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Your guide to a wicked Halloween 2016

For those of us possessed by fear during the Halloween season – a profound fear of missing out, that is – Montréal has a witches’ brew of solutions for your All Hallows aspirations. Whether it’s fun stuff for the little monsters in your life, hair-raising thrills and chills, rollicking onstage entertainment or raucous Halloween parties, the following options will provide the healing potion for your FOMO. Not-so-frightful family fun It’s kooky for kiddos at the Botanical Gardens (part of Montreal’s Space for Life, which also includes the Biodôme, Insectarium and Planetarium), which invites you and yours to be the honoured guests of the good witch Esmerelda for the 31st celebration of The Great Pumpkin Ball. And you can truly have a ball in the company of the urban farming Esmeralda, Pépo the Pumpkin and some 800 wildly and wackily decorated squashes and pumpkins. The Ball rolls every day, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., until October 31. While there, be sure to mosey on over to the aptly titled, outdoor Little Monsters Courtyard where the wee ones can conquer The Tricky River, The Shaky Bridge, a straw maze, tunnels and monkey bars (for kids 10 and under). Over at the Insectarium,… / Read More →

English theatre shines in Montréal this fall

Theatre goers will enjoy Rodgers and Hammerstein’s blockbuster Broadway musical Cinderella and the red-carpet world premiere of Prom Queen: The Musical, as well as plays based on the novels of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, produced by some of Montréal’s most exciting professional and independent English-language theatre companies this autumn. One of the Canadian theatre scene’s most-anticipated new productions of the year is Prom Queen: The Musical, based on the true story of Marc Hall, the Ontario teenager who made international headlines when he took his Catholic school board to court in 2002 when they refused to let him attend his prom with his boyfriend. “I think this musical is a celebration, but is also a timely reminder of how far we have come,” says Hall. “We must still fight discrimination and celebrate diversity. It is important to love and accept who you are, and love and accept others. We have come a long way, but people still need to hear those messages.” Prom Queen: The Musical world premieres at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts from Oct. 27 to Nov. 20. One of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most popular titles, Cinderella, was originally written for television, debuting in 1957 starring Julie… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: January 15 to 21

Montréal makes the most of every snowfall with the incredible winter activities of Fêtes des Neiges, outdoor dance party Igloofest, restaurant event Happening Gourmand, international dance, theatre and film, and all kinds of live music. Winter entertainment Montréal is well known for brightening up winter and helping you keep your most fun New Year’s resolutions – this week get happy in the snow at Fêtes des Neiges, a family-friendly weekend of activities, from giant ice slides to zip lines, and entertainment at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Keep your parka on for the nighttime entertainment of massive outdoor dance party Igloofest, now in its 10th year – this Friday go for Paul Kalkbrenner, Kim Ann Foxman, Alicia Hush and more, while on Saturday it’s Dave Clarke, Misstress Barbara, Debbie Døe and more, along with eye-popping visuals, at the Jacques Cartier Pier in the Old Port. Outdoors at Place des Festivals, play on the 30 illuminated see-saws of interactive art exhibition Luminothérapie until January 31. Go ice skating and sliding at Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Stadium Esplanade, skate to music at the Old Port’s Bonsecours Basin rink, and cheer as the Montréal Canadiens play the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on January 19…. / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal January 8 to 14

The year is already off to a bold start in Montréal with snow-bright outdoor entertainment to play with and dance to, the Happening Gourmand restaurant fest, internationally acclaimed dance, theatre and film, and live music from Tchaikovsky to Mark Farina. Snow days With memories of 2015 fading it’s time to make some new ones. Montreal brightens up your winter with all kinds of activities and entertainment in the coming months. Play on the 30 illuminated see-saws of interactive art exhibition Luminothérapie until January 31, with animated digital art projections throughout the Quartier des Spectacles. If you love to dance and love being outdoors, get yourself to Igloofest, Montreal’s biggest winter electronic music festival, at Jacques-Cartier Quay in the Old Port, opening January 14 with music by Bonobo, Lunice, Heron Preston and more. Go ice skating and sliding at Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Stadium Esplanade, or skate to music at the Old Port’s Bonsecours Basin rink, with happy hour every evening. On the ice at the Bell Centre, the Montréal Canadiens take on the Penguins on January 9 and the Blackhawks on January 14. Seek out warmth and art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d’art contemporain and Galerie… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: November 27 to December 3

With December officially here this week, there’s something seasonally appropriate and festive to do every day of the week: see Santa and sip hot chocolate, go to a hockey game, shop and shop some more, see a show or a film or a choir, and drink wine and eat well. Santa, hockey and merry making  The city’s biggest Santa Claus parade was last weekend, but if you missed it there’s still more Santa to see at the Plaza St-Hubert Santa Claus Parade on November 27 at 7 p.m. on St-Hubert Street between Bellechasse and Jean-Talon. Also find Santa at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Stewart Museum, packed with handmade Santa figurines and free all month, while toys old and new delight at Mister Rabbit’s Circus at the McCord Museum. Whether it snows this week or not, Merry Montréal makes Old Montréal feel like a winter wonderland – warm up around fires, drink hot chocolate, bring the kids to see Santa at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier, watch Christmas-themed films and more, starting December 3. And, of course, there’s plenty of hockey: The Canadiens play on home ice at the Bell Centre three times this week, taking on the Devils, the Blue Jackets… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: November 20 to 26

