2024 Event Cancelled

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Montreal Canada Day Parade

The Montreal Canada Day Parade, an Event Designed to Spark Unity and Patriotism, Canceled Due to Political Divide

This family-friendly event draws 120,000 spectators annually to celebrate the birthday of Canada, with audiences watching from around the world. This year, there will be no parade or cake due to political division.

MONTREAL, CANADA, JUNE 19, 2024 - The very first Montreal Canada Day Parade was held in 1977, and since then, this event has welcomed hundreds of thousands of spectators each year to celebrate Canada’s birthday. This year, however, the streets will not be filled with revelry on July 1.

This year’s Montreal Canada Day Parade has been officially canceled by the event’s main organizer, Nicholas Cowen. Cowen has been involved in the parade since the 90s, and he has seen escalating difficulty in securing permits, funding, and overarching approval from the appropriate governmental authorities as of last year. Despite honoring all conditions set forth, Cowen has been met with rules that change at the last moment and requests that make putting on the parade virtually impossible. An event that is meant to inspire unity has been thwarted because of division.

For Cowen, these issues have made his position all the more difficult when attempting to coordinate with local governmental leaders to facilitate the Montreal Canada Day Parade.

“They made it very difficult for me to put on the parade,” said Cowen. Last year they would ask him to fill out the same documentation several times to slow down progress. In fact, last year’s event had to be re-organized multiple different times to appease city authorities. “I thought it was directed at me alone first because of politics. I needed outside help from the offices of different elected officials in different levels of government to make the parade go last year. From my 24 years experience in the parade I had only had to go to an external source once for help with the parade and that was in 2018. I asked several other organizers their experiences and they also had issues with the city of Montreal. Most were organizers of immigrant or English speaking based events. So, from what I experienced last year and when I see badly timed mishaps at big international events, the west island and other events, I become less surprised. I would like to thank Jimmy Zoubris for what help I did receive but, from my understanding, the mayor of the city has ultimate control, except over the police, but chooses the chief of police. These cancellations and mishaps of events hurt business owners and their employees. When customers and tourists do not even come, your business’ and jobs ultimately suffer,” said Cowen.

Organizing this event takes at least three months, but at one point, Cowen had to completely re-do the event and find 148 volunteers over last St Jean Baptiste weekend, a week before the event.

“I also had to find additional volunteers to stand by each tire of each car that went down the street,” said Cowen. “Imagine you are in traffic and need four people, one at each tire, to make sure no one runs under the wheel of a normal car. We normally have about 80 cars in the parade.”

Last year, the Federal Government requested that parts of the parade be removed entirely. The Montreal Canada Day Parade was the first to offer celebratory cake, but the Federal Government requested that the cake be removed along with the park attraction offered at the end of the parade. The parade’s budget was also reduced to 2013 levels in another devastating blow to this cherished event.

The loss of this event, which has been in the news in 23 countries around the world and was expected to draw at least 120,000 spectators to Montreal this year, is no doubt a strike on Canadian culture. Cowen remains hopeful that the Montreal Canada Day Parade, an event that is for the people and not for profit, will one day roll again.


This family-friendly, multicultural event is a celebration of Canada’s birthday with activities, shows, and more.


Nicholas Cowen, Main Organizer
Montreal Canada Day Parade
Facebook: @Montreal.Canada.Day.Parade