- The iconic Montreal Gay Village "Rainbow Balls," an installation by artist Claude Cormier entitled "18 Shades of Gay," is coming down for the last time.
- The balls first went up in 2011 but were replaced with the colours of the rainbow in 2017.
- A new installation will take their place in 2020.
Today is the day that we say goodbye to the iconic rainbow balls that hung over Montreal's Gay Village for years. The 1-kilometre stretch of 180,000 plastic balls over Ste-Catherine has been around since 2011. But it wasn't until 2017 that artist Claude Cormier created an 18-colour variation based on the LGBTQ+ flag, making the art installation one of the most photographed in Montreal.
Monday, September 23 would have been the last day to take a picture under the canopy of balls.
The city of Montreal did manage to get one more year with the installation, titled, ""18 Shades of Gay." Last year Cormier wanted to retire the balls for good, but under pressure from mayor Valérie Plante and the city, he allowed us all one more year of the rainbow blanket.
But for those who can't bear to not have the balls in their lives, you can still purchase part of Cormier's art for yourself for $100. Each order comes with 54 original balls of a single color and everything you'll need for installation. All orders must be picked up at Espace Village (1211 Sainte-Catherine Est). You can order yours here before they're all gone.
For each sale of the 54 balls, $10 will go towards next year's art installation as well as LGBTQ+ groups like Fondation Émergence, Interligne, and Coalition des Groupes Jeunesse.
The installation of the balls became a community effort in the village with hundreds of Montreal volunteers taking part. Hours were spent hand-stringing every piece and is a great metaphor for what the balls represented.
READ MORE: How Montreal Streets Got Their Names
But if we miss the balls too much, we always have Instagram to remind us of their beauty. Thousands upon thousands of pics have been snapped, below, above and in front of the balls. Check out @levillagemtl if you're ever feeling nostalgic.
There is no doubt that it's a sad day in the city to have to say goodbye to our beloved 18 Shades of Gay that has become synonymous with Montreal. But it does open up the spot for a new installation, which is what Cormier wanted.
And while it's almost impossible to think, maybe the 2020 installation will be just as good, and just as loved.