Much like American Independence Day on July 4, Canada Day on July 1 celebrates the birth of a nation with parades, fireworks, and parties all across the country. If you're going to be in Montreal on Canada Day, you won't want to miss the Défilé de la Fête du Canada this year.
Location and Transportation
To attend the 2019 Canada Day Parade in Montreal, just show up at the corner of Fort and Ste. Catherine streets where the parade starts. The parade ends at Place du Canada, at the corner of Ste. Catherine and Peel where yet more festivities await Montrealers.
In order to get to the start of the parade by public transit, you can get off at either Guy-Concordia or Peel Metro. Alternatively, you can get out at other stations along the parade route using a map of the Montreal Canada Day Parade.
The First Canada Day Parade in Montreal
Montreal began hosting a Canada Day Parade in 1977, just months after the separatist political party, Le Parti Québécois, first came to power back in November 1976.
Initiated by Montreal cardiologist Roopnarine Singh, the first Canada Day Parade in Montreal was no more than a few cars tooting their horns around the city, a pale comparison to Canada Day festivities outside of the province and a conspicuous reflection of Quebec's political division: the sovereigntists versus the federalists.
However, this didn't stop the parade from happening. The size of the parade and public participation grew as several of Montreal's ethnic communities began to get involved. As a result, the parade also began to feature representations of cultures and traditions from all over the world including China, Germany, Armenia, India, Hungaria, Iran, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Indonesia, Poland, the Philippines, Denmark, Malaga, Holland, Sri Lanka, Ireland, and Japan.
Celebrations and Events on Canada Day
After the parade each year, Place du Canada hosts a special event featuring a giant cake, live shows, face painting, and other entertainment. Taking place at Square Phillips from 1:30 to 2 p.m., you can enjoy a slide of a 4-foot by 8-foot cake in honor of the holiday, which is expected to feed up to 2,500 people.
Once you've grabbed a slice (and a free cup of water), stick around for the performances, including colorful dragon dances courtesy of Montreal's Chinese community. There will also be inflatable toys for kids on site and a variety of other activities and games available free of charge until around 4 p.m.
To end the evening, head up to Mont Real for the best view of the fireworks over the city. Alternatively, additional events take place throughout the day and evening at the Jacques-Cartier Pier in the Old Port of Montreal for the city's official Canada Day Celebration. The event includes a 21-gun salute to the nation, a variety of workshops and performances, and several different food, arts, and crafts vendors.