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McGill Reporter
September 25, 2003 - Volume 36 Number 02
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Home sweet home

Montreal Matters logo

Home: a simple word with so many meanings. For some people, home is a happy safe place. For others, home is on the streets.

Throughout October, McGill University has teamed up with the CBC to explore the many facets of home as part of Montreal Matters 2003. The annual forum, spearheaded by the CBC, seeks to enhance public understanding of an issue of broad concern to Montrealers through discussion and debate.

As we approach Homecoming month, McGill offers the following events.

Books on Home

Throughout October, the McGill Bookstore will offer a 25 percent discount on books on home, including Jack Layton's Homlessness; Witold Rybczynski's Home, Avi Friedman's the Grow Home and Peeking Through the Keyhole.

Where: 3420 McTavish (www.bookstore.mcgill.ca)
When: Oct. 1 to 31

New Perspectives: Montreal and Montrealers in Art and Architecture

What: The Maxwell Mansions — Exhibit featuring drawings of private 19th-century homes given to McGill for academic purposes.
Where: 4th Floor, McLennan Library, Rare Books and Special Collections
When: Oct. 1 to 31

Home Territories: The Self, the Neighbourhood and the City

What: A talk that will explore the roles home plays within the broader community.
Who: Perla Serfaty-Garzon, director of the Montreal Urban Economic Observatory
Where: Room 910, Macdonald-Harrington Bldg.
When: 6 pm, Oct. 8

Montreal Matters partners include: the Foundation of Greater Montreal, HOUR, Concordia University and McGill University, the National Film Board of Canada, L'Autre Montreal, Habitat for Humanity, McCord Museum of Canadian History, the Montreal Municipal Libraries, The Quebec Writers' Federation and le Conseil des Metiers d'Art du Québec.

See next issue for events happening in the second half of October. For a complete list of Montreal Matters events, check: www.cbc.ca/montrealmatters.

Not lost in translation

Thumbprint illustration

Quebec Studies has moved up in the world — well, up Peel, anyway. To inaugurate their new digs, the programme is hosting a reception and launching Quebec Identity: The Challenge of Pluralism by Jocelyn Maclure, translated by Peter Feldstein. The event will be in 3644 Peel, Rm 514 at 5 pm on September 30. Contact 398-3960 for information. Quebec wine and cheese will be served.

In honour of St. Jerome's Day — or International Translation Day in these more secular times — the McGill Bookstore will be hosting the launch of Graffiti by poet Pierre DesRuisseux, translated by Louis Dudek. The event will also launch Eternal Conversations, a tribute anthology to Dudek.

Slant on architecture

Caption follows
Robert Mellin's photography from Titling

After a few minutes in Robert Mellin's current exhibit in the Macdonald-Harrington building you can almost taste the salty Atlantic air, feel the cold Eastern fog and smell the split cod drying on the flakes down by the pier. Step inside and have a cuppa tea, why don't you dearie, and let Mellin's collection of photographs, drawing and interviews transport you to the Eastern Isle. The exhibit is drawn from Mellin's book Tilting: House Launching, Slide Hauling, Potato Trenching, and Other Tales from a Newfoundland Fishing Village (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003).

Tilting is a fishing outport on the extreme tip of Fogo Island. Mellin spent years interviewing residents and sketching the houses, outbuildings, fish flakes and furniture of the town.

"That location is one of the last places in Newfoundland where you can still find the full range of small structures once associated with a family-based inshore fishery," he explained.

A Robert Mellin photograph

"I've tried to capture some of the local history and stories of how people went about doing their work of drawing fish or hauling lumber or moving houses or trenching potatoes." (Trenching potatoes was what Newfoundlanders did to improve their poor soil — by fertilizing it with capelin and kelp.)

Mellin's investment in the community goes beyond his interest in what is called in his field "vernacular architecture." Shortly after beginning his research in Tilting he purchased a house there which he has restored. Visitors to his exhibit can see photos of the home, along with a collection of stencils used to label barrels of fish for export that Mellin rescued from an abandoned building. These line the bottom of the exhibition walls.

"When I put them up in the exhibit I tried to create a random pattern of words or terms that you could go from one to the other to see the range of places that they sent the salt fish — some went to Spain, some to the West Indies — and the different grades of fish that are implied by the way they are named," he said.

"It's a bit of decoration, but it's also a lighthearted way to get people to see that there are real things here and small things that are worth paying attention to."

So far this exhibit has been shown here and in Toronto, but Mellin hopes that it will find space in other venues — especially now that the town of Tilting has been designated a National Historic Site.

Tilting: An exhibit of the book by Robert Mellin Macdonald-Harrington, Room 114 until October 3.

Mountain man

You'd think that by their very nature mountains would be big enough to look after themselves. Not so: the geologic behemoths are besieged both by those who would like to exploit their resources, and those that aspire to enjoy their magnificence.

Larry Hamilton, vice-chair for mountains of the International Union for Conservation of Nature is coming to McGill to discuss the importance of mountains to the global ecosystem.

Hamilton's talk will be illustrated by numerous slides and promises to be of interest to students, activists, outdoor enthusiasts and academics alike. A former Cornell professor, Hamilton worked as a logger after graduating from University of Toronto, participating in one of the last log drives in Northern Ontario. He's worked for agencies as varied as UNESCO and the World Bank.

"Mountains, Powerful and Fragile: Our Responsibility for their Care. An evening with Larry Hamilton," Stewart Bio, Rm S/14, September 30, 8 pm. Admission $8. Presented by the Alpine Club of Canada, Montreal section, and CKUT in association with the McGill Outdoors Club.

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