and preserved its ethnic diversity.

True to the composition of its population Park Extension celebrated and preserved its ethnic diversity.

Centennial mural

The massive 121 square meter mural painted in acrylic latex in Parc Saint-Roch needed restoration. The Park-Extension centennial celebration mural was painted in 2010 by Annie Hamel which she named Cent motifs, un paysage. In an interview with Park-Extension news city councilor Mary Deros said that the mural was a focal point for the centennial celebration more than a decade ago. Painted over a period of nine weeks, the mural illustrates the diversity of the neighborhood through the richness of textiles from different countries. The work refers to a quilt, an important iconography of Quebec, where each fabric individually retains its patterns and particularities while forming a whole that warms and unites. The quilt thus becomes a symbol of the human tissue.

“However, when recently, we asked for funding for the restoration we were not given the necessary funds,” said Deros. “The building on the side of which resides the mural needed repair before we even started on the mural restoration”.  To the rescue came MU which is a charitable organization that transforms public space in Montreal by creating murals rooted in communities, and by offering mural art workshops for young people in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of Montreal. They managed to accumulate the funds to repair it. Deros attested to the fact that the colors of the mural are ever more vibrant after the repainting.

Diversity celebration in Jarry Park

On a separate event on Saturday, October 1st at Jarry Park, next to the west entrance to the park and the railway line, between the baseball fields and Saint-Roch Park, a beautiful celebration of diversity was put together. The event was organized by the borough of Park-Extension cultural department in collaboration with the Table de concertation culturelle Villeray Parc-Extension  with the support of the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Arrondissement de Villeray—Saint−Michel—Parc−Extension.

The event featured an artistic program, information booths, activities, and cultural mediation.

Among the participating organizations were Vue sur la Relève which is an organization working to showcase emerging artists, and that also offers cultural activities to school-aged children, Théâtre Aux Écuries which is a theater that offers the general public ever more unique, surprising and poetic discoveries, Singa Québec which is part of an international citizen movement whose objective is to create bridges for encounters and exchanges between newcomers, including refugees as well as À Portée de MainsÀ Portée De Mains whose mission is to promote the development of individuals and communities by using the arts and culture as means of social development.

Equally impressive were the offerings of the other participating organizations like the Salle de diffusion de Parc-Extension, the borough’s HORS LES MURS program which reaches out to citizens to offer them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with culture in all its forms, the PARK Extension Historical Society Société d’histoire de Parc-Extension, the Brique par brique which builds infrastructure for social change, the Regroupement du conte au Québec which aims to promote the art of storytelling at the local, national and international levels, the Bibliothèque de Parc-Extension and the Long Haul Art Studios / Les ateliers le Corrid’art which occupies 10,000 square feet of an industrial building in Parc Extension and provides 40 artists with 20 affordable spaces in which to create their work.

Mary Deros was particulary impressed by the participation of Petites-Mains which is an integration enterprise that helps people who are in a situation of social exclusion, mainly immigrant women because of their culture and religion. “This organization helps these women to come out of their isolation and learn a profession that will facilitate their integration into the labor market and Quebec society.”