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魁北克市只有一家图书馆能借到英文书,从前是监狱

Anna Ben Yehuda Rahmanan 2019年09月23日

在加拿大魁北克市,有座图书馆曾经是大学,再之前则是监狱。

魁北克市莫林中心图书馆。图片来源:Patrick Matte

莫林中心是由魁北克文史学会负责的英语文化中心,位于老城区的中心,其历史与图书馆里的大部头一样令人兴奋,因为此处是城中唯一藏有大量英文书籍的地方。

然而,比该建筑的过去相比,当前其在魁北克市文化领域发挥的作用更令人惊讶。当地只有2%的人口讲英语,为何会出现最受欢迎的景点之一与英语相关?而且,著名的Québécois,即讨厌在魁北克说英语而不是法语的人们对此处有何感想?

The Morrin Centre, an English-language cultural center operated by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec in the heart of the old city, boasts a history as exciting as the tomes found within its library—the only one in town carrying a wide selection of books written in English.

Yet even more surprising than the building’s past is its current role within Quebec City’s cultural sphere. Given that only 2% of the population are English speakers, how is it that one of the most visited local attractions is completely dedicated to the language? And how do les Québécois—famously frosty about the use of English over French in town—feel about the destination?

莫林中心是魁北克市最受欢迎的景点之一。图片来源:The Morrin Centre

莫林中心所在的大楼建于1812年,当时叫魁北克普通监狱,也立第一座专门建造的监狱。1867年,监狱曾因人满为患而关闭,搬到了如今魁北克国立美术馆所在的地方。“实际上是把原来的监狱并入了(现在的)博物馆,”莫林中心执行主任巴里·麦卡洛说。“成了(建筑结构)的两翼之一。”

靠着苏格兰后裔约瑟夫·莫林博士大量捐款,该大楼后来变成莫林学院。莫林博士带来的苏格兰影响清晰可见,该建筑所在处chaussée des Écossais就被翻译成“苏格兰堤道”。许多长老会教堂也称该处为家园。

随着学院迁入,魁北克文史学会(=也是加拿大第一个学术团体与学院达成协议:学会将把图书馆迁入学院,学生可免费进入,同时仍向会员收取费用。今天图书馆仍然开放,不过学院因为入学人数太少已于1902年关闭。

The structure now known as the Morrin Centre was born as the Quebec Common Gaol, the first purposely built prison in the city, in 1812. By 1867, the jail had shuttered owing to overcrowding and was moved to where the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec stands today. “They actually integrated the old prison into [today’s] museum,” says Barry McCullough, executive director of the Morrin Centre. “It’s one of the [structure’s] wings.”

Thanks to large donations from Dr. Joseph Morrin, a man of Scottish descent, the building eventually housed Morrin College. Dr. Morrin’s Scottishness shouldn’t be overlooked: The chaussée des Écossais, where the edifice still stands, translates to “Scottish causeway.” A slew of Presbyterian churches also call the neighborhood home.

As the college moved in, the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec—the first scholarly society in Canada—struck a pact with the school: The organization would move its library within the college, granting students free access while still charging members a fee. Although the library remains open today, the college closed down in 1902 because of low enrollment numbers.

1902年5月,莫林中心。图片来源:Fred C. Wurtele

虽然付费会员可以进入图书馆,但图书馆所在大楼空置过几十年。“大楼一部分曾当过看门人的公寓数年,”麦卡洛说。“但上世纪90年代重新启用”,当地社区代表在市长支持下成立了“方便英语社区体验文化的地方”。

此后的修复工程将建筑改造成了如今的莫林中心,显然也是对之前学院的一种致敬。“尽管我们都说中心正式成立时间是2006年,但实际上直到2011年才全面投入运营,”麦卡洛指出。

重建包括翻新图书馆、以前的监狱牢房、曾经属于学校的实验室、舞厅,还有楼上一些办公室,大楼变成了不错的旅游景点。

Though paying members still enjoyed access to the library, the building where it was housed remained vacant for decades. “There was a part of it that was used as an apartment for the caretaker for a number of years,” McCullough says. “But things really started up again in the 1990s” when local community representatives enlisted the help of the mayor to establish a “place for the English-speaking community to go and experience culture.”

The resulting restoration project converted the structure into today’s Morrin Centre—clearly an homage to the former college. “Even though we say that the Centre’s official inauguration date was in 2006, in reality it wasn’t fully operational until 2011,” McCullough notes.

