La Balade pour la Paix / An Open-Air Museum - A major public art exhibition on Sherbrooke Street celebrating Montréal's 375th anniversary

MONTRÉAL, Nov. 23, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - A major component of the official program of events for Montréal's 375th anniversary was announced today with the unveiling of La Balade pour la Paix / An Open-Air Museum. This world-class public art exhibition honours the 375th anniversary of Montréal, the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 and the 150th anniversary of Canada. It was designed and organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) in cooperation with the McCord Museum, with assistance from Concordia and McGill universities. It will be presented along a kilometre-long span of Sherbrooke Street for five months, from May 29th to October 27th, 2017, and feature 67 works bearing messages of peace, in keeping with the universal values of humanism, tolerance and openness that inspired Expo 67.

67 works of art and some 200 flags for peace
La Balade pour la Paix / An Open-Air Museum will stretch from the McCord Museum, which focuses on the history of Montréal, to the MMFA's newly opened Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, a 375th anniversary legacy project. The route will be marked by 29 sculptures and installations from world-renowned Canadian and foreign artists Magdalena Abakanowicz, César Baldaccini (better known as César), Romero Betsabée, Jonathan Borofsky, Fernando Botero, Luben Boykov, Alexander Calder, Claude Cormier, Wim Delvoye, Jim Dine, Sorel Etrog, Ivan Eyre, Joe Fafard, Barry Flanagan, Rose-Marie Goulet, Keith Haring, Zhang Huan, Charles Joseph, Yayoi Kusama, Ju Ming, Robert Murray, Dennis Oppenheim, Niki de Saint Phalle, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangolo Pistoletto, Richard Prince, Ugo Rondinone, Wang Shugang and Catherine Sylvain. Many public institutions and private collections have made remarkable loans to this public urban project as well.

Some 40 large-format photographs by Montréal artists will also be exhibited along the route. Showcasing a generous view of our humanity, they will bear witness to the need to live together more harmoniously. The photographers behind these works include Benoit Aquin, Darren Ell, Aydin Matlabi, Jean-François Lemire and Isabelle Hayeur.

All along the walk, the flags of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and the world's 200-odd countries will fly high over Sherbrooke Street. The spectacular installation, created by world-renowned Montréal designer Claude Cormier, takes its cues from Expo 67's playful, futuristic style. Many visitors will be reminded of the sight of Place des Nations decked out in colourful flags, a highlight of the Montréal Universal Exposition

Visitors strolling down La Balade pour la Paix / An Open-Air Museum will feel like they are taking part in a peace march, carrying on the important message of tolerance and openness conveyed by Expo 67, an event that has left an indelible mark on Montréal history.

The exhibition's ambassador is none other than Louise Arbour, who has spent her entire career fighting for human rights. Ms. Arbour is currently serving as an Ad Hoc Judge at the International Court of Justice and is a member of the Advisory Panel to the Minister of Defence on Canada's Defence Policy Review. She has sat on the Supreme Court of Canada, held a number of important posts at the United Nations, including that of High Commissioner for Human Rights, and is a member of the International Commission against the Death Penalty.

The summer-long open-air museum was conceived by Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA, in cooperation with Public Art Counsel Sylvie Lacerte, MMFA Curator Diane Charbonneau, and designer Claude Cormier. The exhibition is organized by Benoit Légaré and Paul Lavallée for the MMFA, with Michel Dallaire and Claude Bernard in charge of technical aspects.

"I immediately accepted Nathalie Bondil's invitation to serve as the ambassador for La Balade pour la Paix," said Ms. Louise Arbour. "The exhibition conveys the basic values of peace and humanism that are so dear to my heart. Expo 67 helped open Montréal and Québec up to the world, and today, 50 years later, people from all around the globe call the city home, sharing their cultures and hopes for peace. This exhibition is a wonderful gift to Montrealers of every origin and a remarkable testament to the city's 375th anniversary."

