Fête nationale celebrations underway across Quebec – Montreal

The Fête nationale parade is underway on St-Denis Street in Montreal, kicking off with Annie Villeneuve singing Gens du pays atop a float depicting Quebec colonial history. 

Big puppets of historical figures and Quebec founders, like Samuel de Champlain, glided through the crowd. The festivities are also highlighting Montreal’s 375th anniversary. 

More floats to come in the parade will depict First Nations histories as well as more recent events in the province’s past.

While many of the scenes celebrated the province and city, others took cracks at its infrastructure.

…Or highlighted its infrastructure.

Friday night, thousands of people attended the main Fête nationale concert at the Quartier des Spectacles to kick off a weekend of celebrations.

The free event featured a slew of Quebec talent including Patrick Watson, Robert Charlebois and Claude Dubois.

It was just one of many events happening around the province including today’s parade on St-Denis Street and a host of borough activities.

St-Jean-Baptiste Day, officially known in Quebec as the Fête nationale, has a long and storied history that goes far beyond the modern-day parades, parties and concerts.

In 1834, an influential journalist visited the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Montreal and thought French Canadians should have their own patriotic event similar to it. 

He decided to organize St-Jean celebrations for French Canadians. 

Singer Annie Villeneuve is part of the festivities in downtown Montreal. (Radio-Canada)

St-Jean-Baptiste Day became a provincial holiday in Quebec in 1925 but it was barely celebrated. In the 1960s, it started being viewed more…

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