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LA ST-JEAN: WHAT TO DO ON QUEBEC’S NATIONAL HOLIDAY

La St-Jean Baptiste or Fête Nationale is Quebec’s National Holiday. Every year, on June 24, Montrealers and Quebecers from all over the province come together to celebrate French Canadian culture. The tradition landed in Canada with the first French colonists and the first celebrations occured on the banks of the Saint Lawrance River in 1636, revered with a bonfire and five cannon shots. Today, Montrealers from all origins and backgrounds get together on June 23 and 24 to celebrate “La St-Jean”, as we simply call it. Here are some of the festivities happening in Montreal this year!

MONTREAL GAY LIFE: AN OVERVIEW

La vie à Montréal est gaie! Life in Montréal is gay! There is a double entendre happening in the above statement… by ‘gay’ we mean ‘happy’ AND ‘homolicious.’  Montréal has a long history of pride that ranges from our very own Stonewall in 1977 to being the first provincial jurisdiction in the world to recognize same-sex civil unions to a contemporary attitude that welcomes diverse peoples from all walks of life. We are the crossroads of Europe and North America, and our many dimensions of language, culture, art, politics and sexuality fuel a passion and sophistication that is unparalleled anywhere on the continent.

GIVE JOHN LENNON’S PARK A CHANCE

When you tire of Zest & the City, take a break. Discover Montreal’s Mont Royal. The sprawling 200-hectare park is a signature space by Frederick Law Olmsted famous for his landscape design of New York’s Central Park . At the top of Peel Street, follow signs for GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. The garden is in memory of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famed ‘bed-in for peace’ that took place in Montreal 41 years ago.

SKYDIVE IN MONTREAL

Who wouldn’t test run something called “the happiness machine”? Sounds a heck of a lot less daunting than skydiving, and it costs less too. So what is it?!

MEET A MONTREALER: SUGAR SAMMY

Meet Sugar Sammy.  He’s that Montrealer of Indian background who makes a living telling jokes in English, French, Hindu and Punjabi (unfortunately, I can only attest of his funniness in the first two languages).  Although he’s always on tour somewhere in Canada, the United States or soon in France, Sugar still deeply loves his hometown – Montreal – where he still lives with his parents (!) in the colourful Côte-Des-Neiges neighbourhood.  We met him in Jeanne-Mance park to hear about his favourites city spots… and incidentally get a flirting lesson Sugar Sammy Style.  You’ll soon understand that this ladies man doesn’t take himself too seriously.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOUNT-ROYAL PARK!

Mount Royal Park celebrated its 134th anniversary yesterday. People joke that our city’s Mount Royal is more molehill than mountain. But look up. You’ll find it! Our city’s sacred mountain – and infamous make-out spot – defines and orients us.

SENOR COCONUT TO HOST FREE FIESTA AT MUTEK

Montreal’s Mutek festival just announced their first ever free outdoor concert. It’s taking place on June 5th at the Place des Festivals in the Quartier Des Spectacles. Even if you don’t know much about electronic music, how could dancing in downtown Montreal during a concert headlined by someone named Señor Coconut be anything but an awesome idea?

ELEKTRA, A FESTIVAL OF THE DIGITAL ARTS

Montreal’s Elektra Festival, which runs from this Wednesday to Sunday, has been exploring some of the coolest things in the world of digital arts for 11 years. I recently interviewed Edwin van der Heide, the artist behind one of the fest’s more interesting presentations……

MONTREAL GETS CLASSICAL IN MAY

The month of May in Montreal is all about classical music. Before the sounds of the Jazz Fest fill the city’s streets, parks and concert halls, it seems only fitting that we begin with the music that came first…

MONTREAL’S MUTEK: MATMOS, MOUSE ON MARS AND MORE!

In a city overflowing with festivals of all sorts, the fact that Montreal’s Mutek is now in its 11th year says something important about the electronic music and digital culture meet-up. That their overall attendance was up by 70% last year speaks to the same point. Let’s look at why that might be…