THINGS TO DO IN MONTREAL: MARCH 16-22

Posted on March 16th, 2012 by .

Spring has come early to Montreal! And there’s plenty to do this week to make March even brighter: St. Patrick’s Day activities, maple syrup seasonal treats, an arty film festival, theatre for the family, dance for all, and live music to get into the springtime groove to…

(irish revelry) The weather forecast for this Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade looks brilliant, warm and sunny all day. Join thousands of Montrealers in the annual family-friendly festivities downtown during the day (parade starts at 12pm) and beer and shenanigans later on in many an Irish-themed bar. And most other bars, for that matter.

(almost spring) It’s sugaring-off season! Which means the maple syrup is flowing and sugar shacks across Quebec are hopping. From early-March until late-April, feast on Quebec-made sugar-shack fare such as tourtière, cretons, sausage, bacon, baked beans, pancakes and, of course, maple syrup. Urban sugar-shack La Cabane, in the Old Port of Montreal, lends a gourmet twist to the traditional menu and is still taking reservations for the season. The snow in the city is pretty much all gone by now, to everyone’s surprise, but there’s still a touch of winter at the Montreal Botanical Gardens, where kid-friendly Sugaring-Off Time goes on every weekend from March 17 to April 1, with activities and maple-syrup treats. Add a springtime twist with a visit to the Butterflies Go Free exhibition.

(food society) The maple-syrup is flowing at SAT‘s Food Lab  too – the cultural centre’s restaurant serves up a seasonal maple-themed menu until March 17, 5–10 p.m., with a prix-fixe menu and a la carte options too. And on the afternoon of March 17, learn more about the technology behind maple syrup production at a workshop and about creating an urban vegetable garden. And short-film festival Dome Fest continues in the SAT’s 360-degree screen, surround-sound state-of-the-art dome every night at 8 p.m., to March 17, followed by the annual, awesome Laïka anniversary party on March 17.

(art meets film) The 30th International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), includes everything – all on film – from visual art to architecture to dance to music, plus free public exhibitions and performances, March 15–25, and features filmmakers from Canada and around the world.

(music and drama) Animated comedy classic Shrek gets the over-the-top musical-theatre treatment in Shrek the Musical, fun and laughs for the whole family, at Place des Arts to March 18. In a more dramatic vein, The Segal Centre has Morris Panych’s comedy Vigil as well as Traffik Femme and the Centaur Theatre puts on Nicolas Billon’s The Game of Love and Chance. Infinithéâtre presents award-winning The Leisure Society, a darkly humorous drama, at Infinithéâtre’s Bain St-Michel, to March 25. And children’s theatre specialists Geordie Theatre roll out their fundraiser show – this year it’s 12 Angry Jurors, with members of Montreal’s law community plus a silent auction, March 21–22 at the DB Clarke Theatre.

(performance prowess) The Edgy Women Festival, March 15–April 1, does exactly what it’s name implies, blending dance, theatre and performance art with fabulous, rebellious womanly ways – always a wild time. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens presents Soirée Stravinski, Igor Stravinski’s Noces (The Wedding) and The Rite of Spring, March 22–24 at PDA. Brilliant choreographer Crystal Pite’s The You Show comes to Agora de la Danse, March 21–24. And on March 18, learn to salsa for free with world-class instructor Chantal Dauphinais and live music, at Bal du Dimanche at Espace Culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme at Place des Arts. For something a little different, artist Tatiana Koroleva presents her performance exploration Blind Date, based on users’ profiles from numerous dating websites, on March 21, free, at Eastern Bloc.

(music to melt to) With our early spring, the Under the Snow music festival is more exposed than even, this year with Julie Doiron, Pat Jordache, a record fair and more. Orchestre Métropolitain presents Gustav Mahler’s masterpiece Symphony no. 10, adagio, as well as Alexander von Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony on March 18 at the Maison symphonique de Montréal. Montreal electro duo Black Tiger Sex Machine rev up La Sala Rossa on March 21, while on March 22, Technical Kidman and friends blow the lid off Casa del Popolo. Also on March 22, Mark Berube brings his songwriting talent and charismatic performance to the beautiful Théâtre Outremont. And Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: Immortal Tour turns the Bell Centre into Neverland, March 20–22.

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