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(ongoing projectsponsored by the TCRAV)


A place of commemoration for the victims of COVID-19 and of meditation for Verdun seniors and their loved ones who have suffered from the pandemic.It will not only be a place of remembrance, to remember the elders who have died of COVID-19, but also to honor the health care workers who have fought for the well-being of the community in recent years. It will also be a space open to all citizens of Verdun.




The context

During the first wave, Verdun became one of the neighborhoods most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. AïnYes, 251 seniors in Sud-Ouest-Verdun died in the first wave. From the start of the pandemic, members of the TCRAV helped create the Zoom Aînés Sud-Ouest-Verdun, a weekly meeting in which seniors and members of community organizations could discuss their realities._cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ By being gathered in this way, the seniors of Verdun engaged in collective mourning rituals. Among these initiatives, we can mention the project of theScarf of Memories, in which elders ofVerdun and Sud-Ouest de Montréal, but also from all over Quebec, have knitted a collective work in memory of deceased seniors in their neighborhoods. This is where the idea of creating a 'Haven of Memories' germinated.

General objective of the project

The objective of the TCRAV is to provide a place of commemoration for the victims of COVID-19. Le Havre des Mémoires is a place of contemplation for Verdun seniors and their loved ones who have suffered from the pandemic. It is not only a place of remembrance, to remember the elders who died of COVID-19, but also to honor the health care workers who have fought for the well-being of the community in recent years. It is also a space open to all citizens of Verdun.

Le Havre des Mémoires will be located in the Parc des Berges de Verdun, along the Boardwalk, near Boulevard Lasalle. This park is an emblem of Verdun; Verdun residents of all ages and backgrounds meet there. Le Havre will be close to the Boardwalk, in order to be accessible for people with reduced mobility. We mainly target the place located on boulevard Lasalle and 5th avenue which is currently developed by the Caisse populaire Desjardins. The idea is to enhance this magnificent land and innovate by adding a development adapted for seniors, therefore inclusive, with a new path for wheelchairs.

Le Havre must in particular be made up of suitable and durable benches, ready to endure the cycle of the seasons. The benches located on the lot at the corner of 5th Avenue could be kept, since they are already adapted to the needs of seniors. Perennial shrubs and flowers will be planted; these will be chosen for their ease of maintenance and for their pleasing aesthetics in all seasons. They will serve to represent the vitality of the elders of our community, as well as the cycle of the seasons, a natural movement that represents the cycles of youth, old, life, death... Finally, four informative panels will describe the involvement of Verdun elders during the pandemic and their role in the neighborhood.


Specific objectives

We want Le Havre des Mémoires to become not only a place of contemplation, but also a cultural attraction in Verdun. Its location is chosen in this sense, very close to the banks of Verdun, but also near the Maison de la Culture, Quai 5160. We hope that this place will serve as a anchor point for activities organized by organizations, schools , libraries, with a view to creating intergenerational links and encouraging discussion about the condition of seniors in our neighbourhood. Seniors can gather there to think of those who have left, read, do yoga or just rest after a walk along the banks. The youngest can go there to learn about the history of Verdun, read or rest. The space is large enough for everyone to meet. The educational aspect of the project resides in the four stelae that will be installed around the space. Each of them will include a text related to the elders of Verdun. Those interested in learning more can use their smartphone to scan a QR code that will take them to a site where neighborhood organizations will be featured.

A first stele will present the COVID-19 events, the Scarves of Memory project, the contributions of Verdun seniors and the Table de Concertation des Ressources pour Aînés de Verdun (TCRAV). The stele of the Verdun History and Genealogy Society will be a way to make known the history of the district, and the QR code will allow you to explore the organization's website to find out more. The Borough of Verdun stele will reflect the issues determined by their representative.           _cc781905-5cde-3194 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_    Finally, a stone dedicated to Desjardins will demonstrate the commitment of the Desjardins movement in the Verdun community. In addition, Desjardins will be mentioned as a sponsor of this meditation space.

Sustainable development at the heart of the project

The Havre des Mémoires project stems from a logic of sustainable development. The initial idea was to create a garden accessible in all seasons and composed of durable elements, in order to facilitate its maintenance and ensure the sustainability of the project. Thus, we want to install simple elements made of materials that resist time, as well as perennial flowers. This friendly place is primarily to welcome seniors, but this project is aimed at all citizens of Verdun, without discrimination. The banks of Verdun are the perfect place for our vision, since it is a place where nature and culture have met for a long time and where all Verdun residents meet. Finally, our first choice of location, where a development has already been created by Desjardins, was selected in particular with a view to sustainable development: rather than building in a 'virgin' green space, it seemed much more logical to us to to add value to an already existing place, thus reducing the cost of materials and the environmental impact.

