44 FREE things worth checking out in Montreal this July

Jun 28 2019, 3:27 am

July is a busy time of year. From weddings to parties, nobody wants to toss around any extra dough.

Luckily, there’s a slew of great things to check out around Montreal while keeping your wallet tucked snuggly in your pocket.

Here are 44 worthwhile free events happening around the city this month.

See also

The Montreal International Jazz Festival


The Montreal International Jazz Festival was named the largest jazz festival in the world in 2004 according to the Guinness Book of World Records and it’s only gotten bigger since. The 39th edition of the festival features over 500 artists from all over the world who will perform over 150 shows during a three-week span.

The streets are completely closed off to traffic and the festival is full of music-hungry fans. Some specific shows cost money to enter but the majority of the shows, both indoor and outdoor, are free.

Here’s a quick cheat-sheet of free shows to kick off the month.

  • July 1: Cha Wa, 9:30 pm – TD Stage, Place des Festivals
  • July 2: Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker, 9:30 pm – TD Stage, Place des Festivals
  • July 2: Baritone Madness, 5 pm – Club Jazz à la place Heineken
  • July 3 – 6: Streetnix, 6 pm – Animation – Perron de l’Église, Verdun
  • July 3: Plena Libre, 9:30 pm – TD Stage, Place des Festivals
  • July 4: Molly Johnson, 9:30 pm – TD Stage, Place des Festivals
  • July 4: Ensemble Jazz de Montréal, 3 pm – Rio Tinto Stage, Place des Festivals
  • July 5: Jordan Officer Full Band, 9:30 pm – TD Stage, Place des Festivals
  • July 6: Matt Holubowski, 9:30 pm – TD Stage, Place des Festivals
  • July 6: Marie-José Frigon, 5 pm – Club Jazz à la place Heineken

Be sure to check out the festival’s website for a full list of free outdoor shows as well as ticketed performances.

When: From now until July 6
Time: Varying times
Where: Quartier des Specatcles and Verdun

Old Montreal’s Canada Day

The annual Canada Day Montreal celebration is taking over the Old Port again on July 1, surrounding the Jacques-Cartier Pier with a full day of free activities to celebrate our nation’s birthday.

From a giant cake, to face painting, a 21-gun salute, and fireworks, this is the place to be.

When: Monday, July 1
Time: 12 pm – 10 pm
Where: Old Montreal
Price: Free admission

L’International des Feux Loto-Québec

montreal fireworks

Parc Jean-Drapeau

The world’s largest fireworks festival is on its way back to la belle province as the 35th edition of the International Fireworks Competition, known officially as L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, kicks off at the beginning of the month.

Plant yourself in a comfy spot and check out the fireworks throughout the month on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, July 3: South Korea – “Dreaming in Montreal”
  • Saturday, July 6: Italy – “One Step – Moon Dream”
  • Wednesday, July 10: Portugal – “Stay Tuned”
  • Wednesday, July 17: USA – “Jungle Spirit”
  • Saturday, July 20: Canada – “A First Walk on the Moon”
  • Wednesday, July 24: Australia – “Shapeshifter”
  • Saturday, July 27: Finale

When: July 3, 6, 10, 17, 20, 24, and 27
Time: 10 pm
Where: Old Montreal

Honey Martin Trivia

Honey Martin/Facebook

Honey Martin is a cozy Irish Pub in NDG that hosts a phenomenal pub trivia every trivia. They do six rounds of ten questions and a winner is rewarded each round with either a round of drinks or a round of shots. A round for a round – solid deal.

The questions are all general knowledge and the trivia host is interactive and funny.

Buy him a shot and you just might get that European geography question right after all.

When: July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Time: 9 pm – 1:30 am
Where: 5916 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Cité Mémoire


Head to Old Montreal to admire 25 of the world’s largest projection circuits. Montreal’s history is displayed on buildings and streets throughout the Old Port. Download the free “Montreal en Histoires” app for destinations, details, and schedules.

When: June 5, 12, 19, 26
Time: From nightfall until 11 pm
Where: Old Montreal




Tams, the weekly outdoor party at the base of the mountain, is a perfect summary of Montreal, open to both locals and tourists.

