I remember hearing the sound of drums one afternoon. They were coming from the northern area of Parc Mont-Royale, and they were very loud – loud enough for me to hear them in the student area of McGill, a few kilometres away from the area itself.
Bemused, I went home and asked my flat mates.
“It’s just Tam Tams.” Tam Tams? They said it in such a cool and casual way, I felt ignorant for not knowing what they were talking about. I enquired further.
“It’s a big group of people who basically congregate every Sunday next to the angel statue on Mount Royal and they play drums. There are hippies, business people, students, children, older people, some dogs. It’s so much fun!”
I was intrigued, so I set off to explore. I could hear the noise of the drums getting louder and louder as I approached the statue, until I finally came to see Tam Tams: there were hundreds of people dancing, banging drums, pots and pans and even dustbins. People were singing, jiving, laughing, smiling, smoking, drinking, doing yoga, sword fighting, slack-lining, chilling and eating. It was a huge amalgamation of what a Sunday afternoon should be: relaxed fun spent with others. I was immediately drawn to the sight and the sounds. It was so colourful and just so fun, quite unlike anything I had ever seen in Scotland! It reminded me of the Meadows in Edinburgh in summer, multiplied by a few hundred.
It had the festival vibe, hence why I decided to discuss Tam Tams under ‘festival fun’. I decided to get involved. I did not have a drum, nor a stick and a pot, but I began to dance instead. I loved the freedom which resonated throughout the park. Men in suits relaxed under trees, women in long skirts boogied in the sun, children ate ice-creams and bopped their heads to the beat. I foolishly danced away, moving from feet to feet with the beat. Although I was surrounded by strangers, I felt really accepted. Tam Tams itself epitomises how friendly and welcoming the city of Montreal is itself. It is spontaneous, cheerful and became my home away from home.