As is the case with many other festivals, the Montreal Vegan Festival has undergone an evolution. In its first years it was a rather demure entity which catered to a rather select group of people. Five years in and they have come a long way. Being a vegan has as well. More is understood about it and there are certainly more options. A ton if you were to take as evidence the size and scope of the fifth annual Montreal Vegan Festival. Moving from its previous location in the Old Port area at Bonsecours to the acreage of the Palais de Congres, the festival has grown in leaps and bounds.
“I’m extremely proud of our team of volunteers that made the festival possible and I’m thrilled to see the popularity of veganism growing from year to year!“ – Alexandre Gagnon, MVF President
It was not just a question of moving for the sake of moving either. They needed to. 18,600 people came to investigate, learn, sample, and buy this year. A record setting amount. The number goes to show that veganism is not a niche market anymore. Vegans, vegetarians and those interested in a cleaner way of living came out. Demonstrating that the demand for plant-based diet is growing. The festival gave those who came the chance to discover exciting new vegan products while learning about the health, ethical and ecological aspects of veganism.
The trends this year (based on the number of booths) included animal activism, make-up and the like, vegan cheese, and kombucha. There was a little bit of something for everyone. More well-known companies like Copper Branch, Vega, Rachelle Bery, Giddy Yo, Dose Juice, Kind Snacks, and Yves Veggie Cuisine were there as well as smaller ones waiting to be discovered like Veganessa, Brave & Bearded, Soup Girl, Toro Matcha, and CADO cosmetics. Plus there were plenty of non-profits like Fauna Foundation (chimpanzee rescue), Mercy for Animals Canada, Refuge RR, and Anti-Caleche Defense Coalition.
Activities over the weekend, which were offered in either French or English, included workshops or talks by the likes of British activist and educator Earthling Ed, animal rights lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice Camille Labchuck; Gaz Oakley, the Avant Garde Vegan, Toronto rapper / singer Gaia’s Eye, the Buddhist Chef Jean-Philllippe Cyr (who was also the festival’s spokesperson), nutritionist and founder of Montreal-based M Nutrition Clinics Marjolaine Mercier, Sebastien Kardinal, the vegan butcher, and Montreal’s queen of vegan desserts, Sophie Sucrée’s Milène Laoun.
Main sponsor Gusta, who had a constant supply of tasty vegan sausages and pizzas for attendees to sample, had this to say about the weekend:
“Great crowd, good vibes, big love to all the attendees, friends, family and festival staff!”
As this year’s edition was such a success on all levels the organizers are already dreaming of new stuff for next year. Make sure you keep that weekend free!
For more information, follow the Montreal Vegan Festival on the various social media!