Montréal adds a twist to the classics this week: Roger Waters’ The Wall becomes an opera, winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE has us ice sliding and zip-lining downtown, butterflies float through an indoor garden, and Arcade Fire’s Kanaval Kanpe brings the tropics to the city.
Lights and action
Arts, culture and fine dining festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE makes downtown even brighter until March 11 with an exciting program of performing arts, inspired fine dining options and the free and family-friendly outdoor site at Place des Festivals, where you’ll find great local food and drink, from Québec cheeses to Cabral porto, live music and performances such as X-Lumina, an illuminated Ferris wheel, the super-fun urban ice slide, mini slide and zip line, and classic Canadian sport Curling en lumière. Take a walk around downtown’s Quartier des Spectacles to see the high-tech interactive light art of Illuminart or explore the underground city to see Art Souterrain‘s miles of art installations.
Montréal’s Spring Break
If you’re here to let loose, follow our guide to restaurants, bars and parties for spring break in Montréal, but if you’re here with your kids, we’ve got you covered too with all kinds of things to do for families during spring break. Spend an afternoon ice sliding, skating and playing games at Mammouth Village at the Olympic Stadium Esplanade or frolic among the butterflies indoors at the nearby Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free event, part of the Montréal Space for Life‘s many activities. Bota Bota boat-spa opens its water circuit to kids 10 years and up, March 6-10.
The Montreal Fine Arts Museum hosts a special program for kids with art, music and dance activities related to the Chagall: Colour and Music exhibition, while Pointe-à-Callière, McCord Museum and Stewart Museum all offer history-oriented workshops and games. The Montréal Science Centre drops its prices on IMAX films and hands-on exhibitions during Spring Break, and the Montréal Children’s Film Festival screens features and shorts from around the world, to March 12. Mickey, Minnie, Elsa, Dory and more beloved characters appear in Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart at the Bell Centre, March 8-12, while the characters of classic comic Astérix step off the page at Grévin Montréal wax museum’s exhibition. The best female gymnasts in the world compete at International Gymnix at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex, March 9-12, and the Montréal Canadiens take on the Blackhawks at the Bell Centre on March 14.
Food and drink
Alongside MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE‘s many gastronomic delights, from one-of-a-kind gourmet meal experiences to roasting marshmallows on an open fire, several new Montréal restaurants entice with their own creativity. Warm up with a cup of tea at Montréal’s tea houses, a big bowl of pho or Japanese authentic ramen, a signature winter cocktail at one of Montréal’s Hidden Bars, or an evening of decadence next to Montréal’s coziest fireplaces. Follow it all up with a trip to the candy shop. Speaking of sweet stuff, it’s that time of year again: sugaring off season. Indulge in a Québecois sugar shack meal in the country or the city or dig into lunch at the Casino de Montréal’s tropical-themed Copacabanashak Buffet.
Stage and screen
A star in Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebrations, composer Julien Bilodeau’s Another Brick in the Wall, a grand operatic version of Roger Waters’ The Wall, makes its world premier at Place des Arts March 11-27. Montréal’s winter-spring dance program includes the incredible contemporary choreography of Louise Lecavalier’s Mille batailles March 8-10 at Usine C and two works by Lina Cruz presented by Agora de la Danse at the Wilder March 15-18. In theatre: follow the lives of a Korean-Canadian family in Ins Choi’s hit comedy Kim’s Convenience at Segal Centre March 8-19; see Centaur Theatre‘s thoughtful, humorous family drama You Will Remember Me; or delight in wonderful nature- and family-themed all-ages production Beaver Dreams, March 9-12 at Mainline Theatre. Step into the Virtual Reality Garden and Montréal 3/60 video installation at the Phi Centre or watch Bruce McDonald’s newest film, Weirdos, on March 11. See the awe-inspiring films of Clyde Henry Productions’ Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (animated short Madame Tutli-Putli, video promos for Arcade Fire and Patrick Watson) at the Cinémathèque québécoise’s free installation Détectives de la Pataphysique. Immerse yourself in high-tech films Inertia and Morphogenesis in the Satosphere dome. And test your film knowledge: did you know that these movies were filmed in Montréal?
Museums and galleries
Don’t miss the bright and bold beauty of CHAGALL: COLOUR AND MUSIC at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, featuring 340 pieces by the Russian-French artist accompanied by music. The Musée d’art contemporain shows moving work by foremost Mexican artist Teresa Margolles, as well as Québec artist Emanuel Licha’s Now Have a Look at This Machine documentary installation. Galerie de l’UQAM presents noted Scottish artist Graham Fagen‘s video and music-based installation The Slave’s Lament. Part of the 375th programming, kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) artist Skawennati’s solo exhibition Tomorrow People explores time and identity in analog and digital forms at Oboro. In Old Montréal, Belgian artist Wim Delvoye provokes at DHC-ART. Never Apart’s winter exhibition celebrates Black heritage, Indigenous women and more, and celebrates prolific Canadian artist Evergon with a screening of Margaret and Evergon followed by a Q&A on Saturday. And find art and architecture in the city’s most stunning churches and other sacred sites.
The final days of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE showcase high-drama classical concerts: on March 10-11, Opera McGill’s Lisl Wirth Black Box Festival presents a 24-hour Binge Opera Festival while Les Violins du Roy presents leading harpsichordist Jean Rondeau at Bourgie Hall on March 10, and pianist Karin Kei Nagano plays on March 12 at Bougie Hall. Meanwhile: the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal‘s three-day Italian Festival under the direction of Carlo Rizzi, featuring The Italian Violin: From Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to Paganini on March 14, Verdi & The Great Operatic Choruses with soprano Marianne Fiset on March 15, and The Pines of Rome & Famous Italian Film Soundtracks on March 16. And Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Orchestre Métropolitain in concert The Force Of Destiny at Maison Symphonique on March 12.
More live music
Among MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE‘s musical offerings on Friday night: eclectic singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart at Métropolis, hot-stuff Quebecois artist Alex Nevsky at Métropolis, local experimenters Suuns and Sarah Davachi at Club Soda, underground Japanese postrocker Mouse on the Keys at L’Astral, and a Glam Cabaret evening of Broadway-style jazz at Le Balcon, followed on Saturday by a night of live Motown, soul and disco. Also on Friday night, Carpenter Brut and Le Matos bring turbo beats to Theatre Berri, fab Montréal band The Luyas launches a new album at Bar le Ritz P.D.B. and Bear Grillz and Herobust crank the bass at New City Gas, followed on Saturday night by the trap/bass of Yellow Claw and Grandtheft. Sunday brings 3 Doors Down and openers The Falling to Métropolis and All Them Witches to Bar le Ritz P.D.B. On Tuesday, it’s British singer-songwriter Passenger at Métropolis and British folk-rock trio The Staves at Théatre Fairmount. On March 15, party for a great cause at Kanaval Kanpe with Arcade Fire, Coeur de pirate, Paul Beaubrun, Fwonte and many more artists at Métropolis, jam with Simple Plan at the Bell Centre or dive deep into drone-metal with Sunn O))) and Big Brave at the SAT. Chill out with the locals Black Le Gary band on Thursday at Divan Orange or L.A. folk-pop duo Johnnyswim at La Sala Rossa.