Community-Based Learning Project
A special part of your program is the community-based learning project that will take place in the first week of August. With your monitor, you and your group will research, explore and investigate your theme in depth.
You will visit interesting places and interview interesting people. At the end, you will prepare and give a presentation to the students in the other groups about your experiences and what you learned.
Click on the tabs below to get more information about your project.
Camp Cosmos Summer Day Camp
In Canada, many parents send their children to day camp to do educational and fun activities during the summer when there is no school and the parents are at work. Some children spend many weeks at day camp. Some summer day camps are expensive, and have special, focused programming in music, arts, science or sports.
Montreal City Mission
Camp Cosmos is a special summer day camp offered to children of diverse backgrounds in downtown Montreal. It is operated by the Montreal City Mission, which is attached to Saint James United Church on Sainte Catherine Street.
Montreal City Mission also operates a legal clinic called Just Solutions for vulnerable and disadvantaged people and a mobile legal advice clinic for senior citizens.
Camp Cosmos is an inexpensive summer day camp for children of families from many backgrounds, from immigrants and refugees to First Nations, single parent families and anyone looking for an alternative day camp experience. The weekly activities include sports, crafts, music, stories, and outings.
There are up to 80 places at the camp for children aged 5 to 13.
Camp Cosmos has a camp at Christchurch Cathedral and another branch in the west island.
For the McGill – ICU SEA project, the theme for the week is “Japanese culture”. Working with your monitor, you will prepare activities for the children. The regular camp staff will be there to help, but as guests you will have a chance to teach Canadian children about Japan.
Santropol Roulant Community Meals-on Wheels
Santropol Roulant is a community organization based in the Plateau neighborhood of Montreal. It was founded in 1995 by two young people who wanted to use food as a way to make connections between generations.
Meals on Wheels
A meals-on-wheels service brings hot, prepared meals to people who are living with a loss of autonomy. This means it is more difficult for them to cook for themselves or leave their home to buy groceries.
At most meals-on-wheels organizations, volunteers cook the meals and deliver them directly to the clients using their cars. Often, such services are operated by volunteers at a church or other religious institutions. The clients are usually members of one particular community or district – and they are usually senior citizens.
Many seniors who live alone don't receive many visitors, so sometimes the meals-on-wheels delivery is a daily visit and a short conversation which is a way to make sure that people are OK and don't need medical help.
Santropol Roulant is very different from most meals on wheels organizations in a number of ways.
- Most of the volunteers are young people – mainly college and university students.
- Roulant means “on wheels” in French, but this service isn't about cars. Santropol Roulant volunteers deliver by bike, rollerblade, skateboard and on foot, although they do have two cars for delivering in the Cote-des-Neiges and NDG neighborhoods, which are far from the Plateau.
- Santropol Roulant is a big organization. They deliver to over 100 clients all over the city 5 days a week.
- Volunteers work every day in the kitchen preparing the meals and doing deliveries. Full time staff give instructions and organize the large operation.
- Santropol Roulant is very focused on sustainability. They compost their kitchen waste, their building doesn't waste energy, and they prefer non-polluting modes of transportation. They also have a bicycle repair workshop to teach members of the community how to fix their bikes.
They are leaders in urban agriculture. They grow hundreds of kilograms of fresh organic vegetables every summer in their rooftop gardens, on the McGill campus and at their farm in the west island. They even have their own bee hives and produce honey!
In this project, you will be an active member of the Santropol Roulant community for several days. During that time, you will meet and interview staff members and volunteers and participate in making and delivering the meals.
Visual Arts in Montreal
Montreal is a city of art and culture. It is full of museums, art galleries, public art installations and murals.
In this project, you will explore the visual arts that Montreal offers, and you will meet and interview local artists.
Urban Environmental Sustainability
In Canada, we have a beautiful natural environment, but we don`t always take good care of it. In fact, Canada is one of the worst creators of greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane because we have a large oil industry and many of us use fossil fuels to heat our homes in the cold winter.
The province of Quebec is a little better because we have lots of clean, renewable hydro electricity, but in many ways we could do much better.
However, Montrealers have come up with some very interesting and unique ways to be friendlier to the planet.
In this project, you and your group will visit and learn about several special ways our city is trying to improve sustainability.
Bixi bicycle sharing – a Montreal success story
Biosphere – the former Expo 67 building that is now a museum about sustainability
Bixi image courtesy Yanick Crépeau, Wikimedia Commons
Tomatoes image courtesy Lufa Farms
Much like in Japan, Canadian families are having fewer children, and so now the number of elderly and the number of children in Canada is almost the same at 5.9 million seniors and 5.8 million children. It is expected that by 2061, the number of seniors will have grown to 12 million, while the number of children will be only 8 million. This means that we will have many elderly to take care of.
As you know, Montreal is a very cosmopolitan city that welcomes cultural diversity, so in this option, you will be exploring how Canada is dealing with issues related to elderly care in a multicultural landscape. Special issues that are discussed in Canada are how to accommodate the needs of Canadians from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds as well as the needs of members of the LGBT community.
In this project, you will interview professionals involved in this area, including a professor from the school of Social Work at McGill University and the president of Seniors Action Quebec, an organization that “works to maintain and enhance the vitality of English-speaking Quebec seniors.” You will also meet with seniors living in Montreal. During these meetings, you will be able to ask about their lives and the obstacles they face. You will also share with them what you know about the lives of seniors in Japan.
Religious Diversity in a Multi-Cultural City
Montreal has a long history of immigration, and over the years, our city has become extremely diverse in ethnicities – French, English, Irish, Scottish, Italians, Greeks, Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Arabs, Latin Americans, Russians, and the list goes on and on.
The newcomers bring their religious beliefs with them. And when a community establishes itself here, it often builds a place of worship which doubles as a community centre. It is a place not only where religious rituals happen, but also where people can speak one's native language, and spend time with people from the same background – a place a little like home.
In this project you will visit several places of worship and talk to people there about the role of religion in the cultural communities they belong to.
Some of Montreal's most famous churches:
Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal
Saint Joseph's Oratory on Mount Royal
Mary Queen of World Cathedral in downtown Montreal
Notre Dame de Bonsecours Chapel in the Old Port
You can read more about these churches in the Places to Go in Montreal page in this handbook.