The snow has yet to fall, but Santa’s already coming to town for Montréal’s legendary Santa Claus Parade this week, along with new documentary films from around the world, gripping opera, theatre and dance, artisanal and craft fairs, and all kinds of live music from local indie-rock and jazz to electro-pop and Bach. Santa in the city Spend some family time with Santa and a whole lot of other people as the 65th Edition of the Santa Claus Parade official starts the holiday season in Montréal on Saturday, November 21. Starting at 11 a.m. on Sainte-Catherine Street, between Du Fort and Saint-Urbain, cheer on 20 spectacular floats and a host of singers, dancers, street performers, polar bears and, of course, Santa! There’s more Santa to see at Parc Jean-Drapeau too: drink hot chocolate and see all the handmade Santa figurines at the Stewart Museum or cheer on the hundreds of runners dressed as Santa Claus for the Santa Montreal 5 km race, starting at 10 a.m. on November 21. Toys old and new delight at Mister Rabbit’s Circus at the McCord Museum. The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium at the Space for Life lights up the season in a different way… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: October 23 to 29

Late October in Montréal is all about food, art-abundant culture, live music and Halloween fun. The city’s official Restaurant Week, MTL à TABLE, kicks off with gourmet festivities and menu specials, just as a cultural feast is unleashed in theatres and galleries, touring bands thrill music fans and Halloween activities creep into our already wild nightlife. Fantastic food   Montréal is a food lovers’ city, with more restaurants than most major urban centres and the acclaim to match – try as many eateries as you can during MTL à TABLE, Montréal’s official Restaurant Week, happening October 29 to November 8 at 150 restaurants across the city. For 11 days, take advantage of table d’hôte reduced prices ($21, $31 or $41), culinary tours, wine tastings, special events and more, from family-friendly restaurants to group-friendly locales, bring-your-own-wine favourites to local cheeses. For more details on what to do and where to go during Restaurant Week, read our Tourisme Montréal Guide to the 2015 Edition of MTL à TABLE. Happy eating! Halloween anticipation Because Montréalers love Halloween, the costumed fun starts early. Cult movie fans cheer for both the film and a cast of characters on stage at the Rocky Horror Picture Show Ball,… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: October 16 to 22

Whatever the fall weather, Montréal stays beautiful and busy this week with refreshing outdoor activities and indoor entertainment from international film to ballet, hockey to motocross, circus tricks to fashion steals, classical concerts to indie rock ragers. Sports action Whether you’re a major hockey fan or just love getting caught up in the energy of the game, there’s nothing like seeing the Canadiens on home ice in a packed stadium: the Habs take on the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre on October 17 and the St. Louis Blues on October 20. Montréal’s Olympian-packed Canadian Women’s Hockey League team gets a new name for a new season: Les Canadiennes fight the Brampton Thunder on Saturday, October 17 at 5:30 pm at Centre Étienne Desmarteau (3430 rue de Bellechasse) – bring your skates to hit the ice with the players after the game! And Nitro Circus Live takes extreme sports to the next level with a three-ring circus of freestyle motocross, BMX, high-flying stunts on wheeled contraptions thrown from the Nitro Slingshot and more, at the Bell Centre on October 16. Screen time Perfect for a rainy day or any day, the 44th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma brings new films… / Read More →

See affordable shows on Montréal stages

The curtain goes up and the theatre, dance, circus or comedy show unfolds, its live tension palpable, often unique and unforgettable. In Montréal, that memorable experience doesn’t have to break the bank – all year round, the city’s stages are filled with live shows at affordable prices (some of them are even free!) The city’s biggest and arguably most opulent show venue, Place des Arts, houses six large theatres and several more show spaces right downtown. With shows every night, there’s usually something for every budget. Find inexpensive balcony seats for under $25, as well as student and seniors pricing and matinée deals at the Opéra de Montréal, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal  (OSM) conducted by Kent Nagano, the Orchestre Métropolitain, Les Grands Ballets, Canadian premieres of Broadway productions, and internationally touring dance company shows presented by Danse Danse. Especially watch for shows at Cinquième Salle, which often hosts cutting-edge productions by celebrated choreographers and directors. While theatre in Montréal is often quite affordable as it is, watch for inexpensive shows at the Segal Centre and Centaur Theatre studio and second stages, as well as theatre at the city’s many Maisons de la culture, host to productions by both established and… / Read More →

Things to Do in Montreal: January 17-23

Enjoy Montreal’s winter traditions this week, from tobogganing to warming comfort foods, and find yourself transported by all manner of entertainment: electronic dance music, Chinese dance, Russian ballet, high-tech French film, inventive art, and more…