06/24/2015 12:40 EDT | Updated 06/24/2016 05:59 EDT

Federal leaders flock to Quebec to take part in St-Jean-Baptiste festivities

All four federal party leaders are on the ground in Quebec today to join in on the St-Jean-Baptiste celebrations, a sure sign that the province is shaping up to be a key battleground in an election that is still four months away.

Opposition leader Tom Mulcair of the NDP and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, both of whom are Quebecers, will take part in the annual parade through the streets of downtown Montreal. The newly appointed leader of the Bloc Québécois, Gilles Duceppe, and the man he suddenly replaced this month, Mario Beaulieu, will join them.

PM in Ste-Marie-de-Beauce

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, meanwhile, makes an appearance in the Beauce today.

He is in Ste-Marie-de-la-Beauce to make an announcement accompanied by two of his key Quebec lieutenants, Tourism and Agriculture Minister Maxime Bernier and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Denis Lebel.

Street parties across Quebec

In all, some 700 events are planned across Quebec today to mark the 181st edition of la Fête nationale.

In Montreal, the main event is the parade that begins at 1 p.m. on St-Denis Street at Boucher Street, heading south to end at Sherbrooke Street in downtown Montreal.

Under a theme that loosely translates as, "Quebec: A land where life is good," more than 1,500 people will participate in the event. It's being billed as an environmentally friendly festival, with the floats being pulled by cyclists and people on foot.