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Montréal offers a chorus of song for the holiday season

’Tis the season to have your ears sweep you off your feet as many of Montréal’s illustrious choirs and orchestras – offering spirited gospel, pop, classical, jazz and more – bring their holiday A-game to the city’s best venues in the coming weeks. The award-winning Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir – who closed the Montreal International Jazz Festival this year and have collaborated with artists like Ray Charles, Céline Dion and Barry White – are prepping for the 33rd instalment of their hugely popular Gospel Celebration Christmas Show. Roof-raising gospel songs and a selection of festive faves are all on tap for what is guaranteed to be an unforgettable celebration of song at Théâtre Maisonneuve, in Place des Arts, December 6. Hallelujah! The magnificent Saint Joseph’s Oratory – Canada’s largest church, situated on the western slope of Mount Royal – plays host to some 2 million visitors each year, many of whom eagerly anticipate the annual series of Christmas concerts. Again this year, on December 4 (8 pm) and 5 (2:30 and 8 pm), the Basilica of the Oratory will play host to ten renowned artists performing 22 holiday arias in the company of Oratory organist Vincent Boucher musical director/bassist Jacques Roy. It’s a Wainwright holiday… / 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 →

Things to do in Montréal: November 6 to 12

November warms us up with gourmet food and drink at MTL à TABLE, La Grande Dégustation and more delicious events, along with the thrills of this week’s high-energy hockey and dance, innovations in film and art, and joyous fun of theatre and live music. Go gourmet Eat well and often as the city’s best restaurants participate in MTL à TABLE, Montréal’s official Restaurant Week, a celebration of food and drink with special prices to match. Until November 8, food lovers can enjoy table d’hôte menus at reduced prices ($21, $31 or $41), culinary tours, wine tastings, chocolate sampling, special events and more at 150 restaurants and other locations throughout the city. See our Tourisme Montréal Guide to the 2015 Edition of MTL à TABLE for details and feast at brilliant brunch eateries, family-friendly restaurants, group-friendly locales, bring-your-own-wine favourites and much more, plus try out local cheeses or take a gourmet excursion. Not only that but month-long event Happy November adds to the festivities, including La Grande Dégustation de Montréal, November 6 and 7, showcasing 200 wine producers, distillers and brewers and their fabulous wares at Place Bonaventure. And if you’re vegan or simply vegan-curious, check out the 2nd-annual Montréal Vegan… / Read More →

Things to Do in Montréal October 30 to November 5

Clocks turn back but Montréal faces forward this week with innovate and affordable gourmet cuisine at MTL à Table Restaurant Week, all manner of Halloween celebrations, mind-expanding new dance, theatre, film and art, and live music that shakes up the status quo. Restaurant Week specialities Food, glorious food, rules the city this week as MTL à Table, Montréal’s official Restaurant Week, celebrates the pleasures of a good meal, a perfect snack and the best tipple to pair with it. Until November 8, food lovers can find table d’hôte reduced prices ($21, $31 or $41), culinary tours, wine tastings, chocolate sampling, special events and more at 150 restaurants and other locations throughout the city. See our Tourisme Montréal Guide to the 2015 Edition of MTL à Table for details and get ready to feast at brilliant brunch eateries, family-friendly restaurants, group-friendly locales, bring-your-own-wine favourites and much more, plus try out local cheeses or take a gourmet excursion. Alternatively, if you’d like to get in the kitchen yourself, choose the Montréal cooking class that suits your tastes. Find autumn delicacies at local farms and wineries and take a delicious piece of Montréal home with you in a jar with these locally-made treats…. / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: October 23 to 29

Late October in Montréal is all about food, art-abundant culture, live music and Halloween fun. The city’s official Restaurant Week, MTL à TABLE, kicks off with gourmet festivities and menu specials, just as a cultural feast is unleashed in theatres and galleries, touring bands thrill music fans and Halloween activities creep into our already wild nightlife. Fantastic food   Montréal is a food lovers’ city, with more restaurants than most major urban centres and the acclaim to match – try as many eateries as you can during MTL à TABLE, Montréal’s official Restaurant Week, happening October 29 to November 8 at 150 restaurants across the city. For 11 days, take advantage of table d’hôte reduced prices ($21, $31 or $41), culinary tours, wine tastings, special events and more, from family-friendly restaurants to group-friendly locales, bring-your-own-wine favourites to local cheeses. For more details on what to do and where to go during Restaurant Week, read our Tourisme Montréal Guide to the 2015 Edition of MTL à TABLE. Happy eating! Halloween anticipation Because Montréalers love Halloween, the costumed fun starts early. Cult movie fans cheer for both the film and a cast of characters on stage at the Rocky Horror Picture Show Ball,… / Read More →

