Montreal is ready for its 375th birthday Wednesday, with a number of scheduled events and high-profile political guests to mark the milestone.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Philippe Couillard and Mayor Denis Coderre are expected to attend some of the festivities highlighting the occasion.
Montreal, known at the time as Ville-Marie, was founded May 17, 1642, and the city has planned a series of events all day Wednesday.
— At 8:30 a.m., dignitaries will leave city hall on foot for the nearby Notre-Dame Basilica.
— At 8:45 a.m., from the square in front of the basilica, the symbolic sounding of St. Joseph's Oratory's first bell will sound, followed by the chiming of bells of churches right across Montreal for 10 minutes. The Montreal archdiocese said in a statement citizens are asked to share in a moment of reflection and joy.
— At 9 a.m., a mass will be held at the basilica. Two Mohawk elders will be present and church leaders say around 400 people, including priests, deacons, members of religious communities and special guests are expected to attend. The celebration will be presided over by the Archbishop of Montreal, Rev. Christian Lepine, while Trudeau will speak.
— At 10:30 a.m., there will be a homage to the city's founders, Jeanne-Mance and Paul de Chomedey. It will include a performance from the Ecole superieure de ballet du Quebec and Mohawk singers and drummers. Trudeau will also address the audience.
— After a day's worth of activities, the celebration will end with the illumination of the Jacques Cartier Bridge at 9:45 p.m. The work was designed by Quebec multimedia firm Moment Factory.
Called Living Connections, the show includes lights that will change colours to reflect the seasons, the time of day and even the temperature. Those on the Internet will be able to participate in the illumination as clicks on social networks also contribute to the effects.
A specially created 30-minute musical show will feature the Orchestre Metropolitain under the direction of conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin and a dozen Montreal artists.
Before the bridge lighting will take place, there will be the Montreal premiere of Montreal Avudo, a multimedia show in the Old Port that serves as a tribute to the St. Lawrence River.
The show, which includes immense projections inspired by the history of the city, is set on the water near the King Edward Pier and the Montreal Science Centre. It will run nightly until Sept. 2.
Due to recent flooding across the province, Canadian Forces cancelled a number of events they were expected to take part in to mark the anniversary.
Numerous other activities will continue to be held throughout the year to celebrate the birthday.
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