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Merry Montréal: your hub for magical holiday activities

From December 3 to January 1, Old Montréal and the Old Port will be shining brightly for the holidays! Foodies, adventurers, visitors and night owls are invited to partake in the magical events that make up the third edition of Merry Montréal. Stroll through the neighbourhood’s illuminated streets and discover the area’s historical charm, a delightful Christmas market and a wide array of free activities for families, friends and lovers. New: Christmas Market What’s more delightful than an outdoor Christmas market during the holidays? This year, some 20 exhibitors will be offering their yuletide creations, ranging from gourmet treats and sparkling jewelry, to modern décor items, amusing toys, natural fir trees and many more unique finds carefully crafted by local producers and craftspersons – just in time for Christmas shopping. And don’t miss your chance to meet Santa on December 5, 12 and 19, between 1 and 5 p.m., and tell him how good you’ve been this year! The Christmas Market will be open on Thursdays and Fridays starting at 4 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays starting at noon, until December 20 at Place Jacques-Cartier. Sparkling Nights Merry Montréal is proud to announce that Cœur de Pirate will be headlining… / Read More →

Your New Year’s Eve guide to getting a glow on in Montréal

New Year’s Eve in Montréal is both the joyful pinnacle of a year of citywide festive celebrations, and the auspicious beginning of yet another round of merrymaking (and honestly, especially on December 31, who’s going to turn down another round?). Let the following be your guide to lighting up your New Year’s Eve night in the city where fun is an ever-present friend. The Merry Montreal-organized outdoor New Year’s Party in Old Montréal’s Place Jacques-Cartier and the quays of the Old Port, now in its third year, will once again be by far and away the largest gathering of New Year’s revelers in the city. Last year more than 50,000 celebrants turned up for the free concerts, midnight countdown and massive fireworks display, as well as the almost all-night DJ dance party afterward (until 2 am). This year top-tier Québec performers – namely Coeur de Pirate, Dumas, Bernard Adamus and Yann Perreau – will entertain all in attendance. The free concert and party gets going at 7 pm. Speaking of Merry Montréal, Old Montréal’s classy and sassy Hôtel St. Paul is offering guests a special Merry Montréal package perfect for ringing in the New Year: two nights stay in one of… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: November 27 to December 3

With December officially here this week, there’s something seasonally appropriate and festive to do every day of the week: see Santa and sip hot chocolate, go to a hockey game, shop and shop some more, see a show or a film or a choir, and drink wine and eat well. Santa, hockey and merry making  The city’s biggest Santa Claus parade was last weekend, but if you missed it there’s still more Santa to see at the Plaza St-Hubert Santa Claus Parade on November 27 at 7 p.m. on St-Hubert Street between Bellechasse and Jean-Talon. Also find Santa at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Stewart Museum, packed with handmade Santa figurines and free all month, while toys old and new delight at Mister Rabbit’s Circus at the McCord Museum. Whether it snows this week or not, Merry Montréal makes Old Montréal feel like a winter wonderland – warm up around fires, drink hot chocolate, bring the kids to see Santa at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier, watch Christmas-themed films and more, starting December 3. And, of course, there’s plenty of hockey: The Canadiens play on home ice at the Bell Centre three times this week, taking on the Devils, the Blue Jackets… / Read More →

How to celebrate a Victorian Christmas in Montréal

Did you know that much of how we traditionally celebrate Christmas today has origins in Victorian Britain? In fact, at the beginning of the 19th century, Christmas was barely celebrated in England and her colonies—many businesses didn’t even recognize it as a holiday! “Bah, Humbug!” indeed. But by the dawn of the new century, Christmas had evolved into the massive celebration as we’ve come to know it. So as a nod to the origins of our modern yuletide celebrations, we invite you to discover some Victorian Christmas treats hidden around Montréal. A Victorian Christmas From November 21 until December 20, immerse yourself in the magic of a Victorian Christmas at the Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site in Old Montréal. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, visitors will be transported back to a 19th century home in the midst of mirthful holiday preparations. Discover the origins of many modern Christmas traditions as you wander opulently decorated rooms and warm up with some festive old-fashioned hot drinks. More activities include storytelling for children, a card and decoration workshop, and clips showcasing origins on Victorian Christmas. Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site: 458 Notre-Dame Street East On… / Read More →

A traditional holiday shopping guide to Montréal

If you’re doing your holiday gift shopping in Montréal, you’ve certainly got plenty of options, from Sainte-Catherine Street brand-name shops to the local creativity of artisanal craft fairs. But if you’re specifically looking for that “holiday spirit” or “Christmas-y feeling” or “winter wonderland” in uniquely-Montréal retail form, read on. New this year, Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal turns the Place des Arts esplanade into a charming outdoor Christmas and winter market, blending traditions from around the world. Gourmet food and drink – be sure to try the homemade, locally-produced goodies from Labonté de la pomme Verger & Miellerie – as well as free live shows and outdoor activities complete the experience, December 12 to January 2. Also new to the outdoor holiday market scene this year and not far from Place des Arts, the cheery and festive Marché de Noël Prince Arthur lights up Rue Prince Arthur at the corner of Boulevard St-Laurent, December 2 to 23. Expect to find unique handmade items, tree ornaments and Christmas trees, along with snacks, mulled wine and hot cider, sing-along carolling and outdoor film screenings. While Montréal is already in the habit of celebrating great food and drink all year, Happy… / Read More →

