Jamie O'Meara, Author at Tourisme Montréal Blog

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Posts by Jamie O'Meara

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Jamie O’Meara is a writer for The Montreal Gazette, C2 Montréal, Moment Factory and more. He also manages the PR Team at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and is the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

 

Why riding the rails has never been more appealing

For many a voyaging soul, yours truly very much included, the holidays – winter, summer, you name it – are synonymous with train travel both to and from Montréal. From convenience to comfort to cost, the train is as unbeatable as the age-old experience of rolling across the country on wheels of steel itself. Discover Montreal through the eye of photographer @jfsavaria (📷: @jfsavaria) #FF #followfriday #discovermontreal #exploremontreal // Découvrez Montréal à travers l’oeil de @jfsavaria (📷: @jfsavaria) #montreal #viarail Une photo publiée par VIA Rail Canada (@viarailcanada) le 28 Oct. 2016 à 16h14 PDT As either jumping off point or final destination, Montréal is ideally situated, located within easy reach of major metropolitan centres not just right across Ontario and Québec, but also the American eastern seaboard. VIA Rail offers frequent departures from downtown to downtown without the hassles of air travel (transportation to and from the airport, long security lines, baggage fees, etc.) and, especially important during the winter months, a travel option that is mostly impervious to the elements. In other words, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…” The VIA Rail experience is as stress-free as it gets. Easy on-and-off, comfy adjustable chairs, lots… / Read More →

Deck the concert halls: A can’t-miss holiday music list

’Tis the season to be jolly, and as usual there’s no shortage of Christmas-themed concerts – from choirs to symphonies, from gospel to rock – to help you troll the ancient yuletide carol. The following are virtually guaranteed to get those sugar plum fairies dancing in your head. Let’s commence with one of the most-anticipated highlights of the holiday concert calendar, the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir’s annual “Gospel Celebration” Christmas show, which takes December 4 at Théâtre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts, located in downtown Montréal’s Quartier des Spectacles. This year’s 34th edition features over 50 singers and musicians (including a six-piece horn section). Indeed, Place des Arts’ cup overfloweth with Christmas cheer this year, especially at beautiful new concert hall Maison Symphonique. This includes Noël Symphonique, a classical interpretation of the “greatest Christmas classics” by a 38-piece symphony orchestra and some of Québec’s best known singers (two performances at 2:30 and 8 p.m., December 3). In the mood for a “Festive Russian Holiday”? Of course you are! Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Russian Christmas songs, and Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate and Ave verum corpus are all on the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s playlist December 14 and 16. Or maybe it’s a “Christmas with Valérie Milot” that your… / Read More →

Scoring with Montréal’s historic hockey hotspots

Anyone paying even an iota of attention right now knows that Montréal is (again) a hotbed of hockey action, and not just courtesy of the smokin’ season-opening play of the Montreal Canadiens. Though that, too. The upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship, the 100th anniversary celebrations of the NHL, and the imminent arrival of the popular Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour (November 12-13) are all part of the equation. And so is this city’s supersized love of the sport and their team, which can perhaps be better understood by visiting many of the places where Montréal’s crazy hockey heart beats, both historically and as modern monuments to the game. So let’s begin at the beginning… The very first recorded hockey game (i.e., one that had rules that players more-or-less stuck to) on an indoor rink was played in downtown Montréal in 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink. Though the rink, once located between Drummond and Stanley streets south of Sainte-Catherine Street, is now a parking garage, its former 10,000-square-foot ice surface became the standard for hockey rinks. 8h35 et le Quad Windsor est vide… C’est congé! Bonne Fête du travail! It’s 8:35 AM and the Quad Windsor is empty. We’re off! Happy… / Read More →

10 things you need to know about the World Juniors

When it comes to highly skilled and hard fought hockey contests, the holiday season’s IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship is the annual gift that keeps on giving. With Montréal co-hosting, and the medal round taking place here as the city kicks off its 375th anniversary celebrations and more, this year’s tournament has several extra layers of special going on. With that in mind, here are 10 things you need to know about the World Juniors. Incredible but true: Since 2005 Sidney Crosby has won something – with the national team, Pittsburgh or an individual honour – almost every year. Full list on IIHF.com. Can he add the World Cup to the Stanley Cup triumph for 2016? Photo: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Une photo publiée par IIHF (@iihfhockey) le 27 Sept. 2016 à 10h02 PDT 1) The basics: The 41st edition of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship – organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in conjunction with Hockey Canada, Hockey Québec and the Montréal Canadiens, among others – will be co-hosted in Canada by both the cities of Montréal and Toronto over 11 days from December 26 to January 5. Canada’s best-on-best success is the result of… / Read More →

Setting trails ablaze at M for Montreal 2016

What do you do in the year following a ground breaking 10th anniversary edition? Well, if you’re the annual M for Montreal music festival and conference – showcasing both up-and-coming and established MTL artists like Martha Wainwright, The Damn Truth, Groenland and more – you up your game. Nos guides de programmation sont arrivés! Our program guides are here! 👀 #mpourmtl #montreal #festival #conference Une photo publiée par M pour Montréal (@mformontreal) le 31 Oct. 2016 à 11h42 PDT Over four days, from November 16-19, M for Montreal, which is open to the public, will welcome over 100 music artists performing at more than 20 of the city’s most distinctive venues both downtown and in historically music-making hotspots like the Mile End and Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhoods. (You can see the full concert schedule here.) Additionally, more than 200 music industry heavyweights and tastemakers from 17 countries will be on hand to participate in enriching discussions and networking activities designed to open the door on new business opportunities. #KROY à la @maisonsociale dans le cadre de notre #CityTour @dtcrecords #m4mtl15 Une photo publiée par M pour Montréal (@mformontreal) le 20 Nov. 2015 à 11h22 PST Panels and workshops with curated delegates… / Read More →

