It’s not the end of winter yet, but the spring party spirit is in the air in Montreal, beginning with Sunday’s St-Patrick’s Day Parade and extending to indulgent sugar shack meals, enlightening on-stage drama, and live music that moves heart and soul…
(St-Patrick’s Day) If there’s one thing that marks the arrival of springtime in Montreal, even if there’s still snow on the ground, it’s the St-Patrick’s Day Parade, ongoing since the year 1824. This year’s parade happens on Sunday, March 16, 12pm, at the corner of Fort Street and Ste-Catherine Street and traveling east through downtown. See elaborate floats, marching bands and friendly gangs of revelers all along the way, and stop in at one of the city’s Irish bars where musical entertainment and St-Patty’s Day food and drink specials mark the occasion.
(out & about) Outdoors, winter still holds on to its reign, so take advantage of end-of-season snowshoeing, ice skating and cross-country skiing at the city’s large parks: Mount-Royal, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Park Lafontaine, and the Olympic Park’s Winter Village – and there’s even still ice fishing at the Old Port of Montreal. Indoors, Canadiens NHL hockey season continues at home on March 15, 18 and 20, or discover the many worlds of Montreal’s Space For Life, home to the Biodome, Botanical Garden, Planetarium and Insectarium, where the butterflies have just come out of hibernation.
(sugar & spice) Experience some of Quebec’s sweetest, most indulgent culinary creations at a local sugar shack, a temporary late-winter phenomenon that coincides with the maple syrup “sugaring-off” season. Indulge in the sweet and savoury offerings at sugar shacks in the city and beyond, including restaurants La Cabane and Scena with chef Laurent Godbout. While most cabane à sucres are extremely family-friendly, many of Montreal’s year-round restaurants welcome kids too – check out our list of family-friendly restaurants to find one that suits. And whether it’s high noon or the day is done, relax with a nice, warm cup of tea at one of the city’s tea rooms.
(art alive) Go underground downtown and walk through the corridors connecting many of Montreal’s museums, office towers and malls, from Place des Arts to points west and south – otherwise known as the Underground City – until March 16, you’ll find all kinds of art on display during the Art Souterrain festival. More art abounds at the Musee d’art contemporain, where Christian Marclay’s film-collage The Clock screens throughout the day, and at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where 1+1=1, a collaboration between the two museums brings together important contemporary work from their respective collections. Concordia University’s multidisciplinary art festival Art Matters continues with edgy exhibitions and parties at venues downtown and in the Plateau and Mile End neighbourhoods. And the 32nd edition of the International Festival of Films on Art begins on March 20, screening 270 films from 34 countries on painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, music, literature, comic books, and more artistically-inclined issues.
(on stage) The tragic, torrid romance between French sculptors Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel takes a balletic, dramatic turn on stage in Peter Quanz’s contemporary work Rodin/Claudel, performed by Les Grands Ballets, to March 22 at Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts. In contemporary dance, Montreal choreographer Jean-Sébastien Lourdais and his Fabrication Danse company present physical exploration Milieu de nulle part, March 19-21 at Agora de la Danse. In theatre, real estate deals never seemed so cutthroat as they do in David Mamet’s classic drama Glengarry Glen Ross, at the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts beginning March 16. Montreal’s working class realities during World World I come to the stage in Motherhouse, written by political, award-winning playwright David Fennario, at Centaur Theatre. Talisman Theatre turns to high-tech puppetry in epic, supernatural tale of revolution and homeland, The Aeneid, at Theatre La Chapelle, to March 15.
(live music) Montreal’s acoustic glory, the Maison Symphonique at Place des Arts, does some moving and shaking this week: on March 14, the Julian Kuerti conducts the Orchestre Métropolitain in a program featuring Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances; on March 16, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra sees Fabien Gabel conduct Ravel’s Boléro and more classics inspired by Hispanic dance; on March 19, virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma is sure to turn the evening dramatic; and on March 20, the Los Angeles Philharmonic comes to Montreal under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. Also performing at Place des Arts on March 20, though this time at the public space Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme, is world music quartet Surkalén. Experimental electronics meet northern soul as Toronto’s U.S. Girls owns the stage at Casa del Popolo with Gashrat and The Pink Noise on March 14. On March 15, Divan Orange hosts a Mardi Gras Ball with Cajun, bluegrass and swing music performances, burlesque and more, while on March 16, Italian superstar Zucchero makes a stop at l’Olympia, and Divan Orange turns the stage over to Canadian new-folk darlings Lakes of Canada. Later in the week, on March 19, some of the city’s best jazz improvisors play together in a show called Studies in Freedom at La Sala Rossa.
Make the most of your trip to Montreal with this exclusive Sweet Deal coupon booklet with special offers valued at $500!