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Your July guide to Montréal summer music festivals

As July approaches, Montréal continues to be flooded with an almost overwhelming array of musical options. So you don’t miss out on any of the excitement this month, here’s your July guide to Montréal summer music festivals! The Montréal International Jazz Festival, from June 26 to July 5, needs little introduction, but heck, we’ll do it anyway: the planet’s greatest, grandest jazz fest turns 36 this year with hundreds of concerts representing numerous genres including some 300 free outdoor shows that inundate downtown Montréal with a flood of music-loving merriment. From moving music to moving to the music, the International Percussion Festival turns 14 down in Old Montréal and the Old Port from July 3-12. A participative event (spectators are encouraged to get in on the playing and dancing action), the festival is also multidisciplinary, uniting music, dance, visual arts, film, food, workshops and conferences in the company of over 500 artists. The summer heat will begin to peak with Montréal’s vibrant and lively Nuits D’Afrique world music festival, July 7-19. Boasting the best of African and African-influenced music from some of the biggest names in the game at numerous indoor and free outdoor shows, Nuits D’Afrique is a guaranteed… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: June 19 to 25

C’est la Saint-Jean! This week Québec celebrates its national holiday, which, combined with the Francofolies, Fringe Fest and Suoni Per il Popolo, means Montréal is basically celebrating non-stop. Join in the party with free live music, great cultural outings and beautiful spots to lounge in the sun. Let’s celebrate The Saint-Jean-Baptiste festivities set the night of June 23 alight all through to the national holiday of June 24, with awesome free music (Ariane Moffatt, Daniel Bélanger and Marie-Pier Arthur are all on the star-studded bill) at the Place des Festivals. On the 24th during the collective day off, the celebrations take to the neighbourhoods, with roads closed all over town, live music, food, activities and a general air of slightly hung-over merriment. From Parc La Fontaine on the Plateau to Parc Benny in NDG, there’s something somewhere for everyone! Festivals en fête The Francofolies, meanwhile, continues with an amazing selection of free outdoor shows in the Quartier des spectacles until June 20, making way, after a short reprieve, to the highly anticipated Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. (Get your must-see list here.) Up on the Plateau, Suoni Per Il Popolo sets the tone until June 22, with a smaller,… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: June 12 to 18

Music is in the air as festival season gathers steam – and volume. Catch French tunes in the street, indie music in clubs, dance tracks in the park on weekends and fun in the sun in all our beautiful green spaces. Fresh and fun Bask in the sunshine by testing your climbing skills at the urban acrobatic venue Parc Exalto at the Olympic Stadium Esplanade, a three-storey rope-climbing structure. You can also play soccer or mini-golf, or jump along on an acro-bungee trampoline. As of mid-June, you’ll be able to cool down at the beach in Parc Jean-Drapeau, just one of many amazing spots to chill out in the city. Bring your own grub, and if you’re inspired, try one of these picnic and park pairings. Afterwards, celebrate the amazing day you had with one of these amazingly shareable pitchers. Speaking of pitchers, the Mondial de la Bière continues at Palais des congrès until June 14. The beer festival unites amateurs and connoisseurs alike for a taste of new hoppy brews and pairings with great food. Musical festing Francofolies kicked off on the 11th and will fill downtown with local and international French sounds until June 20, including Patrice Michaud, Dumas,… / Read More →

Montréal’s most scenic bike paths

Rated “North America’s premiere biking city” by the Copenhagenize Report (2013), Montréal boasts 645 kilometres of bike paths. Itching to explore the city on two wheels? Here are our picks for Montréal’s prettiest urban routes, pedaled carefree and car-free. The Lachine Canal bike path Ranked third on Time magazine’s Top 10 Urban Biking Trips in 2009, the nearly 15-kilometre-long Lachine Canal bike whisks cyclists alongside a canal that is operated by modern locks, open to small pleasure craft and bordered by old 19th-century factories. Starting from the Old Port, up to the Atwater Market, until the Chemin du Musée, in Lachine, where a stop-off at Parc René-Lévesque is recommended, this pretty circuit winds you through natural spaces and industrial parks alike. On the way back, follow the Berges Ouest bike path along the St. Lawrence River to Verdun and LaSalle, where you can watch surfers or kayakers navigating the rapids. De Maisonneuve Boulevard bike path Ideal for exploring downtown by bike! If you start from the Grande Bibliothèque (near the Berri-UQAM métro station), you can ride past skyscrapers right up to the sweet boutiques and museums of downtown Montréal, and get a glimpse of Place des Arts at the same time…. / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: May 22 to 28

