Montreal activist Lucia Kowaluk awarded Order of Quebec

WATCH: Long-time Montreal activist Lucia Kowaluk receives the Order of Quebec from Premier Philippe Couillard. Global’s Caroline Plante reports.

QUEBEC CITY – Premier Philippe Couillard awarded the prestigious Order of Quebec to long-time community activist Lucia Kowaluk Tuesday.

Kowaluk has fought for Montreal’s impoverished and marginalized for five decades.

She has managed homeless shelters, led citizens’ movements for greening and traffic calming and founded the Montreal Ecology Center.

Her biggest success was facing down bulldozers to save heritage houses in the Milton-Park neighbourhood.

The project is now the largest housing co-operative in North America.

Lucia Kowaluk was named to the Order of Canada last year.

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On Tuesday, she was named a knight of the Order of Quebec and received her insignia from Premier Couillard.

Kowaluk told Global News she felt honoured – but that it didn’t mean she would be slowing down anytime soon.

“As long as I have energy I’ll keep going,” she said.

“Right now our project is trying to find good community uses for some of the hospitals that are being emptied out – particularly the Hotel Dieu and the Chest hospital.”

Kowaluk currently heads a coalition of over 20 groups fighting to transform the empty hospitals into housing.

She is known for her remarkable perseverance and said Montrealers can count on her to pursue talks both on the provincial level as well as with Montreal mayor Denis Coderre.

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