Warning: Table './qahn_webmags/cache' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache WHERE cid = 'variables' in /home/qahn/public_html/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 135

Warning: Table './qahn_webmags/cache' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache SET data = 'a:1286:{s:13:\"theme_default\";s:6:\"webmag\";s:13:\"filter_html_1\";s:1:\"1\";s:18:\"node_options_forum\";a:1:{i:0;s:6:\"status\";}s:18:\"drupal_private_key\";s:64:\"175846037716cd6c469a7116e74acc6bfebd069bee3f3e9e6da6122420a37a21\";s:10:\"menu_masks\";a:30:{i:0;i:127;i:1;i:125;i:2;i:121;i:3;i:63;i:4;i:62;i:5;i:61;i:6;i:59;i:7;i:58;i:8;i:57;i:9;i:56;i:10;i:45;i:11;i:31;i:12;i:30;i:13;i:29;i:14;i:28;i:15;i:24;i:16;i:22;i:17;i:21;i:18;i:15;i:19;i:14;i:20;i:13;i:21;i:11;i:22;i:10;i:23;i:8;i:24;i:7;i:25;i:6;i:26;i:5;i:27;i:3;i:28;i:2;i:29;i:1;}s:12:\"install_task\";s:4:\"done\";s:13:\"menu_expanded\";a:2:{i:0;s:17:\"menu-qahn-primary\";i:1;s:10:\"navigation\";}s:9:\"site_name\";s:34:\"Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network\";s:9:\"site_ in /home/qahn/public_html/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 135

Warning: Table './qahn_webmags/cache' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache WHERE cid = 'variables:en' in /home/qahn/public_html/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 135

Warning: Table './qahn_webmags/cache' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache SET data = 'a:13:{s:11:\"site_footer\";s:38:\"Copyright © 2019 All rights reserved.\";s:9:\"logo_path\";s:32:\"sites/all/themes/webmag/logo.png\";s:14:\"theme_settings\";a:41:{s:11:\"toggle_logo\";i:1;s:11:\"toggle_name\";i:1;s:13:\"toggle_slogan\";i:0;s:14:\"toggle_mission\";i:1;s:24:\"toggle_node_user_picture\";i:0;s:27:\"toggle_comment_user_picture\";i:0;s:13:\"toggle_search\";i:1;s:14:\"toggle_favicon\";i:1;s:20:\"toggle_primary_links\";i:1;s:22:\"toggle_secondary_links\";i:1;s:29:\"toggle_node_info_arts_culture\";i:0;s:27:\"toggle_node_info_attraction\";i:0;s:25:\"toggle_node_info_cemetery\";i:0;s:29:\"toggle_node_info_content_list\";i:0;s:22:\"toggle_node_info_event\";i:0;s:24:\"toggle_node_info in /home/qahn/public_html/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 135

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/qahn/public_html/includes/database.mysql.inc:135) in /home/qahn/public_html/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 729

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/qahn/public_html/includes/database.mysql.inc:135) in /home/qahn/public_html/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 730

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/qahn/public_html/includes/database.mysql.inc:135) in /home/qahn/public_html/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 731

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/qahn/public_html/includes/database.mysql.inc:135) in /home/qahn/public_html/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 732
Montreal Mosaic WebMagazine - Cultural Community Reflections http://montrealmosaic.com/taxonomy/term/60/0 en Carl Whittaker and Black Progress at Canada 150th and Montreal 375th http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/carl-whittaker-and-black-progress-canada-150th-and-montreal-375th <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Author:&nbsp;</div> Dr. Clarence Bayne (reproduced with permission from the BCRC&#039;s publication, Semaji, December 2017) </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-article-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_article_photo" width="208" height="161" title="Carl Whittaker. Photo - courtesy of the BCRC" alt="" src="http://montrealmosaic.com/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/carl.sm_.jpg?1515430782" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-desc"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>--January 8, 2018.</p> <p><img src="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/carl.jpg" width="208" height="283" title="The Carl Whittaker Communology and Black Progress at Canada 150th and Montreal 375th" alt="carl.jpg" class="img-right caption" />The Black Community of Montreal has recently (November 2017) lost a leader that played a key role in the settlement of the large influx of Black immigrants to Montreal in the period 1960 to 2000. Carl (Lamumba) Whittaker. He was one of those immigrants that came to Montreal from Barbados, W.I., in 1966, to study at Sir George William University. It was a time of major social and political change in the former British colonies, and in North America. The emergence of Black organizations in Montreal, during the sixties through to the mid-nineties, follows a logical process, which I have described elsewhere, using patterns of simulated behaviours by intelligent and cultural agents in complex adaptive social systems. Human systems can be described using models of complex adaptive systems where the interactions between all existing and possible agents that make up the system are often random and so large that the outcomes are unpredictable. Making decisions about the best response to rapid change in the total environment is like taking a random walk in space. The psycho-social and economic environment can become so volatile that life gets stuck at the survival level of human existence. The role of leaders (the social entrepreneur) in such a system is to search for ways to ensure the sustenance of the community and improve the well-being (objective and subjective) of its members. My research shows that Blacks in Montreal, over the period 1960-2000, took significant action to achieve this objective. They created an impressive number of agencies aimed at providing services that informed the newcomers about workings and living in Montreal, entertainment, social activities, accommodation and essential services, health, education and employment possibilities, rights and freedoms, and about Canadian culture, customs and traditions. The research shows that several of these organizations were of a cultural and political nature and specialized in creating new social and cultural spaces, greater opportunity for full participation and improvement in the wellbeing of the members of the communities they served. One of the serious barriers to the growth and improvement in the wellbeing of the populations of African ancestry seem to stem from the fact that the community racialized as not-White were fragmented into a multiplicity of subcultures associated with and having their origins in many countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and other parts of the world. Moreover, notwithstanding their racial identity in Canada as Black (of African descent), these cultures were essentially closed to each other, social and cultural distance, and histories of colonial capitalism, and neo-liberalist capitalism and administration.