The magical outdoor bash is where Montrealers from far and wide, gather in Parc Mont Royal for an afternoon of food, vendors, fun, music, and maybe even a couple beers and some smoking (shhh, don’t tell anyone).

When: July 7, 14, 21, 28
Time: 12 pm until sunset
Where: Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument

McKibbin’s Pub Stumpers

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Test your trivia knowledge at McKibbin’s Irish Pub every Monday.

The pub’s trivia has five rounds, general knowledge multiple choice, short answer, a picture round, and a music round. The winner of each round receives free drinks or a round of shots.

When: July 8, 15, 22, 29
Time: 7:30 pm – 10 pm
Where: 1426 Rue Bishop
Price: Free to play (with purchase of a beverage)

Orange Julep Vintage Car Night

orange julep

Orange Julep/Shutterstock

Montreal has its fair share of well-known local restaurants – Schwartz’ Deli, Joe Beef, and Chalet Bar-B-Q – but you’d be hard-pressed to find one more obvious than Gibeau Orange Julep.

Obvious is the proper word here because the place sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s a giant, orange sphere that stands three stories high and is forty feet wide.

The roadside snack-bar has been around since 1932 and everybody in Montreal knows about it, regardless of how old you are.

This summer, like the summer before and the summer before that, the Orange Julep will host vintage cars and motorcycles in its parking lot every Wednesday.

Grab yourself some OJ, poutine, and marvel at a parking lot full of gorgeous vintage cars.

When: July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Time: 7 pm – 10 pm
Where: 7700 Boulevard Decarie




Some of Montreal’s streets are about to turn into an open-air circus ring.

From July 4 to 14, The Montreal Circus Festival, known as LA RUE COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, will use the streets, parks, and sidewalks of the Quartier des Spectacles as stages to showcase colourful, high-flying performances.

The festival includes tightrope walkers, trapeze art, balancing and trampoline acts, fire art, jugglers, gymnastics, live music, human pyramids, and participatory activities for all ages as these master street performers use the urban landscape as their stages.

When: July 4 to 14
Time: Varying times
Where: Quartier de Spectacles

Village au Pied du Courant



Montreal’s man-made beachside venue, Village au Pied-du-Courant is open all July.

Every year, dozens of teams of collaborators and designers come together to set up the man-made village for Montrealers and tourists to join for a view of the St. Lawrence River, Lotto Quebec’s fireworks, and the famous Jacques Cartier Bridge.

(Not to mention a slew of summertime parties.)

The reinvented site is a place for citizens, designers, volunteers, and participants to create a unique and collaborative community.

When: Thursday – Sunday in July
Time: 4 pm – 9 pm (Thursdays), 5 pm – 12 am (Fridays), 4 pm – 12 am (Saturdays) 3 pm – 8 pm (Sundays)
Where: 2100 Rue Notre-Dame Est
Price: Free admission

Hampstead’s Summer Concerts

Eight free outdoor concerts are coming to Hampstead Par this month.

The borough’s lineup offers a variety of music genres ranging from pop country to classic, and a tribute to Leonard Cohen.

All concerts will take place on Tuesdays at 7 pm, rain or shine. If it is raining, the show will be held inside the Irving L. Adesky Community Centre.

Everyone is welcome to the concerts and guests are asked to bring a lawn chair.

July 2: Montreal Backbeat Showband
July 9: Replay Sixties Invasion
July 16: Smokin’ DeVille

When: July 2, 9, and 16
Time: 7 pm
Where: Hampstead Park30 Lyncroft Road

Harmonie Laval – Mont Royal

Mont Royal

Orchestre Métropolitain/Facebook

Mont Royal is about to get even more enjoyable as a collection of free outdoor concerts are set to perform throughout July.

Harmonie Laval, a wind and percussion musical ensemble, is bringing five free shows to the base of the mountain and guests are asked to only bring a chair.

Music lovers will be transported back to a time when people gathered to hear beautiful and soothing music under the summer sky.

The concerts will be held at the Mordecai Richler Gazebo on Park Avenue, a stone’s throw away from the Sir George-Étienne-Cartier monument.

