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Things to do in Montréal: February 19 to 25

Montréal’s downtown sparkles with free entertainment this week at the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, while indoors you can go butterfly spotting, play games at the games festival, watch hockey, and see stars of dance, theatre, film, art and live music shine. Snowy celebrations Montréal’s biggest family-friendly festival of the season is in full swing: MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s free outdoor site fills downtown’s Place des Festivals with music, multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, fabulous food and more, while the festival’s indoor performances highlight musical performances and theatre – let our MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE SURVIVAL GUIDE lead the way. Go for a scenic skate next to the Saint-Lawrence River at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Park Esplanade. Talk a walk through nature right in the city in Mount Royal, La Fontaine and Jean-Drapeau parks. And make it all easier with these Montreal-specific apps. Indoor activities Spring is truly in the air at the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free event at the Space For Life (also home to the Biodôme, Insectarium and Planetarium) – this year butterflies share the spotlight with furry caterpillars. Game lovers of all ages can play board games,… / Read More →

Your MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE Survival Guide

Cold weather festing hath no fury like the ever-strengthening MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival, which brightens moods and sets downtown Montréal alight with excitement each and every year. A blizzard of entertainment and activities awaits visitors at both indoor and outdoor locales, so let this be your guide to navigating the storm. THE EVENT The 17th edition of the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival at various locations in downtown Montréal from February 18 to March 5, 2016. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO Over the course of 17 days, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE will enjoy some 1,300,000 visits from fearless fun seekers at what has become one of the largest winter festivals in the world. The annual happening hosts an expansive, eclectic and high-powered program of performing arts (live music, theatre, dance, circus arts and more) at many of the city’s best venues. There are also almost innumerable gastronomic options (some 500 chefs, wine producers and culinary experts have participated over the years) and a lively range of events and activities on the action-packed outdoor site that visitors can participate in. THE LAY OF THE LAND Where everything’s happening The almost 200 paid indoor performances and… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 12 to 18

Montréal pairs Valentine’s sparkle with glittering winter entertainment this week – the city’s top restaurants and hotels ready for romance, and the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival kicks off, along with inspiring international ballet, contemporary dance, art, theatre, film and live music. City lights Winter, spring, summer or fall, we’re counting the ways Montréal warms our hearts – and this week’s kickoff of massive winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE has us all fired up. Opening Thursday, February 18, the family-friendly festival’s free outdoor site entertains with multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, fabulous food and more, while indoors see dozens of musicians and performers, including Swiss Maestro Charles Dutoit and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra at Place des Arts February 18 and 20. Day or night, skate next to the Saint-Lawrence River at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Park Esplanade. Also near the Olympic Park, the wonders of the natural world await at the Space For Life, home to the Biodôme, Botanical Garden and Planetarium – the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free exhibit opens February 18, this year butterflies share the spotlight… / Read More →

Spring Break for families

Whether your kids want to get out in the snow or play games indoors, find fun, memorable and even free things to do for every kid at every age during Spring Break in Montréal, February 27 to March 6. Free for the whole family Downtown Montréal sparkles during MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, February 18 to March 5, especially at the winter festival’s free outdoor site outside Place des Arts in the Quartier des spectacles – ride an illuminated ice slide and Ferris wheel, play games and activities, roast marshmallows over fire pits, see music and circus performances and much more. On February 27, let the kids stay up late for all-nighter event Nuit Blanche, with indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment for all ages. Check out the art brightening up underground passageways linking downtown Montréal skyscrapers and malls (Complexe Desjardins, Place Ville Marie, Place Montréal Trust, Centre Eaton) during Art Souterrain. Outdoors, walk, run, snowshoe or cross-country ski in the city’s big parks – Mount Royal, La Fontaine and Jean-Drapeau – on March 2 watch the world’s top cross-country skiers compete in Ski Tour Canada 2016, with Mount Royal’s Beaver Lake Pavilion the start and finish point. And explore nature beyond the city centre at the… / Read More →

Montréal winter nights are bright with activity possibilities

Nighttime is always the right time for both family fun and slightly more adult-oriented activities and entertainment in Montréal during the winter season. Gliding on ice under night skies is a sublime pastime at the Old Port’s idyllic Bonsecours Basin skating rink, a huge open-air surface renowned for its exceptional ice. It features some of the most striking views of Old Montréal and the city skyline in an extremely fun-friendly environment. Each day has a different music theme: classical Mondays, world music Tuesdays, urban sounds Wednesdays, and so on. The ice is open Monday to Wednesday until 9 pm, and Thursday to Sunday until 10 pm. Skate rentals and lockers are available. Many of Montréal’s most beautiful parks also feature night skating along with music, warming stations and/or places to eat and, er, lubricate. The picturesque Parc Lafontaine, Parc Maisonneuve and Beaver Lake on the summit of Mount Royal are all examples of top-tier blading places that typically stay open on the weekends until 10 pm. For locations, skating conditions and other info, please go here. Speaking of the mountain, Mount Royal Park is an outdoor winter sports enthusiast’s dream. In addition to skating, sledding and cross-country skiing – there… / Read More →

