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(Gorilla Park, a lost
forest in a city)
There used to be a piece of land that sat not far from my
studio in the Marconi-Alexandra district of Montreal,
where large factories used to work. They now lie dormant,
waiting for speculators to reincarnate their purposes into
more condos, filling the streets with more cars on an
already saturated city corner.
I called this abandoned old CP rail property "Gorilla
Park." It was a link, a path where nature was left untouched for
many years. It was home to a variety of plants and
animals who populated its borders and were left undisturbed to thrive
in a slice of land forgotten.
Back then, those walking its wild path were suddenly
transported back to roots, to a lost "wildness" within the framework
of a large city. I called it Gorilla park because it was
left to grow wild, almost like a jungle. Sometimes, there were
people who planted vegetables gardens, pitched tents for
shelter in seclusion, protected from the outside concrete jungle.
For many years, it provided respite, a place to
contemplate, stand in awe and listen to the wind rustle through the
of old-growth trees and witness nature's return to a
purer state. It was a secret urban forest in our small community, until
was brutally bulldozed last May, 2013 by a greedy land
developer known as Olymbec.
These paintings, writing and information articles are a
testament to what is possible, when ordinary citizens unite in
a common goal to protect the environment; to make a
corner of our urban life more livable, humane and environmentally
durable for generations to come. I am profoundly moved by the past year
with the wellspring of citizens who want to
reclaim Gorilla park. It has become a beacon for like
minded individuals from the local community and beyond to protect
these precious oasis' of natural urban wildness. It's a
source for reflection, inspiration and occupation.
Helpful Links for further information
/hyperlocal.cbc.ca/mediadetail/11047737-Marconi-Alexandra's Secret Urban
The Tree Planter
Crowing For Nature