Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks on the 375th anniversary of Montréal
Thank you, Manuela Alix, for that very warm welcome. Hello everyone. What a pleasure to see you here, dignitaries, but especially Montrealers and visitors.
I can’t help but be in this beautiful day, and by the way, if you’re a visitor to Montreal, every day is like this, so come back in January, you’ll love it as well. Welcome to Montreal. Welcome to a celebration of our city, a celebration that traces back 375 years since Montreal’s founding. But that traces back a millennia of this island being a meeting place for First Nations, for indigenous peoples who built lives, loved, lost, fought, celebrated and built a stronger future for the communities and themselves. Over the past 375 years we have grown together, we have made many errors. We carry the scars. But part of being an open, modern, vibrant city is recognizing the errors of the past and building always together for a brighter future. And that’s what we do hand-in-hand in true partnership with indigenous peoples across this country.
It’s a great pleasure to be here with you this morning to celebrate Montreal, not only as prime minister but especially as a proud member of parliament for Montreal representing Montrealers.
You know, I grew up here in Montreal. I bought my first apartment on Roy, and it was on the Main where I met the woman who would change my life. We were even married a few streets away. And it was in a supermarket parking lot in Park Extension where I began my political career.
When I was 13 years old I left Ottawa to discover my new home like millions of other people have done in the last 375 years, and so it is a pleasure to have the chance to celebrate here in Montreal with all of you.
Montreal is one of the largest French-speaking cities in the world, a hub of the Canadian economy and a cultural centre of international renown. It is also a place of proud and genuine multiculturalism. If you visit my riding, the magnificent Papineau riding, you can easily travel to the four corners of the globe by going from one neighbourhood to the next. Today, Montreal is an open and cosmopolitan city. Its French roots and Aboriginal origins, its contributions from various communities and people who have come to live her from around the world have made this city one of a kind.
Everyone is free to be themselves and to flourish in a city that belongs to all of us because we know that our diversity is indeed our greatest strength.
We have chosen not only to live together but also to succeed together. First Nations, Francophones, Anglophones and people who have come from all over the world, speaking different languages and practising different religions, women, men, young people, those young at heart, those of all sexual orientations and identities, what we are celebrating today, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia...
... That is what makes Montreal an example of a pluralistic society for the rest of the world. We, Montrealers, understand that identities can be added. We can be proud Quebecers, Montrealers and Canadians without any contradiction. We can be Portuguese Montrealers, Greek Montrealers or English Montrealers. We can come from anywhere on this planet. And yet this Montreal identity brings us together, makes us who we are and gives us great pride both here and around the world.
This is what makes Montreal an audacious, ambitious, strong and proud city. Like no other.
We are here today to pay tribute to the founders of this city, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance who decided to establish their colony on land whose importance had already been recognized for the Hochelaga People. It is because of their work as well as the efforts of the settlers and indigenous peoples who joined them that Montreal took its first steps as a city.
Could they imagine that this tiny French colony with an uncertain future would become the metropolis that we know today? Perhaps they hoped for this, and they would be proud to see that together we are continuing with their ambitious plans.
And if the Montreal of today is very different from the Ville-Marie of yore, it is still a strong community based on the values of sharing and mutual assistance as we have witnessed once again during the terrible recent floods. These are the same values that will ensure that Montreal, my city, your city, will be a success for centuries and centuries to come.
Thank you everyone. Happy Birthday, Montreal!