Guy Latraverse | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Guy Latraverse

Guy Latraverse, COQ, OC, producer, impresario (born 5 July 1939 in Chicoutimi, QC; died 14 October 2023 in Montreal, QC). Known as the “father of Quebec show business,” Guy Latraverse was one of the pioneers of Quebec’s recording and entertainment industries. He managed and/or produced works by such artists as Pauline Julien, Claude Léveillée, Robert Charlebois, Louise Forestier and Yvon Deschamps, among many others. He was also involved in the founding of the Francofolies de Montréal and the annual awards honouring the best in Quebec music (Félix Awards, ADISQ), theatre (La soirée des Masques), film (Prix Jutra, now Prix Iris) and comedy (Les Olivier). He was made a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec and the Order de la Pléiade, as well as an Officer of the Order of Canada and the Order of Montreal. He was inducted into the Canadians Songwriters Hall of Fame in the Special Achievement category in 2010.

Early Life and Career

While a student at St-Laurent College in Montreal, Guy Latraverse set up a pirate radio station and produced shows by Pauline Julien and Hervé Brousseau. As a student at the École des hautes études commerciales, he met singer-songwriter Claude Léveillée in 1961, becoming his impresario and organizing his tours in the boîtes à chansons of Quebec. He subsequently worked for Jacques Blanchet, Pauline Julien, and soon, for some 15 performers and singer-songwriters.

In 1963, Latraverse started producing his own shows and rented the PDA for Claude Léveillée, the first Quebec artist to sing in the new hall. He then invited the most famous European stars (Charles Aznavour, Guy Béart, Petula Clark, Léo Ferré, Enrico Macias, Mireille Mathieu, and others) to sing before a Quebec public eager for French song. In 1968, he produced L'Ostid'show, which introduced Robert Charlebois, Louise Forestier, and Yvon Deschamps and which revolutionized the Quebec chanson. In 1970, he organized 150 shows. The revenues from these shows were reinvested for the benefit of Quebec stars, whose success was to a considerable degree attributed to Latraverse.

Career Highlights

In 1970, after a bankruptcy, he founded Kébec-Spec, a production and distribution company of shows by such artists as Jean-Pierre Ferland, Claude Dubois, Diane Dufresne, Jean Lapointe, and Clémence Desrochers. The venture extended to records, with Kébec-Disc, and to film, with Kébec-Films. In 1975, Latraverse presented a series of shows at the Place des nations on St-Helen's Island (Montreal) with, among others, Peter Frampton, Frank Zappa, and Chick Corea.

Latraverse was one of the founders of ADISQ and of its annual gala, the first of which was televised by the CBC on 23 September 1979, while he was president. After the bankruptcy of Képec-Spec in 1983, he founded Artistes et associés, which produced shows for stage and television. In 1984, he was the mastermind behind Diane Dufresne's monumental show Magie rose at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, where thousands of spectators turned up wearing pink.

From 1985 onwards, Latraverse concentrated on the production of special TV broadcasts, notably Rendez-vous avec Gerry (with Gerry Boulet; winner of the Félix Award for best variety show of 1989), Bonjour la visite (Gala of the Communauté des télévisions francophones, 1989), and Mission Apollo (recorded in New York in 1990 for the Communauté des télévisions francophones). He was awarded the Félix Hommage Award at the ADISQ Gala in 1988.

Other Activities

Guy Latraverse suffered from bipolar disorder and worked to destigmatize mental health issues. This included his long association with involved with the Revivre organization, now called Relief.


  • Hommage Award, Félix Awards (1988)
  • Grand Prize of the Academy, Prix Gémeaux (1999)
  • Chevalier, Ordre national du Québec (2003)
  • Hommage Bénévolat-Québec Prize, Secretariat for Autonomous Community Action of Quebec (2004)
  • Chevalier, Order de la Pléiade, Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (2005)
  • Inductee (Special Achievement), Canadians Songwriters Hall of Fame (2010)
  • Legacy Award, Canadian Music Publishers Association (2010)
  • Artisan Prize (shared with Guy Latraverse, Gilles Vigneault, Claude Léveillée, Jean-Pierre Ferland, Robert Charlebois and Yvon Deschamps for the 35th anniversary of the show 1 fois 5), Fête nationale du Québec (2011)
  • Honorary Trophy, Félix Awards (2013)
  • Inductee, Arvida Ambassadors Club, Committee for the Heritage Recognition of Arvida (2015)
  • Officer, Order of Canada (2015)
  • Officer, Order of Montreal (2020)
  • Tribute Award, SOCAN (2023)

Further Reading