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Posts by Robyn Fadden

Festive fun for kids this holiday season in Montréal

If you’re visiting Montréal with your family in December, expect to find entertaining seasonal festivities with all the trimmings: Christmas trees and illuminated interactive art, outdoor games and activities, hot chocolate and good food, and, of course, Santa. Treats and presents Lights glitter, friends and family gather, and kids play at Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal, a new outdoor winter market right downtown at the Place des Arts Esplanade, December 12 to January 2. Not only a great place to find last-minute locally-made gifts but a joyful event featuring entertainment, music, karaoke and other playful activities for all ages – and plenty to eat and drink, from beaver tails to maple candy. Not far away from Le Grand Marché, see performances, watch films, shop and sample seasonal treats at the Marché de Noël Prince Arthur. And when it’s time for a full sit-down meal, consult our extensive list of kid-friendly restaurants. Winter wonderlands Old Montréal turns into a warmer version of the North Pole during the Merry Montréal celebrations – there’s free hot chocolate, Christmas-themed films, cozy fires and even see Santa Claus at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier. Peer into the window of Ogilvy department store… / Read More →

Free things to do this December in Montréal

We anticipate December’s holiday shopping, gift giving and celebratory meals and parties long before the first snow falls, yet Montréal also offers a flip side that doesn’t cost a thing and can often be just as glamorous. Read on for free and easy December fun! Merry making Old Montréal’s December-long winter extravaganza, Merry Montréal, adds shine to the Old World edifices and glitter to the cobblestones – drink free hot chocolate and coffee, watch Christmas-themed films like Home Alone and Elf on an outdoor screen, warm up around fires, bring kids to see Santa at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier, call the North Pole, broadcast holiday wishes on “Wish-a-Phones,” and top it all off at the end of the month with the Merry Montréal New Year’s Ball. Outdoor illumination Become a kid again – or just join the kids at play already – at this year’s edition of Luminothérapie, an interactive-art playground filled with 30 seesaws emitting sound and light at Place des Festivals, beginning December 10. Also watch for state-of-the-art video projections on nearby Théâtre Maisonneuve and UQAM’s President–Kennedy building as well as the Grande Bibliothèque, UQAM bell tower and five more looming facades. Winter in the parks… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: December 4 to 10

Montréal sparkles as the holiday season truly arrives this week, turning streets into winter villages and playgrounds, art and craft fairs into gift-shopping bonanzas, and the city’s numerous stages into charming gatherings for choirs, orchestras and rock shows. Celebrate the season Whether in the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal or in the parks of the Plateau, Montréal celebrates the holiday season with music, food, drink and open arms this week. Merry Montréal turns Old Montréal into a winter wonderland with fires to warm up by, free hot chocolate, Santa at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier, Christmas-themed films and more. Le Festival Noël dans le parc lights up trees, offers activities for kids and shares the music of dozens of local musicians in free concerts at Parc des Compagnons-de-St-Laurent (Mont-Royal Avenue at Cartier) and at Parc Lahaie (Saint-Laurent Boulevard at Saint-Joseph) on weekday evenings and in the afternoon and evenings on weekends, to December 10 – don’t miss the parade on December 5 on Mount Royal Avenue ending in fireworks at Parc LaFontaine at 7 p.m. Also see Santa in Montréal’s downtown malls or delve deeper into the traditional Victorian Christmas in Montréal. Creative gifts Find all kinds of Québec-made… / Read More →

Luminothérapie and high-tech creativity light up city life

A ride on an illuminated seesaw while surrounded by storeys-tall video projections may be all you need to get comfortable with Montréal winter this December. The city greets the season with the new glittering creations of annual event Luminothérapie, reflecting just how ahead of the technological curve Montréal is all year, whether in video gaming or art making. The sixth edition of Luminothérapie, held December 10 to January 31, builds on Montréal’s affinity for technological innovation with a distinctly artistic and cultural edge – this year’s event turns Place des Festivals into an interactive-art playground filled with 30 seesaws emitting sound and light. Inspired by Montrealers’ love of outdoor play no matter what the weather, the designers of Impulse – Lateral Office, CS Design and EGP Group – have created a cheerful gathering place in the heart of downtown. Meanwhile, video projections by Montréal-based digital art team Maotik and Iregular transform nearby Théâtre Maisonneuve and UQAM’s President–Kennedy building as well as the Grande Bibliothèque, UQAM bell tower and five more looming facades into screens for gorgeous abstract visuals accompanied by soundtracks by Toronto-based artist Mitchell Akiyama. Luminothérapie grew out of Montréal’s participation in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, a global network… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: November 27 to December 3

With December officially here this week, there’s something seasonally appropriate and festive to do every day of the week: see Santa and sip hot chocolate, go to a hockey game, shop and shop some more, see a show or a film or a choir, and drink wine and eat well. Santa, hockey and merry making  The city’s biggest Santa Claus parade was last weekend, but if you missed it there’s still more Santa to see at the Plaza St-Hubert Santa Claus Parade on November 27 at 7 p.m. on St-Hubert Street between Bellechasse and Jean-Talon. Also find Santa at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Stewart Museum, packed with handmade Santa figurines and free all month, while toys old and new delight at Mister Rabbit’s Circus at the McCord Museum. Whether it snows this week or not, Merry Montréal makes Old Montréal feel like a winter wonderland – warm up around fires, drink hot chocolate, bring the kids to see Santa at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier, watch Christmas-themed films and more, starting December 3. And, of course, there’s plenty of hockey: The Canadiens play on home ice at the Bell Centre three times this week, taking on the Devils, the Blue Jackets… / Read More →

