The battle to preserve a patch of forest in Pointe-Claire becomes a flashpoint for community camaraderie.
It’s a cold, rainy December afternoon when I meet with
a group of five people at the corner of Brunswick
and Fairview. I was warned about the weather in
advance: “Should be dreadful ... Rain and high winds.
This would be a great example of why the forest is
important though!” Geneviève Lussier, Save Fairview
Forest’s spokesperson, wrote to me in an email. She
also gave me a chance to back out: “Let me know what
you decide. We’ll be there no matter the weather.”
Lussier greets me when I arrive, along with her
SFF colleagues Sue Stacho, Ralph Stocek and Norm
Lapointe. The citizens' group has been opposing the
development of the unofficially named “Fairview
forest,” a fifty-acre plot of land in Pointe-Claire, a
municipality in Montreal’s West Island suburbs. The
forest is in danger of becoming a massive mixed-use commercial and residential area. For over one
hundred weeks and counting, the group has been
protesting every Saturday, holding up signs with
slogans reading “Time spent with trees is never
wasted” and “#ForestsHealUs.” It doesn’t matter if
there’s a snowstorm, rain or a heatwave—there’s
always someone at the intersection, putting up a fight.
The real estate developer Cadillac Fairview, which
also owns the Fairview Pointe Claire shopping centre across the road, purchased the land in 2013. The
Toronto-based company manages over $40 billion of
assets internationally, including nineteen malls across
Canada. It operates a number of iconic commercial
properties, including the Toronto Eaton Centre, Carrefour Laval and the Toronto-Dominion Centre.
In October 2020, Cadillac Fairview unveiled its plan
to create a whole new “downtown” in the West Island.
This billion-dollar-plus project would turn the lot and
the adjacent parking space into a mixed residential
and commercial area that would include a boutique
hotel, condos, parks and office spaces, preserving five to eight acres of the forest. The development could
increase Pointe-Claire’s population by up to 10,000,
according to Cadillac Fairview.
When they heard the news about the project,
Lussier and a few other West Island residents knew
they wanted to do something to stop it. Lussier was
shocked that a forest was being clear-cut at a time
when so many are, at least on some level, aware of the
climate crisis. “I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.
How is this possibly happening in 2020?’” she tells me.
Stocek interjects: “And you thought you could take
on one of the most powerful corporations in Canada!”
What does it mean to lose a forest?
I see Fairview forest nearly every day on my commute to the city from Pierrefonds. I’ve probably
passed it hundreds of times by now: on my sleepy
bus rides to high school, late at night after a long day
at university or on my way to buy a new pair of winter
boots at the mall. For over a decade, I’ve watched as a
wall of trees falls behind me through the bus window,
never thinking much of the wetlands and woodlands
that lay beyond the edge of the sidewalk. But for
longer than it’s been a hazy fixture of my life, the
forest has been quietly playing its role in protecting
Fairview forest is encased by a highway, a residential area, a mall, a reservoir and the construction site
of the future Fairview-Pointe-Claire Réseau express
métropolitain (REM) light metro station. Much of
the wording used to describe the land is highly bureaucratic. In city documents, it’s referred to as “MU2,”
referring to its designation as a mixed-use zone. A
2005 environmental study conducted by the municipality of Pointe-Claire designates Fairview forest as lot
vacant propriété du collège John-Abbott (à l’extrémité
nord-ouest de l’arrondissement): a vacant lot property of John Abbott College (at the north-west extremity of the borough). It’s described not as a forest, or as a wooded area, or by
any other term that might hint at what is actually found within
it, but as a vacant lot, private property.
Yet for years residents have claimed the forest, literally shaping
its landscape. The same study discusses a network of informal
trails created through repeated use over the years, and even a
makeshift playground for children. The lot is far from “vacant.” It’s
filled with rare species of trees, like the white oak and shagbark
hickory. The forest technician conducting the study recommended the complete conservation of three stands—one silver maple
forest, one hickory-sugar maple forest and a hundred-year-old
beech forest—that made up 37 percent of the surface area of
the lot. They also note the importance of the lot showing signs
of use by people living nearby.
I can’t legally enter the forest, so I rely on old city documents,
Facebook posts and walks on Google Street View to paint a
picture of it. This is what I work with: a digital composition
of a natural landscape. I know from what the Save Fairview
Forest group has logged on iNaturalist, a mapping platform that
allows users to track wildlife, that they’ve spotted song sparrows, woodpeckers and salamanders. I match the thumbnail photos
to other images online and create my own virtual trails through
the forest, trying to see what others have seen.