"This will be a truly extraordinary event for everyone who loves Montréal!" declared Gilbert Rozon, Commissioner for Celebrations for Montréal's 375th anniversary. "It's a great opportunity for Montrealers and Montrealers at heart to come together and celebrate their city, and an invitation to acknowledge and appreciate Montréal's special openness to the world."

Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, said "As a generous, citizen-centred project that brings people together and is open to the world, the La Balade pour la Paix is an invitation to enjoy the arts in the heart of the city. The exhibition immortalizes our global village and upholds the message of peace sent out by Montréal, which opened its doors to the whole world for Expo 67. Flying the flags of some 200 countries, the installation reminds us that Montréal remains in the 21st century an island of peace for so many immigrants who have fled political, economic and climate-related tragedies. Is it common knowledge that Montréal has one of North America's highest concentrations of consulates, or that it is one of the continent's leading cities for students? It is these strengths that we want to celebrate through this one-of-a-kind partnership between four major institutions—two museums and two universities—as we pay tribute to Montréal, a centre of culture and learning."

"For the Ville de Montréal, La Balade pour la Paix is a big part of the events highlighting the 375th anniversary of the city's founding. This unique installation will capture the best of what Montréal has to offer. It will allow viewers to look into the heart of Montréal and see what we're known for all over the world: our harmonious diversity and the way we live together in the midst of a cultural hub and a city of learning," stated Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre.

"Just like the 375th anniversary itself, La Balade pour la Paix is a community-building event that the Québec government is proud to support. I want to salute this initiative, which is directly in keeping with the values of inclusion and openness that characterize our city," stated Martin Coiteux, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Land Occupancy, Minister of Public Security and Minister responsible for the Montréal region.

"Next year, we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the path we have taken so far, while also looking toward the future with optimism," said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. "In 2017, Montréal will also celebrate a major milestone: its 375th anniversary! Our government is proud to be a part of the project La Balade pour la paix / An Open-Air Museum. What a wonderful way to showcase the city and build bridges between Expo 67 and the artists of today. Together, let's celebrate these two major moments in our history!"

About the Society for the Celebration of Montréal's 375th Anniversary
The Society for the Celebration of Montréal's 375th Anniversary is a non-profit organization whose mission is to organize the celebrations and socioeconomic contributions that will mark Montréal's 375th anniversary in 2017.

With a focus on promoting Montréal expertise, it acts as a catalyst for local forces in carrying out its mandate: to mobilize the community, implement a funding strategy, rigorously manage public funds, develop quality programming and ensure the visibility of the celebrations.

The Society benefits from the support of the Ville de Montréal, the Québec government, the Canada government and private funding from 11 Great Montrealers. For more information, see

You can find all our press releases and additional pictures and videos in our virtual press room.

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To learn more about the contribution of the Québec government, a major partner in Montréal's 375th anniversary celebrations, visit the website of the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Occupation du territoire.

About the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The MMFA welcomes a million visitors each year. Quebec's most visited museum, it is one of the most popular museums in Canada and ranks twelfth among art museums in North America. Its innovative temporary exhibitions combine artistic disciplines (fine arts, music, film, fashion and design) and are circulated to museums around the world. Its encyclopedic collection, which is on display in five pavilions, includes international art, world cultures, decorative arts and design and Quebec and Canadian art. The Museum complex includes a concert hall. The MMFA is also one of Canada's leading publishers of art books in English and French, which are distributed internationally. The Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy, the largest educational complex in a North American art museum, is housed on two floors of the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace.

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SOURCE Société des célébrations du 375e anniversaire de Montréal

Image with caption: "La Balade pour la Paix / An Open-Air Museum @Claude Cormier et associés (CNW Group/Société des célébrations du 375e anniversaire de Montréal)". Image available at:

For further information: Media Relations : Society for the Celebrations of Montréal's 375th Anniversary, Isabelle Pelletier, 514 238-4178,; Media Relations: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Patricia Lachance, 514 285-1600, ext. 315,


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