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Montreal borough forced to change festival posters after Fête nationale uproar

A woman wears a map of Quebec and a Fleur de Lys on her arm.
A woman wears a map of Quebec and a Fleur de Lys on her arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Montreal’s Sud-Ouest borough was forced to change the posters for its first-ever Summer Solstice Festival after an uproar of protest because it seemingly omitted Quebec’s annual Fête nationale.

READ MORE: Street fair in Saint-Henri aims to celebrate St-Jean holiday, ‘beautiful Notre-Dame Street’

“In Montreal, we first changed the name “Saint-Jean-Baptiste” to eliminate the association to Christianity. Now, we are eliminating the term “Fête nationale,” wrote comedian Guy Nantel on Facebook.

“Seriously, I cannot believe that there are people being paid to create such nonsense. Put them on the Saint Patrick’s Day file — we could call it the “Snow-melt Festival” next year.”

Tout le monde en parle host Guy A. Lepage also took to social media to express his disappointment, calling it a terrible idea.

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READ MORE: Quebec government says it is not banning politicians from giving money to Canada Day celebrations

“I’ve hosted Fête nationale festivities in Montreal for five years — with a lot of pride,” he argued.

“I am hurt and perplexed by the Sud-Ouest borough, who are rebranding it the Summer Solstice — because it goes on for three days? Call it the Fête nationale festival.”

WATCH BELOW: Controversy surrounds Fête nationale parade float

Click to play video: 'Controversy surrounds Fête nationale parade float' Controversy surrounds Fête nationale parade float
Controversy surrounds Fête nationale parade float – Jun 25, 2017

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante also took to Twitter Thursday to demand festival organizers reconsider the design of their posters to put Saint-Jean-Baptiste front-and-centre.

READ MORE: Street fair in Saint-Henri aims to celebrate Saint-Jean holiday, ‘beautiful Notre-Dame Street’

“If there is a moment to display, assert and not allow [the Fête nationale to] fade away, this is it,” she insisted.
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However, borough officials argue the heart of the festivities will be the Fête nationale, as it will be full of activities reminiscent of Quebec’s history.

“The Fête nationale is already very popular in our borough,” insisted Mayor Benoît Dorais.

“Now, with the Summer Solstice Festival, we are highlighting the richness of our roots in an inclusive and unifying setting. We invite our fellow citizens and Montrealers of all origins to come and celebrate with us.”

In response to comments from angry Montrealers on Twitter, Biz, a rapper with local hip hop group Loco Locass — who are performing at the festival — argued all of the band’s shows celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

READ MORE: ‘There’s no place for intolerance’: Justin Trudeau responds to protester at Fête nationale event in Montreal

“If we’re talking extremes, we could play a Canada Day show and it wouldn’t change a thing for us,” he wrote.

The festival takes place from June 22 to 24 on Notre-Dame Street West, between Atwater Avenue and Saint-Augustin Street, on the stage of the Place du Bonheur-d’Occasion.

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WATCH BELOW: Giant omelet part of Fête nationale celebrations

Click to play video: 'Giant omelet part of Fête nationale celebrations' Giant omelet part of Fête nationale celebrations
Giant omelet part of Fête nationale celebrations – Jun 24, 2017

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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