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Your MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE Survival Guide

Cold weather festing hath no fury like the ever-strengthening MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival, which brightens moods and sets downtown Montréal alight with excitement each and every year. A blizzard of entertainment and activities awaits visitors at both indoor and outdoor locales, so let this be your guide to navigating the storm. THE EVENT The 17th edition of the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival at various locations in downtown Montréal from February 18 to March 5, 2016. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO Over the course of 17 days, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE will enjoy some 1,300,000 visits from fearless fun seekers at what has become one of the largest winter festivals in the world. The annual happening hosts an expansive, eclectic and high-powered program of performing arts (live music, theatre, dance, circus arts and more) at many of the city’s best venues. There are also almost innumerable gastronomic options (some 500 chefs, wine producers and culinary experts have participated over the years) and a lively range of events and activities on the action-packed outdoor site that visitors can participate in. THE LAY OF THE LAND Where everything’s happening The almost 200 paid indoor performances and… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 12 to 18

Montréal pairs Valentine’s sparkle with glittering winter entertainment this week – the city’s top restaurants and hotels ready for romance, and the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival kicks off, along with inspiring international ballet, contemporary dance, art, theatre, film and live music. City lights Winter, spring, summer or fall, we’re counting the ways Montréal warms our hearts – and this week’s kickoff of massive winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE has us all fired up. Opening Thursday, February 18, the family-friendly festival’s free outdoor site entertains with multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, fabulous food and more, while indoors see dozens of musicians and performers, including Swiss Maestro Charles Dutoit and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra at Place des Arts February 18 and 20. Day or night, skate next to the Saint-Lawrence River at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Park Esplanade. Also near the Olympic Park, the wonders of the natural world await at the Space For Life, home to the Biodôme, Botanical Garden and Planetarium – the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free exhibit opens February 18, this year butterflies share the spotlight… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 5 to 11

Montréal takes the chill off February this week with food festivals that celebrate poutine, chocolate and full-course meals, alongside winter festivals Fêtes des neiges and Igloofest and a glittering array of opera, art, dance, theatre, film and live music. Winter fun Whatever the weather, head to scenic Parc Jean-Drapeau for the final weekend of family-friendly Fêtes des neiges, a massive activity park featuring tube sliding, zip lining, ice skating, a toddler play zone, hot beverages, delicious snacks and lively entertainment on Saturday and Sunday. The winter sports action continues at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at Olympic Park (also home to the Biodôme, Botanical Garden and Planetarium). Nighttime stays bright as massive outdoor party Igloofest – also in its final weekend – gets people dancing in their parkas at the Old Port – this Friday dance to Michael Mayer, Tale of Us and more artists, while Saturday brings Brodinski, Swindle, Laura Scavo and more to the festival’s two stages. And the Montréal Canadiens try to get back on top of their NHL hockey game in three home rounds at the Bell Centre this week, facing the Oilers on Saturday, Hurricanes… / Read More →

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 1 to 7

A new year, a new week – welcome to 2016 and welcome to Montréal! The genuine joys of the holiday season continue into this week at excellent restaurants and bars, outdoor markets, museums and music venues, and out on the streets and ice rinks of the city. New Year’s eats We could technically still call this “the holidays,” and many of the restaurants in our guide to holiday menus in Montréal do! From six-service table d’hôtes to classic French fare, welcome in the New Year with an excellent meal or two. Celebrate your love of wine and good food at these 10 wine-devoted restaurants. Get your fill of Peking Duck and dumplings on New Year’s Day at these Chinese food restaurants open over the holidays. If a burger and fries is your comfort food, get back to basics with these 5 must-try burgers. And since a vacation isn’t enough time to try everything Montréal’s cuisine scene has to offer, bring these made-in-Montréal treats home and pack a bottle of celebratory Québec-made alcohol, whether it’s gin or sparkling cider. Rewarding resolutions If you’re prone to making New Year’s resolutions, it’s easy to follow through on the fun ones in Montréal: skydive… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: December 18 to 24

In the week leading up to Christmas a lot of us are either rushing around getting things done or winding down at last – whether you need to go gift shopping or just want to relax at a show, there’s plenty to do in Montréal right up to Christmas and beyond. Merry days and nights Celebrate the season in season in Montréal style at Merry Montréal throughout Old Montréal where you can warm up at fires, drink free hot chocolate, see Santa at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier, watch Christmas-themed films and more. Over at downtown’s Place des festival, let the kids loose and your inner child play at the glittering Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal outdoors on the Esplanade of Place des Arts. Also outdoors at Place des Arts, play on the 30 illuminated see-saws of interactive art exhibition Luminothérapie, on until January 31 along with animated digital art projected onto nearby buildings and throughout the Quartier des Spectacles. And Le Festival Noël dans le parc lights up Parc des Compagnons-de-St-Laurent (Mont-Royal Avenue at Cartier) with activities and music on weekday evenings and in the afternoon and evenings on weekends to December 25. More holiday fun For hours… / Read More →

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 →