</p> <p>The simulations of human social systems, using complex adaptive systems theory, show that the greater the fragmentation (greater the number of closed cultural sub-groups) the smaller the objective and subjective wellbeing enjoyed by the members of the larger group. In the seventies and eighties, the leaders of the new Black immigrant groups in Montreal, Quebec, recognized this problem and moved aggressively to create alliances and coalitions. One group lead by Clarence Bayne, Winston Nicholls, Carl Taylor, George Richardson and Ivan Morrison, a former founding President of the Jamaica Association, moved to create a federation of Caribbean associations. This lead to the creation of the Caribbean House (1964) by Black residents and students at Sir George William and Mc Gill Universities. At the national level Clarence Bayne and Dorothy Wills, in collaboration with leadership from across the country, moved to create the first ever national federation of Black organizations called the National Black Coalition of Canada (<a href="https://bscportal.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/expression-special-conference-1968-papers.pdf" title="https://bscportal.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/expression-special-conference-1968-papers.pdf">https://bscportal.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/expression-special-confere...</a>). At the same time (1968-1972), Carl Whittaker was convincing local leadership to support his concept of “Communology development” which used a version of Pan-Africanism as the unifying principle. This cut across gender, country of origin, religion and ideology, focusing on Africanness in the Canadian context as the only criterion for membership. Organizational membership was only open to groups that served the Black community independent of gender, place of birth, religion, ideology. He became the <a class="glossary-term" href="/glossary/term/938"><acronym title="This is the term used to describe the amount of space between two lines of text. It allows the designer to control the density of text and is very important when designing layouts with type. It affects legibility and design aesthetic.">leading</acronym></a> voice in the creation of the Black Community Council of Quebec (BCCQ) with its regional outreach associations and a number of Black specialist organizations that predated its existence. There were 10 key organizations involved, with outreach associations in La Salle, Laval, the West Island, the South Shore, Cote des Neiges and NDG. Its activities touched on every aspect of Black cultural, psycho-social, economic, and political life. BCCQ constituted the voice of the Black community on matters that had to do with Blacks as a community in the Canadian and Quebec societies, especially the English speaking Black community. This movement lasted for approximately twenty five years from 1970 to 1995.</p> <p>At Canada’s 150th and Montreal 375th, we pose the question: What has been accomplished? Before we address this question, let me take you back to 1982, and an interview of Carl Whittaker, carried out by Cecil Roach, the then Managing Editor of the BCCQ magazine, Umoja (<a href="https://bscportal.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/focus_vol1_no1.pdf" title="https://bscportal.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/focus_vol1_no1.pdf">https://bscportal.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/focus_vol1_no1.pdf</a>.). In this interview they address the question of the status of the Black Community in the Canadian and Quebec Societies.</p> <p><strong>FOCUS:</strong><br /> [Carl], You have been intricately involved in many of the organizational efforts in the Black Community. What are some of the things that you would like to see Black people achieve in this society?</p> <p><strong>Mr. Whittaker:</strong><br /> Well…look, the history of the Black people goes back to the so-called founding peoples…to the first journey of Samuel de Champlain. In fact, the pilot and interpreter for Champlain was a man called Mathew Da Costa, a Black Man. Therefore, our history goes back into the very early period of Canadian history. However, if you look across Canada, you see no evidence of this presence. There are no Black institutions, there is no recognition of the fact that Black people were among the builders of the Canadian Nation. We have been deliberately excluded from the Canadian process, socially, politically and economically. One then begins to wonder what happened to Blacks who were part of the Canadian process. There are no institutions around that can mark with pride this tradition of our involvement in the growth and building of Canada. I react very vehemently to this. I assess it as being the ultimate effect of the racism that is inherent in White Canadian society. They deliberately write a whole people out of the Canadian nation-building process, out of history; to the extent that what is known is from the work of Black scholars deliberately digging around the archives and reconstructing the role that Black people played. It is as if we are a people like foot-steps on the sand just before a wave comes in and washes away the last evidence that somebody did walk there. We are a people without a presence, without an accumulated tradition within the Canadian process. Now, how do you establish that presence? We establish the presence by building institutions within the community that live on beyond the individual. My approach to community development is primarily institution building. Institutions that mark the presence of Black people in Canadian Society. Institutions that provide the services that are necessary for every human being to grow and to actualize whatever potential that individual has through life. I am not as pre-occupied with issue-organizing as I am with institutional development. Therefore, you hear me constantly say, “look, what we have to do is to create an organizational structure that present a representative infra-structure to the Black Community; one that is there whether Carl Whittaker is there or anyone else. It’s an institution that will last forever”.