Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As the cold arrives...

...some good news! Jesse Fuchs (Caroline), Claude Trépanier (Canelle) and Isabelle Roy (Duff) have been working to get the attention of local politicians and it has paid off. Sophie Thiebaut has agreed to meet with Jessy, Isabelle and pouf sometime over the next few weeks. The exact date is still pending but we are looking forward to presenting the initiative to Mme Thibaut soon. Claude has been in contact with Mayor Benoit Dorais' office, who have promised to read the Memoire about the project, and is awaiting a response. Thanks you everyone for the hard work.

In other news the Parc Gallery project has been posted on Montréal Dog Blog, a project initiated by long-time Montréal radio personality and dog lover Nat Lauzon. You can see the posting at:, and learn more about Nat at: or listen to her weekend show on 925 The Beat.

Also, anyone who is interested can take part in a study by a research team at the University of Waterloo's Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies who is looking at social interactions (between humans) in dog parks, and has chosen to base the study on the experiences of Montrealers. To find out more follow this link:

Monday, October 24, 2011

In Memory of Silver

Silver doing what she loved in a place she loved.
Photo by Daniel-John Watkin

Silver a long time Parc Gallery user with her companion Daniel John, passed away on October 12, 2011. The loss of a beloved animal friend is a profound experience, we send you our warmest wishes and deepest condolences.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quiet time at Parc Gallery

Parc Gallery, October 14, 2011

Jessy Fuchs (Caroline), Isabelle Roy (Duff) and Thomas Strickland (pouf! art and architecture) had a very positive meeting with Tyrone Benskin, the NDP representative for Jeanne Le-Bar, yesterday. He will be including a text and images about Parc Gallery in his mailer to be sent out next week. An important course of action suggested at the meeting was to increase the park's visibility within Griffintown and elsewhere. Following this suggestion we have resolved to permanently install the images from the exhibit. We will be reinstalling them on the fence over the next week. Jessy, has already been in contact with Sophie Thiébaut of Projet Montéal, who has expressed interest and we will be following up with Benoit Durais. We have over 160 signatures on the petition, Wow! Please tell everyone you know about the initiative to save the park and get them to drop by and sign the petition! 

In Memory of a Great Friend

A picture of Brea in a place she loved.

Beloved Brea passed away today much to the sadness of her loving family Wendy, Chris, Diana and Alec. Our heart goes out to them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Artists and dogs

Over the past year, people have told us about some amazing art that has been done with dogs. Here are a few examples. American artist Nancy Levine has photographed elder dogs in places they love for the past eight years.

Joon, 16 years old, Sandwich, MA. By Nancy Levine.

Francis Alÿs is a Belgian-born artist who bases his practice in Mexico. For the project Dog Rose (1998) he made the protagonist of a story a little, three-legged dog, Negrito.

Alÿs also worked with Mexican artist Rafael Ortega on the project, The Last Clown (1995-2000), a multi-media work, incorporating painting, animation and narrative, which told the story of a pivotal encounter between an art critic, a city, and a dog.

Alÿs discusses the project in this short video by the Tate Modern.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The petition

The petition to save Parc Gallery is ready to be signed. Hard copies are in the park, in the winter shack at the east end (pens are there too). Sign and put the sheet back in the green envelope - we will pick the petitions up in the next two weeks, to include in our official justification to the Mayor of the South-West, Benoit Dorais. If you cannot make it to the park or would like to have copies of the petition to take to friends, you can download this copy:

We will aim to submit the justification by the beginning of October. Your signatures will really matter. Need help or have questions? Email us at, or call 514 678 5595. Want to help make the justification? Please email or call. The justification will matter more if it comes from the users of the park themselves.

last day of dog parc gallery

Today we took down the exhibition and ran into a few regular park users. It was a gorgeous day! The sun cast some beautiful shadows through the portraits on the south side, along Olier Street. We had to share a picture (Gallimard) with you.

Portrait of Gallimard - Parc Gallery, 18 Sept. 2011

After we took the show down, we put up signs announcing the petition, which is ready to be signed and can be found in the winter shack at the east end of the park. Please come by, sign, and be part of the action to save Parc Gallery.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mayor of the South-West has responded

Maire de l'arrondissement le sud-ouest, Benoit Dorais, a répondu à notre mission de sauvegarder le parc à chiens, Parc Gallery. Sa lettre est jointe:

The mayor of the South-West, Benoit Dorais, has responded to our initiative to save the dog park at Parc Gallery. His letter follows:

The good news is that there will be a public consultation about the future of the park in the very near future: within the next 30 to 60 days. Mayor Dorais has invited us to prepare a justification for the safeguarding of the park, to be considered as part of the public process. This must be written as soon as possible. As long as the land belongs to the City of Montréal, which it presently does, there is hope.

