Use my Tangerine Orange Key and we both get $50

Here’s an easy way to get $50.00.

Open a new Tangerine bank account, use my Orange Key  – 42037807S1, deposit $100 or more in your new account and we both get $50. This offer is available till March 31, 2015. After that my Orange Key will net you $25 instead of $50.

I’m no fan of big banks but what I like about Tangerine (formerly ING Direct and now owned by the Bank of Nova Scotia) is they rarely charge fees. The only fee I’ve heard of so far is a fee for transferring a Tax-Free Savings Account from Tangerine to another bank, and apparently Tangerine’s transfer fee is lower than that charged at other banks. It can take a few days to transfer your money from Tangerine to your regular bank account, there are only a few Tangerine ATMs in downtown Montreal, but you can access your Tangerine account through Scotiabank’s network . For me the lack of quick access to my money works well. It forces me to plan my spending better and I save more.


Lighting up the darkness in Ville St. Pierre

event postcardIt’s been a little over a week since I caught the Parcours des lucioles en tête, but I’m still shaking my head in amazement.

The Saint-Pierre neighbourhood of Lachine does not enjoy a great reputation. The area was once its own city and many people still call it Ville St. Pierre. To many Montrealers, it’s a place you pass through as quickly as possible. You drive through Saint-Pierre on your way to Highway 20. Or you bike through it on your way to the Lachine Canal. But you don’t linger. Media coverage (often exaggerated) of drug problems, violent incidents and murders in the neighbourhood doesn’t help things.

I moved to Saint-Pierre nearly a year ago. As an NDG gal transplanted to an area with no full-fledged grocery store, no cafés or places to hang out, boarded up storefronts, plenty of dépanneurs, fast food joints and stray cats, I’ve often wondered whether St. Pierre’s affordable rent made leaving NDG worth it. I’ve attended security committee meeting events and I do my best to support local initiatives but I felt something was missing.

The Parcours des lucioles on tête blew me away because it showcased Saint-Pierre’s cultural side, something that’s not always obvious when you walk around. An initiative of Revitalisation Saint-Pierre and artist Nicolas Rivard, the event not only let citizens reclaim problem areas in the neighbourhood and turn them into lighted art installations, it showed me why this neighbourhood is interesting and special.

Unfortunately the evening of December 13 was bitterly cold. We waited at Roger-Richer Park for the walk to start but the bonfires organizers set up didn’t warm us up enough and we were hungry. So we headed to a restaurant for dinner and came back to see as many installations as we could on our own.

From 5 to 8 p.m. people could walk around to see all sorts of citizen-created art, lit up in different ways. People could visit 12 art installations and performance pieces around the neighbourhood.

Rivard’s video, Bulles Citoyennes, was projected on the doors of Rockfield Church so that the doors served as a screen. I didn’t see much of his piece, but from what I understand it showed residents blowing bubbles. Rivard has a photo of the video on his website.

A newly decorated bus shelter on Rue des Érables featured images that included a sun/ladybug and candy canes.

a huge street level church bell with a knitted cover

A church bell lovingly restored and on display on St. Jacques St. was “yarn-bombed” and now sports knitting created by women from the Cercles de Fermières du Québec’s Saint-Pierre chapter. Sadly, the group’s other knitwear piece, a hat and scarf placed on a monument erected in Kirkland Park in the 1960s in memory of longtime Ville St. Pierre mayor Dr. C.A. Kirkland, was stolen before anyone could see it. I realize there’s a market for bronze but I don’t understand why people steal public monuments and I wonder how the people at the scrapyard where this monument was no doubt taken reacted when they saw knitwear on a statue? Surely they knew it was stolen?!


 Frédérique Gagné-Thibault, wearing a TV on her head, explains Saint-Pierre historyFor the Joyeux téléjournal, Frédérique Gagné-Thibault wore a TV on her head as visitors sat on chairs and a sofa listening to her talk about Saint-Pierre history.






the green classroom - chairs, evergreen sprigs and a watering can lit up in greenIn front of École Primaire Martin-Bélanger,  Mélanie Castagnier placed child-sized wooden chairs in a circle with other chairs hanging in a pile above, a watering can in the mix of the piled-up chairs. Evergreen branches lay on the wooden chairs. The work’s title? La Classe Verte – the Green Classroom



children's colourful handmade flowers and landscapes lit up on a snowy lawn

Martin-Bélanger elementary students brightened the snow in front of a community garden with handmade flowers and landscapes.





a fake egg's nest in a parking lotMélanie Poirier’s bird’s nest full of huge eggs sat in a parking spot in a parking lot bordering Kirkland Park.