</p> <p>That was Carl in 1982. Today in Quebec, under the clouds of French denial and neo-liberal betrayal, represented by the “notwithstanding clause”, Blacks are still excluded from the history of Quebec, ignored at the 375th and reduced to an afterthought in some Borough events. They are still at the lower end of John Porter’s vertical Mosaic. We are still waiting for an apology and hoping to see a tear drop from the young Justin Trudeau’s eye that captures the pain that systemic discrimination, racism, racial profiling, and systemic exclusion have caused Blacks in Quebec and Canada.</p> <p>Today, in the Back Communities of Montreal, there seems to be a prevailing opinion that, while there is significant evidence that many Blacks have benefited and have distinguished themselves as individuals, that, as a people of African ancestry, we have not accomplished much. On the angry side of the equation, there are those that say that the few have profited by the struggle of many but have given back nothing. They suffer the illusion that they are where they are entirely on account of their own work ethic and industry. On the other side of the equation there are those that argue that the social and political system is set up so that the country remains firmly under the control of a duality, the French settler classes and the English settler classes, and within those two groups all other sub-cultures and ethnicities are represented in scaled preferences, determined by constitutionalized and social systems of inclusion and exclusion. Predictably, as sub-cultures on the lower level of the totem of mosaic ethnicities, Blacks tend to show less development and less representation at all levels of the society as a cultural sub-group. There are many factors accounting for this. One is persistent race and cultural superiority traditions and beliefs still held and active in the conscious and subconscious psyches of the two settler groups; and another is denial of the existence of systemic and embedded racial discrimination in the social and economic arrangements of the society. In Quebec, the far right and the nationalist left are located between these two states. Unfortunately, the positions of most governments seem to be determined by the tug and pull between these two vectors. As I stated in an article in Community Contact, it should be no surprise that the enquiry on systemic discrimination and racism in Quebec is cancelled. Some members of Quebec’s La Muete will tell you that they are not racists, that there is no systemic racism in Quebec, and that such claims constitute a blackmail by people who have no respect for freedom of speech or have no logical explanation of their demands. They pronounce multiculturalism a failed experiment that has no future. This is the argument of a type of Darwinism based on fascist logic: there shall be in the end only one superior race. If I were to have to bet on the ultimate superior survivor race, I would not bet on La Muete. World relative rates of reproduction do not favour them. In fact, multiculturalism is favourable to their long term survival as a people on the world scale. The Black struggle in Quebec continues through the Black Community Forum. It has adopted the principles of organizational “collaborative unity and existential responsibility”. It is committed to the building and strengthening of Black institutions and creating effective communication networks as the way forward.</p> </div> </div> </div> http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/carl-whittaker-and-black-progress-canada-150th-and-montreal-375th#comments Cultural Community Reflections Mon, 08 Jan 2018 17:01:23 +0000 Matthew Farfan 441279 at http://montrealmosaic.com Masking Multiculturalism: Montreal West and Canada 150 http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/masking-multiculturalism-montreal-west-and-canada-150 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Author:&nbsp;</div> Rebecca Friend* </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-article-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_article_photo" width="1631" height="1052" title="Montreal West and Canada 150. (Photo - Rebecca Friend)" alt="" src="http://montrealmosaic.com/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/friend.3_0.jpg?1498237173" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-desc"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>--June 23, 2017.</p> <p><a href="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/friend.1.jpg" title="(Photo - Rebecca Friend)" rel="lightbox"><img src="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/larger_friend.1.jpg" width="200" height="150" title="(Photo - Rebecca Friend)" alt="larger_friend.1.jpg" class="img-right caption" /></a>There’s no community more well known to me than the on-island suburb of Montreal West. Having spent many formative years demonstrating my acrobatic abilities at local parks, deep-sea diving in the public wading pool, and seeking new lands from the tops of tree branches, I continue to feel a certain attachment to Montreal West that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. One of the best parts of my summers growing up were the weekly festivities at a small park in the center of the town. From outdoor screenings one week, to pet shows the next, and Hungarian night the following week, the eclectic selection of events never struck me as odd before, nor did I question what kind of messages they were sending to the local community. This summer, several nights at the park are being sponsored by the Department of Canadian Heritage in connection with Canada 150. </p> <p>Interested in seeing the affect this would have on my community’s traditional celebrations, I decided to pay a visit to the town’s Multicultural Night on Tuesday June 13th. I left disappointed, but filled with a fresh perspective on what it means to celebrate Canada’s diverse multicultural makeup, and how it ought to be something we collectively learn more about, not passively marvel at. </p> <p><a href="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/friend.3.jpg" title="(Photo - Rebecca Friend)" rel="lightbox"><img src="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/larger_friend.3.jpg" width="200" height="150" title="(Photo - Rebecca Friend)" alt="larger_friend.3.jpg" class="img-left caption" /></a>Before I delve into the happenings at the Montreal West Multicultural Night, I thought I might introduce those unfamiliar with the suburb to an overview of its history. While little exists in terms of a formal study of the town’s past, Montreal West has its own appointed town historian, a local resident named David Watson. Watson took it upon himself to compile a historical account of the town’s past as part of its centennial