Even under a blanket of fresh snow, Montreal won’t slow down its pace, especially during this week of entertainment and family-friendly activities indoors and out at the Montréal en Lumière festival, at the circus, at the Old Port (ice canoe races!), on stage and in museums and galleries, and in music venues everywhere…
(light entertainment) The winter nights light even brighter during the 14th Montréal en Lumière, a festival of food, free outdoor activities (a ferris wheel, an ice slide and more!), music, theatre and dance shows, and other entertainment. Gourmet cuisine comes in all shapes and sizes at the festival, from multi-course meals to cheese samplings – see our Top 5 food picks for ideas. Tango enthusiasts and the curious are in for a treat at tango-meets-cabaret-meets-circus show and milonga La Pista Tango, the art of singer Tonny Bennett is on display, French music star -M- plays February 22, theatre-dance show The Humanity Project provokes deep thoughts, Haitian-born Québécois artist Marie-Josée Lord sings February 25, singer and pianist Diana Krall entrances in a solo concert on February 26, and none other than The Zombies rock out on February 28.
(circus & butterflies) Add far more than a dash of bright colour to snowy days at the 34th Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain, a internationally touring circus show featuring some of the top circus acts from the Paris-based competition of the same name, including acrobats, trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, contortionists and more, to March 2 at La Tohu. More brightness awaits at the Butterflies Go Free exhibition at the Montreal Botanical Gardens, where 2000 butterflies and moths from around the world take up residence until the end of April. Or step outside at the Old Port to see the astounding athlethics involved in the Ice Canoe Races on February 23.
(dance & theatre) For the first time in Canada, the National Ballet of China performs Raise the Red Lantern, a classical Western ballet interpretation of Zhang Yimou’s dramatic film of the same name – the director even added his creative voice to the production by writing the libretto, designing the lighting and signing the stage direction – on stage February 22-24 at Place des Arts, presented by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. Danse Danse presents Corps de Walk, a thoroughly cool, contemporary-culture show (in music, movement and style) by choreographers Gai Behar and Sharon Eyal and 12 dancers of The Norwegian National Company of Contemporary Dance, February 28 and March 1-2 at Place des Arts.
(travel with art) Take a different kind of walk around downtown’s happening Quartier des Spectacles to the tune of Luminothérapie: use your iPhone or mp3 player to interact with art project Le jour des 8 soleils by artist Pascal Grandmaison who tells a story through video projects video projections on buildings in the area, from Berri-UQAM metro station to Place des Festivals and points in between. Indoors, visit Peru through its art, history and culture, presented in stunning detail at the MMFA’s Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon. The Musee d’art Contemporain features intriguing large-scale colour photography by celebrated photographer Lynne Cohen and an immersive, mysterious multi-room installation called Uraniborg, by French multidisciplinary artist Laurent Grasso.
(live music) Old Montreal cultural hub the PHI Centre hosts Thus: Owls on Friday, February 22 and follows that up on Saturday, February 23 with amazing Haiti fundraiser party Kanaval Kanape, with performances by Arcade Fire with Haitian group Doody & Kami and a dancetastic afterparty – in partnership with Black History Month Montreal. Also on Friday, ska-rock the night away with The Planet Smashers at Club Soda, while Bosnian Rainbows play Cabaret du Mile End and the good folks at Passovah Productions throw a party with Young Galaxy, Valleys and many more (plus doughnuts from Chez Boris!) at Il Motore. On Saturday night, dance to the electronic music of Bordello, Vosper and Jealous Lovers at the SAT. On Sunday, the MSO hosts conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky and pianist Viktoria Postnikova, while The Montreal New Music International Festival showcases some of the best in new classical and experimental works. On February 25, feel the Irish spirit with Celtic Woman, February 25 at Place des Arts. On February 26, indie-experimental-rock artist Eels is at Theatre Corona, and on February 27, Swedish House Mafia makes the Bell Centre thump.