Montreal is a party | The Press

She doesn’t want to sit down, it’s lasted too long Forced immobility, tonight life will start again
It has to move, it has to tremble, it has to sweat again
In the brothel of bars at night Scruffy in the dark We’ll have to relearn how to drink
You will have to breathe again…

— Breathe againClara Luciani

This weekend is the official kick-off to summer. And it was the French singer Clara Luciani who set the tone by singing her song a few days ago on the Francos stage Breathe againa real hymn to a certain return to “normal”.

It’s our first real summer in two years.

The pandemic has not disappeared, the cases are even on the rise (and we will have to remain vigilant if we want to avoid unpleasant surprises in the fall), but let’s admit that the desire to put it on hold for a few weeks is stronger than anything.

With the Formula 1 Grand Prix, tourists have returned to Montreal. The terraces are full, pedestrians have invaded the streets and the occupancy rate of hotels in the metropolis is close to 100%.

The heart of Montreal beats to the rhythm of outdoor shows and its inhabitants seem to have found their smiles again. It’s hard to believe that six months ago, the streets were deserted and our morale was low.

In January, a survey conducted by the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ) painted a rather gloomy portrait of our collective mood. We spoke of “generalized discomfiture” to describe the state of mind of Quebecers who had just had a new curfew imposed on them to deal with the fifth wave caused by the Omicron variant.

A gloom that seems far away today.

Over the next two months, human nature being what it is, we will try to forget about COVID-19 and its BA.4 and BA.5 variants, the war in Ukraine, tornadoes, heat waves and the like. worrying climatic manifestations, monkeypox, rising fuel prices, falling stock markets, the threat of a recession, increasing gun violence and the housing crisis…

The party has regained its rightful place and it’s not the construction sites and the orange cones that will prevent us from enjoying it, oh no!

This weekend only, here is an overview of the activities to which Montrealers are invited.

• The Francos

• The Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix

• The Mural Festival

• The immersive Frida Kahlo exhibition

• The exhibitions of Mika Rottenberg at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Nicolas Party at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

• The Saint-Ambroise Fringe Festival

• Animations in the avenue du Mont-Royal, pedestrian for the summer

• Gourmet weekend in rue Saint-Denis

• Opening of Plage de l’Horloge in Old Montreal

• Activities in Monk Street, pedestrianized for a day

• The Piccola Festival on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, in Little Italy

• The Minifest in the Hochelaga district which highlights emerging artists

• The International Portugal Festival…

Over the next few weeks, festivals will follow one another in the metropolis and elsewhere in Quebec.

In Montreal alone, you can attend one or more of these events: the International Jazz Festival, the International Festival Nuits d’Afrique, the Just for Laughs Festival, the Montreal Complete Circus Festival, Piknic Électronik, the International des Feux Loto-Québec, Osheaga, IleSonik, MUTEK, Festival Mode et Design… And almost all of these events offer a section of free activities.

The City of Montreal has also announced free admission in downtown metro stations, on the green and orange lines, every weekend until September 5. We are also promised a sustained effort for cleanliness, a question of looking good in front of the visit. It will not be a luxury!

All this excitement has the effect of a balm on our minds exhausted by the pandemic. A joyful and sunny parenthesis to be savoured.

This festive atmosphere also reminds us that despite all its faults and all its challenges, Montréal remains a friendly metropolis where life is good, especially in the summer. Let’s take this opportunity to breathe again.

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