Montréal, Monday, March 4, 2019 — The 20th edition of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, presented in collaboration with Bell from February 21 to March 3, just ended, and we can only be nostalgic. Once again, the festival made us rediscover the joys of winter in an enchanting setting and impressed us by the quality of its bold programming. Many new features were introduced during this anniversary edition, where fine dining was showcased — including the Nuit Gourmande, the Quartier Gourmand, as well as the “Reserve your spot” booking service. Party-loving Montrealers outdid themselves, as many people from here and abroad visited the free installations on the outdoor site, enjoyed concerts by Whitehorse, Dominique Fils-Aimé – presented by 98.5 – and Soran – presented by RBC – at l’Astral, and participated in the 16th Nuit blanche, Illuminart and the other awesome activities from the different sections of the festival.
A successful gamble — the groundbreaking choices of the programming committee, which took the latest trends into consideration, stimulated the imagination, the belly and the mind. MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE enjoyed great media exposure, both locally and internationally, under the theme “A journey around the world… And to the heart of our world!” And as this grandiose edition closes, we can already dream about the 21st, which will undoubtedly be just as superb. See you next year!
In the meantime, here’s a look back at this edition:
MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE 2019, a time to…
- Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival
Far from resting on its laurels, the 20th edition of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE was a joyful excuse to explore new avenues and refresh this popular rendezvous. Following a healthy and necessary introspection regarding its past filled with bright memories, a new orientation was decided upon for the festival. Some risks were taken, leading to marvellous moments we will still remember in 20 years! From the initial inspiration of its theme to its execution, by the way of the elaboration of the programming, the new identity of the festival successfully energized the city during the long winter months. Kudos!
- Celebrate Jean-Paul Grappe’s extraordinary contribution to Quebec fine dining
During the opening cocktail of the festival, the Grappe Gourmande, an honorific award recognizing the important contribution of a person to Quebec fine dining, was given to Mr. Jean-Paul Grappe. The chef and former ITHQ professor received this honour from Jacques-André Dupont, Chief Executive Officer of L’Équipe Spectra, and then named Ashley Whalen, sous chef at Toqué!, as the winner of the first emerging culinary talent award of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE.
- Celebrate and provide food for thought
During this rich edition, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE presented in French and English all kinds of conferences, luncheons, workshops and discussions about fine dining, each more interesting than the next. A wonderful opportunity to share the unique knowledge of passionate people about their respective disciplines. These events were in tune with the current times, with themes such as social gastronomy, Instagram, the presence of women in fine dining, latte art, kombucha, mixology, etc.
« Depuis 20 ans, Montréal en Lumière fait vibrer la métropole en plein cœur de l’hiver. Dynamiser et apporter un peu de chaleur, de lumière, de festivités et de folie en plein coeur de l’hiver, l’idée de départ d’Alain Simard est toujours d’actualité. Ce festival est une occasion pour les Montréalais de sortir de chez eux et pour les touristes de voir à quel point Montréal fait fi des intempéries pour adopter une ambiance festive. » Lyne Alias Urbaine, Mission Cuisine Urbaine
« Rendez-vous culturel effervescent et dynamique, le festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE est un exemple convaincant de l’envergure et de l’originalité des événements auxquels sont conviés les Québécois. Ce festival de calibre international représente une occasion parfaite pour apprécier la qualité et la vitalité de l’offre culturelle de Montréal. » – Nathalie Roy, ministre de la Culture et des Communications et ministre responsable de la Langue française, Canada Newswire
« To my memory came the first edition of this unique winter festival, which at that time was seen as a bold move on the part of the Spectra team: yes, Montrealers are tough, and most of the events were programmed indoors, but would they respond to those outdoor activities when temperatures may get around minus 20? Well, twenty years later, Montréal en Lumière is already one of the iconic festivals in our city. » Sergio Martinez, Montreal Times
- Feast at the Quartier Gourmand, this space dedicated to culinary discoveries
For the first year, festival-goers had the chance to explore the Quartier Gourmand, located at the Maison du Festival. This buzzing place, with its unique design, has recorded 5000 entries during the first weekend, for a total of 15,200 during the 10 days (including events and concerts at the Astral and Blumenthal)! With nearly 50 activities, it is an understatement to say that there was something for everybody! Throughout the festival, the ESKA Bar offered creative cocktails and other beverages based on its carbonated natural spring water. We also explored the importance of Quebec products and its producers in our gastronomy; we tasted seaweed, chaga mushrooms, cranberry and “chicoutai” jam. From February 21 to 24, flavors from here and elsewhere were honored, with soups from 5 different countries, tastings of delicious specialties from the Côte-Nord – the featured region of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE –, local beers with Brasseur de Montréal, rich products from Les Producteurs de Lait du Québec, and maple products from Quebec. During the second weekend, from February 28th to March 3rd, urban agriculture was celebrated by the presence of exhibitors such as the modern henhouse Poc Poc, RISE Kombucha, the Lufa farms, the urban mushroom farm Blanc de gris, and several others. The Quartier Gourmand was beautifully decorated to present more than thirty high-quality spirits in a funky setting during the Tikivernale. There was truly something for all tastes!