celebrations in 1997. He traced back the earliest documented street in the area, namely Upper Lachine Road, now known as Avon Road (Watson, 3). In 1672, it was recorded to have been used as a footpath to Fort Rémy, a walled village contained within the current confines of Lasalle. Its most important use, however, was during the War of 1812. In order to protect food and ammunition supply lines to the British, local authorities fortified the steep hill near Upper Lachine Road, building a lookout at the top of what is now Easton Avenue, and improving Upper Lachine Road by transforming the sheer bluff into the recognizable gradual slope it is today (Watson, 3). </p> <p>Besides its use as a military outpost, a stagecoach line ran daily along the road, from the downtown depot on McGill Street to the steamboats carrying mail at the Lachine Wharf (Watson, 4). As a matter of convenience, farms were set up along the route, many of which were settled by those who had been given land under the French regime. Three main farms comprising almost 400 acres collectively would come to evolve into the current town of Montreal West. Two of the farms were owned by the Décarie family, the members of which were most likely descendants of Jean Décaries, who settled in NDG in 1653. This family name is one of the oldest names associated with the area (Watson, 4).</p> <p>A public road separated the Décarie farms, and it was this same public road that I found myself on during Montreal West’s Multicultural Night. As I arrived, I noticed a gathering of people had already formed at the park. Many were hustling to secure a spot in line for the food stands, while others huddled together at the foot of a stage where a steel drum band had captured their attention. Guided by my escalating appetite, I did a quick tour of what the night had to offer in terms of food. Pizza and pulled pork overshadowed a smaller Jamaican patty stall, the three options representing the selection of ethnic eats one could find that night. As I settled down on a park bench to tuck into my cultural delicacies (I chose pizza, so some of the blame falls on me), I angled myself towards the stage and readied myself for an exposé of the diversity for which Canada is known. What I wasn’t prepared for was the series of spectacles that were performed, all of which were devoid of any type of appreciation beyond the aesthetic appearance and instrumental beats.</p> <p><a href="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/friend.4.jpg" title="(Photo - Rebecca Friend)" rel="lightbox"><img src="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/larger_friend.4.jpg" width="200" height="150" title="(Photo - Rebecca Friend)" alt="larger_friend.4.jpg" class="img-right caption" /></a>Without any introduction to the different performances, viewers were forced to remain passive observers, unable to connect to or take away from the displays of multiculturalism. Not only were the origins of the stage performers undisclosed, but nothing was said in terms of how the performances related to their cultural backgrounds, nor was any information provided so that those in attendance might have a chance to learn more about what they were witnessing. Instead, echoes of “Mommy, look at those hats!” and “those are weird shoes” could be heard from the most impressionable age bracket, while those old enough to absorb new information were deprived of any educational components. </p> <p>With the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation approaching, I find it high time that we move away from a simplistic acknowledgment of the multitude of cultures present within Canada’s population. Instead, providing engaging entertainment that challenges the observer’s intellect would force Canadians to appreciate more than the visual aspects of a performance. Remembering that this year also commemorates the 50th anniversary of Expo 67, it’s important to distance ourselves from the style of world's fair expositions, where the display of non-Western societies was used to “summarize, categorize, and evaluate the whole of human experience.” (Swift, 2493). </p> <p><a href="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/friend.5.jpg" title="(Photo - Rebecca Friend)" rel="lightbox"><img src="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/larger_friend.5.jpg" width="200" height="150" title="(Photo - Rebecca Friend)" alt="larger_friend.5.jpg" class="img-left caption" /></a>In general, world's fairs traditionally placed industrial competition at the forefront of the exhibitions, while the foreign and less familiar cultures on display were meant to contrast the advancements of the Western world (Fromm, 91). I am reminded of these international events as I revisit the happenings at Montreal West’s Multicultural Night. While certainly not on the same scale as a world’s fair, the obscure parade of cultures was placed on an alien runway, leaving the audience to gaze and marvel without a chance for in-depth appreciation. Thankfully, I plan to attend several other Canada 150 events in Montreal West and other neighbouring communities. I hope to be able to contrast this night with future displays of Canadian culture, and progressive participation. </p> <p><strong>Sources:</strong><br /> Annette B. Fromm, “Ethnographic Museums and Intangible Cultural Heritage Return to our Roots,” Journal of Marine and Island Cultures 5.2, 2016.</p> <p>Anthony Swift, “World’s Fairs,” in Europe 1789-1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter, Detroit, 2006.</p> <p>David Watson, Montreal West Looking Back. Montreal Junction: A Pictorial History of the Town of Montreal West, Quebec, Montreal, 1997.</p> <p><strong><em><br /> *Rebecca Firiend is an Honours student in Public History at Concordia University in Montreal. She interned at QAHN in 2017. This is the first installment in her series focusing on community celebrations taking place this year in Montreal neighbourhoods in honour of Canada's 150th anniversary.</em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/masking-multiculturalism-montreal-west-and-canada-150#comments Cultural Community Reflections Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:44:43 +0000 Matthew Farfan 441051 at http://montrealmosaic.com Mark your Calendars, Canada: The Evolution of our National Holiday http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/mark-your-calendars-canada-evolution-our-national-holiday <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Author:&nbsp;</div> Rebecca Friend* </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-article-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_article_photo" width="760" height="602" title="Dominion Day crowds on Parliament Hill gathering to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Canadian Confederation in 1927 (Photo - Library and Archives of Canada, MIKAN no. 3202130)" alt="" src="http://montrealmosaic.com/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/untitled.png?1496349043" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-desc"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>--June 1, 2017.