Welcome to the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation Website. We invite you to peruse those sections that may interest you in this extraordinary story...
...and to acquaint yourself with our plans!
NEW NOTES - JUNE 12th 2016 Note No. 1
You can follow the progress of Michael Collin’s run by liking his page at: https://www.facebook.com/irishdiasporarun2016/
MICHAEL COLLINS IS OFF & RUNNING !!
As mentioned Michael Collins is running from Grosse Ile to Toronto to raise awareness of the tragic events of the Irish immigrants in 1847, as well as, to raise some funds for various Irish Monument efforts including our Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation efforts to build a beautiful cultural green space around the Black Rock.
He is scheduled to arrive at the Black Rock, this coming Friday, June 17th 2016 at noon – and everyone else, is welcomed to meet him there and welcome him to Montreal.
We had the opportunity to meet Michael in Quebec City this past Thursday, June 9th, and then to accompany him to Grosse Ile, yesterday, Friday, June 10th to see him off on the start of his run.
James Donovan & Joseph Lonergan were representing the Irish Community of Quebec City; and gave Michael a great tour of Quebec City on Thursday highlighting especially all the Irish points of interest relating to the city.
Then on Friday, we went to Grosse Ile where Parks Canada did such a terrific job of showing Michael around the Quarantine Station where more than 5000 Irish immigrants died and were buried mostly in the summer of 1847.
And then after this visit to Grosse Ile, Michael set off from Berthier sur Mer, where the ferry from Grosse Ile docks, on his long running journey to Toronto.
There was also an article (in French) written in the Soleil Newspaper on Friday about Michael and his run…
(You can also see various photos and a note about the Quebec City / Grosse Ile part of his run on our Park Foundation Facebook page at:
NEW NOTES - JUNE 12th 2016 Note No. 2
There is a group of “lady painters” in The Point that call themselves The Group of Sven. Most Sundays during the year they get together to paint and chat. And, then once a year, they hold a Vernissage to display and sell their paintings for the benefit of the Point St. Charles Community Theatre, and our free Youth Theatre program. This year, their Vernissage takes place on Saturday, June 18th from 4pm until 6pm.
A special highlight of this year’s Vernissage is this…
There are very, very few paintings or artistic images from the Montreal event when the Irish immigrants arrived in Montreal, in 1847. More than 6000 of these immigrants died and were buried around the Black Rock on the Montreal side of the Victoria Bridge. The Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation has the objective of getting various levels of government to build a beautiful cultural green space around the Black Rock. Details about our efforts can be found on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Blackrockmemorial/
So we asked the Group of Sven if they would consider painting some of their concepts of the Black Rock. Many of them did, and these painting of the Black Rock will be displayed and on sale at the Vernissage on Saturday.
However, Karen Birdgenaw (one of the group; and a terrific painter) went one step further. We told her about some of the stories from Montreal’s Black 47, and she, in turn, took 3 of these stories and produced 3 paintings. One is about the Grey Nun carrying a sick and dying Irish child; the second is about the fact that there are bodies buried under the Black Rock; and the third is about the Catholic priests who performed the very dangerous task of leaning close to the mouths of these victims to hear their confessions.
All three of her paintings are very, very powerful. And, we plan to add these paintings to our Grey Nuns exhibition – since they really convey the ideas, but we doubt that anyone would want to buy them; and hang them on their living room wall.
So if you are available this Saturday, June 18th between 4 and 6pm, do drop by the Vernissage at the Old Bank, at 1900 Wellington St. in The Point and see their great work (of course, not all the images are of the Black Rock, or related to our project).
NEW NOTES – JUNE 1st 2016
- Reserve soon to join the AOH in their Annual Visit to Grosse Ile; For full details and reservation information, visit the AOH web site at: http://www.aoh-montreal.com/node/13
- We are pleased that The Montreal Gazette newspaper, today, June 1st 2016, came out in support of our project in their daily editorial that can viewed at: http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-forget-granite-stumps-what-about-the-black-rock
- The Walk to the Rock on Sunday, May 29th was a great success. You can see some videos of this event by visiting www.thepoint.ca and if not on the opening page when you visit, just click on the page’s YouTube site at the top of the opening page.
