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Best-selling author Yann Martel on finding home and Montréal

Celebrated Canadian author Yann Martel spent over a decade living in Montréal, part of that crafting a novel that would become not only an international bestseller but a Man Booker Prize-winner and contemporary classic: Life of Pi. Since then, both the city and the author have continued to evolve and captivate our imaginations – Martel with his new novel, The High Mountains of Portugal, and Montréal with its fusion of centuries-old history, high-tech innovation and diverse arts and cultural milieu. With Montréal’s annual international literary festival, Blue Metropolis, just around the corner (April 11 to 17, 2016), Tourisme Montréal blogger Robyn Fadden recently sat down with Yann Martel to talk about The High Mountains of Portugal and the importance of different places in our lives, as well as his favourite things about Montréal. You were born in Spain, have lived stretches of your childhood and adult life in Montréal, you’ve traveled far and wide, and your novels span the globe – why focus on concepts of home in The High Mountains of Portugal? I was looking at home in relation to the broad theme of the novel – like Life of Pi, I was interested in looking at faith. Not… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: LP Maurice

Job: Entrepreneur. CEO & Co-founder of Busbud, an app to help travellers book intercity bus tickets worldwide. Favourite pastime:  Travel, music and photography. Ideally all three together! How long have you been a Montrealer?  Since birth! Then I spent most of my 20s outside of Montreal studying and working in Boston, San Francisco, New York, Paris, London and Beijing. That said, I’m looking forward to spending all of my 30s based in Montreal! What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? I became an uncle when my brother had his first boy earlier this year! Other than that, I went hiking on Kauai island in Hawaii, which blew my mind, and had an awesome roadtrip week in the canyon lands between Nevada and Arizona. I also had the chance to visit two local gems this summer in Quebec: Bic park near Rimouski and the Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean region. I’ve travelled around the world and I’m always stunned by Quebec’s world-class natural beauty, with so much to explore right in our backyard. What’s the next big thing you’re planning? Right now I’m planning a series of business trips to San Francisco & Silicon Valley in January, New York in February, and… / Read More →

Your Montréal Nuit blanche Survival Guide

Calling all nighthawks, night owls and burners of midnight oil. The once-a-year, all-night, nearly citywide arts, culture and performance party that is Nuit blanche is nearly upon us. It’s a vast undertaking with almost innumerable options and opportunities, and with that in mind, we offer you this guide to one of Montreal’s brightest winter nights. THE EVENT The 13th edition off Nuit blanche, part of the annual MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival at locations all over downtown Montréal and surrounding neighbourhoods, starting on February 27 and ending in the wee hours of February 28. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO One of the highlights of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is the always illuminating, always epic Nuit blanche all-nighter. Nuit blanche (“white night”) invites all comers to partake in upwards of 200 (mostly free) activities this year, including live music, film, dance, performance art, interactive installations, storytelling, digital and visual art, and great food to match a great night. IT’S WHERE EXACTLY? Almost everywhere MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s family-friendly free outdoor site in the downtown Quartier des Spectacles is the central hub from which all the action radiates. The site features a giant outdoor stage, interactive installations, dining areas, numerous fun activities (we don’t need… / Read More →

M for Montreal 2015

M for memory making, for motivating and, oftentimes, for magic. But more than that, M for Montreal stands for M for amazing music. This year the tastemaking music festival and conference, which aims to assist up-and-coming artists not just at a local level, but internationally as well, is pulling out the stops for its 10th anniversary edition. For four days and nights, November 18-21, well over 100 local and international acts will be showcasing in more than 20 venues around Montréal in tandem with numerous conferences and networking opportunities with recognized music industry heavy hitters. Panels and workshops with specially selected delegates from around the world are a key feature of M for Montreal which, like the city it calls home, aims to strike that perfect work/play balance. “It’s really special for us to see many of the international delegates and media experience Montréal for the first time,” says M for Montreal programming director Mikey Rishwain. “And we try to build on that by making magic happen between business and pleasure.” The wizardry this year includes a markedly increased focus on electronic and hip-hop music. This is in addition to, of course, the usual onslaught of leading edge, mostly made-in-Montréal… / Read More →

Montréal through my lens: Images by @yellowillow

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Montreal Instagrammer @yellowillow] My name is Anne McIsaac, but most people know me as @yellowillow on Instagram. I’m an art director and I help my clients build their image campaigns, whether it’s using traditional media or social networks. I love the colour yellow. I find it luminous and optimistic. I also love to help my followers discover my city, whether they live here in Montréal or elsewhere. I try to share my own particular vision by adding, I hope, a touch of poetry. And there is not that I love more than to show my favourite Montréal places to friends who are visiting the city. With Instagram`s network, we get to meet people (virtually, at least) from around the world but when they come to town, that’s when the tour begins. Here are some of my favourite spots: Victorian house with yellow decor. It managed to escape the demolition and modernization that swallowed up many houses like this. Lahaie Park in Mile End. Recently renovated and still attracts tons of visitors who stop for leisurely picnics, to chat, to read tarot cards or do a little yoga. This has to be the… / Read More →

