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Romance for all in Montréal

Beautiful views, European charm, award-winning dining, entertainment that never sleeps… Montréal has got all the markers of a winning romantic weekend for any type of couple. This Valentine’s Day, whether you like things sporty, luxurious or classic (because long-stem roses never go out of style), here are five getaway ideas from us to you – with love. A classic kind of love Wining and dining is a sure way to pretty much anyone’s heart. With hotel specials like the Valentine’s Day package at the beautiful Le Germain in Old Montréal, you’re already half way there. After picking up some chocolates at Maison Christian Faure and some flowers at the stand in Square Victoria, grab a horse-drawn carriage tour of Old Montréal across the street from Notre-Dame Basilica, where Céline Dion got married (it’ll set the mood). Next, book a tête-à-tête to sample the special V Day offerings at 400 Coups (a five-course meal featuring crab ravioli and foie gras mousse), Le Quindici (short ribs braised in wine, anyone?) or the warm, European flavoured Branzino. If you can’t choose, how about one on Friday, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday? Then stroll up from Old Montréal to downtown for… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 5 to 11

Montréal takes the chill off February this week with food festivals that celebrate poutine, chocolate and full-course meals, alongside winter festivals Fêtes des neiges and Igloofest and a glittering array of opera, art, dance, theatre, film and live music. Winter fun Whatever the weather, head to scenic Parc Jean-Drapeau for the final weekend of family-friendly Fêtes des neiges, a massive activity park featuring tube sliding, zip lining, ice skating, a toddler play zone, hot beverages, delicious snacks and lively entertainment on Saturday and Sunday. The winter sports action continues at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at Olympic Park (also home to the Biodôme, Botanical Garden and Planetarium). Nighttime stays bright as massive outdoor party Igloofest – also in its final weekend – gets people dancing in their parkas at the Old Port – this Friday dance to Michael Mayer, Tale of Us and more artists, while Saturday brings Brodinski, Swindle, Laura Scavo and more to the festival’s two stages. And the Montréal Canadiens try to get back on top of their NHL hockey game in three home rounds at the Bell Centre this week, facing the Oilers on Saturday, Hurricanes… / Read More →

Montréal’s star-studded winter-spring 2016 classical music season

Montréal’s winter-spring 2016 cultural season features many all-star concerts for classical music lovers. The return of famed Swiss Maestro Charles Dutoit with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in the Maison symphonique for two much-anticipated concerts on February 18 and 20 with superstar Argentine pianist Martha Argerich (also former spouse of Dutoit) ranks as one of the most significant cultural events in Montréal in 2016, and is part of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE. Dutoit, who turns 80 this year, will lead the OSM 14 years after his 24-year tenure as its legendary conductor, a period that witnessed the OSM’s elevation into the ranks of the world’s greatest orchestras. On the program: the overture of Roman Carnival, op. 9 by Berlioz; the Piano Concerto no 1 in C Major, op. 15, by Beethoven; Petrushka (the original 1911 version from) by Stravinsky; and La Valse by Ravel. Other concerts of note presented by the OSM this season include the concert recital Marie-Nicole Lemieux & The French Art of Song, presented in collaboration with Pro Musica at the Maison symphonique de Montréal on April 19, featuring internationally-acclaimed Quebec contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, who was also appointed to the order of Canada in 2015; and three OSM Pop concerts with famed French entertainer Patrick… / Read More →

Montréal offers a chorus of song for the holiday season

’Tis the season to have your ears sweep you off your feet as many of Montréal’s illustrious choirs and orchestras – offering spirited gospel, pop, classical, jazz and more – bring their holiday A-game to the city’s best venues in the coming weeks. The award-winning Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir – who closed the Montreal International Jazz Festival this year and have collaborated with artists like Ray Charles, Céline Dion and Barry White – are prepping for the 33rd instalment of their hugely popular Gospel Celebration Christmas Show. Roof-raising gospel songs and a selection of festive faves are all on tap for what is guaranteed to be an unforgettable celebration of song at Théâtre Maisonneuve, in Place des Arts, December 6. Hallelujah! The magnificent Saint Joseph’s Oratory – Canada’s largest church, situated on the western slope of Mount Royal – plays host to some 2 million visitors each year, many of whom eagerly anticipate the annual series of Christmas concerts. Again this year, on December 4 (8 pm) and 5 (2:30 and 8 pm), the Basilica of the Oratory will play host to ten renowned artists performing 22 holiday arias in the company of Oratory organist Vincent Boucher musical director/bassist Jacques Roy. It’s a Wainwright holiday… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: November 13 to 19

