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More New Music – and a Party Boat! – at MEG Montréal

Dive right into Montreal’s hip hop, electro and indie-rock music scenes this July at MEG Montréal. The 17th edition of the Montréal Electronic Groove summer music festival keeps the beat alive July 23 to August 2, at venues along St-Laurent Boulevard, on outdoor stages and on the infamous MEG Boat. MEG’s first weekend proves why Thursdays are the new Fridays, starting off the fest on July 23 with synth-addled indie-rock and electronic experiments by Dear Criminals, Secret Secret Girl and Doldrums at La Sala Rossa and an unmissable night of heavy dance music by Fool’s Gold collaborator High Klassifed, electro-dreamscaper J.u.D. and hip-hop remixer Dave Luxe at Le Belmont. Friday lives up to the Friday-night hype with hypnotic psych-rock beats from Fragile Feet, About:, Human Human and Syzzors at Divan Orange as multi-DJ group Melt Mtl, jazz-influenced producer Robert Robert and genre-blending French producer Fakear shake the dance floor at Le Belmont. Saturday night’s alright on land and at sea as the MEG Boat cruises at party speed along the St-Laurent River with hours of dance music from French house producers Darius and Myd, Belgium’s DJ Slow and local Fonkyson, while Ragers and Wasiu mix underground electronic with hip hop… / Read More →

Classical music under the stars

There is a rich tradition of classical music in Montreal, from small chamber orchestras to the city’s famed Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. While some recitals, operas and concerts can be society affairs, in summertime the OSM reaches out to the masses with hugely popular free outdoor concerts in parks throughout Greater Montréal. This summer the OSM in the Parks series of three free concerts will be held in Parc Charleroi in Montréal North on July 17; in Parc équestre in Blainville on July 22; and in Parc Bellevue in Pincourt on July 23. The OSM will perform music by such composers as Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Piazzolla and Gershwin. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and will take place rain or shine. “Only thunderstorms may oblige us to interrupt a concert,” the OSM states. The OSM also presents its fourth annual Festival La Virée classique which kicks off August 5 at 7 p.m. with a big outdoor free concert on the Esplanade at the Olympic Park, expected to draw 40,000 classical music fans. Grammy-winning Maestro Kent Nagano will conduct the OSM in a concert that will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, then present a recital concert of Bizet’s opera… / Read More →

Plan an Adrenalin Weekend with the Jackalope Action Sports Fest and More

Welcome to the jungle. The urban jungle that is, where many of Montréal’s wilder denizens are prepping for an “Adrenalin Weekend” that includes an action sports festival, Old Port ziplining, a massive weekly outdoor dance party and, of course, fun food for energizing your good times. The fourth edition of Jackalope, an urban action sports fest taking place July 17-19 on the vast outdoor Esplanade of the Olympic Stadium, is a call to action unlike any other in Montréal. Not only are professional urban athletes drawn to intense, high-level competition in an eclectic range of sports disciplines – skateboarding, wakeskating, motocross, slacklining, highlining, and now rock climbing and more – but audience members are encouraged to engage at a number of different participatory events as well. As a sanctioned World Cup Skateboarding (WCS) event – the only one in Canada – with a $10,000 prize purse, Jackalope is expecting to draw top men and women skateboarders from approximately 10 countries. The event consists of a Friday practice session, Saturday qualifying round and finals on Sunday. The victor will be the skater with the best trick session on a custom street course. But Jackalope is way more than just decks. There are also freestyle… / Read More →

Crazy In Love Getaway at Hovey Manor

With its dimly lit cocktail nooks, gastronomic scene and narrow European streets, Montréal is an ideal city for a romantic getaway. It’s a rich epicentre of cultural happenings, but it’s also a great launching pad for some glorious daytrips or weekend getaways. The Canadian countryside is unique in its lush greenery, and in fall, the colours of the changing leaves are spectacular. Take a quick drive – just under a couple of hours – and you can land in a lovers’ haven like Hovey Manor. Set on the outskirts of North Hatley in the Eastern Townships, Hovey Manor is a storied property that saw its beginnings as a fine farmhouse, but became an inn as early as the 1950s. Since 1979, it’s been the luxurious getaway it is today, run by Steve and Kathryn Stafford, who have elevated it, added a lauded gastronomic element and updated it with a deft touch, respecting the property’s original design and feel. It’s one of the handful of Relais et Châteaux properties in Québec – a well-deserved honour bestowed upon them by the international organisation as a mark of excellence in service and fine dining. The gleaming white property is set atop a rolling… / Read More →

YOUR 2015 JUST FOR LAUGHS FESTIVAL SURVIVAL GUIDE

Your survival is important to us. More than that, we want you to thrive! While the 2015 edition of the Montréal Just For Laughs Festival promises wall-to-wall good times from July 8 to 28, it’s also a monster-sized festival that can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of culture vultures. To eliminate any uncertainties you may have and give you all the deets you need to get the most out of the festival experience, we’ve devised this Just For Laughs Survival Guide. EVENT Montréal Just For Laughs Festival, July 8 to 28, 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 8 to 28, 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 unmissable headliners including Wanda Sykes, Patrick Stewart, Kevin Hart, Alan Cumming, Patton Oswalt, Trevor Noah, Margaret Cho, Jane Lynch, Ellie Kemper, Rob Schneider, Neil Patrick Harris, Omid Djalili and Norm Macdonald.   Don’t be surprised if, when you enter the festival site, someone asks to look in your bag. This… / Read More →