</p> <p> A luminous display of dazzling colours illuminates the night sky across Canada every year. Patriotic reds and whites shine predominantly, entangling themselves like a strand of Canadian DNA. Marking the anniversary of the British North America Act (now the Constitution Act), Canada Day commemorates legislation signed exactly 150 years ago this coming July. Throughout the country, celebratory events and exhibits have been established to mark the sesquicentennial revelries, offering glimpses into Canada’s past, and proposing plans for Canada’s future. In upcoming instalments, I hope to shed light on the ways in which several neighbourhoods across my hometown of Montreal celebrate their unique pasts while framing these histories in the context of a national anniversary. Examining Canada’s traditional approach to celebrating commemorative holidays will help ground my work, allowing for future conversations concerning nation building, forging a collective Canadian identity, and juxtaposing provincial heritage with a homogenous Canadian narrative. </p> <p><a href="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/untitled_0.png" title="Dominion Day crowds on Parliament Hill gathering to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Canadian Confederation in 1927. </p> <p>(Photo - Library and Archives of Canada, MIKAN no. 3202130)" rel="lightbox"><img src="/files/montrealmosaicwebmagazine/reflection-images/larger_untitled_0.png" width="200" height="150" title="Dominion Day crowds on Parliament Hill gathering to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Canadian Confederation in 1927. (Photo - Library and Archives of Canada, MIKAN no. 3202130)" alt="larger_untitled_0.png" class="img-left caption" /></p></a> </p> <p> Despite the stress-inducing days in the lead-up to festivities and the last-minute ventures into the worlds of barbeque supply stores and local grocery shops, national holidays typically take up only one day a year on our crammed calendars. Even though national holidays may not be the most frequent celebrations of our heritage, Matthew Hayday and Raymond B. Blake, the editors of <em>Celebrating Canada: Holidays, National Days</em>, and the Crafting of Identities, argue against other academics who have traditionally dismissed holidays as a primary tool for nation building. Even though these celebrations occur yearly and may be a less intrusive form of symbolic nationalism than, say, flags and pervasive anthems, Hayday and Blake contend that holidays nevertheless remain a supportive piece of the nation’s “scaffolding” (Hayday and Blake, 5). By demonstrating the makeup of those who participate in national festivities, holidays tend to represent a perfect stepping stone into the study of nationalism and a country’s identity. </p> <p> Recent terminology explaining the crafting of a nation’s collective culture is indebted to scholars like Benedict Anderson and Eric Hobsbawm, who coined the phrases “imagined communities” (Anderson, 6) and “invented traditions” (Hobsbawm, 1) respectively. The idea that citizens of a nation feel bound to one another despite distinct characteristics comes to fruition in these seminal texts on nationalism. In consequence, debates concerning the carefully thought out steps a state takes to develop a unified national identity emerge. These concepts will be useful as we discuss examples of Canadian celebrations key to the formation our national character, resulting in a better understanding of the significance behind what some might regard as a convenient excuse to hold a get-together.</p> <p> The celebration of Canada Day is often mistaken for a commemoration of Canada’s birthday. Put away the party hats and pull down the “Happy Birthday!” banners, because the history of Canada Day stems from components far more complex than a simple anniversary. As Canada existed prior to the signing of the BNA Act in 1867, the name given to this occasion fell under the title of Dominion Day. At first, celebrations across the country were diversely expressed. Activities varied depending on geographic regions, economic disparities, and socio-cultural practises (Pass, 192). Further, while Dominion Day recognized the union of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia into a single Dominion under the British Empire, other provinces became members of the country at later dates and therefore held the holiday to varying degrees of significance. </p> <p> Only after the Second World War did a shift occur in the ways Canadians were instructed to celebrate their national holiday. With ties weakening between Britain and Canada, changing immigration patterns, and a federal concern with the rise in Quebec nationalism, the question of what it meant to be Canadian weighed heavily on the minds of state authorities and citizens alike (Hayday, 275). Dominion Day had to become an institutionalized celebration of Canada’s “official” collective past (Hayday 275). Under John Diefenbaker’s Conservative government, the policies issued in association with Dominion Day festivities focused primarily on establishing ties between Canada and Britain’s shared past. However, during the transition to Lester B. Pearson’s Liberal government, an expansion of the budget in the lead up to the Centennial celebration led to more regional representation and a collaboration with CBC to broadcast Parliament Hill revelries nationwide (Ibid., 284-285).