Montreal's neighbourhoods get into spirit of 375th birthday
Projects aimed at encouraging Montrealers to discover their city
More than 100 projects rooted in Montreal neighbourhoods will be part of the party when the city officially celebrates its 375th birthday in 2017.
The projects, totaling $4.2 million, were unveiled Tuesday afternoon, a year after the call went out for pitches from non-profit organizations.
They run the gamut, from a country festival in Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to a pop-up film studio in Verdun that will allow the public to create short films with historic decor.
The projects are being co-ordinated by the Montréal's 375th Anniversary Celebration Society, the non-profit organization overseeing event-related celebrations. The agency is financed by a mix of government and private funding.
In total, 326 neighbourhood projects were pitched and whittled down by selection committees in each borough.
"When we were doing our work in the boroughs, what struck me was not just people's love for the city but love for their neighbourhood," Gilbert Rozon, the agency's commissioner, said.
He said that part of the push behind the initiative will be to encourage Montrealers to discover more of the city.
"Personally, I discovered that I know maybe six neighbourhoods out of 19."
The city's 375th anniversary celebration doesn't officially start until 2017, however many of the projects have already been announced.
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Amid criticism that some of the marquee projects lack a historical link, organizers stressed that two-thirds of the borough projects have a historical component.
On Tuesday, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre suggested some of the criticism is coming from organizations and individuals whose pitches didn't get the green light for funding.
"We are building up and investing hundreds of millions for legacy because we want to reshape this city and be proud, and [that's] what the city deserves," Coderre said.
"It's easy to get a 15-second glory to talk about a project ... but instead of looking at pieces of the puzzle, look at the whole portrait, and after that, let's be all proud. We have to stop to play the victim once and for all. We have to stop to complain all the time."