- The 'Rainbow Balls' replacement isn't coming to the Montreal Gay Village this year, after all.
- The current situation has forced organizers to halt work on the new installation.
- The Village has also suspended other summer activities.
We were all saddened last year when Montreal's hanging art installation, which covered over a kilometre long stretch through the heart of the Montreal Gay Village over rue Ste-Catherine East, came to an end. But with the end of such an iconic visual representation of Montreal's welcoming attitude to people from the LGBTQ+ worldwide community, the removal of "18 Shades of Gay" also made way for the promise of something new. Unfortunately, the new exhibit has been postponed until 2021.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, la Société de développement commercial du Village (Village Montréal) has had no choice but to delay the much anticipated suspended canopy.
In keeping with the government directive to close all non-essential business, Village Montréal has had to halt production, making it impossible to deliver by 2020.
According to Friday's press release, the current situation has also had an effect on pedestrian traffic on Ste-Catherine and the stores that line it.
Village Montréal is no longer preparing for the usual Montreal summer of street closures for foot traffic, terrasses, and, decorations as well as the Galerie Blanc installation.
Instead, the group will be focused on helping merchants get back on their feet in this new climate.
The original ball installation ran from 2011 to 2019 and was so popular that its previous 2018 removal date was postponed after public outcry.
When it was finally retired, the rainbow blanket of 180,000 multi-coloured balls was put up for sale, allowing people to buy their own piece of Montreal fame string by string.
As Village Montréal works with groups like le Service du Développement économique de la Ville de Montréal, l’arrondissement de Ville-Marie, and l’Association des SDC de Montréal to find solutions to support the local economy, we can only applaud them for the diligence during today's uncertain times.
While the suspension of the new art installation is perhaps not the most important loss for a city with so many current struggles, the message of inclusion will still be sorely missed.
The coronavirus crisis has affected other Montreal-area activities, as well.
On Thursday, the organizers of the Santa Teresa festival in Sainte-Thérèse on the North Shore announced the cancellation of its 2020 edition.
We'll have to wait and see how the situation impacts other upcoming Montreal events.