Celebrate Montreal’s radio history with a self-guided soundwalk, thanks to the Centennial of Broadcasting in Canada

by Mariana Mejía Ahrens

Radio in the city: 100 years of history in Montreal

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of radio broadcasting in Canada. To celebrate the history and development of radio technology, the Musée des ondes Emile Berliner and the Société Québécoise des Collectionneurs de Radios Anciens (SQCRA), along with other generous partners in the Montreal region, came together to organize the Centennial of Broadcasting in Canada.

The Centennial is a year-long engaging program that, originally, included a schedule of varied activities that included conferences, presentations, temporary exhibits and outreach events. As the activity schedule continues to change as the Covid19 crisis unfolds in the following months, the Centennial website has become the main virtual hub for all content about the celebration. The Centennial team has published, and continues to update regularly, different kinds of articles and virtual activities from all of our institutional partners.

Interested in creating exciting online content, we recently released a virtual Heritage Trail that features the pioneers of radio technology and the locations around Montreal that witnessed radio history being written. The trail is divided into two circuits that invite you to explore locations through the Old Port, downtown and the South-West borough. An interactive map and detailed circuit guides are available on the trail’s web page.

When you find yourself walking the city as you follow the trail, take a moment to pay attention to the immersive experience around you. Listen to the sounds when you stop at each location, as well as when you walk from one to the next. Think about the sounds you can identify and the quality of the present soundscape. Does the size and layout of the buildings change this quality? What about the materials of their surfaces? And as you read the descriptions of the historic events that occurred at the beginning of the 1900s in these same locations, try to imagine the sounds that past urban dwellers of Montreal would have experienced then. How would they compare to the sounds you experienced? Are any of those sounds still present today?

We hope this heritage trail sparks your sonic curiosity as an active city explorer and encourages you to continue learning about the important radio heritage of Montreal.

*If you choose to walk the trail outside, we encourage you to follow safe distancing guidelines to ensure your safety and the safety of your fellow urban explorers