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Posts by Jamie O'Meara

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 →

Montréal’s Best Irish Pubs

The Irish pubs of Montréal are among the very best places to get an authentic taste of the city’s nightlife while also satisfying your thirst. Though renowned for our wealth of high-end, fancy cocktails spots, if you’re looking for a simple, friendly place to get a pint of beer and some great pub food, Montréal has you covered. You may be surprised to learn the extent of Montréal’s connection to Ireland. When the Great Irish Famine hit the Emerald Isle, large numbers of Irish immigrants made their way to the new world, many of whom settled in Montréal. It’s perhaps not all that surprising that they were received well by the French Canadians – both groups were Catholic and both groups (this part is largely anecdotal) enjoy a good drink, song and a party. For proof, look no further than Montréal’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade, one of the largest in the world (and a heck of a good time). In that spirit, let this be your guide to some of the city’s best Irish pubs….. McKibbins Irish Pub – 1426 Bishop Street and  3515 Saint- Laurent Boulevard A very authentic slice of Ireland, of their four locations, the original… / Read More →

Osheaga announces r-r-rockin’ 2016 lineup

The 2016 edition of the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival is all about rolling the “R”s so far. The phenomenally popular outdoor tune-fest lit a veritable fire under Twitter with the announcement that headliners this year will include alt-rock and -pop royalty Radiohead, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lana Del Rey. And it doesn’t end there. The three-day Osheaga Music and Arts Festival – this year running form July 29-31 – is arguably the most significant festival of its kind in Canada. Last year the fest drew 135,000 concertgoers from around the world for exceptional programming that spans pop, rock, indie, hip-hop, R&B, electro, soul and more to its one-of-a-kind site on the pastoral, tree- and pathway-lined Parc Jean-Drapeau on Montréal’s picturesque Île Ste-Hélène. (The site, located in the middle of the St. Lawrence River just minutes by car, metro or bike from downtown Montréal is also home to the Heavy Montréal and Île Soniq music festivals, and the raging weekly Piknic Électronik dance parties.) Osheaga’s promise is of an outdoor music and visual arts festival experience that is second to none, and year over year it delivers. Again this year, over 100 carefully curated bands and artists will… / Read More →

Your Montréal Nuit blanche Survival Guide

Calling all nighthawks, night owls and burners of midnight oil. The once-a-year, all-night, nearly citywide arts, culture and performance party that is Nuit blanche is nearly upon us. It’s a vast undertaking with almost innumerable options and opportunities, and with that in mind, we offer you this guide to one of Montreal’s brightest winter nights. THE EVENT The 13th edition off Nuit blanche, part of the annual MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival at locations all over downtown Montréal and surrounding neighbourhoods, starting on February 27 and ending in the wee hours of February 28. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO One of the highlights of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is the always illuminating, always epic Nuit blanche all-nighter. Nuit blanche (“white night”) invites all comers to partake in upwards of 200 (mostly free) activities this year, including live music, film, dance, performance art, interactive installations, storytelling, digital and visual art, and great food to match a great night. IT’S WHERE EXACTLY? Almost everywhere MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s family-friendly free outdoor site in the downtown Quartier des Spectacles is the central hub from which all the action radiates. The site features a giant outdoor stage, interactive installations, dining areas, numerous fun activities (we don’t need… / Read More →

Your MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE Survival Guide

Cold weather festing hath no fury like the ever-strengthening MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival, which brightens moods and sets downtown Montréal alight with excitement each and every year. A blizzard of entertainment and activities awaits visitors at both indoor and outdoor locales, so let this be your guide to navigating the storm. THE EVENT The 17th edition of the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival at various locations in downtown Montréal from February 18 to March 5, 2016. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO Over the course of 17 days, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE will enjoy some 1,300,000 visits from fearless fun seekers at what has become one of the largest winter festivals in the world. The annual happening hosts an expansive, eclectic and high-powered program of performing arts (live music, theatre, dance, circus arts and more) at many of the city’s best venues. There are also almost innumerable gastronomic options (some 500 chefs, wine producers and culinary experts have participated over the years) and a lively range of events and activities on the action-packed outdoor site that visitors can participate in. THE LAY OF THE LAND Where everything’s happening The almost 200 paid indoor performances and… / Read More →

Montréal’s Barbegazi Winter Action Sports Festival wants you to be part of the action

The term “participaction” has an extra element of promise when it comes to the fourth edition of Montréal’s Barbegazi Winter Action Sports Festival. The Barbegazi Festival (named for the gnome-like, European Alpine creatures of lore that took pleasure in, among other things, avalanche surfing) isn’t just a venue to cheer on wild winter sports action. It’s a place to be part of it. The all-ages Barbegazi Winter Action Sports Festival – which this year runs March 5-6 – again takes place against the dramatic backdrop of Montréal’s Olympic Stadium, on the Esplanade Financière Sun Life in the city’s continually reimagined, rejuvenated Olympic Park. Events include fatbike racing, snowskating (i.e., snowboarding and skiing on the Olympic Park’s railings and stairs), freestyle snowmobiling, obstacle course races, a hockey tournament and more. And important to note: admission to both days of Barbegazi is free. Past attendance has been in the 5,000 to 6,000 range, but the expectation for this year’s festival is different. “This year we’re expecting more like around 8,000 to 10,000,” says Barbegazi producer Micah Desforges. “We have a better programme and a lot more fun stuff to do.” Some of the programme changes include the lumberjack events, which have been… / Read More →

Your Spring Break guide to eating, drinking and partying, Montréal-style

Spring Break amazingness? You can have it all in Montréal. With its 3 a.m. closing hours, drinking age of 18 and hugely depreciated dollar (the whole city is basically a 30% off sale), Montréal is a win-win-win Spring Break party proposition. Let the following be your guide to doing it up right. Eats and pre-drinks There are those of us who would argue that the eating and pre-drinks portion of the evening is the most critical phase: not only are you laying a base for the remainder of the evening, you’re setting the tone. If you’re starting out on the Plateau Mont-Royal, imaginative hipster magnet and oyster/cocktail bar Le Majestique is all eye candy and killer cuisine. Fab fun food and drinks are also the raison d’être of L’Gros Luxe (Caesars topped with hamburgers, ’nuff said), and Big in Japan’s delectable small plate menu and vibrant vibe have also made it big in Montréal. If downtown, head to Sainte-Catherine Street West for Imadake, another Japanese small plate pub with a fun bordering on raucous atmosphere (which may have something to do with their signature “sake bombs”). Dominion Square Tavern is a must if only for the beautiful 1920s setting, though the… / Read More →