Ralph Gregory S.

When I went to the Maison culturelle et communautaire in Montreal North for the opening of the artist Rose-Élise Cialdella’s exhibition, there was a young man with a fine presence that served drinks at the entrance to the exhibition hall. He told me with amusement that people sometimes found him a resemblance to PK Subban, especially when he leaves his beard grow a little!

Ralph Gregory Is called by one or another of his names. I imagine that his intimate friends know which he prefers. Let's call him Gregory for short, at the risk of being mistaken.

After holding a summer job in day camps, Gregory realized he could apply for the jobs offered by the city of Montreal. As a student, he holds a part-time job on call with right of refusal, which allows him to work without putting at risk his studies. His assignments are varied: from welcome agent at the Cultural Centre to surveillance of sports activities.

Born in Haiti, he first lived Ahuntsic after his arrival. He completed his primary school there before his family moved to Montreal North. His father originally came here alone, followed by his mother and then by the four children. Gregory is the third in the family. He completed a Cegep diploma in accounting and management and is preparing to undertake a Bachelor of Management program this fall.

A sportsman by nature, he loves basketball and soccer. He also goes to the gym, primarily for weightlifting. Musically, he prefers soft-rock and techno music. One of his favorite stars is David Guetta. Out of curiosity, I asked him who would be his Haitian idol. I expected to hear the name of a singer or athlete, but after a moment's reflection, he said, "Dany" in reference to the writer Dany Laferrière. This name might well have been the answer of a person born in Montreal asked to name a preferred Quebec personality!

I also asked him if after living more than half his life in Montreal, he felt more a Quebecer than a Haitian. He said he was not yet at that point. He did note however, during his last visit to his native country, that people did not all understand him as easily, although he still speaks Creole at home.

Identity issues are sometimes more complicated than one would think!

Ralph Gregory in Montréal-Nord's Maison culturelle et communautaire

Guy A.

I didn’t have to look far to find Guy. He lives in the neighborhood and came knocking to our door with some garlic flower for us without knowing what waited upon him! Nevertheless, after I explained my project, he was willing to take the pose and had many stories to tell.

Born on the Plateau, his first move came after his wedding in his twenties. It was three houses away from his parent’s. Having married a young woman who was virtually his next door neighbor, he moved with her and his in-laws after the wedding! They have been a couple for over fifty years now. From that era, he has memories of seeing fields with cows west of Millen Street, when he took the tram to get to Belmont Park, a popular destination at the time.

Guy and his wife live in Sault-au-Récollet since 1965 in a duplex paid $ 28,000 at the time. Cows and fields were things of the past by then, but for less than 10 years. They had left the Plateau, which in those days, was far from the fashionable borough it has become today, because, as he said, "downtown was moving up." It must be said that this was a time of great demolitions south of Sherbooke Street under Mayor Drapeau and the number of dwellings was in free fall in the Centre-Sud.

He had many jobs, but what he is most proud of is the years he spent as an officer at Barnes Security Agency. It was then a prestigious agency that watched over the safety of many financial institutions and many of the consulates in Montreal. His position allowed him to carry a Smith & Wesson 38 Special equivalent to that of the police. He even claims to have suffered some shots without a scratch. He later worked for the city to issue parking tickets.

When he arrived in the neighborhood, he was for three years a churchwarden at St-Paul-de-la-Croix church. He contributed to the installation of a sound system, the addition of sprinklers and various building maintenance tasks. He knows the attic of this temple well.

If you are looking for someone who can help you learn more about the residents of the neighborhood, this outgoing man has seen a lot of folks in his life.

Guy A.