‘Historic’: Quebecers and Franco-Ontarians celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptiste parade together

Click to play video: 'The 185th “Fête nationale” parade on St Denis street' The 185th “Fête nationale” parade on St Denis street
WATCH: the 185th "Fête nationale" parade on St-Denis street. – Jun 24, 2019

As people lined up along Saint-Denis Street in anticipation of the 185th Fête nationale parade, the first float stood out among all: instead of the traditional white and blue, it was green and white. The float represented Franco-Ontarians, who, for the first time, were invited to participate.

READ MORE: Fête nationale: Events planned all day across Quebec

“I’m very glad to see this event. For me it’s a historical one,” said Yves Saint-Denis. The 78-year-old came from Ontario after his dialysis treatment to show his appreciation for being included. “I’m proud to be here,” Saint-Denis added.

READ MORE: East-end Montreal Tim Hortons goes blue to celebrate Fête nationale

Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, marched alongside the Franco-Ontarian float.

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“This is something that I’m extremely proud of because it’s historic,” Joly said. “I profoundly believe it’s important to be there to protect minorities because it’s our responsibility to keep social cohesion within a country.

The show paid tribute to Quebec culture and history through eight different floats.

Each float celebrated Québecois activities, for example, sugar shacking. Another one poked fun at snow removal.

READ MORE: Party leaders join Fête Nationale celebrations

People also had a chance to mingle with some of Quebec’s most important historical figures such as the co-founders of Montreal Jeanne-Mance and Paul de Chomedey, and more recent ones such as Leonard Cohen and Jean-Drapeau.

This year’s theme was “Québec à la belle étoile”, or Quebec under the stars.

“Mainly it’s significant symbols from Québec that we would like to make an artistic twist on it,” said Felix Duranceau, one of the organizers.

The parade also paid tribute to the 200th anniversary of St-Denis street.

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