On April 27th the non-profit organisation Montréal en Histoire showcased three projects aimed at discovering and experiencing the history of the Old Port of Montréal.
We first heard about this particular project last November after the ‘I See Montréal’ event. The dream of Montréal en Histoire has since taken form, with the April 27th media launch for their three projects as well as the inauguration of their website.
These three ventures, or complementary projects, have the ultimate goal of increasing tourism in Old Montréal through its rich history, available to visitors by means of smartphones, wireless internet and wandering around.
Montréal en Histoire will allow visitors, tourists, locals and neighborhood residents (including those living at 21e arrondissement) to enjoy a multi-media experience using cutting-edge technology while discovering Old Montreal and its stories, buildings, and atmosphere.
Production of ‘Cité Mémoire’
The first of these projects is the production of Cité Mémoire, an original and bold piece of work from the internationally renowned duo Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, with help from Michel Marc Bouchard (who is best known as the screenwriter of ‘Tom à la Ferme’, adapted to the big screen by famed director Xavier Dolan).
As of May 2016, Montréal will have its own image ‘mill’. But unlike the famous ‘mill’ by Robert Lepage, which offered an experience where the viewer is stationary in space, Cité Mémoire will offer an experience where the viewer moves through the city, visiting twenty multimedia projections: giant images projected onto facades, stone walls of historic buildings, the ground or even on blank walls built specifically for this purpose.
Projected here and there in the Old Port of Montréal, but arranged to form a coherent frame, these "living" paintings will relive the past by presenting characters and scenes in history, according to the press release. With a mobile application, each projection will be complemented by descriptive and musical sound content.
Visitors will get the chance to meet such characters as Marguerite Bourgeoys, vibrate to the rhythm of jazz musicians from the ‘red light’ era, see the first days of Jackie Robinson and relive the exploits of Maurice Richard.
Come nightfall, with a smartphone or tablet, you’ll be able to experience Cité Mémoire in four languages (French, English, Spanish and Mandarin). In addition to being a major attraction for tourists, it will no doubt become a great activity to undertake with your friend(s) visiting Montréal, during a walk with your significant other or with the whole family.
The second project will be open to the public this coming June 25th. Created by the Space & Dream organisation, it is also a route guided by smartphones and tablets that highlights the historical dimensions of certain important places and areas.
This route, located in the Old Port, is composed of about 50 individual points, each with its own subject. Twelve of these stops offer something new: ‘experiments in augmented reality’. Using their smartphone, the visitor-spectator-walker will be able to watch space through the window of time, thus living in an ‘augmented reality’.
As a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let you decide for yourself by checking out the following video:
Pretty fun concept, no? The app will be available for free on the App Store or Google Play as of June 25th.
Montréal en Histoire
Finally, Montréal en Histoire is proposing an online platform for students and curious adults to discover the history of Old Montréal and exchange thoughts on the subject.
Several large cities already have thematic routes enabling visitors, tourists and citizens looking to discover and better understand some neighborhoods, particularly through a rediscovery of history. Thanks to these three projects from Montréal en Histoire and their many partners in this adventure, Montréal is embracing a tourist attraction that is not only trendy but increasingly in demand.
We can’t wait to see the results!
Photo : Cité mémoire.