An inclusive and inspiring playground

As they say, in the real life of the real world, a short break from the election campaign for some good, concrete news.

TVA Nouvelles actually reports the realization of an avant-garde initiative I had the opportunity to grow up – in a working-class neighborhood of Saint-Michel.

Even though I don’t live there anymore, I love this neighborhood. Because it’s a true microcosm of Montreal’s diversity. Because it’s more interesting than the crime stories you see on the news.

Neighborhood kids can now have fun at a 16,000-square-foot “indoor” playground that opened this week. Inclusive because it can – and finally (!) – fully accommodate children with physical, intellectual or emotional disabilities. Cheers!

In this huge all-purpose park, children with or without disabilities can have fun together in a place of true social diversity. What a wonderful tool for deconstructing prejudices, strengthening self-confidence, and accepting differences!

For the future

At this new meeting place, renamed Parc Julie-Hamelin, firm friendships are sure to be built for the future.

The project is a joint benefit of the Villere-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension Borough and the Fondation Bon Départe de Canadian Tire.

On Tuesday, Senator and former Paralympic champion Chantal Petitclerc and Paralympic swimming champion Benoit Hood were present during the park’s opening ceremony. Thanks for your support.

I can only imagine the immense benefit such a park would do to my sister Manon, who lived in Saint-Michel, intellectually disabled since birth, in the 1960s and 1970s. A magical place and open to its own difference.

Saint-Michel, once again, you show us the way. Diversity, in all its forms, is a Montreal that is a treasure to be cherished. By all of us for all of us.

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