Marionettes as tall as houses march along Montreal streets during 375th birthday bash

Giant marionettes are taking over parts of the city with a larger-than-life street performance as part of Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations.

Street performance began Friday morning and wraps up Sunday evening

The Deep Sea Diver Giant marionette began his journey through the city starting in the Old Port Friday afternoon. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

Giant marionettes are taking over parts of Montreal starting this morning, with a larger-than-life street performance as part of the city's 375th anniversary bash.

The marionettes, one of which is five storeys high, were made by a French company called Royal de Luxe. They made their Montreal debut today, winding their way through the city streets and along the river.

The performance began this morning in Montreal's Jeanne-Mance Park with Little Girl-Giant waking up in front of hundreds of people and will continue for three days.

The Little-Girl Giant takes a nap in the Old Port Friday afternoon. (Nantali Indongo/CBC)

Little Girl-Giant and Deep Sea Diver will also interact with onlookers as they explore the city and play out their story. Organizers also promise a few surprises along the way.

"They not only walk the city, they create scenes which allow them to tell their stories," said Martin Bolduc, line producer of Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations.

The Giants, including Little Girl-Giant, will interact with spectators as they make their way through the streets. (CBC)

The marionettes can move easily due to a mix of mechanics, hydraulics and people pulling strings. Each marionette requires a team of about 30 people to help them move their arms and legs as they stroll about.

"At night, you see their chest moving, like they are breathing—that I must admit is a mechanical thing," Bolduc says.

Little Girl Giant waking up in Jeanne Mance Park

7 years ago
Duration 0:44
Giant marionettes are taking over parts of Montreal as part of the city's 375th anniversary celebrations.

"But most of it is literally human beings making them move."

Where they'll wander

The marionettes will move at an average speed of 2.25 km/h through the Gay Village, Old Port and downtown Montreal.

After starting the day in Jeanne-Mance Park, Little Girl-Giant will head down de Maisonneuve Boulevard before travelling back east near Place d'Armes for a nap. She will then head to bed outside Gare Viger, the historic former railway station and hotel on Viger Street, around 6:20 p.m. ET.

The Deep Sea Diver started his march from the Montreal Science Centre around 4 p.m. and will be moving through the Old Port until it gets to Radio-Canada around 6:15 p.m.

The marionettes will finally roam together on Sunday.

Hundreds of people came out to see the Deep Sea Diver wake up in front of the Montreal Science Centre. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

The event will wrap up Sunday evening with a parade and celebrations at CBC/Radio-Canada, where the Giants will sleep in the parking lot at the end of their routes.

Organizers also encourage people to walk, bike or take public transit to see the Giants since some streets will be closed to traffic.

The Little-Girl Giant and her dog

7 years ago
Duration 0:22
The Little-Girl Giant and her dog

With files from CBC Montreal's All in a Weekend