It’s hopping in town this week – between C2MTL, Museums Day, MUTEK and Festival TransAmériques, our schedules are already full! But with the weather the way it is, it’s essential to take a chill pill and hang out in the sun a bit too. Culture corner It’s Museums Day! This Sunday, May 24, all museums and most cultural institutions in the city of Montréal offer free entry, plus shuttle buses along five different trajectories to take you from one to the other. It’s the best way to explore areas off the beaten track. Two shows launch at TOHU this week: Les Étinceleurs, which runs from May 26 to June 7, a high-octane show featuring the best and brightest of the National Circus School, and L’Art de la Fugue, starting on May 27 and running until June 7, which is an homage to Bach, à la circus. Not to be missed! May 23 is your last chance to catch Death and the Maiden by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, a choreography by Stephan Thoss inspired by the Franz Schubert score of the same name and presented at Théâtre Maisonneuve. (Don’t miss the free pre-show talk hosted by Shelley Pomerance an hour before… / Read More →

My top 10 favourite places to photograph in Montréal

When asked to write a guest blog post for Tourisme Montréal on my top 10 favourite places to photograph in Montréal, I was torn with what to include. Montréal offers a multitude of great places to shoot and keeping the list to just 10 was quite a challenge. One of my top reasons for loving Montréal is the wide variation in seasons that provides the photographer an ever-changing canvas. In putting together my list, I tried to incorporate places that provide a different atmosphere depending on the season. 1. Bonsecours Basin I included the Bonsecours Basin for a number of reasons. First, it’s a great place to visit pretty much anytime of the year. In summer you will find people enjoying the pedal boats, in winter you have the ice rink and in autumn the trees are bursting with colour. The basin also provides a great spot to photograph the city skyline at sunset. 2. Place d’Armes Recently renovated, Place d’Armes in the heart of Old Montréal is a key stopping point for anyone visiting Montréal. In the centre of the small square is the monument to Paul de Chomedey and with the backdrop of the Notre-Dame Basilica, the art-deco… / Read More →

2015 guide to Montréal summer music festivals

It’s beginning to sound a lot like summer in Montréal, as evidenced by the almost paralyzing array of music festival options – Osheaga, the Jazz Fest, Piknic Electronik, MUTEK and Heavy Montréal among them – featuring failsafe mainstays and some righteously exciting newbies. Getting wired and being plugged-in don’t always mean the same thing, but you can certainly do both in style at digital arts festival Elektra. From May 13 to 17, Elektra showcases new creations in electronic music, video, cinema, performance, gaming and more, in combination with the inventive use of next-level digital technologies. Conversely, bringing music fun back to the basics is the annual Pouzza Fest of all things punk rock, May 15-17. Steadily making a bigger and badder name for itself over the last five years, Pouzza returns with over 200 punk bands that span generations of punk fans, including 80s punks the Dwarves, Chicago hardcore unit 88 Fingers Louie, and L.A. pop punks The Muffs. Summer is synonymous with picnics, and summer in Montréal has become synonymous with Piknic Electronik, the wildly popular weekly outdoor electronic music dance party. Typically held in Parc Jean-Drapeau (on Île Ste-Hélène, across from Montréal’s Old Port), this year’s Piknic Electronik… / 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 →

On the Run! Great Jogging Trails from Amazing Montréal Hotels

If your starting line is: The Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth Few hotels around the world can boast a Running Concierge, but then again, few hotel chains dedicate as much thought to fitness as Fairmont does. (Try their fitness-gear rental program – it’s so handy!) At the Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth in the heart of downtown Montréal, every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6:30 am between May and late September, the lobby fills with avid runners led by Vicki Findley, Convention & Catering Services Manager in addition to being the Running Concierge. She and her colleagues – all marathoners or triathletes – combine the best of both worlds: fitness and exploration of this gorgeous city and its assets. “As we run, we give information about the hotel and the city,” explains Findley. “It starts out chatty, but as we go and the breathing gets heavier, it tends to get a bit more quiet!” Among the three jogging routes offered, the most popular is the 7 km downtown/Plateau run. The group goes up McGill, then runs into the McGill University campus to the exit on Milton. They continue east on Milton, until St-Laurent; then go north up to Prince Arthur. From there,… / Read More →

Montréal’s 2015 Osheaga festival line-up is out!

As 10-year-olds go, Montréal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has again proven itself to be one of the most precocious kids on the block with a 2015 line-up – including the likes of Florence and the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Weezer, Ben Harper and many, many more – that’s all smarts and smiles. From very modest if ambitious beginnings 10 years ago in 2006, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has grown from a two-day festival pulling in some 25,000 folks totally to a three-day monster of music awesomeness that now sells out 45,000 tickets per day as a matter of routine. This is in large part due to superlative artist programming since the outset, and the promise of a festival experience – at the treed and pathway-lined Parc Jean-Drapeau on Montréal’s scenic Île Sainte-Hélène – that is second to none. This year’s 10th anniversary of Osheaga, from July 31 to August 2, keeps that promise. Over 100 bands and performers will grace the festival’s six stages, among them several key Osheaga alumni. Exciting for many of us who were at that very first, baby-stepping edition of Osheaga in 2006 is the return of then-headliners Ben Harper, who has reunited with backing band The Innocent… / Read More →