I’m not sure I can, but I also don’t think it matters. I know
enough people have walked across the forest floor that the
earth has molded to their footsteps. There are birds chirping in
its trees, snakes moving through the grass, bees buzzing as they
move from flower to flower. Someone wanted a place for a child
to play, and they chose this one.
“I think often when we’re considering protected spaces, we
have this idea that these spaces need to be extraordinary in some
way, that they need to be full of rare species,” explains Carly Ziter,
an assistant professor at Concordia University’s department
of biology. But in an urban context, she adds, ordinary natural
spaces can still have extraordinary benefits.
Forested areas are home to a large amount of biodiversity.
Compared to more manicured urban parks, Ziter explains, forests typically have a higher number of trees and more structural
complexity—they have bushes and other plants that make them
beneficial to wildlife such as birds, pollinators and amphibians.
A city report published in 2014 shows that Montreal lost one thousand hectares of ecologically valuable heritage between 1992
and 2002. In cities, these ecosystems are rare; most urban green
spaces don’t come in the form of relatively untouched forest.
Forested areas in cities save lives: a recent European study
published in The Lancet showed that increasing tree cover in
cities can reduce the number of deaths from summer heat.
Removing tree cover in an area that already experiences high
levels of heat not only contributes to rising temperatures, but
also takes away a space where people can go to cool off.
According to the 2005 environmental study, the forest contains
both old-growth and mature trees. “Older and larger trees are
some of the most powerful in terms of reducing heat. They’re
not easily replaced,” Ziter notes.
When a species’ habitat is destroyed, it has two choices: it
can either move somewhere else, or it dies. The latter means
that the benefits it creates die with it. Those include flood and
temperature regulation—which is especially important in the
context of Fairview forest, whose surrounding area is an urban
A lot of species don’t have the option to go elsewhere if the
surrounding landscape is also developed. The brown snake,
which in Quebec is found only in Montreal, is an endangered
species in the province. They live in grassy areas that are quickly
disappearing as the city’s pace of urban development increases.
Perhaps, like the lot itself, the snake isn’t particularly well-known
or coveted, but it’s a vital part of the urban ecosystem, feeding
on unwanted garden pests, and in turn becoming prey to crows
The proposed development would also entail the loss of something else—something more personal. For Norm Lapointe, a
retired contractor and another early SFF member, it means losing
a place he’s been visiting for decades. “I was mountain biking
there fifty years ago, ” he tells me. His bike helped forge the trails that run through the forest today. Now, though, entrances to the
forest are blocked by no entry signs.
Biodiversity matters in relation to protecting species, but it
also matters in cities because of the benefits it offers to residents. Access to nature helps our mental well-being. There is
an entire body of research linking spending time in nature to
improved attention, lower stress and improvements in mood. A
2011 study found that volunteering in nature can provide people
with a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in life. Natural
environments like Fairview forest also become spaces where
people can gather with others.
Ziter also notes the importance of “mainstreaming biodiversity”
when it comes to fighting the climate crisis. Biodiversity isn’t just an element worked into good policy, it’s something that people
should have access to in everyday life. Given that nearly three
out of four Canadians are urban residents, protecting urban
green spaces is critical to that effort.
Lapointe shows me photos he took of a fox he spotted on one
of his walks through the forest. On their Facebook page, members of SFF share images of bird sightings, blooming flowers,
endangered monarch butterflies and other encounters with
the forest’s flora and fauna. You can feel the impact the forest
has had on the group members, and how regular contact with
it has reinforced their relationship with nature as a whole. “It’s
amazing, actually, when you do walk through it, because you
don’t have to go very far in before you feel like you’re in such a
radically different environment. Your whole body senses that
as well,” Stocek, a recently retired specialized educator, tells me.
One of Stocek’s favourite moments in the forest involved an
attack. He entered the forest through the side with the reservoir
with Lapointe, and was almost immediately inundated with mosquitoes and black flies. “It made me realize how important the
forest was, because of all the wetlands. If you were inside, you’d see these undulating hills and areas where all the water collects,
and that’s where life begins. It’s the great ooze, right? All those
bugs come out of there, and then all the migrating birds come
through every season, and that’s how the whole life cycle begins.
We got a really nasty, vibrant example of how all of that works.”
