The City of Montreal is gearing up for a more exciting summer compared with the previous one as the province gradually reopens from the COVID-19 health crisis.
Mayor Valérie Plante unveiled a long list of upcoming activities Wednesday as the warm weather sets in and the end of the school year looms.
“We are very ready to welcome everyone with open arms,” she said, referring to city dwellers and tourists.
Once a hot spot for the novel coronavirus, the city has been downgraded to the orange level on the province’s colour-coded pandemic alert scale. Curfew has been lifted, while the restaurant industry is beginning to welcome back customers outside and inside. Bars will also be allowed to open their doors for the first time since October 2020.
By next week, Montreal is set to become a yellow zone — which means more restrictions will be lifted, though some public health measures remain.
While this summer won’t fully return to pre-pandemic vibes, officials are hoping a litany of cultural activities and events slated for downtown will bring more people back. The city and the province are injecting $25 million for summer fun.
This includes art installations, circus and dance performances, documentary showings and a garden collective organized by Indigenous artists — just to name a few items on the list. The majority of these events will be held in the heart of the city, but some are set for other boroughs as well.
A few festivals are in the works, too. There is one dedicated to yoga slated for late August, while Just for Laughs has planned a mix of virtual and in-person shows for the summer.
“I think Montreal was a bit asleep but now we’re waking up,” Plante said. “And to do so we need our artists, we need our entire industry.”
It’s also key to revitalizing the urban centre, she added, after the health crisis forced sweeping shutdowns and emptied the city as people were cooped up at home. As the pandemic continues, she said the goal is to get Montrealers outside.
“For me, culture is a pillar to economic recovery. It’s a part of it. It’s absolutely crucial.”