10 (more) wonderful ways to explore Montréal

A second (or third or fourth) visit to Montréal is a time for really getting to know the city and its people – but where to start digging deeper? We’ve compiled a top-ten list that’s all about going beyond the main attractions – check our 10 Montréal “musts” for first-time visitors first so you don’t miss any of those! See a Show at Place des Arts Live music, theatre, dance and more is all under the roof of Place des Arts, the city’s biggest theatre complex, right downtown in the Quartier des spectacles. Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Orchestre Métropolitain play classical favourites and new music in the new Maison Symphonique, Opéra de Montréal stages lush opera productions, Danse Danse brings international dance stars to the Montreal stage, and rock stars and Broadway shows make appearances at PdA throughout the year. Shop the Plateau Find speciality stores and Canadian and Quebecois designers’ boutiques as well as bookstores, furniture and more on the streets of the Plateau neighbourhood, especially on Saint-Denis Street and Saint-Laurent Boulevard north of Sherbrooke, Mont-Royal Avenue in the several blocks east and west of the Mont-Royal Metro station, and along Laurier Avenue west of Saint-Laurent. and if… / 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 →

Things to do in Montréal: October 9 to 15

The sun still shines and the leaves turn bright orange and red in Montréal this week as the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, a Great Pumpkin Ball, hockey season, live music and much more keeps us warm indoors and out. New worlds in new films The 44th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma screens hundreds of fabulous Québécois, Canadian and international films October 7 to 18 – join the jovial crowds of film lovers to see much-awaited new work by Guy Maddin, Atom Egoyan, Jaco Van Dormael, Paolo Sorrentino, Wim Wenders, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Jia Zhangke, Laurie Anderson, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and more, including Les P’tits Loups, a whole program of films and activities just for kids, interactive sound and food experience Food Sessions, and several late-night parties and performances – consult our FNC film picks and see the official Festival du Nouveau Cinéma site for more details. See the Common Space? project’s innovative multimedia art and film outdoors in the Quartier des Spectacles every night October 1 to 18. And see mind-blowing 360° image and sound immersive experience Versus by French/Japanese duo Nonotak, at the SAT dome to October 30. Fun for all ages Enjoy the natural beauty of autumn… / Read More →

A cultural autumn with Gino Chouinard

A Montrealer by adoption, Gino Chouinard admits to having discovered some of his favourite cultural spots in the city on Salut, Bonjour!, the TVA television program he has been hosting since 2007. It’s thanks to the show that he found out about Arsenal, a contemporary art gallery in Griffintown. “Since then, I often go to the gallery to see what’s new in the world of contemporary art,” he explains. “Being there affords me a nice break from my hectic work schedule. Arsenal is hip and very much in tune with local contemporary artists. Housed in a heritage building, which in itself is a work of art, the gallery is located in a fast-growing neighbourhood. It makes you feel like you’re in New York or London. Personally, I just love their Division Gallery.” Although he managed an art gallery for several years, Gino sometimes has a hard time understanding contemporary works. “I don’t always understand or love everything that’s exhibited at Arsenal, but I make a point of reflecting on the artistic process,” he adds. He also strives to share this understanding with his children, aged five and eight, when he takes them to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. “When… / Read More →

See affordable shows on Montréal stages

The curtain goes up and the theatre, dance, circus or comedy show unfolds, its live tension palpable, often unique and unforgettable. In Montréal, that memorable experience doesn’t have to break the bank – all year round, the city’s stages are filled with live shows at affordable prices (some of them are even free!) The city’s biggest and arguably most opulent show venue, Place des Arts, houses six large theatres and several more show spaces right downtown. With shows every night, there’s usually something for every budget. Find inexpensive balcony seats for under $25, as well as student and seniors pricing and matinée deals at the Opéra de Montréal, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal  (OSM) conducted by Kent Nagano, the Orchestre Métropolitain, Les Grands Ballets, Canadian premieres of Broadway productions, and internationally touring dance company shows presented by Danse Danse. Especially watch for shows at Cinquième Salle, which often hosts cutting-edge productions by celebrated choreographers and directors. While theatre in Montréal is often quite affordable as it is, watch for inexpensive shows at the Segal Centre and Centaur Theatre studio and second stages, as well as theatre at the city’s many Maisons de la culture, host to productions by both established and… / Read More →