For three days, Montréal is decked out in the colours of the most celebrated F1 teams as enthusiastic crowds from across the globe cheer on the greatest drivers in the world.
The Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada roars into town this weekend with a high-octane program of activities and events, on and off-the track. To help you make the most of this annual adrenaline-fest, we’ve put together an F1 survival guide to give you the inside track on all the hottest happenings.
EVENT Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada, June 4-7, 2015
LOCATION Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve at Parc Jean-Drapeau with more events downtown
HOW TO GET THERE Since on-site parking is extremely limited, take the metro to Parc Jean-Drapeau station on the yellow line, a few minutes from downtown’s Berri-UQAM station – from there, take a bus or walk across the Concorde Bridge for grandstands 1, 2, 11, 12 and 31 or the Cosmos Bridge for grandstands 21, 15, 24, 33, 34 and the Popular Grandstand. Or bike along the Lachine Canal bike path from Old Montréal and across the Concorde Bridge.
WHAT TO BRING Binoculars, camera, earplugs, portable radio to listen to Radio Grand Prix 99.1 FM or 104.5 FM, small cooler that can fit under your seat
WHAT NOT TO BRING Chairs or stools, glass containers, barbecues
WHAT TO WEAR Sunscreen and a brimmed hat are a necessity, comfortable walking shoes for getting to the grandstands, layers in case of cold or rainy weather, fashionable party-ready clothes for night festivities
History: 46th edition of the race in Canada, 36th in Montréal
Number of laps: 70
Circuit Length: 4.361 km
Race Distance: 305.270 km
Current top 5 drivers: Lewis Hamilton (UK, Mercedes team), Nico Rosberg (Germany, Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel (Germany, Ferrari), Kimi Räikkönen (Finland, Ferrari), Valtteri Bottas (Finland, Williams)
JUNE 4 / Open House at the track, 9 am to noon. The official social event of the Grand Prix, the Grand Evening gala dinner gathers drivers and fans at 6 pm, a benefit for the Fondation de l’Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montreal and Moisson Montreal. Opening day of the Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival, with an opening ceremony at 12:30 pm and bands starting at 7 pm.
JUNE 5 / 7:30 am track opens to the public for practice sessions and qualifying sessions to 6:30 pm. The Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival gets the music going at 11:30 am and doesn’t stop until after 10 pm.
JUNE 6 / 7:30 am track opens to the public for practice sessions, qualifying sessions, grid access, podium presentations and first races to 6:30 pm. The Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival revs up at 11:30 am with DJs and live bands all day until after 10 pm.
JUNE 7 / 8 am track opens to the public for grid access, second races, podium presentations a, Formula One drivers’ parade at 12:30 pm and the much-anticipated final Grand Prix race starting at 2 pm.
Food Find food and drink vendors by all grandstands as well as two restaurants near the start line. Fans can also visit the Montréal Casino within the circuit for food, drink, entertainment and, of course, games of skill and chance.
Bathrooms Various locations throughout the venue
Tech Download the Grand Prix app
Souvenirs Bring home even more than extraordinary photos and memories of Grand Prix: drop by the F1 Boutique to find jackets, racing shirts, accessories and more created specifically for this year’s race.
Family time The Grand Prix is remarkably family friendly – and free for children under 15 years old, when accompanied by a parent or a grandparent to Grandstand 33, located near turns 6 and 7, with shady areas, and entertainment and food for kids. Take a walk through Parc Jean-Drapeau and visit the Biosphere museum, the outdoor pool or La Ronde amusement park.
Food & Drink Keep your energy up all weekend by eating well and quenching your thirst at some of Montreal’s most renowned restaurants, bars and food trucks. Have drinks on an Old Montréal terrasse before making your way along the cobblestone streets to dinner. Or go to the Plateau, Mile End, Griffintown and St-Henri, followed by gourmet ice cream. Stay up late at the city’s night life hot spots drinking special Grand Prix cocktails and rubbing shoulders with celebrities as you dance your way to last call. And don’t forget about the healing power of brunch.
Daytime at the Crescent Street Festival or along St-Laurent Boulevard is kid friendly, while parks provide picnic opportunities and a visit to the Science Centre or biking or kayaking the Lachine Canal gives kids more play time.
Entertainment The free Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival hosts driver appearances and autograph signings, race car displays and racing simulators, live music and DJs, giveaways, fashion shows and more to go along with the street’s already abundant restaurants and nightlife, June 4-6. Walk over to the Old Montreal Grand Prix or to the Mural Festival, June 4-14 on St-Laurent Boulevard, closed to traffic for the weekend.