Montreal

Somerled Park in NDG to be named after Warren Allmand, an MP who 'made a difference'

Somerled Park in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce has been re-designated after the former parliamentarian and city councillor who stayed heavily involved in the community up until his death in December of 2016 at the age of 84.

Allmand remembered for his achievements in politics and his dedication to the community

Warren Allmand was first elected Liberal MP for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in 1965 and retired from federal politics in 1997. (Getty Images)

Warren Allmand's name will live on in the Montreal neighbourhood he served for more than five decades.

Somerled Park in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce has been renamed after the former parliamentarian and city councillor who stayed heavily involved in the community up until his death in December of 2016, at the age of 84.

"Much of what we take as fundamental to our values — how we see ourselves as a people — stems from the work that Warren did when he was a member of parliament," said Coun. Marvin Rotrand. "He really made a difference."

Rotrand tabled a motion in January 2020 with Coun. Lionel Perez, requesting a place be named after Allmand. The motion was adopted and the park's name change was unanimously approved by the city council on Tuesday.

Allmand was an MP for 32 years, representing the NDG riding until 1997. Later, he ran for city council and sat alongside Rotrand between 2005 and 2009. 

After a single term in municipal politics, Allmand continued to serve on the boards of community organizations and regularly attended community meetings — something he did as an MP as well.

Kevin Callahan remembers when Allmand would drive from Ottawa to NDG to sit through a community meeting before heading back that same night to skate with his senior recreational hockey team, the Rusty Blades.

"He was involved in so many different groups. It was incredible," said Callahan. "He was always ready to give time to anybody."

Callahan, a longtime friend of Allmand, worked with him at Human Rights and Democracy, the research institute where Allmand served as its second president.

Allmand's list of accomplishments is long. As the federal solicitor general, he dealt with the aftermath of the October Crisis and later testified before the Keable commission, which examined police conduct during that period. 

In 1976, he tabled the bill that abolished the death penalty in Canada.

Allmand also served as minister of Indian and northern affairs and later as minister of consumer and corporate affairs.

The local Irish community remembers Allmand for his involvement in the St. Patrick's Society, the United Irish Societies of Montreal and the Coalition for Peace in Ireland.

Involved in Canadian delegations and the coalition, Allmand participated in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Ken Quinn, president of the St. Patrick's Society, said it's fitting that the borough would name a place after Allmand.

"He was very personable and when you had his attention, you had his undivided attention and it was as if there was nobody else in the room," said Quinn.

Rotrand expects the park's new signs won't be installed until next year. The park is located on Somerled Avenue, between Hingston and Hampton avenues.

"I am half Irish-Canadian, very proud of Warren of course, and half Scottish background, so proud of the Somerled legend as well, but we will still have a street named after him," said NDG Coun. Peter McQueen on Facebook.

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