Peace Park is a documentary about a turf war ragging in a small park in the heart of Montreal’s downtown core. Fighting for the public space is a community of lifers that consists of drug dealers, crack addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, and the homeless. There is also a community of skaters who use this spot because it’s perfect for skateboarding. The two communities battle daily over the space, but there exists a larger conflict with the city and broader elements of society who see both groups as “undesirable”.
Local skateboarder David Bouthillier has chronicled these conflicts for the past 12 years as the city and police embarked on measures bordering on the absurd in an attempt to rid the park of these communities and clean up the area’s image.
The documentary explores the historical importance of the neighborhood and how a series of attempts by the city to clean up the area has contributed to the current situation in the park. It looks at the present political conflicts between corporate greed and grassroots artists, and how different forms of underground culture, particularly skateboarding and graffiti, have made their mark on the public space.
A theme of tolerance is weaved throughout the story, told through interviews and personal accounts matched with raw, violent and highly disturbing footage that reveals a unique glimpse into the reality of the street life for many metropolitans.
A human perspective is maintained by showing individuals with problems that need addressing instead of a single problem while highlighting broader social and urban problems.