Bringing Light into the Lives of Others
We met a pair of previous winners, both specialized in social interaction—as it pertains to architecture, on the one hand, and relational health, on the other.
Ron Rayside, 2013 winner
Architect Ron Rayside has dedicated close to 40 years of his life to building a more just and healthy society.
“I get the office involved in social architecture projects: how can we build a neighbourhood we’ll be proud of in thirty or forty years? How can we encourage interaction in order to strengthen the social fabric?” he asks.
In the belief that the physical environment has an undeniable impact on the quality of life of citizens and their city, Ron Rayside spares no effort to make Montréal more attractive and to empower its citizens.
Rayside’s exceptional contribution to Montréal life earned him the 2013 Prix Thérèse-Daviau. “This distinction gave me renewed energy. Architecture projects sometimes span a period of ten years, and they don’t always end well,” says Rayside.
“But I’m not interested in failures—that would be pointless. I’d rather draw attention to our spectacular gains! This award is another victory,” adds the fully engaged Montrealer.
Léonie Couture, 2011 winner
Léonie Couture founded Herstreet in 1994. The “relational health” facility comes to the aid of women dealing with homelessness or living in great difficulty.
“It’s not enough to give them a roof over their heads and a meal,” says Léonie Couture. “We need to act on their physical and mental health, but we also have to consider what I call relational health, and that means helping a person in distress build healthy relationships.”
Couture has been a passionate advocate for these women for 25 years. The importance of dealing with the trauma that has led these victims to the street cannot be underestimated, she believes. What’s more, helping these wounded women – most of whom are mothers – regain control of their lives often serves to break the vicious cycle that would otherwise victimize their children, as well. In the past year, close to 1,500 women have used the services offered in one of Herstreet’s three homes.
The 2011 Prix Thérèse-Daviau recognized Léonie Couture’s invaluable social contribution.
“On top of recognizing our efforts, the increased credibility that comes with this distinction makes it easier for us to raise funds from private donors — let’s not forget we have an annual care budget of three million dollars. This award has also helps us fulfill our mission to raise awareness about the importance of relational health,” says the founder of Herstreet.
Thérèse Daviau was one of the first female politicians in the history of Montréal. She acted as a pioneer in the development of municipal affairs and through her efforts to stop violence against women. Hence the decision to name this award after her. Find out more about submitting a candidacy.