When; July 4, 11, 18
Time: 7 pm
Where: Mordecai Richler Gazebo, Mont Royal
Price: Free

Shakespeare in the Park


Shakespeare by the Bow/Facebook

The untraditional rendition of Shakespeare returns on July 11 and will run until August 11. The long-running outdoor theatre event is celebrating its 31st year and takes on a Shakespearean classic this summer in the form of Measure for Measure. It’s a contemporary, gender-bent take on the classic love story.

When: July 11 – 31
Time:  7 pm – 10 pm
Where: Various outdoor venues across Montreal

First Fridays

Les Premiers Vendredis/Facebook

Montreal is about to keep on truckin’ as the third First Friday of 2019 kicks off at the beginning of the month.

First Fridays is a special culinary event in which a variety of the city’s food trucks gather at the Olympic Stadium allowing Montrealers to gobble up dishes from dozens of local spots.

The festival, which calls itself “the largest street food fest in Canada,” is known to dish off everything from tacos and churros, to mac and cheese, burgers, and lobster rolls from over 40 participating eateries around Quebec.

Check out a list of participating spots right here.

When: Friday, July 5
Time: 4:30 pm – 11 pm
Where: Olympic Stadium

Carifesta Caribbean Festival

Caribbean Festival

Like it has every year in Montreal since 1975, Carifiesta returns this summer to honour its Caribbean community in the city.

The festival’s main attraction is the parade. The parade features vibrant colours and exciting costumes dancing to the sounds of Caribbean music. It starts at the corner of Saint-Catherine Street Ouest and ends at Le Square Phillips.

Once the parade anchors at its final stop in the square, the partying, music and dancing continues well on into the night joined by a variety of food trucks, all serving traditional Caribbean food.

When: Sunday, July 7
Time: 12 pm
Where: Starts at Saint Catherine Street Ouest and Rue Forty and ends at Square Phillips

Festival of India

Indian food

Alex Hubenov/Shutterstock

Montreal’s 41st annual Festival of India returns this July for one exciting weekend full of Indian culture.

The two-day event will feature all sorts of festivities, including a parade down Saint Laurent Boulevard (starting at Rue Milton), restaurant outlets, live music, dancing, yoga workshops, kid’s games, and a souvenir shop.

When: July 6-7
Time: 12 pm – 7 pm
Where: Parc Jeanne Mance

Festival International Nuits d’Afrique

The 33rd edition of the festival assembles a massive collection of talent from here to Timbuktu, across great oceans to Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. The three-week festival hosts both indoor and outdoor shows of dancing and live music. The free admission part of the festival runs during the third week of July.

When: July 14 – 22
Time: Various times through the month
Where: Parterre du Quartier des Spectacles

Ste-Catherine Sidewalk Sale

The Ste-Catherine Sidewalk Sale calls itself “the largest open sky gathering of merchants in Canada” and judging by the size of it, it’d be tough to compete.

More than 300,000 visitors ramble onto the street over the three-day event and the famous street is completely closed down to traffic between Rue Guy and Rue Mansfield. More than 250 boutiques, stores, and restaurants set up outlets outside for Montrealers to browse and enjoy. Plus there’s a parade, dancers, inflatable castles, and free samples!

When: July 12-14
Time: Friday: 12 pm – 12 pm, Saturday: 10 am – 10 pm, Sunday: 10 am – 7 pm
Where: Rue Ste-Catherine from Rue Guy to Rue Mansfield

The Twins Parade

Only Just for Laughs could think of parading twins, triplets, and quadruplets together downtown. But they have.

The parade is free to watch and free to join if you fit their criteria of having an identical or fraternal twin.

Twin-related activities start at noon and the parade doubles down afterwards.

When: Saturday, July 28
Time: 12 pm – 5 pm
Where: Place des Festivals

Dragon Boat Challenge

dragon boat


Parc Jean Drapeau hosts the International Dragon Boat Montreal Challenge & Cultural Festival from July 6 to 7.

