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MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE leaves the lights on even longer this year

The autumn leaves are barely off the trees, the first flurries have so far only teased, but winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is already planning a “blizzard” of arts and entertainment. Their freshly announced programming includes surprises in every corner of performance – music, theatre, dance, circus and more – and some welcome news for those who can’t get enough of Montréal’s cold-weather fun fest. MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, which annually attracts some 1,300,000 visitors, is already one of the largest winter festivals in the world, and now it will be one of the longest. The 2016 edition jumps from 11 to 17 days, February 18 to March 5, in order for families to take full advantage of the midwinter school break. Also new, as it is every year, is the festival’s featured country or city, and this year MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE will celebrate Shenzhen, China. One of the world’s most rapidly developing urban centers, Shenzhen (population 10 million) is a UNESCO City of Design and a major arts and culture hub, making it a fascinating ambassador for the many Chinese-themed events at the festival. First among these is the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra – presenting Chinese and European classical works celebrating… / 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: February 26 to March 4

Yes, yes, y’all, it’s Nuit Blanche! This Saturday brings with it the best excuse to stay up all night since the last Star Trek marathon on Space TV. Grab your friends and family and hit the streets and cultural centres of the Montréal, open all night and jam-packed with special programming. All-night art The only bad thing about Nuit Blanche is figuring out how to divide your time – there’s just that much to do. The best strategy this Saturday, February 28, is to start with all your favourite places, whether that’s the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Phi Centre, the Olympic Stadium, Fonderie Darling or the Belgo Building, because you’ll get to access them for free. Plus you can be sure they’ll be pulling out all the stops for this special night with unusual and exciting programming, whether that’s live music, workshops, free performances and more. But afterwards, it’s time to discover. Nuit Blanche is really about broadening your perspectives, while having a good time, so an adventurous attitude is de mise. This year you might be tempted by the film screening night at Nouveau Palais restaurant. Or maybe you’ll want to try the all-night collage party at Monastiraki? And,… / Read More →

Nuit Blanche: Montréal’s all-nighter lets your wild side be your guide

A wild night out might include a zip line or an ice slide. Or rock climbing, rock concerts or underground adventures. Maybe a veritable gourmet buffet, nighttime acrobatics or a dance club ski lodge and spa. But what about all of those things, and much more, on one single night? It would have to be, by anyone’s measure, the wildest night of the year. Welcome to Montréal’s Nuit Blanche. Starting on Saturday, February 28 and wrapping up pretty much whenever you want it to wrap up in the morning hours of Sunday, March 1, this 12th edition of Montréal’s “white night” is practically incandescent with activities. Nuit Blanche puts an exclamation point on the city’s MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, closing out the annual extravaganza with an all-night citywide party. Some 211 separate activities – 178 of which are absolutely free – will be spread out across three city districts: Old Montréal, most of downtown and the Plateau/Mile End. And don’t worry your head about transportation. Montréal’s metro system will be open all night long, and a free shuttle service (4 routes and 65 stops) connecting the aforementioned districts will run every 10 minutes from 8 pm to 3 am. But more importantly, the fun stuff. Montréal… / Read More →

Montréal celebrates food all year round

[Updated on July 17, 2015] Montrealers love to celebrate anything and everything, especially food and drink. Here are the top 15 food events that you need to look out for! First Fridays (Annually from May to October) Join the fleet of Montréal food trucks every first Friday of the summer and autumn months at the Esplanade Sun Life at the Olympic Park, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. for some awesome open air eats. Montréal Oysterfest (August 29 & 30, 2015) A weekend-long festival that brings together some of the city’s finest restaurants and bars to celebrate our all-time favourite bivalve mollusc, the oyster. Omnivore Food Festival (August 20 to 24, 2015) In collaboration with the SAT (Society for Arts and Technology), the Omnivore World Tour returns every year in the month of August to discuss and demonstrate trends and innovative techniques by world-renowned chefs. Le Burger Week (Annually in September) Initiated by the same people who bring you La Poutine Week, Le Burger Week features over 30 restaurants around Montréal that offer their tasty interpretation of the humble hamburger. MTL à TABLE (October 29 to November 8, 2015) Montréal’s own restaurant week: over 140 restaurants in the city serving specialty table d’hôte menus at… / Read More →

