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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 →

Things to do in Montreal: March 19 to 25

As Mother Nature tries to decide which way to go out there, huddle indoors with a few dozen good movies thanks to the International Festival of Films on Art this week, or lose yourself in the masses of programming for Digital Spring. There’s also tons of family activities, theatre, ballet, music, and the exciting kickoff of the sugaring season. (Be sure to warn your dentist.) All about arts The 2015 edition of the International Festival of Films on Art presents some 60 films about art this year, running from March 19 to 29, in cinemas all over the downtown core. You can see films on everything from architecture to dance to animation; goodies like Escape From Moomin Valley, all about the fantastical world of comic artist Tove Jansson, or The Man Who Saved the Louvre, about the heroic efforts of Louvre director Jacques Jaujard during the Second World War. Read more here. Theatre lovers won’t want to miss their last chance to catch The Goodnight Bird, at Centaur, a play about a vagrant who lands on a middle-aged couple’s balcony. It runs until March 22. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal premiere their latest opus on March 19: The Little Prince, chorographed by Dutch… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 12 to 18

The day has come! The thermometer hit the plus side for the first time in months, and spring is well on its way to springing. That means a general fancy-free frenzy in the streets of Montréal, with lots of promenading, coffee dates on the season’s first few terrasses, and, of course, culture galore for warm evenings of entertainment. Visual arts Friday night, March 13, marks the launch of a new exhibition at La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse on the Main near Marianne Street: Love Me, Love My Doll, by Gabrielle Lajoie‑Bergeron. The Montréal artist’s expressive paintings play with the thin line between commercialized images of femininity and childishness. Galerie Lilian Rodriguez in the Belgo Building downtown launches two new painting shows too: Laura Findlay’s Denser than Night, guest curated by Benjamin Klein, and Hybrides, by José Luis Torres. Come grab a glass of wine at the vernissage on Saturday March 14, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Otherwise, the annual Art Matters festival continues until March 21, where you can see exhibitions addressing various meaty topics including the current political climate and the battle against austerity in Québec, in the exhibition Oppression Aesthetics, at the VAV Gallery on René‑Lévesque Boulevard West. Stage shows No need to travel around the globe when Australian troupes… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 5 to 11

With Art Souterrain continuing through the month, FIFA around the corner and Art Matters kicking off this week, March is definitely an arty month. But there’s also new music symphonies in the Old Port, combat-dance at Place des Arts (yes, you read right) and outdoor fun to be had. Why art matters Concordia University art students have been putting on the annual Art Matters festival for 15 years now, and this edition marks that landmark in style. There are more parties than you’ll know what to do with – don’t miss the opening bash at Plaza Theatre on March 6 – and a million exhibitions throughout the festival, from March 7 to 21. A couple of the highlights not to be missed: Oppression Aesthetics, presented at the VAV Gallery, which addresses the current political climate and the battle against austerity in Québec with a multimedia exhibition; and An Evening of Alchemy, a one-night event at the Loyola Chapel on March 19, where visual artists and performance artists mix to create spontaneous creative interactions throughout this historic space. Place of expression Place des Arts is bustling with great shows this month, starting with Masters of Illusion on March 5, America’s largest touring magic show featuring an… / Read More →

Things to do in Montreal: February 26 to March 4

Yes, yes, y’all, it’s Nuit Blanche! This Saturday brings with it the best excuse to stay up all night since the last Star Trek marathon on Space TV. Grab your friends and family and hit the streets and cultural centres of the Montréal, open all night and jam-packed with special programming. All-night art The only bad thing about Nuit Blanche is figuring out how to divide your time – there’s just that much to do. The best strategy this Saturday, February 28, is to start with all your favourite places, whether that’s the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Phi Centre, the Olympic Stadium, Fonderie Darling or the Belgo Building, because you’ll get to access them for free. Plus you can be sure they’ll be pulling out all the stops for this special night with unusual and exciting programming, whether that’s live music, workshops, free performances and more. But afterwards, it’s time to discover. Nuit Blanche is really about broadening your perspectives, while having a good time, so an adventurous attitude is de mise. This year you might be tempted by the film screening night at Nouveau Palais restaurant. Or maybe you’ll want to try the all-night collage party at Monastiraki? And,… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 19 to 25

