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23 free things to do in Montreal this July

DH Montreal Staff Jun 28, 2017 11:41 pm 795

Summer has arrived in our fair city and we couldn’t be happier!

July is bursting with fun (not to mention, free!) activities for the whole family, from outdoor movie screenings in the park and the International Fireworks Competition, to a free Indian food festival and Montreal’s Canada Day festivities.

As a little incentive to get out there and enjoy summer, check out 23 things to do in Montreal this July.

Movies in the Park

Movies in the Park, hosted annually by Virgin Radio and CTV, has officially confirmed it will be returning this summer! As per usual, there will be four film screenings over the course of the summer, each in a different Montreal borough. This year, The Lego Movie will be screened on July 12, La La Land on July 26, Trolls on August 9, and Arrival on August 23. This night at the movies is 100% free of charge, just remember to bring a blanket, foldable chair, and of course, cinema snacks! Activities start at 6:30pm, while each film will begin once the sun goes down.
When: July 12, July 26, August 9, August 23 at 6:30pm
Where: For the full schedule, click here.


Repercussion Theatre’s Shakespeare-in-the-Park returns to Montreal for yet another year of summer theatre fun. This year, the troupe will be performing Much Ado About Nothing. As per usual, the company will travel all around Montreal, performing live outdoors in parks all over the city, from Westmount to Dorval. Whether you’re a Shakespeare buff, English major, or you just love being outside, Shakespeare-in-the-Park is for you!
When: July 13-August 15
Where: Various parks in Montreal, for a full list of locations click here

International Fireworks Competition

As most of you already know, Montreal becomes home to the International Fireworks Competition each summer. Kicking off on Canada Day, there are typically weekly fireworks shows between the beginning of July and the beginning of August. This year, however, there will be an extra special edition of L’International des Feux-Loto Quebec. First off, 2017 marks the 33rd anniversary of the festival, however, more than that it also marks the 375th anniversary of Montreal and the 50th anniversary of La Ronde (the site from which the fireworks are launched). In addition, this year’s competition will be kicked off with an extra special, Montreal-themed fireworks show. According to the official website, the “fireworks opening ceremony will reflect Montreal spirit,” and singer-songwriter Ian Kelly will perform his song entitled “Montreal.”
When: July 1-August 5, 2017
Where: La Ronde

The Wave Cooling Station

A whole new way to cool off! The borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal just announced a brand new initiative set to take hold this summer: a cooling station. A unique installation will be set up on the east side of St-Denis between Marie-Anne and Duluth that will feature a 22-metre long misting rack, allowing pedestrians to cool off on hot summer days. The cooling station, dubbed “The Wave”, is set to open to the public on June 15!
When: Opens June 15
Where: St-Denis between Marie-Anne and Duluth

Marche des Possibles

Pop Montreal’s Marche des Possibles returns for yet another year! Taking over the Mile End between June 23 and August 13, this public open-air market has become a local favourite in recent years owing to its incredible lineup of activities. Founded in 2014, the market’s “diversified socio-cultural programming” includes everything from musical performances and film screenings to food trucks, pop up restaurants, a beer garden, and an artisanal market. The market is located at the corner of Rue St. Dominique and Bernard and opens every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the summer months. Whether you want to go grocery shopping, take in some live music, bargain hunt for a new wardrobe, grab lunch, or relax in a beer garden, Marche des Possibles is the place to be!
When: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until August 13, 2017
Where: 5635 Rue St. Dominique

Montreal Canada Day Parade

Montreal has been hosting the Canada Day parade since 1977. Keep the tradition alive by attending this year’s Canada Day Parade that will make its way along Rue Sainte-Catherine starting at Rue Fort and ending at Place du Canada. Be sure to wear all of your red and white gear, and whatever you do, don’t miss the parade’s after party. From 1:30-3:00pm, Place du Canada will have inflatable games set up for kids and will be serving a giant Canada-themed cake to the crowd. All cake, activities, and water are free of charge.
When: July 1, 11 am
Where: On Rue Sainte-Catherine from Rue Fort to Place du Canada, click here for more details

Bouffons MTL!

