A publicity stunt “with a life of its own”

When I wrote on Sunday about the Mouvement boulevard Lucien-Rivard, I mused that the campaign to rename the Main after the 1960s gangster was one of the “quixotic quests” that are as much a part of Montreal’s history as any underworld hero. Many readers were a bit more cynical: they suggested that it was little more than a viral marketing campaign for Charles Binamé’s new movie, “Le piège américain,” starring Rémy Girard as Lucien Rivard, which will be released this summer.

Turns out those readers were right: Alan Hustak confirms in today’s Gazette that the MBLR is indeed a publicity stunt for the film. But Binamé insists that the campaign was meant as “a joke, but it has taken on a life of its own, so we don’t know where this is all going.”

“Rivard was an honourable bandit and honest thief,” said Gagnon, of the Mouvement Boulevard Lucien Rivard.

“Who is more honest, someone who offers the bribe or the politician who takes it?” he asked.

“Rivard is more in tune with the unsavoury character of the lower Main than St. Lawrence, a 3rd-century Christian martyr. There are other streets in the city named for rebels and scoundrels, why not him? Rivard is famous – Canadian Press voted him Canada’s Newsmaker of the Year in 1965.”

Others in the film industry and officials with city hall’s Commission de toponymie describe the publicity stunt as “ridiculous” and say it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

There is already a Rivard St. in Montreal, named for Sévère-Dominique Rivard, who was mayor in the 1880s.

Gagnon hopes to get 10,000 signatures; as of last night, 726 had visited the website.

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