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2005 10 23
Mass Silencing at Parc Louis-Cyr

Parc Louis-Cyr is located in central Saint Henri, just south of the railway tracks behind the former Maison Egg Roll. Forgotten and largely unused, it is still on city’s maintenance schedule and city workers are perhaps some of the parks more frequent visitors. The most notable thing about this park is not the blistered asphalt and overgrown croquet pitch, but rather the ring of mature Eastern Cottonwood trees that surround its perimeter.

The bastard-child of street trees, the Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) is mostly recognizable for the drifts of cottony seeds covering the streets of Montreal each May. It is also recognizable by its sound. Thousands of small leaves, mounted on stiff petioles are shaken against one another as the wind passes through. In the autumn winds a soft rustle can escalate into a full roar, forming a significant part of the St Henri and Montréal soundscape.

Likely determined to be a “safety risk” after many had blown down in the September windstorms; early last week, all 65 trees surrounding Parc Louis-Cyr were felled. Only the weak-wooded cottonwoods were removed, with maples left untouched and standing uneasily alone in the empty park.

To stand in the centre of this park, surrounded by this army of noisemakers, with the wind rushing up and around the old factory to the south and a freight train racheting along just past the fences was one of the most intense acoustic experiences to be found in this city. Sadly, what was once one of St Henri’s most arresting acoustic spaces has been silenced.

A requiem for the 65 poplars of parc Louis-Cyr will be performed as part of the Send+Receive Festival
Sunday October 30 at 7 pm. Studio 303, 372 Ste Catherine Ouest (Belgo Bldg.) Montréal.
[email this story] Posted by Doug Moffat on 10/23 at 09:21 PM
  1. Read more about Louis Cyr at:
    and also see a statue of him in front of some very familiar trees…

    Posted by David  on  10/24  at  03:46 PM
  2. thanks for this excellent post.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  10:05 PM
  3. ahh, the benevolent tree vs. the indifferent chainsaw. great post doug.

    Posted by jeffrey allen  on  11/12  at  07:07 AM

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