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Posts by Robyn Fadden

Innovative Electronic Music and Art at Mutek 2015

Body, mind and music meet at Mutek once again, as the festival encapsulates the heart of innovative electronic music and high-tech visual art in its 16th edition, May 27 to 31 in Montréal, featuring a roster of internationally-known big names and emerging artists ready to set urban stages, screens and dance floors on figurative fire. With a well-earned reputation as one of the best live-performance electronic music and arts festivals in the world, Mutek 2015 continues the festival’s focus on true originality, impressive real-time experiences and creating an inclusive festival environment where artists and audiences easily mingle. A key player in the city-wide Digital Spring arts and cultural program, Mutek this year features over 100 artists and several world, North American and Canadian premieres, with both paid and totally free shows held at the chic Musée d’art contemporain, outside in the sun at Place des Arts and at top music venue Métropolis. Fans of electronic visual art with a music-minded bent flock to Mutek’s immersive A/Visions evening series, though late-night Nocturnes and Métropolis club events almost always sport jaw-dropping visuals too. Daytime events in the outdoor Experience program groove to accessible beats for both fans and passers-by, while the free-entry… / Read More →

Six Provocative Shows to See at Festival TransAmériques

Now in its 9th year, Festival TransAmériques (FTA), May 21 to June 4, continues to meticulously curate a stellar cutting-edge program of dance, theatre and performance art from around the world – this year we’ll see 25 thought-provoking shows from Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, France, Belgium, Portugal, The Netherlands, Israel and South Korea, as well as party nights, cocktail hours, film screenings and workshops. With festival ticket packages and more events in the city’s Quartier des spectacles this spring, any one of these FTA picks makes a unique cornerstone to the Montréal arts-and-culture experience. For unconventional Korean choreographer Eun-Me Ahn, age ain’t nothing but a number – her celebratory show, Dancing Grandmothers, features 12 older women from all walks of life dancing to techno and 1960s pop alongside nine acrobatic young dancers. The colourful, kitschy show is both larger than life and true to it, bringing together generations through shared memories and heartfelt connections. (New York artist Miguel Gutierrez also plays with the passage of years in his Age and Beauty, making its Canadian premier at Festival TransAmériques.) Radical German director Michael Thalheimer and the Schaubühne Theatre of Berlin take on Molière’s Tartuffe, reinterpreting the classic comedy of hypocrisy… / Read More →

Things to Do with Kids this Spring and Summer in Montréal

With so much going on in Montréal during the warm-weather months, it’s easy to experience the best of the city through the eyes of children – free outdoor activities, indoor entertainment and much more keep everyone amused. Parks and Rec Run and play in Mount Royal Park mere minutes away from downtown, featuring children’s playgrounds and wading pools, picnic grounds, walking and cycling trails, paddle boat rentals at Lac aux Castors and an incredible view of the city and beyond from the top of the mountain. A short Métro ride from downtown, Parc Jean-Drapeau boasts a huge amount of green space, an outdoor pool, a lake and sandy beach, the Biosphere ecological museum, a view of the city, flower gardens, and summer events such as July’s Week-ends du Monde. Next to the Parc Jean-Drapeau is Six Flags’ La Ronde, open all summer long, with plenty of rides just for kids and families – in July, kids who can stay up a little later will love the L’International des Feux Loto-Québec fireworks competition on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Find the best swing set in the city in downtown Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles: the 21 Balançoires (21 Swings) art installation and instrument… / Read More →

Things to Do in Montréal April 9 to 15

As winter winds turn to balmy breezes, Montréal becomes the perfect place at the perfect time to spend a few hours exploring on foot and swinging (on art) outdoors as well as getting cozy inside with world-class dance, theatre, comedy and live music. Swing into Spring It’s easy to make your own music in downtown Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles this spring as the 21 Balançoires (21 Swings) art installation returns April 14 to May 31. The swings all make musical sounds – piano, guitar, harp or vibraphone – that create melodies as more and more people stop to swing along Promenade des Artistes (between De Maisonneuve Blvd. and President-Kennedy Ave.). More art that captures the city’s unique spirit from historical past to present can be found at several of Montréal’s museums and at the New Discoveries and Other Obsessions exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain, curated by the museum’s new director John Zeppetelli. Show time! Some of the best classical and modern ballet in the world graces the stage as Les Grands Ballets presents the Eifman Ballet in acclaimed Russian choreographer Boris Eifman’s passionate and psychologically complex Anna Karenina. With hockey playoffs just around the corner, catch the on-ice drama… / Read More →

Things to Do in Montréal April 2 to 8

The Easter long weekend in Montréal hints at the abundant spring to come – indulgence, playfulness, nature and creativity colour the many activities on hand this week in the city. Eat to your heart’s content at brunch or a sugar shack, relax with fine art and music, and find entertainment on stage and screen or in your own late-night dance moves. Easter treats Add some more Easter weekend ideas to your itinerary, whether you’re into egg hunting with the kids, visiting an historic church for Easter Sunday service, brunching with buds or partying with Montréalers. (Of course, whatever you’re doing, there’s always time for some high-quality, locally-made Easter chocolate.) In seasonal sports, the Canadiens play their second-to-last regular season NHL game at the Bell Centre, taking on the Washington Capitals on April 2 (the Habs go up against the Red Wings on April 9.) Meanwhile, baseball makes a comeback in Montréal this weekend too as the Toronto Blue Jays face off against the Cincinnati Reds in exhibition games at Olympic Stadium April 3 and 4. And for Easter Sunday party people, Bal en Blanc has become tradition, with thousands of revellers dressed all in white and dancing all night and… / Read More →

