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Posts by Isa Tousignant

Five must-see local films at Festival Nouveau Cinéma

The 2016 edition of the Festival Nouveau Cinéma is the exciting last festival of the fall season, filled with glittering film buffs milling around in dashing scarves from cinema to cinema downtown and beyond. It unites groundbreaking and limit-stretching films from around the world by the hundreds as well as a selection of Quebec films that’s sure to be stellar, thanks to a near-impeccable approach to programming. From October 5 to 16, 2016, here are five local films presented at the festival in English (or with English subtitles) that you simply can’t afford to miss. 1) PRANK, directed by Vincent Biron This debut feature film by short-film star Biron was a hit at both the Venice film festival and TIFF, and now the tale of this lovelorn teenage outsider turned professional prankster comes to Montréal. Full of awkward hilarity and poignant haplessness, this film depicts adolescence to a tee. 2) DÉSERTS, directed by Charles-André Coderre and Yann-Manuel Hernandez The directors of this Death Valley road-trip movie are better known for their experimental art films and shorts, which explains its unique approach to the loaded filmic moment. As the main protagonist meets a woman on his path, the journey changes and turns inward… / Read More →

See art among the skyscrapers in Montréal

A walking tour is probably the best way to get the sense of any city. But when you follow one of the many cool itineraries suggested by the folks at Art Public Montréal, you’ll get the best sense you can of Montréal’s artsy core. This is a city where culture shines year-round and in every detail, down to the amazing public art you can visit for free! So grab a map, your walking shoes and your camera, and explore this crop of art works among the skyscrapers of downtown Montréal. Monument à Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1953), created by Émile Brunet Did you know Brunet also designed the Canadian pavilion for the Exposition universelle in Paris in 1937? His portrait of the former prime minister that stands in Dominion Square represents Laurier’s successful union of western and eastern Canada, thanks to the symbolic use of the maple leaf. Note the bed of flowers, too, at Laurier’s feet: French lilies, Scottish thistles, English roses and Irish clovers mix to represent Canada’s four founding nations. Autoportrait (2012), created by Nicolas Baier Baier is a young and active artist whose works you can see at the nearby Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, as well… / Read More →

Let’s binge-watch Montréal

The unique flavour of Montréal is what makes it so popular as a travel destination, but it’s always a challenge to describe in words. There’s nothing like seeing it for yourself! That’s why God invented YouTube. Montréal is a four-season playing field, with a whole new atmosphere to discover and dig into as the weather goes through its travel-worthy extremes. With activities, museums and outdoor entertainment galore, a million parks and underground shopping for miles, there’s also no better place for the family — your kids would never forgive you for leaving them home. The food scene? It’s world renowned. From gastonomic festivals year-round to restaurants lauded by international media, you can taste aaaaall of the flavours right here. Speaking of festivals, the city streets come alive with entertainment, music, dancing, eating and more at the Montréal International Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs, Montréal en Lumière, YUL Eat, Osheaga, Pop Montréal and so, SO many more… Montréal is known as a city of dance (hello, La La La Human Steps!), circus (this is the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil after all), opera, visual arts and classical music, as evidenced by the beautiful Place des Arts in the state-of-the-art Quartier des… / Read More →

Fill Your Luggage at the Puces Pop Craft Fair

Pop Montréal is always cause for celebration: it fills Mile End with awesome indie music. But it’s also a shopper’s delight. Puces Pop is a craft fair that takes place during the festival and that’s become so popular, it now happens three times a year. That’s because it goes well beyond your average craft fair – it gathers the city’s very best artisans and artists and features goods ranging from silkscreened posters to baked goods, jewellery, fashion, apothecary goods and even miniature arboretums. If you’re looking for unique, made-in-Montreal souvenirs, this is the place to be from September 23 to 25. The main fair goes down in the basement of the St-Denis Church this year, which will be jam-packed with beguiling goodies. Among the offerings you’ll find mainstays, like coloured posters by PSKD, jewellery by Tilly Doro and tees by the Stay Home Club – but you’ll also find a ton of exciting newcomers awaiting discovery. In addition to the main fair, the beloved Record Fair returns, filling the basement of the Ukrainian Federation in Mile End with a TON of vintage vinyl. It’s the best spot to find that rare find you’ve been looking for, and to discover recordings… / Read More →

World Press Photo 2016 Shocks and Awes

Marché Bonsecours in Old Montréal is lucky enough to be hosting the Montréal edition of the world’s most prestigious annual professional photo competition, World Press Photo, to a crowd of 50,000 expected visitors. From August 31 to October 2, come admire the 150 mind-blowing photos selected by a jury of 18 international professionals from media around the world. The main exhibition gives a real sense of the year’s events, divided into themes including Paris Attacks, Earthquake in Nepal, Refugee Crisis and Tensions in the Middle East, all captured in the most striking images of their kind. Plus for a more local angle, there are (free) complimentary exhibitions you won’t want to miss. Produced by Anthropographia, I do not come from space, at Marché Bonsecours’ mezzanine space, is an exhibition curated by Montréal director and author Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and photographer Guillaume Simoneau that showcases portraits of newly arrived Syrians in Montréal. There’s also In Search of Billions Lost, a photo essay presented by Oxfam-Québec covering the issues and repercussions of tax havens in the world economic ecosystem. It brings together photos by a handful of local artists: Guillaume Internoscia, who photographed Haiti; Alexandre Morin-Laprise, who shot in Bolivia; Simon Trepanier, who… / Read More →