We shouldn’t just consider the situation with Fairview forest
as an individual case, Ziter stresses, but as part of a pattern
of urban development. Data released by Statistics Canada in
November 2022 showed that over the past twenty-two years,
urban greenness has dropped in every province. This trend was
most pronounced in large urban centres, with Montreal seeing
a decline of 9.3 percent over two decades.
Even within cities, access to green space is heavily influenced
by socioeconomic factors. The CBC reported that the higher the
median income of a neighbourhood, the higher its tree cover is.
Pointe-Claire is richer and older than many other neighbourhoods in the city; its median after-tax household income in 2020
was $78,000, compared to $56,000 for Montreal. The municipality
is more than 70 percent white. The SFF group, gathering together
in rain and hail and sleet to keep developers away from their
cherished woodland, may not seem like the picture of privilege,
but many residents in Montreal do not even have green spaces
to defend. And if green space can't be preserved in even the most
privileged municipalities, what does that mean for the rest of us?
“It’s really important that we consider the urban landscape
more holistically,” Ziter says. If we lose one small green space,
that may not have a huge impact on biodiversity. But if it’s a
repeated act, the effects pile up. These spaces are not only individually important to their surrounding communities, she says,
but they also connect natural spaces and protect biodiversity
across the city as a whole.
Losing a forest means losing biodiversity. It means losing
protection. It means losing something that’s harder for me to
define—a space that can bring us comfort and joy, a moment of
wonder or awe, a memorable dozen or so bug bites. And as our cities increasingly develop, this loss is ongoing, and compounding.
The first SFF meetings happened on Zoom, during the early
months of the pandemic. SFF launched an online petition that
now has over 27,000 signatories, and hand-delivered a paper
petition to nearly every household in Pointe-Claire, barring
condo buildings. They wrote letters and went to city council
meetings. They got busy.
In late November 2020, the SFF started what they call
their “weekly celebrations” at the intersection of Brunswick and
Fairview. Their goal was to spread information about the plants
and animals living in the forest and its overall ecological impact,
and to help people understand the importance they saw in their
cause. Inspired by Greta Thunberg’s weekly school strikes, the
celebrations became a ritual. At a time when people were feeling
isolated and disconnected from others due to Covid-19, the group
created a necessary sense of community. “We just started coming
because what else would we be doing on a Saturday?” says Lussier.
Other than Lussier, who is a forty-three-year-old Pointe-Claire
resident and former teacher, most of the members I meet are long-time, retired West Island residents. They feel that the group’s
activities have given people from different age groups a rare
chance to interact and work alongside each other. “There aren’t
enough opportunities for intergenerational contact these days,”
argues Ann Beer, a retired professor. Beer grew up in the Wirral
Peninsula in England, where she was surrounded by nature,
and joining the protests during lockdown helped reaffirm her
relationship with the land. She says people will often come with
their children during the summer.
“I think many children, teenagers and young adults are now
justifiably horrified when they see older adults who seem indifferent to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss, even though those
realities will condemn younger generations to a very difficult
and dangerous future,” says Beer. She believes that seeing older
people mobilize for the environment at these protests can help
give younger people a sense of hope. The Raging Grannies, an
international network of activist groups made up of older women,
have attended some of the protests. Kids will come, too, with their
own handmade posters about how the forest needs to be saved.
Speaking with the group about their drive to fight for the forest,
I feel a sense of care not just between the members, but between
an entire community. Our conversation at the intersection is
interrupted every few minutes by honks of encouragement, and
Lussier waves back at each car with a smile, never letting an expression of support go ignored. Beer tells me residents will often
come talk to them and ask questions about their efforts. “People
have been so amazing. I used to think the West Island was a bit
of a car desert and that no one talked to each other, and this
has transformed that feeling.” Members of the group feel like
they’re part of the neighbourhood now.
At the group’s one hundredth protest, over sixty people were
there to celebrate. Representatives from different environmental groups from around the city joined in, making the day feel
special for the members. A photo from that day posted on Facebook shows the Raging Grannies under a private property sign,
holding up middle fingers. They formed a human chain around
part of the forest, with attendees holding on to a rope. It left a
big impact. “That was kind of emotional for me,” says Lussier.
That isn’t to say things are perfect. Someone yells out “Get a
life!” from their car window. Lussier tells them to have a nice day
and laughs it off as they drive away. “For every one person who’s
against us, there’s thirty who support us,” she says.
