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Canada Day parade will not happen in Montreal this year


A decades-old Canada Day event in Montreal has been cancelled and the organizer said there is too much red tape when dealing with the city.

The City of Montreal, however, said they never received a request for a permit.

Nicholas Cowen has been the parade's main organizer since 2015 and said he won't be doing it this year.

"What I've gone through last year in order to put on the parade, difficulties that was put forth by the city, I decided this year to cancel it," he said.

Last year, Cowen said the city made him re-do the parade route and find additional volunteers a week before the event.

"Last year was the hardest parade that I ever had to put on in my life," he said.

Cowen said there are multiple bureaucratic hurdles to overcome when dealing with the city administration, so this year, he didn't even apply for a permit.

City councillor Ericka Alneus is on Montreal's executive committee and said the decision came as a shock to the city. She said it's important that rules are followed to guarantee safety and that the city is always there to help.

"There is a process that, of course, we could improve, but I really want to reassure everyone that we receive many requests to support many events and festivals [and] we offer some support," said Alneus.

Opposition leader Aref Salem argues that the city is cracking down on events and festivals by making it harder for them to operate.

"It's unacceptable, and it's embarrassing," said the Ensemble Montreal leader. "What we're living in Montreal, and it's not the first festival that we're losing."

The World Triathlon Championship series cancelled its summer event this year after organizers said the city didn't give them permission to hold the event early enough to secure proper funding.

"Don't get me wrong, the city is very gung-ho about attracting those events, and so is Tourism Montreal, and we've always had their support behind us, but operationally, we've always had those very, very late confirmations," said Podium Productions President Patrice Brunet.

Alneus said the city will be meeting with organizers from several summer events in the fall to see how things can improve.

In the meantime, there is no chance of someone else stepping in to save the downtown Canada Day parade. Top Stories

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