Montréal history brought to life like never before at Pointe-à-Callière
New multimedia show Generations MTL and Building Montréal exhibition
Montréal, April 29, 2019 – Pointe-à-Callière is proud to offer Montrealers and visitors a new spectacular multimedia experience of Montréal’s history. Projected in a one-of-a-kind room over a 390-m2 set space overlooking archaeological ruins, the multimedia show Generations MTL combines technological prowess with artistic sensibility to bring the city’s history to life. Presented in the Hydro-Québec Multimedia Theater, the show is a can’t-miss introduction to a visit to Pointe-à-Callière, birthplace of Montréal.
Produced by design firm TKNL, the show plunges its audience into an impressive and immersive sound and visual experience through key moments in Montréal’s development and shows them what makes the city such a distinctive hub for human, economic and cultural interaction. Throughout the narrative punctuated with light displays, animated sequences, and projections of archival audio and video footage, six Montrealers go back in time to tell about their Montréal and the story of their ancestors. In their own way, they present and represent the city’s past and present and show that our story is also being handed down from generation to generation. For example, spectators can relive the arrival of Paul Chomedey, Jeanne-Mance and the King’s Daughters (Filles du Roy) to New France, the Great Peace of 1701, the Patriots’ Rebellions of 1837, the Flood of 1886, the Industrial Revolution, and the Great Depression. They highlight the inspiring women who impacted the city’s development, the passion of Montrealers for hockey and jazz culture, the evolution of Francophone-Anglophone relations, and the contributions of newcomers from yesterday to today. The show juxtaposes contemporary decor with its historical counterpart to remind us that history is all around us: under our feet, in the fabric of the city, in our streets and neighbourhoods, and in the very stones of our buildings.
“Telling a story as rich as that of Montréal in 17 minutes is an incredible feat,” explained Francine Lelièvre, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière. “Beyond presenting the city’s historical highlights, we wanted Generations MTL to show off the city’s colours and diversity and what makes it so special. The goal is to move and amaze spectators while piquing their curiosity, and to give Montrealers and tourists alike a desire to know more about the city, whether by taking in the Pointe-à-Callière exhibitions or by simply walking down the city’s streets,” she added.
New: Building Montréal exhibition
Visitors can deepen their knowledge of the city with the Building Montréal exhibition, which showcases the highly symbolic site of the first marketplace. A chronological journey retraces not only the major milestones of Montréal’s distant and recent history but also lesser-known events, such as the inauguration of an ice railway in 1880 or the 1937 dressmakers’ strike.
The Building Montréal *exhibition includes a compelling portrait gallery of just over one thousand faces of Montrealers who express significant moments from their personal or family stories. Created with the help of residents, this gallery reflects the diverse origins of Montréal families, many of which can be found in interactive genealogy terminals that people can use to search for their own ancestors from a bank of 22,000 family names registered in Montréal between 1620 and 1937. The heart of the exhibition is an archaeological crypt that authentically recreates the history of the marketplace through its ruins, which are set off with impressive illumination and different *in situ artifacts that have been returned to their original location. Five models set into the ground under glass panels also go back in time to provide a glimpse of the marketplace in different eras. These small-scale reconstitutions transport us to 1350, when the site was a meeting point for First Nations, and then to 1872, when Montréal had become a major Canadian city.
Finally, when the Museum innovated in 1992 with its first virtual historical characters, Pointe-à-Callière harnessed developments in voice recognition, artificial intelligence and real-time 3D animation to provide a completely renewed experience. This means that historical figures like Ms. Élisabeth Bégon, her friend Ms. Mater, and the Marquis de La Galissonnière can take us on a tour of the Marketplace in 1747 and talk to us about everyday life at the time. What kind of education did children get back then? What role did women have in the 18th century? And how did people get from Montréal to Québec City? These three virtual characters can satisfy visitors’ curiosity about many historical topics.
A Museum in constant renewal
The new multimedia show Generations MTL and the renewed Building Montréal exhibition join the Museum’s latest additions presented in 2017 for Montréal’s 375th anniversary. For the occasion, Pointe-à-Callière inaugurated the new Fort Ville-Marie-Quebecor Pavilion and its permanent exhibition Where Montréal Began as well as Memory Collector, a light and sound experience created by Moment Factory in Montréal’s first collector sewer. “As time passes and we make new discoveries, our historical knowledge develops and visitor expectations change as well. Our duty is to constantly renew Pointe-à-Callière to provide Montrealers with new perspectives on their city’s history with an original museum experience that is enhanced with the latest technology,” explained the Museum’s Executive Director.
Interesting facts and figures about the multimedia show Generations MTL
- The show room itself is a historic site that includes the ruins of Ville-Marie’s first Catholic cemetery (1643) and the foundations of the Berthelet Building, the Papineau House and the Royal Insurance Building (1861-1951), which was unearthed during archaeological digs from 1989 to 1991.
- The six characters who relate the history of Montréal are played by actors Charles Buckell-Roberston, Julian Casey, Élodie Grenier (Passe-Partout), Yardly Kavanagh, Tony Robinow and Satine Scarlett-Montaz.
- The projection surfaces consist of over forty fragments of different sizes that cover an area of nearly 4,200 square feet or 390 square metres.
- Each screen fragment is surrounded by bands of light created with LED strips equipped with diffusing lenses.
- The mirrored screens transform the projections into poetic images, while tulle material lends a transparency effect.
- 22 perfectly synchronized video projectors operating in unison are required to cover the entire surface area.
- The projection screens contain a total of 33,177,600 pixels.
- The images underwent complex optical parallax correction so that they could appear without any distortion.
- The show is also interspersed with many 3D animations and architectural projection effects.
- The 17-minute show is presented in French and English every half-hour during the Museum’s opening hours.
Our major partners
The multimedia show Generations MTL is funded by the City of Montréal, the Government of Québec, by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Hydro-Québec and the Pointe-à-Callière Foundation.
About Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Archaeology and History Complex
Pointe-à-Callière, the birthplace of Montréal, is the city’s largest history museum. Rising above a concentrated number of national historic and archaeological sites, the museum complex’s mission is to raise awareness and foster an appreciation of Montréal’s history and to forge bonds with regional, national, and international networks.
Pointe-à-Callière is subsidized by the City of Montréal.
Photos and video footage from the multimedia show Generations MTL as well as photos from the Building Montréal exhibit are available online: http://bit.ly/PACMultimedia or upon request.
Fact sheets on the technical aspects of the multimedia show and the exhibition are also available online: www.pacmusee.qc.ca/medias
Project Manager, Communications, Pointe-à-Callière
Phone: 514-872-2687 / Cell: 514-704-2225