Many of SFF’s members have been involved in similar
grassroots efforts in the West Island. Stacho has been a part of
the Green Coalition, a non-profit environmental organization
which promotes conservation and assists others in acquiring
natural spaces, since the early 2000s. She is also a co-founder of
Sauvons L’Anse-à-L’Orme, a citizens' group that was instrumental
in the protection of a plot of land located next to Parc-nature de
l’Anse-à-l’Orme, in Senneville, on the western tip of the island.
That area is now part of the future Grand parc de l’Ouest, which
will bring together the five nature parks located in the West Island
to create a green belt. Lapointe was involved in the creation of
Pointe-Claire’s forty-hectare Terra-Cotta Natural Park in the
seventies and eighties.
Lussier’s involvement in local organizing is more recent. When
asked questions about her life, she’s quick to deflect attention
away from her own story and toward her cause. Her mom was an
activist, and she was raised to believe that if she wants change to
happen, she can make it happen. She’s made changes in her own
life that she views as important contributions to protecting the
environment, and started attending council meetings nine years
ago. “I think you can become kind of jaded,” says Lussier. “You
think, ‘oh no, I can’t make changes as an individual.’ But here
we are, as a community of people, within a larger community
of people, all working together to make change.”
For other members, joining SFF was their first time getting
involved in activism and local politics. Ralph Stocek had never
been to a town hall meeting. Despite living in Pointe-Claire, he
only learned about the forest during the municipality’s 2021
elections. “It just made me really mad,” he says. He started following SFF’s activities over the course of a few months, until
he decided to attend one of the protests. “It was freezing cold.
It was the middle of winter. But people were so wonderful and
engaging, and remarkably knowledgeable. I thought, ‘oh, I just
got to be a part of this.’”
Stocek’s involvement with the group made him realize the
significance of the wider impact of grassroots activism within
Montreal. SFF is a small group, but he’s learned about others like
theirs trying to protect land across Montreal. “When you add
all those little groups up, it’s a lot of people and a lot of interest.”
The group talks to other organizations, like the Green Coalition and Mouvement d’action régional en environnement, on a regular basis. They share information, success stories and frustrations with each other. On their Facebook page, Lussier often posts updates about similar efforts happening elsewhere in Montreal, like the successful movement to protect and reclaim Parc des Gorilles in Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. After ten years of citizen advocacy, the group Friends of Gorilla Park won the City of Montreal’s approval to turn the vacant lot into a green space.
The activists have built a strong network of support. While
their in-person protests range from three or four people to over fifty depending on the weather and time of year, their Facebook
group now boasts one thousand members who post about the
latest news involving the development project, organize cleanups, make plans to attend town halls and share articles and photos about their activities and issues related to the environment.
I ask Stacho, who has been a member of SFF since the beginning, how the group has persevered for two years. “It’s almost
like a bit of a personal challenge now. But also, we really feel like
the community is counting on us,” she answers. “We have our
regular passers-by, people who beep and honk and wave, and it
would be like letting them down. When you take on something
like this, you feel a responsibility to carry it through.”
Save Fairview Forest is hopeful about where things stand. As of
January 2023, the lot is under a temporary development freeze
put in place by Pointe-Claire in February 2022, a big win for the
group. “There were tears of joy!” Lussier says. No construction
permits are allowed to be issued for the areas under the freeze,
which will be in place until 2024 and will allow the city to hold
public consultations before revising its urban planning program.
The Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) followed suit with a development freeze that included the lot in
May 2022. The CMM oversees the planning and finances of
eighty-two municipalities comprising the Greater Montreal
region. It considered Fairview forest as a “terrestrial and wetland
environment of metropolitan interest.”
The freezes have given SFF important momentum. “They
said, ‘this is important, we better rethink [this].’ How do you
then say, ‘no, it’s okay, we prefer to pour concrete all over it?’”
Stocek tells me.
