'The city's alive again': Montrealers celebrate lifting of curfew

·3 min read
Anis Djebassi was one of thousands of Montrealers who took to the streets to celebrate the lifting of curfew and enjoy a night out with friends. (Sharon Yonan Renold/CBC - image credit)
Anis Djebassi was one of thousands of Montrealers who took to the streets to celebrate the lifting of curfew and enjoy a night out with friends. (Sharon Yonan Renold/CBC - image credit)

Thousands of people gathered in Montreal's Old Port on Friday night to socialize and enjoy the brisk night air.

After more than four months under curfew, people were eager to make use of their newfound freedom.

"To be able to go out freely, to walk, to do whatever they want, to eat late. Obviously, it's liberating for everyone. I think the people here are mature enough to know what to do," said Mohammed Chivani, who was taking part in the festive atmosphere.

While there was a heavy police presence, no interventions were made to stop gatherings on Friday night.
While there was a heavy police presence, no interventions were made to stop gatherings on Friday night.(Olivier Lefebvre/Radio-Canada)

While there was a heavy police presence on hand, no interventions were made to stop the gatherings even though many people were not respecting the two metre distancing.

People also gathered on terrasses and waited in lines to get a coveted spot where they could enjoy a late night meal.

David Zaltzman, co-owner of restaurant Notre Boeuf De Grace in the Plateau, told CBC it was great to see his neighbourhood come back to life.

"The city's alive again. Just needs to be a little bit warmer but it's ok, it's Montreal, at least it's not snowing. It's like there's life," he said.

People waited in line to get a coveted spot on a newly reopened patio Friday night.
People waited in line to get a coveted spot on a newly reopened patio Friday night.(Sharon Yonan Renold/CBC)

Zaltzman said customers were excited to be back and his patio had been packed since noon.

"They don't care how long they have to wait for food, they don't care if the food is cold, they don't care if they don't get what they want. They want to sit down on a terrasse, have a beer, have alcohol in their system. That's all they want."

The Samuel-De Champlain Bridge was lit up with a special rainbow effect to celebrate the loosening of restrictions.
The Samuel-De Champlain Bridge was lit up with a special rainbow effect to celebrate the loosening of restrictions.(Jean-Claude Taliana/CBC)

On the other side of town, at the Gibeau Orange Julep in the city's west end, hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot.

Some people set off fireworks and others brought their classic cars to show off.

Josh Olney told CBC he's been looking forward to this day since the first night of curfew.

"I've been doing literally nothing with my friends for the past six months, so excited to just go out to dinner even, literally anything."

Justin Senay drove all the way from Saint-Amable to take part in the fun on Friday night.
Justin Senay drove all the way from Saint-Amable to take part in the fun on Friday night.(Sharon Yonan Renold/CBC)

Justin Senay drove from Saint-Amable, Que., about 40 km east of Montreal, to join the party.

"Now I can have some kind of a life again, drink some orange juice and chill," he said.

For Anis Djebassi, the opportunity to mark the moment was too good to pass up.

"Being outside is really something you miss when you can't go out anymore. It's refreshing," he said.

A party at Victoria Park in Quebec City had to be shut down and evacuated after someone was stabbed.
A party at Victoria Park in Quebec City had to be shut down and evacuated after someone was stabbed.(Steve Jolicoeur/Radio-Canada)

A similar party took place at Victoria Park in Quebec City, however the event had to be shut down after a man in his 20s was stabbed.

The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. and the suspect and the victim knew each other, police say.

The park was evacuated cutting a night of revelry short. The young man's life is not in danger.

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