In some corners of Montreal, home to more than 100,000 French citizens, Bastille Day is celebrated with nearly the same fervour as in the streets of Paris. Revellers typically gather in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal and drink the night away at local bars such as l'Barouf, a particularly popular spot among French expats.
However, as news from Nice, where dozens of people were killed after a truck plowed through a crowd, surfaced on social media, Thursday's festivities became an altogether more muted affair.
At a formal reception in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where the French consul-general, Catherine Feuillet, and Mayor Denis Coderre entertain members of the city's French community, Mr. Coderre ordered flags at City Hall to be flown at half-mast and quickly released a statement in which he expressed shock over the scope of the deadly attack.
"In this difficult moment, Montrealers stand in solidarity with the French people and the people of Nice," he said. "Liberté, egalité, fraternité. These values have never been as relevant."
The reaction from politicians in Quebec City was equally swift. Lawmakers in each of the province's three main parties wrote messages of sympathy on social media, and at a popular music festival at the Plains of Abraham, the city's French consul-general, Nicolas Chibaeff, took the stage, urging the crowd to continue celebrating despite the unfolding tragedy in France.
"Tonight, the spirit of celebration that unites us was attacked in Nice. Tens of people, who joined together to celebrate, to watch fireworks, have died," he said.
The speech was followed by a moment of silence commemorating the victims.
There has been no confirmation yet that any Canadians were killed or injured in the Nice attacks.
Global Affairs Canada said late Thursday the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa and Canadian offices in Paris stand ready to provide consular assistance to Canadian citizens and are endeavouring to determine if Canadian citizens have been affected.
Canadian citizens in Nice requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Embassy of Canada in Paris at 33 (0)1 44 43 29 02 or call the department's 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre collect at 1 613 996 8885. An email can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends and relatives in Canada of Canadian citizens known to be in Nice should contact Global Affairs Canada's 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling 1 613 996 8885 or 1 800 387 3124 or by sending an email to email@example.com