A Neighbourhood Celebrates

7 October 2015

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MARIE DALLAIRE

On September 16, 2015, SDA officially launched its project to beautify Technopôle Angus’s central greenspace with the opening of its first public square. Visitors and residents started arriving at 4 p.m. Were they drawn by the sweet sounds of the DJ’s soundcheck? Curious about the official videographer and photographer hard at work? Maybe they wanted to give one of the many local businesses a try. Some had probably caught wind of the event in the local media. The crowd soon swelled from a couple hundred to close to a thousand, with everyone excited to discover a brand-new public space right next to the Technopôle’s flagship building, adorned with young trees, and bordered by grass beds so new that a few were still getting their finishing touches.

Just before 6 p.m. part of the crowd made its way toward a temporary stage where the square meets Molson, between Rachel and William-Tremblay streets. A group of well-known Montreal personalities active with SDA, including Christian Yaccarini, Alexandre Taillefer, Louis Roquet, Charles Larouche, François William Croteau, and Jean-François Lisée, took turns stepping up to say a few words. With the setting sun behind them, these local luminaries looked more natural than ever. Some used terms we don’t hear every day: “consider the well-being of the population” or “create a legacy of quality of life” or “carry out urban renewal.” Toward the end of this part of the evening the mic was turned over to Léopold Beaulieu. In recognition of his twenty years of outstanding work with the Board of SDA, the new public square will bear his name.

As I listened carefully to the speeches, in the shadow of the magnificent 100-year old Locoshop, an image from philosopher Michel Serres sprang to mind. Serres writes about how sailors on a ship will avoid conflict because, at sea, any strife could undermine the voyage, with dire consequences for all.[1] Angus is an exciting new green neighbourhood where, like sailors on a ship, we have no choice but to live together in harmony, to make this space we share a vessel on which we cultivate a worldview based on a new and transformative ethic of sustainability. By building a sense of belonging to a community of citizens of the world, we truly can turn tides.

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After a successful career in education Marie Dallaire joined Formes magazine in 2011, first as a staff writer and then as editor in chief. She is known for portraits of public figures with unconventional life paths and carefully reported investigative features.

This article is a sneak preview of Marie’s long feature in the new fall issue of FORMES, whose theme is “Global Planet | Green Neighbourhoods.” A section dedicated to Technopôle Angus describes the development as “a model of best practices” for sustainable development.

[1] Michel Serres uses this image to illustrate what he calls the “natural contract,” in his1992 work of the same name.

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