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Posts by Isa Tousignant

Fantasia Film Fest makes fantasy a reality

For its 20th anniversary edition, Fantasia is doing things MAJOR! We’re taking Marilyn Manson, Takashe Miike, Shinsuke Sato, Kevin Smith and Guillermo Del Toro (in his inaugural Montreal appearance) as star guests, TONS of world premieres, conferences and master classes galore, and 130 international feature films to be seen over two jam-packed weeks of fun from July 14 to August 3. I know what you’re thinking: where to begin?! Well, here. Below are five flicks you won’t want to miss in your wildest Fantasia dreams: Let Me Make You a Martyr Directed by Corey Asraf and John Swab Trailblazing musician and multimedia artist Marilyn Manson stars and co-produced this gripping and poetic modern film noir, shown at Fantasia in a world premiere. Set in the a debauched Midwestern town, it’s a thinking man’s genre thriller that touches upon themes ranging from child abuse to life after death and features its fair share of muscle cars. July 22 at 9:35 pm, Concordia Hall Theatre King Dave Directed by Daniel “Podz” Grou (Canada) This is the festival’s opening film for a reason: it’s local, plus it’s horrific. Violence, heartache and betrayal lie ahead when Dave (played by Mommy’s Alexandre Goyette) gets caught… / Read More →

Beauty hacks and laugh attacks at Oh My Fest! and Zoofest

Just to add to the festival frenzy going on in town, Zoofest and Oh My Fest! each offer a whole world of programing to fill your July with fun. While Zoofest (July 7 to 30) branches out into a uniquely cool indie humour vibe with everything from straight-up stand-up (by Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick and George Wallace, among others) to weird yet hilarious stage shows, Oh My Fest! (July 16 and 17) is all about celebrating YouTuber talent from all over Quebec, live and in the flesh. Here are five shows you won’t want to miss at both events. 1) Oh My Fest!: Humour Panel Comedy is in the air, so might as well get neck-deep with YouTube’s funniest Québécois dudes! At this Oh My Fest! panel you’ll meet, greet and ask questions to Élie Pilon, Simon Leclerc, Massi Mahiou, Mahdi Ba and Thomas Gauthier. Practice your funny accents, because this event is in French. July 16, 1:15 p.m., Monument-National 2) Oh My Fest!: Lifestyle Panel Did you always want to know how to contour like a boss, style jean cutoffs and find your best angle? This is the panel for you, where YouTube beauty gurus GirlyAddict, Jessibouu, Gloria-Bella, Élie Duquet,… / Read More →

Your 2016 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day survival guide

HAPPY SAINT-JEAN! If you’re in Montréal over the weekend of June 24, you’re in luck – everyone will be celebrating with you. Québec’s national holiday, named after St. John the Baptist (the patron saint of French Canadians), is celebrated in Montréal with everything from neighbourhood parties with outdoor jams and community picnics to a parade and a giant, no-holds-barred free music show. It’s all great fun, but it can be overwhelming! So because we want you to have the best time ever this June 23 and 24, we’ve devised this Saint-Jean-Baptiste Survival Guide – it’ll help you ensure you’re prepped and ready to celebrate Saint-Jean like a local. Event Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, celebrated on June 23 and 24, 2016 What you’re getting into A city-wide, family-friendly celebration on both the grassroots, neighbourhood level and the municipal one. Neighbourhoods that have great all-day outdoor activities worth wandering through include Villeray (check out De Castelneau street between De Gaspé and Drolet for free musical performances), Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (the Olympic Stadium Plaza is animated with activities for the whole family), the Plateau (especially around Lafontaine Park), Rosemont (Pelican Park is the hot spot) and Chinatown (in and around Sun Yat Sen Place). The live show… / Read More →

Montréal design 5 ways

This year marks a special anniversary for Montréal: it’s been 10 years since UNESCO deemed Montréal a City of Design. The honour, which La Belle Ville shares with a handful of cities around the world including Berlin and Kobe, is bestowed to cities that devote a particular amount of energy and resources to design. With incredibly rich architecture, fashion and creative sectors, Montréal generates millions in design-related funds every year, and has discoveries in store for fans of good-looking things of all kinds. 1) Architecture Any architectural tour of Montréal needs to include the Canadian Centre for Architecture, a jewel of a institution founded in 1979. Open to all, the avant-garde museum and research centre is devoted to raising public awareness of the role of architecture and stimulating innovation in design practice. Its archive would be a good place to research the city’s architectural icons before seeing them in the flesh: Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67, for example, or Mies van der Rohe’s Westmount Square, or Phyllis Lambert’s Segal Centre. There’s also Place Ville Marie, Notre-Dame Basilica, the Maison Symphonique and the surrounding Quartier des Spectacles. One of the most iconic structures is of course the Olympic Stadium, which you can… / Read More →

Extraordinary places to get married in Montréal

Montréal is famously romantic, and it’s a go-to destination for couples getting engaged or getting married – especially thanks to the amazing exchange rate these days. But this city still has its secrets! For your Montréal marriage, think outside the box and get the local scoop on little-known, memory-making places that will make your special day the most extraordinary of all. Let’s Make History, Baby As one of Canada’s oldest cities, Montréal is neck deep in history. Its most famous neighbourhood is Old Montréal, replete with 18th century European charm – but how about taking it up a notch and tying the knot in a private chateau? The Pierre du Calvet private castle dates back to 1725, but today it’s a luxurious retreat complete with interior garden and gastronomic dining. You can not only hold your reception there, you can actually do the deed in the beautiful little chapel onsite! Other breathtaking spots include Château Ramezay and Château Dufresne, both historic private homes that can take you back in time in the most romantic way. An outstanding spot awaits discovery in the oldest chapel in the city, the Chapelle du Bonsecours (don’t miss the two paintings by famous artist Ozias… / Read More →

