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An oasis in the city: Sauvons Parc Oxygène

Posted by Margot / July 25, 2010

Parc Oxygène Monteral Milton ParkMathieu Rioux doin' what he does in Parc Oxygène.

Laneways line our great city from east to west and north to south; home of alley cat fights, trash bags, and hockey games, they provide a unique common green space for neighbours in this often densely populated city. One such ruelle has been developed into a blooming oasis in the middle of high-rise buildings and busy streets. Dubbed Parc Oxygène, this space is currently at the centre of a contentious dispute between city councillors and Milton-Park residents.

Located between Hutichson and Parc just north of Prince Arthur, Parc Oxygène is really an exceptional ruelle; residents have planted trees and native plants, such that the greenery is thriving by this point in the season. It hasn't always been so beautiful, though. Back when La Cité was built, the laneway was like other laneways in the downtown area - paved, cold, another shortcut for taxis. Moreover, it was sold to a private developer in a city council error despite residents' requests to have the space purchased by the city and made into a proper park. Since the late 90s, though, the park has been developed and maintained by residents as a beautiful green space. A diamond in the rough, if you will.

Fast forward to 2008: the borough council granted a zoning change which would allow the development of a three-storey building where the park now stands. Not surprising, but still very disappointing. Now fast forward to 2010: Parc Oxygène plays host to musicians, poets, and actors all summer long in a four-month-long love-in. This afternoon was a series of sets by local musicians and artists, showing off the fact that art in the park is oh-so-much prettier than ugly buildings in an alleyway.

Parc Oxygène Monteral Milton ParkIt's a long-standing tradition in the Milton-Park neighbourhood to mobilize and defend citizens' space from overdevelopment, and it's a good thing they're not stopping here. Seriously, check out Parc Oxygène itself, and check out its Facebook page to see what other events are going on this summer.

Merci à Norman Nawrocki pour le photo

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