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Film noir au Canal

Perfect setting

Serge Turgeon is undoubtedly a passionate and very involved resident of his neighbourhood. Since 2008, he has organized several clean-up efforts with the residents of the Sud-Ouest borough, but little by little, the idea of ​​creating a more festive project was growing.

“I found out that I liked doing things with my neighbours.” The idea blossomed: after cleaning the public space, Turgeon would enliven it through an organized event.

Credit : Annie St-Amant

“Positive feedback”

Although the Lachine Canal is full of life during the day, in the evening it’s another story. “Everyone was really happy to hear that volunteers from the neighbourhood wanted to organize a festival in the public space,” says Turgeon.

Since its first year, the Film Noir au Canal festival has received an extremely positive response from residents. “The first night there were about 150 of us,” says Turgeon. Passers-by stopped in astonishment, came to ask him questions, and joined the other participants.



In subsequent years, thanks to visitor feedback, the festival has been refined. Since the second edition, film experts have started to introduce the films. Jazz musicians are also onsite to inject a little atmosphere before each screening. “We noted that more and more people were arriving early, so our idea was to create a nice picnic atmosphere for cinema lovers and/or neighbours who want to enjoy the site, but also talk to each other about the movies,” says Turgeon.

The importance of involving the public

Barely 50 years ago, the neighbourhood was very lively. But in the 1970s, following the zoning changes, it was abandoned. “Ten years ago, only 200 people lived here. The neighbourhood is experiencing a great rebirth and we need to rediscover its collective spirit,” enthuses Turgeon.

“I think it’s important to create a community spirit if you don’t want to be just a heap of condos. But to succeed, we can’t ask our elected or public officials to do everything. I think that if you have a rich community life, even if you don’t participate it in, but that you know that it exists, it does a world of good for everyone. Afterwards, we recognize our neighbours or we have a sense of security when we walk in the neighbourhood because we’ve sat in a park with 300 of our peers. We even reached 1,000 people one night last year.”

The 2017 edition

In 2017, the Film Noir au Canal Festival hosted a great variety of musicians to animate the pre-film picnic time: trombonists, trumpeters and harp players are expected to perform. Experts in cinema will still present the films and the program will feature three French police films with English subtitles and three American films with English subtitles.

For Serge Turgeon, it’s so easy to create for the community. He works full time as a publisher of stationery products, but finds all the time necessary for his activities as a volunteer. “If it was complicated, I would not be able to do it,” says Turgeon, modestly. And when asked what experience he wants to offer people who come to his festival and how he imagines it evolving within the next 5 years, his answer is still very modest: “I would like people to remember how good it feels to be spending time with your neighbours outside and how beautiful our neighbourhood really is. If the festival is still the same in 5 years, I will be very happy. As long as the evenings are beautiful, people have a good time, they don’t leave before the end and there is a beautiful harmony, for me it’s even more important than having a thousand people.”