Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Campaign to Ban the Carriage Trade in Montréal

Anne Streeter is an unstoppable activist who campaigned endlessly for many years to get a ban on the calèches in Montréal. She co-founded "Action Anti-Calèche" in the late 80s which has now joined forces with the "Anti-Caleche Defense Coalition". The following account of her activism to end the carriage trade in Montréal proves that getting results requires devotion, consistency and patience. Thank you Anne & Jean!

Jean LeMarquand and I formed Action Anti -Caleche in 1989 and
organized our first demonstration that August in Old Montreal. We
appeared at City Hall and over the years petitioned three different
mayors (Dore, Bourque & Tremblay). Every summer we leafletted on
weekends - educating tourists and encouraging them not to support the

By-law 5405 pertaining to the carriage trade, mainly dealt with the
condition of the carriages, comportment of the drivers, routes etc.
There was virtually nothing in it for horses except that they should
not work more than nine consecutive hours. This was completely
ignored. We clocked horses doing double shifts, from noon until early
the following morning!

Over the years our pressure managed to upgrade the by-law twice.
Licenses were reduced from 65 to 25 and the temperature limit was
reduced from 32 to 30 celsius. These were significant gains under the
circumstances but we always lobbied for a ban.

This has been a discouraging exercise as the trade is so ingrained in
Montreal. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The horse
barns and trade take place in an area of the city that is rapidly
becoming gentrified. Real estate is expensive and development is on the move.
The carriage owners could conceivably truck their horses in daily but
that would be an expensive operation that probably doesn't make much
economic sense. 

A city counselor recently led me to believe that we
might not have a carriage trade within five years. Here's hoping!”

Action Anti-Calèche Flyers