Vaudreuil-Dorion adopts resolution to promote its Je Suis cultural program
PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO
Vaudreuil-Dorion council adopted a resolution to document and promote its cultural initiatives to other regional municipalities as part of its involvement with the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) international body dedicated to promoting its Agenda 21 for culture.
The City of Vaudreuil-Dorion adopted a resolution during the Tuesday evening council meeting September 8 to document and promote its cultural initiatives to other regional municipalities as part of its involvement with the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) international body dedicated to promoting its Agenda 21 for culture.
The announcement was made by District 5 Councillor Rénald Gabriele, who along with Mayor Guy Pilon and Michel Vallée, the city’s Director for Culture and the Arts, were invited to participate at the (UCLG) Culture Summit that was held last March in Bilbao, Spain.
Vaudreuil-Dorion was the only North American city, referred to as a pilot or lead city; that was invited to present its Je Suis (I am) cultural program at the summit because the UCLG was impressed with the strategies the city adopted to successfully initiate and integrate cultural programs within a sustainable urban environment during the past five years when the initiative was first adopted in 2010.
As lead city, the emphasis will be to continue focusing on improving the quality of life and multicultural social fabric for all its citizens through culture, to continue bringing together all the various cultural groups together, and to share its formula with other cities worldwide who may want to emulate the strategies adopted by Vaudreuil-Dorion which has resulted in social cohesion among its diverse population.
The centerpiece of the city’s cultural program has become the giant green metallic Je Suis symbol in Parc de la Maison Valois on St. Charles Avenue that was built to begin the process of harmonization of its many unique cultural groups, said Pilon.
Mayor Guy Pilon admitted there was skepticism amongst some citizens who questioned the rationale behind the project when it was first unveiled. Five years later, residents have embraced the theme behind the Je Suis symbol. It has now become an iconic landmark that draws people to the park to take photographs in front of it celebrate personal events such as marriages and graduations.
“It took political will and guts to go ahead with that sign in the park,” said Pilon. “We have over 90 different nationalities in our community. Even though we didn’t have problems like other cities, we wanted to start a process where people could begin to get to know each other.”
Pilon said the Holi celebration that was held by the Indian community in early March was a true indicator of the positive efforts made by the city to reach out to various cultural organizations and embrace their identities. He encouraged more groups to contact and work together with the city in order to stage more unique cultural events.
The city’s annual Féte Nationale parade which focuses on its Mosaic theme has also become a cultural icon that keeps growing in size and scope each year because the city embraces its many unique identities and encourages participants to proudly display their cultural heritage, added Pilon.