</p> <p>The invention of this tradition, to borrow Hobsbawm’s term, was not as simple as creating the perfect Canadian fairy tale. Conflicting histories promoted in Quebec led to rising tensions between the federal and provincial governments. Debates over whether a primary focus should be given to the promotion of high arts or popular arts also proliferated the Canadian sectors intent on encouraging a shared cultural experience (Ibid., 288-289). These disagreements rattled those in charge of celebrating Canada’s past, and the need to firmly entrench Dominion Day as a symbol of Canadian pride became a matter of national concern in the 1980s. July 1st experienced the official shift from Dominion Day to Canada Day in 1982 following a bill proposed by Liberal Vaudreuil MP Hal Herbert (Ibid., 297). This move strongly supported Canada’s unique past and distanced the country from a singular British legacy, culminating in the creation of a distinct Canadian holiday. </p> <p>Behind the yearly concerts, attractions, and high sales in Canadian paraphernalia, the history of Canada Day demonstrates a thoughtfully planned project to promote Canadian pride. This summer, as the sesquicentennial celebrations consume community gatherings, keep in mind the efforts that have gone into encouraging a specific set of Canadian traditions, and the ways in which neighbourhoods promote their individual pasts in tandem with the grand Canadian narrative. In upcoming instalments, I hope to further highlight historic celebrations of Canada Day and delve into the upcoming Canada 150 events in Montreal Anglophone communities, focusing on how they balance the presentation of their pasts with the celebration of their country’s successes. </p> <p>____________________________________________</p> <p><strong>Sources:</strong><br /> Benedict Anderson, <em>Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, </em>London, 2006.</p> <p>Matthew Hayday, “Canada’s Day: Inventing a Tradition, Defining a Culture,” in <em>Celebrating Canada: Volume 1: Holidays, National Days, and the Crafting of Identities</em> (Edited by Matthew Hayday and Raymond B. Blake), Toronto, 2016.</p> <p>Matthew Hayday and Raymond B. Blake, “Introduction,” in <em>Celebrating Canada: Volume 1: Holidays, National Days, and the Crafting of Identities</em> (Edited by Matthew Hayday and Raymond B. Blake), Toronto, 2016.</p> <p>Eric Hobsbawm, “Introduction,” in <em>The Invention of Tradition</em> (Edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger), Cambridge, 2012. </p> <p>Forest D. Pass “Dominion Day and the Rites of Regionalism in British Columbia 1867-1937," in <em>Celebrating Canada: Volume 1: Holidays, National Days, and the Crafting of Identities</em> (Edited by Matthew Hayday and Raymond B. Blake), Toronto, 2016.</p> <p><strong><em>*Rebecca Firiend is an Honours student in Public History at Concordia University in Montreal. She interned at QAHN in 2017. This is the first installment in her series focusing on community celebrations taking place this year in Montreal neighbourhoods in honour of Canada's 150th anniversary.</em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/mark-your-calendars-canada-evolution-our-national-holiday#comments Cultural Community Reflections Thu, 01 Jun 2017 20:23:55 +0000 Matthew Farfan 441008 at http://montrealmosaic.com Growing up in Black Montreal http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/growing-black-montreal <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Author:&nbsp;</div> Dorothy W. Williams </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-desc"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>I don’t remember the knives but the smells are still sharp, and part of the memories. Growing up Black in Little Burgundy: did I grow up Black, or did I grow up and become Black? Where did it all begin? My experiences of being Black-are entwined with my sense of belonging, of community.</p> <p>It was a multi-ethnic community, with Chinese families sharing my street with French families. And right around my corner was a whole new world: Italian neighbours who lived in their own enclave with smells of wine, spices and other herbs I still don’t have words for.</p> <p>Did I grow to be Black on summer streets so hot we tried to fry eggs on them? Or was it when the taunting, biting sounds of “Negre” or Nigger” rang out? Was it Black to jump on my secondhand bike, holding onto the walls until I could pedal two yards without falling? Was it Black to lug a bottle to the dispensary with a quarter, to bring back enough oil to pour into the oil tank? (Didn’t everyone heat with oil?) Maybe it was playing neighbourhood hide-and-seek with my friends, regardless of their colour. Every backyard and laneway had a possible nook or cranny to hide in. Or, was it instinctively, tacitly, knowing whose houses or yards to avoid because they wouldn’t like our kind?</p> <p>Even with forbidden areas, the district of Little Burgundy was “home.” Playing, we protected it from imagined foes. And sometimes on the streets we protected it from real ones. Perhaps that was why we all rallied with brooms, sticks and fists on one side of the Lachine Canal to stop a “gang” of Pointe St. Charles kids from coming across the bridge. We protected each other playing in the streets, knowing full well that at the first cry or fracas many adult heads would emerge from opened windows and door stoops. Even when we wanted to get into mischief, we couldn’t wander far from someone’s eyes.</p> <p>This shared feeling of community had its burdens, too. Respect and acknowledgement was expected by our elders. They might know your mother, or your grandparents or uncles: “You didn’t say hello to Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So. They told me how rude you were, walking right by them, not even saying hello. Don’t do that again.”</p> <p>Growing up Black was different at school, too. The teachers sometimes made you feel that it was all a waste of time-their time. It was the same with substitute teachers or student teachers from university. More than once we’d hear how they’d been given “the assignment from hell” because their field work had brought them into our school. Maybe they were afraid? But I don’t remember any knives.</p> <p>Now I know what our school was to them. It’s no longer a mystery. They did not see me. I was Negro. I was Black, assuredly “a problem.” I was an aberration on the learning curve perhaps, because how could I possibly understand Orwell’s 1984 in Grade 5? After all, were we not just cultural aberrations on I.Q. tests? Their text books said we were.</p> <p>Our classes were sometimes 50-percent Black. Why did I notice that only when they took the annual class picture? Recess at elementary school was not always a racial battlefield. Yes there was an occasional spat but, wasn’t it because those kids came from other parts of “home,” from below the tracks, or on the west side of our neighbourhood? They lived two blocks away and yet, I was sure that they weren’t like us. “They don’t understand...” This was the familiar refrain of my memory. Was all the conflict necessary simply because I was growing up Black? </p> <p>Yet growing up a Black girl, I knew I had power. Many strengths buttressed me. I was not a child lost to low expectations. My mother believed in me and encouraged me. I was the oldest girl. Would it not be natural that she would depend upon me? The responsibility for the house in my mother’s absence was heavy but it also character-building. Believe me, having younger brothers builds character.