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Posts by Jamie O'Meara

Montréal Revs Up: Your Grand Prix Weekend Good Times Guide

Summer in Montréal really kicks into high gear with the rubber-burnin’ arrival of the Canadian Grand Prix. From street parties, concerts, gastronomic events, art happenings and more to the actual Formula 1 race itself, the number of events and activities – as well as summertime excitement – rev up in tandem with the action on the track. The F1 fun is family-friendly at the annual three-day Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival, which runs all day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., June 4-6. 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 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 what has come to be called the Peel Paddock, which closes off a block of downtown Peel Street, June 4-7. Peel, renowned for its chic restaurants, clubs and high-end shops, provides a picture-perfect setting for the displays of luxury cars, fashion shows, food kiosks, live performances and evening DJs that capture the Grand Prix atmosphere…. / Read More →

What you need to know about C2 Montréal 2015 in five easy answers

At the end of this month, there will be so much innovative energy concentrated in Montréal that there’s the very real danger of spontaneous creative combustion on a global scale, the kind of explosions of imagination that have the potential to be life-changing. Which is exactly what the organizers of the annual C2 Montréal business conference are hoping for. We’ll explain the 2015 edition in five easy answers. What? C2 Montréal is a business conference, yes, but it ain’t your granddaddy’s plodding, PowerPoint-driven business conference. Described as existing at the point where genius meets insanity, C2 is all action all the time. This year will see some 4,000 participants from every industry imaginable (aerospace, food, art, medicine, agriculture, marketing, fashion, gaming, you name it) come to Montréal to get inspired by world-renowned speakers giving state-of-the-art multimedia presentations. They will also participate in hands-on collaborative workshops, stimulating masterclasses, exclusive creative and artistic happenings, next-level music events and cutting-edge live performance. And parties. Let’s not forget the parties. Why? There are commercial problems – some common, some unique to an individual enterprise or industry – that require creative solutions. (Commerce + creativity = C2, get it?) Conceived in Montreal, C2 Montréal is… / Read More →

2015 guide to Montréal summer music festivals

It’s beginning to sound a lot like summer in Montréal, as evidenced by the almost paralyzing array of music festival options – Osheaga, the Jazz Fest, Piknic Electronik, MUTEK and Heavy Montréal among them – featuring failsafe mainstays and some righteously exciting newbies. Getting wired and being plugged-in don’t always mean the same thing, but you can certainly do both in style at digital arts festival Elektra. From May 13 to 17, Elektra showcases new creations in electronic music, video, cinema, performance, gaming and more, in combination with the inventive use of next-level digital technologies. Conversely, bringing music fun back to the basics is the annual Pouzza Fest of all things punk rock, May 15-17. Steadily making a bigger and badder name for itself over the last five years, Pouzza returns with over 200 punk bands that span generations of punk fans, including 80s punks the Dwarves, Chicago hardcore unit 88 Fingers Louie, and L.A. pop punks The Muffs. 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… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Caroline Ouellette

A four-time Olympic Gold Medallist, a five-time IIHF World Champion and tree-time Clarkson Cup Champion, there’s no disputing that Canadian national women’s hockey team member, Caroline Ouellette, is a star. She’s also a player on the city’s elite Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) franchise, the Montréal Stars. Recently, the Stars entered into a formal partnership with Montréal’s other winning hockey team, the Canadiens. We spoke to Ouellette about the new union and her off-ice life as a proud (and apparently food-loving) Montrealer. What’s the importance of the Montréal Stars teaming up with the Montréal Canadiens? “It’s the start of a partnership that will help more teams in our league and get our team better known in Montréal. And hopefully young girls that play hockey will dream of playing in the CWHL in the same way that boys dream of playing in the NHL. We also hope that someday we’ll get to a point where we have our own pro league.” What do you do to inspire young girls to play hockey? “I think it’s very important to go to schools and share our stories and inspire young girls and boys to get involved in sports. I truly believe that every… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer… Andy Nulman

Since he’s a guy who has little time for self-important titles, Andy Nulman’s latest professional incarnation – Chief Attention Getter for the self-explanatory Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary – seems to strike just the right light-hearted chord. An indefatigable creative (he might also say “disruptive”) force, the colourful Just For Laughs co-founder is more than just a masterful marketing and big-picture business brain. In addition to his current work shouting about Montréal from the mountaintop, as it were, he also teaches a fairly unorthodox and in-demand marketing class at Montréal’s McGill University. And this summer he’s putting the “fun” in fundraiser, directing a multimedia musical benefit show for the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. Nulman is the definition of a free thinker, and his boundless curiosity is matched only by his limitless love for the city he calls home. In fact (and this might come as a surprise for some), this citizen of the world is also a wee bit of a Montréal homebody. What’s your role at 375MTL? “As the title says, it’s not necessarily a marketing position, it’s Chief Attention Getter. The goal is to start building attention around Montréal two years before it celebrates… / Read More →

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 →

Must-see shows at Montréal’s 2015 Osheaga festival

[Updated, July 27] 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… / Read More →