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Things to do in Montréal: June 24 to 30

The city heats up with a bang at the massive Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations this Friday and Saturday, keeps sizzling with great food and drink at outdoor markets everywhere, and stays hot as the Montréal International Jazz Festival opens on Thursday. Outdoor celebrations The whole city celebrates Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, also known as Fête National, on June 24 – and on June 23 too! Find live music, food and general festivities at Place des Festivals, Jardins Gamelin and along St-Denis Street in the Quartier des Spectacles, at the Olympic Park and in every neighbourhood including at the Marché des Possibles in Mile End – plus the annual parade along Sainte-Catherine Street downtown starting at 1 pm on June 24. In the Old Port of Montréal, ride the zipline, climb on the rope structures of Voiles en Voiles, and find your way through the SOS Labyrinthe. At the foot of the Jacques-Cartier bridge you’ll find Marché du Village au Pied-du-Courant, featuring free music events, an outdoor bar, food trucks and more all summer. The Botanical Garden continues its outdoor arts series with live music on the weekend, this Sunday with Ingrid St-Pierre. When night falls in Old Montréal, the building’s facades light up with the 20… / Read More →

Electronic wonders of the world at MUTEK and ELEKTRA

Two of Montréal’s most cutting-edge summer festivals, MUTEK and ELEKTRA, bring electronic music, high-tech creativity and experimental art from around the world to Montréal, June 1 to 5. This year marks the 17th edition for both festivals, with MUTEK’s roaster boasting over 100 musicians, producers and audiovisual artists – some in free outdoor shows – and ELEKTRA pulling out all the stops in digital multimedia performances and immersive art installations. Extraordinary A/V shows As part of citywide arts and culture event Digital Spring, both festivals boldly investigate our world’s digital tendencies through on-screen spectacles, intellectually considered artistry and long nights of underground techno. Audiovisual performances are one of the highlights at MUTEK: the A/Visions programs at the Salle Pierre-Mercure, feature immersive and astounding shows from Russian born, Berlin-based artists Dasha Rush & Stanislav Glasov, UK producer Paul Jebanasam, French musician Franck Vigroux and Belgian artist Kurt D’haeseleer, among many other talents. ELEKTRA joins the International Digital Art Biennial (BIAN) to presents its major multimedia exhibition AUTOMATA at Arsenal Contemporary Art gallery, under the tagline “art made by machines for machines,” while robotic performance Inferno, a theatrical music and light show of intense emotion and distortion called Blink, Bleu Remix a… / Read More →

Your 2016 Montréal summer festival guide

We don’t know everything, but we know how to do a few things really well in Montréal, and two of them are festivals – like Osheaga, Fantasia, the Montreal Jazz Festival and Just For Laughs – and time off. And like wine and cheese, those two things happen to pair up really well. With this in mind, and with summer vacation time on the horizon, we offer you our Montréal summer festival guide. Chromatic (May 19-22) Chromatic is a celebration of Montréal imagination situated in the Old Port’s historic Hangar 16. The program features an eclectic range of arts – visual, digital, performance, interactive and more –at events including concerts, exhibitions, screenings, workshops, parties and activities for all ages.  Both Montréal and Toronto talents will be teaming up for this seventh edition. Festival TransAmériques (FTA) (May 26 to June 8) The Festival TransAmériques (FTA) celebrates new works in contemporary dance and theatre. Showcasing both established and emerging artists, choreographers, writers and directors, this tenth edition of the FTA also aims to foster dialogue through a stimulating range of workshops, debates and roundtable discussions. Fringe Festival (May 30 to June 19) The Montréal Fringe Festival (known as “the party Fringe” on… / 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 →

