The mural paying homage to Montreal icon Leonard Cohen will now cast its benevolent gaze over the city at night. In response to public demand to have the monumental artwork lit up, the charitable organization MU has secured permanent lighting for the mural with support from the Ville-Marie borough and Tourisme Montréal. Project partners and collaborators were gathered this evening at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in presence of Montreal Mayor, Valérie Plante; President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal, Mr. Yves Lalumière; and representatives of the Cohen family to celebrate this defining moment for Montreal.
Tower of Songs, MU’s 100th mural, was completed by artists El Mac and Gene Pendon in 2017. It was unveiled during the week of events commemorating the legendary artist’s death and is part of the cultural legacies left by Montreal’s 375th anniversary.
“Our administration is pleased to contribute to illuminating this mural commemorating the great Montréal poet whose work has brightened millions of lives all over the world. From now on, the memory of Leonard Cohen will shine in the heart of downtown Montréal in both the literal and figurative sense” said Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal.
The 21-storey portrait of Leonard Cohen is Montreal’s largest mural and has become a signature landmark in the city. It has contributed to Montreal’s international renown and has affirmed the city’s standing in the urban art scene. Tourisme Montréal acknowledged the artwork’s major impact by awarding MU the Innovation Award, for companies with less than 50 employees, during the Distinction Awards ceremony held last March.
“Leonard Cohen is a Montréal legend. The Tower of Songs mural was created in honour of his legacy and quickly became a key feature in our urban landscape. This year, as Tourisme Montréal celebrates its 100th anniversary, we are offering permanent lighting for the mural as a gift to Montrealers and tourists alike,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. “Founded in 1919, our organization is the rallying force behind the city’s tourism ecosystem and plays a key role in defining tomorrow’s tourism trends by supporting innovative initiatives that help Montréal shine on the world stage. We’re confident that the new lighting will make our city brighter than ever. “
The Tower of Songs mural is part of MU’s “Montreal’s Great Artists” collection, which pays tribute to the creative minds and forces who have made outstanding contributions to Montreal’s cultural scene. It includes murals of Alanis Obomsawin, Michel Tremblay, Alys Robi, Janine Sutto, Oscar Peterson, Émile Nelligan, Dany Laferrière and Oliver Jones, among others. Beyond celebrating Montreal’s cultural ambassadors, both past and present, the collection also contributes to the city’s cultural legacy, providing Montrealers with opportunities to discover and connect with the history of their city and its neighbourhoods.
Earlier in 2019, MU won the 34th Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal, an important recognition within the city’s cultural community. The award recognizes the expertise which the organisation has developed over the last 12 years, as well as its social inclusion work and its positive impact on the city’s urban landscape.