Father Emmett Johns ‘Pops’

Emmett Johns founded Dans la rue in December 1988.

Emmett Johns was born on April 3,1928 to Irish parents and grew up in Saint Agnes Parish on the Plateau Mont-Royal.

After graduating from high school, as the war was ending in 1945, he found that his original dream of becoming an air force pilot was no longer an option, so he followed his other dream and entered the seminary.

At the age of 60 and after nearly 40 years as a parish priest, Pops was inspired to reach out to the city’s at-risk youth. “It just kind of came to me,″ Pops says. “I should be with the kids, I should help them.

So in 1988 Pops founded Le Bon Dieu dans la rue. He borrowed $10,000 from the Caisse Pop, bought a used motorhome and took to the streets, working long, sometimes lonely shifts from 9 pm to 3 or 4 am. “I was kind of scared sometimes, driving that big van around downtown late at night.″ But Pops and the Van very quickly became fixtures of Montreal’s nightscape, known to street kids as a safe place to get a bite to eat and warm up. In 1989 Bishop Crowley named Pops “official chaplain of the homeless.”

Dans la rue has grown since its creation in 1988, with the opening of the Bunker overnight shelter and the Chez Pops day centre. Today the organization has a team of 65 employees and over 135 volunteers. The organization’s evolution has always been guided by Pops’ philosophy of dedication, empathy and respect.

Awards and milestones

2013
Honorary Member – Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec

2012
Recipient : Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

2011
Recipient : Contribution to Humanity Award – Montreal Intercultural Dialogue institute

Special concert in his honor by the MSO

Montrealer closest to sainthood – Montreal Mirror ”Best of Montreal readers’ poll”

Recipient : Prix de la tolérance Paul Gérin-Lajoie – Fondation de la tolérance Paul Gérin-Lajoie

2010
Montrealer closest to sainthood – Montreal Mirror ”Best of Montreal readers’ poll”

2009
Montrealer closest to sainthood – Montreal Mirror ”Best of Montreal readers’ poll”

Most trusted public personality – Magazine Sélection Reader’s Digest

2008
Biography published “Appelez-moi Pops

Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award

2006
Documentary film on Pop’s life called “Notre Père” launched

Certificate Honorary Member – Canadian Pediatric Society

2005
Honorary Doctorate Honoris Causea – Saint Paul University

2004
Recipient – Reader’s Digest Hero of the Year award

Carrier of the Olympic Flame

2003
Honorary Doctorate Honoris Causea – McGill University

Recipient – Medal of the University of Montreal

Grand Officer – National Order of Quebec

Honorary certificate – HEC Montreal / Commerce Magazine

Prix de la Santé et du Bien-être social – Ordre des psychologues du Québec

Honorary Doctorate Degree – Université du Québec à Montréal

2002
Golden Jubilee Medal – Canadian Governers General

Simon McDonaugh Humanitarian Award – United Irish Societies of Montreal

Bishop Crowley Award – English Catholic Council

Great Montrealer – The Academy of Great Montrealers

2001
The Rights and Freedoms Prize – Commission des Droits de la personne et des droits à la jeunesse

2000
Communications & Leadership Award from Toastmasters International

1999
Award of excellence – Montreal Urban Police

Annual Desjardins Prize

Member to the Order of Canada

1998
Humanitarian Award – The Association of Quebec Psychiatrists

Anne Greenup Citizenship Award

1997
Honorary Doctorate Degree – Concordia University

12th Honor Roll of Excellence – Maclean’s magazine