Keep the Valentine’s romance going this week in the traditional sense – gourmet dinners, romantic live music, ice skating, ferris wheels – or with whatever floats your boat, because Montreal’s got lots of that too: an extreme winter sports competition, ice fishing, gripping theatre and dance, thrilling circus acts, and hot rock n’ roll…
(ice action) Check out the extreme activity at the all-new Barbegazi Winter Action Sports Festival, a weekend-long event at Montreal’s Olympic Park showcasing experts in snowboard, freeski, snowskate and freestyle sled (aerial tricks on a snowmobile!). A little less extreme, but still very wintery and oh-so-Canadian, is the Ice Fishing Village set up with all the rugged amenities down at the Old Port– get a taste of the country (yes, you can keep and eat the fish!) in the middle of the city. The Old Port’s skating rink beckons the active among us, while the Snow Village entices with a bit more luxury. And, of course, you could also catch the Habs in hockey action.
(winter city lights) Take the chill off winter with music, entertainment, traditional and gourmet food, and outdoor activities – including a ferris wheel, giant ice slide and live music in the heart of downtown – at the 14th Montréal en Lumière festival, starting Thursday, February 21. The fest opens with La Pista Tango, a tango-meets-circus show with live orchestra on stage at Place des Arts’ Theatre Maisonneuve. Also explore new cuisines at special lunch events, happy hours and dinner spreads, and see the art of famed singer Tonny Bennett, French music star -M-, theatre-dance show The Humanity Project, charming music duo Luc De Larochellière and Andrea Lindsay, and more.
(world-wide circus) Montreal lives up to its reputation as a circus capital with the 34th Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain, a Paris-based competition and best-of tour featuring some of the top circus acts in the world. See acrobats, trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, contortionists and more family-friendly entertainment February 19 to March 2 at Montreal’s professional and educational circus centre Tohu.
(theatre & dance) J.M. Coetzee’s Nobel Prize-winning book questioning how we measure civilized behaviour is writ large on stage in Waiting for the Barbarians, based on the, at the Segal Centre, to February 17. Centaur Theatre delves into the true story of murder in 1950s rural Ontario in Innocence Lost, to February 24. Huge, colourful, theatrical Indian dance show Bharati – The Wonder that is India wows to February 17 at Place des Arts. Learn a few moves yourself at the Bal Du Dimanche Samba Brésilienne on February 17, 2 p.m. at Place des Arts. As part of Montreal Black History Month, activist-writer Aphra Behn’s play Oroonoko is at the MAI to February 17 – and American Black civil rights activist Angela Davis takes the stage for a discussion at L’Astral on February 18.
(hot live music) Friday night is right with the electro-indie-pop of Passion Pit, with high-energy opening act Matt & Kim at Metropolis, or sit back and let the romantic vibes of Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band wash over you at Cabaret Mile End, or check out the very talented and charming Katie Moore and Aroara at Casa del Popolo. Also on February 15, the Imani Gospel Choir sings songs inspired by civil rights movements in the USA, part of Montreal Black History Month. On February 16, California-based producer-songwriter Toro Y Moi shares his unique musical style at Club Soda and legendary Detroit DJ Dez spins at the PHI Centre. Latin-Grammy-award nominated soulful singer Prince Royce rolls into Metropolis on February 17. California pop band Maroon5 bring their disturbingly catchy tunes to the Bell Centre on February 20. The Montreal New Music International Festival opens February 21 with the Ensemble de la SMCQ paying homage to Claude Vivier, and runs until March 3. And February 21 also brings the fine and dandy Indigo Girls to the Corona Theatre and hip and inventive Slim Twig and U.S Girls to Casa del Popolo.