A note from Jean-Franois Leclerc

Director of the Centre dhistoire de Montral

We Are Here..
Jean-Franois Leclerc

These few words are more than the title of an exhibition. They bring to mind a will, an unequivocal affirmation on the part of many foreign-born Montrealers of their belonging to our society, of their living in this city that their choices, or more often chance and necessity, have brought them to.

When the Montreal Life Stories project asked us to host this exhibition, it was only natural that we accept. This was to be the crowning activity of five years of research, mobilisation and creativity in the area of oral history, an area that we have been exploring for more than a decade. In addition, over several years, we had developed a cordial and collaborative relationship with a valuable academic partner, who shares our values and who initiated this project, the Concordia University Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. Through their director, Steven High, and their project coordinator Eve-Lyne Cayouette Ashby, bonds were forged, and expertise shared for our respective projects.

However, there is even more. The mission of the Centre d'histoire de Montral, a Museum and Interpretation Centre of the City of Montreal, is to show, and I quote, how the history of the people who inhabited and still inhabit Montreal has created the urban environment, left tracks and defined the identity of the Metropolis. In order to do this, it offers up its expertise, and often works in collaboration with groups that wish to trace and spread their history. In this manner, it contributes to the showcasing of Montreals cultural diversity and promotes better intercultural understanding between citizens. The exhibition could thus not find a more appropriate place than our museum and our programs.

For us, this exhibition is another way of sending these words of welcome to old and new Montrealers: You are part of history!