This year marks Montreal’s 375th birthday and in this city that loves to celebrate, you can count on a big birthday bash. The party’s already started and will continue all year long with celebrations of history, art and music expressing Montreal’s rich diversity. Neighborhoods across the city are hosting free activities, tastings, guided tours and more. Here are a few of the events planned as part of the big birthday celebration. Let’s get this party started!
Some of Montreal’s most iconic structures will be illuminated in celebration of the city’s 375th birthday. The Biosphere leads the way as a beacon of light thanks to a new lighting design around its structure. The display emphasizes its striking architectural qualities and complements the existing lighting by featuring gradual changes in color and intensity that continuously transform the Biosphere’s façade.
Spanning the St. Lawrence River, Montreal’s iconic Jacques Cartier Bridge will also be showing off the city’s creativity beginning May 17th. The bridge will be illuminated in celebration of the 375th birthday of Montreal and the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation.
In Old Montreal, the Notre-Dame Basilica stands as a cornerstone of the city. Its past will blend with the present in celebration of the city’s 375th anniversary as the Notre-Dame Basilica presents AURA. This unique immersive experience in the heart of the Basilica, designed by the renowned Moment Factory team, begins with an illuminated path leading visitors to the doors of the historic Basilica. A multimedia show uniting light, orchestral music and majestic architecture will take place in three acts shedding new light on the history, art and architecture of the Basilica.
Beginning on May 18th and running every evening from nightfall until 11PM, Cité Mémoire invites everyone to experience the story of the city’s evolution through video projections on patrimonial buildings in Old Montreal. This open-air museum will bring history to life through a poetic display. Download the Montréal en Histoires free app to enhance your experience through a soundtrack and historical contexts available in four languages.
The giant marionettes of Royal de Luxe are joining the celebration with a promenade throughout the streets of the city from May 19th- 21st. Montreal’s streets will become the stage as these gentle giants showcase the city’s history in what is certain to be a fascinating street theater performance.
In a spectacular multimedia show created exclusively for the 375th anniversary by Compagnia Finzi Pasca, Montreal’s Old Port will transport visitors through the history of the city. Water jets for over 30 fountains will create massive water screens roughly 98 X 37 feet onto which images and scenes will be projected. The scenography will also include 94 shipping containers, creating the world’s highest container tower at 11 stories tall. An original music score composed by Maria Bonzanigo and recorded with the Orchestre Métropolitain and the Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal will accompany the display. Montreal AVUDO will run from May 17th through September 2nd as a poetic tribute to the St. Lawrence River and will include over 100 free performances taking place in Montreal’s Old Port.
For the month of July, the streets of Montreal will be the stage for the largest street theater event ever held in North America. Sixty of the best theater groups in the world will present some 800 shows for the city’s 375th anniversary. Artists from Canada, France, Spain, Australia, United Kingdom and the Netherlands will take place in this impressive street theater event with short theatrical, clown and acrobatic performances.
In May, Montreal will unveil its first urban boardwalk. The Promenade Fleuve-Montagne will connect Mount Royal with the St. Lawrence River via an urban boardwalk spanning approximately 2.5 miles through a network of city streets and establishments. Along the way the city’s history, heritage, landscapes and cultural diversity will be showcased. The promenade will include rest areas, gathering spots and three major artworks. A walk along the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne will help offset all the amazing cuisine Montreal is famous for—even when the city isn’t celebrating a big birthday!
Have you been to Montreal? What were your favorite experiences?
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Terri Marshall is a New York City based freelance writer whose work includes travel, spirits, and all things chocolate. Terri's work appears in several publications. She has been a featured guest on Peter Greenberg's Worldwide Travel radio program and Denver's KZKO Radio Morning Express show. Terri will not hesitate to go to the source for great chocolate - even if that means hiking through the jungle and picking cacao pods herself.
Happiest when she's globetrotting, Terri has covered destinations all over the United States, Europe, and into Central and South America. Favorite adventures include reindeer driving in Norway and fishing for piranhas in the Amazon jungle of Peru. You can keep up with Terri's adventures on her website www.TrippingwithTerri.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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