Montréal frozen treats to beat the heat

If you’re like me and love ice cream, then you don’t need a reason to enjoy an awesome cone of ice cream, gelato or cup or sorbet… or even a box of creamsicles any time of year. One of the days I anticipate the most is when I see my local “crèmerie” (ice cream parlor) come out of hibernation and set up shop for the summer. After the spring thaw, there’s nothing more satisfying than downing a frozen treat in Montréal in the summer months, here are some of my favourite places to go. Monsieur Crémeux : 43 Rue Beaubien East A popular draw at most food truck gatherings in Montréal, the Monsieur Crémeux ice cream truck (by restaurant scene veteran Martin Juneau and Louis-Philippe Breton,) recently opened their first brick-and-mortar location on the edge of Little Italy just in time for summer.  Make sure to load up your cup or top your cone with some of Mr. Crémeux’s homemade toppings like their peanut and pretzel crumble or even their luscious strawberry sundae sauce. Look out for their ice cream carts patrolling the city’s festivals this summer! Les Givrés: Multiple locations This ice cream shop recently opened up their second location… / Read More →

Late-night dining in Montréal

[Updated on April 15, 2016] Summer in Montréal is an exciting time of year. From festivals and sidewalk sales to movies in the park and a plethora of other activities and events to keep you busy, there’s no rest of the weary. Keeping yourself fueled for moonlit walks along the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal, or taking in the sights and sounds of Place des Festivals is essential. In a city that barely sleeps during the summer, here are some of my favourite places for late-night dining. No matter what time of year, Montréal’s nightlife is bustling – there is always something going on in the city. Whether it’s grabbing a bite, or making a pit stop to charge your batteries during your nocturnal shenanigans, here are some places that should be on your itinerary when discovering Montréal at night. L’Express – 3927 Saint-Denis Street The quintessential Parisian-style bistro. Open until 3 a.m. daily, and 2 a.m. on Sundays, L’Express is a popular dining destination for locals at any hour. With dishes like their famous bone marrow starter to calf liver with tarragon, their take on classic French dishes will leave you wanting more. Leméac – 1045 Laurier Avenue West Leméac is another… / Read More →

10 Montréal English Comedy Nights and Clubs

Montréal is home to the famed Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and such internationally-renowned stand-up comics as Sugar Sammy and DeAnne Smith, hilarious veterans Heidi Foss, Joey Elias and Mike Paterson, as well as up-and-comers like Tranna Wintour, a favourite of New York legend Sandra Bernhard. They are all products of Montréal’s vibrant English-language comedy scene that boasts entertaining events at bars and nightclubs throughout the city. Here is a sampling of some of the best in town: The Comedyworks (1238 Bishop) features well-known Canadian and international headliners every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as a Monday improv night. A classic comedy club, complete with exposed-brick walls. Reservations recommended: 514-876-8777 or www.comedyworksmtl.ca. The Comedy Nest (2313 Sainte-Catherine W.) is a 160-seat cabaret-style nightclub located in the legendary Montréal Forum that features well-known comics every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It also hosts Newbie Tuesdays and Comedy Lab Wednesdays. Ages 18+. Reservations recommended: 514-932-6378 or http://comedynest.com/. Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club Montréal (1222 Mackay) welcomes celebrity headliners every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Ages 19+. Reservations recommended: 514-272-9857 or www.yukyuks.com/montreal. Montréal’s weekly indie Comedy Abroad! show headlines the Mbar (1245 Saint-André, back entrance) every Sunday beginning at 8:15 p.m. Admission:… / Read More →

Laughs and Lap-Dances (okay, not really) at Zoofest

Like any good off-festival, Zoofest takes advantage of the comedy frenzy going on in town because of Just For Laughs (JFL) and offers an alternative type of programing. Centred on Canadian talent, which tends to slip between the cracks of JFL’s focus on international heavy hitters, Zoofest branches out into a uniquely cool indie Vaudevillian vibe, with entertainment spanning burlesque to straight-up stand-up by way of weird yet hilarious stage shows. Here are five gigs you won’t want to miss at the event, running from July 9 to August 1. 1) Chris Locke: Cats, Man You may know Chris from his best-selling stand-up album, The World Is Embarrassing. He’s a cat-owning madman whose show delves deep into the fur-covered nooks and crannies of his life with feline friends, a long-suffering wife and junk foods from all nations. Fifteen minutes in, you’ll understand why he was the 2014 Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Stand-Up winner. July 20 to 23, 7:15 p.m., Monument-National 2) Something Wicked This Way Comes Enter the darkest chambers of your mind and leave your reservations at the door for this special night of tease, featuring Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière, Stitch the Geek and their collection of curious… / Read More →

Where to Watch Films Outdoors This Summer in Montréal

While summer festivals keep Montréal buzzing non-stop with music and laughter, outdoor film screenings provide a short breather, whether right downtown or in a neighbourhood park – and all for free! Bring a cushion or a picnic blanket and settle in under the stars for a movie-going experience like no other. Just For Laughs has picked two Hollywood comedies to add to their impressive roster of stand-up stars this July: see Tim Burton’s beloved Beetlejuice on July 13 and Mike Meyers spy sendup Austin Powers on July 22 at 9 pm at Place des Festivals. See the city in yet another light every Tuesday at 9 pm as the Quartier des spectacles hosts Downtown Screenings Under the Stars at Place de la Paix: Pop Montréal programs a 16 mm screening of 1980 Québec comedy Pinball Summer a.k.a. Pick-Up Summer on July 7 and Fantasia International Film Festival picks The Incredible Adventure of Jojo (And His Annoying Little Sister Avila) on July 21, while the Montréal First Peoples Festival presents Alanis Obomsawin’s documentary Kanehsatake, 270 ans de résistance on August 4 and Festival International du Film sur l’Art screens Entre ciel et terre, quand le Hip-Hop devient art on August 25…. / Read More →