[ Robert Silverman ]
[ English Texts ]
[ Cybernetically, Bicycle Bob Xe-Dda.p ]
Opening of Oxygen Park

The Milton-Park area of Montreal now has a new park. Some people call it "Oxygen Park" while others prefer calling it "Le Parc des trois tilleuls" after the three linden trees found in the middle of the new park.

To others, in celebration of the pleasue and passion that went into its creation it is Park Dionysus. For others, still, it is Park Metamorphosis. They see in it the transformation of our world into a better one. We will have a contest to select a name!

The new minipark is located on Hutchison street just north of Prince Arthur. Previously the land on which the park was built was a dangerous and illegal shortcut regularly used by taxis to arrive first on the stand at the corner of Prince Arthur and Park. The shortcut was particularly dangerous for children playing in the adjacent north-south lane.

For the last 8 years the people adjacent to the dangerous lane had asked the City of Montreal to rectify the situation. We wanted the City to put up barriers and to buy the land for a green space. We organized a petition and we appeared at the question period at the regular sessions of city hall and we requested this at the neighborhood council meetings. In spite of the recommendation of the neighborood council, the Executive Committee declined to purchase the land last August.

Faced with the City's inertia concerning the danger, we started taking direct action. A car had been abandoned at the side of the lane, near Huthison. We pushed it a few meters into the center and blocked the cars' passage in this manner. One day later, the Traffic Department ordered one of their tow trucks to remove the car. This was illegal on their part as the land was and is owned by realtor Maurice Fattal.

In February of this year we took a very natural approach to try to block the cars from passing through in our back yards. We built an enormous snowman of 4 meters high in the middle of the lane and iced it over. It looked very imposing. Several small plows tried to budge it without success. Finally, the Service de la Circulation sent one of its biggest and most powerful plows and demolished the big snowman.

When spring began the children returned to play outside. There were several near misses when a child was nearly killed or injured. Something had to be done immediately!

On May 31, concerned citizens, concerned with the safety of their children and outraged by the constant presence of speeding, noisy cars in their backyards, tore up the asphalt and piled it up into a barricade and thus effectively blocked the cars from poisoning our lives. At that time the neighbors also promised to build a park for all the people at their own expense.

The lovely park is now nearly complete. Users and those passing through every day enjoy the 3 lime trees, gently rounded grass and fine crushed rock that serves as the pedestrian and bicyclists passageway between Park and Hutchison. There is also a planter containing tomato plants and other flowers in the park.

The park has several very unusual and unique qualities. The park was built by voluntary labor and cash contributions from neighboring housing coops, and people who support the idea of their local highway to park metamorphosis. The total cost was around $1,000 which consisted of earth, 2 loads of sod, fine crushed rocks and the removal of the remaining asphalt.

Another peculiarity was the high involvement of the neighbors, particularly the children from 6 to 15 years old. These local children depaved, carried asphalt blocks from one end of the lot to another, particularly the children from 6 to 15 years old, shoveled earth to place under the sod and layed down much of the sod when the rolls arrived.

Special mention goes to Petite Hutchison coop members Pierre Houle and Marc Allaire for their landscaping knowledge. Marc Allaire, a student in landscape architecture, designed the lovely new and original park.

Another " unusual " quality in the metamorphosis is that the land is owned by realtor Maurice Fattal who bought the lot at a City auction for $63,000 nine years ago. The local citizens have petitioned the City several times for the City of Montreal to buy the lot and thus assure the permanence of the park which is and will be used by all its citizens.

We, the Committee for the Construction of Oxygen Park, have agreed to maintain and improve the green space and it seems natural and appropriate that the City of Montreal purchase it. This minipark, economically, compares very well with the new Chateau de Ramsey Park, in front of City Hall, which cost Montreal taxpayers $1,900,000.

The citizens are building their own public parks this year. The other one is the Gertrude Beaupré Trottier Park at the corner of Bonsecours and St. Louis where the residents of Old Montreal converted an illegal parking lot for policemen of the adjacent central police station into a beautiful park.

The "official" opening of Oxygen Park is on Labour Day, Monday September 1 at 2 P.M - until 8 P.M. The local children will cut the ribbon. We will celebrate with local singers, dancers, jugglers, poets, community meal, baloons and cassette music. The opening event will be joyous. The driveway's conversion into a park is an inspiration for all.

Hope to see you at this inauguration. In the event of rain, opening rescheduled for Sunday, Sept. 6.

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From the Committee for the Construction of Oxygen Park.

By Robert Silverman.

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© Robert Silverman 2000