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Posts by Jamie O'Meara

No more FOMO – here are the must-see Jazz Fest concerts of 2016

While freedom of choice is fundamental to our existence as individuals, it can be a serious pain in the butt when it comes to choosing what shows to go see at the massive annual Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. From June 29 to July 9 in the Quartier des Spectacles, the Jazz Fest will welcome some 3,000 musicians and entertainers at over 1,000 concerts and activities (two thirds of which are free). So with your happiness front of mind, and to help make your choices easier, we’ve cobbled together a list of many of the must-see concerts at the festival this year. June 29 The Jazz Fest’s esteemed opening concert slot goes to eminently worthy American singer-guitarist-pianist Melody Gardot. This will be the first of two shows (the other on June 30) by the crazily charismatic performer… From punk to folk to blues to soul, the constantly evolving Cat Power returns to the fest for the first time in a decade for an assuredly entrancing solo set. June 30 In the Double Whammy Dept., emotive and imaginative Japanese piano virtuoso Hiromi returns to the festival with her 10th album, Spark, and she will be preceded by Colombian harpist sensation Edmar Castaneda… And on the topic of virtuosos, what would a jazz festival be… / Read More →

Your ultimate 2016 guide to Montréal’s many summer music festivals

The word “summer” is always music to our ears in Montréal, and not just because of the impending warming of the weather. It’s also when the city is beset by a veritable onslaught of amazing music festivals, everything from Osheaga to the Jazz Fest, and from MUTEK and Île Soniq to the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s Classical Spree. For four sunny, summery months, Montréal is truly a music lover’s paradise. Summer is synonymous with picnics, and summer in Montréal has become synonymous with Piknic Electronik, the wildly popular weekly outdoor electronic music dance party. Typically held in Parc Jean-Drapeau (on Île Ste-Hélène, across from Montréal’s Old Port), this year’s Piknic Electronik series runs every weekend from May 22 until Oct. 2. To see their 2016 programming, check here after May 10. Speaking of living life on the edge, it doesn’t get more musically adventurous than the annual Suoni Per Il Popolo festival, June 2-20. The now 16-year-old brainchild (brainteen?) of the founders of leading indie music scene venues Casa del Popolo and Sala Rossa, Suoni Per Il Popolo presents approximately 50 concerts featuring an eclectic range of experimental and avant-garde music and sound (think free jazz, musique actuelle, avant-rock, noise, etc.)… / Read More →

Montréal revs up: How to get your motor running on Grand Prix Weekend 2016

F1 fans, start your engines! The Canadian Grand Prix Weekend is nearly upon us, and from block parties, to live music and DJs, foodie happenings and cool urban art experiences, there is much in the way of off-track excitement to be had, so let us give you a hand with your planning. The F1 fun is family friendly at the annual three-day Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival, which runs all day from 11 am to 11 pm, June 9-11. Crescent Street – a centrally located restaurant and nightclub hub very popular with visitors to the city – will be closed off for live bands and DJs, F1 driver autograph sessions, racing simulators, race car displays and the Pit Stop Challenge (see how fast you can change a tire, pit crew style) at this free, outdoor celebration of all things fast. Just a few short blocks east is where the prestigious Formula Peel Event takes place, which closes off a block of downtown Peel Street from June 9-12. Last year, some 350,000 people took part in the festivities. Peel, renowned for its chic restaurants, clubs and high-end shops, provides a picture perfect setting for the displays of luxury cars, fashion shows,… / Read More →

Your 2016 Montréal summer festival guide

We don’t know everything, but we know how to do a few things really well in Montréal, and two of them are festivals – like Osheaga, Fantasia, the Montreal Jazz Festival and Just For Laughs – and time off. And like wine and cheese, those two things happen to pair up really well. With this in mind, and with summer vacation time on the horizon, we offer you our Montréal summer festival guide. Chromatic (May 19-22) Chromatic is a celebration of Montréal imagination situated in the Old Port’s historic Hangar 16. The program features an eclectic range of arts – visual, digital, performance, interactive and more –at events including concerts, exhibitions, screenings, workshops, parties and activities for all ages.  Both Montréal and Toronto talents will be teaming up for this seventh edition. Festival TransAmériques (FTA) (May 26 to June 8) The Festival TransAmériques (FTA) celebrates new works in contemporary dance and theatre. Showcasing both established and emerging artists, choreographers, writers and directors, this tenth edition of the FTA also aims to foster dialogue through a stimulating range of workshops, debates and roundtable discussions. Fringe Festival (May 30 to June 19) The Montréal Fringe Festival (known as “the party Fringe” on… / Read More →

How to make the most of your C2 Montréal experience

It’s almost easier to begin a description of C2 Montréal by saying what it isn’t: a run-of-the-mill, off-the-rack, been-there-done-that business conference. Rather, C2 is a potentially career-and-mind-altering networking and problem-solving sensory experience that also knows how to have fun. In the parlance of the times, it has disrupted the traditional business conference. The fifth edition of C2 Montréal goes down May 24-26 this year, and will once again unite business innovators, entrepreneurial icons and social game changers at the top of their creative game. Some 60 speakers will be on hand to share their knowledge and experience. Those already announced include Martha Stewart, Dr. David Suzuki, Airbnb’s Chip Conley and master chef Massimo Bottura, as well as made-in Montréal success stories Byron and Dexter Peart (WANT Les Essentiels) and Hicham Ratnani and Ethan Song (Frank & Oak).  Additionally, there will be even more of the popular masterclasses, hands-on workshops, experiential labs and other uniquely C2 activities designed to inspire creative solutions for today’s business problems. Once again this year, C2 will take place at Arsenal, an industrial heritage building that’s been transformed into a vast contemporary art gallery in Montréal’s historic Griffintown neighbourhood. Arsenal becomes a veritable beehive of activity… / Read More →

