Shanghai, May 20, 2010 – In commemoration of 25 years of friendship between the two sister cities, Expo 2010 Shanghai designated May 14 as Montréal Day. This day also marked the grand opening of Espace Montréal, located in the Expo’s Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA). Montréal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, who headed a business delegation on an official visit to Shanghai, took part in Espace Montréal’s opening ceremonies as well as other celebrations.
To celebrate this special day, Montréal highlighted its cultural, artistic and creative talents with two exciting performances: a contemporary art exhibition at the Times Square mall, and a floral carpet bed (mosaiculture) entitled “The Man Who Planted Trees” at a public park near the Expo 2010 site.
Montréal is one of only two North American cities to occupy a site for the entire 6-month duration of Expo 2010 Shanghai. The UBPA showcases innovative urban planning from some fifty cities carefully selected from around the world, Montréal included. As such, the UBPA is an ideal location for Espace Montréal whose main attraction features the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex, one of the City’s most innovative initiatives in sustainable urban development and a shining example of Montréal’s expertise in modern urban planning.
Once an extensive 20,000 m2 quarry and later a landfill site, the Complex was recently transformed into a large public park. This impressive development spearheaded by the City of Montréal is highlighted in an extensive multimedia presentation, projected onto a 5.75m by 3.5m screen comprised of 720 moving facets that results in a captivating, three-dimensional experience.
11,373 Kilometres to Celebrate Friendship… with Da Shan and Cirque Éloize
Montréal is the birthplace of contemporary circus arts as well as the home of Cirque Éloize, a world-renowned nouveau cirque troupe. In honour of Expo 2010 Shanghai and the 25th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Montréal and Shanghai, Cirque Éloize presented an exclusive performance entitled “11,373 Kilometres to Celebrate Friendship” on May 14 at the Plaza of the Americas. This exceptional event visually interpreted a Montréal legend in which a man digs a deep tunnel and emerges at the other end of the Earth, in China. Hosted by Canadian Mark Rowswell, aka Da Shan or “China’s most famous foreigner”, this cutting-edge production deftly combined contemporary dance and acrobatics set against a modern fusion of exciting visual and sound effects.
Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà
Angèle Dubeau is one of Canada’s best-known virtuoso violinists. Spanning three decades, her extraordinary career has led to performances on some of the world’s most celebrated stages in more than 30 countries. Her talent, virtuosity and musical expression have been recognized with multiple awards, but they tell only part of the story of her unqualified success. Angèle Dubeau’s unique appeal lies in her ability to connect with her audience through her captivating, rich and passionate interpretations of seminal musical classics. In 1997, she established La Pietà, an all-female, 12-piece string ensemble.
On May 14, Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà performed Opus Montréal at the Cities Square. The violinist described this composition as “a musical program depicted as a journey through space and time, whose repertory will deliver virtuosity and diversity. This trip around the world in six musical pieces highlights the work of two Montréal composers - François Dompierre and Claude Gagnon – whose compositions reflect the cosmopolitan feel of Montréal.”
Contemporary Art Montréal
From May 13 and 19, Montréal’s thriving contemporary art scene was highlighted at Expo 2010 Shanghai via the Contemporary Art Montréal project. In the spirit of urban creativity, the exhibit transformed Times Square, a popular downtown Shanghai mall, into a gallery displaying 45 major works from 15 of Montréal’s top artists and its most prestigious galleries, as selected by Montréal’s Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC) and by Art Souterrain. Visitors were also invited to view a short documentary film on Montréal’s contemporary art galleries, screened in a specially-designed lounge. Thirty facilitators located along the exhibit route helped guide visitors through this journey of discovery of Montréal’s creative and vibrant modern art sensibility.
Montréal Day festivities proved to be especially interesting for Chinese media, as demonstrated by the strong media presence. Over 100 Chinese journalists covered one or more of the day’s events, ensuring high media visibility for Montréal. Major Chinese media outlets including CCTV, STV, Xinhua News Agency, Shanghai Morning Post, 21CN Business Herald, The Bund, Sina.com, Sohu.com as well as many others were in attendance.
Although media outcomes are not yet fully known, we feel confident that overall, this initiative was an unqualified success both on the cultural level and in terms of Chinese media coverage.
Tourisme Montréal wishes to thank the City of Montréal for its exceptional support of this large-scale project. We also extended our gratitude to Renaud-Architecture d’événements, Cirque Éloize, Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà, as well as the Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC) and Art Souterrain, for their valuable contributions to the success of this venture.
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