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Montréal gets five very special rings for Canada Olympic Excellence Day

Move over Five Roses, there are five rings that are about to take an even more prominent spot on Montréal’s skyline. On Canada Olympic Excellence Day, July 9, the Olympic rings will be raised for permanent display above the downtown Montréal HQ of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). The raising of the rings also heralds the opening of the new and dynamic Canadian Olympic House in the same building, and they’ll be hard for Montréalers to miss. “The rings will be placed in two locations on the roof,” explains Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut. “The ones in front, above the main entrance, will be 36 feet by 16 feet, 7 inches. A second 24- by 11-feet symbol will be installed at the back. They will be permanently illuminated, so they will be visible day and night from many places in the city, including the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, Mount Royal, from many skyscrapers, from planes, etc. In other words, the Montréal skyline will change forever.” And there’s an extra layer of significance to the rings being raised above the COC and Canadian Olympic House at 500 René-Lévesque West: It’s the only building outside of Lausanne, Switzerland permitted to display the Olympic… / Read More →

A Gay old time at Just For Laughs

Montréal’s Just For Laughs Festival blazed a trail for LGBT comics when it presented its annual Queer Comics showcase, boldly introducing many stand-up comedians over the years. Since JFL’s Queer Comics signed off in 2006, many LGBT entertainers have become major stars of stage and screen. This year, Just For Laughs is bringing many gay icons and LGBT entertainers to Montréal for the queerest edition of the festival ever. Neil Patrick Harris may be best known for his TV roles in How I Met Your Mother and Doogie Howser, M.D. But gay audiences adore gay entertainer as the charismatic song-and-dance host of the Tony Awards on Broadway in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013; of the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2009 and 2013, as well as the 87th Academy Awards in 2015. Which makes especially well-suited to host four Just For laughs Galas (July 27 and 28 at 7 and 9:45 nightly). Star of stage and screen, Jane Lynch is best known for her role as Sue Sylvester in the smash-hit Fox TV series Glee, which was huge with LGBT audiences. The openly-lesbian Lynch will host her Just For Laughs Gala on July 22 at 7 p.m. Fresh from being Master of Ceremonies at a huge July 4 gala… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: André Ménard

Montréal International Jazz Festival co-founder and artistic director André Ménard has been one of the most influential figures on the Québécois artistic scene for over 30 years. Born in the working-class neighborhood of Tétreaultville in East-End Montréal, he began producing concerts as a student at Collège de Maisonneuve. Montréal’s jazz festival – which Ménard co-founded with Alain Simard in 1980 – has become the largest and most important festival in Canada, drawing more than two million spectators each summer to some 150 indoor ticketed shows and over 350 free outdoor concerts. On top of that, Ménard attends over 300 concerts around the world every year. What is your favourite memory in the history of the Montréal International Jazz Festival? Ella Fitzgerald singing Summertime as her closing song the last time she was here in 1987. What is the craziest moment in the history of the Montréal International Jazz Festival? A man had a heart attack right in front of the main outdoor stage at the end of the 1980s. We were very sad to see a person die at the festival. Later that night we found out he had been revived by the paramedics en route to the hospital. Why did… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: July 3 to 9

When you’re not jazzing it up this week, you’ve got laughs, drama, picnics, acrobatics and even more live music to choose from. Not too shabby, eh? Just another summer week in idyllic Montréal! Musical madness You’ve still got until July 5 to soak up the incredible feast for the senses that is the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, where there are dozens of free shows throughout the Quartier des spectacles in addition to beer stalls, cocktail booths, food stands and an onsite art gallery. Keep the beat going with the International Percussion Festival in Old Montréal and the Old Port from July 3 to 12, an interactive drum and dance event that also involves visual arts, film, food and workshops. July 7 kicks off the hot and lively Nuits D’Afrique festival, which brings in the best of African and world music from all over the globe for shows that span the downtown core. Performance fests Apart from a summer full of music festivals, though, there’s a bucketful of performance goodies to be had this week too, starting with the amazing, chock-a-block Just for Laughs. From Jane Lynch to Wanda Sykes to Neil Patrick Harris and Dave Chappelle, this edition… / Read More →

10 Years of Osheaga in 10 Photos by Montréal photographer Susan Moss

Anyone who’s been to a concert in Montréal will surely recognize Susan Moss, not just for her mane of curly ginger locks and signature black dress, but for her inspired photographs of the city, its nightlife, its people and – especially – its rock stars. Susan’s work has appeared in international magazines including Rolling Stone, Spin, Billboard, NME and Vice. She’s covered the stars and crowds of countless music festivals, including Heavy Montréal, POP Montréal, Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and almost a decade of the ever-growing Osheaga Music and Arts Festival. Over the past 20 years she’s captured iconic images of some of the most influential artists of our time: KISS, Metallica, Snoop Dog, Beastie Boys, Aretha Franklin, Arcade Fire – the list is endless. Susan’s known for her raw, fierce, urgent style, realized in both high contrast black & white and in rich, vivid colour. She’s drawn to the in-between moments and is inspired by people doing what they love, in action, being their true selves. Susan has been capturing the spirit and energy of Osheaga since its early years a decade ago. Here is Susan’s selection of 10 photos to celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary. You… / Read More →

