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Drift the thrift: Budget-savvy Montréal

For those who’ve got their eye on a Montréal getaway, we couldn’t have better news: in this city, you can live large on very little. Get the most out of la belle ville—and your dollar—with these hot tips on cool deals. Where to stay With so many affordable hotel options available, you can tailor your accommodations to fit your exact needs. Yearning for a poutine fix over a long weekend? Check out The Sweet Deal package, where participating hotels offer the third night’s stay at 50% and you’re hooked up with a booklet full of exclusive citywide deals. For those on a family vacation, check out The Family Deal which offers savings specific to children under 12 (and don’t miss checking the attractions they can get into for free). If you’re traveling in a big group, try the apartment stay experience of Like a Hotel, where you can live like locals and pull a divide-and-conquer on the cost. Flown in and renting a car? Take a look at deals to be found at hotels near the airport; downtown is a mere 20-minute drive away. Student or solo travellers looking for a more social sojourn should try one of Montréal’s youth hostels or residences,… / Read More →

Fantasia Film Fest makes fantasy a reality

For its 20th anniversary edition, Fantasia is doing things MAJOR! We’re taking Marilyn Manson, Takashe Miike, Shinsuke Sato, Kevin Smith and Guillermo Del Toro (in his inaugural Montreal appearance) as star guests, TONS of world premieres, conferences and master classes galore, and 130 international feature films to be seen over two jam-packed weeks of fun from July 14 to August 3. I know what you’re thinking: where to begin?! Well, here. Below are five flicks you won’t want to miss in your wildest Fantasia dreams: Let Me Make You a Martyr Directed by Corey Asraf and John Swab Trailblazing musician and multimedia artist Marilyn Manson stars and co-produced this gripping and poetic modern film noir, shown at Fantasia in a world premiere. Set in the a debauched Midwestern town, it’s a thinking man’s genre thriller that touches upon themes ranging from child abuse to life after death and features its fair share of muscle cars. July 22 at 9:35 pm, Concordia Hall Theatre King Dave Directed by Daniel “Podz” Grou (Canada) This is the festival’s opening film for a reason: it’s local, plus it’s horrific. Violence, heartache and betrayal lie ahead when Dave (played by Mommy’s Alexandre Goyette) gets caught… / Read More →

More new music to groove to at MEG Montréal

Dive right into Montréal’s hip hop, electro and indie-rock music scenes this July at Festival MEG Montréal. The 18th edition of the Montréal Electronique Groove summer music festival keeps the beat alive July 21 to 31, at venues all along Saint-Laurent Boulevard. MEG’s first weekend proves why Thursdays are the new Fridays, starting off the fest on July 21 with a feel-good techno party featuring French band Salut c’est cool, Jérôme Soudan’s Mimetic and local producer Mr. Deraspe at the SAT while over at La Sala Rossa it’s French vocal and multi-instrumental duo Mansfield.TYA, Montréal synth-folk-pop duo Co/ntry and  ethereal vocal-synth artist Stranger Familiar. Of course, Friday still lives up to the Friday-night hype with creative electronic dance music at the SAT from French artist Superpoze, the house-R’n’B of Club Cheval and Montréal’s Frame, while Wake Island, Syngja and Syzzors twist indie-rock into wild new forms at Divan Orange. Spend Saturday afternoon with notable DJ Omni and the fun live visuals of VJ Homing in a free “Mini MEG” 3 pm show for kids and adults alike at Divan Orange. Stay up late on Saturday night with hours of dance music from Robert Robert, La Fine Équipe and surprise guest DJs at airy dance venue… / Read More →

Hot! Hot! Hot! African restaurants put sunshine in your plate

Montréal’s African cuisine scene is heating up, with an abundance of warm eateries to thrill our taste buds. From Ethiopia to Senegal, Mauritania to Morocco and Tunisia, here’s the lowdown on some truly mouthwatering specialties and flavours. Whet your appetite with this culinary tour of African food in the heart of the city. Tasted and recommended! WEST AFRICA #brunch #lakhaima #yaaam 👌👌👌 Une photo publiée par la Khaima (@lakhaima) le 27 Févr. 2016 à 8h31 PST Mile-End/Mauritania — La Khaïma “A visit to La Kaima is a genuine taste of the nomadic experience, of savouring time and being in the moment.” That sums it up. This Mauritanian restaurant in Mile End has become one of the city’s most popular African eateries. With a wide, welcoming smile chef Atigh Ould, invites you to try a table d’hôte “under the tent” in the finest desert tradition. Scrumptious seasonal dishes, served on big, inviting plates are devoured with pita bread. Mezzes, comforting soups, spicy tajines and coucous are all there to share. Vegetarians and meat lovers alike will adore this flavourful, cuisine, which makes us dream of exotic lands, created with Québec products, with halal meat and gluten-free options. Be sure to try the… / Read More →

Beauty hacks and laugh attacks at Oh My Fest! and Zoofest

Just to add to the festival frenzy going on in town, Zoofest and Oh My Fest! each offer a whole world of programing to fill your July with fun. While Zoofest (July 7 to 30) branches out into a uniquely cool indie humour vibe with everything from straight-up stand-up (by Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick and George Wallace, among others) to weird yet hilarious stage shows, Oh My Fest! (July 16 and 17) is all about celebrating YouTuber talent from all over Quebec, live and in the flesh. Here are five shows you won’t want to miss at both events. 1) Oh My Fest!: Humour Panel Comedy is in the air, so might as well get neck-deep with YouTube’s funniest Québécois dudes! At this Oh My Fest! panel you’ll meet, greet and ask questions to Élie Pilon, Simon Leclerc, Massi Mahiou, Mahdi Ba and Thomas Gauthier. Practice your funny accents, because this event is in French. July 16, 1:15 p.m., Monument-National 2) Oh My Fest!: Lifestyle Panel Did you always want to know how to contour like a boss, style jean cutoffs and find your best angle? This is the panel for you, where YouTube beauty gurus GirlyAddict, Jessibouu, Gloria-Bella, Élie Duquet,… / Read More →

