Montréal may be known for its historic past steeped in tradition, but it also has a reputation for being a bold, even irreverent place. You can see all these sides of the city in the endless activities going on in every neighbourhood. Whether you’re into the arts, entertainment, food or fresh air, Montréal will show you a rollicking good time! Here are 11 Montréal activities that you didn’t see coming. If you make any of them part of your trip, share your experiences on Instagram with the #mtlmoments hashtag!
Arcade MTL takes you back to 1980s arcades, without the cringeworthy hair and clothing! Seven bucks buys you access to the video games of your youth and about 20 arcade machines. In other words, you can leave your change at home! Order a delicious cocktail or one of the many microbrews, and post up at Ms. Pac-Man, Super Contra, Tetris or another old favourite. Will you beat the record?
This burlesque cabaret draped in red velvet captures the cheeky-yet-sexy sprit of vaudeville once found in nightclubs across Montréal. Applaud the talented artists in the music and dance shows in an atmosphere that’s both festive and subdued. Try cocktails with daring names like Altruitstic Aureola or New York Sweet. And with Schwartz’s right across the street, you can fill your night with fun and food! English-language shows are held on Wednesdays. Reservations are a must, and the price is $20 per person.
Musée Eudore-Dubeau (Dentistry Museum)
Afraid of the dentist? One visit to this museum and you’ll be counting your lucky stars for modern dentistry! Discover the history of dentistry in this eclectic universe of instruments, documents, furniture and an exhaustive library. You’ll love the slightly Gothic feel of the anthropological collection.
What better way to scratch beneath the surface of a city than to explore an urban cave? For guaranteed excitement, take a guided tour of the cavern with a professional speleologist. Be sure to make reservations at least two weeks in advance to get a spot. The visit also includes a slideshow viewing. Not for claustrophobic types!
One of the best-kept secrets in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is ICW Wrestling. Every Saturday night starting at 8:15, the Proulx family hosts wrestling matches that showcase the talents of brave warriors such as Big Fat Seb, the Crime, and Bulldozer. A must-see if you love thrills, chills… and theatre! Tickets are $10.
You don’t need an invitation to a masquerade ball to visit the oldest costume store in North America. Founded by Joseph Ponton, who bought an entire costume collection from a cash-strapped French theatre troupe, it rents and sells everything you need to rock any style from any era.
This demolition room invites you to let off some steam by smashing everything in sight! Pick up a baseball bat and take it all out on outdated office equipment, falling-apart furniture, appliances without the toxic components, and anything else that can be destroyed. Note that guests under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Between the traditional tam-tam party around Sir George-Étienne Cartier monument and the small clusters of characters in every direction, it’s people-watching paradise every Sunday. A group of furries in full costume, slack rope enthusiasts, urban hippies… This is a testament to Montréal’s uniqueness. And there is plenty of media hype around LARPing, a collaborative game where costumed players channel different characters in the great outdoors.
A visit to this museum will open your eyes (and ears) to the historic and cultural heritage of sound waves. Home to numerous permanent collections, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions. Don’t miss the vintage record players, transistor radios and gramophones. Enthusiastic guides are waiting to tell you about the history of the objects on display and of Émile Berliner, a great inventor. The museum will be moving to a new location in 2017, so stay up-to-date on its Facebook page.
Sick of the crowds? Commune with the cats instead at a café where you can grab a bite while resident felines lounge around you. All the kitties come from shelters and were chosen for their sociability. Feel free to approach them, so long as you respect their limits, of course. Or just sit back and observe them as you savour a soup and a sandwich. The café also holds conferences and thematic workshops.
Last but not least, a new Harry Potter-inspired bar opened recently in Montréal, much to the delight of lovers of butter beer and spells of all sorts! The little brother of the Toronto Lockhart is shooting for an ambiance reminiscent of bygone apothecaries and magic potion classes. Visit the Lockhart Facebook page to find out when it will be opening its doors.