Verdun en Transition

First Meeting of Verdun en Transition

The first public meeting of “Verdun en Transition” took place at the Dawson Community Centre on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. The grassroots initiative aims to build community resilience to climate change and peak oil.

“Why wait until the global crisis in energy, ecology and economics forces us to act? The people of Verdun can begin organising locally now to reduce their dependence on carbon fossil fuels while improving the quality of life in our neighbourhoods,” says Tracey Arial, a member of the initiating committee.

A total of 33 people attended this initial meeting. Among them were Alain Tassé, the city councillor for the Desmarchais-Crawford district; Vincens Côté, the coordinator of la Maison de l’environnement de Verdun; and Julien Caffin, who is in charge of the Quartier 21 project established by the Concertation et développement social Verdun (CSDV), which will be officially launched on May 3.

Presenter Michel Durand, a founding member of the Transition Quebec Network and the adaptor of Rob Hopkin’s Transition Manual in French, began the evening by outlining the scope of the project. “Verdun en transition is joining an international movement linking around 400 initiatives in 20 different countries,”he said.

Blaise Rémillard from the Villeray en Transition group gave a sense of the fun and excitement that can happen when people start thinking in new ways together. “Verdun is following the lead of other boroughs that have thrown themselves into an experience of education, involvement and community participation,” he said.

Verdun’s group is planning several activities to sensitize the population and build networks between different community groups and organizations. Watch for our documentary films, cultural cafés, etc. Or join our organizing committee and help figure out what we should do next!

For more information on the Transition Movement:

Réseau Transition Québec :

Villeray en Transition :

International Network:

For more information about Verdun’s group:

Facebook page:


Bilan de la première rencontre publique de Verdun en transition

Verdun, 26 avril 2012 – Mardi dernier se tenait au centre communautaire Dawson la première rencontre publique de Verdun en transition, une initiative locale visant développer la capacité de la communauté à faire face aux effets des changements climatiques et du pic pétrolier. «Pourquoi attendre que la crise énergétique, écologique et économique globale ne nous force à réagir? La population verdunoise peut s’organiser localement pour réduire dès maintenant sa dépendance aux carburants fossiles et améliorer la qualité de vie dans les quartiers», explique Tracey Arial, membre du comité initiateur.

Au total, trente-trois personnes ont répondu à l’appel pour cette première rencontre publique, dont le conseiller du district Desmarchais-Crawford, Alain Tassé, le coordonnateur de la Maison de l’environnement de Verdun, Vincens Côté, ainsi que Julien Caffin, chargé de projet à Concertation et développement social Verdun (CSDV) pour le Quartier 21 qui sera lancé officiellement le 3 mai.

Michel Durand, membre-fondateur du Réseau Transition Quebec et coordonnateur de l’adaptation francophone du Manuel de transition, paru en 2010 aux éditions Écosociété, a rappelé que «Verdun en transition s’inscrit dans la foulée d’un mouvement international, regroupant environ 400 initiatives dans une vingtaine de pays».

Blaise Rémillard du groupe Villeray en Transition a donné un avant goût de l’enthousiasme des gens lorsqu’il se réapproprient leur milieu de vie. Verdun vient ainsi emboîter le pas à d’autres arrondissements montréalais qui se sont lancé dans «cette expérience de sensibilisation, d’implication et de participation communautaire».

Différentes activités publiques de sensibilisation auprès de la population et de réseautage entre divers groupes et organismes de la communauté sont à venir dans les prochaines semaines : projections de film, cafés culturels, etc. Joignez vous au mouvement!

Plus d’information sur le mouvement de transition :

Réseau Transition Québec :

Villeray en Transition :

Page Facebook du groupe :



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Verdun Spring Activities Bloom This Week

May 5, 2012

Verdun’s 21st Annual Green Space Clean-up takes place Saturday, May 5

Verdun’s beautification committee has organized several annual events designed to spruce the borough up in time for summer. Registration for garden and photo contests, sales of garden plants and sign-up for the green space clean-up began this week.

The annual green space and bike paths clean up and the tree, bush and compost pick up takes place on the first weekend in May.

“Canadian Tire is giving us boxes of flowers for the first 250 households who register for the garden contest,” says Karine Larrivée, who is in charge of committee activities.

