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Backstreet Boy says Montreal has a 'serious problem' with orange cones

"The cones gotta go," says AJ McLean. He also says he's running for mayor.

A man wearing a baseball cap takes a selfie while sitting in a hotel lobby
AJ McLean, founding member of the Backstreet Boys, takes a selfie while in Montreal on Sept. 28, 2023 to promote his hosting of The Fashion Hero television series. Photo by John Mahoney /Montreal Gazette

Picture this: A once-prominent man with a long history in Montreal takes in the current state of downtown and decides there are way too many orange cones. He declares on the spot that he’s running for mayor.

No, no we are not talking about Denis Coderre. This is a story about … Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean.

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“I’ve noticed something. You guys have a serious problem with these orange cones,” McLean — whose band first broke out in Montreal and who now co-owns Montreal TV production company Beauty World Search — said in an Instagram story on Thursday.

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“Like, orange cones everywhere.”

He has a point. He also has a proposed solution: “Because of that, I’m going to run for mayor of Montreal in 2024-25.”

Election seasons do seem to be kicking off earlier and earlier, but the first shot in our next municipal campaign being fired by someone with such intimate knowledge of the harmony in “I Want It That Way” is still a surprise.

“We’re going to make pink cones and way less cones,” McLean declared. Are the pink cones an effort to emulate Valérie Plante’s Pink Line campaign promise? Well, probably not. Also: What became of the Pink Line?

“I’m starting to think I’ll need to move to Montreal or at least get a place in Montreal,” the The Fashion Hero: A New Kind of Beautiful host told Brendan Kelly.

The property’s still a work in progress, but he’s already kvetching about the cones like a local.

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  1. McLean was in town to announce his partnership with Montrealer Caroline Bernier, who founded Beauty World Search.

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  2. Illustrator Tania Mignacca, creator of orange cone character Ponto, has turned the ubiquitous Montreal hindrance into a profitable business.

    Orange cones have been a boon for Montreal comic illustrator

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