Spiria logo.

Many hands make light work

May 16, 2017.

Last Friday, the sun was out, shedding its light on the efforts of fifteen Spirians who undertook to clean up the neighbourhood around Spiria Montreal.

Our clean sweep project was the bright idea of an in-house group called SpiriaEcolo, made up of Francis Poulin, Valentine Mollereau and myself, Martine Brouillard. Spiria supported us by giving us a few hours’ leave to plan the initiative and perform the clean-up with our fellow Spirians. The City of Montreal chipped in with jerseys, gloves and equipment like rakes, shovels, and garbage bags of all shapes and sizes. Organizing a clean-up is quite straightforward; just visit this website.

So, how was it?

Obviously, we were expecting to pick up quite a bit of trash, but we were surprised by the sheer number of cigarette butts littering the sidewalks and especially the dirt patches around the trees, which were basically giant open-air ashtrays.

In some spots, the trash was layers-deep, reminding us of an archaeological dig. We were left wondering when exactly was the last time some nooks and crannies got cleaned out! Another discouraging observation was the state of some of the properties. We would have liked to clean it all, but we had to save our energy!


Before and after

The bright side

One of the many good things that emerged from our clean-up was the many positive comments from neighbourhood residents. Several of them stopped to thank us, and to learn more about our efforts. Most of them thought we were City workers, and were pleasantly surprised to learn that this was a private, on-the-clock initiative. We were even hailed by one of our clients, who recognized our Spiria t-shirts.

Statistics and factoids

  • Three different teams covered about one kilometre in 1.25 hours.
  • We filled at least 7 garbage bags, plus one brown bag of leaves and branches.
  • The two most surprising items found were a bottle opener and a pregnancy test.
  • The most common items (by a landslide): cigarette butts and gum.
  • We found several snails in a laneway.


Shaking things up

Getting some air, walking around, cleaning up: we felt miles away from designing, analyzing and programming. And making our bodies work instead of our brains was hugely beneficial! Not to mention the picnic to crown our efforts (many thanks to Dinette Triple Crown!).


Now that we’ve cleaned up one corner of our city, we can’t unsee the trash everywhere else. If everyone would just clean the sidewalk in front of their own house, the load would be so much lighter, and everyone’s quality of life would improve.

Thank you to the Spiria team, without whom the clean-up wouldn’t have happened!

Francis Poulin, Valentine Mollereau, François Mayrand, Michel Émond, Isabelle Renaud, Christian Roy, Cédric Barrancos, Michel Dupont, Daniel Sauvé, Daniel Mesmin, Jérémi Leclerc-Côté, Nadia Hilario.