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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 →

MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE at a glance

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 →

Your 2015 Montréal Jazz Fest Survival Guide

Your survival is important to us. Not surviving means not getting maximum enjoyment out of your visit to the Montréal International Jazz Festival’s 36th edition, and nobody wants that. To this end, we’ve devised a Jazz Festival Survival Guide that will eliminate, we hope, any uncertainties while breathing even more life into your festival experience. EVENT Montréal International Jazz Festival, June 26 to July 5, 2015 WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO In a nutshell, more amazing music and fabulous fun than should be legally allowed. From June 26 to July 5, Montréal’s downtown Quartier des spectacles hosts the largest Jazz Festival in the world. Get ready for 10 eye-widening and ear-pleasing days of ticketed indoor concerts – which this year features can’t miss blue-chip artists such as the Steve Miller Band, Erykah Badu, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, Huey Lewis and The News, and Dee Dee Bridgewater among many others – and approximately 350 free outdoor shows and activities that draw around 2 million visitors every year. Don’t be surprised if, when you go to enter the festival site, someone asks to look in your bag. This is for your safety and that of others to ensure that nothing dangerous or disallowed makes… / Read More →

MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE Survival Guide

Circus shows come in all shapes and sizes at the 6th edition of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE – 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 MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, July 2–12, 2015. OFFICIAL TWITTER & HASH TAG @mtlccirque #mccirque LOCATION Various locations, including Place Émilie-Gamelin in the Quartier des spectacles downtown and one of the world’s largest circus arts centres, La Tohu. HOW TO GET THERE For downtown show venues, take the Métro to Place-des-Arts (Green Line) or Berri-UQAM (Orange, Green, Yellow Lines), and walk along Sainte-Catherine Street. For La Tohu, located at 2345 Jarry East (north of Highway 40 and east of Papineau Avenue), take the Métro Blue Line to Iberville station and bus 94 North, or the Métro 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 – It may be the circus,… / Read More →

Must-See Shows at Montréal’s 2015 Just For Laughs Festival

A who’s who of the comedy world, everybody from Margaret Cho to Mike Myers, headlines Montréal’s Just For Laughs Festival when the 33rd annual edition kicks off on July 8. “I’m so excited to be returning to Montréal because it’s my favourite festival,” Cho said in a phone interview. “It’s where I got my big break in 1991, so I am returning to Montréal with a great amount of joy.” Cho will headline her new Psycho Tour show one night only at the Olympia Theatre on July 24, while one of Canada’s greatest exports, Mike Myers, comes home to make his Just For Laughs Festival debut the same night at the Maison Symphonique with An Evening with Mike Myers. This “in conversation” will showcase his extraordinary career, from his humble Canadian comedic roots, to his turn as one of the most successful Saturday Night Live alums in the show’s 40-year history, to his ascent to become one of comedy’s biggest movie stars. Meanwhile, comedy legend and Just For Laughs ticket-selling record holder Dave Chappelle – his 2013 concert sold out in minutes before JFL added nine more concerts – returns for six shows at Theatre Maisonneuve, on July 20-22. The… / Read More →

Montreal’s Top 5 Drag Queens

Montréal ranks with New York and Sydney as one of the world’s Top drag cities. Montreal firmly established itself on the international drag map when local drag legend Mado Lamotte hosted her famed outdoor Mascara concert – billed as the biggest drag show on Earth – from 1998 to 2013. Over at Fierté Montréal Pride, another Montréal drag legend, Michel Dorion, hosts her annual outdoor Illusion drag concert each summer. While there are innumerable working drag queens in Montréal – the city has been home to many drag legends over the decades, including Guilda (Jean Guida) and La Monroe (a.k.a. Armand Monroe) – here are the top 5 drag queens working in Montreal today. Mado Lamotte After getting her start at Montreal nightclubs Poodles and Club Lézard in 1987, Mado Lamotte has released a kitschy dance album and an anthology of her Fugues magazine columns, hosted her infamous bingo nights at the Just For Laughs Festival where she also launched her annual outdoor show Mado’s Got Talent in 2014, appeared on countless TV shows and was even a spokesmodel for a major potato chip company. After hosting Mascara for 15 years, Mado continues to host her annual Mado’s Drag Race… / Read More →

Catholic religious landmarks and heritage of Montréal

Writer Mark Twain once famously said of Montréal, “This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window.” The history of Montréal – a city nicknamed “La ville aux cent clochers” (The City of a Hundred Bell Towers) – has been steeped in religion since its beginnings, when Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve (who founded Montréal on May 17, 1642) erected the first cross atop Mount Royal on January 6, 1643, to thank God for sparing his colony from rising flood waters. The current steel cross was erected in 1924. Here are some other popular and historic religious landmarks to visit in Montréal:   Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montréal was originally the small parish church of Notre-Dame built in 1672. Montréal’s Roman Catholic Sulpician Order commissioned New York architect James O’Donnell to design the new church on the same site in 1824, and when the Basilica was completed in 1829 – its Gothic Revival architecture and grand interior among the most dramatic in the world – it was the largest church in North America for the next half-century. More recently, the Basilica was the site of Luciano Pavarotti’s famed… / Read More →

The Passeport MTL: a city pass that lets you save big at 23 major Montréal attractions

Following in the footsteps of other major North American and European cities, Tourisme Montréal will be launching the brand-new Passeport MTL pilot project during the month of June. The new city pass does double duty for visitors: not only does it allow them to save money at major Montréal attractions (up to 44% off the price of single tickets), but it makes getting around the city easier with built-in bus and metro fares. Two versions of the pass are available: the 48-hour pass at a cost of $84, and the 72-hour pass for $95. Discover major Montréal must-sees The Passeport MTL includes the price of admission for one adult (18 years and older) to a total of 23 of major city attractions. Pass holders can soak up tons of culture, history and more by flashing their pass at the following Montréal attractions: Au Sommet Place Ville Marie Bateau-Mouche (cruises) at the Old Port Biodôme – Space for Life Casino de Montréal Canadian Centre for Architecture Croisières AML (riverboat cruises) Écomusée du fier monde Écorécréo Les amis de la montagne Maison Saint-Gabriel, Museum and Historic Site McCord Museum Botanical Garden – Space for Life Insectarium – Space for Life Musée d’art contemporain de… / Read More →