Romance mingles with adventure and entertainment in Montreal as the glow of Valentine’s Day starts a week filled with outdoor activities, spectacular stage shows, delectable food, thought-provoking art, and all genres of live music…
(winter romance) Montreal excels at intimate dinners and luxurious hotel stays on Valentine’s Day and even adds some unique seasonal flare to tried-and-true romantic choices. Spend time outdoors together at Parc Jean-Drapeau: cozy up on a sled built for two on an Écorécréo dogsled tour until February 23, snowshoe though the park, try out the tele-traction ski and snowboard mini-hill, and ice skate in a natural setting with views of the city and the St-Lawrence river – or opt to see the river in a different way at spa Bota Bota, located on a boat in the Old Montreal harbour. Or speed up the weekend’s pace at the Barbegazi festival held at the Olympic Stadium Esplanade, February 15-16, featuring snowboarding, skiing, snowskating, snowmobile demos, and a lumberjack competition.
(big-time entertainment) Hot on the heels of Chinese New Year comes Spectacular China, February 15 to March 1, a multi-show entertainment event at Place des Arts, featuring Carnival 2014: Chinese Springtime Gala, the China National Children’s Theatre, contemporary dance performance Fault Lines by Leshan Song & Dance Troupe and New Zealand choreographer Sara Brodie, and more. Also at Place des Arts, the National Ballet of Ukraine performs La Bayadère for the first time in Montreal, complete with opulent set design and costumes befitting the epic Indian love story – presented by Les Grands Ballets, February 20-22. On the other end of the spectrum, the 35th edition of the Harley Show rocks the Bell Centre on February 15 with custom motorcycles and live music. Comedian Sugar Sammy performs an “illegal English edition” of his highly successful bilingual stand-up show You’re Gonna Rire, on February 14 at Olympia. And in theatre, Chekov’s The Seagull continues to receive great reviews at the Segal Centre, as does Arthur Holden’s The Book of Bob at Centaur Theatre, while German choreographer Helena Waldmann’s Get a Revolver captivates at Place des Arts to February 15 and Zab Maboungou and Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata perform African dance show Mozongi at the SAT, February 14, part of Black History Month.
(art & film) Hundreds of Quebec’s own cinematic creations shine at the 32nd edition of film festival Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois, February 20 to March 1, opening with Miraculum, the newest film from Quebec director Podz. See the Montreal Symphony Orchestra as never before in musical film Harmonielehre, a 360-degree surround-sound immersive experience of the music of composer John Adams, at the Satosphere dome beginning February 20. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts features No Foreign Lands, a beautiful exhibition of artist Peter Doig’s paintings of people and landscape, along with a new collaborative exhibition between the museum and the Montreal Musee d’art contemporain.
(seasonal food) We may still be in the midst of winter, but Montreal’s food scene is as fresh as spring, especially during the 15th edition of festival Montreal en Lumière, beginning February 20. Food shares the spotlight with the festival’s bright and colourful free outdoor site, stage performances, art exhibitions and all kinds of family activities. Special food and drink tastings, happy hour menus, prix-fixe multi-course meals and more make Montreal en Lumière’s extensive gastronomy offerings a must for food lovers. On February 14, the Rialto Theatre pairs an Italian dinner with opera sung by the chef himself, tenor Davide Bazzali and accompaniment. And the chefs at the SAT’s Food Lab capture summer in dishes inspired by the theme “California Dreaming,” to February 25. And for faster foodie fare, eat your way through Tourisme Montreal’s list of the best sandwiches in the city.
(live music) If you want to know what love is, all over again, Foreigner returns in cahoots with Valentine’s Day to play Olympia de Montréal on Saturday, February 15, while the Sam Roberts Band unveils new songs at Lion d’Or. On Valentine’s Day itself, feel-good rap-rock duo Aer gets Sala Rossa hopping, while Montreal’s Karneef plays inventive indie-rock from newly released album Love Between Us, at the Playhouse and the Arion Baroque Orchestra plays Bourgie Hall. On February 15, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra interprets Mahler, and on February 16, Skinny Puppy brings the house down with their signature experimental industrial music at Club Soda, while Kelly Joe Phelps blends blues, folk and country in his heartfelt songs at Sala Rossa. Kayne West comes to town on his Yeezuz Tour on Monday, February 17 at the Bell Centre, and The Goo Goo Dolls rock out again at l’Olympia. Get ready for a night of and beautifully heavy sounds with Wrekmeister Harmonies, Thalia Zedek and AJ Cornell & Tim Beeler on Tuesday February 18 at Casa del Popolo. February 19 brings Toronto’s The Hidden Cameras to Il Motore for a special show to celebrate a new album. And on February 20, T’dòz and Paul, sons of two living legends of Haitian music, play their mix of rasin, pop and urban music at Club Ballatou, part of Montreal Black History Month.
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