Activities for all ages during Spring Break in Montréal

“Spring Break” is a misnomer – it should be called “Spring Blast.” Whether you call it Spring Break, March Break or as we say in French, “la semaine de relâche,” the weeks ending February and beginning March in Montréal are exploding with entertainment and events tailored to the kids and the kid in you. It begins with the end of massive winter arts and culture festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE (February 19 to March 1), which takes place in the Quartier des Spectacles in downtown Montréal. The festival presents an action-packed program of performing arts, culinary creations and a dynamic range of outdoor activities. The free and family-friendly outdoor site is alive with interactive installations, dining areas, a Ferris wheel, ice slides (one each for adults and the little ones) and, new this year, zip lines that run the length of the festival site. MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE concludes with the epic Nuit Blanche all-nighter on February 28, which consists of more than 200 (mostly free) activities including live music, film, performance art, interactive installations and visual arts. Nuit Blanche takes over three districts of aboveground Montréal (served by shuttles) as well as underground Montréal. In fact, the city’s renowned “Underground City”… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Laurent Saulnier

Laurent Saulnier is arguably one of Montréal’s most powerful musical tastemakers. It’s a notion that would doubtless make the amiable and unassuming Vice-President of Programming and Production for three of the city’s largest festivals – MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and Les FrancoFolies – erupt in a fit of his signature laughter. Saulnier began working for the festivals 15 years ago after sharpening his skills as a music connoisseur at French-language alt-weekly Voir where he was music editor. Now Saulnier applies those same discerning tastes to the selection of the hundreds of artists of all genres who perform at the festivals’ indoor and outdoor stages. He is, in short, the VP of your good time. Job: Vice-President of Programming and Production at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and Les FrancoFolies. What exactly do you do? “I’m responsible for all the stages and what’s on those stages, both indoors and outdoors. So it’s about choosing the artists, but it’s also about the lights, the sound and everything that’s on the stages themselves.” What’s the coolest thing about your job? “The coolest thing is being able to bring new faces, new talent, new… / Read More →

Best #MTLMOMENTS from Montréal en Lumière and Nuit Blanche

This past week, Montréal en Lumière and Nuit Blanche illuminated the city with vibrant lights and unique cultural highlights. We sourced some of the best pictures from Montrealers and visitors who came out to enjoy the food, fun, art, night, and lights… The pulsating crowd in Quartier des Spectacles during Montréal en Lumière. (Photo by benkiraneahmed) The now famous slide during Montréal en Lumière. Watching the joy on children’s faces when they whiz down is enough to warm your heart for the rest of Nuit Blanche! (Photo by susanmossphotography) This penguin at the Biodome on Nuit Blanche needs no introduction. (Photo by clemmtl) The brave took to the ice during Montréal en Lumière even though the temperature dipped well below freezing. (Photo by votretourdumonde) A stunning photo of the Grande Roue in Quartiers des Spectacles. Must have used a tripod… (Photo by vesia514) Two vibrant panoramas of the festival- such a whimsical sight! (Photo by photojpl) A special menu of edible art at Globe for the Montréal en Lumière festival. (Photo by montrealglobe) Keeping cozy and warm while fueling up on a snack around a fire pit during Nuit Blanche. (Photo by chenyunlv) Intricate alien-like body paintings at Hotel Le Germain on Nuit Blanche…. / Read More →

Things to Do in Montreal: February 28-March 6

The city lights up this week for the all-night festivities of Nuit Blanche, a Quebec-made beer festival, internationally-acclaimed circus, theatre, dance and live music, and even keeps family spirits bright throughout spring break…

Things to Do in Montreal: February 21-27

With a winter festival in full swing downtown, feats of outdoor athleticism in the Old Port, and an array of theatrical and music performances at dozens of venues, this week keeps winter brighter than ever…