Botero family wanders around Montreal as part of downtown core relaunch

MONTREAL — If you’re heading downtown any time soon, you may come into contact with some strange characters.

In an effort to relaunch the city following months of isolation due to COVID-19, a wide array of urban design and cultural activities have been planned for the downtown core until fall.

One of those cultural activities is an homage to Colombian painter Fernando Botero, offered by Toxique Trottoir, a Montreal street theatre company.

Four people dressed as characters out of Botero paintings – with small eyes and large cheeks – have been spotted wandering the Montreal streets.

The four mascots make up a family, according to Tourisme Montreal, one of the bodies involved in the city’s relaunch.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante and her administration put $400,000 towards the initiative, which will allow upwards of 150 artists and creators to help revive the downtown core.

The 21 Swings installation in Quartier des Spectacles is back for a 10th year, and the city has also begun offering performances such as cabarets, theatres, circuses and live music. More cultural events will become available between now and the fall.

“The unprecedented crisis we are navigating presents significant challenges on multiple fronts. One of them is the survival of downtown Montréal, an important district whose economic vitality has ripple effects throughout Québec,” Plante said in a statement. “Normally a very lively, animated, festive and diverse place, the area has been almost entirely deserted by the millions of tourists, workers and students who spend time here each year. In that spirit, I asked for a relaunch plan to be put together, and I am pleased to announce today that the Ville de Montréal will allocate $400,000 to the initiative.”


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