</p> <p>Church did that, too--build character, I mean. As long as our tight braids stretched our scalps, and the ribbons or pastel clips adorned them symmetrically, church attendance was permitted. Any church. Growing up Black. That could mean maybe attending Anglican, Catholic, Gospel Hall, United or the non-denominational missions. Alternating was allowed if you weren’t too conspicuous or loud. Some didn’t always like our kind, you know.</p> <p>It was this sense of difference and the need to truly belong that filled the halls of the Negro Community Centre up the street. We filled our after-school time and even our Saturdays in that building with cooking classes, woodworking, crafts, sports, games, piano, ballet, majorettes, tap-dancing and marching band. No one said these activities were only for Blacks and so our community expanded with local neighbourhood kids and weekend friends, Black kids brought in from Verdun, St. Henri, Mile-End, Chateauguay, NDG or Côte-des-Neiges. With the guidance of the Centre staff and the elders around us, we were often challenged to be the best we could and to face life’s obstacles head-on. But we were not fooled-our dreams had their limits or so we thought.</p> <p>I grew up at a time when Blacks in Montreal looked south and also dared to dream that real and substantial change was imminent, imminent, but when? For the impatient few the waiting was intolerable and they either gave up or dropped out. For the rest, many were content to quietly live their lives. For a small minority the goal was to climb up ever higher, to push the boundaries, to be the first to get a BA and to move beyond becoming first in their family to ever get a Masters. We were the lucky generation as we no longer had to leave the city to get our education like some of our parents had had to. We were a blessed generation because as graduates we did not expect to work simply as maids or porters. </p> <p>On our parents’ shoulders my generation marched on knowing change was coming and we witnessed “Montreal firsts”: our first Black police officer, our first Black judge, our first Black MP, our first Black MNA, our first Black at Rideau Hall and now, to the south, the first African-American at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. </p> </div> </div> </div> http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/growing-black-montreal#comments Cultural Community Reflections Historical Reflections Personal Reflections Mon, 22 Mar 2010 16:25:31 +0000 93 at http://montrealmosaic.com Oh God! Oh Montreal! http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/oh-god-oh-montreal <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Author:&nbsp;</div> Barbara Barclay </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-desc"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>An integral part of Montreal’s linguistic Mosaic is an institution that began its existence here in the early days of the 1930’s Depression. Like the country, it has grown in size, sophistication, and linguistic variety, and it has experienced difficulties, but always its purpose has been the intellectual growth and integration of the individual into the (Anglophone) community, the province and the nation. It has also, of course, exported its product internationally for worldwide benefit.</p> <p>“Sir George Williams? I beg your pardon, who? Concordia University? I don’t understand.” Allow me…</p> <p>Adjacent to what used to be Montreal’s Golden Square Mile is an area that has experienced changes in station and in style; situated between Sherbrooke and St. Catherine Streets on the north and by Stanley and Guy Streets on the east-west axis, it has enjoyed all manner of grandeur—and grime. However, it has been and still is a Mecca for not only Montrealers wanting to better their prospects, but particularly for new arrivals in the country who need to figure out how to assimilate into the bigger society. </p> <p>Linguistic adaptability and academic credentials go hand-in-hand and Sir George Williams/Concordia University is a microcosm of what Montreal has meant for Canadian immigrants from everywhere. Take for example, Emily Cambron’s experience:</p> <p>“I arrived in Canada from Europe in 1948 under the auspices of the International Refugee Organization with a one-year contract to work as a domestic servant; the monthly pay was $35.00 plus room and board. I had an empty suitcase and $2.00 in my pocket. I was 18 years old and did not know anybody in Canada. I had chosen Canada as my destination, although many other options were available to us. The International Refugee Organization, created by the United Nations, was undertaking the task of resettling the three million “Displaced Persons” living in the various parts of Europe occupied by the Allied Forces. I thought that my high school English and high-school French would give me an advantage. Not so, nobody understood my accent and I did not understand anybody either.“</p> <p>And so she came to Sir George. And ultimately learned to type, earned two degrees and became happy and successful.</p> <p>This is a relatively early example, but there are many more—thousands and thousands more. Decades and decades of them: Think of the waves of international and immigrant students. In the mid-seventies the university recognized the situation and established what was to become its flagship program, teacher training<br /> for second language classrooms, and at the same time, it established classes for newcomers, both credit and non-credit. Nearly forty years later, it is still continuing with thousands of ESL students each year.</p> <p>(Regarding the role of English in Montreal, I see both French and English as 'lingua franca(s)' and internationally widespread. Also I am always aware of the close relationship between the two and the fact that 40% of English<br /> vocabulary comes from French. Students, particularly international ones, really love having the two languages and cultures side-by-side.)</p> <p>One ESL teacher has regarded her class as a microcosm of world politics. Venezuelans in the 1970s, Iranians in the later years of that decade, then the Vietnamese, the many, many Chinese who came and still come. Then students from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and now Africa. Indeed one current ESL class has 14 different nationalities within a group of 20 students!