The coexistence of cars, cyclists and pedestrians on Montreal streets can be a contentious issue.
On Wednesday, another ripple was added to the debate: sheep.
Biquette à Montreal –an eco-pasture initiative– shepherded ten sheep down the sidewalk on Laurier Ave. in Rosemont for the first time ever.
The urban shepherds had been keeping the sheep in Pelican Park, and led them about one kilometer to Parc Lafond a few blocks away.
“For the pleasure of citizens and the pleasure of urban shepherds we decided to move them on the sidewalk,” said Mathyas Lefebure, an urban shepherd with Biquette à Montreal.
Last year the urban shepherds made a deal with Rosemont to bring seven sheep to Pelican Park for the summer.
They were inspired after seeing the same thing in Europe during their shepherd training.
With last year’s success, they have expanded their program to ten sheep and three parks.
“The first park has been grazed for a month, now we’re trying to reach more citizens by moving them to another park,” said the urban shepherd.
With the help of twenty volunteers and members of the community, the ten sheep walked right through the neighbourhood to their second of three summer residences.
They even crossed the busy intersection of Laurier and St. Michel with no incident.
The sheep will now graze in Lafond Park each day until August 10, and the shepherds see great educational and entertainment value to them being there.
“We have yoga with the sheep for example, but for the educational part we have day-camps with kids coming in. We teach them about sheep and agriculture in general,” said Lefebure. He believes having the sheep so visible in the city helps re-establish a lost link with nature.
They had wanted to bring the sheep down the street initially, but agreed with the police that the sidewalk was a better idea.
The borough says they had no problem at all with the migration and that they had full confidence the shepherds know what they’re doing.
“I’ve done that a couple of times,” said Lefebure.
“I’ve done a six day walk with 1,500 sheep in Provence (France).”
After a few weeks at Lafond Park, the sheep will move to Beaubien Park until the end of the summer.
The urban shepherds are already in talks with Villeray and the Plateau to bring sheep to those boroughs next year.