A colourful four-part mural depicting Saint-Pierre history

A huge mural painting hung on the side of a building near the corner of Saint Pierre and Rue des Érables. Caroline Fiset and Lyane Lefebvre told us their mural, À Saint-Pierre, Imagine!, depicts the history of cultural and other organizations in Saint-Pierre. I found it interesting to learn Saint-Pierre is the birthplace of the first Optimist Club in the Montreal area, and the neighbourhood has sprouted a number of theatre organizations, including groups where parents and children perform theatre together.


As we headed home, we saw Revitalisation Saint-Pierre founder David Marshall rocking out with his electric guitar on the steps of the Centre Fernand-Laplaine.  Marshall, whose artistic contribution was called Guy-Tare Drastique, seemed to be enjoying himself in spite of the cold.

Marking the Montreal Massacre

Today I lit a candle in memory of the 14 women who died in the Polytechnique Massacre (Montreal Massacre) on December 6, 1989:

Geneviève Bergeron

Hélène Colgan

Nathalie Croteau

Barbara Daigneault

Anne-Marie Edward

Maud Haviernick

Barbara Klueznick

Maryse Laganière

Maryse Leclair

Anne-Marie Lemay

Sonia Pelletier

Michèle Richard

Annie St-Arneault

Annie Turcotte

Today was the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. There’s been more media attention to this terrible event this year than I’ve seen in a while.

For instance, this week Quebec journalist and filmmaker Francine Pelletier did several interviews about the massacre and its effect on the women’s movement over the past 25 years.

Pelletier’s insights are important. After all in 1989 she discovered her name was on a list of 19 prominent Quebec feminists on gunman Marc Lépine’s suicide note, which named women he apparently wished to target.

With scandals involving former CBC Radio Q host Jian Ghomeshi and Bill Cosby hitting a nerve, Pelletier told the Toronto Star “this year is the first anniversary when there is really something to celebrate.”

Montreal novelist Sean Michaels, who won the Giller prize recently for his novel, Us Conductors, wrote on that the massacre was not only a horrific crime but “it was also the brutal, explicit assertion of an ideology that is usually hidden.” Michaels points out the oppression of women “is one of our eldest systems,”  in Canadian society it’s subtle and we have not solved it.

I agree with Michaels. What saddens me is that 25 years later, I don’t know if all that much has changed. While I felt heartened when women came forward accusing Ghomeshi of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and I was especially impressed that some of the women making the allegations revealed their identities, we have a lot of work to do in our society to make sure this kind of abuse doesn’t happen in workplaces or in dating relationships.

Like Pelletier, I am glad tolerance for bad behaviour is dropping. Any man who thinks he has carte blanche to behave like Don Draper in Mad Men needs to know he won’t get away with it. Women will speak out and they will find support. They will create hash tags on Twitter and they will mobilize en masse. The tide is changing.

We also have plenty of work to do to prevent women from being murdered because they are women. Canada’s federal government hasn’t heeded calls for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. It is difficult for survivors of date rape to succeed in proving beyond a reasonable doubt that someone they knew raped them and no consent was given. Such situations become he said/she said discussions and everything hinges on who has more power and influence so in many instances the accused never go to jail and the accusers get dismissed as liars or as women who had a regretful change of heart about something consensual. There are plenty of other examples of violence against women happening every day in Canada, too many to list here.

I worry about our society’s ability to prevent violence against women. Today I thought about Marc Lépine’s mother, Monique Lépine. In an interview with Jan Wong, published in the December 2009 issue of Chatelaine magazine, Monique said her son was a “nice little boy.” She said when she learned about the massacre she couldn’t imagine her son had done such a thing. “Who was a feminist in his mind?,” Monique said about her son. “An independent woman who had a good job? I was like that myself.”

Monique Lépine never thought her son would grow up to hate women and blame women for his problems. As a mother of sons the idea that my flesh and blood would ever hurt women seems alien to me.

We need to find out how we can help young men grow up to have healthy attitudes towards women’s equality, towards their own sexuality and not see women as sexual objects, or as threats to their own career prospects. We need to offer more help for young men who have problems with their mothers or feel anger towards women in general. I don’t have a solution, I just find it’s far easier to dismiss Marc Lépine and Jian Ghomeshi as misogynists than it is to figure out how our society can prevent the next Marc Lépine or Ghomeshi from harming women.

I am incredibly touched that Vanier College students have created a video to mark the 25th anniversary of this tragedy. I don’t know their ages but I doubt any of them were even born when the massacre happened. Their decision to denounce violence against women and to team up with the CEGEP St-Laurent next door in making a human chain is inspiring.