Le Champs des Possibles

Sunset early November in the Champs des possibles
Ten years ago when I moved to Montreal, I went to visit a friend who lived on Casgrain. I was instructed to get off at Metro Rosemont and to bring a pair of gloves in case I had to climb over a train, and then walk across a garbage strewn heath by some large ugly 1970-style cement factories to get to my friend's house. I laughed about climbing over the train, but she apparently had to do it several times a week in her office attire. Not only did she pack a lunch in the morning, she also packed a pair of men's leather gloves.

A year later, we moved to Henri-Julien and my daughter was enrolled in a daycare north of the train tracks. Everyday we walked by the heath and stepped over garbage that people had thrown onto the sidewalk and into the field. This was not my favourite part of the walk. It was a neglected area, and a few times in the summer, CP Rail would come and cut the grass in the field.

Then a few years ago, a lot of the garbage disappeared, and gardening projects started to spring up. I often saw posters for activities and tours of plant and animal life in the field. Then I started to hear the field referred to as le Champs des possibles. This is also the site of the beekeeping station that I visited last summer.

Le Champs des possibles is used by many pedestrians
Just recently, there was a launch of a non-profit organization called les Amis du Champs des possibles, and apparently at the launch, they unveiled some tentative plans to turn the area into an Urban Biodiversity Reserve.

The interest in this field and the visible improvements were all welcome changes. I liked that CP did not come and cut the grass this summer. Instead, a group of people offered to pull the golden rod from the field, letting the field and wildflowers grow, thus, enhancing the area's biodiversity. The area now resembles and smells like the field that I used to play in as a child.

At the launch last Friday, urban naturalist Roger Latour, a very active member of les Amis du Champs des possibles, presented this beautiful slide show of all the species of animals, insects and plants that have been spotted in the field. You might be surprised by some of the wildlife that is living at the end of our urban street, right smack in the middle of the Island of Montreal. This is truly a beautiful presentation and a must-see (just 8 minutes)!

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C. McKane | November 18, 2010 at 8:24 AM

Wow that is really exciting! It is amazing I'm watching the slideshow and already 43 plants and wildlife just up to the letter C alone. Speaks for the resiliency of nature.

So have you ever had to jump over a train?

Heather | November 18, 2010 at 6:51 PM

I most certainly have, but not for a few years now. My daughter is in grade 3, so daycare was over four years ago. The trains were freight, so they were more like flat bed trucks. They would just be left there for hours. I'm not sure why?

John-WArd Leighton | November 19, 2010 at 6:53 PM

I forgot that I can't post comments on Firefox. The comments about trains reminded me when I rode the rods from Agassiz to Vancouver and the False Creek yards and got my ass kicked by a railway bull, God I was a rotten kid,
ha ha

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