Giants have invaded Montreal, bringing circus shows to the people

Montreal – July 17, 2022

As part of the 13th edition of the Montreal Completement Cirque festival, three 52-foot steel giants have been placed about the city.

These three mammoth pieces, dubbed the 3 Giants, have been strategically placed in three corners of the city of Montreal, and each one has played host to two shows a day, from July 7th to the 17th, and have seen 60 performances in that time. Truly impressive to witness with the naked human eye, these monoliths brought considerable amount of excitement – especially to the younger members of the audience.

After all, it isn’t every day that giants emerge amongst the citizens of the city, although it has happened in the past. Once, several years back, three massive giants strolled through the streets of Montreal, hunting down a lost dog. So when it was announced that there would be giants roaming Montreal again – my thoughts immediately went towards those walking marionettes. This time, however, the three giants were immobile, and stood as silent as statues, allowing performers to climb about them – and one even had a DJ up inside its chest.

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Each of the three giants had its own unique show, combining acrobatics and contemporary dance. Despite the fact that the giants themselves didn’t move, those that swung from them and danced around them put on high energy performances – for free, and were an utter delight to many.

Place Ville Marie

There has been a lot of talk around Montreal’s newest monument – a giant metal ring that sits between buildings at Place Ville Marie. Albeit controversial for its cost, and the future costs it will incur once it has its lights installed and is heated throughout the winter months – at the tax payers expense, it has drawn people to the area. And now a giant as well. With the giant, came the circus and with that, naturally come the people. Right in the core of the city, in an area normally reserved for the more suit and tie, briefcase brigade of businessmen – took place a series of acrobatic maneuverings.

Many are still unsure as to what this giant ring is meant to accomplish – or why, especially now, after a global pandemic that has brought about many financial troubles, but that is neither here nor there. With the giant stood sternly behind it, the ring appeared as if to be a star gate or teleportation device of some kind. Or could it simply be that the circus performers themselves had amped up the imagination.

Vinet Park

Another of the giants made its home in the South-west sector of the city, at Vinet Park in Little Burgundy, across the street for the historic Corona theatre. This giant had a DJ performing from within its chest, supplying the beats to which the circus performers danced to on the platform below.

Of the three, this was the most problematic, as with the stage being as high as it was, a lot of the actions of the performers couldn’t fully be seen. Sadly, that took away from an otherwise highly enjoyable performance. One filled with more contemporary dance stylings over the more acrobatic shows found at the other two locations. This set of shows, were the least fun of the bunch but still a good night of entertainment.

Jardins Gamelin

The one that drew the biggest audiences throughout the ten days, and arguably put on the best of the three shows, was at the Jardins Gamelin, along Sainte-Catherine street. These shows incorporated the use of a trampoline, a wall at the back from which the performers would leap from, and a pool which was sued to splash water about in artful form. These performances were also the more acrobatic and true to the circus-esque performances that might be expected from such an event. Far more so than at Vinet Park, for example, whose shows relied far heavier on contemporary dance in place of the more traditional elements of a circus performance.

With players springing up and down the trampoline, flipping and performing daredevil-like tricks and maneuvers, the general ambiance was certainly that of a more traditional circus act, and as a result probably the better showing of the three. The degree of athleticism, here and at all three of the giants, was beyond impressive – yet here especially. With a disco bumping away just slightly to the right, the Jardins Gamelin was the place to be on a hot and humid Montreal night.

Whatever happens next to these three giants, is currently unknown. Hopefully they return next summer, and every summer afterwards, and continue to bring circus shows to the population of this art and culture loving city.