2016 Just For Laughs Festival Survival Guide

The laughs keep coming at the 2016 edition of the Montréal Just For Laughs Festival which will showcase some 100 comics from around the world, between July 13 to August 1. In addition to ticketed shows, Just For Laughs is hosting a twins parade and full schedule of free events on their outdoor site at Place des Arts. Here are all the details you need to get the most out of the festival experience. Montréal Just For Laughs Festival, July 13 to August 1, 2015 What you’re getting into A world-class event that unites the globe’s funniest people in Montréal’s downtown core, pretty much. From July 13 to August 1, Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles and a few venues slightly beyond host dozens of ticketed indoor shows and more free exterior entertainment than you can shake a funny bone at. This edition features such unmissable headliners as Carrie Fisher, Nathan Lane, Sarah Silverman, Howie Mandel, Russell Peters, NHL superstar P.K. Subban and NBA superstar Blake Griffin, Janeane Garofalo, Lewis Black, Scott Thompson, Emo Philips, Hannibal Buress, David Cross, Bobby Slayton and George Wallace. Highlights include The Ethnic Show (July 13 to 28) hosted by Rachid Badouri and The Nasty Show (July 20 to 30)  hosted by Mike Ward,… / Read More →

The best sports bars in Montréal

Montréal’s best sports bars only want to make sports fans happy – and they’ve got the multiple screens and cheering fans to prove it. If you’re heavy into hockey, can’t get enough college basketball or love a long baseball game, you won’t miss any of the sports action while you’re here. Downtown and Old Montréal: From pro sports to the Olympic Games, there’s somewhere to watch in every corner of the city, though Montréal’s biggest sports bars are located downtown. In the heart of the Village on Sainte-Catherine Street, find the ever-popular La Station des Sports, while nearby MVP Bar Sportif packs fans in on two floors. With two locations – near the Bell Centre and by the Old Port – bar and restaurant La Cage makes watching hockey, soccer, tennis, UFC matches, you name it, a favourite. Also near the Bell Centre, you’ll find beer specialists Bier Markt, hosting sports fans who also love a good craft beer, and m:brgr screening games and serving gourmet burgers and poutine. Further west on Sainte-Catherine, huge and popular Sharx features multiple sports on over 50 screens, pool tables, bowling lanes and a golf simulator. If you’re more into dark wood, brass accents and old-timers who can tell you a story or two about… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: July 8 to 14

As always, July in Montréal means innumerable things to do: amazing shows at the Jazz Fest, Cirque Festival and in parks throughout the city; a Saturday night of fireworks; a family-friendly weekend of global culture activities and music; films new and old; and good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. Jazz Fest fun 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 weekend’s music includes the Swedish indie-pop of Peter Bjorn and John, The Wainwright Sisters, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Squirrel Nut Zippers, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a Women of Soul tribute concert, brilliant NYC pianist Aaron Parks and his trio, and dozens of amazing free shows. 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 9-10 starting at noon. See even more of the city sights… / Read More →

Memorable moments at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

Patience and quick thinking are job requirements for Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (FIJM) organizers dealing with divas, egos, cancellations, no-shows and the inevitable musician being held up at Canada Customs. Here are some memorable anecdotes from the FIJM, the biggest and grandest music festival on the planet: After the FIJM fronted reggae icon Bunny Wailer $10,000 for his 1998 gig at Métropolis, Wailer pocketed the cash and blew off the show. FIJM co-founder André Ménard was outraged. Twelve years later, when Wailer was booked to headline the Montréal International Reggae Festival in August 2010, Ménard told me, “We’re not taking any action against Wailer because we don’t want to give him an excuse not to come a second time. Bunny Wailer posed to me as a man of integrity and principle. I still think he is a great artist. But a man of integrity? F–k it! I’m still waiting for his personal invitation to see him at the reggae festival. That will be the most expensive concert ticket I’ve ever paid for.” In the end, Wailer was a no-show at the Montréal International Reggae Festival that year too. When Tony Bennett headlined Théâtre St-Denis in 1985, his band took off with his… / Read More →

MONTRÉAL CiRQUE FESTIVAL Survival Guide 2016

MONTRÉAL CiRQUE FESTIVAL features circus shows in all shapes and sizes – some for families, some for late-night thrill seekers – but no matter what, expect to be amazed and delighted by international and local performers doing what they do best in a city known to push the limits of circus. Event The 7th edition of MONTRÉAL CiRQUE FESTIVAL, July 7–17, 2016 Official Social Media @mtlccirque #mccirque Location Various locations, including TOHU, one of the world’s largest circus arts centres, and Place Émilie-Gamelin and St-Denis Street in the Quartier des Spectacles downtown, plus neighbourhood shows city-wide. How to Get There For downtown outdoor venues, take the metro to Berri-UQAM, or Place d’Armes for Old Montréal. For TOHU, located at 2345 Jarry East (above Highway 40 east of Papineau Avenue), take the metro’s blue line to Iberville station and bus 94 north or the metro’s orange line to Jarry station and bus 193 east. If driving, pay parking is available on site. What to Bring A sense of humour to go with your sense of adventure. What not to Bring A fear of clowns. What to Wear Sunglasses, sunscreen and silly hats for daytime outdoor shows. Casual chic for indoor shows… / Read More →