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Posts by Isa Tousignant

Crazy In Love Getaway at Hovey Manor

With its dimly lit cocktail nooks, gastronomic scene and narrow European streets, Montréal is an ideal city for a romantic getaway. It’s a rich epicentre of cultural happenings, but it’s also a great launching pad for some glorious daytrips or weekend getaways. The Canadian countryside is unique in its lush greenery, and in fall, the colours of the changing leaves are spectacular. Take a quick drive – just under a couple of hours – and you can land in a lovers’ haven like Hovey Manor. Set on the outskirts of North Hatley in the Eastern Townships, Hovey Manor is a storied property that saw its beginnings as a fine farmhouse, but became an inn as early as the 1950s. Since 1979, it’s been the luxurious getaway it is today, run by Steve and Kathryn Stafford, who have elevated it, added a lauded gastronomic element and updated it with a deft touch, respecting the property’s original design and feel. It’s one of the handful of Relais et Châteaux properties in Québec – a well-deserved honour bestowed upon them by the international organisation as a mark of excellence in service and fine dining. The gleaming white property is set atop a rolling… / Read More →


Your survival is important to us. More than that, we want you to thrive! While the 2015 edition of the Montréal Just For Laughs Festival promises wall-to-wall good times from July 8 to 28, it’s also a monster-sized festival that can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of culture vultures. To eliminate any uncertainties you may have and give you all the deets you need to get the most out of the festival experience, we’ve devised this Just For Laughs Survival Guide. EVENT Montréal Just For Laughs Festival, July 8 to 28, 2015 WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO A world-class event that unites the globe’s funniest people in Montréal’s downtown core, pretty much. From July 8 to 28, Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles and a few venues slightly beyond host dozens of ticketed indoor shows and more free exterior entertainment than you can shake a funny bone at. This edition features unmissable headliners including Wanda Sykes, Patrick Stewart, Kevin Hart, Alan Cumming, Patton Oswalt, Trevor Noah, Margaret Cho, Jane Lynch, Ellie Kemper, Rob Schneider, Neil Patrick Harris, Omid Djalili and Norm Macdonald.   Don’t be surprised if, when you enter the festival site, someone asks to look in your bag. This… / Read More →

Things To Do in Montréal : July 10 to 16

Feel like slutting out? More into hot Nuits d’Afrique? Or maybe you want to catch plays, have picnics, get laughs, shop till your credit cards drop or curl up in a cute club with some good music. The world is your oyster – as per usual– in Montréal this week. Music is in the air In Old Montréal and the Old Port soak up the last couple of days of the International Percussion Festival, an interactive drum, dance, arts, film, food and workshops festival that runs until July 12. Of course, the main attraction this week is the Nuits d’Afrique festival, featuring the best of African and world music from all over the globe. The headliners include South African folk singer Bongeziwe Mabandla; Colombia’s answer to the Buena Vista Social Club Ondatropica; and Réunion Island angel-voiced chanteuse Maya Kamaty – just to give you an idea. Want more world music? Check out this guide to clubs and happenings around town. Party heads won’t want to miss the inaugural edition of the feminist/queer Slut Island Festival, featuring two weekends of raging, rabid dancing fun in the sun. July 10, 11 and 12 features NOIA, Hua Li and many others. Thursdays are… / Read More →

Laughs and Lap-Dances (okay, not really) at Zoofest

Like any good off-festival, Zoofest takes advantage of the comedy frenzy going on in town because of Just For Laughs (JFL) and offers an alternative type of programing. Centred on Canadian talent, which tends to slip between the cracks of JFL’s focus on international heavy hitters, Zoofest branches out into a uniquely cool indie Vaudevillian vibe, with entertainment spanning burlesque to straight-up stand-up by way of weird yet hilarious stage shows. Here are five gigs you won’t want to miss at the event, running from July 9 to August 1. 1) Chris Locke: Cats, Man You may know Chris from his best-selling stand-up album, The World Is Embarrassing. He’s a cat-owning madman whose show delves deep into the fur-covered nooks and crannies of his life with feline friends, a long-suffering wife and junk foods from all nations. Fifteen minutes in, you’ll understand why he was the 2014 Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Stand-Up winner. July 20 to 23, 7:15 p.m., Monument-National 2) Something Wicked This Way Comes Enter the darkest chambers of your mind and leave your reservations at the door for this special night of tease, featuring Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière, Stitch the Geek and their collection of curious… / Read More →

Your sun and sand getaway: Great beaches in and around Montréal

Think “Montréal,” and water sports aren’t the first things that come to mind. But aren’t we just full of surprises? Beaches and lakes abound both in and around the city, and with these come all sorts of organized aquatic fun, like places where you can rent or bring your own SUP, kayak or canoe, and enjoy sailing and water skiing. If you like your summers as cool as they are active, put these 10 spots on your summer bucket list. 1) Clock Tower Beach Right smack bang on the Old Port of Montréal, this is the city’s quintessential urban beach, complete with soft sand, great beach fare courtesy of the nearby food truck stand and a scene that makes people watching so, so fun. There are chairs, parasols and refreshing mist machines that nicely make up for the fact that swimming isn’t allowed. 2) Pointe-Calumet Beach Club This beach has family-fun written all over it, with two trampolines on the lake, inflatable bouncy games for kids, and activities like face painting and treasure hunts most weekends of the summer. Sports lovers can go mellow with pedal boats rides or more serious with kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing or beach volleyball. You can… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: July 3 to 9

