This slightly goth procession is a Charlottetown celebration of crows, whether you love or hate them

Charlottetown's crow infestation is a local controversy — but an annual parade honouring the feathered interlopers allows everybody to let off some steam.

An annual parade honouring the feathered interlopers allows everybody to let off some steam

March of the Crows is an annual parade which takes place during Art in the Open. It may not occur this year due COVID-19, but confirmation is yet to be released. (Art in the Open)

As Becka Viau, founder of Charlottetown's Art in the Open Festival, puts it, the March of the Crows "doesn't quite fit the myth of what Charlottetown is — that we're a beautiful pristine place that's quiet. The March of the Crows is not quiet. It causes a disruption."

Viau is describing a parade of people dressed as crows tha​t marches through the streets of Charlottetown each summer. The parade is part of Art in the Open, a one-day art event that Viau helped start. The March began when Becka invited three artists — Jamie Shannon, Megan Stewart and Harmony Wagner — to creat​e a procession for the festival in 2011.

Watch the video:

Charlottetown's March of the Crows

5 years ago
Duration 3:52
Every fall, the masses congregate in Charlottetown to pay tribute to their feathered neighbours. Filmmaker: Ashley Duong

The artists decided to respond to a local controversy: Charlottetown's crow infestation. According to Viau, "This march has continued because the community is slightly conflicted. And this gives them a chance to let loose and eithe​r let out your frustration or celebrate the crow."

The event proved so successful that Art in the Open has brought it back every year since then. The March is now in its eight year and attracts hundreds of participants, and is now primarily organized by the community.

(CBC Arts)

In this video you meet Viau and Harmony Wagner, one of the original co-founding artists. She compares her experience of the crows themselves and the march celebrating them: "Just like the crows, you hear them coming from a distance and it's raw and loud and free. It lifts my spirits."

Harmony Wagner's film Queen of the Crows, about the city's relationship with the crows, will screen at the Metro Cinema in Edmonton on December 8. And you can follow Art in the Open for news on next year's march here.

(CBC Arts)
(Art in the Open)
(Art in the Open)

This short doc is the second part of a trilogy about community created-performances in P.E.I., including the River Clyde Pageant and an upcoming profile of artist Megan Stewart.

Stream CBC Arts: Exhibitionists or catch it on CBC Television Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT). Watch more videos here.


Ashley Duong is a Montreal-based filmmaker and multimedia storyteller. Her most recent projects include Land and Legends, an interactive journey into a legendary river valley in Borneo, and A Time To Swim, a feature documentary.