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What to do on Canada Day in Montréal

Sure, Montréal has oodles of European charm, but in its heart of hearts, it really is Canadian. On July 1, tourists and locals will come together to celebrate Canada Day with an array of events to choose from across the city. Between the official ceremonies, a multicultural parade, star-studded musical performances, evening parties and a fireworks display, you’ll have plenty of fun to choose from as you immerse yourself in all things Canadian. Celebrate with the family “From east to west… Happy Canada Day” is the theme of this year’s celebration and people will have plenty of fun and free activities to enjoy in the Old Port and the Bonsecours Basin Park. Fun guaranteed! The celebrations start with pomp and circumstance at 11 a.m., with an official ceremony that includes the swearing in of new Canadians, the raising of the flag and the Canadian Armed Forces Military Band playing. At noon, there will be a 21-cannon salute and, for people with a sweet tooth, the chance to have a piece of giant birthday cake. Come afternoon, there will be a host of activities to choose from. In the Canada Tent, history buffs can take a history tour of the Canadian… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: July 1 to 7

Music and more at Jazz Fest The Montréal International Jazz Festival takes over the Quartier des Spectacles in downtown Montréal with hundreds of outdoor and indoor shows, numerous food and drink options, a kids’ activity zone and more to July 9 – let our Survival Guide to the Jazz Fest and our list of must-see concerts lead the way through the fest’s packed program. This week’s music spans from legends Taj Mahal, Brian Wilson, Kool & The Gang and Oliver Jones to Rufus Wainwright’s operatic show, the incomparable Lauryn Hill, folk hero Ian Kelly,  Jireh Gospel Choir, blues guitarist David Gogo, Jamie Cullum, Orlando Julius & The Afrosoundz, Big Bad VooDoo Daddy and so many more. On top of all that, take a jazz-focused tour on foot or by boat during the festival, including a walking tour on the city’s history of jazz from the 1920s to present day, July 1-3 and 9-10 starting at noon. See even more of the city sights on a guided tour, public art tours and guided bike tours. For the full Montréal festivals scoop, see our 2016 summer festival guide and list of summer music festivals. Bright and beautiful Celebrate Canada Day on July 1… / Read More →

Your 2016 guide to surviving the Montréal Jazz Festival

We don’t just want you to survive at the 37th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, we want you to thrive. With your good time in mind, we’ve put to together the following guide comprised of handy dos and don’ts and other valuable info tidbits about the Jazz Festival that will help you maximize your time at one of the most spectacular music experiences on the planet. What you’re getting into: In a nutshell, more amazing music and fabulous fun than should be legally allowed. From June 29 to July 9, Montreal’s downtown Quartier des Spectacles will host the largest Jazz Festival in the world. Get ready for 11 eye-widening and ear-pleasing days of ticketed indoor concerts – which this year will feature can’t miss blue-chip artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Melody Gardot, Kool & The Gang, Wynton Marsalis, Lauryn Hill, Noel Gallagher, Oliver Jones, Cat Power and Joe Jackson among many others – and approximately 350 free outdoor shows and activities that draw around 2 million visitors every year. When you arrive at the festival site: Don’t be surprised if, when you go to enter the festival site, someone asks to look in your bag. This is… / Read More →

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 →

No more FOMO – here are the must-see Jazz Fest concerts of 2016

While freedom of choice is fundamental to our existence as individuals, it can be a serious pain in the butt when it comes to choosing what shows to go see at the massive annual Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. From June 29 to July 9 in the Quartier des Spectacles, the Jazz Fest will welcome some 3,000 musicians and entertainers at over 1,000 concerts and activities (two thirds of which are free). So with your happiness front of mind, and to help make your choices easier, we’ve cobbled together a list of many of the must-see concerts at the festival this year. June 29 The Jazz Fest’s esteemed opening concert slot goes to eminently worthy American singer-guitarist-pianist Melody Gardot. This will be the first of two shows (the other on June 30) by the crazily charismatic performer… From punk to folk to blues to soul, the constantly evolving Cat Power returns to the fest for the first time in a decade for an assuredly entrancing solo set. June 30 In the Double Whammy Dept., emotive and imaginative Japanese piano virtuoso Hiromi returns to the festival with her 10th album, Spark, and she will be preceded by Colombian harpist sensation Edmar Castaneda… And on the topic of virtuosos, what would a jazz festival be… / Read More →

Worldbeat festivals and happenings in Montréal

From bossa nova to celtic folk, reggae to zydeco, the musical rhythms in Montreal are as diverse and exciting as its people. The city is a hotbed of world music year-round, but goes into high gear during the summer festival season. Here are some highlights for 2016: The organizers of Les Francofolies de Montréal, which showcases music from the French-speaking world from June 9 to 18, as well as the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the world’s biggest music festival which runs from June 29 to July 9, regularly feature world-music performers. One of Montréal’s most colourful and exciting parades, Carifiesta, is a tradition born of slavery in Trinidad and Tobago, when French colonial masters hosted huge masquerade balls three days before Ash Wednesday. Slaves got a day off and mimicked their masters at their own parties, a tradition that morphed into Trinidad’s famed Carnival. That tradition migrated north to such cities as Miami, New York and Montréal. Each year Montréal’s competing floats “play mas” (as in masquerade) at Carifiesta. This year’s 41st annual parade is expected to draw 100,000 spectators along downtown Rue Ste-Catherine on Saturday, July 2. Each summer the City of Montreal hosts its hugely popular Week-ends du… / Read More →

7 must-see musical acts at FrancoFolies 2013

You may not know the acts or even understand all of the words, but trust us when we tell you that there’s amazing music to be had at this year’s edition of the French music festival, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal…