Monday, August 26, 2013

18th-Century Public Market

Every summer Pointe Calliere Museum of Archeology and History organizes 18th-Century Public Market re-enactment at the heart of historic Old Montreal. From 10 AM this Saturday and Sunday Place d'Youville was filled with colorful characters, dressed up in historic costumes, looking - and behaving -  as they existed in 1750, at the time of Montreal's very first public marketplace. Merchants and farmers sold "authentic" 18th century goods: maple products, honey and jams, cheeses and sausages, cider and spruce beer. Incredible musicians played weird antique instruments and singing old songs of New France. A military regiment fired salute with what I assumed were real old muskets and everybody exclaimed "Vive Le Roi!" Children could learn how to tie sailor’s knots, and how to write with a quill pen, how to walk on stilts and how to work a machine, twisting ropes. Dancers and storytellers entertained hundreds of peoples gathered to feel how it was to live here at 1750s.

Overall it was an incredible fun. Urban Sketchers Montreal joined the festivities and became a part of entertainment. Despite the horrible jet lag (I just got back from visiting my parents in Russia) I was determined to use the opportunity and draw a street scene - you know, the whole scene, with buildings and trees and lamps and people. Not as I usually do: just one building or one person, floating in empty white space. But it was.... too much. Overwhelming. Music, noise, smoke, heat, colors, people in perpetual motion - all I could do is to hastily catch some fragments, bits and pieces on paper.

My tiny red Moleskin was quickly filled with unfinished drawings: a strange figure there, a funny hat here. I stayed only till lunch and went home: reluctantly, but I was falling asleep on my feet. 11 hours time difference plus three century time shift made me dizzy.

Now it's half past midnight, I am fully awake and writing this, wondering when I will get back to normal.


  1. I like your sketches - it is impressive how much you managed to capture.