This year's theme is "Carry the Merry" and it's safe to say we could all use a little merry right about now.
"When we started designing the cups over a year ago, we didn’t know anything about what 2020 would bring. Our mindset was about people carrying them out in the world as messengers of joy," said Jeff Wilkson, Creative director for Starbucks.
"In a way that message deepened as we got further and further into the year. We want to be that beacon for people, a brief moment that they can look forward to."
If that weren't exciting enough, you'll receive a "collectible limited edition Red Cup" with the purchase of a beverage, while supplies last.
For the health and safety of guests and employees, Starbucks won't be able to fill any reusable cups. But not to worry — it's still perfect to help get you into the spirit!
Swing By This Sandy Beach In The Middle Of Downtown
Where: Saint James United Church, 463, rue Sainte-Catherine O., Montreal, QC
When: June 4 to September 26, 2021
Why You Need To Go: Yes, you read that right — just outside Saint James United Church is the coolest sandy beach hangout, where you can even bring booze. It's the most relaxing place to chill in the middle of the downtown core.
To celebrate its new location in the Old Port of Montreal, One Babo is serving up $2 bubble teas all day Saturday starting at 12 p.m., as long as you follow its Instagram page. The first 50 people will actually get their boba totally free.
One Babo, formerly called One More Thé, has another location on Chemin Queen Mary in Côte-des-Neiges. This is its second time opening in the Old Port after the previous location had to close last year due to COVID-19.
"This year, we were lucky to be able to open once more in our favourite place in Montreal, but in a different spot," said Karen Chen, One Babo's external coordinator.
Chen described One Babo as an international expansion of a Taiwanese boba chain.
"We specialize in authentic Taiwanese boba drinks with an innovative twist, with unique flavours and toppings for everybody to enjoy," Chen said.
Here's what you can expect to find on the menu on July 3:
Classic One Babo Milk Tea
Jasmine Tea Jelly Lemonade
Black Iced Tea with Boba
Violet Crystal (Yakult®)
Grapefruit Green Tea
Pouchong Rice Honey Tea with Boba
The drinks will be served in "regular fat cups," according to Chen, and they will all include a topping!
$2 Bubble Tea at One Babo
When: Saturday, July 3, from noon to 9 p.m.
Address: One Babo (previously known as One More Thé), 3, rue de la Commune O., Old Port of Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: Taiwanese bubble tea in fat cups for $2 or possibly even free — this is a boba lover's dream.
"These were not cute storybook Eric Carle's 'hungry caterpillar' but rather something out of a horror movie," she said. "One or two would be sweet but to see each tree coated with these critters made us uneasy."
Experts told MTL Blog the bugs are most likely LDD moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) caterpillars, an invasive species that has been defoliating trees and pooping everywhere across Quebec, Ontario and the northeastern United States this year.
The moths, commonly known as "gypsy moths," were first brought to North America in 1869 by French artist Étienne Trouvelot, according to an online resource from the University of Wisconsin.
Without "many natural enemies," the moths were able to expand beyond Trouvelot's suburban Boston backyard to become "one of the most important insect pests of forest and shade trees in the eastern United States," the university explains.
McGill university insect pathologist Dr. Gary Dunphy told MTL Blog that, due to the natural ebb and flow of the population, LDD moth outbreaks occur every seven to 10 years.
They like trees such as oak, white pine, white spruce and birch, according to a fact sheet from the Invasive Species Centre.
Also, the caterpillars' tiny bodies are covered in hairs, called setae, which can cause a rash "somewhat like poison ivy," in some people, though it can be treated with antihistamines and over-the-counter medication, said Dunphy.
"The setae or hairs of the insets may elicit rashes several months after the larvae are gone, the hairs being entrapped in tree bark," he said.
They also poop everywhere and their feces, known as frass, makes an audible sound as it falls like rain, covering outdoor furniture, clothes and hair.
Like all LDD moth outbreaks, this year's problem will take care of itself as fungal and viral infections reduce their population, entomologist Gard Otis told MTL Blog.
"But we don't know what next year will bring," he said. "We don't know if the virus is going to sweep through this year and kill them. Or if we're going to have another high number next year before the virus takes them down."
Some communities spray a bacterial insecticide called BTK to control the pests, which "though totally harmless to your pets, to your children, and to yourself," can harm the food chain as it kills all moth and butterfly species.
"That's the insects that provide all the food for your little baby birds," said Otis. "Most of the songbirds here are feeding their young with caterpillars. So, what are they going to feed on?"
He said a more environmentally-friendly defence involves wrapping a burlap sack around the trunk of any tree in need of protection.
"What happens is the caterpillars crawl down out of the tree and rest on the trunk in the daytime. And they like to hide so they hide in the burlap and then you just shake them off into soapy water and that kills him," said Otis.
"So, if you have a few trees that you're worried about, you could do that and cut the infestation back to the point where it's not going to seriously harm them."
As for the caterpillars' long-term effect on the trees, themselves, Otis suggested that repeated visits can cause some damage.
"You have too many gypsy moths for too many years, a few trees will die, but most of them will bounce back."