Remembering the St. Pierre River

    Last fall, at the request of a CBC journalist, we met up with former Les amis member John Fretz and architect Peter Lanken who both lived and played along the St. Pierre River as youth.

    We found out that John Fretz had actually asked the Ministère de la Culture back in 2004 to recognize the heritage value of the river. Can you imagine all the grief we would have avoided if the river had been classified back then?

    As architect Peter Lanken so poetically put it: “We were introduced to how all of life starts in wetlands. We caught leopard frogs and let them go. We caught all the little insects, the water striders and the whirligig beetles and the diving beetles and the big diving beetles. And crayfish and little larvae for dragonflies and caddis flies and we started to learn how life starts there.”

    Have a listen to Jaela Bernstien’s reportage and take a look at the fascinating maps that the CBC team has created:

    We invite our followers to send in any photos or memories they might have of the river. We would love to hear from you!

    Former Les amis member John Fretz and architect Peter Lanken reminiscing about their childhood and the St. Pierre River


    In January 2024, we were advised by one of our members that work had been undertaken on the banks of the St. Pierre River. We learned that the work consisted of decontamination by the City of Montreal in compliance with a Superior Court order. Hoping to learn more, we made an access to information request to the ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs.

    As a result, Les amis du parc Meadowbrook adopted a resolution to ensure the long-term survival of the river. Eight other environmental groups supported us in this initiative. We shared the resolution with the Lachine and CDN-NDG boroughs, as well as with the Cities of Côte Saint-Luc and Montreal as well as the Town of Montreal West, inviting them to support the resolution or to adopt one of their own.



    To view the complete 12 page resolution document:

    1. Hover your mouse on the bottom of the document posting. A shaded row will appear.
    2. Click on the arrow that appears in the row to read the following pages.
    3. Click on the – or + to change the font size.

    Another perspective on Montreal’s old St. Pierre River – a podcast

    While the St. Pierre River is a shadow of what it once was, it played a major role in our history.

    To help us better assess the river’s importance, McGill University’s CRIEM  (Centre for interdisciplinary research in Montreal studies) launched a podcast at the end of February, called Le fleuve qui nous traverse in the series Montréalers and Islanders.

    Four speakers participated in the podcast, all associated in one way or another with Les amis. They were Kregg Hetherington, associate professor at Concordia University, and Louise Legault, both Meadowbrook board members, as well as Danielle Plamondon of Les AmiEs de la Craig and Yenny Vega Cardenas, president of the Observatoire international des droits de la nature, who participated in the campaign to save the St. Pierre River and continues to promote recognition of the St. Lawrence River as a legal person. Pascale Rouillé, president of Les Ateliers Ublo, rounded out the panel.

    The podcast arose from a June 2022 guided tour tracing the course of the old St. Pierre River to its mouth. The participants set off from Duquette Park, passing the Atwater filtration station on the way to Strathmore St. toward Grenier, Sutherland-Sackville-Bain and Arthur Therrien Parks. The tour continued to the  waterfront walk and followed it to the “Baie des Capotes” (that’s what Google actually indicates!) and Monseigneur Richard secondary school.

    You can listen to the podcast which is in French HERE. Choose the second one in the series: Le fleuve qui nous traverse (55 min.) Feb.23, 2023.