I’m not going to lie to you – Montréal often lives up to its reputation for a chilly winter. But Montréalers are resilient people, and refuse to be cooped up in their homes for the frosty months. There are certain events that help us get outdoors, and Festival Montréal en Lumière (‘Montréal Highlights Festival’ in English) is one of the biggest.
Set to heat up the city from February 18 – 28, the annual event links gastronomy, culture and creative ways to party!
What To Do
There are plenty of free options for the 11-day festival. The best way to know what is happening while you are in town is to scoot on over to the Festival Montréal en Lumière website and click on the date of interest. Each day there are free (or low cost) activities: art installations, music shows, dance, theatre and more.
And if you are still deciding when you should book the weekend getaway, consider making it to Montréal for Nuit Blanche on February 27.
The Big Event: February 27
You might want to down a couple of espressos, ‘cause you got a big night ahead of you! Nuit blanche is an all night urban party that highlights the best that Montréal has to offer. Here are my recommendations:
Silent Disco In the tradition of some cutting edge Dutch discos, grab a pair of complementary wireless headphones, and bust a move with DJ Groovy Jack. 9 PM – 1 AM. Free.
Art Souterrain Discover Montréal’s underground city with video, installation, visual art, photography and live performances. The perfect option if you get chilly and want to nip indoors! All night. Free.
Old Montréal In the vintage district, you’ll get a ton of free options. Take the recommended walking tour to check out the various musicians, fireworks, skating and exhibitions. Beautiful setting, tons to see. All night. Free.
And Don’t Miss This…
If you are curious about the history of the universe (and, I mean, aren’t we all?), then you can’t miss the “Giant Ball of Yuga.”
“Step right up for the astonishing Ambiosphère L’Oréal, an enormous 21 meter (70 ft.) white sphere that can accommodate over 300 people at a time. Inside, a simple-looking opaque, spherical white inner wall becomes the portal for a voyage into the universe once six synchronized high-performance projectors whirr into action! Yuga, le film, a world premiere presentation, is a special, spectacular 14-minute animated presentation courtesy of Montréal’s Space & Dream, taking the viewer on a completely immersive journey revealing nothing less than the history of the universe!”
This project is presented free of charge every day, every half hour, from noon to 9 p.m.
Finally, for a visual treat that will give you a great taste of the all the Montréal High Lights Festival action, check out these 360º images of last year’s celebrations. Eat your heart out Google Streetview!
When: February 18 – 28, 2010
Where: Various locals around Montréal, primarily The Old Port and Quartier des Spectacles
Charge: Many events free! Consult with online program (select date of interest)
Insider Tip: If you still have to book accommodation, why not consider something near a Metro station? The metro (subway) will be running all night long for free! Quelle chance!