1706481882 Convent of Carnival Duchesses to share their experiences and love

Convent of Carnival Duchesses to share their experiences and love for Bonhomme – Le Journal de Québec

The 70the The anniversary of the Quebec Carnival provided an opportunity for around forty former duchesses from all eras to come together to share their memories and their vision of this extremely popular competition, which has been controversial over time.

• Also read: The Quebec Carnival is 70 years old: the duchesses have left their mark on generations

From the oldest duchess in the 1960s to the youngest elected officials in 2018, everyone agrees that the experience will have been “a springboard” for their careers.

“I remember we had the presidential luncheon with then Prime Minister Robert Bourassa,” says Line Mercier, Duchess of Montmorency in 1974. “I sat at a table with company presidents. They spoke to me in French for four minutes and then everything in English. […] I then decided to study at an English-speaking university. For me it was a turning point in my life.”

This ambassadorial role will have sparked an interest in public relations for many of those now pursuing careers in the field.

“We have skills and qualities we didn’t know we had [il y a] For many women who were duchesses, who had jobs, who founded their companies, it was really a stepping stone,” assures France Grenier, Duchess of Cartier in 1982.

Convent of Carnival Duchesses to share their experiences and love

The ex-duchesses have been able to share memories of the pageant over the years. DIDIER DEBUS SCISSORS/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC

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

“The influence of the duchesses decentralized the carnival […] and bring back as many people as possible,” believes Marlène Caouette, Duchess of Lévis in 1990.

However, this Duchess role will have been a double-edged sword for some, as the career move comes with a struggle to abolish the stereotypical image of women as objects.

“I myself was very feminist at the time and signed up, laughed a little at the carnival and told myself that it was arranged with the guy from the scene,” says Claudie Bérubé, who was ultimately elected queen of the carnival in 1992. “I was caught at my own game […]but I was never forced to do what I was asked to do, contrary to what the popular version would have us believe.”

And so the 1992 cohort caused a stir by notably refusing to take part in the show Les Démons du Midi with Gilles Latulippe, who wanted them to “enter a tent in a bikini”.

“It contradicted what we wanted to project as an image,” emphasizes Manon Colette, Duchess of Champlain this year.

Man and his funny ladies

This reunion of the ex-duchesses reached its climax during a visit by Bonhomme himself. An honor guard consisting of his duchesses from all eras greeted him.

Several also spoke of the “privileged” connection they were able to form with the official face of Carnival.

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They all emphasized the exceptional nature of the bond they share with Bonhomme, the official face of the carnival throughout the years. DIDIER DEBUS SCISSORS/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC

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

Drama in 1995: The then Queen Kathleen Sauvé was injured in a snow slide in Estrie. In the hospital she receives a visit from Bonhomme in the intensive care unit.

“Even the doctors and nurses around were amazed when they saw this dynamic,” she still remembers.

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

“I still miss my duchesses. They occupy an extraordinary place in the depths of my heart and occupy my entire mind,” he confesses to the Journal.