Edited by Nancy Duxbury and Greg Richards
Chapter 8: Montréal: a creative tourism destination?
Montreal is known as a creative city and for its creative artists, among which are Ubisoft video games, Moment Factory, Cirque du Soleil, Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion, and Arcade Fire. Its creative industries are especially strong in the areas of digital technology, aerospatial and pharmaceutical sectors, artificial intelligence, music, and food. Its tourism destination branding is well known for its endless festivals and its ‘joie de vivre’ ambience. Although widely considered a ‘creative’ destination, Montreal somehow has not invested in creative tourism. One would be tempted to redefine what creative tourism is and on what terms the city could be seen not only as creative in ambience, in events, and in coolness, but also as a place where visitors can encounter the local savoir-faire, while interacting actively with artists, creators, and artisans. The intense programming of the 375th anniversary of the city in 2017 represented an opportunity for its population to participate not only in attending and purchasing but in imagining the city in a creative way, and showed themselves eager to engage in the celebration of their city at a community level. The sense of place, the intangible aspects of Montreal’s creative scene, and the participation of artists in making the neighbourhood destinations unique – through murals, music, neighbourhood events, street cuisine (food trucks), and general ambience – helped facilitate the immersion of visitors in the local culture and way of life. From this base, how can creative tourism be fostered in the city? Research conducted for this chapter found that artists and artisans may not be aware of the opportunity available for them to offer creative workshops to visitors. There are numerous workshops already offered to the local population, so adapting those for visitors may represent an easy transfer, but one would need to motivate the artists and artisans into extending their activities as workshop productions for visitors, and the process would have to be facilitated. Various examples and some interviews with main stakeholders illustrate these topics. The chapter concludes with research gaps identified throughout this examination as well as seeds for the implementation of creative tourism workshops in Montreal’s neighbourhoods.
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