Statements & Speeches

Montreal Mosaic

February 11, 2014

Honourable senators, like most Canadian cities,  Montreal has a list of epithets: the Metropolis of Quebec, la belle ville, and  the City of Festivals. We nickname our cities because we are convinced each has  a distinct character and, in the case of Montreal, a distinct energy:  cosmopolitan and multi- ethnic, a place of diverse cultures and backgrounds. But  how does a city like Montreal capture its colourful and often complicated  history?

Collaboration among the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network, the Greater  Montreal Community Development Initiative, the Quebec Community Groups Network  and the English Language Arts Network has produced a truly wonderful initiative.

Montreal Mosaic, a web magazine, and Mapping the Mosaic combine to  create a people’s history, an online, community-driven chronicle of cultural  identity and place.

The project takes two forms. First, Montreal Mosaic web magazine  collects stories, anecdotes and perspectives on life in English-speaking  Montreal. Submissions range from articles and photographs to video and audio  clips.

Second, Mapping the Mosaic encourages users to pinpoint a memory or a piece  of history on a map of the greater Montreal area. Participants create a map pin  in one of two categories: memory — meaning a personal anecdote, reflection or  story — or history — a person, place or event that has shaped Montreal over  time.

The result, honourable senators, is a map that conveys the cultural and  historical richness of a city. Whether it is the account of Jackie Robinson’s  first game as a Montreal Royal, or a personal recollection of springtime ice  shoves on the St. Lawrence, this website locates historical moments and memories  on familiar streets and neighbourhoods. In this format, users can share and  explore the diverse history and cultural memory of English-speaking people in  Montreal.

Ultimately, Mapping the Mosaic and Montreal Mosaic web magazine  combine to create an invaluable learning apparatus: a resource for schools,  historical societies, cultural associations and any curious individual with an  interest in the history of English- speaking Montreal and its diverse  neighbourhoods.

I encourage you to visit both of these websites and experience the project  for yourself.