Even though new parks are being built in cities and suburbs seemingly left and right, most street skaters are happiest when skating plazas. Ledges are all that’s needed for hours of entertainment and for a vibrant local skate culture to blossom.
Place De La Paix, or Peace Park in downtown Montreal is one of those places. The park, initially erected in 1994 to celebrate the idea of global disarmament, in the middle of what is still known as the “red light district”, has also long been ground zero for a turf war. Tensions between the drug addicts and skateboarders, who both use the space for their own respective purposes, has on occasion spilled over into violence.
With the recent destruction of Love Park in Philadelphia, one of the true global meccas of plaza skating, it is rather monumental that Dave “Boots” Bouthillier was able to gather enough support to make skateboarding legal there as of last year. Along with Southbank in London and the Los Angeles Courthouse, one should never underestimate the power of the people to preserve their beloved local skate spots.
Dave been around to document all the legal and illegal activity for a long time, and for the past five years the “Peace Park” documentary has been his effort at sharing the dynamics of the unique place with the world, as well as the effect that gentrification is having on the surrounding neighborhood.