Tableaux project illuminates Old Montreal

Montreal from downtown. Photo by Hayley Juhl

Cité Mémoire comes to life every night in Old Montreal and at the Old Port.

Inspired by figures and events from the city’s history, Cité Mémoire offers a dreamlike and playful look at the city. Some 20 tableaux – 19 in 2016, and four next year to mark the city’s 375th anniversary – feature images, dialogue and music: on the walls, in alleys, on the ground and on trees of the historic quarter.

Evoking some 30 eras in the city’s history, Cité Mémoire, created by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon in collaboration with Marc Bouchard, features a host of characters – both famous and foreign – who have witnessed the city’s evolution.

The whole thing is enhanced by free Wi-Fi. To optimize the experience, visitors are encouraged to download the Montréal en Histoires app in advance.

“Cité Mémoire was born of our desire to reveal the hearts and souls of the figures who built and lived in Montreal, this curious, perceptive, clever city that we so love. And above all, to celebrate our connection,” Lemieux said.

“The Cité Mémoire project started with walking,” Pilon said. “By strolling through the streets of the old city, we infiltrated its walls. The heart of the past was still beating, right there, under the skin of the present. It asked only to be revealed.”

Through an urban multimedia experience, visitors can stroll through the city’s historic quarter with the free mobile app Montréal en Histoires, which provides Cité Mémoire’s entire soundtrack and the historical context for each tableau in four languages. Preparing this original large-scale project took experts in the arts, civic heritage, technology, technical production, and history. More than 800 people contributed to its completion, from artists to craftspeople. With more than 80 projectors in Old Montreal, it is said to be the largest outdoor video-projection installation in the world.

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