Trudeau, Legault celebrate Fete Nationale

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Annual Fete nationale celebrations are being held across Quebec over the long weekend under this year’s theme of ‘A world of traditions.’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Francois Legault were both out celebrating the events.

Francois Legault kicked off festivities Monday at a brunch on Charlemagne in the Lanaudiere region, is taking part in a formal reception at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) in Montreal in the afternoon and spent the evening in his home riding of Repentigny.

Trudeau was in Montreal, where he spent the morning at Parc Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Trudeau posed for photos and plunked down at picnic tables, and shook hands with Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, who was at the same gathering.

Trudeau headed to de Castelnau Street East later on in his federal riding of Papineau.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was also in Montreal attending several local celebrations.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said in a video message that he was also spending the weekend in the province, where his agenda included stops in the Quebec City area and a candidate announcement in Sherbrooke.

This year’s budget for celebrations is $4.1 million.

The Grand Parade in Montreal started on Monday at 8:15 p.m. on St-Denis St. and Boucher in the Plateau. Eight major figures from Quebec history were honoured, including Montreal co-founders Jeanne Mance and Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, playwright Michel Tremblay and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

“The Quebec nation is a rich nation, whose cultural body is enriched by people from all over the world he bring us their traditions,” said Etienne-Alexis Boucher, president of the Mouvement National des Quebecoises et Quebebois, the organization responsible for the festivities, pointing to Aboriginal snowshoes and traditional Irish dances as examples.

The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society (SSJB) of Montreal said a delegation of Francophones from Ontario who opened the parade, saying cuts to French-language services imposed by the Ontario government a few months ago attracted attention and generated sympathy in Quebec.

Among the eight paintings that were themes of the Montreal parade were the sugar shack, snow removal, movement in the woods, the storm and the marine melody.

A major concert took place at the new Espace 67 at Parc Jean Drapeau Sunday night. Performers include Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge, Marie Michele Desrosiers, FouKi, Eric Lapointe, Koriass, Mariana Mazza and Philippe Brach.

This year was the first time recreational marijuana could be enjoyed legally at holiday festivities.

More than 100 other events were held on Montreal. For a full list, click here.

In Laval, the Centre de la nature hosted a major concert featuring Marie-Mai, Paul Piché, Hubert Lenoir, Patrice Michaud, Loud, Guylaine Tanguay, Breen Leboeuf, Mara Tremblay, Fanny Bloom, King Abid, Ilam and Flavia Nascimento.

There was also a concert in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, the Laurentians community severely affected by the spring floods. Andréanne A. Malette performed at the municipal park on Laurin Street, were there was also a fireworks show.

The largest celebration took place on Quebec City’s Plains of Abraham, and featured Ariane Moffatt and Pierre Lapointe hosting the annual concert. That concert was headlined by rapper Sarahmee and included Coeur de Pirate, Loud, Yann Perreau, Martine St-Clair, Marc Dupre, France D’Amour, Alex Nevsky and Brigitte Boisjoli.

Quebec City has banned marijuana from its celebrations on the Plains of Abraham, since The National Battlefields Commission owns the site.

Roughly 6,500 activities were spread over nearly 700 sites with more than 2.5 million attendees expected.