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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 →

The Mondial des jeux Loto-Québec: On your mark, get set, play!

For its second edition, from July 11 to 25, the Mondial des jeux Loto-Québec takes over the Quartier des spectacles, De Maisonneuve Boulevard, and Complexe Desjardins. For two weeks, some 20 exhibitors will offer serious gamers a digital and physical experience via close to 100 free activities. Lovers of board games and the outdoors will be able to get in on the action, literally, on the Gaming Boulevard, an open-air thoroughfare on De Maisonneuve Boulevard, between Jeanne-Mance and Saint-Urbain Streets. Numerous established and emerging board game publishers from Québec will host, among others, chess competitions (e.g., the Francophonie championship), Génies en herb, and Scrabble battles, not to mention juggling workshops. Also, from July 16 to 19, in particular, Nintendo will feature its recent release, Splatoon. New for 2015, the Mondial des jeux Loto-Québec will welcome for the first time at the SAT, July 10 to 12, the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive finals, the largest tournament ever to be organized in North America, bringing together about 20 professional teams as part of the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC). Throughout the duration of the festival and for the second consecutive year, the North American qualifier for the free Just Dance Now competition will… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal April 16 to 22

Who can get enough of this sun?! The pendulum has swung in this beautifully bipolar city, utterly bypassing spring and basically settling on straight-up summer. We’ll take it! The streets are teeming with life, bike paths are back in action, coffee shops are spilling out and Montréal’s famous terrasses are just waiting for you to come tipple between cultural happenings and live music shows. Lounging like lizards Sometimes the best way to spend time is to waste it. Nothing will make you appreciate the simple beauty of life like a day spent strolling around Montréal in your short sleeves. Mount Royal and the city’s other dozens of parks are bursting with green shoots and wild crocuses pushing their brave way through the snow, Montréal’s best terrasses are open again with promises of refreshing cocktails or caffeinated concoctions, and, best of all this year in terms of putting a spring in our step, the Habs are in the playoffs. Life is good! Take in the games at one of these great sporty spots. Taking in art The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal has a great roster of spring exhibitions, including Sophie Calle and Simon Starling, the latter of whom examines metamorphosis… / Read More →

It’s terrasse season in Montréal

In Montréal, we do things – and say things – differently. Which is why a corner store is called a dep (from the French “dépanneur”), the subway is referred to as the métro, and outdoor patios are known as terrasses. For that added “je ne sais quoi” to your Montréal “joie de vivre,” here’s your guide to 10 amazing places for outdoor summer sippin’. Terrasse Nelligan: Seeing that Hôtel Nelligan is basically flawless, it makes sense that this Old Montréal boutique hotel’s rooftop terrasse is of equal quality, and comfy and casual too. Imagine unimpeded views of both Old Montréal and the Old Port, as well as the savoury scent of freshly cooked fish and meats on the venue’s outdoor grill. Auberge du Vieux-Port: Any discussion of picture-perfect Old Montréal terrasses would be remiss if it didn’t include the equally awesome Terrasse sur L’Auberge (atop Auberge du Vieux-Port), with its similarly inspired views of the St. Lawrence River and Old Montréal. This rooftop lays claim to being the best place to watch the annual fireworks competition. Irish Embassy Pub & Grill Faith and Begorrah! This traditional Irish pub is a hit with both visitors and happy gaggles of regulars alike…. / Read More →

Things to Do in Montréal April 9 to 15

As winter winds turn to balmy breezes, Montréal becomes the perfect place at the perfect time to spend a few hours exploring on foot and swinging (on art) outdoors as well as getting cozy inside with world-class dance, theatre, comedy and live music. Swing into Spring It’s easy to make your own music in downtown Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles this spring as the 21 Balançoires (21 Swings) art installation returns April 14 to May 31. The swings all make musical sounds – piano, guitar, harp or vibraphone – that create melodies as more and more people stop to swing along Promenade des Artistes (between De Maisonneuve Blvd. and President-Kennedy Ave.). More art that captures the city’s unique spirit from historical past to present can be found at several of Montréal’s museums and at the New Discoveries and Other Obsessions exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain, curated by the museum’s new director John Zeppetelli. Show time! Some of the best classical and modern ballet in the world graces the stage as Les Grands Ballets presents the Eifman Ballet in acclaimed Russian choreographer Boris Eifman’s passionate and psychologically complex Anna Karenina. With hockey playoffs just around the corner, catch the on-ice drama… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 26 to April 1

Spring is sweet in Montréal, literally thanks to maple mania, and figuratively with all the cultural effervescence of the season. From Digital Spring to music that will massage your soul with beauty and light, it’s all happening, right here, right now. Digital spring fever The sophomore edition of Digital Spring, on until June 21, showcases 150 interactive spaces, visual and audio performances, immersive experiences, 3D productions, cutting-edge electronic music performances, art exhibitions and world-class events put on by 90 organizations. It’s overwhelming to say the least, but you can let the calendar lead your experience and follow the guide online week by week. The programming will take you everywhere from Piknic Électronik to the International Symposium on Immersion and Experience and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium,at the Space for Life complex. For something a bit more lo-fi, head next door for spring fever, Botanical Garden-style: butterflies fly free through the beautifully temperate greenhouses until April 26. The kids will love it. Taste the season It isn’t really spring in Québec if there isn’t maple syrup involved. You can enjoy a feast of maple goodness, either classical or revisited, in the city or further afield. In town there’s a slew of restaurants that have launched special seasonal menus… / Read More →

Guide to the Holidays in Montreal 2014

An internationally renowned festival city to begin with, Montreal is essentially built for the festive season. With a lengthy Christmas list of options for family fun, eating entertainment, gift grabbing and night-time excitement, ours is – naughty or nice – the city to get your jolly on. To wit…

Things to Do in Montreal: August 29-September 4

The Labour Day long weekend may mark the end of summer, but Montreal’s enthusiasm for open-air entertainment keeps going strong: eat, drink, shop, see films and hear live music outdoors and in this week and throughout the month…

Things to Do in Montreal: May 9-15

As temperatures quickly rise to pre-summer levels in Montreal, outdoor activities and entertainment liven up the downtown core along with Mother’s Day decadence, city-wide nightly live music, theatre, dance, hockey, circus and more…

Things to Do in Montreal April 4-10

Spring invigorates Montreal with new life, with interactive art on the streets and butterflies at the Botanical Gardens, alongside the final few weeks of sugar shack season and an array of theatre, dance, cutting-edge art, and live music from around the world. (spring things) Swing into spring with interactive public art Les 21 Balançoires, returns on April 8 to the Quartier des Spectacles, outdoors along President Kennedy Avenue: the 21 colourful swings play music as people swing – always a fun, friendly time. One of springtime’s most obvious symbols, the butterfly, comes out in full force at Butterflies Go Free at the Botanical Garden, where thousands of colourful butterflies fill the main exhibition greenhouse until April 27 – while there, learn about the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly and the far corners of the world that butterflies call home. Stock up on new made-in-Quebec fashion at La Grande Braderie de la Mode Québécoise super sale, April 10-13 at Bonsecours Market. Another marker of spring: maple syrup – and with it comes the sweet-and-savoury sugar shack tradition. Until the end of April, sit down to a meal of sausages, pancakes, meat pie and much, much more at restaurants in the city, such as La Cabane,… / Read More →