Apart from the fast-paced F1 action on the track, the hundreds of thousands of elite racing fans who take part in Montreal’s Grand Prix Weekend also engage in a more leisurely paced race to take in a head-spinning array of associated offerings guaranteed to fly a green flag over their good time…
There are so many reasons you can’t miss Montreal’s Grand Prix Weekend, centred around the annual Canadian Grand Prix (this year June 6-8) at Montreal’s storied Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on the scenic Île Notre-Dame just south of downtown Montreal. Here are just a few to get your motor running…
For the nightlife-inclined, most – if not all – of Montreal’s major pubs and clubs have special Grand Prix events planned that tailor to celebrities, nightlife connoisseurs and the simply curious alike. The city’s hugely popular Crescent Street, a centrally located restaurant and nightclub hub, turns into a giant outdoor party, as will a section of Peel Street a few short blocks away. The annual Peel Paddock event, which closes off a block of downtown Peel Street from June 5-8, will be bumper to bumper with luxury cars, fashion shows, food kiosks, live performances, and evening DJs, promising F1 fans “plenty of thrills in an ultra-swanky setting.” And of course the Casino de Montréal offers a one-stop entertainment shop a stone’s throw from the race.
Even if you aren’t a VIP, you can certainly eat like one in a city renowned globally for its gastronomy. For those who want to mingle with the jet set while enjoying a more Montreal neighbourhood-type vibe, the upscale eateries, unbuttoned gastro pubs, and trend-setting restos that line the sides of Montreal’s renowned St-Laurent Blvd. might be just your cup of authenticity. Or check out the historic old world awesomeness of Old Montreal, which plays host to an equally impressive roster of top-rated restos – atmosphere-laden places like Au Bocata, L’Assommoir Notre-Dame and Auberge Saint-Gabriel – and chefs.
Numerous fun and family friendly events take place across the city, beginning with the annual three-day Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival. Live entertainment, F1 driver autograph sessions and the Pit Stop Challenge (see how fast you can change a tire, pit crew style) are prominent features of this popular – and free – outdoor extravaganza. Another perennial fave is the four-day Grand Prix on the Main, which features fashion shows, food kiosks, street performers and a lively range of entertainment that’ll smoke your tires.
For those who’d like to get the kids away from the mayhem for a time, a student choir from the Faculty of Music at the University of Montreal, under musical director Tiphaine Legrand, will present Hymn to Nature at the (easily reachable) summit of Mont-Royal. Presented by Amis de la Montagne (Friends of the Mountain), it will take place in the majestic, stone-walled Chalet Mont-Royal – which has a spectacular, commanding view of downtown Montreal – on June 8, and will be followed by a bilingual historical/architectural guided tour.
And let’s not forget the top-tier shopping options in Montreal’s virtually innumerable boutiques, both above ground and below in Montreal’s famous underground city – over 30 km over subterranean tunnels that also showcase the creations of many of the world’s top designers. For the purely race-minded buyer, Old Montreal’s sprawling F1 Boutique Canada has all the top-quality F1 souvenir merch imaginable.
So buckle in and get ready to start your engine…
Grand Prix du Canada, June 6-8, 2014
MORE INFO ON THE GRAND PRIX:
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