New Year’s celebration happened in the crowd


The Anderson-Toupin family was in the middle of the action on New Year’s Eve — ringing in 2008 at the official kick-off of Quebec City’s 400th anniversary celebrations. Jan Anderson-Toupin recorded her impressions for the QCT.

“The ambiance in the crowd was absolutely energizing. We walked from our house to the event with lots of other local habitants.

The snowy René-Lévesque sidewalk was like a mini parade — lots of trumpets and noisemakers and people celebrating life in the city and the beginning of the next 400 years of history.

The crowd was pumped and we all pushed our way toward Place d’Youville, but the streets were mobbed. It felt a bit like body surfing!

We quickly decided to make our way to the National Assembly instead. Holding onto scarves and hoods so we didn’t lose one another, we pushed and shoved through the mob and finally found a spot in the crowd with a clear view of the big screen.

It was a warm evening for mid-winter and the crowd radiated its own heat!

Truthfully, the real show was watching the people in the crowd laugh and dance, as the theatrics on stage weren’t exactly captivating. The organizers actually missed the midnight countdown, although the crowd was watching the clock behind us in the tower. We embraced and wished one another Bonne Année long before the host got around to it!
We then viewed the fireworks through the tree branches. The skyline was spectacular overhead as the city lights twinkled below. Families, couples and friends joined hands and gazed upward. The colourful display ended with a bang and the jolly crowd then shifted and we headed home down the middle of Grande Allée.
A few misplaced cars valiantly tried to reclaim the asphalt, but to no avail.

Home we marched. There was a boisterous camaraderie. People from many backgrounds, speaking a variety of languages, returned to hotels and clubs along the way. The locals trudged home, contentedly dragging sleds with sleepy children to warm homes. Thus 2008 was ushered in!”