This summer, Alexandre Champagne went out to photograph our Gens du Vieux. Residents, workers, and entrepreneurs, they are the faces of our neighbourhood and our community. Significantly set apart by its historical character and unique architecture from the rest of the city, le Vieux is also a place where life is celebrated – a destination for getaways and gatherings. See their faces and learn about their thoughts and impressions.
Yann Fortier is the chief director of World Press Photo Montréal and commissioner of the photography expo, which you can find online and on signs along Saint-Claude and Le Royer Est Streets. For him, le Vieux is complex and multi-faceted. “It has an old soul, a young heart, and a very modern spirit. This is a very vibrant and lively neighbourhood. It adapts, transforms, and integrates new ideas, stimulated by the energy of the people that bring it to life (...),” he explains. And this is exactly what he wished to get across through this project.
Alexandre Champagne, photographer and social entrepreneur, has made it his objective to photograph the Gens du Vieux – the people of this neighbourhood where he began his photography passion with his father. “Le Vieux is a place of discovery and learning. It holds an energy that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s my safe space, the place that has watched me grow. (...) During the sunset, the light reflects and echoes across the buildings. It’s an exceptional sight to behold.” You can read this same quote on the sign introducing the exposition.
Here is his gallery, presented to you with the perspectives of the Gens du Vieux in digital form.
"I have a lot of words to describe Old Montreal. It’s a tight-knit community with a unique way of life. It’s as if I’ve lived here my whole life. I truly feel at home here."
DAVID MARIANI, Barista and Resident
"One word? Authentic. It’s vibrant. Its eclectic blend of architecture styles and history is incomparable. I remember a trip to Saint-Paul Street as a kid. I was so impressed."
JORDANE MUNGER, Hotel Director
"I’ve worked in le Vieux since I was young. Walking along Saint-Paul Street with the summer tourists, I felt as if I myself was on vacation. My first memory? An immense parking garage – Pigeon Hole Parking."
JEAN-CHARLES SAVARD, Resident and 3rd Generation Shopkeeper
"In this neighbourhood, I feel at peace. Its architecture reminds me of New York, where I used to live. What do I appreciate the most? Its community of residents and workers. Here, everyone has a place."
DOHA SKAF, Merchant
"Majestic. On one side, you have the city and its new architecture. Two streets later, you have modern life existing on an historic backdrop. This sudden transition is majestic."
DANE YVAN TOUALEU, Worker
"It’s an open-air museum where the modern world meets the past. Every day, I pass by the Court of Appeals building, the Ernest-Cormier Building. That magnificent structure is Old Montreal’s beauty incarnate."
Me WALID HIJAZI, Worker and Resident