At a distance, there was a sense of formality and a timelessness attached to Montreal's horse-drawn carriages, known as calèches, but upon closer inspection, many recoiled. Tuesday at midnight, the last calèche must be off the streets. (Morgan Lowrie/Canadian Press)

Famed Montreal calèches making their final tours

Last call is coming up.

A long-running tradition–touring Old Montreal’s cobblestone streets in a horse-drawn carriage–ends at midnight tonight when a ban on the carriages–also known as calèches–takes effect.

The ban on the carriages, which have been around since the 18th Century, ends a battle between animal rights activists and the businessmen who ply their trade from the big seat behind the horses.

Earlier this month, a judge refused to grant last a ditch request by a stable owner to suspend the City of Montreal’s that officially takes effect on Jan. 1.

A horse-drawn carriage rides through Old Montreal. Supporters say the horses were treated fairly. Activists believed otherwise. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The owners had wanted to work through the Christmas holidays, a time when they said they did good business in their carriages decorated in red ribbon and fir branches.

The backlash against the use of the horse-drawn calèches has been building for nearly a decade as concern grew about the animals’ welfare.

It escalated in recent years following a series of incidents involving calèche horses being adversely affected by summer heat.

The death of a horse in 2018 while pulling a carriage prompted Mayor Valérie Plante–long under pressure from animal rights activists–to say the carriage trade was no longer welcome in Montreal.

A video showing a horse collapsed in Old Montreal in 2017 was widely shared widely on social media, fueling the long-running dispute between calèche owners and drivers and animal rights activists. (Simon Marceau-Pelletier/CBC)

In June 2018, the legal axe fell on the business.

Calèche owners have long said their horses are well cared for and maintain animal activists are putting them out of business.

This past April the city said it would pay the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals $1,000 for each horse offered a refuge or a family.

Calèche owners termed the offer “insulting.”

By mid-December, just one application to join the program had been filed.

The City of Montreal says is is working on a retraining program to help the calèche drivers and owners transition to other tourist jobs.

With files from CBC, RCI, CTV

Categories: Society
Tags: , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


One comment on “Famed Montreal calèches making their final tours
  1. Avatar Diana Saakian says:

    This is huge, and I am thrilled. I’m wondering, however, where will these horses end up? Is there a plan to rehome all of them? According to an article by LaPresse ( “D’autres ont préféré annoncer leurs chevaux sur le site de petites annonces Kijiji, expliquant qu’il n’y a pas de honte à chercher une meilleure offre que celle de la Ville de Montréal. Selon eux, le prix offert par la Ville est inférieur à celui qu’offrirait une boucherie.” I am not convinced that all the loopholes have been closed in order to protect these horses.