The Challenge is no longer accepting applicants to compete but the festival will host over 15 Dragon Boat races and it’s free to watch. If you’ve never seen 20 people in a boat race each other, you’re in for a treat.

When: July 6-7
Time: 12 pm – 6 pm
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau

Oka Beach

Beach Volleyball/Shutterstock

Beat the July heat at a real beach.

Oka National Park boasts a gorgeous beach and a stunning view of Lake Deux Montagnes. They offer a variety of activities including canoeing, kayaking, biking, and pedal boating, or you can simply relax on the cozy sand.

The beach offers numerous picnic tables and several charcoal barbeques to use at your disposal. A lifeguard is always on duty.

When: From now until September 3
Time: 8 am – 7 pm
Where: 2020 Chemin d’Oka, Oka

Parc Jean-Drapeau Aquatic Complex for kids

aqua complex

Parc Jean-Drapeau/Facebook

Parc Jean Drapeau’s Aquatic Complex features three massive Olympic-sized pools, trampolines, diving boards and towers, a shaded area, sprinklers, and water sports.

What’s even better? It’s free for kids (aged 13 and under) on Wednesdays!

When: Every Wednesday until September 3
Time: 10 am to 8 pm (Jean Doré Beach until 7 pm)
Where: Parc Jean-Drapeau
Price: Free for kids under 13

Yoko Ono’s “Arising”

Reykjavik Art Museum/Facebook

As part of the Japanese multimedia artist’s ongoing installation called “Arising,” Yoko Ono is asking women to share stories of harm that has been brought on as a result of being a woman. Participants are asked to also send in a photo of their eyes as part of the project.

Both projects take an important stance about the condition of women, particularly in regards to the #MeToo movement.

Submissions can be made by email, regular mail or in person and will be accepted at any time before or during the exhibition. Every and all submissions will be displayed.

The display kicks off at the end of the month and will be on display until September.

When: Every day in July
Time: 12 pm – 7 pm (Wednesday to Friday), 11 am  6 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Where: Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain, 451 rue St-Jean

Le Lave-Auto


CNW Group/Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.

MURAL Fest may be done, but this art installation is here for keeps.

A Montreal car wash has undergone a complete transformation as part of the 7th edition of the street art festival.

World-renowned urban artist Joshua Vides, who is known for making real-life 3D objects appear as simple 2D black and white sketches, applied his signature treatment to a Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Lave-Auto Laurier, 40-year-old car wash at the corner of Saint-Urbain and Laurier.

It’s totally Instagram worthy.

When: Every day in July
Where: 85 Avenue Laurier Ouest
Time: 8 am – 6 pm (until 7 pm on Thursday – Sunday)

Leonard Cohen Mural

Leonard Cohen


Crescent Street’s iconic Leonard Cohen mural is lit.


On Wednesday, the 8,500-square-metre mural, Tower of Songs, that pays tribute to the late singer-songwriter was lit up with four projectors.

Though the newly lit mural is expected to be a mainstay on Crescent Street, head over to snap some pictures before everyone else does.

When: Every day in July
Time: 24/7
Where: Crescent Street

Give Peace A Chance – The Exhibition


From May 26 to June 2 of 1969, The Queen Elizabeth Hotel welcomed John Lennon and Yoko Ono for their famous Bed-in for Peace.

In honour of the couple’s 50th anniversary of the famous bed-in, the hotel’s lobby will transform into a showroom that showcases photos and guest testimonials pulled from the book, “Give Peace a Chance: John and Yoko’s Bed-in for Peace” by Joan Athey and photographer Gerry Deiter.

Deiter was the only photojournalist covering the 1969 event.

The free exhibition will be on display until October 9, Lennon’s birthday. Visitors are encouraged to share peace vows on their social networks with the hashtags #bedin50 and #givepeaceachance.

When: Every day in July
Time: 8 am – 10 pm
Where: Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, 900 René-Lévesque Boulevard Ouest
Price: Free

Tulips atop Mont Royal



Fuse hundreds of tulips with Mont Royal’s picturesque views of the city and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous photo waiting to happen.

A beautiful uprising of tulips has bloomed atop the mountain, signalling that Montreal’s well-deserved spring and summer weather is finally here.