5 art shows to see in Montréal before the holidays

Late fall in Montréal is a prime time for art gallery hopping, letting us bask in artistic genius as warm days and daylight wane. In addition to several Must-see Autumn 2015 museum exhibitions, the following five exhibitions on display in November and December offer a glimpse of the depth and quality of art in Montréal’s galleries year round. Begin your art tour with a solo show by Paris-based designer and Montrealer Rad Hourani at Arsenal, located in the Griffintown/Little Burgundy/Saint-Henri area of the city around the corner from several renowned restaurants, bars and stores on Notre Dame Street. In his solo exhibition Neutralité/Neutrality, Hourani uses painting, print, sculpture and video to expand on ideas in his unisex fashion line, challenging divisions of sex, gender, race, nationality and other social segregators. While we can’t touch the art despite its welcoming tactile nature, an on-site pop-up shop entices us to wear Hourani’s gorgeous fall fashions. While there, visit Galerie Division in the same massive industrial building just blocks from the Lachine Canal. On the western edge of Old Montréal, the factory-turned-gallery Darling Foundry greets visitors with Mirador, a public art mountain of scaffolding and other materials created by collective Acapulco, while in… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: November 20 to 26

The snow has yet to fall, but Santa’s already coming to town for Montréal’s legendary Santa Claus Parade this week, along with new documentary films from around the world, gripping opera, theatre and dance, artisanal and craft fairs, and all kinds of live music from local indie-rock and jazz to electro-pop and Bach. Santa in the city Spend some family time with Santa and a whole lot of other people as the 65th Edition of the Santa Claus Parade official starts the holiday season in Montréal on Saturday, November 21. Starting at 11 a.m. on Sainte-Catherine Street, between Du Fort and Saint-Urbain, cheer on 20 spectacular floats and a host of singers, dancers, street performers, polar bears and, of course, Santa! There’s more Santa to see at Parc Jean-Drapeau too: drink hot chocolate and see all the handmade Santa figurines at the Stewart Museum or cheer on the hundreds of runners dressed as Santa Claus for the Santa Montreal 5 km race, starting at 10 a.m. on November 21. Toys old and new delight at Mister Rabbit’s Circus at the McCord Museum. The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium at the Space for Life lights up the season in a different way… / Read More →

A traditional holiday shopping guide to Montréal

If you’re doing your holiday gift shopping in Montréal, you’ve certainly got plenty of options, from Sainte-Catherine Street brand-name shops to the local creativity of artisanal craft fairs. But if you’re specifically looking for that “holiday spirit” or “Christmas-y feeling” or “winter wonderland” in uniquely-Montréal retail form, read on. New this year, Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal turns the Place des Arts esplanade into a charming outdoor Christmas and winter market, blending traditions from around the world. Gourmet food and drink – be sure to try the homemade, locally-produced goodies from Labonté de la pomme Verger & Miellerie – as well as free live shows and outdoor activities complete the experience, December 12 to January 2. Also new to the outdoor holiday market scene this year and not far from Place des Arts, the cheery and festive Marché de Noël Prince Arthur lights up Rue Prince Arthur at the corner of Boulevard St-Laurent, December 2 to 23. Expect to find unique handmade items, tree ornaments and Christmas trees, along with snacks, mulled wine and hot cider, sing-along carolling and outdoor film screenings. While Montréal is already in the habit of celebrating great food and drink all year, Happy… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: November 13 to 19

Montréal offers a feast for the senses this week, with new films set on earth and in the sky, high-energy sports and video gaming, drama and dance, cutting-edge visual art and local artisanal creations, and a seemingly endless amount of live music. On-screen adventure Hundreds of new documentary features and shorts from around the world come to Montréal screens this week during the 18th annual Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), November 12 to 22 – along with so many eye-opening films on subjects ranging from war and refugees to environmental issues and government reform, go to talks by directors, actors and film industry members, special events and more. Catch the newest in French-language films (with English subtitles, bien sûr) at the CINEMANIA festival until November 15, including Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan and the premieres of Floride by Philippe Le Guay Marguerite et Julien by Valérie Donzelli and Je suis mort mais j’ai des amis by Stéphane and Guillaume Malandrin. As well, at the Phi Centre, see David Oelhoffen’s Loin des Hommes, November 16 to 18, an adaptation of a short story by Albert Camus and starring Viggo Mortensen. The Éléphant Classiq festival honours Québec cinema masterpieces, November 19 to 22, opening… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: November 6 to 12

November warms us up with gourmet food and drink at MTL à TABLE, La Grande Dégustation and more delicious events, along with the thrills of this week’s high-energy hockey and dance, innovations in film and art, and joyous fun of theatre and live music. Go gourmet Eat well and often as the city’s best restaurants participate in MTL à TABLE, Montréal’s official Restaurant Week, a celebration of food and drink with special prices to match. Until November 8, food lovers can enjoy table d’hôte menus at reduced prices ($21, $31 or $41), culinary tours, wine tastings, chocolate sampling, special events and more at 150 restaurants and other locations throughout the city. See our Tourisme Montréal Guide to the 2015 Edition of MTL à TABLE for details and feast at brilliant brunch eateries, family-friendly restaurants, group-friendly locales, bring-your-own-wine favourites and much more, plus try out local cheeses or take a gourmet excursion. Not only that but month-long event Happy November adds to the festivities, including La Grande Dégustation de Montréal, November 6 and 7, showcasing 200 wine producers, distillers and brewers and their fabulous wares at Place Bonaventure. And if you’re vegan or simply vegan-curious, check out the 2nd-annual Montréal Vegan… / Read More →