"We've put an emphasis on hiring as many people from the marginalized Aboriginal population — people experiencing homelessness or people who struggle," said Rachel Deutsch, Cabot Square project manager with Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy NETWORK.
The small building in the park has been renovated and will house a cafe run by community group L'Intinéraire, which aims to help marginalized and homeless people find employment.
That building will also be home base for two outreach workers and a university student.
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The outreach workers have been providing support in the area for the past year. That often includes accompanying people to access services elsewhere in the city, but once the park officially reopens they will focus more on Cabot Square.
A university student, who is Aboriginal, has been hired to stay in the park office, provide pamphlets with information about resources and call outreach workers or police officers when necessary.
Aboriginal artists have also been hired to give workshops in the park.
The goal is to recognize their skills and expose non-Aboriginal Montrealers to their talents.
"It's my first time being asked to carve at Cabot Square...it's exciting," said Simiuni Nauya, a soapstone carver who will do workshops this summer.
Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy NETWORK has been meeting with the Ville-Marie borough and Montreal police to plan how to make the new Cabot Square safe and welcoming for everyone.
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