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Posts by Jamie O'Meara

Your 2015 Montréal summer festival guide

With every major summer festival and event in Montréal comes the impetus for a holiday getaway in our great city. The F1 Grand Prix du Canada, MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, the Jazz Festival and Osheaga, for example, are but drops in a whole bucket of fun awaiting all ages and tastes in the coming weeks and months. Blue Metropolis Montréal International Literary Festival (April 20-26) The theme at Blue Met this year is “The Power of Words,” and this large-scale celebration of reading and writing across cultures once again brings in a raft of heavy hitter authors and literary-minded figures for readings, discussions and other special events. ELEKTRA (May 13-17) ELEKTRA is a yearly digital arts festival showcasing new creations in electronic music, video, cinema, performance, design, gaming and interactive installation in combination with the innovative use of new technologies, and, in particular, those of the digital kind. Festival TransAmériques (FTA) (May 21 to June 4) The Festival TransAmériques (FTA) celebrates new works in contemporary dance and theatre. Showcasing both established and emerging artists, choreographers, writers and directors, this ninth edition of the FTA also aims to foster dialogue through a stimulating range of workshops, debates and roundtable discussions. Chromatic (May… / Read More →

It’s terrasse season in Montréal

In Montréal, we do things – and say things – differently. Which is why a corner store is called a dep (from the French “dépanneur”), the subway is referred to as the métro, and outdoor patios are known as terrasses. For that added “je ne sais quoi” to your Montréal “joie de vivre,” here’s your guide to 10 amazing places for outdoor summer sippin’. Terrasse Nelligan: Seeing that Hôtel Nelligan is basically flawless, it makes sense that this Old Montréal boutique hotel’s rooftop terrasse is of equal quality, and comfy and casual too. Imagine unimpeded views of both Old Montréal and the Old Port, as well as the savoury scent of freshly cooked fish and meats on the venue’s outdoor grill. Auberge du Vieux-Port: Any discussion of picture-perfect Old Montréal terrasses would be remiss if it didn’t include the equally awesome Terrasse sur L’Auberge (atop Auberge du Vieux-Port), with its similarly inspired views of the St. Lawrence River and Old Montréal. This rooftop lays claim to being the best place to watch the annual fireworks competition. Irish Embassy Pub & Grill Faith and Begorrah! This traditional Irish pub is a hit with both visitors and happy gaggles of regulars alike…. / Read More →

10 places to watch Canadiens playoffs inspired by 10 great Habs

Montréal is blessed with an abundance of exceptional places to take in its National Hockey League heroes, the Montréal Canadiens (known affectionately as the “Habs”). With playoff season on the horizon, and the Habs looking good to go deep, it’s time to start thinking about where to watch the games. With so many choices, we thought we’d let 10 of your favourite players and members of the Habs family be your guide to hockey-watching good times. Max Pacioretty: A leader by example whose class is complemented by one of the wickedest wrist shots in the game. Class, with a few surprises of its own (especially when it comes to kitchen creations), could also describe the Mile End’s Bishop & Bagg neighbourhood British-inspired pub, brought to you by the same folks behind the hugely popular Burgundy Lion pub in Little Burgundy. Andre Markov: An incredibly hardworking, smart and no-nonsense player with a delightfully subversive and dangerously sharp sense of humour. McLean’s Pub in downtown Montréal embodies many of these same great traits in addition to providing a serious sports atmosphere and fantastic game grub. P.K. Subban: Subban is flashy, fun and fast, and when he’s on the ice the play unfolds… / Read More →

Montréal pro-sports season round-up

It’s no accident that Montréal is home to one of the most legendary professional sports franchises in the history of pro-sports, the Montréal Canadiens. Montréalers are passionate about being, well, Montréalers, and love for the city’s sports teams and annual competitive events – the Canadiens, Alouettes, Impact, Rogers Cup and more – is DNA-deep in the identity of the city’s inhabitants. It’s a love that’s going to see its full expression over an action-packed pro sports schedule in 2015. The National Hockey League’s Montréal Canadiens (or “Habs,” from the French word “habitants”) are always the biggest sports story in town at this time of the year simply because we’re in the final stretch of the regular season. In decades past, now is when the Habs Nation would normally break out in a rash of collective anxiety. Not this year. Against pre-season expectations, The Habs are currently alternating for top spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, in large part due to the next-level net minding efforts of Carey Price, who’s spent a good part of the season writing the book on Zen and the Art of Goaltending Greatness. And despite a recent lapse in scoring, and a Western Conference road trip… / Read More →

Montréal’s 2015 Osheaga festival line-up is out!

As 10-year-olds go, Montréal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has again proven itself to be one of the most precocious kids on the block with a 2015 line-up – including the likes of Florence and the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Weezer, Ben Harper and many, many more – that’s all smarts and smiles. From very modest if ambitious beginnings 10 years ago in 2006, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has grown from a two-day festival pulling in some 25,000 folks totally to a three-day monster of music awesomeness that now sells out 45,000 tickets per day as a matter of routine. This is in large part due to superlative artist programming since the outset, and the promise of a festival experience – at the treed and pathway-lined Parc Jean-Drapeau on Montréal’s scenic Île Sainte-Hélène – that is second to none. This year’s 10th anniversary of Osheaga, from July 31 to August 2, keeps that promise. Over 100 bands and performers will grace the festival’s six stages, among them several key Osheaga alumni. Exciting for many of us who were at that very first, baby-stepping edition of Osheaga in 2006 is the return of then-headliners Ben Harper, who has reunited with backing band The Innocent… / Read More →

Montréal’s many globetrotting DJs – all hands on decks!

