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Make your Montréal holiday stay happy – and affordable!

The holidays are about getting together with family and friends, sure. But sometimes sleeping on a lumpy hide-a-bed or a futon in a friend’s basement can put a kink in your holiday spirit – and your back. So if you’re not the couch-surfing type but you need to watch your budget, here are some affordable Sweet Deal offers (rooms under $150 and 50% off the second night) that will make your holiday visit to Montréal a little more merry. The tasteful and warmly appointed Hôtel Manoir Sherbrooke has everything going for it including the all-important, as they say, location, location, location. Situated on Sherbrooke Street a short walk to the popular restos, bars and shopping of major entertainment arteries St. Laurent Blvd. to the west and St. Denis Street to the east, the Manoir is also only a few blocks north of downtown and close to the Quartier des Spectacles. The classic, converted Victorian home comes with all the modern amenities and a complimentary continental breakfast is offered. If you want to live life like a Montrealer in one of its quintessentially Montréal neighbourhoods, the Plateau Mont-Royal, look no further than the Auberge de la Fontaine. Situated directly across the… / 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 →

Things to do in Montréal: December 4 to 10

Montréal sparkles as the holiday season truly arrives this week, turning streets into winter villages and playgrounds, art and craft fairs into gift-shopping bonanzas, and the city’s numerous stages into charming gatherings for choirs, orchestras and rock shows. Celebrate the season Whether in the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal or in the parks of the Plateau, Montréal celebrates the holiday season with music, food, drink and open arms this week. 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. Le Festival Noël dans le parc lights up trees, offers activities for kids and shares the music of dozens of local musicians in free concerts at Parc des Compagnons-de-St-Laurent (Mont-Royal Avenue at Cartier) and at Parc Lahaie (Saint-Laurent Boulevard at Saint-Joseph) on weekday evenings and in the afternoon and evenings on weekends, to December 10 – don’t miss the parade on December 5 on Mount Royal Avenue ending in fireworks at Parc LaFontaine at 7 p.m. Also see Santa in Montréal’s downtown malls or delve deeper into the traditional Victorian Christmas in Montréal. Creative gifts Find all kinds of Québec-made… / 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 →

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 →