MONTREAL — This museum visit includes a rendezvous with the Fab Four followed by a spot of tea.
Pointe-a-Calliere, the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, presents two temporary exhibitions: “The Beatles in Montreal,” which celebrates one fateful night when John, Paul, George and Ringo came to town to perform at the Forum in 1964; and “The Tea Roads,” an exploration of the origins of the world’s most popular beverage.
Housed in the newly inaugurated Mariner’s House, a pavilion located at 165-169 Place d’Youville just adjacent to the main museum, “The Beatles in Montreal” is a magical, musical tour that pays tribute to a brief stopover in Canada almost 50 years ago. More than just a concert, the event created a media frenzy and influenced the world of Quebecois-style rock music forever.
John, Paul, George and Ringo get their own proper due with a full bio and introduction (as if one was needed). As visitors walk through the doors, vintage videos and Beatles music fills the air.
An array of record albums and singles highlights a time line of the band from the days of the Quarrymen and includes a full Beatles history. The centerpiece artifact here was one that was literally driven into the museum space — and understandably why it’s placed on the first floor of the exhibit: John Lennon’s Rolls Royce Phantom V, which was built in 1965.
Originally painted in matte black, Lennon enjoyed a Sgt. Pepper-style psychedelic brainstorm and had the luxury car redone with “inspiration in a gypsy wagon, painted in a flowery style,” according to a press release. Lennon eventually outfitted the Rolls with a television, refrigerator, sound system and even a double bed. The Beatles even took the car to meet the queen at Buckingham Palace in 1965.
One flight up, a fun karaoke space lets visitors sing along to their favorite Beatles’ tunes. And then it’s on to the concert (make that concerts) in Montreal, broken down into a frenzied but lighthearted, well-documented account of when the Beatles came to Montreal on Sept. 8, 1964.