Whether it’s Montréal or Miami, Berlin or Brisbane, for over two decades, Montréal DJs have been a fixture, as it were, lighting up nights at many of the biggest, bangin’, beat-driven events around the orb – whether you knew they were from the Montréal or not. The following represents a cross-section of the many DJ names you may have heard, from pioneers to up-and-comers, repping Montréal dance music both at home and abroad. We’ll kick-off with the man who has the best real-life-human name, bar none: producer/DJ Lunice, known to his parents as Lunice Fermin Pierre II. This Montréal native brings a music aesthetic typified by electro-synth riffs over deep, deep drum and bass while incorporating elements of “trap” (an early, particularly intense strain of d’n’b). He produced the track Runnin’ for Azealia Banks and co-produced Blood On the Leaves for Kanye West, among many others. Also on a post-trap trip is High Klassified, who takes a more ethereal, even a bit eccentric, approach to synth line layering on dreamy, hypnotic tracks as evidenced on his Palindroma EP of last year. Born in Haiti and raised in Montréal, at only 22 years of age, Kaytranada has already made an international name for himself as… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Philippe Demers

Montréal’s MASSIVart and Chromatic co-founder Phillippe Demers is living proof that avant-garde art, international business, punk rock parties, cross-country skiing and next-level doughnut-loving are not mutually exclusive pursuits. The 28-year-old Demers is one of the original minds behind Montreal’s highly regarded and hugely active MASSIVart collective. MASSIVart was created to showcase art (and by extension the artists) by making it more accessible through special events and by taking it out of traditional art spaces to places where one might not otherwise expect it. This mission evolved into the model for Chromatic, an annual arts party/festival showcasing some 150 artists which takes place at the summit of Mount Royal. The social mandate of Chromatic – which also has a commercial services arm that provides events planning and art integration – is to promote artists and make sure their work is accessible to everyone. This year Montréal will be represented at the very first edition of Chromatic in Paris (April 2 to 4). Now let’s meet Demers. When at work, who are you? “I’m the general manager and the co-founder of both Chromatic and MASSIVart.” What’s the coolest thing about your job? “The coolest thing is that it’s never the same. I do… / Read More →

Montréal creators connect at inspiring spring festivals

You could say that many hands will be making light work in Montréal in the coming months. It’s fitting that UNESCO has proclaimed 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies because spring in Montréal is going to be so bright with possibility, you’re gonna wanna wear shades. Montréal is a world leader in creativity and connectivity, and the annual Chromatic festival is the embodiment of that assertion. Touting their 360-degree perspective on art, Chromatic has literally been to the mountaintop, and they’ll be going back again for their sixth instalment, May 22 to 27. The week-long celebration of Montréal imagination will once again take its place at the top of the town, in the classic stone-and-wood chalet at the summit of the city’s iconic Mount Royal. The scenic lookout will host a myriad range of arts – visual, digital, audio, performance, interactive, interdisciplinary and more – with a program that features over 150 artists and events, including concerts, exhibitions, screenings, workshops, parties and activities for all ages. Powered by Montréal’s respected MASSIVart collective, who specialize in event creation, production and design, the goal is once again to connect audiences with the artist. And new this year is a… / Read More →

Nuit Blanche: Montréal’s all-nighter lets your wild side be your guide

A wild night out might include a zip line or an ice slide. Or rock climbing, rock concerts or underground adventures. Maybe a veritable gourmet buffet, nighttime acrobatics or a dance club ski lodge and spa. But what about all of those things, and much more, on one single night? It would have to be, by anyone’s measure, the wildest night of the year. Welcome to Montréal’s Nuit Blanche. Starting on Saturday, February 28 and wrapping up pretty much whenever you want it to wrap up in the morning hours of Sunday, March 1, this 12th edition of Montréal’s “white night” is practically incandescent with activities. Nuit Blanche puts an exclamation point on the city’s MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, closing out the annual extravaganza with an all-night citywide party. Some 211 separate activities – 178 of which are absolutely free – will be spread out across three city districts: Old Montréal, most of downtown and the Plateau/Mile End. And don’t worry your head about transportation. Montréal’s metro system will be open all night long, and a free shuttle service (4 routes and 65 stops) connecting the aforementioned districts will run every 10 minutes from 8 pm to 3 am. But more importantly, the fun stuff. Montréal… / Read More →

Activities for all ages during Spring Break in Montréal

“Spring Break” is a misnomer – it should be called “Spring Blast.” Whether you call it Spring Break, March Break or as we say in French, “la semaine de relâche,” the weeks ending February and beginning March in Montréal are exploding with entertainment and events tailored to the kids and the kid in you. It begins with the end of massive winter arts and culture festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE (February 19 to March 1), which takes place in the Quartier des Spectacles in downtown Montréal. The festival presents an action-packed program of performing arts, culinary creations and a dynamic range of outdoor activities. The free and family-friendly outdoor site is alive with interactive installations, dining areas, a Ferris wheel, ice slides (one each for adults and the little ones) and, new this year, zip lines that run the length of the festival site. MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE concludes with the epic Nuit Blanche all-nighter on February 28, which consists of more than 200 (mostly free) activities including live music, film, performance art, interactive installations and visual arts. Nuit Blanche takes over three districts of aboveground Montréal (served by shuttles) as well as underground Montréal. In fact, the city’s renowned “Underground City”… / Read More →