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The sky’s the limit at the Montréal Aviation Museum

The Montréal Aviation Museum is a small working museum with big dreams. The museum’s sky-high ambitions were on full display during the August 2014 maiden voyage of their full-scale replica of the historic aircraft Blériot XI. The original Blériot XI was the first aircraft to fly over the City of Montréal, on July 2, 1910. The replica, christened “Le Scarabée,” was lovingly and meticulously built, based on original plans, over 15 years by volunteers at the Montréal Aviation Museum, which is located in the historical “Old Stone Barn” on the Macdonald Campus of McGill University in the picturesque town of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, 30 minutes outside Montréal. “We are a working museum,” says Montréal Aviation Museum president John Lawson. “As well as seeing museum displays, you can see people working on airplanes. We started as a restoration centre in 1998, but now we’ve reached the point where we are primarily a museum.” Formerly called the Canadian Aviation Heritage Centre, the Montréal Aviation Museum has five vintage aircraft built or being rebuilt, a 6,000-book aviation library, aviation memorabilia such as pilot flight suits, model airplanes and an art gallery showcasing dozens of the finest aircraft paintings from across Canada. There is also a… / Read More →

Must-see 2016 Montréal museum exhibitions

Several blockbuster exhibitions will be on display at Montréal museums in 2016. Here are some choice picks: The much-anticipated POMPEII: A Roman City exhibition chronicles the life and death of Pompeii and neighbouring town Herculaneum, which were destroyed by the spectacular eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. By that time, Pompeii had become a wealthy playground for some of Rome’s most influential citizens. When the city was buried under several metres of volcanic rubble and lava, the city’s treasures were protected from the ravages of time. Some 250 years after Pompeii’s rediscovery, this 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 Montréal Museum of Fine Arts from Feb. 6 to Sept. 5. The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts will also present the massive Rethinking Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition about the iconic and controversial American photographer famous for his homoerotic male nudes and celebrity portraits, including Richard Gere, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono and his great friend Patti Smith. This exhibition features 250 works, mostly Mapplethorpe’s highly stylized black-and-white photographs, but also colour… / Read More →

Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism: Nathalie Bondil’s 5 must-sees

Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, talks to us about her favourite works in the exhibition Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism: From Spain to Morocco, Benjamin-Constant in His Time, at the Museum until May 31. I discovered this huge painting on the wall of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, where it was on loan, holding place of pride in a room dedicated to Orientalism, facing superb paintings by Renoir et Delacroix. Next to these great masterpieces, it emanated strength and seduction, thanks to the brilliance of its colour and the beauty of its models. Here, the painter is interpreting the classic theme of the odalisque. Lounging languidly on rich fabrics, they are lulled by the sweet melody of the oud, played by a black slave. In the distance, the azure horizon of the Bay of Tangier bathes this masterpiece in light. Of course, the painter never actually saw this scene, which was far removed from the reality of women in Morocco… except in the composition of his studio! This Eurocentric vision evokes, with a rarely achieved elegance, the mythical harem. The favourite redhead with the translucent skin is a recurring model… / Read More →


From February 14 until April 28, the Montreal Botanical Garden will welcome thousands of beautiful butterflies and their equally attractive cousins, moths. The 16th edition of Butterflies Go Free promises that 2000 butterflies will be fluttering about the green house at all times. You and your family can look forward to discovering over 75 different species of moths and butterflies hailing from Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Kenya, Malaysia and the Philippines…