Nordic Ambassadors - Photo:Maryse Boyce, Place des Arts
Maryse Boyce, Place des Arts

Nordic Spring in Canada

In April 2018, the largest Nordic Cultural Festival ever in Canada was held in Montréal.

The Printemps nordique festival was initiated by Place des Arts, Montréal's cultural grandstand, and developed in collaboration with local and Nordic partners, including the Nordic embassies in Canada.

The purpose of the festival was to give the Canadian audience an opportunity to discover and explore the Nordic countries' vital creativity and highlight Nordic values ​​such as cooperation, humanism and environmental awareness. There is a strong interest in the Nordic region in Canada and perhaps especially in the province of Québec, where 'northernness' has its own word: nordicité.

Arvvas perform at Place des Arts. Photo: Mikael Theimer, Place des Arts

Over 80 Nordic artists participated in 25 individual performances over 26 days. Most art forms were represented and the enthusiastic audience could enjoy everything from Arctic opera and classic theatre, to contemporary dance, literature and popular music.

Norwegian highlights were the dance company zero visibility corp. who had the honor of opening the entire festival, and the Sámi-Norwegian duo Arvvas, who played for a full house.

Fred Ivar Utsi Klemetsen
Photographer Fred Ivar Utsi Klemetsen and his exhibition FROST: Life and Culture of the Sámi. Photo: Norwegian Embassy

Norwegian literature was also strongly represented, with three Norwegian authors in the program. Morten Strøksnes, Torkil Damhaug and Heidi Sævareid were all invited to the major Metropolis Bleu literary festival, which for the occasion had a special Nordic program, organized in collaboration with Printemps nordique and Place des Arts. There is currently a strong interest for Norway from the Canadian book industry, as both Norway and Canada will be the Guest of Honour at the world's largest book fair in Frankfurt in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The month-long cultural festival at Place des Arts was concluded with a grand performance by Norwegian singer Ane Brun in a packed Maison Symphonique.

Ane Brun: Concert in Maison Symphonique.
Ane Brun's concert in Maison Symphonique. Photo: Mikael Theimer, Place des Arts