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Your ultimate 2016 guide to Montréal’s many summer music festivals

The word “summer” is always music to our ears in Montréal, and not just because of the impending warming of the weather. It’s also when the city is beset by a veritable onslaught of amazing music festivals, everything from Osheaga to the Jazz Fest, and from MUTEK and Île Soniq to the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s Classical Spree. For four sunny, summery months, Montréal is truly a music lover’s paradise. Summer is synonymous with picnics, and summer in Montréal has become synonymous with Piknic Electronik, the wildly popular weekly outdoor electronic music dance party. Typically held in Parc Jean-Drapeau (on Île Ste-Hélène, across from Montréal’s Old Port), this year’s Piknic Electronik series runs every weekend from May 22 until Oct. 2. To see their 2016 programming, check here after May 10. Speaking of living life on the edge, it doesn’t get more musically adventurous than the annual Suoni Per Il Popolo festival, June 2-20. The now 16-year-old brainchild (brainteen?) of the founders of leading indie music scene venues Casa del Popolo and Sala Rossa, Suoni Per Il Popolo presents approximately 50 concerts featuring an eclectic range of experimental and avant-garde music and sound (think free jazz, musique actuelle, avant-rock, noise, etc.)… / Read More →

Extraordinary places to get married in Montréal

Montréal is famously romantic, and it’s a go-to destination for couples getting engaged or getting married – especially thanks to the amazing exchange rate these days. But this city still has its secrets! For your Montréal marriage, think outside the box and get the local scoop on little-known, memory-making places that will make your special day the most extraordinary of all. Let’s Make History, Baby As one of Canada’s oldest cities, Montréal is neck deep in history. Its most famous neighbourhood is Old Montréal, replete with 18th century European charm – but how about taking it up a notch and tying the knot in a private chateau? The Pierre du Calvet private castle dates back to 1725, but today it’s a luxurious retreat complete with interior garden and gastronomic dining. You can not only hold your reception there, you can actually do the deed in the beautiful little chapel onsite! Other breathtaking spots include Château Ramezay and Château Dufresne, both historic private homes that can take you back in time in the most romantic way. An outstanding spot awaits discovery in the oldest chapel in the city, the Chapelle du Bonsecours (don’t miss the two paintings by famous artist Ozias… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: May 20 to 26

Outdoor life in Montréal heats up this week with the arrival of festivals and more activities – many of them free! – from multimedia projections on Old Montréal buildings to urban art by the river and live music and dance downtown. Sunny days, bright nights A new urban multimedia experience awaits visitors in Old Montréal and the Old Port: the 20 poetic and playful tableaux of Cité Mémoire are projected on the walls, in the alleys, on the ground and in the trees of the historic quarter, featuring images, dialogue and music that reveal some of the city’s most fascinating history. Also in the Old Port, the must-see Chromatic festival of urban art and music rocks under the high ceilings of Hangar 16, May 20-22, with free art exhibitions, interactive installations and live music during the day – the space transforms into a club at night. Under the big top nearby, Cirque du Soleil’s newest artistic and acrobatic LUZIA, inspired by the culture of Mexico, thrills to July 17. In Griffintown/Little Burgundy, one-of-a-kind creative business event C2 Montréal takes over the Arsenal gallery space May 24-26. Over in the Quartier des Spectacles, go on a guided walking tour of public… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal May 13 to 19

We’re already feeling the summer hype here in Montréal this week, with cutting-edge outdoor entertainment, farmers’ markets, walking tours and more fun under the sun, while our indoor venues light up with fabulous food and fashion, dynamic circus and drama, inspiring art and live music. Open-air entertainment The Quartier des Spectacles’ Jardins Gamelin officially opens for the season, offering a park-like atmosphere, delicious food (some from gourmet food trucks) and free entertainment in the heart of downtown near Berri-UQAM metro station. Take a picturesque guided walking tour of the Quartier des Spectacles – see public art, learn some of the city’s history, and stroll by and take a swing on interactive musical art installation 21 Swings, located on de Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts. Walk around the city’s public markets, full of colourful fruits and veg, local meats and cheeses, full meals and delicious desserts. One step away from being outdoors, the must-see Chromatic festival of urban art and music kicks off on May 19 under the high ceilings of Hangar 16 in the Old Port, with art exhibitions, interactive installations and Afrobeat electro music by Pierre Kwenders. And under the big top nearby, see Cirque du Soleil’s newest… / Read More →

Blockbuster Spring and Summer 2016 Montréal Museum Exhibitions

Priceless antiquities from ancient Pompeii, the famous Moulin Rouge posters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the “shocking” homoerotic photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe and Italy’s iconic post-war fashion designers are just some of the blockbuster museum exhibitions on display in Montréal this spring and summer. The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is having a huge year: Visitors are raving about the current POMPEII: A Roman City exhibition which chronicles the life and death of Pompeii, the wealthy playground for some of Rome’s most influential citizens that was destroyed by the spectacular volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. This deeply moving exhibition features nearly 200 archaeological artifacts – statues in bronze and marble, mosaics, frescoes and decorative arts – that offer an extraordinary glimpse into daily life at the height of the Roman Empire. POMPEII: A Roman City runs at the MMFA until Sept. 5. The MMFA also presents Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, one of the best-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period, famed for his posters commissioned by the Moulin Rouge in Paris. The exhibition features close to 100 works by Toulouse-Lautrec, including several rare or unique trial proofs. Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque runs from June 18 to Oct. 30. After premiering at the Los… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: April 15 to 21

