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10 Times The Whole World Was Watching Montreal

Embarrassing moments included.
10 Times The Whole World Was Watching Montreal

To a Montrealer, the city is like the center of the universe, where all amazing aspects of life converge into one urban epicentre of awesomeness. Obviously anytime a non-Montrealer visits, they feel the exact same, and gain a newfound appreciation/obsession with the city.

But to say that Montreal is always in the hearts and minds of indivudals around the world would be a bit of a stretch. While we're easily the most well-knwon city in Canada (sorry TO, we got some years on you) that doesn't quite equate to constant international popularity.

During the moments below, however, Montreal was definitely on the world's radar, with news sources, social media channels, and people all talking about what was happening in the 514. Relive the glory and check out the ten times the whole world was watching Montreal below.

Beyonce's Hair Getting Caught In A Fan At The Bell Centre

Pretty much anytime Bey does anything the whole world is watching, and that goes double anytime the Queen B messes up a bit. This particular mishap is one of the only intersections between Beyonce and Montreal history, and is thus a noteworthy event unto itself, but it really caught fire around the globe for just how hilarious it was.

Trying to get in close with the Montreal charter of the BeyHive at the Bell Centre, Bey's beautiful hair got caught up in one of the fans set up along the bottom of the stage. Kind of ironic since the fans are meant to make B's luxurious locks blow in the wind. You also got to hand it to Beyonce for being a pro and continuing her performance despite the hair-fan malfunction, but she does look might miffed.

And to anyone discrediting this particular event as globally noteworthy, the +3 million views on the YouTube video should shut you up.

Le Printemps érable Student Protests

When the Quebec government decided they wanted to raise the price of post-secondary tuition in the province back in 2012, students responded in kind, namely with massive demonstrations and protests against the hikes.

With inspiring determination, organization, and zeal, Quebec's students took to the streets banging pots and pans and making their stance known. Despite some pretty harsh backlash from the local police force and government leaders, students persevered and gained the attention of the entire world in their endeavour.

Of course, the issue of tuition hikes and funding for academic institutions never really ended, but Le Printemps érable/Maple Spring will forever go down as one of the most high-profile moments in Montreal history.

The Raw Sewage Dump

Otherwise known as #Sewagegate, the City of Montreal received plenty of international backlash when they dumped 4.9 billion litres of raw sewage into the Saint Lawrence River. By the end of it all, the sewage dump wouldn't actually have much of a negative affect on the water source, with any changes made to the Saint Lawrence being incredibly short term. However, the perception of Montreal as a city not entirely concerned for the environment will unfortunately linger on for a while longer.

Expo 67

The whole world wasn't just watching Montreal when the city hosted Expo 67, the world was quite literally here. A shining moment of Montreal history, Expo 67 brought together 62 different nations into one cultural playground, with the 50,306,648 attendees ranging from diplomats to famous musicians to the average Montrealer.

Nowadays, Expo 67 is idealized as a shining moment in the city's history, and for good reason, as it is often cited as the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century. For more Expo 67, head here.

The John Lennon Yoko Ono Bed-In

Despite only having two individuals in attendance, the legendary John Lennon and Yoko Ono, this Montreal protest may lack physical numbers, but it more than makes up for it with its immense cultural impact and continued relevancy.

After the first Bed-In held in Amsterdam, Lennon & Ono travelled to Montreal for their second non-violent protest against war, a direct evolution of the “sit in” form of protest. Arriving in the city on May 26th, 1969, the couple occupied four rooms at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel over the course of a week.

Gaining international press coverage for their experimental form of protest, the Bed-In received even more recognition when “Give Peace A Chance” was recorded right inside the famed couple’s hotel room, with a variety of celebrities and journalists in attendance. The track would become an anti-war anthem, one still used (and heard) today.

Jackie Robinson Breaking The "Baseball Colour Barrier"

Before Montreal's baseball team was known as the Expos, they were called the Montreal Royals. A rather successful team, one player made a rather large mark on baseball (and North American) history, Jackie Robinson, who was signed to the team in 1946 and became one of the first African-American major league baseball players, along with John Wright and Roy Partlow who also played for the Royals that year.

Despite some initial racist resistance against including Robinson on the team's lineup, Montreal proved to be the perfect city to welcome Robinson, who went on to have a long and successful career in baseball. The Canadian Heritage Minute above sums it all up pretty nicely.

The 1976 Summer Olympics

While the Olympics may not be as fondly remembered as Expo 67 in Montreal (mainly because it created such economic blunders like the Olympic Stadium, one of the most over-budget building projects, ever) but it definitely put the city in the international spotlight.Granted, it's kind of hard not to when almost every major nation in the world is competing against each other within confines of the city.

But Montreal might not have even gotten the chance, as both Moscow and LA were the favourites to host Thankfully, many smaller countries rooted for us, as Montreal stood as the only neutral option in the ongoing Cold War.

A couple of fun facts regarding the 76 Olympics: it has been the only time any Canadian city has ever held the Summer games, and (for all you Kardashian fans) it was where Caitlyn Jenner set a world record for the decathlon.


A constant source of amusement and frustration in Montreal, the OQLF/Language Police reached international heights of exposure when the Pastagate story broke.

If you aren’t familiar with the story that took over news sources all over the world in 2013, it can basically be summed up in a sentence: The OQLF tried to force an Italian restaurant to remove the word “pasta” from their menu.

Why? Because “pasta” isn’t French, which anyone with half a brain could have told you. But it’s not as if the restaurant (Buonanotte, btw) had English on their menus. They simply listed their Italian dishes in Italian, you know, because it’s an Italian restaurant.

The inherent ridiculousness of the complaint wasn’t lost to anyone. In all honesty, it seemed like something that would appear on The Onion. But real it was, and Pastagate will forever go down as one of the most ridiculous and high-profile moments in recent Montreal history.

The Luka Magnotta Murder

Still in the memory of Montrealers today, Luka Rocco Magnotta is the porn model and actor who killed and dismembered Lin Jun, an international student from China, who then mailed the body parts to schools and political party members, which pushed the story onto the international news radar.

After fleeing Montreal, Magnotta was eventually apprehended in Berlin, and is currently serving a life sentence in prison. According to recent letters surveyed by The Gazette, Magnotta’s life in prison is quite comfortable, with the murderer likening it to being in a university residence.

Magnotta even has access to TVs and stereos, which he uses to listen to Celine Dion. Hardly the harsh treatment one would expect a murderer to receive in a correctional institution.

The Polytechnique Massacre

On December 6th, 1989, a tragedy occurred in Montreal, when an armed gunman invaded École Polytechnique de Montréal, killing 14 women, wounding 10 others and injuring four men. The gunman would be identified as Marc Lépine, a 25-year-old-Montrealer who took his own life following the heinous acts he committed, all of which was fuelled by his own hatred towards women.

Few events have filled the hearts of all Montrealers with pain and sadness, a sentiment that reached well beyond the city's borders when others heard about what would become known as the "Montreal Massacre."

For more information on the Polytechnique Massacre and its lasting legacy, head here.

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