It’s a little bit ironic that I’ve spent my entire life just a few hours from the Canadian boarder and yet up until a few months ago I’d never actually been. I mused to myself as I cruised with the windows down, music blaring. It was also ironic to be heading south even though my final destination was a northern one. I was picking up Becca to bring with me on this next adventure.
It was a lot of driving, but we started the morning off on a good foot and hit the road early to make it to the festival with enough time to really enjoy our Friday. We were not anticipating the difficulty of finding parking in Montreal. Our Airbnb was nestled right next to a university and with classes still in session finding parking within walking distance become quite the task!
After an hour we finally parked illegally just to get the bags out of the car and grab the room key- figuring we would just drive to some cool places then find a parking spot later. Once again I found myself uttering how ironic when we came out to find an empty parking spot one block away as we were leaving to drive downtown. We snagged the spot and chose to walk the rest of our trip for fear or loosing the close (and free) space.
This slight snag didn’t damper our moods as we walked towards St Laurent where the center of the festival is located. Music played on loud speakers as spectators, venders and street artists mingled. The sun was hidden, and the temperature dropped but even the threat of rain couldn’t lower our moods as we stumbled across different pieces.
We’re both art nerds, with Becca’s knowledge of the art world far surpassing my own, but we equally squealed and pointed out different pieces. Trying to analyze the message or to equally remark “how odd”.
For me, getting to see artists working on huge pieces was inspiring. My work barely ever goes beyond an 11×14 page and my small attempts at murals have always fallen short of what I would have liked. These pieces were incredible!
Founded in 2012 the mural efestival has sponsored the creation of over 80 murals and installations within Montreal. In 2017 the festival ran over a 10 day period, giving visitors plenty of time to explore Montreal while visiting for the festival. There were other festivals going on at the same time which made accommodation tricky but I booked an Airbnb for two people (bunk beds) for $45 (USD) a night. Overall for three days including gas to get there from NH, accommodation, public transportation and food I spent less than $250.
I highly recommend the guided tours, they were priced at $20 (CAD) offered throughout the day in French and English. They were well worth the cost for the amount of time and information provided by the tour guide. We also got to chat with three different artists and hear from them personally about their experience as a street artist and on working with the MURAL festival.
A majority of the murals are on St. Laurent Boulevard or within one or two blocks parallel. There are also a few murals in the old city. I would recommend trying to stay nearby so you can walk to all the activities, we walked from our Airbnb which was about 7 blocks away near the University. We were able to find the free street parking which saved us, because the parking garages nearby were all over $20 a day.
For more in depth look at our day, and tons of streeet art, check out the travel vlog:
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