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Painting the town red (white, and blue)

With MURAL Festival underway, canadiens.com tours some of Montreal's best Habs-inspired outdoor artworks

by Steven Nechay @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

Just like F1 weekend, Montreal's annual MURAL Festival marks the unofficial start of summer in the city.

Every June as the weather gets warmer and Mount Royal transforms from grey to green, Montreal adds a whole lot of color to its landscape -- literally -- as more than a dozen new murals designed by some of the world's most talented artists sprout up along the city's downtown core.

And in a town rich with sports history to draw from, this year's curated crop of street art features larger-than-life renditions of current Montreal Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti, and history-making Montreal Royals star Jackie Robinson.

The Canadiens are likewise no strangers to shaping Montreal's cultural fabric, so in keeping with the art-meets-sport spirit, here's a tour of some of the city's best Habs-inspired murals from over the years, going from South to North on the Island of Montreal:

 

Carey Price (A'shop & K64, 2014)
Painted during the Canadiens' run to the Eastern Conference final in 2014, this two-storey Carey Price mural produced in collaboration by the A'shop and K64 collectives can be found at the corner of Gilmore and Cabot street in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighbourhood.

 

Le Montréal de Miyuki Tanobe (Annie Hamel, 2012)
Annie Hamel's 130-square-meter mural painted in 2012 is an oversized reproduction of an original artwork by Japanese-born Montreal artist Miyuki Tanobe. Completed over a period of nine weeks at the corner of LaSalle boulevard and Lafleur street in Verdun, it portrays a scene of everyday life in the city -- including Habs sweater-clad children playing hockey outdoors, of course.

  

Dryden (A.G. Crew, 2010)
Tucked away in an alley just north of Laurier on Saint-Laurent boulevard, this 2010 mural inspired by the iconic work of Serge Lemoyne features a minimalist take on star goaltender Ken Dryden's recognizable mask from the late 1970s.

 

Maurice Richard
This uncredited painting of Maurice Richard can be found on the side of local Plateau eatery Chez Claudette, at the intersection of Laurier avenue and Drolet street. While the Rocket's fiery gaze greets diners at the greasy spoon's entrance, inside, hockey memorabilia lines the walls of the 24h comfort food joint. With its playful art style, this mural also notably bears a striking resemblance to the Maurice Richard poster found on the cover of Roch Carrier's classic children's book, The Hockey Sweater.

 

Ken Dryden (A.G. Crew, 2015)
Another A.G. Crew production featuring Lemoyne-inspired paint drips and a stark Dryden-like figure, this work can be found just off the main Plaza Saint-Hubert strip at the corner of Beaubien and Saint-Hubert street.

 

Youppi! (A.G. Crew, 2016)
Head further north on the Plaza to the corner of Belanger and Saint-Hubert street, and you'll find a tribute to Montreal's most famous silent spokesperson, Canadiens mascot Youppi!, albeit without his more customary Habs -- or even Expos, for that matter -- gear.

 

Maurice "The Rocket" Richard (A'shop, 2015)
This towering homage to Maurice Richard can be found in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough where the Rocket grew up, on the side of Italian restaurant La Molisana which once called Richard a regular. Located at 1014 Fleury street East -- not far from Maurice Richard Park -- this A'shop production was completed over a nine-day span in 2015, and features a throwback road hockey scene alongside the hockey legend.

 

Do you have a favorite Canadiens-inspired mural not featured on this list? Share it in the comments below.

For more photos, and an interactive Google Earth tour of the seven murals above, click here.

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