In this memoir of growing up in Montreal in the 1930's,Mary Peate with charm and humor vividly brings to life what life was like for children during the depression era. I grew up at the same time in the same district (NDG). We played the same games, watched the same movies, listened to the same radio programs, and dreamed of having a Red River coat. I reread this lovely book every so often and relive many aspects of my childhood with great pleasure. It always reinforces my feelings of being an Anglophone with deep roots in Quebec.
What We Choose to Remember features a cast of more than 30 characters, whose families arrived in successive waves of immigration. The oldest families arrived during the period of ‘two solitudes’ when Montreal’s population was more than 50% English. They share firsthand accounts decades of political upheaval. The most recent immigrants arrived believing linguistic conflicts were ancient history.
Our story takes place on the Indigenous lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Tiotià:ke (known as Montréal) has existed as a meeting place of many First Nation peoples, including but not limited to the Abenaki , Anishinaabeg (Algonquin), and the Huron-Wendat. We extend our deepest respect to the elders of these nations and to all Indigenous peoples who carry the history of this island’s land and waters. We also call upon all levels of government to adopt and implement the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation commission.