In May 1642, around forty pioneers from France landed on the shores of what was to become Montreal. 375 years later, the city has become one of the most attractive metropolises in North America. To properly celebrate this anniversary, Montreal offers more than 175 events throughout the year, most of them free. Let's go ?
May 17, 1642: the day when the "Mons Realis" became a city
375 years, is that all? Do not be fooled by the apparent youth of the Quebec metropolis. In reality, Island of Montreal has known several lives before becoming a city: it was already populated 4 years ago by Native American tribes. Then in the 000th century, the French Jacques Cartier discovers Canada and baptizes the hill “mont Réal” or “mons Realis” (mount Royal).
But it was not until 1642, on May 17 to be precise, with the arrival of the French Catholic expedition led by the gentleman of Maisonneuve and the nurse Jeanne Mance to see the first European colonists settle on the island. The French founded “Marie”, which would become Montreal ten years later.
Since then, water has flowed under the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. Second French-speaking metropolis after Paris and second economic hub in Canada, Montreal has become one of the most exciting destinations on the North American continent.
The 1967 World's Fair shaped the face of a modern and cosmopolitan city, both proud of its origins and looking to the future. Open to the world, welcoming, cultural, commercial, dynamic ... It has everything to please!
2017, a year of celebration in Montreal
For its 375th anniversary, the city is not organizing a day of celebration, nor a week, but a whole year! In all, more than 175 activities are scheduled (on average one every two days), day and night: festivals, exhibitions, open-air shows, parades, dances, films, etc. We have selected the highlights of the “375th”, those not to be missed under any circumstances ...
Art and culture
- Illuminart, from February 22 to March 11. A route of installations, true technological works, staging the light in the city center and the Quartier des Spectacles. We can see, for example, a light bulb fire coming to life under the effect of human heat.
- The 375th anniversary will also be an opportunity to discover the Art Souterrain exhibition, a 6 km route punctuated by works of art in the corridors of the metro and the underground network.
- Montreal Symphonic, August 19. For the first time, the Orchester symphonique de Montréal will welcome the three major orchestras of the city on the same stage, ie more than 300 musicians gathered at the foot of Mount Royal. Open to everyone.
- "Terre des hommes", from May 29 to October 27. This year marks the 50th anniversary (decidedly!) Of the 1967 World's Fair, which made Montreal shine on the world stage. “Terre des hommes” pays tribute to him by presenting 67 international works exhibited outdoors.
- Pride Canada, from August 11 to 20. Another great novelty, Fierté Montréal is organizing the first edition of Fierté Canada: a huge celebration in honor of the LGBT movement, diversity and equal rights.
- Electro Parade, September 2nd. Do you know the Techno Parade in Paris? Montreal is bringing the concept to life with its first Électro Parade, the flagship event for back-to-school 2017. DJs aboard completely crazy floats will transform the city into a giant dance floor.
- The Winter, until March 12. A thermometer that is close to 20 ° C below zero? This is celebrated with Les Hivernales, a celebration of winter with a whole series of sporting and participatory activities, in a carnival spirit.
- Ice canoe challenge, February 11 and 12. Athletes compete on the ice of the St. Lawrence, as their ancestors did in the days of the colony. A 100% extreme race!
- Artistic Gymnastics World Championship, from October 2 to 8. The most important event in the discipline this year, at the Olympic Stadium. No less than 600 gymnasts from 80 countries are expected.
Montreal, a city of festivals
Montreal is known for its countless festivals throughout the year. The Quartier des Spectacles has even been specially designed to accommodate them, as its name suggests.
Even in negative temperatures, Montreal does not lose its festive mood, quite the contrary. This is how, in a few days, one of the most important festivals in town begins: Montreal in Lights, with a multidisciplinary program, an enticing gastronomic component and a sleepless night that lights up winter. Note that, on the occasion of Montreal's 375th anniversary, the city is hosting part of the Lyon Festival of Lights installations, as well as new works with artists from Lyon.
The summer season begins in early June with the Francofolies and ends at the end of August with the World Film Festival. In the meantime, let's not forget the famous jazz festival (the largest in the world in terms of attendance) nor Just for Laughs which will celebrate its 35th year this year.
But Montreal is also the capital of the circus. Headquarters of the famous Cirque du Soleil, it is the scene of many events around this discipline, in particular Montreal Completely Circus and the festival Street arts, both in July. About sixty theater troupes from several countries, including France, will perform in the arteries of the Big Island.
And for those who wish to walk this bustling city in autumn, when red leaves dress the streets, squares and sidewalks in flamboyant colors, know that here, Halloween is celebrated with great pomp! For five days, from October 27 to 31, zombies, witches and ghosts parade the city and make passers-by shiver.