The bad news is that, according to Mayor Dorais, the park is not zoned as a park, despite all evidence to the contrary, such as its name, and the signs on the fence. It has, he writes, been incorporated into the private domain.

This incorporation may have taken place during the rezoning of Griffintown in the 1970s. But this may also have been an illegal incorporation, as the City of Montréal is supposed to support and protect all existing green, public spaces. A lawyer's advice on civic law would be extremely helpful here.

Dog park users - the time has come to publicly voice your concerns to the Mayor and to collect evidence that can show, unequivocally, that this green space is indeed a public park. A petition produced by the users, and signed by the users, would be a strong supplement to the argument that we will write and present to Mayor Dorais in the coming weeks.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Post-vernissage doings

Since our very fun vernissage, we have picked up on a number of great suggestions from visitors to the show about who to contact about Parc Gallery. Special thanks to Roshi Chadha for suggesting some high-profile figures in the Montréal political scene, including renowned astronaut, politician and dog-lover, Marc Garneau. Mr Garneau and five others will receive detailed packages this week. Other suggestions are most welcome.

We also have confirmed a meeting day with MP Tyrone Benskin, for the middle of October. Our exhibition is slated to come down on September 16th, but perhaps - if regular park users agree, and if the photographs hold up in the sun and rain - it should be extended to accommodate his schedule.

We've also followed up Dr Loren Lerner's excellent advice to seek legal counsel. Our preliminary steps confirm that legal advice is very important. We have a lead for some possible pro bono services, but would suggest that anyone in the Parc Gallery community who has a friend or family member who knows something about Montreal's civil law should ask for help! It would be really useful to be able to present a clear legal picture of the situation to MP Benskin in October.

In a nutshell: the park was understood as such according to the 1947 Land Use Map of Montreal - an important civic and legal document. But in the rezoning of Griffintown as "light industrial" in the early 1970s, this status for the park may have changed. It certainly is not shown as a park on any of the city's current planning documents - quite the opposite, in fact; it is shown as a space to be developed. So even though it is an official "aire d'exercise canin" and is maintained by city workers, this is no guarantee that it will not be developed. Lawyers! Your help to protect this wonderful space is needed.

And they say this isn't a park?

A few more photos of the exhibition

Too many wonderful pictures to choose from! Here is a selection.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kathleen and Baloo

A big thank-you to Kelly Thompson, who took this great photograph of Parc Gallery regular user, Kathleen, and her dog Baloo. Kathleen is an artist who has thought a great deal about the role of dogs in the urban realm - she wrote a dissertation about walking in the city, dogs, humans, and art! Read more about it here. We were thrilled to get this picture of Baloo with Baloo's likeness, looking very fetching in both.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Exhibition at Parc Gallery

dog parc gallery opened on Saturday, August 27th. Despite warnings of Hurricane Irene perhaps interrupting the final hour of the vernissage, nature kindly held back and we had a stunning afternoon of sunshine, dogs, dog-lovers, art lovers and friends. It was wonderful to see so many of the dogs who had their portrait taken last fall - and some of them seemed to take a particular shine to their own portrait! We had many good conversations about the park, the people and the animals around us who, it must be said, stole the show.

Emily Kirkman captured a lively moment at the vernissage.

Thank-you to everyone who helped us make the exhibition happen: Shauna Janssen, our curator, Emily Kirkman, our photographer, Marie-France Daigneault and Nuria Carton de Grammont, who helped with the tables of catalogues and food, and Judith Bauer who provided us with a much-appreciated table top! Merci Isabelle Renaud of 100 Laisses (at 41 McGill) for your generous gift of dog and cat treats, and for thoughtfully bringing drinking bowls for our canine visitors. Thank-you so much, park users who came to the event. We still have a few catalogues for those of you whose dogs are in the show - we are happy to get these to you by mail or via a visit to the park, whatever works best for you. Send us a note via this blog, or by email:

A great day! Wouf x.

