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Plan to celebrate!
NDG CC marks its 70th anniversary
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 23 février 2012

Photo: Marie Cicchini

Board of Directors members and elected officials (standing, l to r) : Sarah Hrdlicka (appointed by the employees), Martin Duckworth (son of founder Jack Duckworth), Louis Legault, coun. Peter McQueen, Anne Usher, honorary member, mayor Michael Applebaum, coun. Susan Clarke, Dominique Barsalou, Catherine Thibault (célébrations coordinator). (sitting) Halah Ubaidi, executive director, Rita Del Grande, and Paul Shubin)

In November 2012 the NDG Community Council (NDGCC) will be turning 70 years old. The organization launched its birthday celebrations with the slogan “70 years of acting together” at a press conference Feb. 16.

The room at the NDG Sports Centre was packed: the directors and CEO of the NDGCC, Mayor Michael Applebaum and other elected officials, honorary members, representatives of organizations and institutions, members and volunteers, and invited guests like Martin Duckworth, the son of NDGCC founder Jack Duckworth.

It was a happy and proud moment for all. Everything the NDGCC has achieved over the past seven decades was highlighted, all the way back to the role of Jack Duckworth, the director of the local YMCA who started up the community organization with volunteers.

Anne Usher, honorary member and past president of the NDGCC board, was master of ceremonies. Although she was only two years old at the time, she told the story of how it all started. What better occasion could there be to highlight the organization’s dedication and its active role in supporting neighbourhood community organizations while defending and improving residents’ quality of life.

She introduced Martin Duckworth, today a renowned filmmaker whose father, an ordained priest, played a key role in the birth of the NDGCC.

“Citizens of NDG had gathered together to participate in a CBC program with the Canadian Association for Adult Education (CAEE),” explained Usher. “In 1942, the challenge was to imagine what Canada would look like come the end of the war. What can the local citizens do to rebuild? This was called the Citizens’ Forum. People were asked to sit in somebody’s living room and listen to the program, and then the CAAE provided two-pagers on the topic. We had an executive director of the YMCA by the name of Jack Duckworth who conducted the gatherings in his living room. And out of that grew the NDGCC. Thousands of residents over the years have been project volunteers. Projects were started to tackle important rural community problems. Today, they have partnerships with the City of Montreal, the local police, Emploi Québec and the Ministry of Immigration.”

Councillors Susan Clarke and Peter McQueen and Mayor Applebaum recognized the NDGCC’s major role in creating the NDG Food Depot and the NDG Senior Citizens’ Council, its different partnerships including with the local SPVM station, and its present or past involvement with the Benny Farm community development project, the Green Neighbourhood project, the NDG Tenants Association, and other NDG community organizations.

THE NDGCC is one of Montreal’s oldest community organizations, and has helped build eight others since 1943, in line with its 1943 constitution. That’s unique to Montreal – only two community councils now exist in Canada, the other one being in British Columbia.

Louis Legault, former president and current member of the board, remarked at how satisfying it is to see that after 70 years “residents continue to want to work together.”

Mayor Applebaum highlighted the quality of the NDGCC’s involvement. “We share in the aim of serving to the best of our abilities the interests of our community. We are proud to be able to count on the commitment of its members, personnel and volunteers. This commitment over the past seven decades warrants admiration!”

Upcoming events
The mayor invites all citizens to take part in activities that will mark this important anniversary. There will be a neighbourhood celebration on Aug. 19 during NDG Arts Week, an arts gala and a quality of life conference in November, and a travelling exhibition on display at several neighbourhood locations beginning this summer.

Those who wish to get involved can call Catherine Thibault at 514 484-1471.

[ Marie Cicchini ]

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