Giant marionettes are set to take over parts of downtown and Old Montreal as part of the city’s 375th birthday celebrations. Here are five things you should know about them.
1. They are big
The two characters are monumental marionettes that stand more than 10 meters tall: the Deep Sea Diver (Scaphandrier) and the Little Girl-Giant (Petite Géante). The girl’s dog, Xolo, also towers over humans. They are all moved mechanically by dozens of Lilliputians using ropes and pulleys.
2. There’s a story
The Deep Sea Diver is arriving from the St. Lawrence River.
“Just like the coureurs des bois, he moves his encampment regularly, an old container filled with useless treasures found in sunken ships: a submarine compass, a ship’s wheel, a captain’s hat and many other souvenirs that he looks at every now and then,” the organizers explain.
In Montreal, he’s about to meet up with his long lost niece, Little Girl-Giant, who, “just this spring, was among the glaciers of the Great North, trying to free her boat, which was wedged in the maws of two icebergs.”
3. The event runs three days
They’re not spending the entire summer here. Like tourists on a weekend getaway, the giants are in town only Friday to Sunday.
4. They have a busy schedule
The giants have set itineraries.
On Saturday, for example, the giants will “wake up” at 10:30 a.m. – the Little Girl-Giant at Gare Viger, the Deep Sea Diver at Maison Radio-Canada. They’ll wander around – separately – along Ste-Catherine St., René-Lévesque Blvd. and other downtown and Old Montreal streets, before meeting up at Maison Radio-Canada at 6:45 p.m.
Visit the 375 website (375mtl.com) for the full schedule and map showing streets that will be closed at various times of the day.
5. They’re world renowned
The colossal puppets are the brainchild of Royal de Luxe, a street-performance troupe based in Nantes, France. More than 20 million people have taken in the giants on the streets of more than 170 cities. This will be the giants’ first visit to Canada.
Giants take over downtown, Old Montreal on Saturday and Sunday