CTV coverage - 26 August 2011

CTV and Christine Long visited pouf! and a number of dogs and humans in Parc Gallery on Friday afternoon, August 26th. Here is the clip from the 6pm news. Thanks to Jesse for posting this on youtube!

Great pictures of Caroline the Basset Hound making a friend of Christine Long, who herself has a Bull Mastiff. Many thanks to Maya Soren for her help in making contact with Christine.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

CTV at Parc Gallery

It was a beautiful day for CTV's visit to Parc Gallery yesterday. Thank-you to all the dogs and companions  who came out for the interview. The footage was shown on the 6pm news last night and can be seen above.

Vernissage at Parc Gallery Today at 3pm!

The portraits are up! Here is a picture of Zirreh with Zirreh. We hope everyone can join us for dog and human snacks at the vernissage.

Friday, August 26, 2011

One last reminder! CTV interview in Parc Gallery, 1pm today!

We could use as many people and dogs in the park as possible - to send the message as best we can that this park is in use and is needed for now and the future. Hope to see you there!

View of Parc Gallery from the winter shack

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Should you need to use the facilities...

Open-air art exhibits are great things! But they do leave the question of what to do if one needs the bathroom, open. Here is a map of some places in walking distance to Parc Gallery. They are cafés and restaurants, including one particularly child-friendly café, called (Parent)These, on rue Notre-Dame. Everything is within a 5 to 12 minute walk from the park.

Many thanks to Kathleen for pointing out that, for visitors coming to Parc Gallery via the canal path, there is a public facility at the Parks Canada building at the St Gabriel locks. Much appreciated information!

Getting the word out

Hello dpg followers and visitors,
As of today, we have contacted the following politicians about our project, hoping to spread the word about Parc Gallery and its uncertain future:
Maire de la Ville de Montréal, Gérald Tremblay
Maire de l'arrondissement, le Sud Ouest, Benoit Dorais
Conseiller de ville/City Councillor, Jocelyn Ann Campbell, Member of the Executive City Council responsible for Social and Community Development, Families and Seniors
Conseiller de ville/City Councillor, Alan DeSouza, Vice-Chairman of Sustainable Development, the Environment, Parks and Green Spaces
Conseiller de ville/City Councillor, Helen Fotopulos, Member of the Executive City Council responsible for Culture, Heritage, Design and Women’s Issues
Mr Tyrone Benskin, MP for the South-West, who has already responded and expressed interest in the project!
We have also sent a copy of our catalogue and press release to Serge Goulet, Co-President of Devimco, which has most control over the spaces surrounding the park.
In an effort to get a wider community interested, we have also sent catalogues and press releases to Phyllis Lambert, the well-known urban activist and founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Madame Lambert was instrumental in creating the heritage movement in Montréal in the 1970s. She is also, we know, a dog lover, so we hope this project takes her interest. A similar package went out to Mirko Zardini, the present Director of the CCA, and to Dinu Bimbaru, Director of Héritage Montréal.
We would appreciate other suggestions for politicians, public figures of influence, or professionals in urban planning and heritage who should receive a copy of the catalogue.

An example of the package that was sent out this week. 

French catalogues are ready!

Salut tout le monde,

We are very happy to have received the French version of our catalogue yesterday. Our translators, Louis Tardif and Marie-France Daigneault Bouchard, did a great job. We will be making a gift of the catalogue to everyone who participated in our portait-taking session last September. At our vernissage this coming Saturday, please come to the table with the dog treats, and you will only have to provide your dog's name - an envelope with your catalogue will be set aside for you.

If you want to purchase additional copies, we are charging $15 per copy, to cover the costs of producing the catalogue and the portraits. We will have change!

Looking forward to seeing everyone again!

Sample page from the French catalogue!

Thanks to Isabelle Roy!

A shout-out to Isabelle Roy, who kindly helped us by translating the cover letter we sent out this week to francophone politicians and other players of interest in Griffintown. Our warm appreciation to Isabelle, who is the co-founder of the facebook page dedicated to Parc Gallery (see link at right).

Some versions of the cover letter, translated by Isabelle Roy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Portraits are ready!

Dear dog parc gallery followers and participants,

We were very excited today to receive the printed versions of the dog portraits taken last fall. They are lovely! Here is a short video that shows each of them, in brief.

