We’re having fun staying warm this week in Montréal, whether we’re outside on skates or contemplating Chagall in the museum, watching a hockey game or dancing all night, taking in a show or ringing in the city’s 375th anniversary.
Winter’s all fun and games with Montréal’s 375th anniversary Les Hivernales: this weekend have fun at free and family-friendly Fête des neiges, transforming Parc Jean-Drapeau into a playground with a massive ice-sculpted Pirate ship, snow tubing, a Ferris Wheel, live shows and more activities. Watch a game, meet former Montréal Canadiens players and listen to live music by The Planet Smashers and more at hockey tournament Classique Montréalaise, Jan. 28 and 29 in Parc Jean-Drapeau. Cross-country ski and snowshoe with the Grande Traversée du Saint-Laurent, a winter sports odyssey stopping on Jan. 28 in Mount Royal Park. Party in the Old Port at electronic music festival Igloofest, pairing exquisite visuals with electronic music by Laurent Garnier, Oniris and more artists on Friday and Eats Everything, Catz ‘n Dogz and more on Saturday, while Kannibalen Records gets weekend #4 going on Feb. 2. Day or night, try Igloofest’s Nordik ice slide on Place Jacques-Cartier or visit the Nordik Village next to Quai Jacques-Cartier.
Active winter days
Montrealers aren’t afraid of a little cold weather – get outside and play in the snow with them, but be sure to dress for it and follow up with hot chocolate. Take advantage of the many free things to do this winter: go ice skating at Mount Royal Park’s Beaver Lake and Park La Fontaine; or spin the giant art-embellished zoetropes of this year’s Luminothérapie interactive art exhibition, open until Jan. 29. There’s ice skating in the Old Port and at Olympic Stadium Esplanade’s Village Mammouth , which also boasts a tube slide, entertainment and an activity area for kids. Indoors, things gets tropical at the Biodôme and Botanical Garden, just two of the many worlds at the Montréal Space for Life. And can cheer on NHL greats the Montréal Canadiens as they take on the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 31 at the Bell Centre.
Eat and drink
Prix-fixe multi-course meals at swanky restaurants come at affordable prices during Old Montréal’s Happening Gourmand event, on until Feb. 5. Find a quiet place to have a cocktail, warm up with food and drink next to Montréal’s coziest fireplaces or go for something different at the city’s new bars and restaurants. Find excellent restaurants in some of Montréal’s most popular neighbourhoods or indulge at the Casino de Montréal’s L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Cheap and delicious, there’s nothing like a big bowl of pho or Japanese authentic ramen on a winter day. Or there’s always the comfort of locally-made Québec gin and chocolate.
Stage and screen
The French Revolution, faith, materialism and humanity are writ large in Francis Poulenc’s mystical opera Dialogues des carmélites presented in all its drama by Opéra de Montréal at Place des Arts, Jan. 27 to Feb. 4. Contemporary dance intrigues as well in Martin Messier’s multidisciplinary Corps Mort at La Chapelle, Jan. 23-27, followed by performance collective WIVES’s Action Movie, exploring the mass appeal of action movies from a feminist perspective, Jan. 30 to Feb. 3, and choreographer Dave St-Pierre and Anne Le Beau were inspired by the heroic Joan of Arc to create suie, presented by Danse Danse at Place des Arts, Feb. 1-11. Laugh along with farcical play Noises Off at the Segal Centre. Visit the Phi Centre’s Virtual Reality Garden and Not Short on Talent installation, and see asteroid-collision documentary Disaster Playground at the Canadian Centre for Architecture on Jan. 28. The SAT’s 360-degree surround-sound dome gets a workout during SATFEST screening short high-tech works. And actor-director Crispin Glover swoops into Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. with his Big Slide Show and his film It is fine! Everything Is Fine, followed on Saturday by another slide show and his film What Is It?
Museums and galleries
Explore the wonderful world of CHAGALL: COLOUR AND MUSIC, a major exhibition featuring 340 works, from paintings to costumers as well as documents, all with musical accompaniment, opening Jan. 28 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – while there, also see exhibitions Leila Alaoui: No Pasara, SHE Photographs, and Montreal in Love: Embracing Diversity. Also walk through the museum’s new Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, featuring two floors dedicated to art education for kids. See decades of excellent work by Montréal artist, Françoise Sullivan at Galerie de l’UQAM. In Old Montréal, see thought-provoking sculpture and more by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye at DHC-ART. Never Apart’s winter exhibition celebrates Black heritage, Indigenous women and more. Artist Marc Séguin’s multidisciplinary exhibition Atemporalités is a must-see at Arsenal; or follow our guide to art in the “underground city” pedestrian network and the city’s most stunning churches and other sacred sites.
On Friday night discover singer-songwriter Rosie Valland at La Sala Rossa, or if EDM gets your body moving, dash over to Île Soniq’s Elevation party at the Bell Centre. Though Isaiah Rashad’s Friday show at L’Astral is sold out, the venue thumps with Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic and DJ Zone on Saturday. Also on Jan. 28, choir and orchestra Choeur Classique de Montréal performs Messe solennelle de sainte Cécile and Requiem by Maurice Duruflé at Place des Arts, while Cleveland indie-rockers Cloud Nothings and openers LVL UP play Théatre Fairmount. Later that night, soak up the good vibes of Nuit Chromatic at Moment Factory, with tunes for dancing by Lexis (Music Is My Sanctuary), Stram and 2GZ, get your groove on as Jazz Amnesty Sound System presents The Stevie Wonder Songbook with a stellar live band at La Sala Rossa, or dance to EDM by Laidback Luke and Jillionaire at New City Gas. On Sunday afternoon, Les Idées heureuses ensemble plays the complete cantatas of J. S. Bach at Bougie Hall. On Monday, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexander Melkinov perform Beethoven sonatas, Debussy and Chopin at Place des Arts. Sink into the sounds of Atomic, the newest album by Scottish post-rock band Mogwai, playing Théâtre St-Denis on Jan. 31. And on Feb. 1, Jordi Savall and 33 musicians play through a 1,000-year history of the Venetian Republic, at Place des Arts. Also on Wednesday night, eclectic musician Cate Le Bon plays Bar Le Ritz P.D.B., and underground hip-hop artist POS comes to Théatre Fairmount. And on Thursday night, rock out with latest local buzz band HEAT at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B.
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