Marionettes as tall as houses march along Montreal streets during 375th birthday bash

1 / 4
Marionettes as tall as houses march along Montreal streets during 375th birthday bash

Giant marionettes are taking over parts of Montreal starting this morning, with a larger-than-life street performance as part of the city's 375th anniversary bash.

The marionettes, one of which is five storeys high, were made by a French company called Royal de Luxe. They made their Montreal debut today, winding their way through the city streets and along the river.

- VIDEO: What kids hope to celebrate on Montreal's 400th birthday

The performance began this morning in Montreal's Jeanne-Mance Park with Little Girl-Giant waking up in front of hundreds of people and will continue for three days.

Little Girl-Giant and Deep Sea Diver will also interact with onlookers as they explore the city and play out their story. Organizers also promise a few surprises along the way.

"They not only walk the city, they create scenes which allow them to tell their stories," said Martin Bolduc, line producer of Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations.

The marionettes can move easily due to a mix of mechanics, hydraulics and people pulling strings. Each marionette requires a team of about 30 people to help them move their arms and legs as they stroll about.

"At night, you see their chest moving, like they are breathing—that I must admit is a mechanical thing," Bolduc says.

"But most of it is literally human beings making them move."

Where they'll wander

The marionettes will move at an average speed of 2.25 km/h through the Gay Village, Old Port and downtown Montreal.

After starting the day in Jeanne-Mance Park, Little Girl-Giant will head down de Maisonneuve Boulevard before travelling back east near Place d'Armes for a nap. She will then head to bed outside Gare Viger, the historic former railway station and hotel on Viger Street, around 6:20 p.m. ET.

The Deep Sea Diver started his march from the Montreal Science Centre around 4 p.m. and will be moving through the Old Port until it gets to Radio-Canada around 6:15 p.m.

The marionettes will finally roam together on Sunday.

The event will wrap up Sunday evening with a parade and celebrations at CBC/Radio-Canada, where the Giants will sleep in the parking lot at the end of their routes.

Organizers also encourage people to walk, bike or take public transit to see the Giants since some streets will be closed to traffic.