Posted on March 14th, 2013 by .

The middle of March in Montreal might be the perfect time to get our springtime engines revving, what with the city’s famed Saint Patrick’s Day parade (and associated celebrations), the height of sugaring-off season (mmm, maple syrup), and a new season of entertainment and live music in seemingly every venue in town…

(go green) Whether you’re here this week to relax, party or keep the kids entertained at the tail end of March Break, Montreal’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations have something for everyone. The massive parade begins on Sunday, March 17, at noon and moves east for blocks but throughout the weekend many pubs, bars and restaurants, whether they’re officially Irish or not, offer up special St-Patty’s drinks and dishes.

(sugar shack fun) Sugaring-off season is upon us and with it the return of fatty, syrupy sugar shack fare, done in traditional and gourmet styles or a mix of the two, such as at La Cabane, conveniently located in the Old Port, where you’ll also find outdoor activities like ice skating and ice fishing. Or get the real maple-syrup deal at the Montreal Botanical Gardens, where families can sample syrup on snow and find out where the sugary stuff comes from.

(on-stage spectacle) While March 16 brings UFC welterweight champion and local legend Georges St-Pierre to the Bell Centre along with six other UFC welterweight fighters in what’s sure to be one kind of grand spectacle, there’s also Rabbit in a Hat Productions’ boxing-centric Cornered, on at Bain St-Michel to March 17. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens presents Danz + Toot, a high-energy, highly contemporary program, March 14-23, the true story of Dead Man Walking is put into song by Opera de Montreal on March 16, and the true story of the “Queen of Gospel” is told in The Mahalia Jackson Musical, starring Montreal sensation Ranee Lee, at the Segal, to March 24. See contemporary dance Montreal-style at Agora de la Danse March 15-16 as choreographer Isabelle Van Grimde works with dancers, composers and musicians in Les Gestes. And lovely, luscious ladies from Montreal and across North America perform sexy, funny, circus-y burlesque of all sorts at cabaret Le Grand Burlesque Show, March 21-23 at Club Soda.

(film & art) The International Festival of Films on Art, March 14-24, screens documentaries, shorts and experimental films that focus on all forms of the arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, writing, dancing, music and more. Also check out free events such as the Zon’Arts exhibition at Place des Arts, where Diane Obomsawin’s animated films Fleur (2012) and Machine (2012) are being projected. For the full FIFA schedule and to buy tickets online, see the FIFA site. It’s also the last weekend to wander through Montreal’s underground city, connecting metro stations, office buildings and malls, to see the corridors adorned with intriguing art for Art Souterrain.

(music for march) The weekend opens with Montreal favourites Stars playing two magical nights at the Corona Theatre, March 15 and 16. Also on Friday, another Montreal favourite, Jerusalem in My Heart brings their unique, dramatic sound to Le National, and dance the night away to electro-beat of Mr. Oizo, A-Rock and Cherry Cola, at SAT. Saturday night is all disco all the time with the legendary Village People at L’Olympia. On Sunday night, mega-star Rihanna visits the Bell Centre on her Diamonds World Tour, with A$AP Rocky. On Tuesday, March 19, see Randy Bachman on his Vinyl Tap Tour, playing music and telling stories about the Guess Who and BTO, at Theatre Corona. Canadian rocker Matt Mays comes to Cabaret Mile End with with openers July Talk on March 20, while New York prog-rock-punk band Coheed & Cambria  and A Place To Bury Strangers are at Club Soda.

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