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Merci, Thank you, Montréal
Photograph: Eva Blue

This is the Montreal we want to thank for New Year's Eve in 2020

A toast to Montreal for New Year's Eve in 2020, to a city that will never lose its spirit.

By JP Karwacki
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We made it, Montreal, the end of 2020, and we want to propose a toast. 🎉 🍾 🥂

When a clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, there may be a brief flash of fireworks nearby (if you're lucky) or confetti raining down on the hosts of Bye Bye on your TV. You may hear neighbours cheer through your apartment's paper-thin walls, and maybe you can faire la bise with a roommate or embrace friends or family in your bubble. Maybe you'll drink 'til you pass out on your couch.

Whatever you do, the fanfare and feels will end and it'll be a quiet start to 2021, because we're all staying home this year.

That's why we're doubling down: This New Year's Eve, we want to propose one more toast to Montreal.

Here's to every frontline worker who gave some of their finite time on this planet to help those in need, from seasoned veterans working in hospitals to teenagers working in grocery stores.

Here's to the artists and performers who kept us company in early months of Montreal becoming a ghost town. Thanks to Uma Gahd's drag storytime for kids and anthropomorphic rainbows walking our streets, to Martha Wainwright's singalongs from balconies, the OSM's public performances and the Phi Centre's rooftop sets. Big or small, here's to every venue and the local artists that make them great.

Here's to the chefs, cooks, dishwashers and front-of-house staff whose restaurants kept us fed, especially during that brief and beautiful summer window when we could gather at a table again; to their sheer creativity that gave us moments like the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund and Elena's cookbook,  just-add-booze cocktail kits from local masters of mixology, Grumman 78's drag brunch performances (RIP), movie screenings with wine tastings, and Christmas markets in Chinatown; and, most of all, to the restaurateurs who did their best to survive despite grueling circumstances and will be dearly missed.

Here's to every neighbourhood that came together to shop local and Love Local, to every community that supported each other and lifted each other up in ways that can be seen by airplanes passing overhead and by readers around the world.

Look in the mirror, Montreal.

The creativity, compassion, tenacity and beauty you displayed in 2020 was amazing.

Look in the mirror, raise that glass, and say it with us:

Bring it on, 2021. We got this.

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