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Montréal winter nights are bright with activity possibilities

Nighttime is always the right time for both family fun and slightly more adult-oriented activities and entertainment in Montréal during the winter season. Gliding on ice under night skies is a sublime pastime at the Old Port’s idyllic Bonsecours Basin skating rink, a huge open-air surface renowned for its exceptional ice. It features some of the most striking views of Old Montréal and the city skyline in an extremely fun-friendly environment. Each day has a different music theme: classical Mondays, world music Tuesdays, urban sounds Wednesdays, and so on. The ice is open Monday to Wednesday until 9 pm, and Thursday to Sunday until 10 pm. Skate rentals and lockers are available. Many of Montréal’s most beautiful parks also feature night skating along with music, warming stations and/or places to eat and, er, lubricate. The picturesque Parc Lafontaine, Parc Maisonneuve and Beaver Lake on the summit of Mount Royal are all examples of top-tier blading places that typically stay open on the weekends until 10 pm. For locations, skating conditions and other info, please go here. Speaking of the mountain, Mount Royal Park is an outdoor winter sports enthusiast’s dream. In addition to skating, sledding and cross-country skiing – there… / 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 →

Luminothérapie and high-tech creativity light up city life

A ride on an illuminated seesaw while surrounded by storeys-tall video projections may be all you need to get comfortable with Montréal winter this December. The city greets the season with the new glittering creations of annual event Luminothérapie, reflecting just how ahead of the technological curve Montréal is all year, whether in video gaming or art making. The sixth edition of Luminothérapie, held December 10 to January 31, builds on Montréal’s affinity for technological innovation with a distinctly artistic and cultural edge – this year’s event turns Place des Festivals into an interactive-art playground filled with 30 seesaws emitting sound and light. Inspired by Montrealers’ love of outdoor play no matter what the weather, the designers of Impulse – Lateral Office, CS Design and EGP Group – have created a cheerful gathering place in the heart of downtown. Meanwhile, video projections by Montréal-based digital art team Maotik and Iregular transform nearby Théâtre Maisonneuve and UQAM’s President–Kennedy building as well as the Grande Bibliothèque, UQAM bell tower and five more looming facades into screens for gorgeous abstract visuals accompanied by soundtracks by Toronto-based artist Mitchell Akiyama. Luminothérapie grew out of Montréal’s participation in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, a global network… / Read More →

Fun things to do with kids in Montréal

It’s August and whether we’re kids or adults, we’re all trying hard not to count down the last days of summer. Thankfully Montréal’s late summer and early fall festivals, live music, games, sports and more family-friendly activities make it easy to stay holiday-minded and carefree. Set butterflies free at the Monarch Odyssey this September, when monarch butterflies are labeled and released on their migratory journey south, and learn more about fireflies in the Bearers of Light exhibition at the Insectarium at Space for Life, also home to the Botanical Garden, Biôdome and Planetarium. And walk through the illuminated the Botanical Garden in September during the Gardens of Light event, a brilliant array of lanterns in the Chinese and Japanese gardens. More outdoor playtime is in store at Parc Exalto, an acrobatic park and obstacle course at the Esplanade Financière Sun Life at the Olympic Park, and at the Old Port of Montréal where kids can ride a zip line, a French carousel, mini-train or boat, explore the huge SOS Labyrinthe, play video games at Game On or the Peur Dépôt live game or play at pirates at the Voiles en Voiles, obstacle courses set on high-seas sailing ships. Or become an… / Read More →

Your 2015 Montréal Jazz Fest Survival Guide

Your survival is important to us. Not surviving means not getting maximum enjoyment out of your visit to the Montréal International Jazz Festival’s 36th edition, and nobody wants that. To this end, we’ve devised a Jazz Festival Survival Guide that will eliminate, we hope, any uncertainties while breathing even more life into your festival experience. EVENT Montréal International Jazz Festival, June 26 to July 5, 2015 WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO In a nutshell, more amazing music and fabulous fun than should be legally allowed. From June 26 to July 5, Montréal’s downtown Quartier des spectacles hosts the largest Jazz Festival in the world. Get ready for 10 eye-widening and ear-pleasing days of ticketed indoor concerts – which this year features can’t miss blue-chip artists such as the Steve Miller Band, Erykah Badu, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, Huey Lewis and The News, and Dee Dee Bridgewater among many others – and approximately 350 free outdoor shows and activities that draw around 2 million visitors every year. Don’t be surprised if, when you go to enter the festival site, someone asks to look in your bag. This is for your safety and that of others to ensure that nothing dangerous or disallowed makes… / Read More →

La Fête Nationale in Montréal: Things to do on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day

Each year in Québec, June 24 is Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (more commonly known as La Fête Nationale locally), a public holiday that celebrates French Canadian culture and this beautiful province that more than 8 million people call home. The holiday takes its name from St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of French Canadians, and has been recognized as a legal holiday since 1925. The history of Saint-Jean extends much further back that, with celebrations surrounding the midsummer feast having been brought to Canada by French settlers as early as 1636. Visiting Montréal during La Fête Nationale is a unique and wonderful opportunity to learn about—and participate in—the celebration of French Canada and Québec’s rich and colourful local culture.  With many free public activities going on around the city, we recommend you eat, listen, dance, and laugh your way through La Fête Nationale du Québec à Montréal! Grand spectacle de la Fête nationale This huge free outdoor concert celebrates its new home this year at the Place des Festivals. Kicking off at 6 pm on June 23, come listen to famous local acts such as Isabelle Boulay, Ariane Moffat, Daniel Bélanger, Marie-Pier Arthur and many others as they heat up the… / Read More →

Six Provocative Shows to See at Festival TransAmériques

Now in its 9th year, Festival TransAmériques (FTA), May 21 to June 4, continues to meticulously curate a stellar cutting-edge program of dance, theatre and performance art from around the world – this year we’ll see 25 thought-provoking shows from Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, France, Belgium, Portugal, The Netherlands, Israel and South Korea, as well as party nights, cocktail hours, film screenings and workshops. With festival ticket packages and more events in the city’s Quartier des spectacles this spring, any one of these FTA picks makes a unique cornerstone to the Montréal arts-and-culture experience. For unconventional Korean choreographer Eun-Me Ahn, age ain’t nothing but a number – her celebratory show, Dancing Grandmothers, features 12 older women from all walks of life dancing to techno and 1960s pop alongside nine acrobatic young dancers. The colourful, kitschy show is both larger than life and true to it, bringing together generations through shared memories and heartfelt connections. (New York artist Miguel Gutierrez also plays with the passage of years in his Age and Beauty, making its Canadian premier at Festival TransAmériques.) Radical German director Michael Thalheimer and the Schaubühne Theatre of Berlin take on Molière’s Tartuffe, reinterpreting the classic comedy of hypocrisy… / Read More →

Run and Play in the Light of Luminothérapie

Wander through an illuminated wheat field and play robot-populated video games on 100-foot-high screens this winter in Montreal in the name of Luminothérapie, a high-tech public art exhibition in the Quartiers des Spectacles, every night from December 11 to February 2…

Cruise ship tours: Montreal in three hours or three days

The island of Montreal offers the contemporary cruise ship passenger innumerable possibilities for their own three-hour stopover tour of the city. Or make it a three-day tour, depending on how long you’re docked…

Montrealer Jay Baruchel plays himself at Just For Laughs

Montreal actor Jay Baruchel has found all kinds of success in Hollywood, scoring major roles in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, the upcoming This Is the End, and the recently-wrapped Robocop reboot, but he resolutely calls Montreal home – and Montreal loves his right back, giving him his own Just For Laughs gala show this summer…