Who’s behind the giant rainbow you’ve seen roaming Montreal? We solved the mystery

A woman donning a giant rainbow costume has sparked the joy and curosity of Montrealers.
A woman donning a giant rainbow costume has sparked the joy and curosity of Montrealers.Monday March 30, 2020. Courtesy of: @arcencielbalade

The rainbow has become a symbol of hope and solidarity throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, with people posting their own artistic renditions of the natural phenomenon on their windows to encourage others.

But one Montrealer has taken the metaphor to the next level by “wearing” the rainbow.

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The rainbow-donning woman has been spotted mainly around the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension and the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie boroughs.

“The rainbow” has also been seen doing the lineup to buy bread at Le Pain Dans Le Voiles, doing lunges, walking the dog, dancing in front of an SAQ window, eating peanuts on Saint-Laurent boulevard and even biking.

The sightings have sparked joy among Montrealers and an Instagram account @arcencielbalade tracking them all.

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The voices behind the Instagram account are Antonin Gougeon and Gabrielle Poulin.

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And as it turns out, they are also the geniuses behind the walking rainbow, an artistic project.

“We want to spread the love this way, because we believe viral content is an amazing way to reach people quickly and in their home, which is particularly useful in a quarantine context,” Gougeon said.

Gougeon is a sound and video engineer and Poulin — who wore the costume — is an actress, creator and performance artist.

“Our main goal is to give people smiles and to democratize performance and web art,” Gougeon told Global News.

The project was a 48-hour challenge launched by artistic platform NICE TRY – bel-essai.

The pair compiled visuals of the rainbow to the tune of Gougeon’s cover of Beatles classic Here Comes The Sun — which plays at a slower pace in order to reflect what the measures imposed to deal with the pandemic have done to our society.

“Inspiration for this project comes from the fact that everything is slowing down, and also from the rainbows in the window trend. We really liked the idea and wanted to push it to its limits,” Gougeon said.

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The pair says the project was a (socially distanced) team effort. About 30 of their friends contributed with materials to do the costume and by helping document the walks from at least two-metres away.

“We hadn’t seen our friends in two weeks and wanted to say hi,” Gougeon said. “But then we realized it was helping other people too.”

Gougeon said people burst into laughter when they saw Poulin dressed up on the streets but they would also thank the pair.

“Reactions have been magnificent, very touching. It warms our hearts,” Gougeon told Global News.

Gougeon says they’ve received hundreds of messages on the project’s Instagram, which basically “broke” their account. It has been temporarily shut down.

Although Gougeon says people have asked them to continue the project, they will for now keep it as a one-time deal and continue to spread the viral joy online only.

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