Sprouted at the lookout, in front of the Mont Royal Chalet are hundreds of tiny, beautiful orange, red, and yellow tulips.

When: Every day in July
Time: 24/7
Where: 1576 Voie Camillien-Houde

Free BIXI Sundays



Exploring Montreal is great but checking out the city on a bike is even greater. Add on scoping out the city on a bike, for free, and you’ve got yourself a dandy of a day.

For the fourth year in a row, BIXI Montreal wants to make sure you’re hitting the road for free all summer.

On the last Sunday of the month, the city’s bike sharing program will be offering free rides for everyone throughout the city.

When: Sunday, July 28
Time: 12 am – 11:59 pm
Where: Various docks throughout the city

Les Jardins Gamelin


Le Jardins Gamelin/Quartier Des Spectacles Montreal

Just in time for the surge in spring weather, one of Montreal’s favourite spring and summer past times makes its return.

The open-air space will play home to both cultural and citizen-driven events, taking place every day and night of the week.

Returning for its fifth consecutive year, Les Jardins Gamelin is an ideal place to meet friends and enjoy new cultural experiences, Les Jardins offers a rich, original, 100% made-in-Montreal program – all for free. There’s something for everyone, with daily culture and entertainment all season long.

When: Every day in July
Time: 9 am – 11 pm
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

Montreal Clock Tower

Clock Tower


The 45-metre-high tower, built in 1922, marks the entrance to the Old Port and is free to climb, all season long.

The Clock Tower pays tribute to the sailors lost at sea in wartime.

According to the Vieux-Port de Montreal website, the clock mechanism was made in England and is a replica of London’s Big Ben. “Like Big Ben,” reads the page, “its accuracy is legendary, and sailors would set their own timepieces by it.”

To get to the top, guests need to climb 192 steps before being rewarded with spectacular views of the island and the St. Lawrence River.

When: Everyday in July
Time: 9 am – 10 pm
Where: Quai de l’Horloge, Old Montreal

The Maisonneuve Bike Path

Bike season kicks into high gear in July.

The Maisonneuve bike path runs throughout Montreal and has a gorgeous path from NDG to the East End. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the city as the bike path runs parallel with all of it.

When: Every day in July
Time: 24/7
Where: Runs parallel with Boulevard Maisonneuve

Orangetheory Workout

Orangetheory is a workout that, according to the website, is scientifically designed to give guests more energy, more strength, and more results. Orangetheory combines cardio, power, and strength training to “transform your body and your life.”

They offer free classes to everyone who signs up online.

When: Every day in July
Time: 5:30 am – 9:30 pm
Where: 6275 avenue Somerled, 1056 rue Ottawa, 2380 chemin Lucerne

Place Publique

Place Publique has nested itself on to Rue Ottawa every summer since 2007. The space is dedicated to the visual arts and its expanded audience. Site-specific artworks, performances and workshops enliven the space and transform it into an interactive platform by bringing together artists and citizens.

When: Every day in July
Time: 6 pm – 10 pm
Where: 745 Rue Ottawa

Casino de Montreal


Casino de Montreal/Shutterstock

It’s tough to associate casinos without money, but it’s true.

The Casino de Montreal is free to enter. If you don’t feel like blowing money at the blackjack table, head to the Casino de Montreal and simply take in the sights and sounds, it’s quite spectacular. The casino offers free refreshments and coffee, maybe you’ll find a loonie on the ground and even win big?

The Casino is decorated beautifully for the summer and is worth the trek off-island just to marvel in its beauty.

When: Every day in July
Time: The Casino de Montreal is open 24/7
Where: 1 Avenue du Casino

Notre-Dame Basilica

Mozart concert

AG Baxter (Shutterstock)

One of Montreal’s most-viewed structures is filled with hundreds of wooden carvings, several religious statues, and gigantic stained glass windows. Take a self-guided walking tour or visit the church every Sunday at 11 am to hear a 25-person choir accompanied by the organ.