10 Things that Make Montréal Shine

We’ve been telling you for years: Montréal is an amazing place to visit. With world-class dining, accommodations, festivals, museums and heritage sites, enhanced with four distinct seasons and sexy French charm, our city consistently ranks among the world’s best. Naming all our successes could take a while, so we’ve narrowed down the list to a cool round-up of 10 media nominations that rank Montréal among the world’s hottest travel destinations. Since we’ve come out on top in such a diverse range of categories—including some that will surprise you (check out #7!)—we know that Montréal offers something for everyone. See which features will tickle your fancy, then go ahead and book your ticket. Here are just 10 things that put Montréal in the limelight: 1.  Best Winter Destinations National Geographic, December 2014 “Montréal is at its most magical blanketed in snow. Bundle up, get outside, and celebrate winter at the 16th MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, the city’s biggest winter arts, music, and food festival. Save some energy for the final night’s Nuit Blanche à Montréal, a dusk-to-dawn party packed with more than 200 indoor and outdoor activities. Most events are free, and some are held under the stars or, if you’re lucky, the lightly falling snow.” 2. Best Music… / Read More →

Your 2015 Montréal summer festival guide

With every major summer festival and event in Montréal comes the impetus for a holiday getaway in our great city. The F1 Grand Prix du Canada, MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, the Jazz Festival and Osheaga, for example, are but drops in a whole bucket of fun awaiting all ages and tastes in the coming weeks and months. Blue Metropolis Montréal International Literary Festival (April 20-26) The theme at Blue Met this year is “The Power of Words,” and this large-scale celebration of reading and writing across cultures once again brings in a raft of heavy hitter authors and literary-minded figures for readings, discussions and other special events. ELEKTRA (May 13-17) ELEKTRA is a yearly digital arts festival showcasing new creations in electronic music, video, cinema, performance, design, gaming and interactive installation in combination with the innovative use of new technologies, and, in particular, those of the digital kind. Festival TransAmériques (FTA) (May 21 to June 4) The Festival TransAmériques (FTA) celebrates new works in contemporary dance and theatre. Showcasing both established and emerging artists, choreographers, writers and directors, this ninth edition of the FTA also aims to foster dialogue through a stimulating range of workshops, debates and roundtable discussions. Chromatic (May… / Read More →

Montréal celebrates food all year round

[Updated on March 14, 2016] Montrealers love to celebrate anything and everything, especially food and drink. Here are the top 19 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 (Annually in August) 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 (Annually in August) 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. YUL EAT (September 3-4-5, 2016) YUL EAT is not only a “food festival” but also a celebration of all aspects of gastronomy featuring wine tastings, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, food vendors, family activities and a fleet of food trucks. Le Burger Week (Annually in September) Initiated by the same people who bring you La Poutine Week, Le Burger Week features over 30 restaurants… / Read More →

Light up your taste buds during MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE

Winter winds may blow, but Montrealers don’t let frosty temperatures dampen their spirits: we embrace the season and celebrate it. One way we shake off the cold is with one of the world’s largest winter festivals, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIERE, from February 19 to March 1. For 11 days, visitors and locals alike can experience the pleasure of a Montréal winter through a unique program of activities that brings together performing arts, free outdoor family-friendly activities and, most importantly, gastronomy! Since 2000, over 500 world-renowned chefs have been paired with local culinary talent at the city’s finest tables to express their passion for the art of food. Here are some of the gastronomy events not to be missed. Honorary President of the festival, Pierre-André Ayer from the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Pérolles – voted western Switzerland’s chef of the year –joins host Jérôme Ferrer at Europea. He will be presenting a six-course meal of dishes that have helped build his reputation. The two Honorary President Dinners will be accompanied by some of Switzerland’s finest vintages never seen before in Montréal, hand-picked by Paolo Basso, named World’s Best Sommelier in 2013. Twice Michelin-starred chef Reto Lampart joins Riccardo Bertolino and Daniel Boulud and… / 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 →

DANIEL PIAZZOLLA BRINGS THE JAZZ-TANGO TO MONTREAL

A heatwave all the way from Buenos Aires hits Montreal this week as the city’s winter festival of lights, Montréal en Lumière, welcomes jazz-tango musician Daniel Piazzolla, grandson of the “king of tango” Astor Piazzolla, and more music, dancing and food from Argentina…