The annual Christmas decorations competition with Listuguj and Pointe-à-la-Croix is going on again this year. This will be the 12th year in a row that it has been held. And like everything by The Harmony Project, it is to “build up relations between native and non-native communities in the area,” said Pierre Vicaire, one of the co-coordinators.
A bus full of people from Listuguj take an evening to go select three winners from Pointe-à-la-Croix. They drive through the streets and look at how all the homes are decorated. People from Pointe-à-la-Croix do the same in Listuguj. Participation prizes will also be awarded this year.
People can only win once every three years, so everyone has a chance.
It’s just another small initiative in The Harmony Project’s overall goal.
“It’s no different, Christmas here than it is anywhere else,” said Vicaire. “No matter if it’s here, or next door, or if it’s across the bridge, or if it’s anywhere – it’s Christmas. And at the base, that’s what we’re trying to promote.”
The Harmony Project has come a long way since it began as a way to figure out how to avoid the conflicts that were arising over a skatepark in Pointe-à-la-Croix.
“The history of our communities had it built – in their mind – that whenever our kids would go over there, it wasn’t for sharing, it was confrontation, right away,” Vicaire said.
He said it’s hard to recognize that environment today.
“There are so many positive things, or good stories, that have come out in the last 13 years.”
Through many activities and field trips, neighbours are given the opportunity to create fun memories early on.
“Keep your culture — keep your language, keep your schools, but it’s got to be based on giving yourselves some fair chances to share some fun time together,” Vicaire said.
A key focus is creating those relationships early. In fact, when kids strike up friendships, it helps mend relationships with parents, and even grandparents.
The Harmony Project has seen so many successes that work is being done to possibly make it national.
“If it can work here, we don’t see why it can’t work right across Canada,” Vicaire said.