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Things to do in Montréal: April 29 to May 5

Montréal puts some spring in everyone’s step this week with Cirque du Soleil’s newest show in the Old Port, food trucks out and about, spring fashions for sale, and nighttime entertainment from ballet and contemporary dance to film and theatre, classical music, indie rock and metal. Walk and roam See the springtime sights at a slower pace by taking a walk: take the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal past museums, restaurants and shops; head downtown to try your hand at making music on art installation 21 Swings, located on de Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts; or take the metro east to the Space for Life to walk around the blooming Botanical Garden or the Biodôme, currently celebrating Bird Fest. Indoors, there’s plenty of ground to cover at the Montréal Science Centre and Pointe-à-Callière archaeology museum. See Minor League Soccer team the Montréal Impact on the pitch with the Colorado Rapids at Saputo Stadium on April 30. And find more places to go in our free things to do in Montréal guide, whether this is your first time here or your tenth. Spring shopping Find fashion, beauty and health products, food items, travel ideas and more at over 300 exhibitors… / Read More →

Be a European explorer: walks in Old Montréal

One of the best ways to experience the city’s diverse nature is on foot, and what better place to start than with Old Montréal, where history meets cutting-edge ideas and European style shares each block with Montréal flare. Take this walk in a morning, afternoon or evening to discover everything from centuries-old architecture to remarkable restaurants. Start your Old Montréal walk with some local history, beginning at the corner of Notre Dame Street East and Saint Claude with City Hall built in the mid-1870s and where French President Général de Gaulle declared “Vive le Québec libre!” in 1967. Across the street, find the Chateau Ramezay historical site and, a couple of blocks east, the Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site for a peek at 19th century Montréal. From there, walk past the Place De La Dauversière gardens to admire the view from the Nelson monument before walking down Place Jacques-Cartier, a wide boulevard filled with restaurants, shops, live music and street artists. Take Saint Paul Street East to go to Marché Bonsecours, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, the Museum of Costumes and Textiles and the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum. Where to eat: Savour the gourmet Québécois creations at Le Club Chasse et Pêche on… / Read More →

Discover “The Main” – the most storied street in Montréal

It’s a street, it’s the beginning (and in some unfortunate instances, the end) of a book of Montréal stories, it’s a Friday night dance party and a Sunday afternoon stroll. It’s also a National Historic Site. It’s Saint-Laurent Boulevard, or as Montrealers call it, “The Main.” The Main, the much-beloved north/south street that at one time fed a steady stream of new immigrants from just-docked ships straight into the beating heart of Montréal, once marked the symbolic divide between Montréal’s French and English communities. Just over 11 km in length, The Main bisects the entirety of the island of Montréal, literally representing a cross-section of the city. Classic cafés, trend-attentive nightclubs, old-world delicatessens, time-capsule-like greasy spoons, retro clothing stores, high-end eateries, low-end brasseries and ethnic grocery outlets all co-exist comfortably on the most walkable and culturally diverse street in Montréal. Lower Saint-Laurent Boulevard The Main’s steadily northward and upward trajectory officially lifts off at De la Commune Street, which separates the city’s repurposed Old Port district (a warren of cultural activity all year-round) and historic Old Montréal, which can follow its cobblestones back to the mid-1600s. A short walk north of Old Montréal, past the Place d’Armes metro station, takes one to Chinatown, a vibrant… / Read More →

What to expect when you visit Montréal for the first time

For years you’ve heard that Montréal is a cool city. Perhaps someone has described it to you as the love child of Paris and New York. Maybe you had a friend gush about how the city is both exotic and affordable. Or perchance you saw this tweet from Kevin Hart or heard that Kelly Rippa always comes to Montréal for her honeymoon (well she did, until she kept getting pregnant). Whatever the reason, now you’re ready to visit. However, you’re still wondering what to expect on the ground? We’re here to help. Let’s explore some normal reactions to visiting Montréal. When you finally buy your ticket to Montréal. When you’re riding the city’s 747 airport express bus into the city. When you check into your hotel. When you go for dinner and realize that most everyone in Montréal is able to speak English. When you start strolling through Old Montréal. When you see your first Montréal hottie. When you’re promenading through Parc Mont-Royal (the city’s biggest park). When you’re having a fine beverage on Crescent Street. When you taste Montréal poutine. When you’re dancing at an outdoor festival When you realize you have to go home again. When you decide… / Read More →

Your Montréal bachelor party plan of attack

Montréal is tailor made for bachelor party action, and planning is key if you don’t want the big night out to devolve into another episode of herding cats. When devising your game plan, we suggest you break the night down into three distinct phases: First: A bit of manly competition to kick things off It’s always best to work up a bit of an appetite before heading out on the town, and Montréal is far from short on bachelor-party-appropriate activities to get the ball rolling. (And let’s be honest: there’s no joy quite like the joy of beating your best buds in front of your best buds.) First off, the new Maniax “friendly urban axe-throwing” sport centre bills itself as “like darts, but a hundred times more awesome,” and we won’t beg to differ. Bachelor party packages are available. Still on the exertional side, the athletically inclined bachelor gang will want to raise their gaze to the Horizon Roc Climbing Centre, which offers more than 300 routes on over 27,000 square feet of climbable surface. Also amazing is their indoor “Acro ∞ Parc,” featuring a high-ropes course (tree-to-tree style, up to 40 feet high), a zipline and slacklines. If the guys are… / Read More →

