Saint-Laurent Blvd. goes pedestrian-only as Montreal Mural Festival hits its stride
MONTREAL -- It is a good time to be walking along Saint-Laurent Blvd. in Montreal.
The stretch of the road between Sherbrooke St. and Mont-Royal Blvd. is for foot traffic only until Aug. 23, and it coincides with the start of the last phase of the Montreal Mural Festival, which runs until Sep. 20.
Marc Olivier Lamothe started his mural Sunday, and it is almost finished. He'll name it when it's finished.
Many Montrealers say street art is the best thing about the city.
"It's so visual, you know, they're not limited to painting walls," said cyclist Sofie Hojabri.
As with all festivals, events, sports and anything else in life, COVID-19 has changed how the Mural Fest is being run this year.
"We had to reinvent everything we were doing," said mural director Pierre-Alain Benoit. "We were supposed to have a big two-week festival in June with big shows and music and art, but we couldn't do that."
Blocking car traffic along Saint-Laurent is also giving merchants in the Plateau a much-needed boost.
"It's been a really hard year for businesses," said Saint-Laurent Blvd. Businesses Association general manager Tasha Morizio. "And it's just a way to give an economic boost for them."
The festival has been a breeding ground for some of the city's best and most colourful artists.
"This is my fourth year," said Franco "Francorama" Egalite. "Funny enough, I picked up painting as I started joining mural fest."
He painted a massive terrasse on the street, and is hand-painting tables that will be on it.
The festival reaches beyond the main drag on Saint-Laurent Blvd.
"We are also doing an homage artwork to the front-line workers of the pandemic at the Jewish General Hospital starting Monday," said Benoit.
Once again, there is a lot happening on Saint-Laurent.
"There's so much going on. I mean just like the energy of the people, and the art," said Hojabri.