Larrivée and her boss Normand Houle are the only borough members on an otherwise citizen-run committee that meets five times a year in addition to participating in all the events. Other members include Odette Harton, who is the president, Lucie Vaillancourt, Hélène Gamache, Walter Grandoni and Annie Toutiras. “These people all love Verdun,” said Larrivée. “Everything we do is to beautify the neighbourhood.”

Their most important activity is the 21st annual green space and bike paths clean-up, which takes place on the morning of Saturday May 5. Last year, the event attracted 600 people, 200 of whom cleaned up the shore of Nun’s Island, while the rest concentrated on the mainland and the bike path on the bridge.

“People usually come with their organizations or companies,” she said. “Last year, we had the Air Transat. This year, it’s the Yellow Pages on Nun’s Island.” [I participated for the last three years with SKIF-Montreal, which trains in Verdun.]

Citizens who purchase discounted plants from the community centres beginning this week will pick them up the following morning, May 6, at the Municipal Greenhouses, 7000 boulevard LaSalle, between 8:30 and 11 a.m. Larivée says that the committee added vines to the catalogue this year so that groups working to green their lanes can cover backyard fences.

Any Verdun citizen who brings a bag or bucket can also pick up some free compost from the St. Michel Environmental Complex at the same time. The Maison de l’Environnment, in Borough Hall, will be giving out compost the following weekend as well, says Larrivée.

Then in July, the embellishment committee will pre-select the boroughs most attractive gardens to be judged by author, broadcaster, publisher Julie Boudreau on July 18 and 19.

For more information, contact Verdun’s Direction de la culture, des sports, des loisirs et du développement social at 514 765-7150 or view the committee’s website at The site contains a list of all the activities, an on-line catalogue of the plants they’re selling, project outlines and a list of past and present committee members.

(Note: This article appeared in the Suburban City Edition, April 25, p 14.)

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Earth Day in Montreal

According to Environment Canada, Earth Day in Montreal is likely to be wet and cold this year, which will be a shock after all the sunny warm days we’ve been enjoying lately. The extreme temperatures seem to be following the trend the organizations shows in the chart below (which doesn’t seem to have been updated this year).

Spring National Temperature Departures and Long-term Trend, 1948 – 2011

The national temperature departures table shows the full list of spring values in the order from warmest to coolest. It shows that 3 of the ten warmest springs occurred within the last decade, and 9 of the last 20 years are listed among the 20 warmest.

Source, Environment Canada,

It’ll be too bad if rain lessens the enthusiasm for the big April 22 March being planned for Sunday at 2p.m. The event is being organized by various citizens, including artists, environmentalists, and many public interest groups, including Alter Citoyens, Alternatives, Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA), Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), Commun, Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), Centre d’écologie urbaine de Montréal, Équiterre,, Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), Fondation David Suzuki, Greenpeace, Jour de la Terre Québec, Maison du développement durable, Nature Québec and Piknic  Electronik.

The same group has a declaration asking the federal government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and the Quebec Government to come up with a sustainable plan for the province. I joined 33,607 other people who have signed and plan on attending the walk as well. For more information about the public walk or to sign the declaration, visit

Today though, I can’t complain. Daffodils, magnolia, Forsythia and hyacinth are blooming together in my garden right now for a joy-bringing concert of colour and a pleasant break from the computer.

This glorious show appeared on its own with very little help from me. Three weeks ago, I spent an hour cutting down the grasses and raking some leaves off the carpet of purple crocus, and that’s it so far. Then again, it will probably rain all the time during the beginning of dandelion season, when I usually spend at least two hours collecting leaves for my annual spring salad, so I should keep my mouth shut.J

The wildlife in my region are also quite active, as you can see in Jean-Marc Lacoste’s superb video of his observations along LaSalle, Verdun and Nun’s Island waterfront and in Angrignon Park between April 1 and 17. Check it out at

Such a pleasant beginning to the summer makes me anxious to get out into the garden, but other than planting peas, kale and radish (which may have been a mistake), I’m holding back. I think I may be pleased to have the temptations limited by a bit of tough weather.

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The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”  Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.

— John Cleese – British writer, actor and tall person (

 A final thought -” Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.”

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