WANT Les Essentiels: a Montréal success story

With a world-renowned luxury accessories brand and store locations on the globe’s chicest streets under their belt, twins Byron and Dexter Peart of WANT Les Essentiels are figureheads of the Montréal design world. We sat down with them in their beautiful Sherbrooke Street store, the WANT Apothecary (now celebrating 5 years!), on the cusp of their appearance at C2 Montréal, where they’ll be speaking about the importance of longevity, inventiveness and impeccable quality. How long have you been Montrealers? Byron: 21 years, since 1995. We grew up in Ottawa, went to University of Western Ontario in London, and afterwards moved here to build a life and career in fashion and business. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? Dexter: The coolest thing by far is we opened our first WANT Les Essentiels store in New York. That was in October last year, but it feels like it’s still brand new! It’s in a residential neighbourhood in the West Village, so not unlike what we’ve done here in Montréal, having WANT Apothecary in Westmount. It’s a really local environment, there are cafes and restaurants and lots of residential homes around, so we’ve been able to tell our story… / Read More →

Frank & Oak: a Montréal success story

As founders of one of Montréal’s most successful independent fashion brands, Frank & Oak, Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani clearly have the Midas touch. We sat down with them on the cusp of their appearance at the commerce and creativity convention, C2 Montréal, where they’ll be speaking about community, alternative business practices and the secrets to their success. How long have you been Montrealers? Ratnani: I was born here. Song: I was born in China, and came here when I was 6 ½. I lived for a while in Vancouver, but I was missing Montreal, so I decided to come back. That’s when we decided to start our business here. What is the unique factor in Frank & Oak’s business philosophy that helped your brand soar so successfully? Song: When we first started we saw two things: guys who wanted more out of life, who wanted to create their own identity, and there wasn’t a brand out there for them; and we combined that with the world stage that the internet gave us. So e-commerce and those men are what made Frank & Oak Frank & Oak. How important is a sense of community to the brand? Song: The whole… / Read More →

See Saint-Michel through Cirque du Soleil Eyes with Patricia Ruel

With the vast Cité des arts du Cirque as its centrepiece, the neighbourhood of Saint-Michel, in the northern end of Montréal, is at the heart of the city’s circus scene—and as the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil, the home to TOHU and the site of the annual festival Montréal Complètement Cirque, Montréal truly is the city of circus. In addition to world-class entertainment, Saint-Michel boasts a ton of interesting food and things to explore, despite being off the average tourist’s beaten path. We catch up with Patricia Ruel, director of creation behind the Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA, to discover all the cool stuff we’ve been missing. Cité des arts du Cirque “Cirque du Soleil is part of this complex dedicated to the circus arts, so I spend most of my days there. The programming at TOHU is super interesting. Plus during the summer, during the Montréal Complètement Cirque festival, the area comes alive – the whole esplanade in front of TOHU transforms. They set up a little bistro with a lovely terrasse where the Cirque du Soleil gang often ends up for drinks and a burger after work.” 2345 Jarry Street East Le Petit Coin du Mexique “Luzia is a… / Read More →

Start collecting art from Montréal at Papier16

Hordes of hungry art lovers will congregate to an exciting new location from April 22 to 24 for Papier16, the 2016 edition of the annual art fair dedicated to works on paper. The “paper” factor was thought up with affordability in mind, to help collectors get the most bang for their buck on a range of work that extends from prints to drawings to photographs to sculptures. It just means no epic bronze statues or stretched canvases the length of a yacht. Though there will be plenty of showstoppers, as always. The glamorous venue this year? Down on the piers of the Old Port, in the cavernous Hangar 16, no less. After the fantastic view of the city we got from the Mile End location last year, this edition promises a view of the very foundation site of the city: with Old Montréal on one side and the St. Lawrence river on the other. Right there on the Clocktower Pier, you’ll be able to get a lungful of sea air while shopping for your expanding art collection. Among the Montréal galleries onsite this year, you’ll find both established and newer players, representing a whole gamut of art styles. Stop by… / Read More →

Experience Montréal in the lap of luxury

Looking for pampering? You’re in the right place. Montréal gets a ton of high-fallutin’ international guests every year, whether it’s Jazz Fest musicians, pop superstars, Formula One racers or star hockey players. Hell, even visiting comedians need paraffin mani-pedis! The result? Our service industry is poised to satisfy your every need and make your trip to La Belle Ville the most memorable it can be. Here’s your cheat sheet to the best things in life. SLEEP WELL High-end stays abound in Montréal, for all the reasons mentioned above. From Madonna to Aretha Franklin to Lady Gaga, we’ve hosted all the divas! Exacting guests flock to the gorgeously redesigned Ritz-Carlton Montréal, where you can leave your classically appointed suite and be at La Maison Ogilvy in five minutes flat.
 Hôtel Le St. James is probably the city’s most luxurious stay, nestled in a historic Old Montréal building appointed with priceless antiques. Loews Hôtel Vogue, Hôtel Le Crystal and InterContinental Montréal are perfect downtown pied-à-terres, with incredibly comfortable rooms and great bars and restaurants. To be within seconds of the Old Port, you’ll want to stay at either the sleekly contemporary Hotel Gault, Hotel Nelligan (the rooftop terrasse bar is a must),… / Read More →