</p> <p>This is the more formal picture, but let us look at how the interactions have changed people’s viewpoints as well as their goals. For example, in the previous example of 20 students, two are very competent and beautiful young African women, one from Rwanda and one from Guinea—and both are also registered in programs in Mandarin!</p> <p>Moving on to less academic results, just walk around and look at the wonderful cosmopolitan flavour of the neighbourhood. Try the Iraqi grocery store next to the TD bank where you can buy grape molasses from Lebanon, honey from Persia, raspberry jam from Egypt, olive oil from Syria and all manner of other items from who-knows-where. Go into the supermarket where the dried fruit and fresh vegetables are varieties never seen in the slightly more distant past of Montreal.</p> <p>Look at the men and women on the sidewalk, in all manner of national dress, some who only allow their eyes to be seen. It is an experience to be savoured, although sometimes disconcerting. Then, of course, the months go by, these pedestrians discover more about their goals and they move on. But they are replaced as a new contingent arrives.</p> <p>Of course, this is just one small segment of Montreal’s Anglophone mosaic, but it is now so well known that it draws immigrants and students from virtually the whole world and it contains many different stories, hopes and dreams. More anon.<br /> __________________________________________________________<br /> The writer is not a disinterested bystander; in direct contrast she has been influenced by this institution for more than half a century, and involved with its second language teaching program for more than thirty-five years. In fact, she is now chairing a committee to celebrate the Georgian generation as it prepares to celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2012.</p> </div> </div> </div> http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/oh-god-oh-montreal#comments Cultural Community Reflections Historical Reflections Personal Reflections Mon, 22 Mar 2010 16:20:30 +0000 91 at http://montrealmosaic.com All Jewish, Almost All the Time http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/all-jewish-almost-all-time <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Author:&nbsp;</div> Stanley Asher </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-desc"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The above is the kitschy slogan of Montreal's most unusual new radio station, CJRS -- Radio Shalom, at 1650 on the a.m. dial. What is more unusual is that CJRS is North America's only full-time Jewish station. For 24 hours a day, 6 days a week (we're off the air for the Sabbath) a multiplicity of Jewish sounds cascades from our studios near Montreal's landmark Orange Julep.</p> <p>"Two Jews, Three Opinions" doesn't come close to approaching the spectrum of Jewish thought on Radio Shalom. From radical right to radical left, and many <a class="glossary-term" href="/glossary/term/955"><acronym title="A colour shade is a measure of how much black has been added to the original colour resulting in a darker colour. For example, terracotta is a shade of orange.">shades</acronym></a> in between, opinions on Israel, Washington, Canada, the Bible, Iran, kosher food, Sabbath observance, and much more can be heard in four languages. French, at 60% of airtime, predominates, but 1/3 of the programs are in English, and 10% in Hebrew. There's even a sprinkling of Yiddish (Sunday mornings at 7).</p> <p>All the details of programming and languages can be found on the station's web site, radio-shalom.ca, where links are also available to sample perhaps hundreds of past programs, and are easily located. Among the English-language offerings, try Howie Silbiger, our lone talk show <a class="glossary-term" href="/glossary/term/931"><acronym title="This is a company that allows individuals and businesses to create and manage their own websites. The user buys the web space package from the host company along with tools and scripts to help them to develop their website.">host</acronym></a>, Sundays through Tuesdays at 6 p.m. for 2 hours. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 3, I conduct interviews on Jewish and general topics, and on Sundays at 3 there's a weekly guide to Jewish travel around the world, past, present and future in a few cases. Cantor Sid Dworkin offers a weekly hour of great cantorial music on Sundays at 10 a.m.</p> <p>The station's roots are North African and Sephardi, which partly accounts for French language predominance. It was a group of Francophone Jews, some from Morocco, who initiated the project, somewhat adapted from stations in France, where radio is still alve and well. It was a longer and rockier road to get a CRTC licence for a Jewish "religious" station in Canada. We began on subcarrier (to an audience limited to those who would buy special radios). Next, an Internet site was established, widening our scope to anywhere in the world.</p> <p>In 2008 we went on regular radio, at 1650 on the dial, and have somehow managed to survive the recession years since then. This may be accounted for by the fact that almost all on-air personalities, and others behind the scenes, are volunteers. Some of the programming originates in Israel and France, and we need much more locally produced and themed material to be relevant to our basis Montreal audience. Periodic searches for volunteers are only occasionally fruitful, and so we appeal to readers of this journal to join us. </p> <p>As the old Cantor's bakery ad featuring an Inuit chomping on a bagel indicates, "you don't have to be Jewish” to participate in and enjoy Radio Shalom. Call 514-738-4100 to reach my mailbox, local 269, and I'll fill you in on more details. We also welcome listeners to comment on our programming. You may be disturbed, enlightened, infuriated, delighted and/or soothed by our mix of music from all Jewish streams, and by our melange of words from many mouths and moods. </p> <p>With Montreal's radio scene in flux, chaos or confusion, to say the least, depending on your sources of information, CJRS Radio Shalom is an interesting alternative to the "mainstream" on the dial -- or what's left of it.</p> <p>Stanley Asher<br /> VP of Radio Shalom<br /> <a href="http://www.radio-shalom.ca/" title="http://www.radio-shalom.ca/">http://www.radio-shalom.ca/</a></p> </div> </div> </div> http://montrealmosaic.com/reflection/all-jewish-almost-all-time#comments Arts Reflections Cultural Community Reflections Fri, 19 Mar 2010 18:20:29 +0000 71 at http://montrealmosaic.com