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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Camping en Ville?

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The CN yards is one site that Vincent Léger has eyed for urban camping. (photoshopped by the author)

After contemplating the paucity of campfires in the city last week, I was excited to come home to news of the possibility of developing urban campsites here in Montreal.

Since the metro article left me with more questions than answers to I called up Vincent Léger who has been peddling the idea to various boroughs, as well as the provincial and federal governments.

Léger is part of a volunteer-run cooperative called Sustainable Tourism Montreal that currently organizes Rabaska canoe tours. He believes urban campgrounds would be a hit among French and other European tourists who want to experience open air activities without traveling far from the city.

His organization does not necessarily want a direct hand in designing or operating the campgrounds; they simply want to plant the seed of an idea he said. According to Léger, the campsites could be run either by a para-public municipal organization (à la Bixi), or through a partnership with Federal parks or SEPAQ.  Léger says that the mayor of Rosemont has expressed interest in the idea, and he has also spoken with the Sud-Ouest borough about several sites near the waterfront. (Ed note: maybe he could look into Meadowbrook?)

Although the proposed campgrounds would be in the city centre, Léger says they would be re-naturalized as much as possible. He envisions a variety of accommodations including cabins made of recycled shipping containers and yurts. Eventually, he’d like to put out a call for designs to local architecture schools in order to get some innovative – and ecological – designs. As for the campfire, Léger suggests a collective bonfire (with a permit of course) rather than individual fire pits at each campsite.

Although the idea is a long way from being put into practice, Léger hopes to organize a temporary camping event before the year is through. He estimates “an 80% chance” that his group will be able to pull off a weekend of urban camping this summer. Three sites are being explored, although they remain confidential for the moment.

I, for one, will be awaiting news, and blogging about it here.


One comment

  1. sounds fine and dandy, but if you make nice huts, won’t they get re-appropriated by the homeless as more permanent homes?

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