Making Montreal a Better City, One Project at a Time
A gathering of approximately 100 people met in a loft in Old Montreal recently to celebrate four months of hard work and discuss final logistics for 100 in 1 Day, a volunteer-run event taking place Oct. 5.
“100 in 1 Day” is a worldwide event that encourages people to improve their city. Over 100 citizen actions will take place over the course of one day. In the past four months, 14 design workshops took place with over 300 attendees. Now, 100 of these improvements, or as the 100 in 1 Day team calls “interventions,” are listed on the website.
The actions taking place in Montreal range from inviting neighbours to exchange a piece of cake for a personal story to having a silent disco where people dance throughout the city using their smartphones as their own personal DJs.
“The idea was to create conversations so citizens talk more about the city they want and how they can intervene in the city,” said Raquel Penalosa, an organizer of the event.
Participants Ian Pieterse and Charlie Twitch are planning to create a sound installation with a brick component around the Lachine Canal. They hope to bring awareness to the history involving artists occupying the spaces in industrial areas and the changes that have occurred.
Pieterse and Twitch hope to reflect the idea of gentrification and seclusion for communities that move into areas that were once culturally rich.
“You will hear different points of view, but all with same sentiment of oppression of isolation in these environments and what used to be there,” said Twitch.
The atmosphere of the meeting was celebratory, it being many participants’ first time meeting and learning about each other’s work.
“It’s wonderful to see everyone in the same room,” said Alfredo Rey, another event organizer. “Now we have the work done for the interventions on Saturday, but it’s a bit of closure now.
“Instead of preparing people further, it’s tying up loose ends and touching things up,” he continued.
People casually gathered over food and drinks to wrap up the final details of the event and to pick up promotional material. Posters, T-shirts, armbands and stickers were distributed to increase the visibility of the project.
Each action has an intervention leader responsible for their contribution to the event. Intervention leaders clarified the time, place and precise details of their activities to ensure the website and map are ready for the event on Saturday.
The meeting was also an opportunity for people to distribute material related to their personal interventions. Alex Tran’s intervention is called the “Ephemeral Dictionary”—he created a set of waterproof labels in the format of a French-English dictionary to celebrate Montreal’s bilingualism. Tran distributed these labels to other intervention leaders to stick all over the city and create an urban dictionary.
“[Active citizenship] is not only about moaning and complaining and calling 911 from time to time,” said Juan Carlos Londono, the initiator of the Montreal event.
“Every day we have an opportunity to strengthen social fabric, to nurture it, to develop it.
“We take over the city to make it better, together.”
100 in 1 Day will take place throughout the day on Oct. 5. More details including a map with information on all of the events taking place can be found online at 100en1jourmontreal.com, and on the organization’s Twitter and Facebook pages.