February 18, 2015 to January 3, 2016
Snow is a delightful, invigorating new temporary exhibition on the subject of snow and all its charms and frustrations, love or hate it! Snow is an integral part of our environment, after all, and an inextricable aspect of our nordicity. It shapes our lives for several months every year.
Snow: the first major exhibition of its kind in the country
Snow features close to 250 artifacts and archival photos and documents grouped around four major themes – adaptation, innovation, passion and inspiration. Each offers a historical and contemporary vision of these topics.
To offer this exhibition for Montrealers and visitors, Pointe-à-Callière adapted Snow, a travelling exhibition produced by the Canadian Museum of History in partnership with the J. Armand Bombardier Museum, and added some one hundred items ranging from works of art, many from the Desjardins collection, to artifacts, illustrations, postcards from the Christian Paquin fonds and audiovisual projections. The Museum wishes to thank both museums most sincerely for their collaboration.
It’s a wonderful tribute to our nordicity! Against a backdrop and soundscape that bring snow to mind, visitors can see how far we’ve come in adapting to the realities of winter and living from day to day with the snow that falls, piles up, envelops us and, of course, makes for all kinds of fun. Magnificent objects from the past and present will be featured, including snowsuits, sealskin and caribou boots, snowshoes, warm and waterproof clothes, high-tech ski suits, Inuit walrus-ivory snow goggles, Native leggings and arrow sashes worn by early colonists.
Living with snow, today and yesterday
The exhibition presents a cultural history of snow and looks at ways of life across different eras, as well as the challenges of surviving the cold and current issues our snowy winters raise. One of the key items in the exhibition is an original edition of Voltaire’s 1761 novel Candide, featuring the famous reference to “a few acres of snow…” – the writer’s scornful opinion of the commercial value of New France.
Historic vehicles, photos, documents and videos from the J. Armand Bombardier Museum collection will let visitors explore the many dimensions of a meteorological phenomenon that affects countless aspects of our lives. Exceptional objects both big and small will also be on display, such as the first vehicle invented by J. Armand Bombardier in 1922, a prototype snow vehicle from 1958 and one of the first Ski-Doo® models from 1962, along with the most popular model, the Olympique®, first sold in 1970, not to mention a J5® tractor used to clear Montréal streets in 1957. There's even a horse-drawn wooden "snowmobile" from the 1950s! Over 400 photographs from across the country have been gathered to show peoples’ relationship with snow. Visitors will even be able to get their photos taken in various costumes – including an arrow sash – in a photo booth in the exhibition room.
Snow: a source of passion, creativity and ingenuity
A source of passion, creativity and ingenuity, snow has led to many discoveries and is at the root of several winter sports, articles of clothing, high-performance materials, activities, celebrations, fun and… problems! Boots, shovels, snowshoes, skis, toboggans, snowmobiles, snow-blowers, winter carnivals and good times… all of these have been produced or came about as a response to the white stuff that covers our country for several months of the year. Poets, writers, filmmakers and singers have taken inspiration from snow. Museum visitors will get a chance to see a collection by Émile Nelligan that includes his famous poem Winter Evening, as well as a selection of film clips focusing on snow, such as Kamouraska, Mon oncle Antoine and The Dog Who Stopped The War, among others. The exhibition also features a jukebox with music by some local artists who have been inspired by snow. And of course, visitors will get to admire Boule de Neige, mascot of Montréal’s winter festival, La Fête des neiges, and Bonhomme Carnaval, symbol of the Quebec City Winter Carnival since 1955.