Montréal offers a feast for the senses this week, with new films set on earth and in the sky, high-energy sports and video gaming, drama and dance, cutting-edge visual art and local artisanal creations, and a seemingly endless amount of live music. On-screen adventure Hundreds of new documentary features and shorts from around the world come to Montréal screens this week during the 18th annual Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), November 12 to 22 – along with so many eye-opening films on subjects ranging from war and refugees to environmental issues and government reform, go to talks by directors, actors and film industry members, special events and more. Catch the newest in French-language films (with English subtitles, bien sûr) at the CINEMANIA festival until November 15, including Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan and the premieres of Floride by Philippe Le Guay Marguerite et Julien by Valérie Donzelli and Je suis mort mais j’ai des amis by Stéphane and Guillaume Malandrin. As well, at the Phi Centre, see David Oelhoffen’s Loin des Hommes, November 16 to 18, an adaptation of a short story by Albert Camus and starring Viggo Mortensen. The Éléphant Classiq festival honours Québec cinema masterpieces, November 19 to 22, opening… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: November 6 to 12

November warms us up with gourmet food and drink at MTL à TABLE, La Grande Dégustation and more delicious events, along with the thrills of this week’s high-energy hockey and dance, innovations in film and art, and joyous fun of theatre and live music. Go gourmet Eat well and often as the city’s best restaurants participate in MTL à TABLE, Montréal’s official Restaurant Week, a celebration of food and drink with special prices to match. Until November 8, food lovers can enjoy table d’hôte menus at reduced prices ($21, $31 or $41), culinary tours, wine tastings, chocolate sampling, special events and more at 150 restaurants and other locations throughout the city. See our Tourisme Montréal Guide to the 2015 Edition of MTL à TABLE for details and feast at brilliant brunch eateries, family-friendly restaurants, group-friendly locales, bring-your-own-wine favourites and much more, plus try out local cheeses or take a gourmet excursion. Not only that but month-long event Happy November adds to the festivities, including La Grande Dégustation de Montréal, November 6 and 7, showcasing 200 wine producers, distillers and brewers and their fabulous wares at Place Bonaventure. And if you’re vegan or simply vegan-curious, check out the 2nd-annual Montréal Vegan… / Read More →

Nine must-see shows at the Montréal International Jazz Festival

A comprehensive list of this year’s can’t-miss concerts at the Montréal International Jazz Festival could put some heavy mileage on the eyes. For the sake of your continued good vision, dear reader, we’ve shortened that to a very manageable 9 essential shows, a number of which are among the 350 free concerts and activities on offer from June 26 to July 5. In chronological order… Steve Miller Band (June 26) With quintessentially ’70s, classic rock songs such as Fly Like an Eagle, Take the Money and Run and Rock’n Me, the Steve Miller Band will time warp fans to another era. And with 15 albums under its belt, the hits will keep coming Floyd Mayweather style. (Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier) Beirut (June 26) World-travelling, indie-folk rockers Beirut (Eastern European influences meet French pop with sojourns in Mexico and other warm locales) will open their latest tour with this outdoor Jazz Festival appearance, which will tease the September release of the new album No No No. (TD Stage – FREE) Erykah Badu (June 29) In a festival first, the Queen of Neo-Soul herself will be building a monument to jazzy R&B in Salle Wilfred-Pelletier where her lucky subjects may be afforded an opportunity… / Read More →

Things to Do in Montreal: March 7-13

It’s been a busy, wintry February in Montreal, and March doesn’t show any signs of the city slowing down: there’s still plenty to do outside, especially if you’re traveling with the family, and music, art, theatre, circus and more to entertain indoors…