The art of argument will be highlighted in Montreal on March 30, 2011. The Walrus, in conjunction with McGill University and the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, will be holding a one-night debate on civic engagement and city building. While the official question to ponder is not set in stone, Montreal provides a suitable backdrop for the topic at hand.
“City building is on the table in most major Canadian cities,” said David Leonard, manager of events and special projects for The Walrus Foundation. “Montreal has a really unique identity, it’s a city that is very aware of itself, and I think that that conversation can take a lot of interesting directions.”
The Walrus, a national magazine launched in 2003, first began hosting debates in 2008, the latest of which was held in June at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa on the artistic merit of pop art. Leonard explained that the debate would follow the standard format and would feature a moderator with two prominent speakers taking either side, who were not named by Leonard.
The partnership between The Walrus, McGill University, and the Segal Centre began with the magazine’s cover page story about Mordecai Richler and the release of Barney’s Version, a film based on the Richler novel. The feature story happened to coincide with the launch of the Mordecai Richler Writer-in-Residence Program at McGill University.
“It struck everyone as being in all three parties benefits,” explained Christopher Manfredi, McGill’s dean of arts. Leonard added that the partnership is also ideal for the magazine, “The Walrus wants to be in Montreal and we’ve wanted that for the last couple of years.”