That festive holiday glow hits the streets of Montréal this week – a massive Christmas tree and an interactive art installation illuminate downtown’s Place des Festivals, markets packed with local creations pop up everywhere (and so does Santa), and new art, film and live music inspire.
Festive outdoor events
Canada’s biggest Christmas tree, illuminated by thousands of lights, brightens up December outdoor market Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal, where you’ll find all kinds of local gifts and goodies plus an activity area for kids, live music and more. Right around the corner, play in the 13 giant zoetropes of this year’s Luminothérapie interactive art project, opening Dec. 7. There’s more joy to be had at Noël dans le Parc at downtown’s Place Émilie-Gamelin (opening Dec. 2 with live music from Beat Market and Loco Locass) and at Parc des Compagnons and Parc Lahaie in the Plateau all month, as well as at the Merry Montréal celebrations in Old Montréal. Santa also comes to the Plaza St-Hubert Christmas Parade on the evening of Dec. 2, Mount-Royal Avenue celebrates with the annual Noël sur l’Avenue all month, including a candle-lit parade and fireworks at Parc La Fontaine on December 3 at 7 pm. Find more Santa and seasonal things to do in round-op of winter activities for the whole family.
Food and drink
If you’re searching for a picture-perfect roaring fire in these winter months, look no further than Montréal’s coziest fireplaces at welcoming restaurants, bars and outdoor events. The Casino de Montréal glitters during the holidays, featuring special seasonal feasts in its restaurants, holiday cocktails, incredible jackpots and top-notch entertainment every evening. The SAT Food Lab cooks up their “SAISONS Temps des Fêtes” seasonal multi-course meal event on Dec. 6. And if you’re yearning to try something different among tried-and-true Montréal favourites, sift through our round-up of new bars and restaurants in Montréal to find enticing and creative menus.
Gifts shopping and more
Step into the glittering corridors of the Marché Casse Noisette, where you’ll find creative and locally made home decor, toys, clothing and accessories, beauty products, food, drink and more, at the Palais des congrès to Dec. 4. Modern design, eye-catching jewellery, tech-inspired items and more make the Souk @ SAT market a must, Nov. 30 to Dec. 4. A Christmas-themed market of food and more local wares adds sparkle to the newly renovated Prince Arthur Street just off St-Laurent Boulevard. Discover the lovely neighbourhood of Villeray and creative, one-of-a-kind home-decor at the Espace Projet Holiday Pop Up Sale on Dec. 4. La Petite Floride open-air project launches on Dec. 2 in Mile End, followed by a Puces POP market on Saturday. Dînette Magazine’s pop-up market takes over the Arsenal gallery space on the evening of Dec. 6. Get gifts wrapped in eco-friendly ways along shopping street St-Denis. We’ve also got the scoop on where to buy actually cool Montréal souvenirs. Stay bundled up and stylish with our guide to buying winter wear in Montréal. And rest your feet, body and mind at the spa.
The world on stage
Wild acrobatics and a magical world of insects wow in the captivating circus art of Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, to Dec. 4 at the Bell Centre – get a family package for the full experience. Another world-renowned circus company, Les 7 doigts de la main, performs Reversible, a spectacular and emotional acrobatic creation for all ages, to Dec. 30 at La Tohu circus centre. Danse Danse presents NYC’s Dorrance Dance in blissful show ETM: Double Down at Place des Arts, Dec. 1-3. Hypnotizing stage show Bharati 2: In the Palace of Illusions, sings and dances into Place des Arts, Dec. 2-3. In theatre see eco-odyssey The Watershed at Centaur Theatre to Dec. 4 and enchanting children’s show Miss Lost on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10:30 am. Cheer on the Montréal Canadiens as they take on the NJ Devils at the Bell Centre on Dec. 8 – and experience local hockey lore with our guide to Montréal’s hockey hotspots.
Art and film
The intriguing, critical and often controversial work of Belgian artist Wim Delvoye comes to DHC-ART in the form of sculpture, drawing, photography, installation and video. In its 29th year, the LGBTQ Image+Nation international film festival screens exceptional films, such as this Saturday’s film screening plus talk with drag icon Peaches Christ at Never Apart. The Phi Centre screens Elizabeth Wood’s White Girl until Dec. 15 and a feature double bill of Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica on Dec. 3. Curated with a sharp eye on global and local contemporary art trends, the BNLMTL 2016, Le Grand Balcon biennale is a must-see at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and more venues. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibition Focus: Perfection – Robert Mapplethorpe awes in imagery and historic accounting. Local history can be seen at the McCord Museum’s Notman, A Visionary Photographer – the museum also hosts storytelling and scenographic installation Alfred’s Adventures, free for kids. And Pointe-à-Callière museum presents over 400 art objecs in From the Lands of Asia. The Sam and Myrna Myers Collection.
Get into the seasonal spirit with some holiday music this week: the Montréal Bach Festival’s Yo-Yo Ma concert on Dec. 2; The Lyric Theatre Singers in Candlelight Christmas 2016, Dec. 1-3 at Concordia University’s Loyola Chapel; the Christmas classics of Noël Symphonique on Dec. 3; and the annual holiday tradition Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir Celebration on Dec. 4 at Place des Arts. Notre-Dame Basilica presents The Starry Night fundraising concert on Dec. 2, while St. Joseph’s Oratory presents their Chantons Noël Great Christmas Concert Dec. 2-3, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts welcomes the New York Polyphony Vocal Ensemble in Sing Thee Nowell on Dec. 4, Trio Fibonacci’s Christmas with The Trio on Dec. 6, and Christmas in Ville-Marie on Dec. 8.
More live music
Friday night goes electronic with high-energy electro ragers MSTRKRFT at Théâtre Fairmount, the bass-chaos electro of Kill the Noise at Théâtre Berri, and French house artist Darius at Newspeak, while singer-songwriter-artist Joseph Arthur captivates at Petit Campus and vintage African and Caribbean tunes turn Divan Orange into a Canicule Tropicale party zone. On Saturday night, German house duo Booka Shade make a huge night of it at Club Soda , hip hop artist Tory Lanez fills L’Olympia with beats, and 3LAU and Prince Fox own the dance floor at New City Gas. Spend an evening with American indie pop-folk duo The Weepies at Petit Campus on Dec. 4. Five voices of Italian music fame – Roby Facchinetti, Dodi Battaglia, Red Canzian, Stefano D’Orazio, Richard Fogli – take the stage in Pooh Reunion on Dec. 5 at Place des Arts, British folk-rock band Ultimate Painting lighten up Casa del Popolo and new-wavey indie rockers American Wrestlers play Divan Orange. The Montréal Symphony Orchestra welcomes pianist Till Fellner in a performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto at Maison symphonique on Dec. 6-7. On Dec. 6, Brooklyn hip hop act Flatbush Zombies rolls into L’Olympia while Kahil El’Zabar’s All Star Ritual Trio jazzes up La Sala Rossa. And on Thursday night, ‘90s mod-rock post-punk Winnipegers Duotang make a comeback at Petit Campus while famed Montréalers The Luyas celebrate a new album and 10 years as a band, at Bar le Ritz P.D.B.