The last week of the year is going to be a good one in Montreal, whether you’re looking for a relaxing home-away-from-home vacation or a week of glitzy shows and New Year’s Eve parties – or both, because Montreal certainly isn’t going to make you choose…
(New Year’s Eve) Welcome a brand-new year in true Montreal style: the Montreal Buzz Guide to New Year’s Eve in Montreal offers an array of ideas, from five-course meals to pub crawls, family-friendly outings in the Old Port to champagne-fuelled comedy shows, jazz clubs to multi-room parties, and all kinds of late-night dancing. New Year’s Eve in Montreal is a party no matter what your idea of a party is.
(festive food) Montreal has become a destination for feasting on gourmet comfort food, especially for meat eaters, from pork belly to tourtière. The SAT Foodlab throws an end-of-the-world, prix-fixe dinner, Souper Apocalyptique, on December 21. And then there’s the Christmas Day tradition, mostly among people who don’t celebrate Christmas but also among people who just want to eat a lot of good food, of going for a huge Chinese lunch or dinner: lots of duck, hot soup, fried seafood, dumplings and house specialties. Follow it up with sweetness: chocolates, truffles, freshly baked bread, croissants and more, all made in Montreal.
(last-minute shopping) Get one-of-a-kind gifts at the biggest craft and artisinal fair in Canada, Salon des métiers d’art, where over 400 Quebec artists and artisans set up booths full of professionally handmade clothing, toys, home decor, food and much more – at Place Bonaventure only until December 22. Our Holiday Gift Guide is also full of Montreal-made ideas and suggestions for stores to shop for everyone on your list. Of course, picking up a little something for yourself couldn’t hurt, right? Peruse the guides for fashion-forward women and men before hitting the shops.
(super-entertainment on stage) Let Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco blow your mind with gasp-worthy acrobatics, genuinely funny clowning, and feats of strength and stamina, all in one bright, colourful, musical show. What makes this run super special is that it’s the last time Santimbanco – see it until December 30 at the Bell Centre. Also in circus happenings, Cirque Alphonse’s Timber! turns Montreal circus centre Tohu into in a Christmas-y forest populated by lumberjack acrobats, clowns and laughs, on until December 31. And the traditional, balletic holiday fare Les Grands Ballets’ The Nutcracker continues to December 30 at Place des Arts.
(outdoor fun) Even in winter, Montrealers spend time outdoors, burning off steam (and calories) with winter sports or just walking through the city – there’s plenty to see, and this time of year much of it is illuminated. On Saturday night at 8 p.m. and on New Year’s Eve at midnight, the Telus Fire on Ice fireworks explode over the picturesque Old Port, also home to a huge outdoor skating rink. Families will also want to check out Noël sur l’avenue along Mont Royal Avenue east of Mont Royal Park, and the further-east Olympic Park Winter Village, where from December 22-24 and again December 27-31, kids and adults alike can go ice skating and sledding, hang out with Rudolph and the other reindeer, sing Christmas songs and more – there are even fireworks on December 31.
(music nights) In the holiday tradition: hear the Notre-Dame Basilica organ in action on December 23-24 and 28-31 at 2 p.m., join the Arte Musica choral concert Let’s Sing Christmas! at the Montreal Fine Arts Museum on December 28-29, 2 p.m., and listen to choirs at the Montreal Botanic Gardens greenhouse on the afternoons of December 22-23. Less traditional: Party with the locals at the Third Annual Passovah Holiday Special on December 21 at Casa del Popolo, with bands, DJs and good, good people. The Objet Inusité International Summit on Audio Art is on at Eastern Bloc on December 21, with installations during the day and performances at 8 p.m., culminating December 22 with a bang at Sala Rossa with arty, fun music from Valleys, UN, Agor, Orkestar Kriminal ad DJ Matteo Grondini. On December 22, Indie Montréal throws a fab fundraiser Christmas Party at Divan Orange with David Martel , Ainsley McNeaney and Motel Raphaël. And fans of Alexisonfire either already have a ticket to their sold out shows or will be outside at Metropolis December 22 and 23 trying their luck getting one. And long-time UK punk band Snuff make it to Foufounes on December 30.