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Free things to do this fall in Montréal

Montréal in the fall is a beautiful sight, and taking it all in can easily be done on a budget – free stuff abounds! Summery weather usually lasts through September and early October, meaning outdoor events and activities are plentiful. It’s always free to see the changing leaves, but Montréal’s got even more no-cost entertainment in store right through November. Outdoor life Take a walk from Parc Avenue into the relative wilderness of Mount Royal Park – climbing the stairs to the top is absolutely worth it for the view of downtown and the Saint Lawrence River. Even easier, a stroll through beautiful Parc La Fontaine, or hop on the metro to Parc Jean-Drapeau where riverside trails await – the park is also home to the Stewart Museum, free for kids 12 and under, and Biosphère Environment Museum, free for youth 17 and under. Explore Old Montréal at nightfall through multimedia smartphone tour Cité Mémoire, where images come alive on building facades. And walk around downtown and the Plateau to discover murals and more street art around every bend. Throughout September, find activities and entertainment at outdoor markets Jardins Gamelin and Village au Pied-du-Courant downtown, and, until November, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port. On Sept. 11, watch athletes ride… / Read More →

The Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal tells it on the mountain

Once a year, for five muscle-burning, perspiration-pouring hours, many of the world’s elite cyclists – competitors in the Tour de France, the Summer Olympics and the like – bring peak athletic performance to the peak of Mount Royal for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. For its seventh edition this year, 17 World Teams, three Professional Continental Teams and one Canadian National Team – comprised of 168 of the best cyclists on the planet – will converge on Montréal, September 10-11, for one of only two Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Tour races in North America. (The other takes place in Québec City on September 9). In other words, it’s a big deal. Organizers describe the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal as a key strategic race for the development of elite cycling on this side of the Atlantic, showcasing road racing for North Americans. Among the many notable peddling pros competing this year will be Québec City and Montréal Grands Prix Cyclistes (GPCQM) defending champions Rigoberto Uran, Tim Wellens and Tour de France stage winner Michael Matthews. Montréal’s 12.1 km Grand Prix Cycliste race course winds in and around Mount Royal Park on the city’s iconic Mount Royal. And while… / Read More →

Montréal winter nights are bright with activity possibilities

Nighttime is always the right time for both family fun and slightly more adult-oriented activities and entertainment in Montréal during the winter season. Gliding on ice under night skies is a sublime pastime at the Old Port’s idyllic Bonsecours Basin skating rink, a huge open-air surface renowned for its exceptional ice. It features some of the most striking views of Old Montréal and the city skyline in an extremely fun-friendly environment. Each day has a different music theme: classical Mondays, world music Tuesdays, urban sounds Wednesdays, and so on. The ice is open Monday to Wednesday until 9 pm, and Thursday to Sunday until 10 pm. Skate rentals and lockers are available. Many of Montréal’s most beautiful parks also feature night skating along with music, warming stations and/or places to eat and, er, lubricate. The picturesque Parc Lafontaine, Parc Maisonneuve and Beaver Lake on the summit of Mount Royal are all examples of top-tier blading places that typically stay open on the weekends until 10 pm. For locations, skating conditions and other info, please go here. Speaking of the mountain, Mount Royal Park is an outdoor winter sports enthusiast’s dream. In addition to skating, sledding and cross-country skiing – there… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: October 16 to 22

Whatever the fall weather, Montréal stays beautiful and busy this week with refreshing outdoor activities and indoor entertainment from international film to ballet, hockey to motocross, circus tricks to fashion steals, classical concerts to indie rock ragers. Sports action Whether you’re a major hockey fan or just love getting caught up in the energy of the game, there’s nothing like seeing the Canadiens on home ice in a packed stadium: the Habs take on the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre on October 17 and the St. Louis Blues on October 20. Montréal’s Olympian-packed Canadian Women’s Hockey League team gets a new name for a new season: Les Canadiennes fight the Brampton Thunder on Saturday, October 17 at 5:30 pm at Centre Étienne Desmarteau (3430 rue de Bellechasse) – bring your skates to hit the ice with the players after the game! And Nitro Circus Live takes extreme sports to the next level with a three-ring circus of freestyle motocross, BMX, high-flying stunts on wheeled contraptions thrown from the Nitro Slingshot and more, at the Bell Centre on October 16. Screen time Perfect for a rainy day or any day, the 44th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma brings new films… / Read More →