A living project in all seasons

The Havre des Mémoires project will be a project that will live in all seasons, year after year. Since the place is a place of contemplation and commemoration, it will be possible for everyone to visit it: loved ones, families and friends of deceased seniors, but also the whole community. Le Havre des Mémoires will be located very close to Quai 5160 (Maison de la culture de Verdun), which will allow regulars of Quai 5160 to benefit from the project. Le Havre is also a gathering place where social, community and cultural activities can take place all year round. Most will be held in the summer, since that's when seniors can get around the most easily. However, the influence of these summer activities will be year-round. Thus, a senior who participates in summer activities (activities of the Seniors Table (TCRAV), the Verdun libraries, the Project Together through Everything, the Verdun Family Table, etc.) will be able to leave the isolation and create lasting bonds. For example, he will be invited to participate in library activities during the winter, whereas he would not have known about these activities if he had not participated in the activities in Le Havre during the summer. The tightening of the social safety net created by the activities related to the Havre des Mémoires project will therefore make it possible to create links with the community in all seasons.

The role of volunteering in the Havre des Mémoires project

The Havre des souvenirs project is an initiative of the Table de Concertation des Ressources pour Aînés de Verdun (TCRAV). The TCRAV acts as a platform for the social and civic participation of seniors. The Havre des Mémoires project is thus the culmination of joint work by citizens and organizations. The TCRAV is a non-profit organization. The members of the organizing committee of the Havre des Mémoires project are all volunteers. The majority of committee members are Verdun seniors who are active in their community. The primary mission of the TCRAV is to initiate common actions aimed at the well-being of senior citizens in the Verdun borough. It is therefore with this objective in mind that the Havre des Mémoires project was designed. At TCRAV, we have seen how volunteering has a positive impact on seniors. Helping other people their age and building projects that benefit the whole community shows them how useful they can be in society. This increases their confidence and well-being. This process strengthens the social fabric and prevents seniors from falling into isolation. The Havre des Mémoires project highlights the involvement of volunteer seniors, but also organizations for seniors who themselves could not function without the support of volunteers. Le Havre des Mémoires highlights both the individual and collective involvement of the neighborhood's seniors. For example, one of the initiatives that will be highlighted on the information panels is the Scarves of Memory project. This project is a collective work carried out by seniors from across Quebec. It was organized by a committee based in the South-West made up of members of the TCRAV and the Regroupement des organizations pour ainés du Sud-Ouest de Montréal (ROPASOM). The panels will testify to this collective work, but also to the individual work of each of the artists who participated in the work. In short, the project promotes a multitude of volunteer initiatives in the neighborhood. 

The benefits for the Verdun community

Le Havre des Mémoires is first and foremost a place of healing and meditation for the Verdun community, which has suffered from the pandemic. It is therefore a safe place for seniors and their loved ones to grieve and find some peace of mind. By the presence of vegetation and flowers, but also with the signs that will highlight the involvement of seniors in the neighborhood, Le Havre aims to be a space where seniors who wish to give meaning to their lives can find themselves. Then, the project encourages seniors to move around their neighborhood, with a view to active aging. The activities of the TCRAV, in particular the prevention and referral services regarding health and safety, allow the improvement of their quality of life. The Havre des Mémoires project is also a project that touches various actors in the neighborhood through the recognition and promotion of seniors. This enhancement not only gives them better self-esteem, but also breaks the isolation and loneliness of seniors. Le Havre, inbeing a unifying space, open to all, strengthens the social fabric and encourages community involvement. It also encourages intergenerational exchanges. Le Havre is also a reminder of the desire of seniors to make their voices heard. It testifies to their mobilization, as well as the role of organizations that defend their interests before political decision-makers. It also encourages citizen participation and the involvement of the entire community in defending the rights of seniors. It is also a tribute to the workers in the community and in the health and social services network who have made every effort to help seniors.

Far-reaching social impacts

The project contributes to the fight against ageism and elder abuse. In order to stop these phenomena, the Havre des Mémoires is positioned as a place where we fight against oblivion; forgetting the needs of seniors and their contribution to our society. Le Havre des Mémoires is a place of education and history, where the transmission of knowledge and memory will be facilitated. It is also a unifying place, which will allow intergenerational meetings. This will strengthen the social fabric by encouraging the inclusion of all. It is more than a place for individual healing; we are aiming here for a cure intergenerational and societal.

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