Q.Wow: the will to enhance the Québec territory

A project born of an encounter

“Great minds think alike!” This is how we could summarize the opportunity created from the pooling of ideas from ConstructLab and Le Comité.

ConstructLab is a Berlin-based organization that works to set up collaborative construction practices for ephemeral or permanent installations. In Montréal, it was behind the Mont-Réel project in 2017. During the collective construction of this wooden structure on the future science campus of Université de Montréal, Marie-Philip Roy-Lasselle—the Q.Wow team’s social innovator—had the opportunity to work with the ConstructLab team. Their methodology and ways of working together quickly sparked an interest in the various initiatives of Alexander Romer, the founder of this organization.

Among their many projects, the WoW (workshop on wheels) deployed in Europe prompted Marie-Philip to call upon her network and create a Québec version of this mobile unit, which would meet with citizens to create regional opportunities.

At the same time, an idea had already begun to germinate over at the cooperative group Le Comité and in the mind of one of its partners. Le Comité, which offers design services for social innovation through a collaborative approach, wondered how to democratize and disseminate knowledge about architecture and design in regions across Québec. While they were imagining a mobile tool that would enable encounters with citizens and open discussions about land use planning, public spaces and the development of towns and cities, the meeting with ConstructLab came just at the right time to concretize the Q.Wow project.

Investing the public space in Québec’s cities and towns

Born of a desire to enrich and enhance the Québec territory, Q.Wow is a mobile construction workshop that aims to create a dialogue between individuals and the community.

By acting as a facilitator for project leaders, the goal is to test, develop and share new practices in the use of public space through participatory design.

“Having already participated in installations and projects in the regions, I know the needs are very great. People are increasingly interested in understanding the issues, seizing creative opportunities and taking part in structuring projects. What motivates us is to initiate projects for and with communities, to create moments of discussion between citizens and to respond to land use planning problems.”
Emilie Gagnon – Le Comité, project leader for Q.Wow

By supporting creative initiatives or citizen projects within Québec municipalities, the project aims to occupy a place, to instill a unifying, creative and festive vision and to leave a legacy in keeping with innovative practices in urban, events and social design.

Developing the Q.Wow project with the MIS Civic Incubator

Having discovered the MIS Civic Incubator through their networks and social media, the Q.Wow team—Marie-Philip Roy-Lasselle, Léonie Hottote and Emilie Gagnon—jumped on the opportunity to submit their candidacy to the call for projects for the first 2018–2019 cohort.

“For us, investing in the Civic Incubator allowed us to better understand our respective roles in the project during and after the Incubator. We’ve also integrated the tools made available to us and apply them within our current projects. Also, we met many inspiring people with whom we are developing various projects and partnerships.

For Q.Wow, the Civic Incubator allowed us to create an innovative argument for the project and to understand the different levels of social impact.” 

The Q.Wow team

“We seized this opportunity to validate our concept but also to understand how the work between Constructlab and Le Comité would be organized, which included establishing a defined period during the week to move forward with development of the project. We also learned to work together, as collaborators. For our part, we particularly enjoyed the one-on-ones and the team coaching that let us advance quickly and we would have loved to have had even more!”

The Q.Wow team

Q.Wow : la volonté de valoriser le territoire québécois / Q.Wow: the will to enhance the Québec territory

Next steps for Q.Wow

Q.Wow continues its deployment with the development of a communication and archive tool to share between WoW in Europe and Q.Wow in Québec. The translation and formatting of the tool is underway as of the fall of 2019. This approach was supported and made possible thanks to a grant awarded by the MIS, obtained after the incubation period.

While the team is looking for funding and is working on the design of the mobile unit, discussions are underway with a first municipality for a potential deployment. This is a very encouraging step, stay tuned! 

Three alumni of the program look back

  • Civic incubator,
  • News,

The potential realization of a positive-impact project idea—one that has long been brewing in the back of their minds—has motivated over one hundred change-makers to join the MIS Civic Incubator.

Incubateur civique, cohorte 2022 - Construis ton vélo : la culture du vélo au service de l’égalité des chances et de la justice sociale

Construis ton vélo: bike culture for eq...

  • Civic incubator,
  • Cohort 2022,
  • News,

“Thanks to our project, young people will be able to create links between themselves and their peers. They will become actors in their neighborhoods and ambassadors for bike culture in…

Incubateur civique, cohorte 2022  - Ouitogether : mettre en valeur les expressions culturelles diverses à Montréal

Ouitogether : Showcasing Montréal’s d...

  • Civic incubator,
  • Cohort 2022,
  • News,

One in four Montréalers is an immigrant, according to Statistics Canada. The city is home to over 120 cultural communities from all five continents.