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Resilient Lac-Megantic bar razed in rail disaster set to reopen

Work continues at the crash site of the train derailment and fire Tuesday, July 16, 2013 in Lac-Megantic.
Work continues at the crash site of the train derailment and fire Tuesday, July 16, 2013 in Lac-Megantic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

LAC-MEGANTIC, Que. – The popular bar where many people died in Quebec’s fiery train derailment is set to reopen as a temporary music venue for the rest of the summer.

The owner of Musi-Cafe says his destroyed establishment became a symbol of the devastation in Lac-Megantic – where the disaster killed an estimated 47 people.

Yannick Gagne says he wants the bar’s resurgence to become an emblem of the resilience of people in the region.

Gagne says the show bar will open its doors under a tent this weekend on land loaned from Lac-Megantic’s Maxi supermarket.

The Musi-Cafe summer edition will feature free performances by prominent Quebec artists between Aug. 2 and Sept. 15.

Many patrons and staff members died in the bustling Musi-Cafe on July 6 when a runaway train carrying crude oil crashed nearby and set off huge explosions.

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Gagne said the venue will once again give locals a place to gather after Lac-Megantic’s downtown area was levelled in the derailment.

He said it will also create jobs for Musi-Cafe staffers and for those left unemployed when several other restaurants and bars in town closed following the disaster.

The renewed Musi-Cafe’s summer lineup is scheduled to include performances by popular artists such as Marie-Mai, Louis-Jean Cormier, Karim Ouellet, Vincent Vallieres and Fred Pellerin.