- This month will be the last Montreal Pride month that visitors to the Gay Village can walk under the “rainbow balls” over rue Ste-Catherine.
- The balls will be retired next month for multiple reasons and we’re heartbroken.
With the excitement of Montreal Pride now upon us, there is one sad little fact that hangs heavily over us. This will not be just the last year, but the last month to see the kilometer-long stretch of rainbow plastic balls that hang over rue Ste-Catherine Street E. in the heart of Montreal's Village.
The installation, titled "18 Shades of Gay," will be removed this September and retired for good. So August 2019 will mark the last Pride Month that you can walk under the Montreal rainbow balls.
The art installation has been around since 2011, but before its makeover, it was purely pink balls hanging on the pedestrian path. It wasn't until 2017 that landscape architect Claude Cormier thought, 'the hell with that' and created an 18-colour variation based on the 6 colors of the LGBTQ+ flag.
The balls do not only represent an Instagrammable moment (though they are), in just two year's time they've become an iconic symbol of Montreal, Pride Month, and the Village.
Last year, Tourisme Montréal launched the brilliantly titled We've Got Balls campaign in the US market — highlighting Montreal's reputation as a welcoming destination for the LGBTQ+ community.
Cormier originally planned to remove the balls last year, but thanks to an online petition and visit from the mayor, he allowed one more "transition year" which we're thankful for.
The installation is made of over 180,000 balls of recycled materials. The two size balls create a magical ribbon of color running between rues St-Hubert and Cartier.
The creation of the balls became a community effort with hundreds of Montrealers volunteering their time to hand-string every piece.
The balls were taken down every year between September and April, but they still incurred a lot of weather damage from the sun and rain and pieces were constantly being replaced or fixed.
There is no doubt it will be heartbreaking to see such an iconic Montreal staple disappear, but it does make room for another art installation to takes its place. And who knows, we could love it as much.
We are waiting for word from Tourisme Montreal for the official date to say goodbye to our beloved rainbow. We will keep you posted.