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Worldbeat festivals and happenings in Montréal

From bossa nova to celtic folk, reggae to zydeco, the musical rhythms in Montreal are as diverse and exciting as its people. The city is a hotbed of world music year-round, but goes into high gear during the summer festival season. Here are some highlights for 2016: The organizers of Les Francofolies de Montréal, which showcases music from the French-speaking world from June 9 to 18, as well as the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the world’s biggest music festival which runs from June 29 to July 9, regularly feature world-music performers. One of Montréal’s most colourful and exciting parades, Carifiesta, is a tradition born of slavery in Trinidad and Tobago, when French colonial masters hosted huge masquerade balls three days before Ash Wednesday. Slaves got a day off and mimicked their masters at their own parties, a tradition that morphed into Trinidad’s famed Carnival. That tradition migrated north to such cities as Miami, New York and Montréal. Each year Montréal’s competing floats “play mas” (as in masquerade) at Carifiesta. This year’s 41st annual parade is expected to draw 100,000 spectators along downtown Rue Ste-Catherine on Saturday, July 2. Each summer the City of Montreal hosts its hugely popular Week-ends du… / Read More →

Your 2016 guide to Food Trucks and Street Food in Montréal

Montréal’s food truck scene has been a work in progress. What started off as a modest pilot project by The Quebec Food Truck Association three years ago has now blossomed into one of the most anticipated culinary attractions of the year. In a relatively short period of time, the street food initiative has expanded right across the city. From a handful of food trucks parked in nine different locations in the city centre in 2013, the fleet now boasts over 50 trucks covering 30 designated parking/vending locations spanning 15 boroughs on the island. If you’re out and about taking in the sights and sounds of Montréal in the summer, here’s everything you need to know about street eats and food trucks. Starting April 1 and running until late fall, a variety of food trucks will rotate among 30 predetermined locations in Montréal East, Longue-Pointe, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Little Italy, Mile End, the Village, the Quartier des Spectacles, the Old Port, Côte-des-Neiges, Downtown, Griffintown, Saint-Henri, Verdun, Montréal West and Lasalle. Here is a line-up of the awesome trucks and mobile vendors you can expect this summer: –Air de bœuf –Les Aliments Pyza (Formerly Europolonia) –Alexis Le Gourmand -Atma –Assommoir mobile –Le Bacon… / 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 →

Things to do in Montréal: March 4 to 10

Where better to be in winter than in Montréal? Immerse yourself in the entertainment and culinary arts of the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, the city’s all-ages Spring Break activities, hockey games and Barbegazi sports, dance, theatre, film, art and live music. Brighten up MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE keeps downtown bright and bustling until March 5 with music and theatrical performances, extraordinary meals (including pay-their-age prices for kids), and a free outdoor site at downtown’s Place des Festivals featuring multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, a zip line, fabulous food and more – get the inside scoop with our MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE SURVIVAL GUIDE. Art lovers can do some shopping and see excellent contemporary art throughout the underground city during winter exhibition Art Souterrain. Consult our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style for high-energy nightlife and restaurant ideas. On the glittering ice at the Bell Centre, watch the Canadiens play the Stars on March 8 and the Sabres on March 10. And make your visit even smoother with these Montreal-specific apps. Delightful menus Along with the many fine dining options at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, sit down to a gourmet meal during restaurant festival Relâche Gourmande, highlighting special table d’hôte menus… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: January 22 to 28

We’ll never underestimate Montréal’s capacity to turn winter into a vacation-destination party – this week, it’s time to play in the snow at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Fêtes des Neiges, dance the night away at Igloofest, eat well at Happening Gourmand, and be awed by dance, theatre, film, and live music. Winter stays bright in Montréal this weekend at family-friendly Fêtes des neiges, where you can go tube sliding, zip lining, ice skating, hot-chocolate drinking and doughnut-eating to your heart’s content at scenic Parc Jean-Drapeau. Put on your brightest and warmest toque and parka and get ready to dance at massive outdoor dance party Igloofest – this Friday it’s Scuba and Jimmy Edgar, Rone and other artists while on Saturday hear the sounds of Maceo Plex, Odd Parents, Pierre Kwenders and more along with eye-popping visuals – and it all starts again on Thursday night with Mr. Oizo, Black Tiger Sex Machine and more! – at the Jacques Cartier Pier in the Old Port. Downtown at Place des Festivals, play on the 30 illuminated see-saws of interactive art exhibition Luminothérapie or head out to the Olympic Park (also home to the Biôdome, Botanical Garden and Planetarium) to skate and slide at Village MAMMOUTH…. / Read More →

