What does it mean to be a "real" Montrealer? It's pretty safe to assume you are one, if you're familiar with certain famous street personalities. They are essentially what Montreal is about - diverse, unique and fascinating. Let's see who they are, smile and think to ourselves, "Ah, I know these guys!" If you're new to Montreal, here's what you have to catch up on.
1. Dancing Spider-Man And His Sidekick
These two guys are Montreal's living legends. Spider-Man is known for his uncoordinated hand movements and abrupt whistle sounds. Just imagine Spider-Man throwing web to the beat of the music while whistling?!?! It's the best! His sidekick performs a dance on top of a box. It's the most random duo of life. While Spider-Man is loyal to his costume (because he's Spider-Man, duh!), his sidekick often changes outfits which adds a little spice to their performances. If you're lucky enough, you'll witness this awesome duo on St. Catherine street at the corner of Mansfield.
2. Ogilvy Spoon Man
Did you know that the Ogilvy spoon man, Cyrille Estève, is one of 50 most famous Montrealers in the world? Well, now you know. He's been playing spoons in front of the legendary high end Montreal store, La Maison Ogilvy, for the last 18 years. In 2004, Ogilvy tried to get rid of him because it "wasn't good for their image" to have someone play spoons right in front of the main entrance. However, over 5,000 Montrealers have signed a petition to let Cyrille Estève stay and they won. As a result, you could head to St-Catherine street corner De La Montagne and hear Cyrille play spoons any day. You can even buy spoons from him, learn to play them yourself and annoy your friends afterwards.
3. The Guy That Sings Amateur Opera In The Metro
Everyone knows this guy desperately trying to sing opera inside the Place-des-Arts metro station. Sometimes he really hits the right note and surprises everyone. However, most of the time it's slightly painful to listen to. Here's video footage of his performance. Nevertheless, this metro opera singer is a legend and Montrealers know him and love him. Keep singing, buddy, we support you.
4. Guys That Sell Roses Inside Night Clubs
They're basically local heroes because they've been helping Montreal guys to get laid since forever. If you've never found a bunch of roses next to a pile of clothes after a night of drinking, you're living life wrong, my friend. These rose guys are marketing geniuses. You never see them at the beginning of the night. No-no-no! They wait for you to get tipsy and then they appear, when you're at your most generous condition. Result? Roses for everyone!
5. Zombie Boy
Rick Genest a.k.a. Zombie Boy is an ex Montreal "squeegee kid" turned artist, actor and fashion model thanks to his unusual appearance. Most of his body is covered in tattoos and piercings. Rick has worked with Lady Gaga, Thierry Mugler, Jay-Z and posed for numerous magazines such as GQ and Vogue. If you're lucky enough, you might bump into Rick Genest on the streets of Montreal, so keep your eyes open. You can also follow him on his Instagram.
6. Old Port Performers
Fire breathers, dancers, jugglers, acrobats, magicians, singers, clowns... you name it, Montreal streets have it all. Everyone knows Cirque du Soleil started from street performances. The tradition stayed and our streets are still full of talent. One thing every Montrealer knows is that Place Jacques-Cartier is the spot to hit for some serious entertainment.
7. Hollywood (a.k.a. banana guy)
If you don't know Hollywood, you don't know Montreal. He's Montreal's favorite bum that can usually be found on Crescent street. Banana man pulls out, you guessed it, a banana and tries to "rob" you with it. He's been doing it for years. Hollywood is also good at making witty comments about random people on the street. Montreal's banana man is a legend.
Photo cred - CaryTauben
8. Cary Tauben
Cary Tauben is a real Montreal celebrity fashion stylist. His extravagant and unusual look is what people remember him by. You might have seen Cary strutting the streets of Montreal... However, you'll most likely bump into Cary dancing away at a music festival such as Osheaga.
9. Nantha Kumar
Nantha Kumar is Montreal's favorite Malaysian cook. He used to serve pad thai from a whole-in-the-wall on Duluth street for years. Thanks to his unique look and flamboyant personality, Montrealers couldn't help but fall in love with him. In 2011, Kumar mysteriously disappeared from Duluth and leaves us all heartbroken. However, in 2014 he reappeared at Montreal's Nouveau Palais Restaurant on Bernard Street. Nantha Kumar is back!
10. Mado Lamotte (Luc Provost)
Luc Provost, better known by his stage name, Mado Lamotte, is a Montreal drag queen, author, singer and gay community personality. You can see Mado at his Cabaret Mado, a 1920s inspired nightspot with gender bending performances and festive entertainment.