The Montreal Borough of Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles is getting its own anthem. Can’t really call it a national anthem, because Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles is not a nation, or a province, or even a city, but that hasn’t stopped Borough Mayor Chantal Rouleau from paying Centre multimédia de l’est de Montréal (CMEM) $119 000 to make this a reality.
The funds come from the $276 000 set aside for the celebration of the 375th anniversary of Montreal in the borough and also include production of a music video featuring spots emblematic of the area. There will be citizen consultation on the song and it is supposed to take into account the historical patrimony of the area, something critics have argued is missing in the general plans for Montréal 375e.
CMEM coordinator Donald Berrigan told L’Informateur de Rivière-des-Prairies that the anthem’s goal is to bring together people in the borough’s two neighbourhoods “separated by autoroute 40.” No word on any similar attempts to create an anthem to bridge the neighbourhood divide in other Montreal boroughs, like a song to reach across the mighty Decarie and make the people of NDG one with the citizens of Côte-des-Neiges.
This will make Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles the first Montreal Borough to have an official anthem, the first since the island’s boroughs were first forged way back in 2002. The City of Montreal itself does not have an official anthem, though some of what gets played at the Bell Centre during Habs playoff games probably comes close. While Gilles Vigneault’s Gens du Pays is known as Quebec’s anthem, that acknowledgement is completely unofficial and there remains no officially sanctioned anthem of Quebec either.
So is this move groundbreaking or wasteful and pointless? Some internet commentators are already equating it with the granite tree stumps Denis Coderre plans to install on Mount Royal and reminding people that Mayor Rouleau is also part of Equipe Denis Coderre.
Are there better ways for the borough to spend the Montréal 375e money it has? Will this inspire other boroughs to do the same? Should we at least wait until the whole city has an anthem before one borough gets one? Are anthems better when they stem unofficially from the people instead of through government funding? What do you think?