Cubs take over city hall

Westmount Independent
May 26-27, 2009

The Westmount Park Cubs were at city hall on May 21 for an in-depth civics lesson, courtesy of Westmount city councillor John de Castell and city clerk Mario Gerbeau.

Stops included deciphering the Westmount crest on the steps of city hall, ringing the ship’s bell of the HMCS Westmount and a mock council session –
complete with agenda, residents’ questions and journalists. How many residents know that the ravens on the city crest are due to Westmount’s previous incorporation as the “Town of Côte St. Antoine”? Well, these Cubs do. Councillor de Castell explained that the city’s former patron saint, St. Anthony/ Antoine of the Desert (251-356), was fed by the birds while he was living a hermit’s life.

The highlight for many was a visit to the rarely seen, room-size model of the
city, which shows all the parks, roads and buildings, including individual houses. The Cubs pointed out their own residences and answered questions from their leaders about major buildings. The future voters had some of the same
concerns as Westmount’s current electorate. When asked what was the most important building in the city after city hall and Victoria Hall, the answer came back, “The arena!”

Back in the council chamber, de Castell and Gerbeau explained the various levels
of government and their respective jurisdictions, as well as the roles of the mayor, councillors, administration and journalists. Once again, the youth mirrored the interests of their elders. When asked what municipal governments actually did, one Cub answered, “Family Day,” which takes Saturday, May 30.
Kids will be kids, though. The loudest response of the evening was to a question
about whether the Cubs were ready for a cookie break. The answer was an enthusiastic, “Yes!”