A selection of our favourite Montréal pizzerias

It seems like Montréal has been developing a love affair with all things pizza in the last couple of years. Parlour after parlour keep opening up and thriving. Whether you prefer Neapolitan, Roman, New York, Montréal or a very unique style to your pizza, below are some of our favourites organized by neighbourhood. DOWNTOWN Fiorellino Fiorellino offers great Neapolitan-style pizza cooked in a wood burning oven. Café Parvis A unique decor, a hip and unpretentious ambiance, great coffee and delicious pizze, including a breakfast one for weekend brunch. La brigade Neapolitan style pizza with a twist in the heart of downtown Montréal where you customize your pie from a variety of toppings available. Enoteca Mozza Pizzeria If you find yourself craving a pizza while walking around downtown Montréal, this dynamic spot is just what you’re looking for.   LITTLE ITALY Bottega Pizzeria Bottega is a Little Italy favourite and serves great pasta dishes, gelato and of course, lovely, Napoletana-style pizza made in their famous, red-tiled, wood burning oven. Pizzeria Gema Try the classic 1889, the bitter and tangy Menina (my favourite) or go for the ever-surprising pizza of the month inspired by great culinary talents such a as local chefs… / Read More →

Free things to do in Montréal this spring

There’s always something going on in Montréal whether the snow is falling or melting, and while many of those things come with a cost, all kinds of them don’t! We’ve got you covered for things to do in Montréal for free with friends, kids or on your own – from the first day of spring to the last. Free for the family Energetic kids can swing and make music at the same time on the 21 Swings art installation right downtown on De Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts starting April 11, and if you’re here on May 20 skip over to Parc Hydro-Québec for the Grand Pique-nique Urbain for parents-and-kids yoga and more free activities. Curious kids will love the hands-on Eurêka Festival, featuring over 100 thought-provoking demonstrations, workshops, performances, magic shows and more, outdoors in the Old Port, June 10 to 12. Delve into Québec’s varied history, art and culture with a museums pass, taking advantage of the fact that kids 12 and under have free admission at many of the city’s major museums and galleries, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (which hosts several workshops and tours for kids and where admission to the permanent collections… / Read More →

Your Montréal Digital Spring Survival Guide

When it comes to creative high-tech, Montréal ranks among the top cities in the world, often being called the capital of the digital arts in North America. New digital arts projects, video game production, the visual effects industry and virtual reality innovations all thrive here and are among the many reasons why Montréal Digital Spring has garnered international attention. The annual citywide event promises to free your mind and your body with interactive exhibitions and audio-visual performances, architectural installations and contemporary creations that cross artistic and scientific currents. Rules are meant to be broken during Digital Spring, so follow our Survival Guide to see the city of the future, now. THE EVENT  The 3rd edition of Montréal Digital Spring digital arts and culture initiative, at various locations throughout Montréal from March 21 to June 21, 2016. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO Whether you’re a forerunner in cutting-edge technology or your kids just figured out your smart phone for you, Montréal Digital Spring can take you however deep into the high-tech arts rabbit hole you desire. Also known as Printemps numérique, Digital Spring partners with local arts and culture organizations – meaning the whole city gets in on the act, from… / Read More →

Your Montréal Nuit blanche Survival Guide

Calling all nighthawks, night owls and burners of midnight oil. The once-a-year, all-night, nearly citywide arts, culture and performance party that is Nuit blanche is nearly upon us. It’s a vast undertaking with almost innumerable options and opportunities, and with that in mind, we offer you this guide to one of Montreal’s brightest winter nights. THE EVENT The 13th edition off Nuit blanche, part of the annual MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival at locations all over downtown Montréal and surrounding neighbourhoods, starting on February 27 and ending in the wee hours of February 28. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO One of the highlights of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is the always illuminating, always epic Nuit blanche all-nighter. Nuit blanche (“white night”) invites all comers to partake in upwards of 200 (mostly free) activities this year, including live music, film, dance, performance art, interactive installations, storytelling, digital and visual art, and great food to match a great night. IT’S WHERE EXACTLY? Almost everywhere MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s family-friendly free outdoor site in the downtown Quartier des Spectacles is the central hub from which all the action radiates. The site features a giant outdoor stage, interactive installations, dining areas, numerous fun activities (we don’t need… / Read More →

Your Spring Break guide to eating, drinking and partying, Montréal-style

Spring Break amazingness? You can have it all in Montréal. With its 3 a.m. closing hours, drinking age of 18 and hugely depreciated dollar (the whole city is basically a 30% off sale), Montréal is a win-win-win Spring Break party proposition. Let the following be your guide to doing it up right. Eats and pre-drinks There are those of us who would argue that the eating and pre-drinks portion of the evening is the most critical phase: not only are you laying a base for the remainder of the evening, you’re setting the tone. If you’re starting out on the Plateau Mont-Royal, imaginative hipster magnet and oyster/cocktail bar Le Majestique is all eye candy and killer cuisine. Fab fun food and drinks are also the raison d’être of L’Gros Luxe (Caesars topped with hamburgers, ’nuff said), and Big in Japan’s delectable small plate menu and vibrant vibe have also made it big in Montréal. If downtown, head to Sainte-Catherine Street West for Imadake, another Japanese small plate pub with a fun bordering on raucous atmosphere (which may have something to do with their signature “sake bombs”). Dominion Square Tavern is a must if only for the beautiful 1920s setting, though the… / Read More →