Hit by pandemic, Montreal wax museum Musée Grévin closed Thursday

“Attendance really wasn’t anywhere near the level where it used to be,”

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Montreal’s Musée Grévin is no more.

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The museum, an offshoot of the famous Paris wax museum, announced on Thursday that it closing, effective immediately. It was located in the Eaton Centre.

Kathleen Payette, general manager of the Montreal Musée Grévin, said the once-popular destination was hit hard by the pandemic and never recovered.

“We were closed for 50 weeks, from March 2020 to the end of February 2021, and since re-opening, the attendance really wasn’t anywhere near the level where it used to be,” said Payette. “So we made the difficult decision to close. We were at about 30 per cent of the attendance in 2019. First-off, 30 per cent of our clientele was made up of international tourists and we had also had a good number of tourists from elsewhere in Quebec, and we’ve noticed that Quebecers from other regions have not been coming to downtown Montreal during the pandemic. So those are two markets that dropped big time. Then of course there was the impact of the sanitary measures that were brought in because of COVID.”

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She also said it didn’t help that there has been major construction in the area around the Eaton Centre for the past four years.

The museum housed wax figures of 128 personalities, both Québécois and international personalities. About half are Quebecers, including Céline Dion, Pierre Trudeau, Ginette Reno, Dany Laferrière and Guy Lafleur. Some of the non-Quebecers in the museum include John Lennon and Yoko Ono, George Clooney, Albert Einstein and Gary Carter.

The museum is offering to give the wax figures to the Quebec personalities, if they want them, and they will also be giving 39 of them to the Paris Musée Grévin, including some of the international personalties and some of the Quebec stars who are known in France, like Dion, Garou, Laferrière, Véronic DiCaire, and Stéphane Rousseau.

Montreal’s Musée Grévin opened in April 2013 and more than one million people visited it over the years, with an average of 150,000 visitors each year. The closure will result in 20 staffers losing their jobs.

“For sure I feel a great sadness,” said Payette. “We reflected our cultural heritage here, with so many personalities who means so much to Quebecers, so I feel really sad that we have to tear down all this. I think we managed to carve out a niche in the Montreal cultural landscape.”

bkelly@postmedia.com

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Hit by pandemic, Montreal wax museum Musée Grévin closed Thursday