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CHRISTOPHER FORGET
The 1019 Report

Local Journalism Initiative

A new kind of public space is making its appearance in the region. While driving on St. Charles Avenue in Vaudreuil-Dorion this summer, you may have noticed groups of people flocking to The 405, the city’s new multi-purpose park. In the daytime, the space offers fitness and yoga classes. By night, it becomes an open-air bar, concert hall, comedy club and much more.

At nearly 230,000 square feet and with a view of Vaudreuil Bay, the park is perfect for a picnic or a walk along the water. Upon the presentation of a Vaudreuil-Dorion citizens’ card, visitors have access to books, Adirondack chairs, hammocks, yoga mats, barbecues and lawn games.

Is this the new trend for municipal parks? The answer could depend on how residents respond and use these new managed outdoor spaces.

“We wanted to create a destination where citizens, regardless of their age, could enjoy the summer with family, friends or on their own,” said Vincent Bastien, the city’s director of Leisure and Culture. “Our priority is to serve our citizens, and we’re looking forward to feedback after the park’s inaugural season.”

Because the space is so versatile – there may be a show for children in the morning and live music in the evening – it’s difficult to know what to call it. The city of Vaudreuil-Dorion refers to it as an “urban park,” but The 405 is not the only park of its kind in the region.

Marianne Lebel-Sigouin, project chief of the Soulanges Canal for DEV Vaudreuil-Soulanges, has organized events this summer at what she is calls “ephemeral parks,” referring to installations and events that change or are not permanent. The name suits the space; once one event is over, the park quickly transitions into a different event, giving the space the feel of being in constant flux.

“I think we’ll see more and more of these kinds of spaces in the future,” said Sigouin-Lebel. “The ephemeral parks allow us to test new ideas before installing permanent infrastructure. The project we launched this summer, L’Embouchure, was hosted in two ephemeral parks: Thomas Monro park and Louis Stanislas Pariseau park, both located at the western mouth of the Soulanges Canal. Our next project will be to organize winter activities in the parks.”

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon told The 1019 Report that the city already has a network of ephemeral parks, each with their own particular purpose.

See PARKS OF THE FUTURE, Page 18

PARKS OF THE FUTURE: Activities in these settings part of push to ‘go green’

From Page 1

“The 405 was made for citizens to enjoy the waterfront. The park installations are permanent, but it’s set up for the largest amount of people possible to enjoy the area however they please. We also have other parks set up for different activities. The Valois House park on St. Charles Avenue has its own performances and events, and we plan for the Harwood park to eventually be a site for nature activities,” Pilon said.

These outdoor spaces also reflect the overall sentiment from citizens and government officials alike to “go green.”

“Ephemeral spaces have a disposition that allows for us to integrate nature into the spaces we create. For example, we could temporarily wrap fairy lights around a tree instead of a permanent installation,” said Sigouin-Lebel.

L’Embouchure will feature its last live musician of the season, Émile Bilodeau, on Sept. 3rd. The 405 has not yet announced if it will be hosting events this fall.

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