Category Archives for Island Report

Reminiscing for the new year

My colleagues and I wrote several fun stories reminiscing about the New Year.

Mine focusses on food, shelter and waste, and of course, mentions Verdun and LaSalle.

Beryl’s editorial summarizes the whole list and as usual, is well-worth reading.
Joel Ceausu and P.A. Sevigny have the cover story.



Enjoying the Story of Westmount


I began looking for traces of the Huguenots that my grandmother always told me were in the family. First, I looked for anyone born in Blois, Orléans, Paris, Rouen or Tours France sometime after the Affair of the Placards. These are the towns in which people posted signs questioning Catholic dogma overnight on October 17, 1534. The incident set off the reformation and eventually led to hangings and mass migration of Protestants out of France.

Unfortunately, my genealogical records don’t extend far into France during the 1500s, so that research will be for another day.

My journey through the Hurtubise side of my family, however, led me upon a wonderful history of Westmount called A View of Their Own: The Story of Westmount, written by Aline Gubbay in 1998. The little guide introduced me to several early maps of Montreal I hadn’t seen before, Montreal’s Mohawk name “”Kawanote Teiontiakon” and a hint about how some of my distant ancestors lived. Gubbay describes the geology of Montreal in a way that allows you to really imagine how things used to be.

The western part of the island was distinguished by a little mountain Westmount — some 600 feet high, formed by an outcropping of a larger rise, Mount Royal. Iroquoians had discovered that the slope of the little mountain, facing south-east, was sheltered from the strongest northern winds, a factor which, together with abundant water from the mountain springs, made for a richly fertile soil where they could cultivate their traditional crops of beans and corn. (p 11)

My ancestors get a small mention on page 15:

One by one the families arrived, settling along the Indian trail now given the name of Côte St. Antoine. They included names such as Des Carries (sic), Prud’homme, Leduc, Pierre et Jean Hurtubise, and St. Germain.

(Fascinating how Gubbay missed the French word “et” in her paragraph, something I frequently do in my texts. Bilingualism can be quite troubling sometimes.)

She continues:

Most of the men were artisans, recruited from towns of northern France for their skills as stonemasons, millers, brewers, but they soon acquired the new skills necessary to clear and cultivate the land. In winter, after the land had been cleared, the trunks of the trees were gathered, carried down to the water and lashed together on the rim of a frozen lake, Lac St. Pierre. When the ice melted in the spring the lumber was floated through a short inlet to the St. Lawrence River and rafted along the shore for sale at Ville Marie, now renamed Montreal.

If you have Clarks, Dawsons, Dionnes, Elgins, Enslies, Hays, Hendersons, Lighthalls, Mackays, Monks, Murrays, Newnhams, Ohmans, Parés, Shearers, Smithers or Timmins in your family, you’ll find gems about their lives in this book. If you appreciate reading about the Town of Westmount, the borough of NDG or Montreal history, this is definitely a story you’ll want to discover.

At only 151 pages, A View of their Own: The Story of Westmount is a quick and easy read. Gubbays smooth writing style and her use of many anecdotes make it entertaining as well. I highly recommend it.

World Social Forum 2016 Starts Today

The World Social Forum begins in Montreal today.

Unfortunately, I won’t be participating because I left my investigation of what’s happening too late.

There’s a website, but most of the events on it are marked “date and time to be determined” so I tried downloading the mobile app. That requires you to login to see anything. Since online registration ended on August 5, I have no password or user name, so I can’t login to figure out if there are events that interest me taking place when I’m available.

According the website, $40 event passes can still be picked up in person at the following kiosks:

  • Village social mondial (Esplanade Clark): today, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and tomorrow until Friday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.
  • UQAM , Agora du pavillon Judith-Jasmin, 405, rue Sainte-Catherine Est: today, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., and tomorrow until Friday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.
  • Université McGill: tomorrow until Friday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.
  • Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT), 1201 boul. Saint-Laurent: today, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and tomorrow until Friday from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.
  • Monument-National: tomorrow until Friday from 5 until 7 p.m.
  • Concordia: today, 3 until 5 p.m., and tomorrow until Friday 5 until 7 p.m.
  • Complexe Desjardins: tomorrow until Friday from 5 until 7 p.m.
  • Creative gathering in front of the Parc La Fontaine walk, southwest corner of Cherrier and Parc La Fontaine Avenue: today from 2 until 5 p.m.
  • Place des festivals: today from 6 until 11 p.m.

There will also be registration tables outside of each of the “Grand Conferences,” which are the big events like the Naomi Klein presentation.

I’m not sure if buying a pass gets you the ability to use the mobile app but the $40 is too much to pay for attending one or two events, so I’ll be sitting this one out.

It’s too bad, given that this is the first time that the World Social Forum has been held in a developed country, but I’m not the only one left out. Some out-of-country attendees didn’t get visas, even though they’ve already registered. Other participants have backed out because they don’t like some of the programming.

For an overview of the key issues this conference has raised, here are the stories I’ve read:

Ban on Israel

The National Post

Basic income

CANADA: Basic income at the World Social Forum in Montréal


Climate change


Fair Trade

Canada News wire

North South Divide

France 24

The Gazette

Nuclear disarmament

Radio Canada International

Visa denials

The Canadian Press



June 22 in LaSalle, Crawford Park School and Lachine 350th

Two stories appeared in the city edition and one story appeared in the West Island edition of The Suburban today.

LaSalle to hold public consultation June 22

The story on page A7 of The Suburban outlines four projects that will be presented to citizens by the borough of LaSalle at a public consultation on Wednesday, June 22 at 7 p.m. The consultation will take place in borough hall, 55 Dupras at 7 p.m.

Crawford Park School plan revised a third time

The story on page A12 of the City edition of the Suburban details Marguerite-Bourgeoys school board’s third revision for the Crawford Park School in Verdun. The plan will be considered by borough councillors during their July meeting.





Lachine to celebrate 350th Birthday

Lachine’s plans for their 350th birthday next year are detailed on page A8 of the West Island edition of The Suburban.

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