10 Montréal “musts” for first-time visitors

A first-time visit to any city can be overwhelming. What to see? What to do? And most importantly — how to prioritize it all?  To simplify your initial Montréal visit, we’ve compiled a simple list of crowd-pleasin’ attractions. Think of it as a “greatest hits” list of what to see and do in a diverse and exciting city. In no particular order, here are ten activities and attractions that first-time Montréal visitors might want to put on their “must see” list. Climb Mount Royal (The Lookout) Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (the same landscape architect who crafted New York’s Central Park), the “mountain” park at the heart of the city is the city’s most iconic landmark — and the most popular place to snap a Montréal selfie. Reach the viewpoint at the top of Mount Royal Park by walking up the stairs or with a guided tour. In the chalet at the summit, visitors will find washrooms and a small canteen for refreshments. Give yourself a breezy two hours. Spree on St-Catherine As one of the longest commercial strips in Canada, Sainte-Catherine Street is the perfect place for retail rehabilitation. You’ll find international fashion mainstays such as Gap, Victoria’s Secret… / Read More →

5 Montréal picnic and park pairings

Montréal summers are a thing to treasure. As the weather warms, our collective thoughts turn to how we can spend the most time outside, and there are few better activities than eating en plein air. To help you capitalize on this favoured summer activity, we’re offering a quick guide on where to buy a picnic, and which nearby green space you can go enjoy it in. All you’ll have to do is BYOB (by which, of course, we mean bring your own blanket). DIY: Atwater Market + the Lachine Canal Running since 1933, Atwater Market is home to a host of businesses ready to help you cobble together your perfect picnic. Start with some cheese at La Fromagerie Hamel to pair with fresh fruit from one of the outdoor vendors. Next stop is Les Cochons Tout Ronds for charcuterie, and finally a baguette from bakery Première Moisson (don’t forget to grab yourself an almond croissant for dessert). Cross over the footbridge right outside the market’s south end to find a bench along the historic Lachine Canal waterfront and delight in your spoils. Gastronomy-on-the-go: Food trucks + Mount Royal Park / Parc Jeanne-Mance Food trucks are still a relatively new thing… / Read More →

Things to Do with Kids this Spring and Summer in Montréal

With so much going on in Montréal during the warm-weather months, it’s easy to experience the best of the city through the eyes of children – free outdoor activities, indoor entertainment and much more keep everyone amused. Parks and Rec Run and play in Mount Royal Park mere minutes away from downtown, featuring children’s playgrounds and wading pools, picnic grounds, walking and cycling trails, paddle boat rentals at Lac aux Castors and an incredible view of the city and beyond from the top of the mountain. A short Métro ride from downtown, Parc Jean-Drapeau boasts a huge amount of green space, an outdoor pool, a lake and sandy beach, the Biosphere ecological museum, a view of the city, flower gardens, and summer events such as July’s Week-ends du Monde. Next to the Parc Jean-Drapeau is Six Flags’ La Ronde, open all summer long, with plenty of rides just for kids and families – in July, kids who can stay up a little later will love the L’International des Feux Loto-Québec fireworks competition on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Find the best swing set in the city in downtown Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles: the 21 Balançoires (21 Swings) art installation and instrument… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Julie Gilbert, Owner of Ô Deux Sœurs

Special collaboration with Florence Gagnon, president and founder of Lez Spread the Word Ô Deux Sœurs (which loosely translates as “At the two sisters”) is a restaurant, a caterer and an organic grocery store that has hung out its shingle on Rosemont Boulevard for five years now. Owner Julie Gilbert and her team have made it their mission to continually reinvent the pleasures of eating, adding a philanthropic twist by offering their customers quality food at affordable prices. With its “comfort food” style cuisine using local products, Ô Deux Sœurs also offers vegetarian, organic and gluten-free variations on its menu. On weekdays, you can select from the table d’hôte menu for lunch and dinner. On weekends, the restaurant serves up a sumptuous gourmet brunch. You’ll also find a list of delicious sandwiches, salads, desserts and beverages that are served all day long. As well, their new selection of coffee and a variety of prepared meals are always available on-site. For the past two years, the restaurant has been on a roll – literally – with the Ô Sœurs Volantes food truck, which dishes out equal parts salads in tortillas, meatball dishes and satisfied smiles. Ô Sœurs Volantes hits the road… / Read More →

Hikes and treks in Montreal: Get active and see the city!

Montreal has many spectacular hikes and walks, which are a great way to see the sights while keeping active on vacation. So grab some sensible walking shoes and enjoy the nature, fresh air, and beautiful scenery of a city trek…