market. It was a beautiful clear sunny day, and the shadows cast on the Saint-Enfant-Jésus Church were worthy of a European film. In fact, with the market teeming with people and the band playing in the background, the church had never seemed livelier or lovelier.
I arrived just in time to hear borough councilor Richard Ryan say a few words to officially open the market place, which was later followed by some upbeat music from the band. A few stalls were open selling kale, homemade ketchup, strawberries, honey and baked goods. The offerings were similar to those at the Sunday market just off Duluth, decidedly upmarket and not as focused on sustainable produce as I had hoped. But as we know, these things evolve, and the produce sold here may be very different by season's end in October.
painted green. In fact, the centre of the market curved into the park to increase its distance from the church's entrance. Then I noticed about 20 mature demonstrators who were protesting on the church steps. I went to pick up a leaflet that was being distributed and spoke with two of the demonstrators.
"We are not protesting the market, " said a woman in her seventies. "We just want the market to take place in Park Lahaie and not on St. Dominique Street."
The demonstrators disagree with the closing of St. Dominique. They argue that the street is part of the church's religious heritage and should be respected. Its closure not only makes parking difficult for churchgoers, the elderly and workers at the neighbouring seniors' residence, but it also impedes access to a place of worship. In addition, the protesters claim that the street closure dissuades family and friends from coming to visit residents.
What do you think reader? Is the complete closure of St. Dominique unfair to elderly residents or is it green progress, making our borough more citizen-centred?
The culture of protesting is something that I have always found refreshing about Quebec and seeing these seniors stand guard outside their church, charging borough mayor Luc Fernandez with "Ageism!" was heartwarming. I love to see people stand up for themselves. And I can't help but think that the demonstration was unexpected.
But there is room for compromise on both sides, and I'll be watching this situation to see how it progresses over the summer.
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