PORT NEIGHBOURS

Village au Pied-du-Courant: a window on the river

For the past two years, at the beginning of summer, a village sprouts up next to Bellerive Park. It provides a window onto the St. Lawrence River, the Port and its berths, and ships, and is a haven of relaxation and culture for residents.


 

Village au Pied-du-Courant and those who enjoy it benefited from an extra-long summer this year. Indeed, with the heatwave at the beginning of September, children were out playing in the sand, and people were under parasols enjoying a picnic and a good beer.

Village au Pied-du-Courant is located between Notre-Dame Street and the St. Lawrence River, at the foot of Parthenais and Fullum streets. It overlooks the Port of Montreal railway and its railcars full of containers. It provides a view from below of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and is a prime location for watching the fireworks competitions. The La Ronde rides and berths and ships are all in close proximity.


 

Village au Pied-du-Courant is an original project that provides residents with a window on the river and port facilities, all in a pleasant and friendly setting. Last year it was known as the “Ephemeral Village.” But there was nothing short-lived about the project this year. Due to its popularity, its creators have decided that it will be an annual attraction. “In 2015, the Village welcomed three times more people than last year. The programming was much more engaging, and that made it a success!” said Maxim Bragoli, of Pépinière & Co., who no longer counts how many hours he spends managing the Village project.

Open Thursday to Sunday, the Village features an artisans market, art exhibits, musical performances and films. A bar and food trucks are on site. You can also bring your own picnic; this public space belongs to all citizens and access is free. Many people show up to meet friends, have a drink, read quietly or enjoy a family outing.

Village au Pied-du-Courant owes its existence to many groups that share a desire to improve the quality of life in the city’s districts, enhance access to the river, and make empty urban spaces easier to reach and more secure. The main supporters of the Village are:

Financing for the project has been provided through a grant from the Metropolitan initiative and expansion fund (FIRM) of the Government of Quebec’s Secretariat for the metropolitan region. It also is supported by the City of Montreal’s Ville-Marie Borough, under a program for cultural development initiatives, and by the Port of Montreal, which contributed $15,000 toward the 2015 season under its Community Investment Policy.


 

Village au Pied-du-Courant provided jobs for about 40 people in 2015. During our visit, a small group of activity leaders, including Fanie St-Michel, of Conscience urbaine, was conducting a survey under the theme An idea for the sector’s future. “Conscience urbaine’s objective is to bring to the Village residents of the district and neighbours of the Port by organizing family activities such as picnics, and going to get seniors who might not otherwise think about visiting the sector that borders the Port of Montreal,” Ms. St-Michel said. “It’s an area that neighbours are not used to frequenting.”

We already are eager to see the birth of the 2016 Village au Pied-du-Courant!