Light Up the Night at the Botanical Gardens

One of the brightest ides of fall in Montréal is the annual Gardens of Light event at the Botanical Gardens, which fills the Chinese and Japanese Gardens in our little piece of Eden with a multitude of jewel-coloured lanterns. The amazing thing is that every year is different, with whole new lanterns built around a new theme. This year is spectacular: the theme is the Son of Heaven, the Chinese Emperor, who sits at the centre of the main pond in the Chinese garden surrounded by bronze cranes and turtles. The story of the Emperor’s life unfolds all around him, as key moments of his years in Beijing’s Forbidden City such as his enthronement and his wedding are brought to illuminated life. The tale is made up of over 1,000 lanterns, designed here in Montréal and built by experts in China. Wander the meandering footpath around the pond, set ablaze in a million colours with delicate silk lanterns in the shapes of animals such as horses, tigers and bears, as well as otherworldly flowers and trees that interact with Mother Nature’s own works of plant art throughout the Chinese Garden. In the Japanese Garden, next door, the exhibition house is… / Read More →

Eaton Centre: Your starting place in the underground city

One of Montréal’s most famous treasures is the “Underground City, an underground pedestrian network right under the heart of the city that links metro stations to shopping plazas for over 32 kilometres (about 20 miles). It’s a lifesaver when you want to stroll, shop and eat away from the hot blazing sun or the freezing snow, but it’s also a go-to destination for the whole family anytime because of the world of entertainment it opens up. Your stating point? The Montréal Eaton Centre, a glittering multistory shopping centre uniting 175 shops and restaurants on Sainte-Catherine Street, connected directly to McGill metro station. Souvenir central If you’re looking for goodies to remember your trip by, Eaton Centre has got the made-in-Montréal shops for you: Rudsak leather goods, Squish gourmet artisanal candies, DavidsTea and Caroline Néron’s Swarovsky-enhanced jewellery are all great for gifts, whether they’re for yourself or your lucky loved ones. Sports fans will find everything they want in terms of Montréal sports teams regalia at Édition Limitée, while shoe fiends will want to check out L’intervalle, a Montréal-based women’s footwear label, or the Montréal-based, internationally famous ALDO shoes. Head-to-toe style Looking for a new look? Create your own extreme makeover at… / Read More →

Montréal Country Festival brings toe-tapping fun to the Old Port

Montréal’s sunny Old Port is revealing its wild-west side on the weekend of August 19 to 21, with the Montréal Country Festival. Now’s your chance to get in some amazing country shows and to learn new skills – including when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em! Right on the banks of the beautiful St. Lawrence River, at the Clock Tower Pier two steps from the beach, the festival kicks off every evening at 5 or 5:30 pm with a line dancing class – nearly as much fun to watch as it is to learn. Then comes the music: on Friday, the French Canadian country stylings of Serge Massé and Guylaine Tanguay (which you can take in for free) will be followed by an homage to the Great Garth by Steve Surprenant, in the big top at 10 pm, dubbed Garth Brooks Fever. After that comes the Shania Twain Forever homage, performed by Véronique Labbé. Loud woots guaranteed. On Saturday, the line dancing makes way to free shows by the dulcet-voiced Amélie Hall, followed by Robby Johnson, before the big show at 10 pm by life-of-the-party band Rodeo Drive. Then on Sunday, Syldan plays after the line dancin g… / Read More →

Your 2016 Fashion & Design Festival survival guide

Catwalks in the street, thumping beats, champagne flutes and stilettos left and right – the annual Fashion & Design Festival can be a dizzying affair! And since we want you to get the very most out of all your Montréal experiences, we’ve cooked up your complete guide to the summer’s most glamorous experience.   Event Fashion and Design Festival, August 15 to 20. What you’re getting into A major outdoor event celebrating fashion and design at Quartier des Spectacles, in the heart of downtown Montreal, presenting outdoor fashion shows, live music shows, workshops, film screenings, presentations and more shopping opportunities that you can shake a YSL baguette at, including the famous pop-up shops on the Place des Festivals. Participating labels this year include Robert Atelier, Waxman, Alton Gray, Bestseller, Le Château, Citizen Vintage and many more, while you’ll be able to hear free live music by Dear Denizen, Archichic, Fonkyson, Paupière and buy a private night with Trouble Andrew (get your tickets here). Check out the schedule of talks and workshops here; you won’t want to miss the costume workshop presented by designers for the Cirque du Soleil.   What to bring Like any other large-scale festival, there are a… / Read More →

It’s all heavy hitters at Heavy Montréal 2016

Get your ears ready for a sound overload! Over the weekend of August 6 and 7, the word’s biggest heavyweights in metal, rock and punk descend upon Montréal for Heavy Montréal, the city’s heaviest outdoor music fest at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The fun starts at 1 pm on Saturday when Pop Evil kick things off on the Molson Canadian Stage, one of the three stages onsite. Saturday is a big day, with mainliners including Black Label Society (at 6:30 pm), Suicide Silence (7:30), Mastodon (also at 7:30 pm! Gahhh dilemma), Nightwish (8:30 pm) and Five Finger Death Punch (9:30 pm). One act you won’t want to miss either is Fear Factory (3:05 pm), the old school American industrial metal band that’s been making ears bleed since 1989. You’ll have time to catch some mathcore on the Heavy Stage beforehand, as Jersey’s The Dillinger Escape Plan takes over at 2:30 pm. And Inquisition will be legendary: the thrash metal kings of Colombia will turn the sunny afternoon to pitch darkness at 2 pm. On Sunday, get up and at ‘em early enough to catch I Prevail at 1 pm, followed by a veritable who’s who of heaviness. The biggest names include Kataklysm… / Read More →