Viva les divas! Top 2016 Montréal concerts by all-star divas

[Updated on July 6, 2016] Many great and legendary divas – celebrated female singers from the worlds of opera, pop music and Rock and Roll, not to mention an internationally-beloved throat singer – will headline much-buzzed about concerts in venues across Montréal in 2016. Here are some choice picks for the coming year: Soul singer Lisa Fischer, famed for her multi-octave range and featured back-up singer for, among others, Luther Vandross, Tina Turner and The Rolling Stones, brings her solo show to the Corona Theatre on January 30. British 1970s disco diva Maxine Nightingale (Right Back Where We Started From) headlines the 13th annual Sammy’s Valentines Gala benefitting the Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Canada Society, at Plaza Volare on February 13. Winner of the 2014 Polaris Music Prize for her album Animism, internationally-acclaimed Nunavut throat singer Tanya Tagaq headlines the Cinquième Salle at Place des Arts on February 19 and 20 during the Montréal en lumière winter festival. Grammy-nominated soul diva Andra Day headlines the Corona Theatre on March 18. The Queens of Sheba Tour features headliner and Montréal favourites Heart – who effectively launched their careers in Montréal when they opened for Rod Stewart at the Forum in 1976 –… / 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 →

10 New Year’s resolutions you’ll keep… in Montréal

Whether we make them every year or we’ve sworn off them for life, New Year’s Resolutions can haunt us – the trick is to make your yearly promises as fun-loving as possible. And since Montréal is decidedly fun-loving, it’s easy to follow through on those quintessential New Year’s resolutions any time of the year. Eat a multi-course meal Eating is necessary to life, whether you’ve made a “lose-weight” resolution or not, and five-course meals aren’t something most of us enjoy every day – so why not dig in to Montréal’s best prix-fixe menus at award-winning hotel and independent gourmet restaurants serving delicious local creations, authentic French food, special late-night menus, and so much more. If you visit in late fall, take advantage of the slashed prices at dozens of restaurants during the MTL à TABLE Montréal restaurant week. If you’re here in February, look for gourmet specials at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE. And from late February to early April, experience the Québec cabane à sucre sugar shack tradition. Drink the good stuff There’s no time like the present in Montréal to splurge on that cask-aged whiskey or gorgeous bottle of wine you’ve been dreaming about. Taste rare single malts and more… / Read More →

Festive fun for kids this holiday season in Montréal

If you’re visiting Montréal with your family in December, expect to find entertaining seasonal festivities with all the trimmings: Christmas trees and illuminated interactive art, outdoor games and activities, hot chocolate and good food, and, of course, Santa. Treats and presents Lights glitter, friends and family gather, and kids play at Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal, a new outdoor winter market right downtown at the Place des Arts Esplanade, December 12 to January 2. Not only a great place to find last-minute locally-made gifts but a joyful event featuring entertainment, music, karaoke and other playful activities for all ages – and plenty to eat and drink, from beaver tails to maple candy. Not far away from Le Grand Marché, see performances, watch films, shop and sample seasonal treats at the Marché de Noël Prince Arthur. And when it’s time for a full sit-down meal, consult our extensive list of kid-friendly restaurants. Winter wonderlands Old Montréal turns into a warmer version of the North Pole during the Merry Montréal celebrations – there’s free hot chocolate, Christmas-themed films, cozy fires and even see Santa Claus at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier. Peer into the window of Ogilvy department store… / Read More →

Luminothérapie and high-tech creativity light up city life

A ride on an illuminated seesaw while surrounded by storeys-tall video projections may be all you need to get comfortable with Montréal winter this December. The city greets the season with the new glittering creations of annual event Luminothérapie, reflecting just how ahead of the technological curve Montréal is all year, whether in video gaming or art making. The sixth edition of Luminothérapie, held December 10 to January 31, builds on Montréal’s affinity for technological innovation with a distinctly artistic and cultural edge – this year’s event turns Place des Festivals into an interactive-art playground filled with 30 seesaws emitting sound and light. Inspired by Montrealers’ love of outdoor play no matter what the weather, the designers of Impulse – Lateral Office, CS Design and EGP Group – have created a cheerful gathering place in the heart of downtown. Meanwhile, video projections by Montréal-based digital art team Maotik and Iregular transform nearby Théâtre Maisonneuve and UQAM’s President–Kennedy building as well as the Grande Bibliothèque, UQAM bell tower and five more looming facades into screens for gorgeous abstract visuals accompanied by soundtracks by Toronto-based artist Mitchell Akiyama. Luminothérapie grew out of Montréal’s participation in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, a global network… / Read More →