Growing up in the West Island, where wild spaces are abundant, I’ve never paid much attention to the Canadian Pacific’s green space, right next to where I live. I’ve used the space as a shortcut to get to the Rosemont metro station, and, at other times in the summer, I’ve walked its paths to avoid the heat of my loft.
Last spring, the city’s project to revitalize the eastern section of Saint-Viateur street and the creation of the Sprout Out Loud gardening project helped me to perceive this vacant lot in a different way. I realized how important the space is to our community. Keeping this green oasis is essential to the Mile End’s environmental equilibrium, which is mostly composed of brick, asphalt, and cement.
Last summer, while in the vacant lot, I saw groundhogs, hares, and fireflies. Yes, fireflies in Montreal! I started paying attention to the trees and plants, and discovered many beautiful, different varieties there. It is a piece of paradise to many, especially for the dogs that roam the terrain freely.
Now that I’ve gardened in this space, and cleaned it up, I have come to know more about the trees and flora that grow there. The lot is a part of my life and I hope that we can all have a hand in preserving and maintaining its wildness.
Diane Boyer is a resident of the Mile-End and a member of the Sprout Out Loud! gardening collective. Photo of Emily Rose Michaud in the Roerich Garden by Diane Boyer.