Montreal

'By popular demand,' Montreal to hold 2nd Jacques Cartier Bridge light show

If your viewing experience of the highly anticipated (or much maligned, depending on your perspective) lighting of the Jacques Cartier Bridge was ruined by a noisy protest, fear not, for you will have a chance to watch it in peace.

1st show was partially interrupted by protesting police officers, which didn't go over well with Denis Coderre

Fireworks explode over an illuminated Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, to celebrate the city's 375th birthday. If you missed this show the first time, you'll have a chance to see it next week. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press) (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

If your viewing experience of the highly anticipated (or much maligned, depending on your perspective) lighting of the Jacques Cartier Bridge was ruined by a noisy protest, fear not, for you will have a chance to watch it again, presumably in peace.

Take two of the light show is scheduled for Sunday, June 25, just over a month after Montreal police officers crashed the first event.

But a news release announcing the display mentions nothing of the police protest, pointing instead to the first show's popularity as the reason for the second go.

The lighting and show are part of festivities for Montreal's 375th anniversary, and a Facebook post on the official 375th page says the event will be presented "by popular demand."
It took the collaboration of seven companies, more than 2,800 light fixtures and plenty of trial and error to bring to fruition the $39.5 million project. 6:38

The organizing committee of the anniversary celebrations refused to divulge how much either show will cost.

According to the federal bridge corporation, about 400,000 people set up camp somewhere near the bridge to watch the spectacle last month; another 1.8 million watched on television or online. 

But thousands of protesting Montreal police officers marched to the Old Port that night and held a noisy protest where the large crowd had gathered to watch.

According to photos posted on social media, the union projected its logo on one of the bridge's pillars as the illumination spectacle began.

The officers' collective agreement expired in 2014.

"It was a demonstration of solidarity, a demonstration of our determination and to show Montrealers and the administration that despite the fact it's been three years, we are still applying pressure and won't bend our knee," Montreal Police Brotherhood spokesperson Yves Francoeur said at the time.
Protesting police held flashlights aloft to interfere with the light show's impact. (CBC)

Mayor Denis Coderre wasn't impressed with the police union's decision to disrupt the event, which is one of the city's highest profile anniversary projects. It cost an estimated $39.5 million to install the lights on the bridge and maintain them for the next 10 years. 

"People have the right to protest, but they have to do so in a way that respects Montrealers," he said the following day, when he announced that there would be a second show.

Take two: the details

The 30-minute show will start at 10:30 p.m. and feature musical accompaniment by the Orchestre Métropolitain, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and featuring about a dozen performers.

The soundtrack will be broadcast on Rouge FM.

Some suggested places to catch the show include Notre-Dame Street, east of the bridge, along the riverbank on the South Shore, including Marie-Victorin Park in Longueuil, and of course, the Old Port.

No word yet on whether the police plan to crash for a second time.

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