Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand has initiated an all-out effort to have a park in Montreal named after Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.
Rotrand told The Suburban last week that at the June 25 Côte des Neiges-NDG borough council meeting, he pointed out that Toronto adopted a motion to name a park after Wiesel, who died in 2016.
“I thought it would be meaningful for Montreal to do so as well,” the councillor added.
Rotrand has sent out letters to Jewish community organizations and others “to see if there is support.
“I’ve started phone call follow ups and there does appear to be interest,” he explained. “I intend to raise the matter at the Aug. 17 Montreal city council meeting.”
In his letter to various organizations, Rotrand points out that landmarks in New York and Paris acted to name landmarks after Wiesel, and Côte St. Luc named a new park after the Nobel laureate in late 2017.
“It is my hope that Montreal can follow suit with an appropriate gesture that will give prominence to honouring the exemplary life of Elie Wiesel,” the councillor’s letter says. “My perspective is to try to bring this project to fruition by July 2, 2021, the fifth anniversary of Elie Wiesel’s passing.
“He was a strong spokesman for human rights, a great humanitarian and an eloquent voice for the Jewish people,” Rotrand wrote. “The Norwegian Nobel Committee called Elie Wiesel a ‘messenger to mankind’ when awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.”
“Wiesel spoke against injustice wherever it reared its head and lent his voice and influence to those who were victims of genocide and violence. He founded the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity in 1986 to advance a vision where people confront hatred, genocide and violence and to promote human dignity.”
Rotrand wrote that he believes Montrealers “will embrace a place name that honours Elie Wiesel and which challenges each and every one of us to never forget the cause of human rights.”