Remember the saying “April showers bring May flowers”? Well we’ve stuck through the showers… so where are the flowers? Look no further than another summer of Aires Libres 2011 in Montreal’s Gay Village starting May 18th!
Montreal’s Gay Village is amazing no matter what time of the year it is. With the in vogue restaurants, unique boutiques, and cozy cafés, the Village is always a thriving cultural scene. However, nothing is as spectacular as Aires Libres. This is when the gays have been cooped up for too many months, and just burst out into the summer in style. The gays go big, or they go home. So what exactly is it?
Aires Libres is when Rue Ste. Catherine between Berri and Papineau closes down to automotive and cycling traffic and becomes a pedestrian paradise. Themed decorations go up, terraces on every single restaurant, café and club roll out and the gays come on down for another summer of fun. Aires Libres has been such a smash success that every year it gets longer and more impressive. This year, Aires Libres will be stretching deep into September!
The Village undergoes a serious facelift as well. Themes in the past have been really cool! Two years ago was a “come hang out in the village” with hanging clotheslines, and vines to make the Village look like a cute European alley. Last year appeared to be a Wonderland Rose Garden with huge planters of roses, and tiny lights strung throughout the streets. It was all very romantic and enchanting. Judging from the Aires Libres 2011 website, we can expect a “pink bubble” theme, but only on May 18th will we know for sure. Urban outdoor architect Claude Cormier (the artistic creator for Aires Libres 2011) must have come up with something dazzling!
Aires Libres is an important part of Montreal’s summer. It acts as a stage for the many events that happen in and around the Village. From Divers/cité, Pride, and Community Day, to the Fireworks every Saturday night where crowds gather near Papineau under the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Aires Libres has become a yearly tradition that not only has economical importance, but ecological as well.
So who wants to hold my hand and take a stroll this summer down Aires Libres with me? We can explore the terraces, and watch the street performers!
May 18th – September, 2011
Rue Ste. Catherine between Berri and Papineau
Guest blogger: Alex Dunphy
Photo credit: SDC du Village, Tourisme-Montreal