A horn o’ plenty of things to do on U.S. Thanksgiving

If your name is Cobbler, Popcorn, Cheese or Abe, the last four years of the Obama administration were good ones, because those were the names of the Thanksgiving turkeys that – per White House tradition – the president pardoned in his final term. But you don’t have to be a lucky turkey to enjoy U.S. Thanksgiving, at least not in Montréal, and the following represents just a small sampling of the bounty that awaits those who visit during the holiday. American Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November, which this year falls on November 24, and marks the (un)official puck drop on the holiday season. Traditionally an expression of gratitude for a healthy harvest, it’s only fitting that we begin with one of the things that Montrealers themselves are most grateful for: the city’s incredible crop of topnotch restaurants. Congrats to Agrikol in Montreal, ranked #6 on our list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2016! Check out this year’s winners for Air Canada enRoute Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2016 by clicking the link in our bio. . Félicitations à Agrikol à Montréal, qui se classe en 6ème place sur notre liste des Meilleurs nouveaux restos canadiens… / Read More →

Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour ready to score big in Montréal

While it’s actually quite remarkable that a city that’s equal parts hockey and festival crazy does not have an actual hockey festival per se, Montréal will nevertheless host the very next best thing when the super popular Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour pulls into town for the first time. Hometown Hockey will be setting up camp in the downtown Place des Festivals in the Quartier des Spectacles – also the site of other major MTL fests like the Montréal International Jazz Festival and Just For Laughs – on Saturday, November 12 (from 12-6 p.m.) and Sunday, November 13 (12-10 p.m.), and the atmosphere will indeed be festive. #ThatAwesomeMoment when Patrice Brisebois subbed in for a little one-on-one on the @mcdonaldscanada rink. #hometownhockey Une photo publiée par Rogers Hometown Hockey (@hometownhockey) le 22 Oct. 2016 à 10h47 PDT Fun for hockey fans of all ages Family-friendly programming and activities are planned for the entire weekend, and it’s all free. These include a concert by Montréal-based rocker Sam Roberts, two circus performances, as many as five or six Montreal Canadiens alumni live and in the flesh onsite (whom you’ll be able to meet at The Community Locker Room), local celebrities, a virtual autograph… / Read More →

Your guide to a wicked Halloween 2016

For those of us possessed by fear during the Halloween season – a profound fear of missing out, that is – Montréal has a witches’ brew of solutions for your All Hallows aspirations. Whether it’s fun stuff for the little monsters in your life, hair-raising thrills and chills, rollicking onstage entertainment or raucous Halloween parties, the following options will provide the healing potion for your FOMO. Not-so-frightful family fun It’s kooky for kiddos at the Botanical Gardens (part of Montreal’s Space for Life, which also includes the Biodôme, Insectarium and Planetarium), which invites you and yours to be the honoured guests of the good witch Esmerelda for the 31st celebration of The Great Pumpkin Ball. And you can truly have a ball in the company of the urban farming Esmeralda, Pépo the Pumpkin and some 800 wildly and wackily decorated squashes and pumpkins. The Ball rolls every day, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., until October 31. While there, be sure to mosey on over to the aptly titled, outdoor Little Monsters Courtyard where the wee ones can conquer The Tricky River, The Shaky Bridge, a straw maze, tunnels and monkey bars (for kids 10 and under). Over at the Insectarium,… / Read More →

Elite eSports teams will make Northern Arena rock

Attention all gamers: this is going to be, as a certain U.S. presidential nominee likes to say, uuuuuge. The Northern Arena video game tournament represents the first time a major eSports event has been held in Montréal. It will feature elite international teams competing for two $100,000 prize pools in front of a global audience that could reach well into the millions. Like we said, uuuuuge. The Northern Arena tournament finals take place at the downtown Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens, on November 13, 2 p.m., following two days of qualifying matches in the city November 10-11. (The exact location of these preliminary matchups hadn’t been confirmed at the time of writing, though they will be broadcast live online, as will the final, on Twitch TV.) The tournament is made up of three main video game competitions: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 and Gears of War 4. Each of the three competitions will feature eight teams of five professional players and their coaches, or approximately 150 competitors in total. The teams hail from across Europe, Brazil, Australia, the U.S., Canada and Asia, including two teams from China that are considered to be the best in the world at… / Read More →

Montréal’s KidCon turns terrific two

Like most two-year-olds, the second edition of Montréal’s KidCon is incredibly active, truly finding its feet and – with a live hand from Thomas the Tank Engine, Ravings Rabbids, Sesame Street and Star Wars characters, and beloved Montréal sports mascot Youppi! – something you really need to keep an eye on. Running for a fun-fueled two days, October 22-23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Stade Uniprix (home to the annual Rogers Cup pro tennis tournament) this year’s instalment of KidCon is offering an even more head-spinning array of entertainment for kids aged 3-12. And their parents, of course. Popular toys, television shows, video games, movies, books, comics, technology, sports, food and more are all represented under one roof, spread out over 75,000 square feet of floor space. “Live” is where it’s at this year, beginning with one of the most beloved, generations-spanning children’s characters, Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas and friends will take the main stage at varying times for shows in both French and English. As well, singing, dancing and surprises are all in store when award-winning French-language TV show Caillou celebrates its 25th anniversary with a live performance on October 22 (please go here for show… / Read More →