Thousands attend Fete Nationale parade; Mulcair, Trudeau, Duceppe take part
Published Tuesday, June 23, 2015 11:29AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 24, 2015 6:47PM EDT
Millions of Quebecers are expected to attend Fete Nationale festivities taking place throughout Quebec on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Wednesday, many activities are taking place throughout the island, including a parade along St. Denis St. in the afternoon that began at 1 p.m.
The parade started at Boucher St. and headed down to Square St. Louis near Sherbrooke St.
Montrealers got to see a string of costumed characters, colourful floats and choreography, much of which featured children as performers, for two kilometres.
For Benjamin and Christina Kannenberg, the celebration was about settling in to their new home.
"One of the reasons why we moved here to Quebec is because we feel in love with Quebec culture and language, so we decided we want to be part of it, we want to raise our kids as Quebecois," said Benjamin.
"We really want to embrace the Quebecois people and be part of the society so we're here to show that to our kids," added Christina.
This year’s theme was “Quebec, a land where life is good,” and there were three spectrums of celebration: historic land, hospitable land and fertile land.
Politicians taking part in the parade included NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and the newly reinstated Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe.
All said Fete Nationale was a celebration, and not about swaying voters.
"We're not floating big NDP banners. We think that it should remain non partisan," said Mulcair.
"For me, politics is about pulling people together and I think everyone is coming together to celebrate our Fete Nationale," said Trudeau.
"I would say that its the same thing in Ottawa. All the leaders are there (at Canada Day celebrations) in Ottawa. Is it politicized in Ottawa? So it's the same thing that it is in Ottawa," he said.
Marching just in front of the political procession were members of the Mohawk Nation.
Fete Nationale should be about more than culture and language, explained Stuart Myiow, of the Mohawk Nation.
"We have to take political action together to protect and to save our Mother Earth," he said.
Fireworks will be set off Wednesday at 10 p.m. in Dorval, Pointe Claire, Laval (Parc du Moulin), and Montreal North.
Unlike previous years where a large concert took place in Maisonneuve Park, this year's event took place on Tuesday evening at Place des Festivals in downtown Montreal.
Ariane Moffat, Isabelle Boulay, Daniel Belanger, Marie-Pier Arthur and Bodh'aktan all performed during the two-hour concert, hosted by Louis-José Houde and Boucar Diouf.
Fireworks went off Tuesday night in Laval, DDO, and Ile Bizard.
Activities aimed at children began during the lunch hour on Tuesday in Montreal East and in the Plateau's Pelican Park.
Larger parties for Quebec's provincial holiday got underway in the late afternoon in many, though not all, city boroughs.
About 700 events took place across the province to mark the 181st Fete Nationale.
French-speaking communities across the country also celebrated the day.