Citizen initiatives aim to rid parks, streets of winter trash

Now that winter is behind us for good, groups of volunteers across the city will spend the next two weekends cleaning up their local parks and neighborhoods.

It's part of a city initiative called La Grande Corvée de Montréal, which began in 2009, and is growing in popularity with each passing year.

Last year, more than 21,000 people took part in no less than 497 citizen cleanups across the island.

Locals contact the city on its web site if they want to organize a cleanup operation — then, they'll round up a group of people interested in helping them clean up a space. The city provides cleanup bags, gloves and t-shirts, as well as rough outlines on how cleanup operations are organized.

N.D.G. resident Gonzo Nieto is organizing a cleanup of N.D.G. Park (a.k.a. Girouard Park) and Sherbrooke St. on Saturday. He says about 20 people will be joining him for his event.

'I just think it's a good way to contribute to where we live," he says. "I know a lot of people who feel the same way. I think a lot of people litter, or have littered, and I think this is just good karma. If you're going to arrive at the end of your life, at least litter-neutral — you've picked up as much as you've put down — I think you're in a good place."

From N.D.G. Park, Nieto's party plans to head west down Sherbrooke St. 

It will be one of hundreds of separate neighborhood events to take place this year. To find out if and when a corvée is happening in your neighborhood, or to organize one, visit this section of the city of Montreal's web site.