Aires Libres


May 22, 2012 – If you happen to be looking up in Montréal’s Gay Village this summer, don’t worry: it’s not spots you see in front of your eyes, but rather some 200,000 suspended pink balls in their triumphant return to Aires Libres, Montréal’s original summertime event for the masses! Artsy and eco-friendly, this original event features urban installations, performers, bazaars, events, and a whole lotta free-form fun! What’s more, it all goes down in the Village’s summertime dedicated pedestrian zone (a.k.a. outdoor party central!) until September 3, once again demonstrating that in Montréal, summer isn’t just a season, it’s a celebration!

Something to do
Artists and artisans of all genres will be on hand from June 27 to July 1, when the Festival International Montréal en Arts (FIMA) turns the aptly named BoulevArt into Eastern Canada’s largest open air gallery to showcase the work of over 140 emerging artists. Connect with the artists themselves (and bypass agents!) to procure some incredible original artwork. What’s more, there’ll be many performers, filmmakers, and multimedia artists from around the world on hand to dazzle, provoke, and entertain you.

Bizarre? No – Bazaar! Aires Libres will repeat last year’s successful outdoor bazaar formula and once again include three, 4-day outdoor bazaars for your shopping pleasure. Local merchants will set up shop outside to peddle their wares from June 14 to 17, July 12 to 15 and August 23 to 26, 2012. And while you’re at it, why not drop by one of the numerous cafés, bars, and restaurants that line this stylish strip – you never know who, or what, you might find in the Village!

An outdoor celebration wouldn’t be complete without entertainment, and the Village during Aires Libres has it in spades! First, Montréal goes berserk for the circus with the 3rd edition of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, the city’s international circus festival, from July 5 to 15, and then Montréal’s LGBT festivities come to the forefront beginning with Divers/Cité celebrating its 20th anniversary from August 2 to 5 on the Jacques Cartier Quay in Montréal’s Old Port, followed by Montréal Pride Celebrations from August 13 to 19. Laughs and surprises, guaranteed!

Something to see
New, improved, and back for the second year running, the Pink Balls – or “Les Boules roses” – string playfully from tree to tree to form a long, ribbon-like a canopy atop the dedicated pedestrian zone on Sainte-Catherine Street between Berri and Papineau. This 1.2 km strip with nine different suspension patterns features no less than 200,000 pink resin balls in three different sizes, for a festive five-tone ribbon decoration high above the best block party on the continent!

This year’s artistic installation at the Aire Banque Nationale (corner Sainte-Catherine and Amherst) promises to be just as inspiring as last year’s Manifeste, but it is so far under wraps – soon to be announced and sure to impress!

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Village, an outdoor photographic retrospective will line the pedestrian route, depicting important moments in the 30-year history of Montréal’s Gay Village on some fifteen immense double-sided panels. Ambling down Sainte-Catherine Street is pleasant at any time, but now it’s even educational!

Something to experience
This urban summertime happening is at once an eco-experiment, an art project and a business venture: it invites one and all to come and soak up the summer city vibe in all its creative splendour, all the while re-inventing the dream of living car-free in the heart of downtown.

So come play, sing, dance, visit, stroll, draw, sculpt, listen, shop, eat, drink, and share! Let your creativity flow with reckless abandon; Aires Libres is all about freedom – from pollution, of expression, of being.