Santropol Roulant was founded in 1995 by Chris Godsall, 25, and Keith Fitzpatrick, 27, at a particularly tense time in Montreal’s history.
We were all facing the upcoming referendum, high youth unemployment and persistent relegating of health care services and responsibilities from the federal government to the provincial government, and ultimately to the community.
Chris Godsall and Keith Fitzpatrick hanging outside of the Roulant in 1995
Chris and Keith, both waiters at Café Santropol, were seeing many of their friends leave the city in search of work – but the two of them were determined to stay in Montreal. Knowing that they could access some new youth employment grants if they came up with a great project, they launched the idea of a meals-on-wheels service run by young people desiring meaningful employment and work experience.
Between bicycles and the creativity and participation of the Plateau’s residents, Santropol Roulant soon became a holistic initiative that brought together the elderly, the young and people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds for everyone’s mutual benefit.
We have since grown and evolved into an influential community space and continue to learn from the many young (and young at heart) people who contribute to the vitality of the organization every day with their time, energy, ideas and support.
Now settled into the new building at 111 Roy east, the coming years will see a further expansion of Santropol Roulant’s vision and influence in the community. With the new opportunities and security afforded by our larger space in the heart of Montreal, we continue to roll on and carry out the programming that started more than a decade and a half ago, alongside the new programs that have started since then. As we look to the future, the Roulant continues to be open to initiatives and activities that will benefit both Montrealers and the city itself.