The divided Montreal of the 1960s is very different from today’s cosmopolitan, hybrid city. Taking the perspective of a walker moving through a fluid landscape of neighbourhoods and eras, Sherry Simon experiences Montreal as a voyage across languages. Sketching out literary passages from the then of the colonial city to the now of the cosmopolitan Montreal, she traces a history of crossings and intersections around the familiar sites and symbols of the city – the mythical boulevard Saint-Laurent, Mile End, the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, Mont-Royal.Simon argues that translation is a dynamic and subtle tool for analysing cultural contact. An original take on cultural relations in the city, Translating Montreal explores the emergence of the “new” Montrealer. No longer “Franco-Québécois,” “Anglo-Québécois,” “immigrant,” or “ethnic,” the new Montrealer is a citizen of a mixed and cosmopolitan city.
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.