A guide to Montréal’s must-see neighbourhoods: Part 1

Every enclave of Montréal has its glittering highlights and its open secrets – in Part 1 of our guide, we look at Old Montréal, Griffintown, Little Burgundy, Saint-Henri and Verdun – from restaurants to historical sites, shopping to outdoor adventure, each of the city’s neighbourhoods has something unique to offer. Old Montréal Vieux-Montréal represents the city’s historical heart, yet boasts plenty of modern flare, especially among its boutique hotels and creative eateries. Tread the cobblestone streets past centuries-old architecture to visit museums, cathedrals and art galleries, walk along the Port of Montréal on the St. Lawrence River, dine at heavenly restaurants and charming cafes, relax at a bar or a luxurious spa, go shopping for high-fashion by local and international designers, or wonderfully kitschy souvenirs, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, and see live music and more on the bustling streets. Griffintown In the past few years, some of the city’s hottest restaurants, bars and art galleries have popped up in Griffintown, just south of downtown, joining antique shops and historical sites to heighten the profile of the growing neighbourhood. On the foodie front, breweries and cafés rub shoulders with fine dining and cocktail lounges. One of the city’s larger commercial gallery spaces,… / Read More →

10 fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day in Montréal

No matter what the weather, Montréal brings on spring with the biggest parade of the year – some would claim our St. Patrick’s Day parade is the third biggest in the world, but we’ll stick with tried‑and‑true facts and figures on what makes Montréal’s St. Patrick’s Day so great. 1. The Montréal St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the longest-running of its kind in Canada – uninterrupted since 1824! The parade was actually cancelled in 1918 for various reasons, some ascribed to controversies over WWI conscription, but Montrealers defied the city’s orders and paraded nonetheless. 2. During the three-hour parade, hundreds of floats, marching bands, performers and revellers march along Sainte-Catherine Street on the first Sunday after March 17 (this year that’s March 22). General attendance runs anywhere from 250,000 to 700,000, depending on the weather, which can range from sun-spangled t-shirt weather to unexpected winter wonderland. 3. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade celebration in Montréal took place in 1759, three years before the start of New York’s famed parade. 4. The first Irish person arrived in Canada in approximately 1661: Tadhg Cornelius O’Brennan came to Montréal in a wave of Irish Catholics escaping war, poor harvests and a severe penal system…. / Read More →

Things to Do with Babies and Toddlers in Montréal

Anyone who has traveled with a baby or toddler knows that there are challenges involved, to say the least, but whether you’re in Montréal with a newborn or a new walker, you’ll find plenty of baby-friendly places to go and pint-sized things to do. Along with walks and stroller-strolls in the city’s big parks – Mount Royal, La Fontaine and Jean-Drapeau – take a walk in a different sort of park at the Botanical Garden, where plants and trees from around the world grow in the greenhouse and throughout the sprawling grounds. As well, see brightly-hued lanterns in autumn and live music and dance in summer. Many of Montréal’s parks, such as Parc Jeanne-Mance and Parc Laurier, feature toddler-dedicated playgrounds and free wading pools all summer. Kids and adults can burn off some energy at Vida Sana, a community-minded centre with free drop-in play times and exercise classes for kids and adults. Close to restaurants and cafés in Mile End, Centre Amuza offers workshops for both adults and kids in music, art, storytelling and dance. Take playtime up a notch at indoor amusement parks just for kids: Kidzilla Fun and Zig Zag Zoo. In the city centre, stay entertained on… / Read More →

A beauty makeover in Montréal

It’s a fact that Montrealers love to look good, especially in their own distinct ways, and especially when it comes to hair and beauty. Whether you’re ready to make a drastic change or simple need an update or some premium pampering, Montréal’s hair salons and spas are here to snip, shine and buff away anyone’s style woes. Discover the best and most trusted of the city’s beauty scene right here. When it comes to a day at the spa, many of Montréal’s upscale hotels know just how to treat you right. Mix Old Montréal charm with contemporary and professional treatment at the spa of the Hôtel Le St-James, while nearby Away Spa at the W Montréal inspires a hip, happening level of relaxation. Downtown, step into superior sumptuousness at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel’s Gibson Spa. Five-star Hôtel Le Crystal’s Amerispa will not only spruce up your hair, make-up and nails but features an outdoor hydro massage bath year-round on its 12th-floor terrasse, with incredible views of the city. Steam all the toxins out at the first hammam in Montréal at the opulent, urban-chic Le Place d’Armes Hôtel & Suites’ Rainspa, outfitted with all the esthetic treatments your face and… / Read More →

Snow Days and Nights at Fête des Neiges 2015

The joys of a real Canadian winter abound at Fête des Neiges de Montréal, a free outdoor event for snow fans of all ages. Get in on the fun every weekend from January 17 to February 8, when Parc Jean-Drapeau becomes a playground for winter sports and high-energy entertainment. Montreal’s reputation as an urban winter wonderland goes back decades, boosted in recent years by international-profile events such as Igloofest and MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE paired with the snow-capped traditions of family-friendly Fête des Neiges. Skating, snowshoeing, skiing and snow-tubing return this year along with less traditional fare – zip lines, an illuminated Ferris wheel, giant foosball and food trucks – and new Saturday night dance parties that light up the park. All that and a spectacular view of the city skyline too. Kids get special attention every weekend at Fête des Neiges. Not only can they ride down the park’s massive ice slide and snow-tube down the hill all day, they can also wander a snowy labyrinth, traverse an obstacle course, ride a carousel or play soccer while encased in personal plastic bubbles (as hilarious to watch as to play). Giant inflatable bouncy castles and a play zone just for them… / Read More →