Multimedia show will fete Montreal's 375th on St. Lawrence River

To celebrate Montreal’s 375th anniversary, a huge outdoor show on the water is in the works at the Old Port, showcasing the St. Lawrence River’s role over the centuries.

Montreal Avudo, to be launched May 17 at Old Port, will pay homage to river roots

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      To celebrate Montreal's 375th anniversary, a huge outdoor show on the water is in the works at the Old Port, showcasing the St. Lawrence River's role over the centuries.

      The multimedia production, called Montreal Avudo, will feature a light show with 3D projections on large screens, water features and music, put together by renowned Swiss choreographer Daniele Finzi Pasca.

      Daniele Finzi Pasca talks about his new show Montreal Avudo for Montreal's 375th anniversary. ( )

      His Compagnia Finzi Pasca is known for its work on the closing ceremonies at the Olympics in Turin and in Sochi.

      Creating Montreal Avudo has a special place in the co-founder's heart. His late wife, the co-founder of Cirque Éloize, Julie Hamelin, who died last May, is from Montreal.  

      Finzi Pasca said for the show to work, it needed a location that was symbolic and representative of Montreal's history, so he chose the Alexandra Basin in the west part of the Old Port, near the Convoyeurs Pier and the Science Centre.

      This image shows what the Montreal Avudo light show is to look like in Montreal's Old Port in the summer of 2017. (Finzi Pasca, 375mtl)

      "It's the perfect spot, it's extraordinary. It's where everything started and where the boats came from Europe for the first time," says Finzi Pasca.

      "It will be a show on water…. an explosion of images that will be poetic, surprising," says Finzi Pasca. 

      "It will be surreal, and Montrealers will feel like they are on a poetic voyage."

      Montrealers will feel like they are on a poetic voyage.- Daniele Finzi Pasca, co-founder of Compagnia Finzi Pasca
      An old steamboat is reflected in the Montreal Avudo light show, a free show for Montreal's 375th birthday. (Finzi Pasca, 375mtl)

      An ode to Montreal and the river

      The organizers of Montreal's birthday celebrations say over the past four years, more than 1,000 people were consulted on how best to showcase Montreal and its history.

      The St. Lawrence River came up again and again, as an essential part of the city's roots.

      Montreal Avudo will honour the memory of those who arrived on the island by way of the river, those who built around it, lived by it and also those who left on the St. Lawrence to connect to other parts of the world.   

      "We wanted to offer an ode to Montreal and to the river for this special anniversary," says Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.

      "I invite everyone to rediscover our city through this show, which promises to be grandiose."

      The premiere of Montreal Avudo will be on May 17, the day Montreal was founded. It will be shown more than a 100 times until September. The show's creators expect more than 180,000 spectators throughout the summer.