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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 →

M for Montreal 2015

M for memory making, for motivating and, oftentimes, for magic. But more than that, M for Montreal stands for M for amazing music. This year the tastemaking music festival and conference, which aims to assist up-and-coming artists not just at a local level, but internationally as well, is pulling out the stops for its 10th anniversary edition. For four days and nights, November 18-21, well over 100 local and international acts will be showcasing in more than 20 venues around Montréal in tandem with numerous conferences and networking opportunities with recognized music industry heavy hitters. Panels and workshops with specially selected delegates from around the world are a key feature of M for Montreal which, like the city it calls home, aims to strike that perfect work/play balance. “It’s really special for us to see many of the international delegates and media experience Montréal for the first time,” says M for Montreal programming director Mikey Rishwain. “And we try to build on that by making magic happen between business and pleasure.” The wizardry this year includes a markedly increased focus on electronic and hip-hop music. This is in addition to, of course, the usual onslaught of leading edge, mostly made-in-Montréal… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Anne-Marie Withenshaw

One of the most recognizable names on the Montréal media landscape, popular television and radio host Anne-Marie Withenshaw has long been an unofficial ambassador for the city’s thriving arts and cultural scenes. No longer: Withenshaw is official now as the 2015 ambassador for the annual MTL à TABLE restaurant event, 11 days of gourmet festivities and culinary discovery at 159 restos across Montréal, October 29 to November 8. Like Withenshaw doesn’t have enough on her plate(s), she also co-hosts TV show À couteaux tirés with world-renowned Montréal chef Chuck Hughes. It pits two top-shelf Québécois chefs against each other in a friendly, albeit crazy and unpredictable, competition each week. The program airs on CASA TV every Monday (5:30 pm), Thursday (9:30 pm) and Saturday (12:30 and 6 pm). We caught up with the food- and life-loving Withenshaw in between shooting. What’s the coolest, most interesting thing you’ve done so far this year? “I guess probably raise a toddler. It’s funny, my life has really changed a lot since I had a kid. Maybe four or five weeks before I got pregnant I was on tour with Rihanna. I did five cities in five days for [Montréal radio station] The Beat…… / Read More →

Your 2015 Fashion and Design Festival survival guide

Catwalks in the street, thumping beats, champagne flutes and stilettos left and right – the annual Fashion and Design Festival can be a dizzying affair! And since we want you to get the very most out of all your Montréal experiences, find below your complete guide to the summer’s most glamorous experience. Event Fashion and Design Festival, August 19 to 22. What you’re getting into The 15th anniversary edition of this major outdoor event at Quartier des Spectacles, in the heart of downtown Montreal, presenting 50 shows, as much as 300 participants and 550,000 visitors expected. This one-of-a-kind occasion provides an inside look at the world of fashion and design through activities like fashion shows, live creative sessions, film screenings, tons of conferences, design showcases and musical performances. Participating brands this year include Guess, Forever21, Ardène, Dynamite and Le Château, while individual designer shows include Hey Dahye, Iris Campo, Expose by Télio, Laurence Nerbonne, Pieter Oliver and many more. What to bring Like any other large-scale festival, there are a few essentials: First of all, your finery. With crowd this fabulous, brimming with designers, trendsetters and models, you want to decked out in your coolest garb! Get creative and have… / Read More →

10 things under 10 minutes from Saint-Laurent metro station

Saint-Laurent metro station, on the green line, spills out onto Saint-Laurent  Boulevard – known affectionately to Montréalers as “The Main” – and into the historic red-light district, now reborn as part of the downtown Quartier des spectacles, a year-round hive of arts, culture and entertainment activity. One-of-a-kind, character-filled performance venues, bars, restaurants and shops are a staple of this lively and dynamic part of the city. To help you get to know the neighbourhood, here are 10 unique and popular spots within 10 minutes walking distance of Saint-Laurent metro station. The Must: Quartier des spectacles Walking time: Between 2 and 9 minutes, depending on the venue Visitors to the roughly one-square-kilometre downtown Quartier des spectacles may notice the red-lit sidewalks in front of many of the 80-plus cultural venues located within this district, a nod to the area’s colourful history. In the present, the Quartier des spectacles is home to classy and classic state-of-the-art venues like Monument National, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, Metropolis, Club Soda and, the crown jewels of soft-seater theatres, the centrally located Place des Arts complex. The Underground Experience: Les Foufounes Électriques Walking time: 4 minutes Foufounes Électriques (which translated means, yup, “electric buttocks”) is Montréal’s – and arguably… / Read More →

