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Posts by Jamie O'Meara

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 →

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 →

Montréal winter nights are bright with activity possibilities

Nighttime is always the right time for both family fun and slightly more adult-oriented activities and entertainment in Montréal during the winter season. Gliding on ice under night skies is a sublime pastime at the Old Port’s idyllic Bonsecours Basin skating rink, a huge open-air surface renowned for its exceptional ice. It features some of the most striking views of Old Montréal and the city skyline in an extremely fun-friendly environment. Each day has a different music theme: classical Mondays, world music Tuesdays, urban sounds Wednesdays, and so on. The ice is open Monday to Wednesday until 9 pm, and Thursday to Sunday until 10 pm. Skate rentals and lockers are available. Many of Montréal’s most beautiful parks also feature night skating along with music, warming stations and/or places to eat and, er, lubricate. The picturesque Parc Lafontaine, Parc Maisonneuve and Beaver Lake on the summit of Mount Royal are all examples of top-tier blading places that typically stay open on the weekends until 10 pm. For locations, skating conditions and other info, please go here. Speaking of the mountain, Mount Royal Park is an outdoor winter sports enthusiast’s dream. In addition to skating, sledding and cross-country skiing – there… / Read More →

Major must-not-miss Montréal concerts in 2016

Not even a month in, and 2016 is already shaping up to be an epic and potentially record-setting year for concerts in Montréal. Names like Bieber, Rihanna, Santana, Adele and Céline, to name a few, feature prominently among the slew of A-list pop, rock, metal and indie artists slated to visit the city’s premiere large-capacity entertainment venue, the Bell Centre (the second busiest amphitheatre in Canada). The following represent some of the biggest and best on deck at the Bell Centre in 2016: Black Sabbath, February 23 Why not begin with “The End”? England’s Black Sabbath gave birth to a variant of rock that would become one of the most resonant (in more ways than one) genres of music ever: heavy metal. Now with the aptly titled “The End: The Final Tour by the Greatest Metal Band of All Time,” Black Sabbath bids fans farewell with a tour that “promises to surpass all previous tours.” Death Cab for Cutie and Metric, March 19 Black horn-rimmed glasses alert! Indie rock royalty pass the crown around when Toronto’s Metric (touring their latest, Pagans in Vegas) share the stage with Bellingham, Washington’s Death Cab for Cutie (supporting new album KINTSUGI) for the co-headlining “Lights on… / Read More →

Igloofest gets even cooler for its 10th anniversary

When Mother Nature drops the temperature, Montrealers drop the bass. At one time unthinkable, Montréal’s Igloofest this year celebrates 10 years of drawing electronic music fans out of the clubs and into the frigid January cold to dance to many of the world’s top techno, house, bass, hip-hop, minimal, downtempo, funk and dub DJs. And these are, as partying goes, some of the hottest nights of the year. Over the course of four weekends – January 14-16, 21-23, 28-30 and February 4-6 – dance aficionados by the thousands will warm themselves to the sound of leading edge electro while immersed in Igloofest’s stunning multimedia environment. Impressive (and enormous) custom designed outdoor stages, vast video projection screens and sensational laser light displays are all part of the plan in a setting that’s equally spectacular in its own right: the Jacques-Cartier Quay in the picturesque Old Port of Montréal, backdropped by Old Montréal. As always, an expansive programme of top-tier local and international DJs working the entire spectrum of electronic music creation, from genre pioneers to new generation ground breakers, will be on hand to satisfy whatever the party heart desires. Among the dozens of sets to look out for are performances by UK legends… / Read More →