- Feast while crisscrossing the city during the Nuit Gourmande and the culinary tours
About 25,000: this is the number of steps taken by the die-hard festival-goers who explored the 4 zones of the brand-new Nuit Gourmande, located in Petite-Italie, Centre-Ville, Saint-Henri/Petite-Bourgogne and on Wellington Street. In addition to developing a new clientele for the 60 participating establishments, Nuit Gourmande has allowed Montrealers to travel in their own city and rediscover it with their taste buds. The same goes for the culinary expert tours and TASTET’s culinary tours, which focused on the Middle East, Italy and Japan, “Montreal style”; these 14 gourmet tours presented Montreal’s riches in a new light, through the eyes of gastronomy enthusiasts.
- Feast at one of the 45 Air France Finest Tables – including 14 new ones (!)
This edition certainly distinguished itself by the number of guest chefs – 39 –, including 28 from abroad and 11 Canadian (10 from Quebec). Festival-goers were able to enjoy the haute cuisine of Amélie Darvas, Viktor Örn Andrésson, Jouvens Jean, Daniel Eddy, Teheiura Teahui, Xabi Ibarboure, Maria De Frias, Ever Cubilla, Arnaud Bloquel, Uri Jeremias and Alexandre Dionisio, among others. 15 countries were represented at the festival, including 3 new ones (Israel, Panama and Iceland). More than fifteen pairings were organized with winemakers, seven activities with local producers, five with artists, for a total of 196 activities over the whole duration of the festival. Few restaurants have not sold out during most of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE. Unheard of!
- Create magical moments at the outdoor site
Although the weather had its ups and downs, many festival-goers were not discouraged by it: throughout the festival, the outdoor site of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE stayed continuously busy, with people from 7 to 77 years old! Classical activities such as the RBC Zip-line, the Milk Urban Slide and the QUÉBEC MAPLE Ferris Wheel have not stopped! Those who were thirsty were able to get a delicious drink at the new Bistro SAQ and at the Bar Coors Light. The “Reserve your spot” reservation service, a novelty this year, was also a great success; for several days, more than 98% of the spots were reserved for the RBC Zip-line and the Milk Urban Slide! Thanks to this service, people were also able to get a souvenir video reminding them of their crazy experience in the RBC Zip-line!
A lot of people enjoyed the Tim Hortons Head-to-Head Challenge! Activities at kiosks such as “Ici venez vivre l’effet Nord-Côtier”, Pursue Your Passion (Health Canada), and the Promutuel Assurance Photo Booth also enhanced everyone’s experience. A space that was as inviting as it was exciting, the Chalet Bell has made everyone happy with its many shows, its board game nights and its cool “5 à 7”.
Illuminart presented by the Casino de Montréal deployed its third edition in a revisited urban space, around the Place des Arts and the Promenade des Artistes. The 15 works of art mixing new technologies, art and light fascinated young and old alike.
Finally, a multitude of other activities delighted festival-goers, be it the Énergir Zone with its shows and its Generator, THE WORLD OF INCREDIBLE MAPLE, the “Place de la famille du Lait” and the RBC Sports Zone!
