by Rene Bruemmer, The Gazette, Montreal, Canada, 7 April 2009
If you’re concerned your mind is finally starting to fail and it’s happening while you’re awaiting public transport, fear not: That is in fact Yoko Ono in the métro telling you she loves you.
Starting yesterday morning, the Montreal Transit Corp. began broadcasting a 17-second message of peace and love from the artist and wife of late Beatle John Lennon on its public address system throughout the métro network.
“Bonjour Montréal, ici Yoko Ono!” it begins.
Odder still in a province where all but emergency evacuation warnings must be broadcast in French under Bill 101 regulations, the rest continues in English. And it’s intelligible.
“Hi. This is Yoko! It’s time for action, and action is peace. Think peace; act peace; spread Peace and tell your friends to IMAGINE PEACE.
“I love you!”
The message is an accompaniment to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts free exhibition Imagine: The Peace Ballad of John and Yoko, which presents 140 pieces of memorabilia and comes on the 40th anniversary of Lennon and Ono’s Bed-In at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in May 1969.
Because it’s a cultural production with no commercial connotations and Ono doesn’t know French, it can be broadcast in English.
“My colleague in the marketing department, Sylvie Bussières, said: ‘Imagine if we had a message from Yoko Ono,’ ” MTC spokesperson Marianne Rouette said.
Ono thought it was an excellent idea and the underground mantra of peace was born. It’s a world first, Rouette said.
The message will be played twice during the morning rush hour, once more before noon, once during the afternoon rush and once at night until April 13. From April 14 to June 21 it will play three times a day at various times.
The message can be heard in stations and on métro platforms. It won’t be heard in the métro trains, but a French translation will be shown on LCD screens.
“We hope many Montrealers will hear the message, and, as Yoko Ono asks, share it,” the MTC said in a statement.