In our next installment of our series on Quebec Environmental History, which features the work my students in McGill’s ENVR 380 class, is brought to you by Erica Calhoon. Interested in the folklore of Quebec, Erica chose to relate her research on the voyageurs by examining one of their most celebrated legends and conveying her research in the form of a picture book, for which she did the illustrations.
Describing the project, Erica writes,
“For my final research project for Quebec Environmental History, I created a picture book about the voyageurs of the Canadian fur trade. The book’s purpose is to inform the reader about the voyageur population that is often forgotten in history books due to the lack of textual evidence. The first half of the book retells the French-Canadian folk story of “La Chasse-Galerie.” This section is necessary because folklore, though not factual, is important for understanding cultural representations.
The second section of the book describes the history of the voyageurs. There is a focus on how they interacted with their environment, and their significance in Canadian history. All of the book’s illustrations were homemade, created by sketching, copying, reinforcing of poorly-copied lines, and then water coloring. While this book’s text is not incredibly extensive, its integration of folklore with academic information and pictorial representations make it a powerful tool to convey the voyageur’s forgotten history to a wide audience.”
Setting Erica’s drawings to music, the video below showcases her work in an accessible way, so please enjoy her wonderful piece, “La Chasse-Galerie & The Forgotten History of the Voyageurs.”
In this installment in our series on Quebec Environmental History, brought to you by my students in McGill’s ENVR 380 course, is on one of Montreal’s most iconic landmarks, Mount Royal Park. Through a series of photographs, soundscapes, and historical research, Sofia Poonawala has designed a wonderful presentation on the park, blending the past with the present and questioning the purpose of green spaces in urban centres.
Describing the project, Sofia writes,
“A Walk Through Mount Royal Park shows the history of this famous Montreal park through photography. Fredrick Law Olmsted designed this park and it is believed to be one of the greatest man made creations in Montreal. His beliefs greatly influenced the park and these can still be seen in the landscape of Mount Royal today. Looking further back in history, this interactive photo book also explains why urban parks were needed. This presentation seeks to exemplify that a picture is worth a thousand words. We believe that sometimes a photograph is exactly what is needed to bring to light social and cultural issues of a time period.
We hope you enjoy the photo book!”*
Please enjoy Sofia’s excellent work!
* "While some literature refers to the indigenous group that once inhabited what became Montreal as Huron, in actuality, this group was the St. Lawrence Iroquois."
This week’s installment of our series on Quebec Environmental History is brought to you by my student Antoine Pin, from McGill’s School of Environment. Through this project, Antoine wanted to analyze the differences between how the indigenous populations of Quebec and European settlers interacted with the natural environment. He chose to do this by conveying his research in a remarkable graphic novel, for which he did the illustrations. I have turned his project into a YouTube video for easy online accessibility.
Describing the project, Antoine writes,
“How do we understand what is around us? And how do we understand what is around others?
We all have stories that define who we are and what we do. And although the stories differ, the subject is always the same, our earth. Of course different stories might put an emphasis on different parts of this planet; combined together they can bring a whole new level of understanding.
But will sharing these stories be that easy? Has it been done, can it be done?
That’s what this story tries to explore, a story about stories…”
Great job, Antoine! Please enjoy his interpretation of what happens when cultures collide around the natural environment.
In the second installment of this series on Quebec Environmental History (first intallment found here: http://niche-canada.org/node/10261), brought to you by my students in McGill’s ENVR 380 class, is by Florent Conti, and focuses on the environmental history of one of Montreal’s most beloved and used landmarks, the Old Port. In his short documentary, Florent combines scholarly analysis with raw footage to complexify the cultural and environmental processes behind what made the “Old Port” old.
Describing the project, Florent writes,
“The Old Port of Montreal has evolved from a place of industrial activity to a massive touristic hub. How did our perception of the urban environment develop? Do the transformations of the Old Port represent a change or a continuity in the way we interact with land and our urban environment?
The Old Port of Montreal, despite its configuration now designed to fit leisure activities and tourism, still presents some signs of what happened in the past and the role it had in the development of the city (and the country). Nevertheless, few visitors are aware of the history of the Old Port, except that they know it is “old.” We simply consider it as a “must see” in Montreal, without really realizing the reason why.
In the end, we could make an analogy between the Quays of the Old Port, and parks (“green spaces” as Michèle Dagenais would say), in order to highlight the role of the harbour front since the 1970s when people started to think about new ways of looking at the Port, which was beginning to be less welcoming for industries that got bigger and bigger throughout the 19th and 20th century (and also because maritime trading has faced a lot of competition since the second part of the 20th century).
This short documentary attempts to show the evolution of Montreal’s most visited hotspot and tries to question the relationship that we hold with land and urban areas, especially when it comes to dealing with nature as a means of urbanization.”
Excellent job, Florent! I invite all of you to enjoy “Turning Old into New: The Old Port of Montreal”!
Salut et bonne année!
Dans les semaines à venir, je présenterai des projets finals de mes étudiants à McGill University dans mon cours de l’histoire de l’environnement québécois. Ce travail pose des questions important sur l’interaction entre la culture du Québec, l’environnement, et l’histoire. Comme la professeure, je suis vraiment impressionnée par l’effort et la qualité de ces projets (et de mes étudiants!), et je pense que vous serez aussi!
Pour le premier projet, Marie-Claude Delorme considère l’histoire agricole riche de la ville de Montréal avec son site web génial sur le melon de Montréal. Le site web est en français, mais pour des membres de NiCHE anglophone, Marie-Claude écrivait un sommaire en anglais :
« The goal of this web site is to give people a different way to learn about the history of the Montreal melon. These melons were incredibly popular from the end of the 19th century until the end of the World War II. They also put Montreal “on the map,” as these melons were exported to several luxury hotels in the United States and were sold at a higher price than steak!
They disappeared as the city’s population expanded and “ate” away at the surrounding farm lands, and these melons were not suited for agribusiness as they were labour intensive and needed a lot of daily care.
A journalist found old seeds for this melon in a seed bank in Iowa and took them back to Montreal. With these seeds, an organic farmer of Ile-Perrot makes the Montreal melon alive again. »
Visitez le site web et découvrir le melon de Montréal et une histoire de l’utilisation du sol et le changement : http://melondemontreal.webs.com/