In the beautiful city of Montreal, it would appear that there are celebrations of life and culture everywhere you look, whenever you look. The fun-loving city knows no bounds when it comes to letting loose and enjoying the energy of the European-style French Canadian life. There is, however, one day that makes being in Montreal, and Quebec as a whole, fill you with pride and passion – St. Jean Baptiste Day.
June 24th of every year is the day when you walk out of your door and see the Fleurdelisé (a.k.a. the Quebecois flag) hanging on the backs of groups of people young and old, as they congregate for a day of festivities and fun. Blue and white seem to dominate your lines of vision, as you walk among the crowds of energetic and proud citizens taking advantage of the popular holiday, and you find yourself proud just to be a part of the action happening around you.
St. Jean Baptiste Day, or La fête nationale as it is better-known in Quebec, is a French Canadian Catholic celebration turned secular statutory holiday during which parties and celebrations are held, businesses are closed, the streets are alive, and the people allow themselves to sit back and bask in the beauty of their province. Fun Fact: the Beef liver that we use in our Liverlicious treats comes from the province of Quebec!
One of the most exciting things about this popular holiday, however, is its early summer arrival. With the weather’s cooperation, the holiday allows for predominantly outdoor festivities, which means invitations for the other members of the family – the furry ones, that is. With the throngs of people comes the throngs of dogs, as they walk through the streets, enjoy picnics, sunbathe, and socialize.
For my first St. Jean Baptiste Day, I decided to take the celebrations to where the city was most alive – Old Montreal. In the historic quarter of the city, the celebration ran wild, with restaurants, painters, magicians, and musicians taking over the streets and waterfront for a day of fun. As the sun set and the sky turned pink, the cobble stoned streets came alive with humans and dogs alike, as they strolled through the narrow party filled streets, or relaxed on the grass by the water with poutine from the nearby Poutine Fest in one hand and the Quebec flag in the other. I could feel myself becoming more French Canadian with every second I spent taking in the sights and sounds of the city celebrating.
After a day of sun, festivities, and relaxation, I found my time in Old Montreal for the celebration of La fête nationale to be one of the most enjoyable experiences I had in the city. Next year, I plan to return to this particular celebration spot, but this time I expect to see some puppy poutine with a side of our Liverlicious treats, so that our furry friends can enjoy the Quebecois pride as much as their human companions do.