Spring arrives in Montreal slowly but colourfully: the butterflies fly at the Botanical Gardens and Major League Baseball hits it out of the park, er, stadium, and the delicious joys of sugar shack season abound alongside international film, opera, art and dance, and mind-blowing rock shows…
(seasonal eating) A Quebec tradition continues well into April as sugaring-off season brings maple-syrup sweetness to the table: eat everything from sausages and pancakes to meat pie and gourmet specialties at local sugar shacks or just outside the city, where walks in the woods and sleight rides round out the experience. Go for a traditional, fried-up British meal at the city’s best fish and chips restaurants or more refined fare at the city’s tea rooms. And trust Montreal’s wine bars and our guide on Where to Go Drink in Montreal for whatever wets your whistle.
(spring fever) As the snow begins to melt on the Montreal streets, indoors at the Montreal Space for Life, spring is in full bloom – watch thousands of butterflies fly free at the Botanical Garden’s Main Exhibition Greenhouse until the end of April, and while there, visit the plants and animals at the Biodôme’s micro-ecosystems, look deep into outer space at the Planetarium. For the first time in a decade, Major League Baseball will be played at the Olympic Stadium on March 28 and 29, the Toronto Blue Jays take on the New York Mets – there’s even an official tailgate party with beer, BBQ and DJs starting three hours before each game. Yet outdoor winter sports season isn’t quite over, at least in the city’s large parks: snowshoe and possibly even ice skate at Mount-Royal, Parc Jean-Drapeau, and Park Lafontaine – or head down to the Old Port of Montreal for some ice fishing.
(theatre & dance) Hänsel Und Gretel enthrals as the Opéra de Montréal, the National Circus School and the National Theatre School of Canada collaborate to bring the classic tale, with music by Engelbert Humperdink, to life – catch the final performance March 29 at Place des Arts. Also at PDA, the brilliant Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan performs Songs of the Wanderers, inspired by Herman Hesse’s novel Siddhartha and featuring 24 dancers, Georgian songs and 3.5 tonnes of rice, at Place des Arts, to March 29. For the kids, Disney’s Live Rockin’ Road Show makes a stop at Theatre St-Denis with a full cast of Disney favourites – see English-language shows on March 28 and 30. Famed Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren merges with the dance world in dancer and choreographer Peter Trosztmer’s captivating homage, to April 12 at PDA. In theatre, the fast-talking, quick-selling style of David Mamet’s classic Glengarry Glen Ross adds its wit and colourful language to the Segal Centre stage, to March 30, while Old Montreal’s Centaur Theatre transports us to World War I era Montreal in David Fennario’s politicized drama Motherhouse. And Francophone performance festival Vue sur la Relève brings theatre, dance and music to multiple venues in the city beginning April 2.
(film & art) See an array of art films, on subjects ranging from painting to comic books to dance and music, during the final weekend of the 32nd edition of the International Festival of Films on Art – screenings include Mark Gatiss’s Horror Europa, Sylvie Collier’s Cuba-based dance film To Dance Like a Man, historical-footage music film Cracked Actor: David Bowie, doc Werner Herzog: Beyond Reason, a 360-degree projection of Escher’s Universe at the SAT dome, and much more. Christian Marclay’s must-see film-collage The Clock screens at Musée d’art contemporain and Albanian-born, Milan-based artist Adrian Paci’s film, painting, sculpture and installation work shows to April 20, while the joint exhibition of contemporary art, 1+1=1 is at the MMFA alongside Peter Doig’s beautiful painting exhibition, No Foreign Lands. Over 70 interactive media art exhibitions and performances at venues across the city mark the inaugural edition of Montreal Digital Spring, from March 21 to June 21. And Old Montreal factory-turned-gallery Darling Foundry shows Nicolas Lachance’s painting exhibition Framing Smoke and Thomas Bégin’s immersive sound installation of recycled musical equipment, Byte by Byte. And if you’re in the market for art, check out our Guide to Montreal’s Commercial Art Galleries.
(live music) Lots of ways to rock this Friday night: from the dude-bro pop of Hedley on March 28 at the Bell Centre to the indie-rock style How To Dress Well, with openers Forest Swords and D’Eon at the SAT, or opt for the nu-’80s excellence of Dum Dum Girls at Il Motore or Montreal’s solidly loud ‘n’ cool Solids, playing two shows March 28 and 29 with all kinds of rocked-out openers and DJ sets at TRH Club. On Saturday night, post-teen pop-star Miley Cyrus crashes Montreal’s Bell Centre, while LA-based DJ duo Classixx gets the dance floor hopping at the SAT. On Sunday, March 30, German legends in electronic music, Kraftwerk, let the computer love flow in a 3D spectacle at Metropolis, while NYC indie-pop (bordering on bubble-gum) band AJR plays Sala Rossa. On Monday, March 31, Austin, Texas indie-rockers Okkervil River bring the good ol’ times to Sala Rossa. On April 2, clean-cut pop-rock band R5 gets fans screaming at Metropolis, award-winning Montreal singer-songwriter Ian Kelly keeps toes tapping at Théâtre Corona, and Vancouver hip-hop SonReal shakes up Cabaret Underworld. On April 3, bad-boy Canadian rock star Hawksley Workman teams up with Steve Bays (of Hot Hot Heat) and Ryan Dahle (of Age of Electric) to form Mounties, joined by openers The Zolas and James Younger at Cabaret Mile-End, Quebecoise star soprano Karina Gauvin sings Britten and more with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent Mcmorrow, known for his cover of Steve Winwood’s Higher Love, comes to town with Aidan Knight at Club Soda.
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