10 New Year’s resolutions you’ll keep… in Montréal

Whether we make them every year or we’ve sworn off them for life, New Year’s Resolutions can haunt us – the trick is to make your yearly promises as fun-loving as possible. And since Montréal is decidedly fun-loving, it’s easy to follow through on those quintessential New Year’s resolutions any time of the year. Eat a multi-course meal Eating is necessary to life, whether you’ve made a “lose-weight” resolution or not, and five-course meals aren’t something most of us enjoy every day – so why not dig in to Montréal’s best prix-fixe menus at award-winning hotel and independent gourmet restaurants serving delicious local creations, authentic French food, special late-night menus, and so much more. If you visit in late fall, take advantage of the slashed prices at dozens of restaurants during the MTL à TABLE Montréal restaurant week. If you’re here in February, look for gourmet specials at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE. And from late February to early April, experience the Québec cabane à sucre sugar shack tradition. Drink the good stuff There’s no time like the present in Montréal to splurge on that cask-aged whiskey or gorgeous bottle of wine you’ve been dreaming about. Taste rare single malts and more… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: January 1 to 7

A new year, a new week – welcome to 2016 and welcome to Montréal! The genuine joys of the holiday season continue into this week at excellent restaurants and bars, outdoor markets, museums and music venues, and out on the streets and ice rinks of the city. New Year’s eats We could technically still call this “the holidays,” and many of the restaurants in our guide to holiday menus in Montréal do! From six-service table d’hôtes to classic French fare, welcome in the New Year with an excellent meal or two. Celebrate your love of wine and good food at these 10 wine-devoted restaurants. Get your fill of Peking Duck and dumplings on New Year’s Day at these Chinese food restaurants open over the holidays. If a burger and fries is your comfort food, get back to basics with these 5 must-try burgers. And since a vacation isn’t enough time to try everything Montréal’s cuisine scene has to offer, bring these made-in-Montréal treats home and pack a bottle of celebratory Québec-made alcohol, whether it’s gin or sparkling cider. Rewarding resolutions If you’re prone to making New Year’s resolutions, it’s easy to follow through on the fun ones in Montréal: skydive… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: December 25 to 31

During Christmas week, Montréal slows down, a peaceful quality permeating the air – of course, restaurants and bars still serve up fantastic fare, art and cultural activities abound for kids and adults alike, skating rinks and winter villages bustle, and by New Year’s Eve everyone is ready to party like it’s 2016. Dazzling food and drink Montréal knows that the pleasure and comfort of excellent meals and marvelous drinks is essential to the holiday season. Our guide to holiday menus in Montréal takes you around the city to discover the best in seasonal eating, from six-service table d’hôtes to classic French fare. Also peruse our guide to Restaurants open on Christmas Day for more first-rate feasting options. Add the unique quality of Québec-made alcohols to your holiday cocktails: try gin, vodka, ice wine, ciders and more made by Canadian distilling experts with a flare for flavour. And wine lovers should get cozy at these 10 wine-devoted restaurants. If you’re dining with a big family or friends, look into a private dining room experience. And if your holiday tradition involves Peking Duck and dumplings, let us show you where to eat Chinese food on Christmas and New Year’s. On the other hand, sometimes you just need a… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: December 18 to 24

In the week leading up to Christmas a lot of us are either rushing around getting things done or winding down at last – whether you need to go gift shopping or just want to relax at a show, there’s plenty to do in Montréal right up to Christmas and beyond. Merry days and nights Celebrate the season in season in Montréal style at Merry Montréal throughout Old Montréal where you can warm up at fires, drink free hot chocolate, see Santa at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier, watch Christmas-themed films and more. Over at downtown’s Place des festival, let the kids loose and your inner child play at the glittering Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal outdoors on the Esplanade of Place des Arts. Also outdoors at Place des Arts, play on the 30 illuminated see-saws of interactive art exhibition Luminothérapie, on until January 31 along with animated digital art projected onto nearby buildings and throughout the Quartier des Spectacles. And Le Festival Noël dans le parc lights up Parc des Compagnons-de-St-Laurent (Mont-Royal Avenue at Cartier) with activities and music on weekday evenings and in the afternoon and evenings on weekends to December 25. More holiday fun For hours… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal December 11 to 17

This is the week when it really and truly begins to feel a lot like Christmas – whether snow falls or not, the streets are aglitter with seasonal festivities. Go shopping for gifts, play on interactive public art, see The Nutcracker and more on stage, and hear music from choirs to rock bands. Sparkling streets Follow the glittering lights and happy people to Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal, a colourful new outdoor winter market right downtown at the Place des Arts Esplanade, December 12 to January 2, where not only can you find great presents but plenty of activities, entertainment and food and drink for the whole family. Montréal celebrates the season all around the city: Merry Montréal turns Old Montréal into a winter wonderland with fires to warm up by, free hot chocolate, Santa at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier, Christmas-themed films and more; in the Plateau at the Marché de Noël Prince Arthur along Prince Arthur Street starting at the corner of Boulevard St-Laurent see performances, watch films, shop and sample treats; Le Festival Noël dans le parc lights up Parc des Compagnons-de-St-Laurent (Mont-Royal Avenue at Cartier) and Parc Lahaie (Saint-Laurent Boulevard at Saint-Joseph) with activities and live… / Read More →