Aime comme Montreal is the name of an interesting project getting underway in the largest city, in the mainly French-speaking province of Quebec.Listen
Love like Montreal?
It could be translated as ‘Love like Montreal’, and its aim is to feature at least 375 inter-cultural, or mixed-race couples on the facebook page.
In view of the upcoming 375th anniversary of the city of Montreal in 2017, the organizers are intending on selecting 75 couples to be part of a photo-essay in a book that will include short texts about these relationships. This will all be part of an art exhibit as well.
Marie-Christine Ladouceur-Girard is the creator and project manager. Her vision was born of her own experience being married to a man from Morocco, and the curiousty she and her husband so often respond to from other people.
“Montreal is renowned for its cultural diversity and its social cohesion but debates in recent years have left scars in the social tissue and affected Montreal’s image as an intercultural city”, Marie-Christine Ladouceur-Girard explains.
Debate and discussion over immigration policies and practices within the province over the last 10 years resulted in a Reasonable Accommodation Commission that released its report in the spring of 2008, following extensive consultation.
More recently, the divisive Charter of Freedoms proposed by the former minority Party Quebecois government, created feelings of rejection and mistrust in many people. Even though the charter was widely credited with bringing about the party’s abject defeat in the last provincial election, as Ladouceur Girard points out, for many Quebecers, a time of healing and bridge-building is necessary.
‘It’s important for Quebecers to realize that Montreal has this extraordinary diversity.’
Diversite Artistique Montreal, an organization that promotes artistic diversity, will oversee the ‘Aime comme Montreal’ project. Photo-journalist Jacques Nadeau will take photos of the couples, and the project has the guidance of an advisory committee.
Anglophones will be included among the 75 couples, and depending on the financing, the book may be published in both of Canada’s official languages, French and English.
A Montreal woman and her husband from Senegal are featured on the banner of the project. According to Ladouceur-Girard, “This couple transforms difference into strength and for me it’s a symbol of social cohesion which we want for the city and it deserves to be highlighted.”
Montreal mixed couples can go to the facebook page and submit their photos and a brief description of their relationship if they’d like to be part of the project.
The 2017 anniversary is also the 150th anniversary of Canada’s creation at Confederation in 1867. The eventual plan is that this exhibit will tour, and illustrate an aspect of life in Montreal. As Ladouceur-Girard says, “how they live the experience of diversity in Montreal.