Get the star treatment at Montréal’s boutique hotels

The kind of luxury reserved to a boutique hotel is all about the particulars – the property’s aesthetic, the amenities, the unique touches that are offered only there. Treat yourself to the personalized experiences hidden all over the downtown core, at Montréal’s beautiful boutique hotels, and start building lifelong travel memories. Le Place d’Armes Hôtel & Suites Located a few steps away from the Notre-Dame Cathedral, this Old Montréal hotel in a stunningly retrofitted 19th century building has a lively nightlife at Suite 707 and the rooftop bar, plus Japanese dining at the Kyo Bar Japonais. The great perks for guests include free wine and cheese tastings. Hôtel Nelligan On St-Paul in the heart of Old Montréal, this property boasts one of the city’s most stunning views from the rooftop deck. Settle in for an outdoor tête à tête in the summer, or in cooler months, sink deep into one of the armchairs in the lobby or the happening eatery, Méchant Boeuf. Reserve a room with a view onto the impressive Atrium. Auberge du Vieux Port Another hotel with a fantastic rooftop! Because of its location facing the St-Lawrence River and the Old Port, nothing beats watching the weekly fireworks… / Read More →

MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE leaves the lights on even longer this year

The autumn leaves are barely off the trees, the first flurries have so far only teased, but winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is already planning a “blizzard” of arts and entertainment. Their freshly announced programming includes surprises in every corner of performance – music, theatre, dance, circus and more – and some welcome news for those who can’t get enough of Montréal’s cold-weather fun fest. MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, which annually attracts some 1,300,000 visitors, is already one of the largest winter festivals in the world, and now it will be one of the longest. The 2016 edition jumps from 11 to 17 days, February 18 to March 5, in order for families to take full advantage of the midwinter school break. Also new, as it is every year, is the festival’s featured country or city, and this year MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE will celebrate Shenzhen, China. One of the world’s most rapidly developing urban centers, Shenzhen (population 10 million) is a UNESCO City of Design and a major arts and culture hub, making it a fascinating ambassador for the many Chinese-themed events at the festival. First among these is the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra – presenting Chinese and European classical works celebrating… / 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 →

Get ready for Montréal’s delicious Festival YUL EAT this September!

The second edition of Festival YUL EAT is coming to Old Montréal on Labour Day weekend (September 5, 6 and 7) and promises to be bigger and better than the first time around, not to mention absolutely delicious! Access to the main site at the Old Port’s Clock Tower Quay is free and allows for three glorious days rubbing elbows with Québec’s best chefs, producers and food providers. You’ll be able to discover and taste some of the products that make the province’s gastronomy offering so unique, and chat away with the purveyors who work tirelessly to keep us all well fed. Exclusive and original meals, a farmer’s market, street food, culinary workshops, and food-centric conferences are all on the menu of what promises to be one of the best food festivals Montréal has ever seen. Eat, discover and party at Festival YUL EAT presented by Evenko and Productions Premiers Vendredis! EAT YUL BRUNCH Start each festival day with your choice of any (or all!) of three collaborative brunches bringing together chefs and their assigned food trucksfor the event. Saturday, September 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guest Chefs: Jason Morris, Restaurant Le Fantôme / Benoit Lenglet, Au Cinquième Péché… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Nick Farkas

As cofounder of festivals Osheaga, Ile Soniq, Heavy MTL and, starting this September, YUL EAT, Nick Farkas never stops. The only downside to his culturally immersed life is that sometimes, he’s too busy to enjoy other people’s events, like Just For Laughs and the Rogers Cup! This is how he experiences Montréal. Job: Vice President, Concert and Events, Evenko. Favourite pastime: Listening to music. How long have you been a Montrealer? Since 1970, when I was 5 years old. My parents came from Hamilton. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? Osheaga this weekend! The next three weekends of festivals, with Osheaga followed by Heavy Montréal and then Ile Soniq, are our busiest time in the year. What’s the next big thing you’re planning? We’re doing a new festival called YUL EAT in Old Montreal, near the Clock Tower, in the beginning of September, over Labour Day weekend. In the midst of doing our other three festivals and the 13,000 shows we do a year, the team decided it was time to do another festival. Tons of chefs, cooking classes, brunches, dinners, free concerts and more. What’s your favourite thing about organizing events? Definitely seeing the reaction… / Read More →