Our city is revelling in celebrations for its 375th anniversary and many companies have been called upon by the Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s’ 375th Anniversary to participate in a wide range of festivities. One series of events worth noting was Les Hivernales, which featured a host of sports and festive activities designed to celebrate our northern character.
In the context of Les Hivernales, evenko collaborated with the Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary to create the Classique Montréalaise, Montreal’s biggest outdoor hockey tournament which brought together more than 850 players donning their borough’s jersey.
An look back on a unique experience with Jean-Loup Barbeau, production coordinator at evenko.
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) – Describe your company… in a few words!
Jean-Loup Barbeau (J-L.B.) – [laughs] That’s hard! evenkois a Quebec company with more than 80 employees and has become the largest independent promoter and producer in Canada. We produce over 1,200 musical, family, and sporting events every year throughout Quebec, in Atlantic Canada, and in the northeastern United States. We present the biggest international artists and we invest in developing and promoting local artists.
CCMM –How was evenko involved in Les Hivernales?
J-L.B. – Les Hivernales was the first major event marking Montreal’s 375th anniversary. In total, about a dozen different activities took place at Parc Jean-Drapeau, in the Quartiers des spectacles, and in Old Montreal between January 6 and March 11, 2017.
For the occasion, evenko organized the Classique Montréalaise on January 28 and 29 on the Olympic Basin at Parc Jean-Dreapeau. More than 850 players showed off their hockey sills on the 16 rinks we created for the event.
The idea for this project dates back a few years. The Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary invited several promoters from different sectors to submit their ideas and evenko answered the call! We presented various projects including the outdoor hockey tournament. The Society loved the concept and integrated it into their programming for Les Hivernales.
CCMM –What was the biggest challenge?
J-L.B. – The Classique Montréalaise was quite different than our usual musical events. It was the first time we organized an outdoor hockey tournament and we were working in winter conditions on a site we were unfamiliar with. That was the first challenge.
The second challenge was the weather. For the past 20 years, winters here have been so inconsistent that it’s hard to predict what the weather will be. Despite my trust in the farmer’s almanac, which predicted a cold and snowy winter, January turned out to be warm and rainy! Adapting to the weather conditions was the key factor to our success in building outdoor rinks. To ensure high-quality ice, we needed at least a few days with sub-zero temperatures.
CCMM – What did that involve in terms of day-to-day organization?
J-L.B. – An ability to quickly react. Managing the steps of manufacturing and maintaining the ice, overseeing the snow plowing operations in case it snowed, if the temperature was going to drop over the next few hours… This responsiveness required a quick mobilization of our resources, organizing our shifts, working in the evening or at night, etc.
CCMM – What profession did you call upon that made a lasting impression?
J-L.B. – A land surveyor helped us turn our ideas into reality! Sixteen clearly identified rinks which hosted 864 players.
CCMM – What did you appreciate the most during this series of events?
J-L.B. – What I appreciated the most… It’s a bit unfair to ask me to choose! [laughs] First, for the evenko team who worked on the Classique Montréalaise, it’s the sense of pride that comes with contributing to the success of Les Hivernales, and in that regard, the 375th celebrations. We were happy to bring the city’s boroughs together for a friendly game of hockey. It was a pleasure to meet the hundreds of participants, to see how happy they were to take part in a tournament in their hometown of Montreal, and to see smiles on every face: visitors, players, and craftsmen.
CCMM – Finally, if you had to describe Montreal in one word or one expression, what would it be?
J-L.B. – After seeing the positive response to this huge tournament, we can say that Montreal is a city that is not afraid to take on the cold!
Consult the programming for Montreal’s 375th anniversary
Discover how companies have contributed to Montreal’s anniversary
A blog post written in collaboration with The Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary.