21 Balançoires (21 swings)

After seeing the giant seesaws at the Luminothérapie installation, and the amazing Montréal en Lumière festival this past winter, we were super excited to try out the 21 musical swings event taking place behind Place des Arts. 

Located at the Promenade des Artistes in the Quartier des Spectacles from APRIL 9, 2018 to MAY 27, 2018, the installation is part art, part play, and a whole lot of fun. While it was meant to be a one-time installation in 2011, it was so popular it’s been brought back each spring. 

When we’d visited the seesaws of Luminothérapie, what I’d noticed was all the laughter that we heard. It was the same here. Grownups swinging, kids with wide eyes, and everyone enjoying themselves.
The Promenade (on the skinny walkway between Avenue du Président-Kennedy and Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest, just east of Rue Jeanne-Mance) is a busy spot, but though there were cars going by both in front and behind us, it felt like we were in our own little world. 

You can try out the swings APRIL 9, 2018 to MAY 27, 2018
Sunday to Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Thursday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to midnight

Because the swings light up, I decided to visit at night and to forego the 7-year old’s normal bedtime (we ditched the ready-for-sleep toddler at home). Arriving at Place des Arts on a Friday around 7pm, there was lots of street parking available all around. We got a great spot right in front of the steps on Rue Sainte-Catherine (Feed the meter, it’s on until 9pm!).

We walked up the steps, around in back, and crossed the street to where the 21 swings stretch down the length of the road along the promenade des Artistes. They’re in groups of 3 swings and luckily for us, there was whole section empty. Reading the instructions (No standing, no jumping, hold on tight. Be Good.), we sat, swung, and listened. Too. cool. 
The different coloured swings play notes from four instruments: piano, guitar, vibraphone and harp. The height you swing to changes the note played. It wasn’t super dark when we arrived, and as it got darker, the effect changed. Looking down the street you could see the lights moving back and forth, and of course hear all the laughter and giggles. Everyone was friendly and offered up their seats when they saw people waiting. It wasn’t super busy, though I’ll guess it gets busier as it gets warmer. Funny thing we noticed: EVERYONE faced the same direction when they were swinging. 

We tried out various swings, did a slow walk around, looked at the light projections on the neighbouring buildings (UQAM was amazing), and then stopped for a late-late treat at McDonald’s. 

“Wake me up when we get there.” said the happy 7-year old as he drifted off to sleep on the way home…..

You can read more about the installation HERE

21 Balançoires (21 Swings) from StrollerMom on Vimeo.


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