Non-Stop Action, Amazing Animation and Rare Films at Fantasia

The Fantasia International Film Festival, now in its 19th edition, has earned itself a world-wide reputation for bringing the most bizarre, bloody and rare action, horror and animation films to Montréal every summer – but the fest also peddles in comedy, B-movies and even the occasional sentimental stand-out for the faint of heart. Whether you’re a seasoned film fan or just want to see a seriously memorable movie, the 2015 edition of Fantasia, July 14 to August 4, lives up to the challenge: choose among 135 feature films and 300 shorts from around the world. High-budget explosive action movies from Hong Kong, Japan, China and South Korea (see Choi Dong-hoon’s Assassination, Kung Fu Killer, Golden Cane Warrior, Robbery and more) rub shoulders with shoestring features from Uganda (Who Killed Captain Alex?), wild comedies (like iPhone-filmed Tangerine) and documentaries (from the emotionally complex inspiration Thor to karate-master unveiling The Real Miyagi). Animation films many years in the making (see Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan, which is this year’s official closing film, opening film Miss Hokusai, On the White Planet and Teana: 10,000 Years Later) screen alongside new sensations such as horror-comedies Cooties (starring Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson) and SXSW official… / Read More →

5 Ways To Celebrate Canada Day in Montréal

Sure, when you visit Montréal it might feel like you’re in Europe — but you’re not. Montréal is categorically a Canadian city and, along with the rest of the nation, we most definitely celebrate the Canada Day on July 1. Incidentally, the first day of July is also when many residential leases expire. So, if you’re wandering through the city, keep your eyes peeled for Montrealers dragging sofas up and down spiral staircases. Thankfully, you don’t have to haul any boxes. In fact, your main responsibly is to have fun and celebrate a darn fine nation called Canada. So here are five ways to do just that. MAKE IT A FAMILY DAY This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Flag. In honour of the special birthday, the Ministry of Canadian Heritage is sponsoring a host of free activities — think giant inflatables and make-up for the kids — that will appeal to both local residents and visitors! The day kicks off at 11 a.m. with an official ceremony featuring the Canadian Armed Forces military band and a traditional raising of the iconic maple leaf flag. At noon, a 21-canon salute will honour the occasion, and then a massive… / 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 →


Circus shows come in all shapes and sizes at the 6th edition of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE – Expect to be amazed and delighted by international and local performers doing what they do best in a city known to push the limits of circus. EVENT MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, July 2–12, 2015. OFFICIAL TWITTER & HASH TAG @mtlccirque #mccirque LOCATION Various locations, including Place Émilie-Gamelin in the Quartier des spectacles downtown and one of the world’s largest circus arts centres, La Tohu. HOW TO GET THERE For downtown show venues, take the Métro to Place-des-Arts (Green Line) or Berri-UQAM (Orange, Green, Yellow Lines), and walk along Sainte-Catherine Street. For La Tohu, located at 2345 Jarry East (north of Highway 40 and east of Papineau Avenue), take the Métro Blue Line to Iberville station and bus 94 North, or the Métro Orange Line to Jarry station and bus 193 East. If driving, pay parking is available on site. WHAT TO BRING A sense of humour to go with your sense of adventure. WHAT NOT TO BRING A fear of clowns. WHAT TO WEAR Sunglasses, sunscreen and silly hats for daytime outdoor shows. Casual chic for indoor shows – It may be the circus,… / 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 →