In recent years, green alleys in Montreal have been covered by both local and international media sources. Our green alleys are highly touted by the New York Times as “neighborhood hubs” (Freehill-Maye, October 27, 2016). Locally, reports show that they “benefit communities and the environment” (Lowrie, April 23, 2018) and are considered a “green, ecological and vibrant spaces where residents gather to chat, play or party” by international reporting (Taylor, July 26, 2018). There are over 350 alleys within the 19 boroughs of Montreal (Taylor, 2018) and they are attracting a lot of attention. However, some boroughs have little to no green alleys while others have plenty.
Over 80 green alleys can be found in the Rosemont Petite-Patrie borough while only eight are found in the Cote-Des-Neiges Notre-Dame-de-Grace borough. To be clear, neither of these numbers are bad! The Rosemont green alleys are successful and plentiful due to the pedestrian centric urban geography. The borough has gotten behind the green alley projects with a very generous budget!
In CDN-NDG, there are fewer green alleys than in Rosemont, partly because there has been less promotion, as well as a smaller budget. Residents still seem to be discovering the project, and each year there are at least one or two new alleys that apply for funding. There are many alleys in CDN-NDG that could potentially participate in the green alley program. The program requires borough residents to spearhead the project in their neighborhoods but unfortunately, participation has been lacking.
The Eco-quartier is always on standby, ready to assist residents through the process of turning their dirty, underutilized alleys into a space they can beautify and enjoy. Understandably, the program is not for everyone. Green alleys require dedicated residents to volunteer their time and work into making a public space more attractive for themselves and their neighbors. The alleys already established in the borough are successful and have become home to garage sales, block parties, and seed exchanges. Despite their success, they have the potential to have an even greater impact on the borough and its residents. More green alleys can lead to more active community members collaborating on activities and events that extend beyond the green alleys.
Together, Eco-quartier NDG and the active community members of the borough can create more unique green alleys that have brought the program so much recognition. These alleys are public spaces but in many ways they are yours for the taking! Opportunity and a great green alley await.
By Nicholas Rimanelli (Green Alley Summer Agent)

Bibliography:
Freehill-Maye, L. (October 27, 2016). Montreal’s Green Alleyways Take Visitors Backstage. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/travel/montreal-green-alleyways-take-visitors-backstage.html

Lowrie, M. (April 23, 2018). Montreal’s green alleys have environmental, community benefits, experts say. CTV News Montreal. Retrieved from: https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/montreal-s-green-alleys-have-environmental-community-benefits-experts-say-1.3896916

Taylor, L. (July 26, 2018). Montreal’s clean, green alleyways. Landscape Architecture Aotearoa. Retrieved from: https://landscapemagazine.squarespace.com/landscape-architecture-aotearoa/2018/7/20/montreals-clean-green-alleyways