When: Every day in July
Time: 8 am – 4:30 pm on weekdays, 8 am – 4 pm on Saturdays and 12:30 pm – 4 pm on Sundays (mass starts at 11 am)
Where: 110 Rue Notre Dame Ouest

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

If you want to expand your knowledge this May, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has got you covered. The MMFA offers free admission to all of their Collections and Discovery exhibitions to people under 30-years-old.

When: Every day in July
Time: 10 am – 6 pm
Where: 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Jean Talon Market

jean talon market

Songquan Deng/Shutterstock

The highlight of Little Italy is undoubtedly the Jean Talon Market. The Jean Talon market has been supplying Montreal with fresh Quebec products and specialty items from around the world since 1934.

The market is free to enter and is open every day. Visitors can find a wide variety of produce, flowers, fish, meat and specialty ice cream for sale, the area is also a great destination for lunch. Barbeque lamb, pork, and chicken sandwiches, as well as bison on a stick, are all available for a few bucks.

It’s a Montreal landmark.

When: The Jean Talon Market is open every day in July
Time: 7 am – 6 pm from Monday – Wednesday and Saturday, 7 am – 8 pm on Thursdays and Fridays and 7 am – 5 pm on Sundays
Where: 7070 Avenue Henri Julien

Barbie Exhibition

barbie expo


The world’s largest permanent exhibit of Barbies is happening at Montreal’s Cours Mont-Royal. The upscale mall hosts over 1,000 entertainment industry Barbie dolls, all dressed by leading fashion houses.

When: Every day in July
Time: 10 am – 7 pm
Where: Cours Mont-Royal, 1445 Rue Peel

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is a 19th-century church modelled after the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The church opened in 1894 and is an absolutely stunning visual.

When: Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is open year round
Time: 8 am – 4 pm
Where: 1085 Rue Cathedrale

Grande Bibliothèque


BAnQ, Bernard Fougères

The Grande Bibliothèque is Montreal’s biggest public library. Its collection is part of Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Quebec’s national library.

The Grande Bibliothèque is an absolute spectacle to see. Its winding staircases will make you feel like you’re at Hogwarts and it hosts an unbelievably impressive collection of books, magazines, records, CDs, and film.

It’s one of the most visited libraries in North America.

Membership is free to all Quebec residents.

When: The Grande Bibliothèque is open year round
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: 475 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Est

Mont Royal Belvédère Kondiaronk Park

Hiking Mont Royal has its rewards besides the view. The spring sunshine fused with the skyline is totally Instagram-worthy and Mont Royal’s chalet has some nice historical elements as well.

You get to see the entire city lit up – especially in July’s summer weather. A 15-minute hike is totally worth it.

When: Mont Royal is accessible year round
Time: 6 am – 12 am
Where: 1196 Voie Camillien-Houde

Atwater Market

Jean Gagnon

The Atwater Market is a massive farmers’ market located in Saint-Henri that’s been running since 1933. The market features both indoor and outdoor vendors from a vast variety of local options: meat, bread, cheese, fruit, vegetables, flowers, candy, pizza, and ice cream.

The market is free to enter and a lot of outlets hand out free samples. Take a stroll through the market, it’s lovely.

When: Every day in July
Time: 7 am – 8 pm
Where: 138 Avenue Atwater

Promenade Fleuve-Montagne

You can experience two of Montreal’s most stunning landmarks in one trek: the St. Lawrence River and Mont Royal Park. Stroll from one to the other on a beautiful 3.8-km promenade that features wide sidewalks, pedestrian crosswalks, rest areas, greenery and access to various restaurants along the route. The multimillion-dollar investment from the city’s 375th birthday celebrations is a site and a sight to see.

When: Every day in July
Time: The path is open 24/7
Where: Rue de la Commune Ouest and Place Royale to Avenue des Pins and Rue McTavish

Redpath Museum


Musée Redpath Museum/Facebook

Founded in 1882 at McGill University, the Redpath Museum’s aims to further the understanding and appreciation of biological, geological, and cultural heritage.

The comfortable, little museum has a variety of ancient Canadian artifacts.

When: Every day in July
Time: 9 am – 5 pm during the week, 1 pm – 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Where: 859 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

DH Montreal StaffDH Montreal Staff

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