Posted on August 17th, 2011 by .

Just when you thought festival season was over (and indeed the city has calmed down a lot), comes the mellowest and most maritime of all Montreal festivals: The Montreal Classic Boat Festival.

Montreal is a major maritime port, and both our access to the open water (the magnificent St-Lawrence River) and our very own canal provide historical waterways perfect for a festival celebrating all sorts of classic boats.

Sperry Top-Siders (who else?) will sponsor a stage down in the Old Port that will feature local acts such as celtic ensemble The Paddingtons, goofy girl group Les Gourmandes, Senegalese-Quebecoise singer Marième and more. Possibly the coolest thing about the festival is the roster of speakers they’ll have on hand: From Billy Rioux, who will recreate a 2000 km voyage from Baie-St-Paul to Niagara Falls on a Square-sailed raft, to Alain Boucher, who will detail the history of schooners on the St. Lawrence, to Michele Dagenais from the University of Montreal who’ll be talking about Montreal’s link to the river, to Michel Leboeuf, the St. Lawrence’s ambassador at the David Suzuki foundation, who’ll be describing the ecosystem of the river. There will also be practical talks about how to buy and restore a classic boat, and the Blue Route, a kayak route around the island of Montreal.

The fest offers a series of movies in their Ciné-Maritime programme, most of them documentaries about various maritime feats, including Boxed In Under The Stars, about two French brothers who cross the ocean without any directional instruments, and Ice Water in the Veins, about a famly who crosses the St. Lawrence in an ice canoe.

And last but not least, the most inventive attraction of the festival: A guided “catastrophe walk” around the Old Port, in which many Montreal-centric maritime disasters will be examined. Kind of like a ghost walk, only better because it’s real.


Montreal Classic Boat Festival August 19-21, 2011

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