Should we still be ashamed of coming from Laval?

December 4, 2021

Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels above all, his office in his backpack, in search of fascinating people and subjects. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all circles in this urban chronicle.

Did you know that many Laval artists are ashamed to come from this city?

When I heard Luc de Larochellière’s moving new song about his childhood in Laval-des-Rapides, it surprised me. In fact, it’s an album entirely dedicated to Laval, with references to Pont Viau and Center Laval, that the artist launched this week.

Beau Dommage has long been immortalized in the songs of Montreal’s neighborhoods; in comparison, artistically, Laval does not exist. As if life on Île Jésus were limited to Collosus and the (deceased) hazy, soulless shopping centers, dilapidated boulevards, neighborhoods without history where nothing happens, and which inspire nothing. “If I said to myself from Laval, people were smiling… Laval was a bush below Longueuil,” says Luc de Larochellière, who arrived in Montreal in the 1980s.

Photo courtesy of Luc de Larochellière

Luc de Larochellière himself designed the cover of the album and the illustrated album that accompanies it.

The unloved

The idea of ​​singing Laval did not cross his mind. “Michel Rivard began his career singing the neighborhood of his childhood. Me, I had to wait until the maturity of my 54 years to get there. “

At the launch of his album Rhapsodie Lavalloise at the Cabaret Lion d’or, I invited two young artists who call themselves Laval residents.

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Poet Ariane Gagnon, 33, admits to having given up on her native island while studying creative writing at UQAM. In her late twenties, not only did she repatriate, but she dedicated her collection entitled Dissection of disgust to “Laval, my beloved palindrome city”.

As for the musician Marc Gravel, also 33, he is pure. Because his comrades at Cégep de Saint-Laurent don’t care about his origin, he decides to outbid by adopting the artist name “Marc Gravel de Laval”.

“Made in Laval”

For three years, Mr. Gravel suggested that his city identify the books or albums made in Laval in its libraries. And he was the spokesperson for this initiative called “Made in Laval”.

Recently nominated for Gemini for the music for the series The last felquist, M. Gravel will release an album next spring. Like Luc de Larochellière, even this activist for lavallité may have to do that… in Montreal!

“Laval has 440,000 inhabitants, but there is no suitable place for an emerging artist launch, and that contributes to the problem,” he laments.

“I was unable to launch my collection in my neighborhood because there is no bookstore in Sainte-Rose,” adds Ms. Gagnon.

Turk’s Head

I do not understand the reasons for the anti-Laval snobbery. “Laval’s cultural and urbanistic model embodies the opposite of what the Plateau or Rosemont or Villeray represent and, through its proximity and this difference, Laval serves as a foil, an anti-model”, explains essayist Mathieu Belisle, whose test Welcome to the land of ordinary life explore the world of the suburbs.

According to Mr. Belisle, Laval could have peace because Montreal has found a new Turkish face. “The new foil in trendy Montreal neighborhoods is Quebec City and its garbage radios, which make people laugh and arouse contempt. ”

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