Montreal Nord: Together through basketball

For 30 years, the northern Montreal community has been meeting each year for a street basketball tournament, the largest of its kind in Quebec. The event, which has become a necessity, has a sporting and social function.

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“It represents a heritage. It is not just a sporting event. It is a gathering place where young people can meet their friends and perform in front of them. This also helps strengthen their sense of belonging,” explained Sheila Fortuny, Director of Maison des jeunes L’Ouverture, the organization that organizes the tournament.


Sheila Fortuny, director of the Maison des jeunes in Montreal-Noord.  The North Montreal Basketball Tournament will be held from August 4-7.

Felix Lacerte-Gaultier | QMI . Agency

Sheila Fortuny, director of the Maison des jeunes in Montreal-Noord. The North Montreal Basketball Tournament will be held from August 4-7.

However, the event had to be postponed over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its last edition, in 2019, 29 teams were registered, for a total of about 280 players.

Despite this forced hiatus, Ms. Fortuny is sure that the next edition, which will take place from August 4-7, will be a success. She noted, “It goes beyond North Montreal, and we have young people from all over the place coming in to participate in it. It’s a way of responding to the need to work together.

Since its inception in 1992, the tournament has also aimed to allow organizations operating in the neighborhood to reach young people more easily.

“It is also an opportunity to show them positive role models. Young people who have grown up in the neighborhood and who have excelled. We are talking about basketball, but there are also other such role models in other professions. It is important for young people to have benchmarks,” Ms. Fortuny said.

Brilliant Sheikhs

Over the years, many players who participated in the tournament managed to reach the ranks of professionals. Examples include Samuel D’Alembert, Lugentes Dort, and Benedict Mathurin.

He is currently playing as a playmaker in the Montreal Alliance, of which he is the leader, after a long international career, Hernst Laroche has fond memories.

He recalls, “We won many matches. The atmosphere was great, it was full and it was the best street tournament. I wanted to play well in front of everyone.

For him, the event was a neighborhood must-see, helping to keep the community “closely connected” and highlighting the talents of the players.

“You have to work hard, be disciplined, and really love basketball, because there are days when it is more difficult. And he advised those who want to follow in his footsteps, the more work you do, the more benefits you will get.

NCAA Southern Nazarene playmaker Sean Barthelemy hopes to be the next to reach the pro ranks. He also agreed to be the honorary president of the 28th edition of the tournament, having participated several times in previous years.


Sean Barthelemy is the Honorary President of the 28th Basketball Tournament.  The North Montreal Basketball Tournament will be held from August 4-7.

Felix Lacerte-Gaultier | QMI . Agency

Sean Barthelemy is the Honorary President of the 28th Basketball Tournament. The North Montreal Basketball Tournament will be held from August 4-7.

“You can help the youth through basketball to show them the right way,” he said. I was in their place before. If you focus on your dream, you always have a chance.”

Stephens Valentine, who competed in the tournament three times before joining the team of organizers, recalls that such successes can only have positive effects.

“It keeps hope alive and motivates young people to want to go beyond their limits to go far,” believes the young man, believing that such examples can encourage more participants to participate.

The words are approved by his close twin brother Ivins who is also part of the organizing team.

Christine Black, mayor of the Northern District of Montreal, is hoping the event will have the expected success, after a forced outage in the past two years.


Kristen Black, Mayor of the Montreal-Nord District The Basketball Tournament will be held on Montreal-Nord Avenue from August 4-7.

Felix Lacerte-Gaultier | QMI . Agency

Kristen Black, Mayor of the Montreal-Nord District The Basketball Tournament will be held on Montreal-Nord Avenue from August 4-7.

“It’s one of our biggest events of the year. It has a huge impact, and with all the players that have been in the tournament, who have come so far, it is very important.”

The town will also provide logistical support throughout the event.

“It’s a revival, we’re restarting it all. We hope it lives up to the expectations of the youth and that we can see the basketball tournament as we’ve known it all these years,” said Ms. Black.

The Street Basketball Tournament will take place August 4-7 at Le Carignan Park in North Montreal.

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