September 2009 : Jeanne Ridao [fr]

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Jura and its hills is a favourite place of Jeanne Ridao. She finds in that region what she loves about France: “open spaces, abundance, and authenticity.” These qualities are found in Canada which might have given her a reason to expatriate there.

Jeanne arrived in Toronto in 1989 to continue her studies in Literature and Philosophy at Glendon College. But she soon found herself in the professional life, taking her away from her educational goals. She made her first steps as a professional in Toronto and adapted easily to the local work environment. After working at the Bureau des Éditeurs du Conseil Législatif for few years, she came back to France temporarily; there she took courses at the Photography Academy of Paris and discovered the vibrant Parisian cultural scene. “Back then, digital photography didn’t exist, so today my education is partially obsolete”, she admits, smiling but without regret.

This come-back to France was just a step and the return to Canada was obvious in her mind. She was hired as a press officer at KOCH international, a Toronto-based music company. Jeanne made her way in the music industry by organizing tours and producing shows; she brought her own touch in promotional materials. Performing arts – any of them – and the cultural scene fascinate her; she thrives by working for them. She is now in charge of communications at « Parkdale Liberty Economic Development Corporation », an association that works to rehabilitates the Parkdale and Liberty neighbourhoods: “Queen West has totally lost its charm due to the construction of the highway. The lake has been taken away from its residents, in a way cutting them of one of the most beautiful places of Toronto”.

This association supports any impulse that would allow these neighbourhoods to get back the charm of their past and also to build a strong base for their future. For the last few years, Parkdale-Liberty has taken care of the organisation of the “Queen West Art Crawl” festival, an interdisciplinary cultural event spanning from Bathurst to Roncesvalles. More than 250 artists will gather at the 7th edition of the festival, from September 18th to September 20th 2009. Store owners will also participate by turning their shops into artistic meeting points. Walking by themselves or with their family, the residents will be able to get back their spaces, their streets, their parks; in one word they will have the opportunity to rediscover their neighbourhoods in the exciting atmosphere of the cultural activities…

Jeanne admits that, like many French people, she was seduced by the Canadian multiculturalism and the mutual respect that prevails here. The “Queen West Art Crawl” festival, thanks to its colours and sounds, seems to be making a fine example of these values that are essentially Canadian…

Last modified on 17/01/2012

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