It was a place where our community gathered for play and cultural activities
For much of the late 1960s, 70s, 80s and 1990s Girouard Park was a hub for the Black community, a place where young people gathered for soccer (the little area near to the baseball field, just outside of the dressing rooms was originally intended as a wading pool but transformed into a nice small-goal field …. thousands of footballers enjoyed daily “runs” there).
In the 70s and 80s, the park was also the venue for what was the annual Day in the Park and other community events featuring some of Montreal’s best musicians and deejays.
Almost every Black person in Montreal whether they had something to do with community or not, passed through it. The Black Community Council of Quebec was situated on nearby Old Orchard Street.
And as the Number 1 liming or hangout spot , it was also the arena where lots of fights and rivalry played themselves out.
However, for much of the past decade or two, with the shrinking of our community, not too many Blacks strayed toward Girouard Park except of course, for those living in its vicinity who continue to enjoy the children’s area the dog run and for leisurely evening and early morning strolls. It’s now known as Notre Dame De Grace Park and is home to the Vimy Memorial.
On Tuesday, August 22, late afternoon, in the midst of a strong rainstorm, what has been described as a violent microburst ripped through the park, decimating the forest of trees that added to the character of the park.
The extent of the damage continues to trouble those who once knew the park in its glory days and the hope is that it will be restored.