The city is alive with art this week, starting with a late-night art party that’ll put us in the mood for next week’s Nuit Blanche. There’s also a handful of new plays not to be missed, and a million hot music shows to warm your cockles. Art with heart For a full night of entertainment, look no further than the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal on Friday February 20, when the monthly Nocturne turns the museum into a party house. Starting at 5 p.m., and going all the way till 2 in the morning, get access to the three new exhibitions (Sophie Calle, Simon Starking and Allan Sekula and Noël Burch), a stream of video works in the “Projections” series and two performances (one by Sabrina Ratté and Roger Tellier-Craig, the other by Erin Gee), plus food, drinks, and electrifying music by DJs Dave Luxe, Ryan Playground, Nick Wisdom and Myfriendrick. All that for $14, or even better, for FREE if you purchase the super-cheap MACarte membership card! Meanwhile, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, don’t forget to check out the new exhibition by Benoit Aquin this weekend – the Montréal photographer was one of the very few people to have access to the site of the Lac-Mégantic… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 12 to 18

Love is in the air! There are a million ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in this joyful city, some involving the traditional red roses and gushy stuff, and some a little more unusual. Take your pick and show your favourite someone a good time – the Montréal way. Wining and dining You’ll never want for romantic spots for a tête-à-tête in food-centric Montréal, but some restaurants are pulling out all the stops during the Valentine’s Day period. This Friday, Saturday and, exceptionally, Sunday, treat your better half to one of the most memorable gastronomic experiences of their lives at Toqué! There’s a special eight-course tasting menu on offer at $135 a head. Nestled on Roy Street, on the Plateau, enjoy a sophisticated Basque feast at Pintxo, for an eight-course menu – this one to be $90 for two. On offer from February 12 to 15. XO Le Restaurant, at the opulent Hotel Le St-James, is serving an exclusive Valentine’s Day menu for $125 a head on Saturday, February 14 only. At Restaurant Tandem, in beautiful Villeray, enjoy seven courses on Valentine’s Day itself for $75. There’s nothing more Valentine’s than champagne, so head to La Champagnerie for the $50 special… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: January 23 to 29

It may be cold, but it’s cool, too. This week, Montréal is alive with the celebration of winter’s wonder, especially with the electrifying Igloofest outdoor dance party – but that makes the soul-warming indoor moments even more precious. Don’t miss the latest exhibitions, dance performances and live music shows. Outdoor fun Igloofest tops the charts of outdoor entertainment with its second weekend, featuring a mass of amazing DJs, including the spontaneous orchestrations of Germany’s Loco Dice and the heavy, hip-hop inflected tracks of Belgium’s Dave Luxe. Local acts include Enfants Malins, Da-P Dabeatx and Nick Wisdom, if you’re looking to move to Québec’s particular party sound. Parc Jean-Drapeau is a snowy haven of family activities during the Fête des neiges de Montréal, where the kids can skate, zip-line, slide, dog-sled and so much more. Get active alongside them and reward yourself with a feast from one of the food trucks. Or, in the Olympic Village, skate, go on sleigh rides or catch some live music all for free, as the Winter Village continues to emanate its charm. The free outdoor skating rink is one of the best maintained in the city, and what an impressive view! Cozy culture The latest, greatest show… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: January 16 to 22

With the crisp cold air and the bright shining sun, it’s easy to see the magical aspect of Montréal in the winter these days. It’s time to take full advantage of this world of extremes, where days of playing in the snow at Parc Jean-Drapeau or ice fishing in the Old Port give way to toasty warm evenings in a theatre or at a show bar. Winter wonderland The winter’s most amazing dance party is finally back for its 2015 edition: Igloofest lights up the nights in the Old Port for four consecutive weekends starting on January 16. If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to dance the night away in -20 degree weather, now’s your chance! It’s even more fun than you can imagine. Check the site for the schedule and meeting place. If you like your outdoor time a little more mellow, head to the Old Port to try your hand at ice fishing – but make sure you reserve, it’s really popular. Or bring the whole family over to Parc-Jean Drapeau over four weekends starting on January 17, where the  Fête des Neiges de Montréal turns the park into a snowy fun fair with activities including ice sculpting, skating, dog-sledding, zip-lining, along with a disco tube… / Read More →

Things to Do in Montreal: August 8-14

A slower summer vibe pervades the city in August, yet there’s still so much to do, from hard-rock and blues music festivals to world-class sports competitions to sampling the best in Montreal-made gourmet food.