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Stacey Croxen rides his bike in front of a mural painted on Le Germain Montreal Hotel by artist Michelle Hoogveld, on Aug. 20, 2021. The Montreal Mural Festival runs until Sunday.Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

The Montreal Mural Festival is in its ninth year. According to the event’s general-director, Pierre-Alain Benoit, the 11-day festival that began on Aug. 12 “exists to democratize urban art through the production of large murals, musical events and workshops.”

This year’s edition features three large-scale mural projects that were completed in 2021, and two more that are in the works, all by Canadian artists.

“There is a strong scene of visual artists in Canada and a large pool to choose from,” Mr. Benoit says.

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Kamil Aouad relaxes at Club Lacite Pool, in front of a mural by artist Marie-Pier Primeau.Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

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Lucy Fatras, left, and Laetitia Chapuis enjoy a painting workshop at the festival.Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

Last year, organizers held a version modified for the pandemic called the “MURAL Estival.” New murals were still created, but musical performances and workshops were mostly live-streamed.

In-person events resumed this year, and all were sold out.

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The entrance to the festival workshops.Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

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Marco Gartenhaus plays basketball on the Francorama-Basketball Court, a mural designed by Montreal artist Franco Egalite.Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

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Robert Henderson tries his hand at a workshop called Introduction to Urban Art.Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

“Attendance has been incredible. We’re really happy with the turnout,” says festival spokesperson Gabrielle Lefort. “The energy has been amazing, and you can tell that people are really excited to be back, albeit in a modified way that takes all sanitary guidelines into consideration.”

Mr. Benoit says organizers decided for this year to put murals in some unconventional places. The spaces transformed by mural art include a pool at a downtown gym, a hotel and a basketball court. The transformation of the spaces through art has a bigger community impact, he says. Festival participants say they love unusual projects rather than painting the same old wall.

For next year’s 10th anniversary, organizers are planning special projects, and hope public-health rules will allow more people to attend.

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