With spring officially here and the Easter long weekend upon us, Montréal is in the mood to celebrate. Share a lively meal at a sugar shack or an award-winning restaurant, see acclaimed dance and theatre performances, immerse yourself in multimedia art, or dance the night away.
If you’re spending the Easter long weekend in Montréal, you’ll find the city doesn’t really quiet down despite a pleasant vacation-like relaxation in the air. Take a walk up Mount Royal, go rock climbing or ice skating indoors, sample the city’s top-rated restaurants and shop to your heart’s content – most stores stay open during the holiday. And if you’re into late-night dance parties with thousands of other revellers and hot DJs, dress in white and look no further than Bal en Blanc – the theme for the party’s 22nd edition is “Hippie Chic” – interpret as you wish. For all the details and more Easter happenings, see our guide to What to do on Easter long weekend in Montréal.Signs of spring
First off, we’ll let these entertaining gifs illustrate the 10 Signs that spring has totally arrived in Montréal. Whether you’re on Spring Break or simply shaking off winter with some fun in Montréal, consult our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style and Montréal nightlife guide for places to eat, drink, dance and chill out. If you’re here with family, our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide has some ideas for what to do with kids these days. And in seasonal sports action, the good ol’ hockey game goes on for the Montréal Canadiens – they play the Rangers on March 26 and the Red Wings on March 29 at the Bell Centre. And as a new 2016 sports season starts up, the city also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Winter Olympics with 40 special events to mark the occasion.
March and early April in Montréal mean it’s sugar shack time: experience the typically rural and abundant Québecois traditional meal right here in the city, complete with plates piled high with sausages, pancakes and tourtière and new dishes inspired by the originals, plus desserts that make maple syrup the star. Discover many of the city’s excellence restaurants among Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants for 2016, dine in impressive designer style at Grand Prix du Design Montréalais-winning restaurants and cafes, and explore the exquisite tastes of Montréal’s best women chefs. If it suddenly snows (this is Montréal in March, after all) or you’re caught in a spring shower, warm up at Montréal’s hottest new restaurants and wicked winter bars. And bring the culinary colours of Montréal home with you in expertly compiled and beautifully photographed cookbooks by local chefs.
See two dance masterpieces, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune and
Le Sacre du printemps, by Québécois dancer-choreographer royalty Compagnie Marie Chouinard, accompanied by 70 musicians of the Montréal Youth Symphony Orchestra, presented by Danse Danse at Place des Arts March 31 to April 2. Also in dance, choreographers Michel F Côté and Catherine Tardif stage Mobilier Mental, to March 27 at Monument-National, and see a free show of new contemporary ballet pieces from the Les Grands Ballets’ choreography workshop, at Place des Arts’ Cinquième Salle on March 31. In English-language theatre: Montréal native Rick Miller brings 100 of the most influential figures of the Baby Boom era to the stage in BOOM at the Segal Centre to April 10; see the English-language world premiere of Marilyn Perreault’s Bus Stops at Centaur Theatre to March 27; the Other Theatre presents Love U Lovecraft, an experimental bilingual performance inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Color Out of Space, at La Chapelle to April 2; and Tableau D’Hôte Theatre presents one-woman show Another Home Invasion at M.A.I. to March 26. And musical puppetry, circus fun and African legends make Théâtre Motus’s Baobab one to watch with the kids at La Tohu to March 28.
Art and screen
When spring starts, so does citywide digital arts event Digital Spring, showcasing technological creativity in its many forms, March 21 to June 21 – check out our Survival Guide to Montréal’s Digital Spring for more details. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts takes us back in time to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii via hundreds of ancient art and artifacts – a must-see along with new international designer jewellery exhibition BIJOUX=ART. The Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal spotlights buzzed-about Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson in large-scale, long-form video works featuring musical collaborations with bands The National, Múm and Kjartan Sveinsson of Sigur Rós. Arsenal gallery in Griffintown presents a new show of works by American artist Mark Jenkins. Immerse yourself in new films created by Kid Koala and other local artists for the SAT’s 360-degree audio-visual dome and try a VR headset on for size at the Phi Centre’s Virtual Reality Garden, featuring creative takes on a new technology.
Electronic music greats Monoloke, Pearson Sound and Tessela plus local beatmaker CMD keep techno fans happy on and off the dancefloor in surround sound at Avant_MUTEK on Friday night at Espace Réunion. In classical music, Christian Arming, a specialist in the German and Czech repertoire, conducts the Orchestre Métropolitain in a concert of Slavic Masterpieces, featuring Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund and more vocalists and the Chœur Métropolitain, on March 25 at Place des Arts’ Maison symphonique. Friday night rolls with Australian indie-rock band DMA’S and Adam Strangler at Petit Campus, metal bands Children Of Bodom and Havok at Théâtre Corona, and The Smiths cover band The Smiffs at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. On Saturday, Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara goes solo with openers The Luyas and Event Cloak at Théâtre Fairmount, and Dutch house artist Dyro owns the dancefloor with opener Slander at New City Gas. On March 27, attend the Gala Concert of the Quebec Festival of Youth Orchestras at Maison symphonique, featuring seven youth orchestras and international guest conductors, or hear the eclectic music of People for Audio at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. Brooklyn-based indie-pop band Lucius and Pure Bathing Culture make Monday a night to go out, at Théâtre Fairmount. On March 29, internationally acclaimed musician Cameron Carpenter smashes stereotypes of organists and organ music in a concert at Place des Arts presented by the Montréal Chamber Music Festival, while Parisian electronic music star FKJ brings house and hip hop rhythms to Théâtre Fairmount, Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming plays solo as Diane Coffee at Divan Orange, Montréal band Dear Criminals mesmerizes with unique electro folk at La Sala Rossa, and unclassifiably cool musician Ezra Furman plays his playful style of bluesy pop-folk-rock at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. Ultra popular piano-pop electro-rock hip-hop duo Twenty One Pilots cool their jets at Metropolis March 30 and 31, while Australian’s High Highs infuse their indie-rock with a Go-Betweens sound on March 30 at La Sala Rossa, and Canadian R&B duo Majid Jordan plays Théâtre Fairmount. And on Thursday, experience the genre-crossing hip-hop, pop, world music of Young Fathers at Théâtre Fairmount.