Take your pick of outdoor and indoor activities this week in Montréal because warm weather has returned – pair it with some truly world-class wining and dining, digital art, bountiful nature, incredible circus shows, literary luminaries or live classical, rock and electronic music. Whatever the weather Spring can be unpredictable in Montréal, but that also means the city’s full of surprises – discover all kinds of free things to do in Montréal this season, whether this is your first time here or you’re searching for the latest and greatest things to do. Downtown, try your hand at making music just by swinging: located on de Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts downtown, 21 Swings is an interactive and community-minded musical instrument, art installation and colourful swing set all in one, ongoing to May 29. When night falls, look up on building facades in the Quartier des Spectacles area to see 9x [MTL] Video Projections, colourful photomontages of iconic people, places and events in Montréal. Nature thrives at Space for Life, where the Butterflies Go Free event has local butterflies venturing outdoors and tropical butterflies and caterpillars inside at the Botanical Garden’s and Insectarium’s Main Exhibition Greenhouse, until April 24. And… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: April 1 to 7

April arrives in Montréal as sugar shack season begins to wind down – get your fill of maple syrup and more food before it’s over – and award-winning restaurants revamp menus while the spring cultural calendar heats up with multimedia art, dance, theatre, orchestra concerts and all kinds of live music. April flowers Step into Montréal’s Botanical Garden to see the very beginnings of spring in bud and sample maple taffy on snow during sugaring off time (only until April 3!), while indoors butterflies go free and caterpillars cocoon, and the Botanical Garden restaurant’s special Sugar Shack menu keeps everyone well fed to April 24. If you’re extending your Spring Break in Montréal, consult our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style and Montréal nightlife guide for places to eat, drink, dance and chill out. If you’re here with family, our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide has some ideas for entertaining and even subtly educational things to do with kids. Throughout the season, find free things to do in Montréal – for families, for friends, for fun (speaking of fun, these great gifs illustrate the 10 Signs that spring has totally arrived in Montréal.) Do you love spas, fancy… / Read More →

Experience Montréal in the lap of luxury

Looking for pampering? You’re in the right place. Montréal gets a ton of high-fallutin’ international guests every year, whether it’s Jazz Fest musicians, pop superstars, Formula One racers or star hockey players. Hell, even visiting comedians need paraffin mani-pedis! The result? Our service industry is poised to satisfy your every need and make your trip to La Belle Ville the most memorable it can be. Here’s your cheat sheet to the best things in life. SLEEP WELL High-end stays abound in Montréal, for all the reasons mentioned above. From Madonna to Aretha Franklin to Lady Gaga, we’ve hosted all the divas! Exacting guests flock to the gorgeously redesigned Ritz-Carlton Montréal, where you can leave your classically appointed suite and be at La Maison Ogilvy in five minutes flat.
 Hôtel Le St. James is probably the city’s most luxurious stay, nestled in a historic Old Montréal building appointed with priceless antiques. Loews Hôtel Vogue, Hôtel Le Crystal and InterContinental Montréal are perfect downtown pied-à-terres, with incredibly comfortable rooms and great bars and restaurants. To be within seconds of the Old Port, you’ll want to stay at either the sleekly contemporary Hotel Gault, Hotel Nelligan (the rooftop terrasse bar is a must),… / Read More →

Free things to do in Montréal this spring

There’s always something going on in Montréal whether the snow is falling or melting, and while many of those things come with a cost, all kinds of them don’t! We’ve got you covered for things to do in Montréal for free with friends, kids or on your own – from the first day of spring to the last. Free for the family Energetic kids can swing and make music at the same time on the 21 Swings art installation right downtown on De Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts starting April 11, and if you’re here on May 20 skip over to Parc Hydro-Québec for the Grand Pique-nique Urbain for parents-and-kids yoga and more free activities. Curious kids will love the hands-on Eurêka Festival, featuring over 100 thought-provoking demonstrations, workshops, performances, magic shows and more, outdoors in the Old Port, June 10 to 12. Delve into Québec’s varied history, art and culture with a museums pass, taking advantage of the fact that kids 12 and under have free admission at many of the city’s major museums and galleries, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (which hosts several workshops and tours for kids and where admission to the permanent collections… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 18 to 24

As the snow melts away in Montréal, urban sugar shacks serve up delicious meals, spring break activities continue, film festivals and art events grant new perspectives, dance and theatre move us, and live music sets the weekly soundtrack. Spring starts Welcome spring with thousands of Montrealers at the city’s boisterous 193rd St. Patrick’s Day Parade, taking place downtown along Ste-Catherine Street starting at noon on March 20, and keep on celebrating the luck of the Irish at the city’s best Irish pubs. In sports action, the hockey season isn’t over for the Montréal Canadiens – they play the Flames on March 20 and the Ducks on March 22 at the Bell Centre. Whether you’re on Spring Break or not, check out our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style for places to eat, drink, dance and chill out. If you’re here with family, our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide has kids covered. And if the warmer weather has you itching to paint the town red – whether that means sampling local microbrews or going late-night dancing – Montréal’s nightlife has it all. Seasonal food If you’re in Montréal in March, you must experience the Québecois tradition of the sugar… / Read More →