Last night my wife Laurel and I decided we needed some sort of a break. We contemplated simply ordering a pizza because our daughter Sabine (she’s 3 months now) was being fussy but at the same time we realised that perhaps she just needed a change of pace herself, after all she needs new stimulation. The only possible option that came up in our minds seemed to be the family-friendly Café Touski which we had only gone to once so far (prior to Sabine’s birth).
We got there and Sabine seemed to have calmed down from the walk and we also had the option of going in the backyard should she start to cry. We decided to stay inside because it was starting to be on the chilly side and we ended up having ourselves another outstanding vegetarian meal. Right in the middle of our meal, a folk band walks through the room with accordian, clarinet, saxophone and violin and a lady comes over to us saying « on ouvre la friperie dehors dans 5 minutes. » What’s that I ask? « Tu vas voir! ». Intrigued, we decide to take our desserts outside.
A friperie itself is the French word for a second hand store but as we walk towards the very back of the Tourski backyard, we soon find out that this is actually a « Freeperie » (a friperie where people are welcome to bring their goods and exchange it for others that will be open all month long 24/7 on the parking lot of Place Dufresne – behind Café Touski near the corner of Dufresne/Ontario). We find that the band is out there playing music and a festive crowd of people are dancing in the street and celebrating the event. Sabine loves music so we can tell that she is already paying attention to the sounds.
Meanwhile we find out from our waitress inside that this is all part of an interactive street arts event called « Panta Rhei » which combines workshops that invite the community to participate in three exhibitions that will be shown in and around the neighbourhood on June 12, 13 and 14th. The weekend itself which is the climax of « Panta Rhei » is called « L’Écho d’un fleuve ». Luck would have it for us that we were at the right place at the right time as (this is why I try to have my camera on me at all times – and why I am dissapointed when I leave it at home) as the Freeperie opening party is the very start of this month long schedule of events.
The three main exhibitions that will involve the community are the following:
This involves photographic workshops although fear not if you do not have a professional camera as all are welcome including digital cameras like mine and even cellular phones. The photos will then be used and projected at Au Coup de Pouce Centre-Sud (2338 Ontario Est) during the L’Écho d’un Fleuve weekend.
2) PERDU/TROUVÉ Sentier urbain et réflexion jazz
This involves collecting community recollections of the neighbourhood (I am obviously going to eat this up) and asking for the community’s involvement to create a path of 10,000 pebbles that will lead to the St.Lawrence river. Then finally during the L’Écho d’un fleuve weekend there will be an organized walk with a jazz performance at the end.
3) ViReBô Cs
On the same site as the Freeperie, there will be a number of workshops and events (starting with this very party) that will include the following activities: sewing, a children’s party, a yoga session, creative recycling, etc. Then during the weekend of L’Écho d’un fleuve there will be an artistic installation inspired by these various Freeperie workshops.
This is only the info in a nutshell and I decided to write this post in English simply because translating this helped me personally understand the events a bit better. However, the full details and times are available in French on the Panta Rhei booklet guide which is available at Café Touski and L’Éco-Quartier Sainte-Marie (and most likely other establishments) and you can also visit the website of the Arts collective that is organizing all of this: www.peristylenomade.org
All in all, last night I was so happy to walk back home; I once again felt so much pride about where we live and to see how many people care about this area and how they want to make positive change (injecting arts into the neighbourhood, involving the community and promoting positive ways of recycling). I ended up saying to my wife that it seems that Café Touski is very much so a big part of the heart of our neighbourhood. It’s not only a café and restaurant but it’s also working hard to bring the community together in a very open-minded manner. Merci Touski et merci les artistes de Péristyle Nomade! On voulais simplement un bon souper mais on a eu une soirée exceptionelle!