10 (more) wonderful ways to explore Montréal

A second (or third or fourth) visit to Montréal is a time for really getting to know the city and its people – but where to start digging deeper? We’ve compiled a top-ten list that’s all about going beyond the main attractions – check our 10 Montréal “musts” for first-time visitors first so you don’t miss any of those! See a Show at Place des Arts Live music, theatre, dance and more is all under the roof of Place des Arts, the city’s biggest theatre complex, right downtown in the Quartier des spectacles. Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Orchestre Métropolitain play classical favourites and new music in the new Maison Symphonique, Opéra de Montréal stages lush opera productions, Danse Danse brings international dance stars to the Montreal stage, and rock stars and Broadway shows make appearances at PdA throughout the year. Shop the Plateau Find speciality stores and Canadian and Quebecois designers’ boutiques as well as bookstores, furniture and more on the streets of the Plateau neighbourhood, especially on Saint-Denis Street and Saint-Laurent Boulevard north of Sherbrooke, Mont-Royal Avenue in the several blocks east and west of the Mont-Royal Metro station, and along Laurier Avenue west of Saint-Laurent. and if… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Anne-Marie Withenshaw

One of the most recognizable names on the Montréal media landscape, popular television and radio host Anne-Marie Withenshaw has long been an unofficial ambassador for the city’s thriving arts and cultural scenes. No longer: Withenshaw is official now as the 2015 ambassador for the annual MTL à TABLE restaurant event, 11 days of gourmet festivities and culinary discovery at 159 restos across Montréal, October 29 to November 8. Like Withenshaw doesn’t have enough on her plate(s), she also co-hosts TV show À couteaux tirés with world-renowned Montréal chef Chuck Hughes. It pits two top-shelf Québécois chefs against each other in a friendly, albeit crazy and unpredictable, competition each week. The program airs on CASA TV every Monday (5:30 pm), Thursday (9:30 pm) and Saturday (12:30 and 6 pm). We caught up with the food- and life-loving Withenshaw in between shooting. What’s the coolest, most interesting thing you’ve done so far this year? “I guess probably raise a toddler. It’s funny, my life has really changed a lot since I had a kid. Maybe four or five weeks before I got pregnant I was on tour with Rihanna. I did five cities in five days for [Montréal radio station] The Beat…… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: September 11 to 17

Back to school already? No worries, it’s recess every hour of every day somewhere in Montréal! Pop Montréal sets the tone for this week of full-packed fun, not to mention the tons of great art shows to see, plays and dance performances to catch and quiet nice times to be had too, like in the botanical gardens. Oh, and anyone down for a BMX competition? Pop music Welcome to Pop Montréal, one of the city’s most exciting music festivals (and that’s saying something in the city of festivals!), uniting hundreds of rock, pop, hip-hop, folk and electro artists in venues all over Mile End and the Plateau (and beyond). With dozens of shows every night, not to mention music-industry insider talks, film screenings, the Puces Pop art & craft fair, Fashion Pop’s catwalk shows, Art Pop’s amazing exhibitions and talks (don’t miss yours truly interviewing amazing artist Olaf Breuning on Friday, September 18 at 6 pm), expect your schedule to be extra packed between September 16 and 20. Opening night sets the tone with a party at Pop HQ, plus shows by Cœur de Pirate, Félix Dyotte, Molly Sweeney, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Ruby the Hatchet, Ecstatic Vision, Fanfaraï,… / Read More →

ÎleSoniq blasts its way to Montréal

ÎleSoniq is ready to take us away on a ride for its second edition, August 14 to 15, 2015! Having already played host to Osheaga and Heavy Montréal, Parc Jean-Drapeau is preparing for another round of heart-stopping beats. Let us be your guide to the whole spectrum of genres, from EDM to hip-hop and rap to house music. With more than 50 artists performing over two days and three stages, you’re sure to hear something pleasing along the way! On Friday, the party gets started on the Fido OASIS Stage with Dutch-Canadian-born Eva Shaw. Montreal-based DJs Paris and Simo then treat us to some home town flavour and Chicago’s Flosstradamus will throw down their hip-hop/EDM beats. Headliners Die Antwoord bring their rap/rave game to the stage to the delight of many festivalgoers. American DJ Kaskade is sure to please many house music fans, and Canadian DJ Deadmau5 will turn heads (and ears!) to close the night. Over at the La Vie Budlight Stage, headliner DJ Snake (of “Turn Down for What ft. Lil’ Jon” fame) has been given carte blanche to curate the artists on the Pardon My French stage, which are all from France! If you love Daft Punk… / Read More →

A trio of must-try BYOW restaurants in Montréal

If you love great cuisine and toting your own vintage to the feast, then these three Montréal BYOWs should be on your restaurant radar. Food is front and centre at these three charming eateries, as is great atmosphere and impeccable service. If you have a bottle that can match the marvelous eats at this trio, consider yourself one lucky restaurant-goer. Restaurant l’Atelier, 5308 Boulevard St. Laurent Discreetly located on the upper reachings of St. Laurent Boulevard in the hip Mile End, l’Atelier is one of the city’s best-kept BYOW secrets. From the get-go it’s cozy décor of wood and warm sand colours is inviting; in warmer weather, its sliding windows also open for outdoor seating. Open since 2006, l’Atelier shines the spotlight on local products from Québec and Canada. Its menu is smaller-sized in order to adapt to availability of fresh products and picks. Out of its kitchen comes classic French cuisine with a kicked-up twist that include a melt-in-your-mouth black pudding with apple butter and Coureur des bois jelly, sweetbreads with wild mushrooms and cherry raisins in fois gras sauce or smoked Arctic char with sour cream and caviar, and an absolutely divine spice cake served on a bed… / Read More →