Urban lore has it Montreal's Tam Tams, named after the French word for hand drums like the bongo or djembe, started in the '80s, maybe late '70s. It depends on the source. According to writer Susan Krashinsky, it began with an African drumming workshop looking for a change of pace from their usual haunt. Students ended up convening on the edge of Mont Royal at Jeanne-Mance Park, right beside Montreal's infamous angel statue. Eventually, non-drummers joined in, dancing along with the ever changing beats until it became Tam Tams, Montreal's Sunday tradition in the park. By 1994, the city of Montreal took charge of maintenance, security and marketplace permits.
Tam Tams Are For Everyone
Babies, seniors, teens, thirty somethings, fifty-ish fans, jugglers, brazen flirts, medieval foam weaponry fighters ... every generation and a wide array of subcultures are represented at Tam Tams. And the vibe is peaceful and non-judgmental. It's even wheelchair accessible! And it's free. The only constraint with Tam Tams is the weather. The show only goes on every Sunday from May through September, as long as there's no rain, from noon to sundown or later. Drummers informally extend it through October, weather-permitting.
Directions to Tam Tams Montreal
Take the 11 Bus West from Mont-Royal Metro. Get off at the corner of Mont-Royal and Parc. Walk up Parc in the direction of a large patch of green space (you can't miss it!) until you reach the angel statue near the corner of Parc and Rachel. From there, just follow the beat of the drums to reach Tam Tam's epicentre.
A different route that requires less walking involves the 80 Bus North from Place-des-Arts Metro. Get off at the corner of Parc and Rachel and simply cross Parc in the direction of the angel.
Tam Tams Marketplace Schedule & Permits
At most Tam Tams, there's a small group of people selling clothes, flags, jewelry and assorted trinkets. Technically, anyone can set up temporary shop, but you need a permit. Call (514) 872-7080 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on the Thursday prior to the Sunday you want to sell your wares to reserve a spot. The earlier you call, the better. You must be a Montreal resident over 16 years old with a mailing address. If accepted, you will then have to show up at specified location to pick up your city permit, on said Sunday around 12:30 p.m.