Many events have shaped Montréal's history to make it the vibrant metropolis it is today and 2017 will see the city celebrate its 375th birthday. With various cultural activities that showcase Montréal's rich heritage, diverse people and iconic neighbourhoods, there's never been a better time to visit and marvel at its incredible transformation over the centuries.
The city is also planning a widespread rejuvenation. With £157 million worth of projects and developments in the pipeline for next year, it is hoped that the historic celebrations will leave behind a lasting legacy for future generations. From the mighty St. Lawrence River to the top of Mount Royal, activities will be organized around four major themes.
MONTREAL LIGHTS UP
Kicking off the celebrations early, Montréal's buildings, neighbourhoods and public spaces will light up for the winter season later this month. The Jacques Cartier Bridge, an icon of the Montréal landscape and one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century, will be illuminated with a dazzling £31 million worth of lights to reflect the pulsing heart of the city.
The Place des Festivals will be lit up for Luminothérapie from December 8 to January 29, transforming the area into a huge interactive playground. Made up of 13 giant zoetropes and a music box, the installation will please visitors of all ages who will have to activate the retro-futuristic machines in order to make the fairy-tale inspired images come to life.
MONTREAL GETS MOVING
Inspired by Montréal's Nordic energy, an array of outdoor competitions, sports and recreational activities will get the city moving in 2017. Blessed with snow for the majority of the year, Montréal is a veritable winter wonderland. This year, the city is set to become even more magical with the creation of an ice skating rink on the Lachine canal that will transform the area into an "enchanted snow path".
What's more, the city will celebrate its bike culture with a £12 million upgrade for its many cycle paths, adding 35 miles of track, along with bicycle priority lights and links between major monuments and neighbourhoods.
'Montréal ignites' is all about the city's cultural attractions and 2017's festival season will be sizzling with celebrations of history, art and music that display the city's rich diversity. The New Mont-Long Street Art Festival in July will play host to a gigantic open-air theatre event in which artists from around the world will perform on the city's streets, providing up to 800 free street performances for the full month, for anyone and everyone who wishes to watch.
Next summer will also see Canada's largest electric music street festival, Downtown Montreal, and become the first ever Electro Parade in North America. Extravagant floats with huge speakers and international DJs will turn the street into a dancefloor, booming music to the crowds of revellers.
As the action-packed year draws to a close, Montréal's gaze will shift towards the future and how the city can be reimagined and reinvented over the coming years.
The Cité Mémoire circuit will bring Old Montréal to life with images, words and music of the city's past projected on the trees, buildings and ground of the iconic neighbourhood, effortlessly immersing passers-by in the history of Montréal. Every evening at dusk (until 10pm Sun-Weds, until 11pm Thurs-Sat), visitors will be able to learn about the metropolis and discover the colourful cast of characters that were witness to the city's evolution. For the complete experience, the Montréal en Histoires free app can be downloaded, which provides a soundtrack and historical contexts in four languages.
Looking towards the future of the city, Montréal will also play host to the nation's first-ever Canada Pride in 2017. The 10-day LGBTQ+ festival will be comprised of sporting events, a three-day conference on the advancement of LGBT rights, outdoor concerts and, of course, a Pride Parade.
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Posted on 09/12/2016
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