I was just doing my early morning search of the web looking to see what is out there for me to write about when I ran smack into pictures of old abandoned buildings in Montreal. The historical value of these once proud buildings was made so obvious and show so vividly the need to get off our butts and do something before they are all gone and what they represented in the community as well. I commend the photographers on a job well done.. The present state of these once proud institutions of my community I find appalling and an accurate measuring stick of the lack of value that all levels of government place on the enrichment and beautification of the once vibrant community. The three levels of government’s ignorance when it comes to the religious and educational needs of this community. I will show you some of the photos that moved me most and hope that the photographer doesn’t mind. I show them not to make profit, but to further illustrate his intention and mine that when it comes to certain communities historical must be combined with profitability to be saved. When it comes to the needs of a community whatever the need it must be self sustainable. That they the government have virtually taken over all charity raising which makes it very hard to get money from major sponsors, does not seem to faze the government, when it says raise money and we will match what you raise.
The Montreal Day Nursery where I went is now an office building. After the nursery the building was used by lawyers doing legal aid cases. Then it was used by Portage a group that help with drug rehabilitation. Across the street sits Tyndale House where I was a cub scout and went to watch movies in the afternoon for free. It also needs help from the government for repairs and to help with its general upkeep. It may get some funding, but by the look of things it is not getting enough.
Des Seigneurs public bath a couple of streets over has been abandoned now and sits boarded up. No one is learning to swim there for free anymore. We now have the sports complex which as I stated in an earlier article poor people can not afford the fees. All levels of government forget that the assistance they give to parents and people every month does not include money for extras and that is where the community centers came in. With the local centers gone a void in community services was created by the government, which was never filled and left the people to suffer. If the saying about the devil’s playground is true then we are dancing with the devil now. Children are hurting and committing heinous crimes at a level never seen before.
Then there are the schools the French and the English schools are gone in the community, catholic and protestant alike. Royal Arthur Elementary School where I went is no longer there, nor is any other school that was in the area, or I passed on the way to get to my school. Now you need to have an interview to get your child into kindergarten for crying out loud. Is this what we have been striving for in Canada and Quebec?
Finally to complete the picture we have the churches. They have literally abandoned the community. No money to be made and they have to pay taxes , so they shut them down sold the property and left token smaller churches scattered in the community to grab every available dollar. Where there were churches we now see condos. It is not all the churches fault. The government seeing how much non taxable land the church had decided to tax them and forgot to put into the evaluation how many free services the church supported from food baskets at christmas to sheltering the homeless. The churches started folding immediately and the government did nothing to fill the void.
Communities will continue to collapse under the government’s obsession with making the city beautiful for visiting tourists. As long as the needs of the poor are ignored and condos go up instead of affordable housing; Churches and community centers stay closed to make way for sporting complexes that the poor in the area can not afford to use. The ghetto will remain intact; the gangs will rule and the affluent of the community should hide in fear as they do.
Everyone will do what it takes to live. Survival is everyone’s strongest instinct. The gangs see the rich as prey. Pretty much like the wolves see the deer, or the fox sees the rabbit. If all go to bed with enough to eat than the rich have nothing to fear. If I were rich I would be pressuring the government to make sure all in the community got what they needed. Are you?
This was my school and my mother’s but it is no longer there along with all the schools that used to be in the area. They have all either been turned into condos or have been torn down. This is a testament to Quebec’s commitment and dedication to education. We keep shipping our children out of our community to go to school church and play is it any wonder that they have no sense of community spirit? This is what is left of where I learned to swim. Public baths like these are still opened in other parts of the city so I wonder why this one was closed.
If you still think that any level of government in this country cares what happens in its poorer communities, I challenge you to put up and article showing the Love.
This is the link to where I got the pictures to show you the Negro Community Center.
There is so much there to see and I wish that all of you reading this will go and take a walk down memory lane. Thanks to all the photographers. You must take a bow, I can talk all I want but a picture is worth a thousand words.