Tam Tam day, Montreal
It was Sunday afternoon and we got caught in the middle of a downpour. After a quick stop for ice cream, I was led to a park where a crowd had gathered around for the local phenomenon known as "Tam Tam" - an anything-goes dance-in-the-park where musicians, drummers and free spirits come to dance to the hypnotic beats. Even though it was raining, there was certainly quite a crowd. Apparently this has been happening at this park in Montreal for years. It happens every Sunday afternoon.
The Tam-tam Jams or Tam-Jams as they are called first started in the late 70's. The exact facts are not known til this day, but we know that they started around the summer 1979 in the "Old Montreal" with Michel Séguin. We also know that Don Hill launched the invitation to Montreal's percussionnists to go to the Mount-Royal's foothill around the summer 1980. According to musician Roger Gauthier, present at the jams since their beginnings: Don dreamed to gather 100 percussionnists simultaneously to make a great concert. Quickly, word of mouth made it around the city and within the following six years hundreds of people gathered every Sunday at the same Mount-Royal spot. In 1986, the jams came down a bit lower to the George-Étienne Cartier's "angel" monument. During the following year the number of participants went from the hundreds to the thousands of people and since then... it has been the same every Sunday morning, people gather to party all day under the "angel" along with the tam-tam rythm. Be there, or be square! Everyone is invited from children, to grannies, whatever your sex, color, language, dressed or half naked... to listen, enjoy, dance or play music along with hundreds of other percussionists, come and have a party under the hot summer sun, but also from the first Spring "warm enough" days, to the last "not too cold" Fall days (usually from June 12th to end of September)... at the foothill of the Mount-Royal, you can't miss it.
Tam tam jam??? Yeah, it started many years ago when a bunch of hippies were getting together at the skirt of Mount-Royal (around the statue) every Sunday to play tam tams (drums) and dance...but now it has become a thing to go to on Sundays. Its not just for hippies anymore! Montrealers like to gather there on sunny Sundays to have a picnic, play frisbee, aki or beach volley-ball across the street. Theres even hand-made jewelry and artcraft vendors.
Its really something unique & fun to do on a nice Sunday afternoon...Great atmosphere, for sure! So bring a picnic, a blanket, a frisbee or aki and some sunscreen..and maybe a tam tam if you have one!!
Take the 80 bus from Place-des-Arts metro station north and get off when you see a large group of people (it's easy to spot). Or Metro Mont-Royal, bus 11East.
On Sundays when the weather is OK, it's Tam Tam day on Mont Royal. Don't miss it ! People are playing drums near the statue, there's a little market and a great atmosphere. Probably my best day in Montreal...
Thank you Corina for this unforgettable moment and the wonderful pictures
Tam tam is small danse show where everyone can come and participate, it starts when the weather become nice, every sunday people come and meet around the statue in the bottom of the mount-royal and time to danseeeeee ;)
From late spring to early autumn, the Tam Tams happen on Sundays in Mont-Royal Park, near the monument. It's a massive drum circle where people play music and dance, but there are also vendors selling things (mostly hippie-style jewelry and clothes), people hanging out and having picnics, circus artists practicing their juggling and tight-rope walking, an area where LARPers (live-action role play) can fight with homemade padded medieval weapons (some even wear chain mail and other types of armour), and a gazebo where DJs play techno music. People often walk their dogs there too.
The atmosphere is very chill and friendly, and you might even smell marijuana (no worries - no one there is violent and no one has ever tried to sell me anything). If you decide to smoke some weed, don't worry about the police walking around - as long as you're not selling it or doing anything potentially violent/dangerous, they'll leave you alone (seriously - once at a picnic/potluck organized by a friend, of my friends was smoking a joint and completely stoned, and the cops didn't care).