Pointe-Claire’s development freeze didn’t go over easily with
everyone. Many supporters of the development project cite the
need for more densification and housing for the West Island’s
Pointe-Claire city councillor Eric Stork speculates that the majority of his citizens would accept the project if it were properly
explained to them. Stork, who has sat on council since 2017, says
residents need to understand the trade-offs, such as avoiding
urban sprawl. Stork points to the housing crisis as a reason the
project would be beneficial. “There’s no place for seniors to live
in Pointe-Claire. They’re going to be forced to move out of their
homes. Cadillac Fairview is going to build the empty-nester
home that they would move into because there’s no other place
in Pointe-Claire to go. It’s not as simple as it looks to make the
While it’s true that Montreal is experiencing a housing crisis,
many experts agree that affordable housing, which is rarely
popular with developers, is key to solving the issue. The city is
currently experiencing its highest average rent increases since
the early 2000s. According to data released by the Canadian
Mortgage and Housing Corporation in February 2022, only 13
percent of units in Montreal could be considered affordable
for those with an income below $25,000 a year. So far, Cadillac
Fairview’s housing plans include a four-hundred-unit senior
residence and rental condo towers. It’s unclear what the cost of these units will be, but there’s been no mention of affordability.
It would also be extremely lucrative for the city, note
others. “The zone where the Fairview mall is generates around
10 percent of the city’s tax revenue. Anything up there is going
to hit the bottom line of the city significantly,” says Brent Cowan,
a Pointe-Claire city councillor since 2017.
Cadillac Fairview took legal action against the city in March
2022, stating that they want to ensure that their “residential
mixed-use living community” will not be impacted by the
freeze. The company argued that it formally filed its plans
for the development project in 2021 and its project should be
considered under the city’s planning program at that time,
exempting it from the freeze, a claim that Pointe-Claire mayor
Tim Thomas has repeatedly denied. [Editor’s note: Thomas did
not respond to Maisonneuve’s requests for comment, and neither
did Cadillac Fairview.]
The project has been a source of tension and chaos within
Pointe-Claire’s government. A month after Cadillac Fairview
made their unsuccessful request for an exemption, Thomas,
who ran under the platform of protecting the forest, posted a
Facebook video claiming that other council members had drafted
a by-law that included a plan which would exclude the Fairview
parking lot (which is part of the company’s development project)
from the freeze. In his video, he denounced what he saw as a
covert attempt to re-introduce the exemption and encouraged
residents to attend the next council meeting. Other council
members alleged that the mayor violated confidentiality laws by disclosing the exclusion. On their own Facebook page, SFF
chose to focus on their mission to protect the forest, ignoring
the online arguments between officials. The council continued
to go back-and-forth on the issue, but ultimately decided in May
2022 to keep the lot within the freeze.
While SFF hasn’t given up, Cadillac Fairview hasn’t either. In
July 2022, a few months after the development freeze, the company felled trees without a permit in order to build a fence around
the forest, a move that resulted in the City of Pointe-Claire
issuing a work stoppage. The developer issued a statement that
it was “in compliance with all applicable regulations,” another
claim Thomas denies.
On January 29, 2023, Pointe-Claire city council held a divisive
special council meeting to put forth a resolution for city manager Karina Verdon to privately meet with Cadillac Fairview
representatives “in an attempt to work out with them a mutually
agreeable path forward.” The resolution also states that it is “in
furtherance of a settlement of litigation between the City and
Cadillac Fairview.” The mayor—in a move Cowan describes to me
as a temper tantrum—used his veto to defer the vote to a regular
council meeting on February 7, but another special meeting was
called by council on January 30 to reintroduce the resolution.
Taking to Facebook again, the mayor wrote a post detailing
his objection to the resolution and the second special council
meeting: “I vetoed their original resolution to give citizens more
time to learn about and be heard on this issue.” Thomas wrote
that he opposes allowing Cadillac Fairview to design its own consultation process as an equal partner with the city. Cowan
hopped in the comments to call Thomas’s post an unhelpful,
According to councillors Cowan and Stork, who both voted
in favour of the resolution, the goal of the resolution is to start
holding the public consultations that are supposed to be taking
place under the freeze. They believe the mayor has been stalling on moving things forward. “City council is tired of hearing
delays, delays, delays, and we want to push this to the forefront
of the agenda,” Stork says. At the January 30 council meeting,
Thomas argued that “there have been no delays whatsoever.”
The resolution passed 6-2.
According to a letter written by Verdon to Cadillac Fairview,
her role will involve regularly updating Cadillac Fairview and
members of council about the plans for the zones being considered for development, forming a working committee with
Pointe-Claire residents (with their selection criteria being agreed
upon by Cadillac Fairview and council) and working to eventually
exempt the zones from the development freeze. The letter ends
with Verdon calling Cadillac Fairview a “landmark” of Pointe-Claire and wishing its development success. Thomas took to
Facebook to share and denounce the letter.
