Future of gay village balls up in the air
Mayor Valérie Plante was left stunned by remarks made by a member of the gay village's business development association that this would be "the last summer" for the neighbourhood's well-known and colourful canopy.
Mayor Plante had a quick huddle with her team before speaking with reporters, where CJAD 800 asked for her reaction to the news.
"Well, I just heard about it and to be honest I don't know how this is coming from," said a surprised Plante.
Plante was at an event celebrating the reopening of an outdoor gallery at Wolfe and Sainte-Catherine with new art when the board member let the rainbow balls news slip. There was also an audible gasp and murmuring by the crowd assembled on Sainte-Catherine.
"Well obviously and it is, um, like I said, I don't know where his is coming from," Plante said. "And I'm not...I don't think, at this point, I can comment more than that."
The mayor said there will have to be some discussions with the village's business development association.
"We just invested in 'les boules,' just to have the new colours and to make sure we take care of them," she added.
After the event, Mayor Plante spoke with members of the village business association.
Plante's office confirmed to CJAD 800 that the Mayor's office was not advised in advance about the rainbow canopy news.
"No, we weren't," said a member of the Mayor's staff.
The more than 180,000 coloured balls that hang above Sainte-Catherine street between Saint-Hubert and Papineau streets have become an international tourist attraction and destination.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an association board member said they knew about the balls news "for a while now."
Mayor Plante ended her comments saying, "I will get some more information."
CJAD 800 contacted Tourism Montreal for information about the rainbow balls' economic contribution to the village and the city. We did not hear back before it was time to post this story.