Now in it’s second year, Walk the Region is a three-day, 70km expedition on foot across Montreal’s metropolitan region, which will take place June 30-July 2, 2012.
Last year, the Montreal Metropolitan Community finally adopted the PMAD, a metropolitan plan that aims to harmonize zoning, environmental protection, and transportation planning throughout the 82 economically interdependent cities and towns that make up the region. While the PMAD recently won a national award, there is little grassroots sense of regional identity, either among citizens or civil society, to guide or support the plan’s realization.
In my experience, our identities tend to fracture along urban, suburban and rural divisions. While I’m a passionate Montrealer, the idea of belonging to a place that includes Laval and the Dix30 “lifestyle” shopping mall, conjures a wave of revulsion.
In response, Walk the Region is a journey of discovery for city-dwellers and suburbanites alike: over three days, participants will traverse the South Shore, downtown core, Laval and North Shore on foot, camping on the banks of the Saint-Lawrence river and Rivière des prairies along the way. Along with at least 15 other walkers, I hope to discover the different landscapes and contrasts that compose my region.
This year, Walk the Region will explore some vital but often-overlooked parts of the metropolitan area. The walk will begin in Kahnawake with an opening ceremony led by members of the Mohawk traditional council. Three days and 70 km later, the walkers will complete their journey in Lachenaie, the North Shore municipality that hosts Montreal’s largest garbage dump.
This year, we will be accompanied by two journalists from Radio Canada who will record the journey and provide live updates at: www.radio-canada.ca/anouslesroutes. Walkers will also be tweeting en route, using the hashtags #walktheregion or #anouslesroutes.
Everyone is welcome to join us on the ground for all or part of the journey! We have received special permission to camp in Saint-Lambert on Saturday night and in Rivière-des-prairies on Sunday night. Follow us online to find out where to meet up, or contact walktheregion @ gmail.com to participate.