When you’re not jazzing it up this week, you’ve got laughs, drama, picnics, acrobatics and even more live music to choose from. Not too shabby, eh? Just another summer week in idyllic Montréal! Musical madness You’ve still got until July 5 to soak up the incredible feast for the senses that is the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, where there are dozens of free shows throughout the Quartier des spectacles in addition to beer stalls, cocktail booths, food stands and an onsite art gallery. Keep the beat going with the International Percussion Festival in Old Montréal and the Old Port from July 3 to 12, an interactive drum and dance event that also involves visual arts, film, food and workshops. July 7 kicks off the hot and lively Nuits D’Afrique festival, which brings in the best of African and world music from all over the globe for shows that span the downtown core. Performance fests Apart from a summer full of music festivals, though, there’s a bucketful of performance goodies to be had this week too, starting with the amazing, chock-a-block Just for Laughs. From Jane Lynch to Wanda Sykes to Neil Patrick Harris and Dave Chappelle, this edition… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: June 26 to July 2

Music is in the air in Montréal this week, not only with the Jazz Fest kicking off at full volume, but also AIM, the three-day music electro fest that has got bum-shakers from far and wide excited. Whatever beat you bop your head to (Canada Day, perhaps?), summer has swing in this fair city! (festival action) Vic Vogel, Beirut, Bebel Gilberto, Cibo Matto, Erykah Badu, Mika, Huey Lewis and the News… it can only be the highly anticipated Festival International de Jazz de Montréal! In addition to these must-sees, there are dozens of free shows throughout the Quartier des spectacles from June 26 to July 5, not to mention beer stalls, cocktail booths, food stands of all sorts, an exhibition space with purchasable art by Montréal greats and photos from past editions of the festival, plus awesome merch stores – in short, all you need for a full day’s entertainment. Is it any wonder this is the mother of all our summer music festivals? Electronic music lovers won’t want to miss this year’s AIM Festival, from June 26 to 29, featuring three days full of dance-friendly beats from, among others, Jamie xx, Tiga, Pleasurekraft, Isolee, Kerri Chandler, Kevin Saunderson, The… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: June 19 to 25

C’est la Saint-Jean! This week Québec celebrates its national holiday, which, combined with the Francofolies, Fringe Fest and Suoni Per il Popolo, means Montréal is basically celebrating non-stop. Join in the party with free live music, great cultural outings and beautiful spots to lounge in the sun. Let’s celebrate The Saint-Jean-Baptiste festivities set the night of June 23 alight all through to the national holiday of June 24, with awesome free music (Ariane Moffatt, Daniel Bélanger and Marie-Pier Arthur are all on the star-studded bill) at the Place des Festivals. On the 24th during the collective day off, the celebrations take to the neighbourhoods, with roads closed all over town, live music, food, activities and a general air of slightly hung-over merriment. From Parc La Fontaine on the Plateau to Parc Benny in NDG, there’s something somewhere for everyone! Festivals en fête The Francofolies, meanwhile, continues with an amazing selection of free outdoor shows in the Quartier des spectacles until June 20, making way, after a short reprieve, to the highly anticipated Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. (Get your must-see list here.) Up on the Plateau, Suoni Per Il Popolo sets the tone until June 22, with a smaller,… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: June 12 to 18

Music is in the air as festival season gathers steam – and volume. Catch French tunes in the street, indie music in clubs, dance tracks in the park on weekends and fun in the sun in all our beautiful green spaces. Fresh and fun Bask in the sunshine by testing your climbing skills at the urban acrobatic venue Parc Exalto at the Olympic Stadium Esplanade, a three-storey rope-climbing structure. You can also play soccer or mini-golf, or jump along on an acro-bungee trampoline. As of mid-June, you’ll be able to cool down at the beach in Parc Jean-Drapeau, just one of many amazing spots to chill out in the city. Bring your own grub, and if you’re inspired, try one of these picnic and park pairings. Afterwards, celebrate the amazing day you had with one of these amazingly shareable pitchers. Speaking of pitchers, the Mondial de la Bière continues at Palais des congrès until June 14. The beer festival unites amateurs and connoisseurs alike for a taste of new hoppy brews and pairings with great food. Musical festing Francofolies kicked off on the 11th and will fill downtown with local and international French sounds until June 20, including Patrice Michaud, Dumas,… / Read More →

Get Your Montréal Glamour Look

Montréal is known for its casual flair and its democratic approach to style (case in point, you can pretty much walk into any club in jeans), but boy, do we love dressing up anyway! Whether it’s for a graduation ball, a wedding or a posh summer party, get your glam on at these hot Montréal retailers. Gents Waxman House Tuxedos Renting a tux – or better yet, buying your own – is a rite every man eventually embarks upon. Why not start at the pinnacle with Waxman, an iconic address on Parc Avenue that since 1927 has been known for the quality of its service as well as the vast selection of its choices. With a barbershop and espresso bar on site, it’s a one-stop shop to a more magnificent you. Harry Rosen The array of high-end brands at this suit-purveyor extraordinaire ranges from Hugo Boss to Canali to Zegna to Armani. If it’s just a kick-ass suit you’re after, the choice is yours at Harry Rosen’s two Montréal locations; you can even get one tailored to your own specifications thanks to their bespoke service. But you can also buy formalwear here, not to mention shoes, belts, bags and more…. / Read More →