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Montrealers take a stab at fencing as local club hosts Canada's only outdoor tournament

Like many others, Martin Turcotte's son was first introduced to fencing in movies.

"We [watched] The Three Musketeers … and he got very fond of that," Turcotte said.

After a few after-school lessons, his son got his first, real-life taste for the sport — and he's now signed up for a fencing summer camp organized by NDG's Escrime Mont-Royal (EMR) fencing club.

"It's a good sport. It's physically demanding, but it's also for the brain," Turcotte said.

Dozens of people took fencing lessons and learned more about the sport over the weekend in Montreal. (CBC)

Dozens join day of fencing

The father and son were among dozens of people taking fencing lessons and learning more about the sport on Saturday at a day-long event outside the Stewart Museum on Île Sainte-Hélène.

The day of fencing also featured a modern épée tournament, dubbed the Duel Sainte-Hélène, which organizers say is the only outdoor fencing competition in Canada.

"It gives people a chance to get close to fencing," said David Farley-Chevrier, EMR's vice-chairman, about the annual event, now in its fourth year.

The club also offered participants an introduction to the history of fencing. (CBC)

'A sport for life'

The club counts between 100 and 120 members who range in age from seven to 77, Farley-Chevrier told CBC News.

He said the event always draws in curious passersby, many of whom say fencing is something they've always wanted — but never had the chance — to try.

David Farley-Chevrier, vice-chairman of the Escrime Mont-Royal fencing club, says the sport teaches people discipline and respect. (CBC)

The club hopes to organize a second outdoor tournament every year so that more people can take part.

It also plans to offer a wheelchair fencing program in the fall to make the sport even more inclusive.

Farley-Chevrier, who has been fencing for the past four years, said fencing teaches people discipline and respect.

"It's a sport for life," he said.

For his part, Turcotte said he hopes the sport teaches his son self-control, focus, and how to respond to what's happening around him.

"It's good for the health, it's good for the mind," he said. "I think it's a great sport."

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