Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, May 15, 2018 — Key Chinatown merchants and residents are now calling on Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante to cancel the public toilet installation in Sun-Yat-Sen Park and to set up a procedure to consult the community on all Chinatown matters.

Last month, the City began construction work in the park to install the public toilet, which closed off half of the small Park. The toilet will be eventually installed in the Pavilion. Sun-Yat -Sen Park was inaugurated in 2001, with financial contribution from the Government of the Republic of China, among others. It is the only open space with a few trees located at the corner of Clarke and De La Gauchetière West. It is also often used by groups for tai chi exercises and cultural events such as Chinese Ancestors' Day, the Fête nationale du Québec and Canada Day - all of which are now derailed due to the toilet construction.

“Since going public two Sundays ago, we have massive response from the Chinese community in and outside Chinatown, and almost every one is opposed to the City's unilateral decision on the toilet,” said Wilson Wong, President of the Chinese Association of Montreal (CAM), the oldest Chinese community organization in Montreal, founded at the end of the 19th century. CAM is joined by the Montreal Chinese Community United Center, the Chinese Freemason Society and the Vietnamese Chinese Association in its opposition to the toilet.

“Merchants and residents, young and old, native-born and immigrant, Cantonese-speaking and Mandarin-speaking, everyone I talked to is against it,” he added.

“The toilet has now become a symbol of the City’s cultural insensitivity and disrespect towards the Chinese community of Montreal,” added CAM Vice-President Bryant Chang.

“Only in Montreal is Sun Yat Sen, known as the founding father of the Republic of China, officially associated with a dirty four-letter word, and this is highly shameful,” Chang said. Sen visited Canada and Montreal in the 1900s to gain support for China.

Many Chinatown merchants and groups have yet to receive a call from Mayor Plante, who is also the Mayor of the Ville-Marie borough where Chinatown is located. They have suggestions for alternative sites and are waiting for the City to consult them.

Last Tuesday, local Councillor Robert Beaudry, who is also the Executive Committee member responsible for commercial and economic development, sent a note to CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi to suggest a meeting. As of yesterday, Niemi has yet to receive a call. CRARR is helping Chinatown merchants and groups organize against the public toilet.

Local merchants noted that construction work, which was halted since they went public to protest the toilet, has now continued.

“Mayor Plante should flush the decision down the toilet”, said Bill Wong, Secretary of the Sun Yat Sen Park Foundation. “She should set up a process to consult with Chinatown merchants and groups in order to avoid decisions that go against Chinatown's interests and needs. Her record on diversity and inclusion has taken a big hit with this toilet,” he concluded.