The resolution raises a lot of red flags for SFF. “You have a
corporation with a vested financial interest in the future of the
zone making a decision about what kind of public consultations are going to happen,” Lussier notes. The group has serious
concerns about Cadillac Fairview’s involvement in shaping the
While the resolution came as a surprise to the group, they see it
as just one chapter in their efforts. “We’re just going to keep doing
what we’re doing because we don’t have a choice,” Lussier says.
Save Fairview Forest’s goal is to have the forest fully protected
from future development—no temporary measures. The group
isn’t against urban development at large, Lussier notes. Their protest isn’t about NIMBY-ism—they acknowledge that people need
places to live. They just want other spaces to be considered first,
instead of losing this rare bit of forested land. She points to the
vast parking lots spread across the city as more suitable options.
Managing sprawl through urban development is critical
to minimizing our impact on the environment. Promoting
population growth within the urban core and established
suburbs, rather than expanding further into off-island regions,
helps minimize car dependency, environmental degradation
and biodiversity loss. Development is an important part of
building denser, more walkable cities, says Ziter, but that
shouldn’t happen at the expense of high-quality green spaces.
Prioritizing other spaces for development is preferable, she
argues, because urban green spaces aren’t easily replaceable
once they’re gone.
In November 2022, ahead of the UN biodiversity conference
(COP15), Montreal pledged to protect 10 percent of its territory by
2030, up from 8 percent. “We need to think really critically about
whether we can afford to keep developing existing green spaces
and still be able to meet those conservation goals,” Ziter says.
Stocek mentions that a lot of his friends feel that the group needs to be strategic and compromise with Cadillac Fairview,
especially given how much more powerful the corporation
is compared to a small group of residents. They believe that
reaching an agreement with Cadillac Fairview on a mixed-use
area with some forested land and condo towers is more realistic.
Stocek completely disagrees. “There’s no negotiation for me. The
negotiation is: do it somewhere else.”
What will Fairview forest look like if SFF secures its protection?
Once a space is protected, Ziter argues that local residents should
be involved in its management, especially when there’s already
a dedicated community support group as with the Fairview
forest. The management of these spaces depends on what goals
people have for it—a space intended to maximize temperature
regulation, for instance, would be managed differently from one
intended to maximize bird biodiversity.
Lapointe dreams of a park that connects to the rest of the
Grand parc de l’Ouest, with proximity to bike paths, but it can be
difficult navigating the different people of concern and options
for the forest. Lussier says it’s complicated to manage so many
people’s interests. The group has to consider different levels of
government, the CMM, Cadillac Fairview and Montreal’s transportation agency. “It can be a little overwhelming sometimes. But
our goal is just to save 100 percent [of the forest]. We’re trying
whatever we can through those avenues.”
For now, the fight is ongoing. It’s hard to say with any certainty
what the future holds for Fairview forest, especially when the
stakes include the interests of a corporation worth over $40
billion. Sometimes, groups like SFF are successful: in October
2022, after years of organizing, residents in Montreal's Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood successfully protected parts of the
Boisé Steinberg wooded area from development. But sometimes
they aren’t. Nevertheless, many of the green spaces we do have
in Montreal wouldn’t exist without the advocacy of concerned
citizens, claims Ziter.
Along with the groups in Rosemont, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
and Senneville, there are also organizations like Les Amis du
Champ des Possibles, which now co-manages an abandoned
industrial lot that they fought to protect in the Plateau-MontRoyal and named Champ des Possibles—the field of possibilities.
Sometimes, these efforts can take years before they come to
fruition. In Beaconsfield, just a short drive away from PointeClaire, citizens fought for thirty years to protect Angell Woods
from development, and it was officially designated a nature
park in 2015.
These days, when I pass by the forest on my bus ride to work,
I consider all the connections existing within and around it. I
think of the brown snake, which keeps losing places to call home.
I think of Norm Lapointe, no longer able to ride his bike through
the paths he’s taken for decades, and Sue Stacho, who has had
to fight this battle more than once. I think of the communities
across this city working together to save small plots of land they
love. And Geneviève Lussier, Ann Beer and all the others who
will be at the corner of Brunswick and Fairview next week, and
the week after that, no matter the weather. ⁂
Sara Hashemi is a
writer and fact-checker
based in Tiohtià:ke/
Montreal. Their work
explores social and
culture and the
intersections of these