The uncertain weather came to spoil the big National Day reunion on the Plains of Abraham on Thursday evening. Despite a crowd that could not be compared to the good years, thousands of diehards had brought out their fleur-de-lis flags to attend the traditional Saint-Jean show in Quebec City, a first since 2019.
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While the rain that fell at the start of the evening surely discouraged many, others did not want to miss the opportunity to celebrate Quebec on the plains. This is the case of Marie-Lou Harvey and Laurie Ménard who traveled to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in the morning to attend the evening show.
After two years of pandemic, the opportunity was great for friends who have just turned 18 to experience a show of Saint-Jean in Quebec. “National Day in the Capitale-Nationale is a dream. We are here for three days”, exclaim the girls who were eager to see Marjo and Marc Labrèche in action.
For Marine Colling, who arrived from France two years ago to join her sister Océane, this was her first National Day on the Plains of Abraham. With friends, she also took the opportunity to celebrate her 21st birthday. “In France, everyone goes out in the street, but there isn’t a big stage and a big show like here,” she says.
Despite the gloomy weather, the businesses of Grande-Allée relished the return of the National Day to the city center. Most of the restaurants and covered terraces were full at dinner time and the end of the evening was looking promising for those who had missed large-scale events for two years.
“Mother Nature has not spoiled us, but we have a beautiful evening. The traffic is very good,” explains Alex Grenier, co-owner of the Atelier. Moreover, the traders met admitted that the frenzy was felt all day. They were also expecting a very good weekend due to the three-day holiday for the majority of workers.
For the return of Saint-Jean to the Plains of Abraham, the Quebec City Police Service (SPVQ) had deployed a number of police officers to ensure the safety of citizens.
The agents were visible in particular near the Parliament of Quebec, but also everywhere in strategic places on Grande-Allée and the place of the Grand spectacle. In his preliminary report, SPVQ spokesman David Poitras confirmed that the evening was peaceful and that there were no unfortunate incidents to report. The police were still on alert until the wee hours of the morning.