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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 →

The rock ‘em sock ‘em world of the Montréal Roller Derby league

Hundreds of roller derby fans scream and cheer at the exciting and colourful action-packed games of the five teams that make up the women’s Montréal Roller Derby league (MTLRD) which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season. The derby names of the league’s athletes pretty much tell the tale, names like Gun Moll Mindy, Trash N’ Smash, Rock E. Road, Chlomydia, Boobi Puncher and Criss D. Crowbar. “We are the first Canadian league to join the international Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and our league has become so popular over the past decade that we now draw an average of 500 to 600 fans to each of our home games,” says Montréal Roller Derby media spokesperson Caroline Poudrier whose derby name is Laisse Tomber les Filles. Three home teams make up the MTLRD – The Contrabanditas (also known as “The Ditas”), Les Filles du Roi and La Racaille (or “The Scum” in English). The league also has two travel teams that represent Montréal on the international level: New Skids on the Block (MTLRD’s all-star A travel team) and Les Sexpos (their B travel team), whose name is a pun on the old Montréal Expos baseball team. “The league is very… / Read More →

Your 2016 Montréal Pride Survival Guide

Over half-a-million revellers are expected to attend Montréal Pride, the largest LGBTQ gathering in the Francophone world, from August 8 to 14. Participants will include Justin Trudeau, who will become the first-ever Canadian Prime Minister to march in a Pride parade in Montréal. Over 125 events will be held during the week-long festival, including Montréal Pride’s three flagship events: Community Day on August 13, along Sainte-Catherine Street East in the Village; the ever-popular Pride Parade on August 14 at 1 pm; and the iconic Mega T-Dance at Place Émilie-Gamelin on August 14 beginning at 1 pm. Here’s a guide to making the most of Pride in Montréal: Remember why we are here Pride is about the community coming together, celebrating the social and legal advances that have been made and galvanizing our commitment to continue the fight for LGBT human rights. The first-ever Pride march was held in New York in 1970 to commemorate the first anniversary of the historic Stonewall Riots of 1969. This year, Pride parades are also honouring the victims of the mass-shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Do not forget Montréal Pride’s annual powerful Moment of Silence during this year’s parade will begin at 2:30 pm to honour LGBTQ pioneers and those… / Read More →

Summer in the Gay Village: Patios to discover

Montreal is famed for its hundreds of summertime patios where locals and visitors alike while away leisurely hours sipping hot cappuccinos or cold cocktails while people-watching. One of the city’s finest strips is the lively one-kilometre pedestrian mall on Sainte-Catherine Street in the Gay Village, stretching east from Place Émilie-Gamelin near Berri metro station to Papineau Street. Here, the city’s iconic “Boules Rose” cover the entire pedestrian mall, including the patios outside the many bars, cafés and restaurants. Here are some great patios to discover in the Gay Village: After its spectacular 2015 debut, Les Jardins Gamelin returns to Place Émilie-Gamelin at the western end of the Village, from May 12 to October 2. Les Jardins Gamelin features a hosting bar and restaurant services with a large patio from Thursdays through Sundays, and is covered by a spectacular suspended sculpture that forms a luminous canopy. In 2016, Les Jardins Gamelin again hosts a variety of cultural programming, including renowned DJs.  The site is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Free admission and free Wi-Fi. The terrace at Cabaret Mado is one of the busiest bars in the Village and a great place to spot celebrities and drag queens. Named for Montréal… / Read More →

Family-friendly hotels in Montréal

With its wall-to-wall festivals, countless attractions, parks, sports, and general good times going on, Montréal makes the perfect family getaway. To help you figure out where you and your crew can camp out—whether you’re on a budget or will be splurging—we’ve put together a list of family-friendly hotels in the city. Old Montréal History, architecture and culture are just some of what Montréal’s old city has going for it. What about a zip line, street performers, the Montréal Science Centre, an IMAX theatre, rappelling, remote-controlled sailboats, cruises… hey, there’s not enough room to write it all in! But most important, here’s where you can stay while getting in on the action: Le Place d’Armes Hôtel & Suites: Let everyone enjoy a little ooh-la-la in the luxury establishment. Get 50% off a second room when you book a room or suite and enjoy breakfast with room rate. Other perks include a welcome gift for kids, in-room movies and popcorn, tuck-in service with milk and cookies, free extra cot or crib, mini-fridges in rooms, WiFi, on site restaurant and babysitting services. Liking it, parents? Lofts du Vieux-Port: If creature comforts, space and privacy top your family vacay list, these swanky lofts, with… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: LP Maurice

Job: Entrepreneur. CEO & Co-founder of Busbud, an app to help travellers book intercity bus tickets worldwide. Favourite pastime:  Travel, music and photography. Ideally all three together! 🙂 How long have you been a Montrealer?  Since birth! Then I spent most of my 20s outside of Montreal studying and working in Boston, San Francisco, New York, Paris, London and Beijing. That said, I’m looking forward to spending all of my 30s based in Montreal! 🙂 What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? I became an uncle when my brother had his first boy earlier this year! Other than that, I went hiking on Kauai island in Hawaii, which blew my mind, and had an awesome roadtrip week in the canyon lands between Nevada and Arizona. I also had the chance to visit two local gems this summer in Quebec: Bic park near Rimouski and the Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean region. I’ve travelled around the world and I’m always stunned by Quebec’s world-class natural beauty, with so much to explore right in our backyard. What’s the next big thing you’re planning? Right now I’m planning a series of business trips to San Francisco & Silicon Valley in January, New York in… / Read More →