- Michael Collins, an award winning author, and long distance runner, will be leaving Grosse Ile on June 10th to run to the Irish Park in Toronto. He will stop at the Black Rock in Montreal at noon on Friday, June 17th. Everyone is invited to come out an welcome him to Montreal. Details about his effort can be found at: http://www.michaelcollinswriter.com/
NEW NOTE - MAY 26th 2016
A quick update on our progress to build a beautiful green space around the Black Rock.
As reported before, we did meet with Mayor Coderre almost exactly a year ago, in May 2015, at which point he informed us that he does support the effort. Then we discovered in December 2015 that the actual land is owned by the Federal Government.
So we are pleased that we will have another opportunity to meet with our Mayor tomorrow, May 27th 2016, to discuss the effort in general.
We have also arranged for an appointment in very early June with Old Port of Montreal, who, along with a federal agency called Canada Lands Company, actually own the property.
So this note is just to let you all know that there is progress on the effort and we will report back about our meeting with the Mayor on Sunday, May 29th at the Walk to the Stone; and will post any other information on this site shortly.
Thank you all for your support – and hope to see you all at the Walk to the Stone on Sunday.
NEW NOTE - MAY 4 2016
Mark your calendars for this year’s annual “Walk to the Stone”
For 150 years or so, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) have led a walk to the site of the Black Rock (just on the Montreal side of the Victoria Bridge) - in memory of the 6000+ Irish immigrants that died and were buried in the area in 1847-8.
This event takes place on the last Sunday in May and this year it will be on
SUNDAY, MAY 29th 2016.
The March begins from St. Gabriel’s Church on Centre St. in Point St. Charles and starts after a Mass that normally takes place at 10:30 or 11pm (we will confirm the time of the Mass in the next days).
Once again the AOH has invited our group – The Montreal Irish Monument Foundation to join them in the March and remind everyone of our objective to build a beautiful green space in the area of the Black Rock.
(There is usually a bus available for anyone with mobility problems that may have difficulty walking from St. Gabriel’s to the Rock)
Hope all of you will be able to attend this event and as mentioned we will provide any updated information in the next weeks.
NEW NOTE - APRIL 13th 2016
Our Grey Nuns Exhibition opened at the Centaur Theatre on Monday, April 11 2016, with great success. And we did receive some great Media coverage. Here are a few of the links to the interviews etc.
The Montreal Gazette Newspaper:
Victor Boyle, and Fergus Keyes, in an interview on Global TV.
Radio Canada International (Lynn Desjardins) speaks with Professor Christine Kinealy about the Grey Nuns Exhibition that the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation has now moved to Montreal
NEW NOTE - APRIL 1 2016
THE MONTREAL IRISH MONUMENT PARK FOUNDATION OPENS AN EXHIBITION:
SAVING THE FAMINE IRISIH: THE GREY NUNS AND THE GREAT HUNGER
As mentioned some time ago, Quinnipiac University in Connecticut opened their Grey Nun’s Exhibition on March 17th 2015, closing it a year later on St. Patrick’s Day, 2016. This exhibition highlights the efforts of the Grey Nuns to provide help and comfort to the poor Irish Immigrants at Montreal in 1847. The curators were Professor Christine Kinealy, (Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute) and Dr. Jason King, (National University of Ireland, Galway).
We are now pleased to announce that Quinnipiac University have transferred various items in this exhibition to The Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation.
Our hope is to display this exhibition, over the next year, at various locations in Montreal, and perhaps other parts of Quebec.
We plan to open it first, for only a few weeks, at The Centaur Theatre from Tuesday, April 5th until Sunday, April 17th 2016. Unfortunately due to space, and time constraints, we will only be showing a portion of the overall exhibit at The Centaur. Once we close at the Centaur, we are looking for other public spaces where we can show more of the exhibition, and certainly would be pleased to accept your suggestions.
However, the portion at the Centaur will still provide a good overall view of the event, and thanks to both The Centaur, and our sponsor, The Irish Embassy Pub, (1234 Bishop Street), you will be able to view this portion of the Exhibit for free at the Centaur.
Located in Old Montreal at:
The Centaur Theatre Company,
453 St. François Xavier,
Montréal Québec, H2Y 2T1
So on any day between April 5th and April 17th (with the exception of Monday April 11th when the exhibit will be closed), you are invited to visit the Centaur between 11am and 8pm and take a look.