Montréal Ignites with Summer Festival Fun

[Updated on June 27, 2016] Sunny days, high-energy nights and strikingly illuminated festival stages make the summer season bright in Montréal. The city ignites with a sparkling line-up of entertainment in July and August – get ready to laugh, dance, groove and be dazzled at these big festivals and more this summer. The one-and-only Montréal International Jazz Festival officially ignites the height of summer festival season June 29-July 9. Incredible talent graces historic night clubs and Place des Arts stages while downtown’s Quartier des Spectacles bustles with unmissable free outdoor shows, including on July 7: the farewell concert of one of the most pivotal figures in Montréal music: bona fide jazz great Oliver Jones. More music lights up the town as Festival International Nuits d’Afrique welcomes traditional and ground-breaking musicians from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and right here at home, July 12-24. Discover your new favourite indie, electronic and hip hop artists at MEG Montréal, July 21-31, and take a ride on the late-night MEG party boat. Osheaga Music and Arts Festival crams the biggest names and the brightest emerging artists in indie-pop, rock, hip hop and electronic music into three amazing days on Île Sainte-Hélène, July 29-31 – this… / Read More →

Your July guide to Montréal summer music festivals

As July approaches, Montréal continues to be flooded with an almost overwhelming array of musical options. So you don’t miss out on any of the excitement this month, here’s your July guide to Montréal summer music festivals! The Montréal International Jazz Festival, from June 26 to July 5, needs little introduction, but heck, we’ll do it anyway: the planet’s greatest, grandest jazz fest turns 36 this year with hundreds of concerts representing numerous genres including some 300 free outdoor shows that inundate downtown Montréal with a flood of music-loving merriment. From moving music to moving to the music, the International Percussion Festival turns 14 down in Old Montréal and the Old Port from July 3-12. A participative event (spectators are encouraged to get in on the playing and dancing action), the festival is also multidisciplinary, uniting music, dance, visual arts, film, food, workshops and conferences in the company of over 500 artists. The summer heat will begin to peak with Montréal’s vibrant and lively Nuits D’Afrique world music festival, July 7-19. Boasting the best of African and African-influenced music from some of the biggest names in the game at numerous indoor and free outdoor shows, Nuits D’Afrique is a guaranteed… / Read More →


The circus is serious business in Montréal; so much so, we’ve got an entire event devoted to it. When the MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE festival takes over town (July 2 to 12), we’ll be welcoming the biggest and brightest of the circus arts, from homegrown acts to international talent. With so much to see, it may leave you wondering where to start. If neither time nor money is an object, see as much as you can. But if you’ve got kids or you’re on a budget, prefer the indoors to outdoors, or want to do a circus cross-comparison, we’ve decided to round up the antics to help with the decision-making. FAMILY Take the kids to see Beyond (July 1 to 5) and be blown away by the fascinating feats of strength, hijinks and hilarity of Aussie troupe Circa. The self-mockery, tricky maneuvers and one-man multi-instrumentalist of Machine de cirque (July 8 to 12) guarantee to put a smile on everyone’s face, while the beautiful horses, stunning acrobatics and visuals of Odysseo (until July 5) will take your breath away. Watch the rubber-bodied little lady of Les Méandres de Little Lady (July 9) work her way through her quirky world, and see… / Read More →

5 Ways To Celebrate Canada Day in Montréal

Sure, when you visit Montréal it might feel like you’re in Europe — but you’re not. Montréal is categorically a Canadian city and, along with the rest of the nation, we most definitely celebrate the Canada Day on July 1. Incidentally, the first day of July is also when many residential leases expire. So, if you’re wandering through the city, keep your eyes peeled for Montrealers dragging sofas up and down spiral staircases. Thankfully, you don’t have to haul any boxes. In fact, your main responsibly is to have fun and celebrate a darn fine nation called Canada. So here are five ways to do just that. MAKE IT A FAMILY DAY This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Flag. In honour of the special birthday, the Ministry of Canadian Heritage is sponsoring a host of free activities — think giant inflatables and make-up for the kids — that will appeal to both local residents and visitors! The day kicks off at 11 a.m. with an official ceremony featuring the Canadian Armed Forces military band and a traditional raising of the iconic maple leaf flag. At noon, a 21-canon salute will honour the occasion, and then a massive… / Read More →

Montréal’s Best Jazz and Blues Clubs, Events and Festivals

During her Sin City era, Montréal was home to some of the hottest jazz clubs on the planet and a wide-open scene fuelled by Prohibition. Gamblers, racketeers and the world’s greatest entertainers all came to Montréal at a time when the city’s most renowned musical export was jazz icon Oscar Peterson. His protégé was another jazz legend, Oliver Jones, who first performed at the fabled Café St-Michel at the age of 10 in 1944. “It was across the street from Rockhead’s Paradise, which was the first black-owned club in all of Canada,” says Jones. “The St-Michel was a little rougher. Rockhead never let anything get out of hand although there was always pressure from authorities to close him down. But I remember playing in the St-Michel and saw a lot of what I wasn’t supposed to see – girly girls and strippers. But the people there, there was always someone looking out for me.” Today, Montréal still has a thriving jazz and blues scene with concerts in nightclubs by popular local musicians, as well as superstar headliners at the city’s jazz and blues festivals. Here is a sampling of some of the best Montréal has to offer: Montréal boasts a… / Read More →