Montreal

Place de L'Unité inaugurated in Nuns' Island

With the Catholic Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys Church, the Al-Jazira Islamic Centre and a Jewish Chabad Centre all housed under the same roof, Place de L'Unité is meant to symbolize togetherness.

Residents of all faiths come together to celebrate the square's official opening

Roger Legare, alderman with Ste.-Marguerite-Bourgeoys Catholic Church, Rabbi Levi Itkin, with the Nuns' Island Chabad Centre and Mourad Bendjennet, administrator at the Al Jazira Islamic Centre came together in the creation of Place de L'Unité. (CBC)

Three different religious communities came together on Sunday to inaugurate Place de L'Unité in Nuns' Island. 

The square is meant to symbolize togetherness. 

All three communities know a little something about coexistence, Ste.-Marguerite-Bourgeoys Catholic Church, the Al Jazira Islamic Centre and a Jewish Chabad Centre are all housed in the same building on Elgar street. 

The four bells ringing in harmony are meant to symbolize religious coexistence. (CBC)

"This place and this project can be a strong message for peace," said Mourad Bendjennet, administrator at the Islamic Centre.

And while the square's bell tower may have a cross on top, all three religious leaders agree that the four bells are meant to symbolize harmony.

"We discussed it and said, 'Yes the bell could serve as a gathering, not a division,'" said Church alderman Roger Legare.

"And that's how it all happened." 

Dozens of citizens came together to inaugurate Place de L'Unité on Nuns' Island Sunday. (CBC)

Rabbi Levi Itkin joined in, saying: "I think it was God's idea."

He told CBC News that it's no accident that they're making this very public gesture of togetherness now.

"There are darker elements in this world which are growing, maybe too much and too big. But that's why it's so important in our times to bring things together and add some more light," said Itkin.

Place de L'Unité is meant to symbolize togetherness. (CBC)

The bell tower was designed by Montreal architect, Dan Hanganu. He has designed a number of prominent Quebec buildings, including the new wing of the Pointe-à-Callière Museum and the HEC Montréal building.

A resident of Nuns' Island since 1970, Hanganu was happy to be a part of the project.

"The idea, it's a very good one, we are living in very funny times, trying times, and it's like symbol, and I think people should take notice and see that," he said.

With files from Simon Nakonechny

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