Convent of Carnival Duchesses to share their experiences and love for Bonhomme

70e The anniversary of the Quebec Carnival was an opportunity for some forty former duchesses from all eras to share their memories and their views on this ultra-popular pageant that has been controversial over time.

• Read more: Quebec Carnival is 70 years old: Duchesses have left their mark on generations

From the oldest duchess in the 1960s to elected officials in 2018, they admit the experience has been “a boost” to their careers.

“I remember we had the presidents' lunch with Robert Bourassa, the prime minister at the time,” says Lyne Mercier, Duchess of Montmorency, in 1974. “I was at a table with company leaders. They spoke to me for four minutes in French and then in English. […] Then I decided to study at an English-speaking university. It was a turning point in my life for me.

This role as an ambassador would have sparked an interest in public relations for many now working in the field.

“We have abilities and qualities we didn't know we had [il y a] Many women, who were duchesses, had careers, started their careers, it was really a swing,” assures Frances Grenier, duchess of Cartier in 1982.



The former Duchesses have been able to share memories of the match over the years.

Photo by Didier Debuschere

All are marked by visits to hospitals and the elderly in different neighborhoods of Quebec.

“The influence of the duchesses made Carnival widespread […] And bring back as many as possible,” hoped Marlene Coute, Duchess of Lewis, in 1990.

However, this role of the duchess will be a double-edged sword for some, as the professional springboard will also include a fight to break free from the stereotypical image of women as objects.

“I was a very feminist at the time, and I laughed a little at the carnival, telling myself that it was arranged with the boy from the scenes,” says Claudie Berube, who was finally elected queen of the carnival. “I was caught at my own game,” Carnival said in 1992 […]But I was never forced to do what I was asked, as the popular version leads us to believe.

As a result, the 1992 cohorts refused to participate in the program and created a stir. Ghosts of the South With Gilles Latulippe who wanted to “enter the tent in a bikini”.

That year's Champlain duchess Manon Collette underlines, “It was against what we wanted to present as an image.

The man and his funny girls

This reunion of the former duchesses reached its climax during Bonhomme's visit. He was received by a guard of honor formed by his monks from all ages.

Many also talked about the “privileged” connection they were able to create with the official face of Carnival.



They all highlighted the exceptional nature of the bond they share with Bonhomme, the official face of Carnival these years.

Photo by Didier Debuschere

“Man, for me, he's my confidant, he's my teddy bear. […] I had an accident and ten years later, he would still put his hand on my shoulder and ask how I was [je vais]», says Virginie Gordo, Duchess of La Haute-Saint-Charles in 2015.

Drama in 1995, the then queen, Kathleen Chau, was injured in an avalanche at Estrie. He receives a visit from Bonhomme, who is hospitalized and in intensive care.

“Even the doctors and nurses around were stunned by this energy,” she still remembers today.

And Bonhomme, has he missed his duchess since their disappearance in 2018?

“I still miss my duchess. They hold an extraordinary place deep in my heart and they occupy my entire head,” she says. magazine.

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