Riverdance in Montreal & Quebec, Canada
Marcus Maloney, Dancer, Boyne Company
Bonjour! Montreal was our first stop in Canada this tour. And although it was only over the border from America, Montreal felt very different from a lot of the cities we have toured to. Old and new blend seamlessly to define this city, that is so hip and urban, yet still quaintly charming. Known to be the third largest French-speaking city in the world, Montreal is home to a diverse, vibrant, cultural, cosmopolitan ambience unknown to any other city I’ve ever been to. Whether sipping a cappuccino at an outdoor cafe, rambling down by the port or exploring historic Old Montreal, you can’t escape without experiencing the excitement and energy that spreads throughout the entire city.
Montreal was the Boyne Company’s first time in this city and it had been quite a few years since the old Lagan Company had toured here. Nothing could have prepared us for the audience reaction in Montreal. At times we felt like we were performers in a rock concert rather than a Broadway show. They were easily the best audiences this tour. Multiple standing ovations and screams and shouts even Britney Spears would have been proud of made it very easy to perform all week.
We were very lucky also this week to be staying in apartments rather than hotels, and so it was very nice to feel at home and relax in your own place. It was very rare to find company members in local restaurants in Montreal. Home cooking and dinner parties were the trend of the week!
Tourism is the biggest single export for Montreal and hence we spent our week exploring the many sights ands sounds of the city. The Notre-Dame Basilica was built in 1829. The neo-Gothic Basilica is built in the scale and manner of Europe’s great churches. It’s said that the protestant architect James O’Donnell, who designed the basilica, was so taken with the project that he converted to Catholicism! Fine woodwork, rose ceiling windows, blue vaulted ceilings and a massive church bell make this a great place to visit. The peace and tranquillity within the church was quite incredible, not to mention the stunning art.
The old town of Montreal is just simply stunning and the most authentic part of the city. Stroll, cycle or take a horse-drawn carriage through the narrow cobblestone streets of Montreal’s famous Parisian-style historic district, filled with cultural landmarks, museums, boutiques, sidewalk cafes and restaurants. The hospitality, the cleanliness, the feeling of security, the charming shops, the lights at night that highlight this area, the street entertainment, the yachts at the harbour, the families resting on the grass, the street side creperies and cafes, and the beautiful architecture really does make you feel like you are in France.
Montreal hosted the 1976 Olympics. The Olympic park on the outskirts of the city is still in great shape bearing in mind the Olympics took place there 31 years ago, and technology and architecture 30 years ago was a whole lot different to modern achievements. The legacy of the 1976 Olympic Games remains very much alive in the city and is represented by the impressive stadium and the renowned inclined tower, the Tour de Montreal. The tower has sweeping views of the city and surrounding area.
In Montreal we celebrated lead dancer Siobhan Manson’s birthday and we had some comings and goings within the company also. We said goodbye to Declan Masterson who left to get married in Ireland, Ciara McGillan who transferred to the UK tour and Marina Claudio who returned to Spain prior to joining the Foyle Company’s Irish tour. In their absence we welcomed Nina Burke, Matt Bashford, Derek Tallon and Rocio Montoya; all joining the Boyne for the first time. Montreal was indeed a truly European experience and a very enjoyable week for the Boyne. Join me next time for a special diary entry from New York City and The Pirate Queen on Broadway!