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

The rainbow of balls is coming down in the Gay Village in a few weeks – and this time it's for good.

The 180,000 balls have become an iconic part of the Village in the summer, creating a canopy over Ste-Catherine St. from St-Hubert St. to Papineau Ave. in full colour since 2017 and in pink starting in 2011.

Designed by landscape architect and urban designer Claude Cormier, the balls were only supposed to be in place for one year but became so popular, they remained for seven. They come down for the last time on Sept. 23. A new installation will be selected by a jury and in place as of May 2020.

But the famous balls aren't headed for the dumpster. The Village's merchants' association is selling approximately 3500 lines of 50 to 54 balls to the public at $100 each.

"Montrealers have shown their love for these balls over the years," said merchants' association board president Denis Brossard.

The profits will help pay for next year's installation, and 10 per cent of sales revenue will go to three community organizations working with Montreal’s LGBTQ+ community: Fondation Émergence, Interligne and Coalition des groupes jeunesse LGBTQ +.

"These will spread to all corners of the city, among those who want to keep them. Buying a ball is buying part of the history of Montreal, Quebec and the LGBTQ community. Let's hope that buyers will be able to take good care of the fragments of one of the greatest works of public art in Montreal," said Brossard.

Those who buy a strong of balls have to pick up their order themselves and must refrain from any commercial or public use.