Let’s Go Outside: An Art Scavenger Hunt in the Village

Daniel Baylis

The main street of Montréal’s Gay Village is a manifestation of public art. The annual project, entitled Aires Libres, is a selection of installations that tease the senses and challenge perception. With Canada Pride descending upon Montréal, this summer selection of art has been taken up a notch. Here’s what to find on your Village art scavenger hunt.

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So many balls

The balls of the Montréal Village have become iconic. (Yes, snicker if you wish.) Designed by internationally-renowned landscape architect Claude Cormier, the annual urban canopy has traditionally been a single colour that denotes queerness and nonconformity: pink. This year, however, an 18-tone sequence — which references the rainbow flag — spans the entire length of the pedestrian zone, comprising of more than 180,000 resin balls. Truly a sight to behold.

Picture yourself here

A ‘mnemonic’ is a device that serves to help us remember. The term makes an appropriate title for a retrospective photography exhibit that has been installed throughout the village. Some images offer a political purpose, showing early editions of Pride celebrations in Montréal or honouring those lost to the AIDS epidemic. Others are more playful, such as inside the gay rugby locker room or a family with two moms exchanging a loving kiss. Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, the photographs provide a glimpse into how we got to now.


Galerie Blanc

An outdoor exhibition that features illuminated artworks —day and night, rain or shine. The objective is to make art accessible for everyone, while encouraging contemplation. From Ukraine to Montréal to Portland, the culturally-diverse artists offer a sensitive yet critical viewpoint on the interactions between human and nature. You’ll find dreamlike portraits, misty landscapes and vivid colours.

Musical bikes

The concept of this row of bicycles is simple: peddle to create music. Each bicycle has been assigned a different part of a popular song, such as a guitar rift, a rhythm section or a melody line. For the installation to function, people need to work together. So, nab some strangers and use those leg muscles to make music for everyone. Think of it as sonic sweetness with a bit of sweat equity.

Building bridges

Entitle “Funamboule”, the suspension bridge is the perfect angle to nab a selfie or gain an Instagram-worthy perspective on those previously-mentioned iconic balls. Be forewarned: the height might induce a bit of vertigo. Or perhaps that’s just the sensation of falling in love with Montréal. You choose.

Daniel Baylis

Daniel Baylis, blogger

Daniel Baylis is a writer and adventurer. Born in British Columbia, Daniel came to Montréal with the kooky bohemian notion that he would write poetry, learn to speak French and fall in love. Having achieved various levels of success in said domains, he now focuses his energy on a new hobby: artisanal pickling.

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