Home Celebrations A lively local celebration for Quebec’s Fête nationale and St-Jean Baptiste

A lively local celebration for Quebec’s Fête nationale and St-Jean Baptiste

Among the special guests were Mayor Stéphane Boyer and other elected officials

The sprawling and historic grounds outside Église Saint-Martin – the spiritual heart of Laval’s Saint-Martin district – was the scene of a boisterous celebration last Saturday afternoon to mark Quebec’s Fête nationale holiday, while honoring at the same time the patron saint of many French-speaking Quebecers – Saint Jean Baptiste.

A local celebration

Sponsored by the Église Saint-Martin branch of the Société Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, with support from Laval city councillor for Saint-Martin Aline Dib, it was the second year that a local celebration of the day took place, even though the City of Laval was holding a major event of its own at the Centre de la Nature in the Duvernay district.

“This is a great opportunity to liven up the city’s districts, for people to get out and meet their neighbours, during this Fête nationale celebration,” said Mayor Stéphane Boyer, who spent part of the afternoon at the Saint-Martin gathering while accompanied by several members from his council team.

A community gathering

“I am very happy to have been able to take part in organizing this celebration,” said Dib. “It’s very important on the Fête nationale for all of us to gather as a community, with all our particularities and cultural differences, to say thank you to Quebec. Especially here in Saint-Martin, which is so important for its heritage value and historic significance.”

Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer, centre, is seen here on the steps of Église Saint-Martin with celebration organizers, as well as several local elected officials including Chomedey MNA Sona Lakhoyan-Olivier, Saint-Martin city councillor Aline Dib, l’Orée-des-bois councillor Yannick Langlois, and Vimont councillor Pierre Brabant. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Laval city councillor Yannick Langlois, who was responsible for organizing the city’s 2023 Fête nationale festivities, said none of it would have been possible without the support of the Fête Nationale des Québécois de Laval committee, as well as many volunteers who gave many hours of their time to make it a reality.

Reviving traditions

There was traditional folk dancing, with the men dressed in colorfully woven “ceintures fléchées,” musicians playing accordions and other traditional instruments, and vendors in booths stretched out along the edges of the parking lot, offering a range of hand-crafted wares and products.

There was traditional folk dancing, with the men dancers dressed in woven “ceintures fléchées.” (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Since the Centre de la Nature is a fair distance from Laval’s west end, this local celebration offered an opportunity to those from Laval’s Saint-Martin and Chomedey districts to take part in this once-a-year renewal of feeling for French Canada’s patron and love of Quebec.

“There are Quebecers de souche, and there are Quebecers who came from elsewhere such as myself,” Lakhoyan-Olivier said in an interview with The Laval News. “But we are all fortunate to be able to live here together where we can be free and in a democracy. Today is a day to thank Quebec during this national holiday.”

Église St-Martin’s 250 years

Next year, administrators at Église Saint-Martin will be organizing a year-long celebration to make the 250th anniversary of the parish’s founding, which occurred only around a decade after the end of the ancien régime and the former New France colony.

Among the residents of the area who came out last Saturday to take part in the celebrations was Aïda Karidian. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Among the residents who came out last Saturday to take part in the festivities was Aïda Karidian. Of Armenian heritage, she said her family first arrived in Quebec in 1924 shortly after the Armenian Genocide, settling at first in the village of Saint-Adèle in the Laurentians north of Laval.

“I became very Québécoise,” she said, while also noting that her parents and grandparents were French-speaking prior to their arrival nearly a century ago. “We have always appreciated very much what Quebec did for us,” said Karidian.