Community spirit and a sense of belonging – sequel
This month’s column is a sequel to December’s in which I posed several questions about our community spirit. Here, as promised, are a few thoughts and possible solutions.
A strong feeling of pride
In the first place, it’s clear that a strong community spirit includes, above all, a feeling of pride. Visible, demonstrated and communicated pride highlighting who we are, our history, our institutions and our accomplishments. This pride should also reflect our culture, our arts and our success in showing solidarity when times are tough (e.g., Covid).
Without this local pride, our feelings of community and belonging would be barely perceptible.
We, les Québécois
We Québécois have evolved a great deal over the past six or seven decades. Over the years, religion has lost its influence over most aspects of our life. In the end, we have become more individualistic. In the “Code Québec”, written in 2016 by Leger, Nantel and Duhamel, the authors define us as being “happy, consensual, detached, victims, villagers, creative and proud”.
he foundation of a community spirit requires buy-in by the greatest number and the will to sacrifice personal interests for the good of the community. It’s not that easy. You have to induce communication among the various components of the community. To achieve that, you have to continue to build bridges between founding families, longstanding citizens, newcomers and seasonal residents.
Good investments: facilities and events
We should already be very proud of our community. It’s important, in this respect, to recognize the good investments that have been made and which currently contribute to founding this community spirit. The new town square downtown will play an exceedingly important role.
Take the time to wander around it some evening; it’s really beautiful! It truly supports a feeling of pride and will encourage community spirit. To have something that plays the same role in the Village district, it’s important to move quickly to develop there one or more concepts complementary to the town square in the downtown district.
Bricks and mortar
Having said that, I’ll add that bricks and mortar will not be enough to create this spirit of community. We have to ensure that local events which bring people together introduce a soul into our new facilities (pool complex, sports island…). Now we have to create new traditions (cultural, artistic, historic…) which will allow permanent citizens, seasonal residents and regular visitors to come together and really appreciate each other.
We have to ensure that the citizens of our neighbouring communities experience the same feeling of belonging. We’re talking about an “adventure in human interaction”. Because the commercial heart of our town is largely sustained by our neighbouring communities, this adventure cannot end at our municipal borders. Our facilities and resources permit us to have this community spirit and feeling of belonging radiate throughout our region.
The time has come: history, arts and culture
And the time has also come to have a real cultural centre at a level commensurate with our image and reputation. A cultural centre by the citizens and for the citizens. A centre that highlights our history, our arts and our culture. A centre that will allow us, more than ever before, to forge strong bonds throughout the year. A centre that is not a tourist attraction, but the local and regional engine that drives our pride.
Lastly, in a completely different realm and in view of the importance of hockey in our culture, could we not contemplate the return of a junior team? This activity is, after all, no longer just a “guys” thing. How many bonds have been forged around a good hockey game? Wouldn’t that be something to fuel our pride!
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Michel Savard14 Posts
Doyen d’une des grandes écoles hôtelières anglophone canadienne et propriétaire hôtelier avec son épouse Sharon à Mont-Tremblant pendant plus de vingt ans, Michel prend, depuis sa retraite, le temps d’écouter et de conseiller les citoyens de Mont-Tremblant sur divers sujets. Il adresse certaines de leurs doléances au conseil municipal afin que leurs voix soient entendues. Articulé, calme et posé, Michel est toujours extrêmement bien documenté et représente un atout nécessaire à l’exercice d’une démocratie saine au sein de notre communauté. Dean of one of the great Canadian, English-language hotel schools and a hotel owner with his wife Sharon in Mont-Tremblant for more than twenty years, Michel has had, since his retirement, the time to listen to and advise the people of Mont-Tremblant on a variety of subjects. He takes some of their complaints and grievances to the municipal council so that their voices will be heard. Articulate, calm and poised, Michel always has full documentation and represents a much-needed asset in support of the healthy exercise of democracy in our community.