MONTREAL, Oct. 7, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - In a motion to be tabled at the October Municipal Council meeting, Ensemble Montréal will propose that Place des Festivals in downtown Montréal be renamed after Oscar Peterson, as a tribute to this world-renowned Montréal pianist and composer.
Born in 1925, Oscar Peterson's career extended over more than 60 years, during which he made more than 200 recordings and won many awards including eight Grammy Awards. He passed away in 2007.
"It's the least we can do to honour such a jazz legend, a man considered to be one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. This Montrealer by birth, raised in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood with his brothers and sisters, richly deserves his place in Montréal's toponymy, in thanks for all the prestige he bestowed upon our great city and on Montréal's Black community.", declared Leader of the Official Opposition Mr. Lionel Perez.
Place des Festivals, inaugurated in 2009 and situated on Rue Jeanne-Mance between Boulevard De Maisonneuve and Rue Sainte-Catherine, is closely tied to the Montréal International Jazz Festival (MIJF), where Oscar Peterson performed many times before his Montréal fans. In fact, the MIJF created an annual Oscar Peterson Award in 1990 to "recognize a performer's musicianship and exceptional contribution to the development of Canadian jazz."
"Linking my husband's name with this marvellous, world-renowned Montreal Jazz site is fantastic. Montreal is his hometown. This is where he learned to play the piano, where he gave his first concerts. Montreal was the springboard to his exceptional international career, and the city he proudly recognized throughout his life. I'm so very grateful for the efforts being made to honour his memory and his legacy with dignity. Oscar would be deeply humbled and honoured to be remembered in this way", said his widow, Mrs. Kelly Peterson.
Ensemble Montréal's initiative comes as the result of a grass-roots movement that in recent months has called for the City of Montréal to give greater recognition to virtuoso Oscar Peterson's achievements. Launched early this summer by Mr. Naveed Hussain, an online petition requested that the Lionel-Groulx metro station, located in Little Burgundy, be renamed "Oscar Peterson." The petition amassed over 27,000 signatures, but the author's request was refused by the City and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM).
"Oscar Peterson deserves recognition equal in stature to his achievements, and to the sense of pride he brought to Montrealers and the Black community in particular. That's why I enthusiastically support Ensemble Montréal's proposal to associate his name with one of downtown's most visible locations. This being said, I will continue my own efforts so we can also truly honour him in his home neighbourhood of Little Burgundy," remarked Mr. Hussain.
The motion will be debated at the Municipal Council's October 19 session.
SOURCE Ville de Montréal - Opposition officielle à l'Hôtel de Ville de Montréal
For further information: Marc-Antoine Audette, Press Attaché, Office of the Official Opposition, (438) 925-0715