An unexplained banner reading “Sorry, Toronto” was seen was flying over Toronto this week, leaving many people confused.
Well, it turns out the somewhat cryptic message is all part of Tourisme Montreal‘s latest ad campaign to entice cities nearby to come celebrate Montreal’s 375th anniversary.
“Dear neighbours from Toronto and New York, we’re turning 375 in 2017 so we’ll be celebrating all year,” the campaign states.
“We’re going to make a lot of noise — sorry! We live right next door, so of course, you’re welcome to come and join us. Your neighbour, Montreal.”
The organization launched the “Sorry” campaign as part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations.
Torontonians who saw the banner flying above their heads were less than impressed.
“At first I was confused, I wasn’t sure what was happening,” one passerby said.
“I think people in Montreal should be less snobby so people in Toronto will visit them more often,” quipped another.
Tourisme Montreal said it intended the banner to send a positive message about the city to its neighbours.
“It’s really a friendly tone and it’s like ‘hey guys, we’re doing a party and you’re more than welcome to join us,'” explained Andrée-Anne Pelletier, a spokesperson with Tourisme Montreal.
“When you’re doing a party, you’re going to knock on the other apartments to say we’re going to be making noise but you’re more than welcome to come over.”
The campaign is expected to go to New York in 2017 and will include “an imaginary ambassador who will invite Americans to come and party like only Montreal knows how to do.”
Tourisme Montreal hoped the campaign would position the city as a must-see tourist destination in 2017.
“In addition to promoting the city, which promises to be livelier and noisier than ever, the campaign will highlight the various items on the agenda for the anniversary year,” the campaign states.
There are more than 175 activities planned across the city throughout the year.
“In 2017, we’ll be showing off Montreal’s vivaciousness. Now 375 years strong, the city has a unique personality that promises to be particularly lively all year long,” said Yves Lalumière, president and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase the city internationally. The effects of this reputation-building campaign will not only be felt in 2017, but for many years to come.”
The “Sorry” campaign was developed by lg2 and Touché.