History and Background
Bloomsday celebrates Thursday 16 June 1904, the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. Famous for its innovative style, stream of consciousness technique and extremely frank, very amusing and often controversial language, Ulysses takes us through a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, an Irish Jew.
A Startling Encounter with Street Life
In the novel we encounter a world of pubs, shops, churches, cemeteries, hospitals and urban street life in and around Dublin. Molly Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, stately plump Buck Mulligan, Blazes Boylan, Davy Byrne and a host of other characters join Bloom on his Dublin odyssey.
Early Bloomsdays — Part Pilgrimage, Part Romance, Part Love of Irish Literature
Bloomsday as an event began in Dublin on June 16, 1954 when fans and old friends of Joyce decided to mark the 50th anniversary of this fictional day – also the date of Joyce’s first real-life outing with his wife-to-be Nora. The anniversary was spent retracing the pilgrimage of Leopold Bloom around Dublin. Since then many other cities around the world adopted the tradition, and Bloomsday has flourished ever since.
Irish Heritage Here in Montréal
Forty percent of Québecers have some Irish ancestry. Honouring the history of Irish immigration to Montréal, the festival celebrates Irish Montréal, its culture and literature. Year after year, the Bloomsday Montréal Festival boosts local pride and community spirit, and raises awareness of the diversity and dynamism of culture and identity within our community.
The exploration of a hard-won place for immigrants in the new Canadian culture threads through each year’s program. Talented artists and musicians, music, walking tours, films,documentaries, lectures and readings from Irish literature – especially Joyce’s Ulysses — show us how it really was and how Irish heritage shaped the city we know today. In this way, even as part of a larger international celebration, our Bloomsday is a uniquely Montréal event.
Bloomsday Montréal — Growing & Engaging a Wider Audience
We are the largest Bloomsday festival in Canada with event-filled days that stretch over five to six days. We bring down the curtain on Bloomsday itself — June 16. Over the years, festival-goers have come to enjoy an expanding variety of educational, cultural and social events.
The first Bloomsday Montréal Festival was a three-day event held in June 2012. Administered by the McGill School for Continuing Studies, many key Montréal educational and cultural institutions participated in its first success.
In October 2014, Festival Bloomsday Montréal became a registered non-profit organization, managed and organized entirely by volunteers. All funds derived from donations and registrations are used to produce the festival. Activities are open to the public and many are free of charge. The Canada Revenue Agency granted charitable status to Festival Bloomsday Montréal in April 2015.