Giants, Giants, Everywhere

Early this morning I awoke to the sound of drums.

* insert your own Doctor Who joke here *

I assumed it was a concert at a nearby park, and lazily laid in bed and half listened to it. I was not yet fully awake, so when it seemed to end rather quickly (for a concert at least), I thought nothing of it and assumed I had cat napped through the performance. It was, however, sounding like the day would quickly pass me by if I did not get up and out of the hotel. After extricating myself from the covers, getting ready, and debating if I should bring a coat or not, I headed out in hunt of coffee, only to be greeted by a cool afternoon. So I promptly turned about and went back up for the jacket, which later proved to be a very good idea.

I had noticed that some movable blockades had been set up when I first went out, but thought very little of it until, on a whim, I decided to look up on the anniversary app what, exactly, was going on that day. And boy, was I in for a surprise. Apparently all the noise in the morning had been a sort of parade passing by, and I had missed the giants. They were, at that point, “napping” (according to the app), but would be passing by in about a half an hour’s time. Curiosity piqued, I began to noodle around the internet and youtube, searching for more information about these “giants”.  The Giants are essentially huge steampunk puppets. They are presented by Royal de Luxe, a French company who tries to make theater more accessible to the average person by taking it out of the theaters and into the streets. The company has since grown and evolved into something magnificent, and tours the world doing street performances. And they were going to come back past the hotel in about a half hour.

Apparently I wasn’t going out like I planned.

I returned to the street. It was much fuller than it had been a quarter hour earlier, and I figured it was only going to get more crowded. I briefly considered scaling a light pole and sitting on it (as some of you know, I have a bit of history with climbing and falling off of tall things), but good sense prevailed, and I wormed my way through the crowd until I was happy with my potential view.

There is, apparently, a bit of a story to go with the puppets. The dog came by first, barely taller than the viewers, and it is supposed to be the little girl’s pet. Next, of course, was the little girl, who has been frozen in ice for years and only recently melted. Some of the time she moves around on a sort of scooter/tricycle sort of thing, but every now and then it gets left behind and she walks on her own. Behind her follows her uncle, the diver, who came up from the sea to reunite with his niece now that she is free from the ice.

The giants were pretty amazing. My own video of the diver seems to object to the idea of uploading, however, Air Canada apparently quickly strung a video together for the internet to see, since soft advertisement is always good. Thus, to get a flavor of it (with a very different flavor of music than what actually occurred), Air Canada presents:

If you can’t tell from the video, the puppets move through a complicated system of weights and pulleys, the weights being provided by pairs of performers launching themselves off of a platform while holding on to a rope. Very steampunk-esque, and very fun. The procession ended with a large pair of cymbals and a cannon, the latter of which spewed blue and white confetti and postcards with the various puppets on them. After retrieving a few of the postcards, I looked around and headed down to old Montréal. It was the last day the giants would be in the city–they were heading down to the Port to depart. But it was one of my first days in the city, so I still had much to explore.

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