Should you have any questions, or have a suggestion on public space location, where we might display the Exhibition over the next year, please do post, and/or e-mail me directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
I know that we have asked all of you to submit e-mails to our Mayor Denis Coderre; -http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=5977,42999685&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
and our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau - email@example.com
about our project - and please continue to do that.......
However, as mentioned in the past, and now confirmed, all of the property needed for this beautiful green space is currently owned by the Federal agency called “Old Port Montreal”.
This organization is currently asking for comments on planning for the area. We think that it is very, very important that everyone on this site take a moment to register; and then submit a comment for this consultation highlighting the need to preserve this area for a Memorial Space.
So please do take a moment over this long weekend to forward your comments to this consultative process and share this post.
You can register and then send your comment at the following location:
Great representation for the Montreal Irish Mounment Park Foundation in the 2016 Montreal St. Patrick's Day Parade (March 20th 2016)
As we start 2016, members of our group continue to speak with all levels of Government – Municipal (City of Montreal), Provincial (Quebec), and Federal (Canada) in an effort to build a beautiful Cultural Green Space on the site of Montreal's Famine Cemetery. Designed as a permanent installation, the memorial park will be dedicated to the memory of the 6000+ men, women and children buried in the area, as well as some Montrealers who tried to provide care and comfort, caught Typhus, and died themselves.
We hope that we will soon have some level of commitment to create this space.
Note from Mr. Justin Trudeau added to Media & Blog Page (August 14th 2015 added)
View some video clips from our recent Walk to the Stone at:
Are you willing and able to make a donation to the effort to promote this project?
If so, please see the "Donate" button to the left and you can now make a donation using Paypal.....
Also, If you purchase products via Amazon.ca, please see the note below.
Reach Amazon via the link noted and the Foundation receives a small rebate….
Be sure to visit our Media & Blog section for other updates
(click on any item to go directly to the information)
- A new song about the Black Rock
- New proposed plans for the Cultural Green Space
- Let the Mayor of Montreal know that you support the project.
- Additional information about the Great Hunger
- Join our Newsletter list and stay up to date on the project.
- You can also join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/Blackrockmemorial/
- & follow us on Twitter
In the hot Calcutta like summer of 1847, a number of Irish immigrants arrived in the city. Many had ship’s fever (typhus) and as result approximately 6,000 men, women and children died and were buried in the area of the Montreal side of the Victoria Bridge. In effect, everyone using the Victoria Bridge is driving over a cemetery. Currently the only monument to this tragic event is “The Black Rock” that sits by itself while cars zoom by on both sides.
During the annual “Walk to the Rock” this year (2014), an announcement was made that a new group called the Montreal Irish Memorial Park Foundation had been formed with the objective of having all levels of Government support the building of a large Cultural Green Space in the immediate area. At the moment the area is rather desolate and most of the property appears to be owned by the City of Montreal and/or the Federal Government.
The concept of this effort would be to honour these 6,000 Irish immigrants that died on the spot; to also honour the many French speaking Quebec families who adopted, and gave homes, to the almost 1,000 children who were orphaned by this tragedy; and to honour the many Montrealers who went to aid these poor immigrants and caught the fever and died, including John Mills, who was Mayor of Montreal at the time.
This general area also appears to have been an important meeting place for Aboriginal groups prior to the arrival of Europeans.
On a practical level a properly designed cultural park, with sports facilities, would provide green space in the rapidly developing Griffintown area; make a much nicer entry to the City of Montreal; could perhaps be a tourist attraction for the millions of Irish in North America whose ancestors arrived and survived that 1847 Montreal summer.
It would seem that the City and Federal Governments would like to designate this whole area for light industry and/or housing.
Since the area is currently wide open with a great deal of space taken up by a seldom used City parking lot left over from the time when in the 1960’s when the City of Montreal destroyed the entire residential section known generally as “Goose Village”, to design and build this large cultural green space would not seem to be a difficult or even an expensive project. It would not require any demolition; the City of Montreal seems to have some surplus funds available for green space development; and apparently a part of the condition of building permits for the Griffintown developers was that they set aside some funding for green space in the district. Some individuals; Irish groups; and others have already indicated that they would be willing to donate some funds to the building of this community imitative.
This could certainly be a big; beautiful and positive project for Montreal. And, if planning for this cultural green space/park were to start soon, at least the basic green space could likely be ready for 2017 – the 375th anniversary of Montreal; and 150th anniversary of Canada.