The other day (you know, back when it wasn’t raining), I wandered on to the Just for Laughs outdoor fun zone. For those of you who have never been here, it’s not so much funny ha-ha (the comics are saved for shows people pay for), it’s more about having fun with games, clowns, mimes and other amusing things.
The most amusing thing for me was this: a metro car, pulled out of the garage and parked on the street to be turned into an ice cream parlor.
Inside, quite a few things would jar usual metro riders. The sunlight outside, the string of lights inside, the lack of noise from the engine…
… the people selling ice cream…
… the holes in the walls that seats normally cover up…
… and the handles screwed into the doors, which are now manually operated (because the car isn’t powered up). The doors seem surprisingly light sliding in and out when there’s no motor fighting against you.
For some people, the more interesting stuff was under the car. But really, what kind of nerd takes pictures of the underside of a metro car?
My kind of nerd, of course. The metro’s undercarriage was stripped of its wheelbases and instead the entire thing rests on cement blocks to keep from wrecking the car and the pavement which were not designed for each other.
That provides a unique opportunity to take a look at the metro from the bottom. Unfortunately, there’s no cool Star Trek control panels or little hamsters in little wheels there, just a bunch of wires and cables and tie-wraps and pieces of metal.
That’s also where they tucked the seats they had to remove to fit the ice cream machines in the far end of the car.
Wait! That’s not all!
Of course, for you non-metrophiles, there’s plenty out there. In fact, if anything these outdoor events are too popular.
The giant games
The area on Ontario between St. Denis and Berri is the games area. There, they have tables setup so people can challenge each other to card games…
… games of chess…
… human-sized games of chess (this one always has a lineup because it’s so much fun for the kids)…
… giant Sudoku…
… or a giant crossword (sponsored by La Presse).
There’s also a tent filled with arcade-style games…
from the classic pinball machines…
to the newfangled Wii Tennis game, complete with miniature Wii tennis racquets.
There’s also Dance Dance Revolution (or whatever its clone is called)…
… and Guitar Hero (or whatever its clone is called).
In the same area, there’s a trivia competition that goes on. Contestants hold up a card that’s either red, yellow or blue depending on the answer they think is correct. Those who get an answer wrong are immediately eliminated.
Oh, and if you get an answer wrong, you get hit by the water gun for all your troubles…
… and the cards don’t protect you from that.
I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the story behind this was. But I guess a guy in a cross-dressing fat suit holding up plastic babies (there were more of them tied together with string) is funny, whether or not the story behind it makes any sense.
Ditto this painted-over car, which actually contained children at the time this photo was taken. I don’t know if I’d trust my kids to a windowless car and a person dressed all in gold.
This van being shown off by the Montreal police department doesn’t have an obvious purpose, except I guess acting as a command centre in case there’s an emergency at a campsite that would require an overnight stay.
Down St. Denis is the kids’ area, which … uhh … well, there’s this octagon there. (I guess I missed the really fun part.)
Giant heads, etc.
They have giant heads parading around, bowing ominously and entertaining folks. Each is a caricature of a famous comedian.
I think the one in the middle there is Stephen Colbert.
The dunk tank is always fun too. Some clown (literally) sits on a plank, and you pay $4 for a couple of chances to hit a target with a softball. Little kids get to shoot from closer.
A similar deal for testing your strength by whacking a piece of metal up a pole with a hammer.
At least the funhouse mirror is free, and you don’t feel inadequate because you can’t fail at it.
Most of the buskers in the area are people with heavy makeup to make them all one colour, and who stand patiently waiting for someone to dunk a few coins in their bucket. (Somehow I don’t think they’d be so patient if someone ran off with the bucket itself, but this hasn’t been tested yet)
And finally, no Just for Laughs festival would be complete without the sucker tent. Err, I mean, the souvenir stand, where overpriced merch like $10 keychains can be bought and cherished forever.
Have you been yet?