In this participatory urban walk, 20 conference attendees were invited to discover Montreal’s industrial past, and its post-industrial present. Our one-hour event guided participants from the city’s historically most affluent district, Westmount, to one of Montreal’s most industrial neighbourhoods, St-Henri. The built environment and designed landscapes of both Westmount and St-Henri are charegd with historical traces of the class disparities and spatial divisions of Montreal, which was once North America’s most powerful industrial urban zone. We invited Leslie Baker, choreographer, to collaborate with and create performances through which participants were invited not only to look and listen but also to literally illuminate key sites, landscapes, and architectural objects throughout the walk. As we proceeded from twilight to early nightfall, our walk itself became a performance, a collective “social choreography” (Andrew Hewitt) for discovering Montreal’s spaces of deindustrialization. The performance walk was created for the Concordia University History Conference: Deindustrialization and Its Aftermath: Class Culture and Resistance, 2014.
The co-organizers of this event were: Cynthia Hammond, Shauna Janssen, Adeline Paradis-Hautcoeur, Thomas Strickland and Leslie Baker. The volunteer artists and performers who interpreted this performance walk were: Emma Tibaldo, Patricia Summersett, Carina Rose, Jennie Herbin, Gabriela Petrov, Amy Sobol, Mélanie Binette, and Jesse Stong.