1,000 orders for the Gay Village rainbow balls...and counting

Balls form a canopy over Montreal's Gay Village. photo: Raphael Thibodeau

On Tuesday, the Gay Village merchants' association announced with much fanfare that the iconic multicolored balls that have lined a stretch of Ste. Catherine St. every summer since 2011 were going up for sale, strand by strand.

Within hours, the Société de développement commercial du Village announced that a third of them have already been sold.

More than 180,000 of the rainbow-colored balls went up for grabs, in strands of about 50 each, with each strand going for $100 a pop. By late Tuesday afternoon, about 1,000 of the 3,500 strands had been ordered though the merchants' association's web site.

The profits will help pay for a new piece of artwork to go up on Ste. Catherine St. next year, and 10 per cent of whatever they take in will go to support three local LGBTQ+ community organizations.

The wildly popular piece of public art was created by landscape architect and urban designer Claude Cormier, and were only supposed to be in place for one year, in the summer of 2011. Initially, the balls were only in pink, before they became multicolored in 2017.

They will come down for the last time on Sept. 23.

The successor installation will be selected by a jury from a shortlist of four designs by the end of October. It will be in place by May of 2020.