Montreal leans into its own island lifestyle

The city's tourism board evokes tropical imagery to reach both Ontarians and Quebecers as the provincial border reopens.


While international travel is likely to still be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, some provincial borders have reopened, and Tourisme Montreal is casting itself as the best island getaway for Ontarians and Quebecers this summer by tempting Canadians with a getaway that’s a bit closer to home.

Titled “Your 2021 Island Getaway,” the campaign – developed by agency Lg2 – reimagines local destinations and activities through the lens of classic exotic island imagery, from surfing the St. Lawrence to hiking Mount Royal.

“It often gets overlooked that Montreal is an island with lots of unique activities and attractions to enjoy,” said Marilou Aubin, VP and CD at Lg2. “We decided to use this unique feature to attract visitors from here and the surrounding regions. We highlighted everything that is island-like about Montreal using typical sun destination lines and beauty shots. We especially wanted to convince Ontarians that Montreal is the closest ‘exotic’ destination.”


Also, much like last summer’s campaign, the campaign also promotes the city to locals, with a tourist map created by local illustrator Myriam Wares highlighting the “four corners” of the island.

“We wanted to create a memorable campaign that showcases the city’s top attractions in an original and unexpected way,” said Emmanuelle Legalt, VP of marketing and strategy with Tourisme Montreal. “It’s the first time we’ve focused on the city’s island side in our communications, and the message is already a big hit.”

The global tourism sector has, obviously, faced heavy challenges during the pandemic due to travel and public safety restrictions. Tourisme Montreal announced its “island”-focused approach for the summer during last month’s annual general meeting, while also positioning the tourism industry as an important driver to restarting the economy, both in Montreal and throughout Quebec.

To that end, the city’s website has been reimagined as more of a weekly event guide, with cultural, culinary and outdoor activities, festivals and businesses geared both towards out-of-towners looking for something to do during a quick getaway, or to locals looking to discover something new.

The campaign is running in Montreal, Toronto and Quebec City across social media, digital video, and in wild postings.