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Friendship parade celebrates Montreal’s cultural diversity

Art festival highlights Montreal’s ethnic and cultural diversity
WATCH: The Quartier-des-Spectacles was the place to be Saturday for those wanting to celebrate Montreal’s cultural diversity at the Nova Stella festival -- an all-day artistic extravaganza.

The skies cleared over Montreal on Saturday, making fway for sunshine and a perfect afternoon for the sights and sounds of Nova Stella, an all-day artistic extravaganza at the Quartier-des-Spectacles.

The festival is part of the city’s 375th anniversary celebrations and includes the annual Friendship parade.

WATCH: Montreal 375 celebrations

The parade, now its seventh year, keeps getting bigger and bigger, according to one of the event’s founders, Angela Cayon.

“We have 37 different countries represented in our event today, and over 50 different troupes of dancers and musicians,” she said.

The event takes place within the Présence Autochtone festival and aims to promote Indigenous culture by showcasing traditional and contemporary art forms from around the world, according to Cayon.

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But above all, as the name implies, it is about celebrating friendship.

“This is an event that promotes friendship, fraternity between the people, the communities from all over the world residing here in Montreal,” Cayon said.

Some 450 artists took part in the event, some boasting colourful costumes and others showing off some suave dance moves.

Some participants took the opportunity to bring attention to the plight of their home nation.

The troupe representing Venezuela waved signs reading “Libertad,” or freedom, with a bleeding Venezuelan flag below — an acknowledgement of the current turmoil in that country.

READ MORE: Political crisis pushes Venezuela close to collapse

But for the most part, the parade was a celebration of Montreal’s cultural diversity.

“We are 37 different communities today, but we are Montreal,” Cayon said.

“And what we’re doing here is saying, ‘Thank you to Montreal for the hospitality, for being able to greet us and making us part of the cultural identity.'”

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The parade kicked off at 3 p.m. at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Metcalfe streets, making its way along Ste-Catherine to the Place des Festivals, where the fun is expected to continue well into the evening.

Several shows are on tap, including a unique performance of spoken-word poetry set to music.