Montréalers remember Norman Bethune (1890-1939) and pay tribute to his remarkable accomplishments.
Although he was born in Ontario and died in China, it was in Montréal than Norman Bethune lived the longest -- for eight years, from 1928 to 1936.
It was during his stay in Montréal that he became a renowned thoracic surgeon, that his ideas and convictions took shape, guiding him to a profound commitment towards social and humanitarian causes.
To honour the memory of this great Montréaler, several institutions will join together to offer a host of different events throughout the year, from autumn 2008 to autumn 2009–a period that marks the 70th anniversary of Norman Bethune’s departure to Chine, in 1938, and the 70th anniversary of his death, in 1939.
Launch of the tribute year
The launch of this tribute year was marked by the unveiling, on October 14, 2008, of a newly restored statue of Norman Bethune. This statue is located in Place Norman-Bethune, at the corner of Rue Guy street and Boulevard De Maisonneuve in downtown Montréal. In 2008, the site is undergoing substantial renovations as part of ongoing redevelopment of Boulevard De Maisonneuve.
In the northern part of the square, the statue was restored and the geometry of the boulevard was changed to create a new public square in two sections.
The newly designed site will give pedestrians more space, link the main bicycle paths downtown and create a larger, more inviting public square with newly planted trees and better seating.
The south section of Place Norman-Bethune will be completed in 2009, once the underground infrastructure has been modified.
As a renowned physician and medical researcher, as well as a great humanitarian and internationalist, Norman Bethune deserves to be honoured with one of Montréal’s most beautiful spots -- and the newly restored and redesigned Place Norman-Bethune should achieve just that. The site will help us all remember the legacy of this remarkable man.