The reconstruction—which involved an update of the library itself, the former prison cells, a lab that used to be part of the school, a ballroom, and some offices on the upper floors—transformed the building into a viable tourist destination.

莫林中心的图书馆。图片来源:Patrick Matte

现在,魁北克文史学会以永借方式租赁,实际上拥有建筑99年,无需支付租金,但要承担维护和保养费用。(“数额相当大,”麦卡洛表示。)为了满足经济需求,员工们要带游客参观,去年就有25000多人报名,大楼也会出租给私人活动。协会申请政府补助金,也接受私人捐款。目前,个人会员费为每年20加元(15美元),家庭会员费为每年25加元(19美元)。

虽然整个建筑都值得一看,但通常最吸引人注意的还是图书馆。此处有2.6万本由志愿者委员会挑选的书籍,这是本市唯一一家藏有英语书籍的图书馆,尽管英语是加拿大两大官方语言之一(另一种当然是法语)。

Today, the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec operates the venue under an emphyteutic lease, effectively owning the building for 99 years without having to pay rent but responsible for upkeep and maintenance costs. (“A hefty sum,” McCullough says.) To meet those financial demands, the staff lead on-site tours—more than 25,000 people signed up for one just last year—and the building rents out the space for private events. The society also applies for government grants and benefits from private donations. Dues currently amount to $20 Canadian ($15 U.S.) a year for individuals and $25 Canadian ($19 U.S.) for families.

Although the entire structure is worth seeing, it is the on-site library that usually draws the most attention: Housing 26,000 books selected by a committee of volunteers, this is the only library in the city that carries works written in English—despite the fact that English is one of the two official languages of Canada (the other being French, of course).

莫林中心图书馆位于魁北克老城区中心,是建筑上的奇迹。图片来源:Patrick Matte

麦卡洛表示,19世纪60年代,当地人里有40%讲英语。如今该比例已降至5%以下。英语使用者人数减少还会持续,因为魁北克省恰好是魁北克法语语言办公室(OQLF)所在地,很多人称之为“语言警察”,该组织负责贯彻魁北克省的语言政策。根据福特诉魁北克案中加拿大最高法院的裁决,商业标志外表法语要“占明显主导地位”。

人们不禁想问:莫林中心在不太认同英语的城市里扮演怎样的角色?

据麦卡洛介绍,“莫林中心的(任务)实际上是为当地社区提供娱乐消遣,也提供英语文化项目。”被问到如何应付当地人对英语的反感时,这位执行主任表示最近态度有所转变,至少从莫林中心角度来看是这样。“根据调查,我们估计40%左右的会员实际上讲法语,” 他说。“因此,我们服务的不仅仅是英语社区。”

According to McCullough, back in the 1860s, English-speaking locals amounted to 40% of the population. Today, that number has dropped to below 5%. That narrative continues as Quebec province happens to be home to the Office Québécois de la Langue Française (OQLF), also known as the Québec Board of the French Language and referred to by many as the “language police.” The organization seeks to enforce the province’s linguistic policies, as defined by the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in the case of Ford v. Québec, requiring that French be “markedly predominant” on exterior business signs.

Which raises the question: What role does the Morrin Centre play in a city that doesn’t necessarily identify with the English language?

According to McCullough, “the [task] of the Morrin Centre really is to provide entertainment and engaging cultural programming in English for the local community.” When confronted with the supposed local antipathy toward the English language, the executive director mentions a recent shift in attitudes, at least when measured within the Centre’s context. “We estimate, based on surveys, that somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of our members are actually francophones,” he says. “So it’s not solely the English-speaking community that uses our services. ”

前往私营的莫林中心图书馆,游客可从另一个角度感受魁北克市的文化遗产。图片来源:Patrick Matte

麦卡洛接着提到,莫林中心已成为举办英语相关活动的聚会场所,无论是与美国作家交谈,还是家长为让孩子们接触不同语言和文化参加的“故事时间”。“可以说,如果想在魁北克体验英语文化,这里最合适,”麦卡洛说。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

McCullough goes on to mention that the Morrin Centre has become a meeting place for folks seeking English-related activities—whether they be talks with American authors or “story-time sessions” for children whose parents want to expose them to a different language and culture. “I like to say [this is] the place where you come to experience culture in English in Quebec City,” McCullough notes.

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