Senior-friendly Montreal park inaugurated

A park dedicated to seniors was inaugurated last month thanks to an initiative by the Quebec government to create senior-friendly cities.

“In 2011, the mayor of Montreal confirmed the city’s commitment to Municipalite Amie des Aines, and we subscribed to different principles of that program, going from words to action,” Ville St. Laurent Mayor Alan de Sousa said in a phone interview.

At the corner of Muir and Montpellier, in an area with many of seniors, Caron Park covers more than 18,000 square metres. The renovation cost $420,000, including $100,000 from the Quebec government.

The first project under the program includes a sheltered stage so seniors can get involved in such activities as theatre or singing. “We also enlarged the space around the stage so people could do line dancing and we added a separate trail where seniors could try out different work-stations” to exercise, de Sousa said.

There are instructions with pictures at each exercise station, which range from stretching to pushups, clearly outlining how to use the equipment.

“The equipment is very user friendly, there are no lineups and the workouts can be done at the individual’s own pace,” de Sousa said. “I didn’t see anything that would preclude using the equipment in winter. It’s for everyone and the actual equipment is fairly solid, good for all the community.”

De Sousa said Caron Park there are four similar parks in the area. “Wherever you live, hopefully you have one with close access to your home. We want to build a community in better physical shape with more attention to health.”

The park was designed to be environmentally friendly, de Sousa said.

“We had an environmental focus and used LED lights, which have reduced energy consumption, along the pathways.”

De Sousa called the initiative a signature project for seniors in the community. They were consulted from the beginning, expressed their needs, participated in obtaining funding by visiting different ministers and saw the project grow from concept to realization.

“They were active participants, and confirmed to us that we were on the right track.”

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