Discover “The Main” – the most storied street in Montréal

It’s a street, it’s the beginning (and in some unfortunate instances, the end) of a book of Montréal stories, it’s a Friday night dance party and a Sunday afternoon stroll. It’s also a National Historic Site. It’s Saint-Laurent Boulevard, or as Montrealers call it, “The Main.” The Main, the much-beloved north/south street that at one time fed a steady stream of new immigrants from just-docked ships straight into the beating heart of Montréal, once marked the symbolic divide between Montréal’s French and English communities. Just over 11 km in length, The Main bisects the entirety of the island of Montréal, literally representing a cross-section of the city. Classic cafés, trend-attentive nightclubs, old-world delicatessens, time-capsule-like greasy spoons, retro clothing stores, high-end eateries, low-end brasseries and ethnic grocery outlets all co-exist comfortably on the most walkable and culturally diverse street in Montréal. Lower Saint-Laurent Boulevard The Main’s steadily northward and upward trajectory officially lifts off at De la Commune Street, which separates the city’s repurposed Old Port district (a warren of cultural activity all year-round) and historic Old Montréal, which can follow its cobblestones back to the mid-1600s. A short walk north of Old Montréal, past the Place d’Armes metro station, takes one to Chinatown, a vibrant… / Read More →

Your Montréal bachelor party plan of attack

Montréal is tailor made for bachelor party action, and planning is key if you don’t want the big night out to devolve into another episode of herding cats. When devising your game plan, we suggest you break the night down into three distinct phases: First: A bit of manly competition to kick things off It’s always best to work up a bit of an appetite before heading out on the town, and Montréal is far from short on bachelor-party-appropriate activities to get the ball rolling. (And let’s be honest: there’s no joy quite like the joy of beating your best buds in front of your best buds.) First off, the new Maniax “friendly urban axe-throwing” sport centre bills itself as “like darts, but a hundred times more awesome,” and we won’t beg to differ. Bachelor party packages are available. Still on the exertional side, the athletically inclined bachelor gang will want to raise their gaze to the Horizon Roc Climbing Centre, which offers more than 300 routes on over 27,000 square feet of climbable surface. Also amazing is their indoor “Acro ∞ Parc,” featuring a high-ropes course (tree-to-tree style, up to 40 feet high), a zipline and slacklines. If the guys are… / Read More →

Warning all Trekkies and Batman fans: An epic Montréal Comiccon this way comes

Every year, Montréal’s Comiccon gets demonstrably bigger and better and cooler and crazier. This year is no exception. An estimated 60,000 fans of science fiction, fantasy, horror, video games and, of course, comic books are expected for a very special edition that’s also celebrating milestone anniversaries of both the Batman and Star Trek TV franchises in the company of the Captain himself: William Shatner. Montréal Comiccon, which runs from July 8-10 and takes place in the Palais des Congrès, is gearing up for what’s likely to be an epic instalment marking 50 years since Batman and Star Trek first took over the tube in the 1960s, firing the imaginations of what would turn out to be many decades of superhero and science fiction fans. For the Batman faithful, Comiccon won’t simply be about celebrating the TV show’s popularity, but will also emphasize how it continues to spawn different interpretations and variations. “We’re drawing attention to the anniversary by bringing in some of the more current [Batman-influenced] TV shows,” explains Comiccon Programming Director Cliff Caporale. “So we’ve got Morena Baccarin, who plays Leslie Thompkins on Gotham, as well as Robin Lord Taylor, who portrays Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin.” As for… / Read More →

Forty reasons to celebrate the 40 years since the 1976 Summer Olympics

It was one of the most pivotal periods in the history of the city. For two weeks in July, Montréal held the attention of the world as the host city for the 1976 Summer Olympics, which would live on in sports history as one of the most memorable presentations of the Games ever. Now, in 2016, Montréal is preparing to mark this milestone moment with an appropriately epic commemoration featuring 40 events celebrating the 40 years since the Olympics captured our imagination. The 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal were the very first Summer Olympics hosted by Canada (and following two Winter Olympics in Calgary and Vancouver, remain the only Summer Games to take place here). Among the many highlights: 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci held the world in thrall, scoring seven perfect 10s on the way to winning three gold medals. Bruce Jenner set a world record with his gold medal performance in the decathlon. And after breaking his right knee during the floor exercise, Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto hid the injury during the rings event and somehow managed to stick a perfect dismount thus securing gold for the Japanese team. We could go on… Montréal will pay tribute to these… / Read More →

Your Montréal pro-sports 2016 season roundup

Montrealers are passionate practitioners of, well, everything. It explains why we’re just as passionate when it comes to our support for professional sports, in particular those high-level competitors – like the Montreal Canadiens, the Alouettes and the Impact – who play for the pride of the city. The following is your primer for what’s shaping up to be a sports-action-packed 2016. Normally at this time of the year, the prospect of the impending National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs would see the excitement levels of Montrealers switching from simmer to slow boil. Alas, barring a miracle, Montreal Canadiens fans (i.e., pretty much everybody) will have to content themselves watching all the playoff action minus their beloved Habs. Though it was a season beset by injuries – including but not limited to franchise goaltender Carey Price – and unlucky bounces, it was, as always, far from boring down at the Bell Centre, and the club’s future prospects are encouraging. A few things to look forward to going into next season (which begins the first week of October): management seems intent on keeping the core players intact, there is a raft of top-tier farm team talent making its way up, and Price (fingers… / Read More →