John & Yoko’s bed-ins for Peace were two week-long, nonviolent protests against wars, intended as experimental tests of new ways to promote peace.
As the Vietnam War raged in 1969, John and Yoko held a protest at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam in March and a second was planned to take place in New York, but Lennon was not allowed into the U.S. because of his 1968 cannabis conviction. Instead they intended to hold the event in the Bahamas at the Sheraton Oceanus Hotel, flying there on May 24, 1969 but, after spending one night in the heat, they decided to move to Canada.
They first landed in Toronto and stayed at the King Edward Hotel however, since they needed the New York press coverage, they decided to move on to Montreal because of its proximity to New York.
They flew to Montreal on May 26 where they stayed at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. During their seven-day stay they invited Timothy Leary, Tommy Smothers, Dick Gregory, Murray the K, Al Capp, Allen Ginsberg and others, and all but the hostile Capp sang on the peace anthem Give Peace A Chance, recorded by André Perry in the hotel room on June 1, 1969. Perry also recorded Lennon and Ono performing Ono’s song Remember Love after everyone else had left the room.
The public proceedings were filmed and later turned into a documentary Bed Peace, which was made available on YouTube in August 2011 by Yoko Ono, as part of her website Imagine Peace.
Subsequently, in December 1969, Lennon and Ono spread their messages of peace with billboards reading “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas From John and Yoko”. These billboards went up in eleven major world cities.
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