And here are a few shots which show the scale of the portraits. Can't wait to share them with you in person this coming weekend.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Getting the City involved - carefully

One of our goals with dog parc gallery is to get word out that Parc Gallery is an important community amenity that must be protected for the future. As our publication explains in more detail, the City's planning documents suggest that this park is not a park - it is empty space. So we have to get officials to recognize that it is indeed a green, public space. This week, pouf! is sending out copies of our publication to councillors such as Alan DeSousa, Vice-Chairman of Sustainable Development, the Environment, Parks and Green Spaces, and Helen Fotopulos, Responsable for Culture, Heritage, Design and Women's Issues, among others. We are targeting members of the City of Montréal Executive Council, which deals directly with urban planning and development issues.

What we have to be careful about, however, is the tendency of politicians to resort to the spatial needs of families over other types of city dwellers. A green space in the middle of a rapidly developing neighbourhood might well appeal to politicians as something to save - but for whom? The Percy Walters Park controversy - see Edith Dora Rey's beautiful website - saw a much loved downtown dog run transformed into a bifurcated space for children and dogs - a change which pleased the adults of neither user group. This cannot happen at Parc Gallery. So be sure to tell your borough Councillor and local MP that not only do you want Parc Gallery saved, you want it saved for dogs!

Edith Dora Rey, Percy Walters Parkhouse, watercolour, 2009

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Parc Pilote, Vieux-Montréal

Parc Gallery is not the only dog park in the city to be affected by major planning initiatives. Over the past winter, pouf! investigated the design and history of Parc Pilote, run by the Club canin du Vieux-Montréal (CCVM). Parc Pilote is an important amenity for residents of Old Montréal, where the rules regarding dogs are extremely strict. This is a beautifully-designed dog park, incorporating fencing, interspecies fountains, lots of seating and even public art. It successfully repurposes some of the land left over from the creation of the Bonaventure Expressway. But what will happen to Parc Pilote when the Bonaventure is lowered, as part of the revisioning of the southern access to the city? Read our article in Le Vieux Montréal to learn more about this sister park to Parc Gallery.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

CTV will be coming to Parc Gallery on Friday, August 26th, 1pm

Christine Long, who does the "What's On" spots on CTV, is coming to Parc Gallery with a film crew at 1pm on Friday, August 26th. She is going to interview pouf! about the exhibition, but also hopes to meet dog park users - human and animal - to learn more about the importance of this place for the neighbourhood.

If you and your dog(s) are free, it would be amazing to have your company during this interview. This is a great opportunity to show how much people and dogs love and need this park. Please spread the word and join us on Friday, August 26th for another kind of close-up!

English catalogues are ready!

Followers of our project know that we have created a catalogue to accompany our exhibition that opens August 27th. We were very happy to pick up the English version yesterday - 100 copies, some of which will be on sale at the vernissage. A special shout-out to Rubiks Printers on Bishop (thanks Jeff) for the special care they took with our little book. The version en français will be printed by next week, and ready for the vernissage also!

Vivre ici...

Yesterday we went to Parc Gallery to post some notices about our vernissage on August 27th. We saw other posters, much larger than ours, also announcing upcoming changes to the neighbourhood. One in particular, modified by an unknown individual, made a beautiful comment on the "revitalization" that is presently taking place so close to Parc Gallery.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

An interested party...

Often we are asked whether we have dogs and that is why we are doing dog parc gallery as a project. The answer is no; although we have both had the fortune of canine companionship in the past, at the present moment two cats live with us (and are very much adored). A dog - or more than one - will be in our shared future, of that we are certain. But our inspiration to create dog parc gallery was, simply, Parc Gallery itself and its interspecies users. You collectively make for compelling motivation!

Our cat, Elma, looking doubtfully upon the preparations for dog parc gallery, last fall.

Are you ready for your close-up?

The vernissage of the exhibition, dog parc gallery, now has a firm date:

Saturday, 27 August, 2011

More details to follow, but for now here is a sneak peek of some of the gorgeous portraits we took last fall at Parc Gallery:

Many thanks to the work of our photographers: Thomas Strickland, Shauna Janssen and Emily Kirkman, for doing such a great job of showing the beauty, spirit and personality of these wonderful dogs.

- pouf!

We are back!

Dear followers of dog parc gallery,

After a long hiatus, pouf! is back. As we near the date for the exhibition of the dog portraits, the time has come for an update. The dog park is busy with regular and new visitors. The park's users have been active offsite, too: a wonderful video of Billy the Whippet has been posted to Youtube, and provides an excellent perspective of the park from a canine position: