In the poetic words of the great Britney Spears: “Keep on dancing ’till the world ends.” This is exactly what Montreal will be doing for 2012. Though we’re only one month in, the 2012 cultural calendar is already filling up fast…
In the winter months, there’s Igloofest and Montréal en Lumière and, as the snow starts to thaw and maple syrup starts gushing out of the trees, the Cabane a Sucre season takes over. By the time the summer rolls around we’re all so hopped up on maple sugar that we frolic around Mount-Royal, scour for the best terraces and hit up F-1, Jazz Fest, Just for Laughs, FrancoFolies, Divers/Cite, Pride and more!
MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE (February 16-26): One of the largest winter festivals in the world, the High Lights festival (as it’s known in English) invites 900,000 visitors each February to get out of their winter funk and enjoy the best gastronomy, art, music, performances and culture in Montreal. The 11-day festival culminates in one of my favourite nights of the year: Nuite Blanche! On February 25, Montreal comes alive for the night owls. Staying open to the wee hours of the morning for 180 mostly-free activities. Take a tour of the Reso (the underground city) converted into an art exhibition, or take a midnight dip in the Olympic swimming pool! Metros and buses run all night to connect all the late night cultural activities!
MICHAEL JACKSON’S IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR: (March 20-22): See the King of Pop live on in the ultra extravagant musical tribute by Cirque du Soleil. With state of the art puppetry and a massive moving “giving tree”, this is a spectacle that does justice to the late larger than life pop star.
MONTREAL IMPACT (March 17-October 22): The Montreal Impact‘s 2012 season will be its first as a Major League Soccer team. They play at Saputo Stadium, which is right next to Montreal’s iconic Olympic Stadium. This will be an exciting season for the Impact as they tackle the best teams in the world, and it is still a relatively cheap activity to do!
AMALUNA BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL (April 19-June 11): Details are scarce on Cirque du Soleil’s newest touring show Amaluna, set to premier in April. All we know is that it tells an emotional love story set on a mysterious island governed by goddesses and guided by the moon. Yep, sounds very Cirque du Soleil. Like the many shows before it, this one is sure to wow.
May / June
ELEKTRA (May 2-6): Electronic music, lasers, robotics and all things digital come together for one week and will blow your mind in a harmonic fusion of technology and art.
FESTIVAL ACCES ASIE (May 3-19): This festival celebrates the culture of Asia and invites people to learn, engage and be entertained by the music, art, films, dance and cuisine. Become apart of the sacred rituals and ancient history of Asia!
GRAND PRIX DU CANADA (June 6-10): The best Formula-1 drivers from around the globe, along with 300,000 race fans, meet at Parc Jean-Drapeau to watch the showdown on the Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit. One of the busiest weekends in Montreal for tourism, commerce and partying.
July / August
FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DE JAZZ DE MONTREAL (June 28-July 7): One of the largest Jazz festivals in the world. People travel from across the globe to take in the 370 free outdoor concerts, 650 shows and the hundreds of related festivities.
MONTREAL FASHION & DESIGN FESTIVAL (August 1-4): McGill College Avenue goes from being “the road with the Starbucks on it” to the epicentre of Canadian mode, design and fashion. Outdoor fashion shows, live performances and after parties galore.
OSHEAGA (August 3-5): The largest music festival of its kind in Canada. If music is your religion, then Osheaga is the Sunday sermon. 5 different stages, and more than 80 world renowned musical acts. This is a weekend for the Instagram.
MONTREAL PRIDE CELEBRATIONS (August 14-19): Community Day, and the massive gay pride parade! A weekend to celebrate diversity, acceptance, and let your rainbow colours fly. Don’t miss the crowning of 2012′s Queer of the Year!
September / October
POP MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL (September 19-23): 50,000 fans will enjoy 600 artists at POP Montreal. Independent music in alternative venues, POP Montreal is the perfect way to discover new music and the city.
BLACK & BLUE FESTIVAL (Thanksgiving Weekend, October): More than 60 activities for the gay community and their allies. All culminating in the massive rave at the Olympic Stadium that goes from dusk till dawn. Need a visual? Check it out here.
THE MAGIC OF LANTERNS (September 9-October 31): Montreal’s stunning botanical gardens live on into the fall months by hundreds of handmade silk lanterns. One of the most enchanting evenings you can have in the fall. Grab a hot coffee (with a touch of Bailey’s) and be transported into another world.
November / December
LA GRANDE DEGUSTATION DE MONTREAL (November 8-10): La Grande Degustation de Montreal translates roughly to The Big Taste of Food & Drink of Montreal. So that’s exactly what it is. Under one roof you’ll find 1500 products and 250 vintners, distillers and brewers from around the world.
SALON DES METIERS D’ARTS DU QUEBEC (December 7-23): Since 1955, this event hosts some 400 exhibitors as they show off their artisan crafts for the public. The perfect place to get a special holiday gift.