Montréal celebrates the return of spring with Easter brunches, Cirque du Soleil’s newest show, musical swings and butterflies, NHL playoffs and pro soccer, martial arts merged with dance, and live music by the Dixie Chicks, Jackson Brown, PJ Harvey and more.
Easter weekend activities
Montréal makes the most of the Easter long weekend, from staying active to religiously reflecting, whether you’re here with friends, family or that special someone – see our guide to Easter weekend 2017 for some ideas. Swing like you’re a kid again – and make music at the same time! – at 21 Swings outside Place des Arts in the Quartier des Spectacles, part of this year’s Digital Spring art-meets-tech explorations. Observe butterflies up close and in the hundreds at the Botanical Garden greenhouse’s Butterflies Go Free event, part of the Montréal Space for Life‘s manyactivities. The NHL playoffs have hockey fans at the edge of their seats: the Montréal Canadiens face off against the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre on April 14. For soccer fans: Minor League Soccer team Montréal Impact plays Atlanta United FC in the season home opener on April 15 at Saputo Stadium. Take a walk off the beaten path to discover welcoming and wonderful quirky spots in Montréal, from urban caves to arcade bars to Montréal’s best karaoke bars. And have fun for free with free things to do this Spring in Montréal.
Food and drink
Weekend brunch is an Easter must, but weekday brunch was truly made for leisurely vacationing: satisfy your mid-morning (or early afternoon) cravings with some of Montréal’s best brunches, from Old Montréal excellence to quaint neighbourhood café creations and worldly delights to classics with a gourmet twist. Discover the city sights and eat well along the way on Montréal’s best food tours. Have some fun this week friends and Montréalers alike with our guide to restaurants, bars and parties for spring break in Montréal. Catch the yearly end of a Québécois tradition: cabane à sucre sugar shack season – fill up on tourtière, sugar pie, sausages, maple syrup candy and so much more. Add more sweetness to your day at the city’s best candy shops. Explore great places to eat in the HOMA neighbourhood or the menus of new Montréal restaurants. Relax with a cup of tea at Montréal’s tea houses, or try a signature cocktail at one of Montréal’s hidden bars. And plan your next visit around Montréal’s fabulous food festivals!
Tony-award winning musical-comedy The Book of Mormon, featuring music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, returns to Montréal April 18-23 at Place des Arts, while the wonders of Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA thrill all ages starting April 20 under the big top in the Old Port of Montréal. Also in theatre: Centaur Theatre‘s Clybourne Park, a neighbourhood drama tracing racial tensions in Chicago, and family comedy-drama The Shadow Box at Mainline Theatre. As part of Montréal’s winter-spring dance program: Danse Danse presents the hybrid dance, martial arts and theatre of Shay Kuebler Radical System Art, April 18-22 at Place des Arts; dancer-choreographer Isabelle Van Grimde questions identity, the perception of the body and its evolution at Agora de la Danse April 19-21; Brazil-born, Amsterdam-based Fernando Belfiore premiers Agglomérat at the MAI April 14-15; and contempoarary-hybrid performance ensemble WIVES collective presents WIVES, ASSEMBLÉE at Studio 303 April 15-16.
Film festival Vues d’Afrique screens African and Créole films and hosts social events April 14-23 at the Cinémathèque québécoise – while there, also see portraits of 20 Québécois directors in 10 + 10 Visages du cinéma québécois. Virtual reality work by Felix & Paul Studios stuns at the Phi Centre‘s Virtual Reality Garden – the Phi Centre also screens dance documentary Rain on April 19 and Ken Loach’s newest film I, Daniel Blake on April 20. Immerse yourself in the high-tech visuals and live piano performance by Roman Zavada in Résonances Boréales, plus the global Music Legacy Project, April 11-29, in the Satosphere dome. Learn more about Montréal history in documentary The Last Breath: at the Heart of the Hotel-Dieu de Montreal, a hospital as old as the city and soon to be out of commission, and peek into one of the world’s foremost private gardens, Frank Cabot’s 20-acre English garden Les Quatre Vents, in doc The Gardener, both playing at Cinéma du Parc.
Museums and galleries
Experience one of the city’s most stunning churches in a whole new way: immersive high-tech light show Aura adds another level of beauty to Notre-Dame Basilica this year. Nearby, see the city in photographs at Le Centre d’histoire de Montréal’s Ça c’est Montréal. Later, walk through Old Montréal at night to see Québéc history unfold in the beautifully bright tableaux projections of Cité Memoire. Witness mastery of colour and light in CHAGALL: COLOUR AND MUSIC at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, featuring not only 340 pieces by the Russian-French artist but musical accompaniment. Also at the museum, the exhibition Mnemosyne constrasts works by contemporary Quebec and Canadian artists with Old Master paintings. The ’60s make a comeback at the McCord Museum‘s Fashioning Expo 67, featuring colourful outfits and products created by Québec designers for Expo 67. The Musée d’art contemporain shows work by foremost Mexican artist Teresa Margolles, as well as Québec artist Emanuel Licha’s Now Have a Look at This Machine documentary installation. And questions of human bodies, digital creation and perceived reality come up in the computer-generated multi-channel video work of Berlin-based British artist Ed Atkins‘s exhibition Modern Piano Music at DHC-ART, opening April 20.
On Friday night, PJ Harvey plays the first of two nights at Metropolis, while L.A. hardcore punk band The Bronx rolls into Foufounes Electriques, synth-pop team Co/ntry host a fun-times album launch show at Théâtre Fairmount, Texan indie-electronic group The Octopus Project comes to Bar Le Ritz P.D.B., and electro artist Jacques Greene brings the beats to Newspeak. See big-stage hommage to the Fab Four Orchestra! With the Beatles Story Band, featuring 16 musicians and a whole lot of energy, April 14-15 at Place des Arts’ Maison symphonique. On Saturday, sing along to your favourites with singer-songwriter Jackson Browne at Place des Arts or with the ever-fab Dixie Chicks at the Bell Centre. Or dance for hours with Mustard Factory with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and 4B at New City Gas. If shouting along to punk rock hits in the vein of Lagwagon, Bad Religion and Face to Face is more your style, make your way to Club Soda on Sunday for punk super group Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Monday night brings the classic British indie rock of The Wedding Present to Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. Simon Leclerc conducts the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s OSM Pop concert featuring Québécois singers Bïa, Bruno Pelletier, Paul Piché, Marc Hervieux, Catherine Major and more, April 18-20 at Place des Arts. Bask in the noise of Wolf Eyes and Drainolith on Tuesday at Casa del Popolo or in the chill vibes of R&B soul singer Allan Rayman with opener Mariachi Figueroa on Wednesday at La Sala Rossa. And if you’re looking for a musical experience en français, go to Damien Robitaille‘s show on April 20 at Club Soda.