A quick summary of the outdoor site:
225 km of cable
22 000 electrical connections
56 radiant heaters
1,400 lighting devices et 1,000 LED lights
5,520,000 pixels on the north facade of Théâtre Maisonneuve for the Urban Poetry artwork
More than 700 students participated in Danse chromatique dans la neige
4,740,357 BIXI trips, between 546 stations in 36 neighborhoods, analyzed for Influx
180-metre (600 feet) descent for the RBC Zip-line, from a height of 15 metres (48 feet)
110-metre (360 feet) run for the Milk Urban Slide
20 metres (66 feet): Ferris Wheel, with 16 gondolas and a capacity of 60 adults and 90 children (4,600 kg)
- Create a unique vision of what’s ahead with the Nuit blanche of the future
For 16 years now, the Nuit blanche, presented in collaboration with the Casino de Montréal, has become the night of all possibilities. During these few hours, Montrealers come out of their daily comfort to regain possession of their city and walk through its neighborhoods, to discover creative, sportive, inventive, and festive activities! Thus, museums, theaters, galleries, bars, shops, bookstores, outdoor sites join the party to create a huge happening that make young and old dream. This year was no exception: the outdoor site was buzzing early in the evening. You could feel everyone’s excitement! Thanks to the STM, night owls were able to move easily from one Pôle to the other during the event, since the Metro was open all night long! Several activities were very popular. This was the case of those organized by ICI RADIO-CANADA PREMIÈRE: Plus on est de fous, plus on lit! en formule cabaret – Spéciale Nuit blanche and Gravel le soir! There was widespread enthusiasm and our partners were just as excited about this 16th edition as we are.
Among the highlights: tremendous attendance at our museum events, including 1,500 at the McCord Museum, close to 3,800 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, over 800 at the Redpath Museum and 2,400 at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum. There were 3,000 people at City Hall – 1,000 more than last year! –, 4,100 people at the Olympic Park Sports Center, nearly 1,000 people at the Quai des Brumes during the 10 hours of poetry, nearly 5,000 people at the UQAM activities, 1,200 people at Club Soda for the 10th anniversary of Karnival with Poirier, 1,000 people at the Centre des arts actuels Skol in Belgo, and around 17,700 at Art Souterrain!
Other great successes were at the Observatoire Place Ville Marie (over 1,000 people), the Canadian Center for Architecture (nearly 900 people), and McGill University’s Otto Maass Chemistry Building (more than 400 people) in the Pôle Centre-ville, at Dazibao (nearly 400 people) in the Pôle Mile-End, at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center (850 people) in the Pôle Nord, at the Usine C (700 people) in the Pôle Quartier Latin et Village, and at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (more than 600 people), the Goethe-Institut (more than 700 people) and the Vitrine culturelle (500 people) in the Pôle Quartier des spectacles.
And we’re also thrilled to welcome new partners every year. For this 16th edition, let us underline the fact that a dozen of them were added; the Horizon Roc climbing center and the Maizonneuve in the Pôle Hochelaga, the Forges de Montréal in the Pôle Vieux-Montréal, The Pine Collective in the Pôle Plateau-Mont-Royal, just to name a few. And get ready for more next year!
The best-attended one-day Montréal event of the year!
Close to 200 activities spread out over 140 sites, 9 poles
More than 80 % of free activities
Over 300,000 night owls!
1 and only official coffee: Tim Hortons’!
Good weather (mostly), encouraging our night owls to party!
652 500 website visits
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram : over 121,100 subscribers
More than 16,000 users of our mobile application
320,000 views for our videos on Facebook and YouTube
5 short “Les Experts du Chalet Bell” clips, moderated by Benoît Gagnon, interviewing Alexandre Champagne, Fanny Gauthier, Josiane and Carolane Stratis, Carl Boudreault and Camille Becerra.
MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE and its partners
In conclusion, let us underline the essential support of our loyal partners: our co-presenter, Bell; our three major partners, RBC, Les Producteurs de lait du Québec and the Casino de Montréal ; our official sponsors, the Société des alcools du Québec, Énergir, Complexe Desjardins, Maple from Québec, Promutuel Assurance, Tim Hortons, Air France, the Hotel Association of Greater Montréal, Tourisme Côte-Nord, our official suppliers, Coors Light, Cabral Porto & Douro, ESKA, Fromages d’ici, Pepsi, Camellia Sinensis, Fromage CDA inc., Loue Froid, Lou-Tec, STM, Arbraska, Mondial des cidres, Cafés Touché, Aéroports de Montréal, Location Légaré, Zen le pouvoir des fleurs, Stonemill Bakehouse, La ligne verte, Ciot, as well as all of our other official partners and suppliers. Thanks also to our three levels of government for their constant support: the Government of Canada—Canada Economic Development for Québec Regions and the Ministry of Canadian Heritage; the Government of Québec—Ministère du Tourisme, the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine, the SODEC and the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation—, as well as the Ville de Montréal, Tourisme Montréal, the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Quartier des spectacles Partnership. Thanks also to the STM, who made it easy to get around during the Nuit blanche by keeping the Metro open all night.
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