Montreal’s old port is known for many things. You might not expect alpacas to be one of them.
For March break, Montreal’s Pointe-à-Callière museum is hosting a variety of free indoor and outdoor activities to kick off its Incas of Peru exhibition — and the alpacas are invited.
“We know that llamas and alpacas are really popular right now, there’s kind of a trend, but on social media, people were really excited,” said Pointe-à-Callière spokesperson Eveline Trudel-Fugère.
In North America, the fluffy animal is known for its soft fleece and sassy personality, but for the Incas of Peru, alpacas were crucial to their livelihood — and they’re still a big part of Peruvian culture to this day.
“What’s really special about the exhibition is that we’re looking at textile, which was more valuable than gold at the time for Incas and pre-Colombian civilization,” said Trudel-Fugère.
“There are alpacas all over the world right now but still there is no other country than Peru that provides alpaca fibre — they produce like 90 per cent,” said Annie Lemoyne, co-owner of La vie en alpaga.
As part of its festivities, the museum is hosting Peruvian-inspired workshops and crafts for Montrealers of all ages.
“We know that animals are really popular with kids and we really wanted to bring this kind of educative aspect to our activities,” said Trudel-Fugère.
Lemoyne said it took the animals — and them — a bit of time to get adjusted to the city but they eventually settled down.
“They began eating and we were reassured that they would be OK,” said Lemoyne.
It was a dream come true for many who got the chance to see alpacas for the first time.
“I’ve always wanted to go see alpacas in real life so I thought it would be nice to come here,” said Eduardo Viana while feeding an alpaca a fistful of hay.
“I think it’s nice because in a city you don’t really see animals — other than pigeons,” said Noah Chevalier.
The big stars of the show will be at Pointe-à-Calliere until March 7.
The Incas of Peru exhibition is free to the public on Saturday for Montreal’s Nuit Blanche.