Located in the Quartier des Spectacles between Jeanne-Mance and St-Laurent, Bouffons MTL! is part of the Just for Laughs festival and also the largest open-air gastronomy village in North America. This year’s honorary guest is Marc-André Jetté, of the critically acclaimed restaurant, Hoogan & Beaufort. The chef will host a series of meet and greets, in addition to serving a special BouffonsMTL! menu. This food festival is an opportunity to discover Montreal’s culinary multiculturalism catered by some of the city’s finest restaurants pop-ups and food trucks.
When: July 15th – 30th from 12 pm – 11 pm
Where: Between Jeanne-Mance and St-Laurent

Canada Day Concert

Spend the evening of July 1st listening to some incredible Canadian musicians while overlooking the romantic setting of Old Port. The free annual concert will begin at 8:30pm and will lead right into the Canada Day Fireworks starting at 10:00pm. Performers at this year’s event are still TBA but should be up on the official website soon. Check back for updates!
When: July 1, 8:30 pm to 10 pm
Where: Old Port

La Grande Tournee celebrates Montreal: 19 boroughs in 19 weekends

To celebrate the city’s 375th anniversary, all 19 of Montreal’s boroughs are hosting parties. Officially titled La Grande Tournee celebrates Montreal: 19 boroughs in 19 weekends, the event is being organized by Cirque Eloize, who are travelling across Montreal to help honour the city, its people, and its history. Each weekend, a neighbourhood park hosts a party for all ages that speaks to the characteristics of that community. Not only do these consecutive parties, which take place between Thursday and Sunday of each week, highlight what’s special about each borough, but they provide a chance for tourists and people from other parts of Montreal to learn about the city. In addition to a simple gathering of residents, each borough’s party features all sorts of entertainment. Activities include circus and artistic performances, historical exhibitions, live music, treasure hunts, and farmers’ markets.
When: Until September 17 (Thursday to Sunday)
Where: Different borough every weekend

Tam Tams

Grab your sangria kits and drum sets! Tam Tams has returned to our fair city and we couldn’t be more excited. After all, is there any better sign that summer has arrived? Taking place every Sunday during the summer months, Tam Tams is one of the city’s best and most popular unofficial events. Tam Tams is a magical outdoor festival where Montrealers far and wide gather in Parc Mont Royal for an afternoon of food, fun, and music. Though the drum circle is located at the Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument, vendors and entertainment spread throughout the park, all the way from Avenue Mont-Royal to Duluth. Remember to bring food and wine, and take advantage of Montreal’s picnic law!
When: Until September 24, 2017
Where: Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument

International Jazz Festival

The International Jazz Festival returns to our fair city this June. Taking place over the course of two weeks, hundreds of jazz musicians will flock to Montreal to perform in both outdoor and indoor venues across the city. 2017 headliners include Squarepusher, Matt Holubowski, Bob Dylan, Her, and Andrea Lindsay.
When: June 28-July 8, 2017
Where: Various locations

Aura at the Notre Dame Basilica

An immersive and luminous experience is happening right now at Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica. Owing to the city’s 375th anniversary, Montreal’s most famous landmark is putting on a mesmerizing light show for the rest of 2017. Created by Moment Factory, Aura is a two-act multimedia show featuring both music and special lighting effects. According to the official description, “AURA will help visitors discover one of Canada’s greatest heritage monuments in a whole new way and will move them with its portrayal of its treasures.”
When: Everyday except Sundays
Where: Notre Dame Basilica, 110 Notre-Dame St W

Festival of India

Montreal’s 39th annual Festival of India returns this July for one exciting weekend!The two-day event will feature all sorts of festivities, including a parade down Saint Laurent Boulevard (starting at Rue Milton), yoga workshops, a children’s area, and street vendors. In addition, there will be a free Indian vegetarian food festival set up in Parc Jeanne Mance over the course of the July 8th and 9th weekend. According to the official description, “We are presenting you with an unforgettable opportunity to taste the flavours of this ancient tradition – so different, but so welcoming! The best part? This cultural event is 100% free to attend!
When: July 8-9, 2017
Where: Parc Jeanne Mance


Montreal’s annual Caribbean parade, Carifiesta, returns to the city this July for one day of wild fun. Carifiesta has been happening in Montreal since 1975 and is a celebration of Montreal’s Caribbean community. The main component of the festival is a colourful parade featuring gorgeous costumes and steelpan performances, which takes place in downtown Montreal.This year marks the 42nd edition of Carifiesta, and the parade will begin on Sainte Catherine Street West at the corner of Rue Fort and continue all the way to Square Phillips. In addition to the parade, live music and free activities for people of all ages will be set up at the end of the parade in Square Phillips for the remainder of the afternoon.
When: Saturday, July 8, 12 pm
Where: Sainte Catherine Street West between Rue Fort and Square Phillips

Montreal Avudo

A dazzling water show paying tribute to the Saint Lawrence River has taken over Old Port. Titled Montreal Avudo, this spectacular water show projects life size images inspired by the city’s history onto the water. The event’s official site promises that “Young and old will be dazzled, moved and transported by the magic of images and scenes projected on rippling water walls and other spectacular installations.” Scenes include archived images, city documents, 3D animations, and relevant illustrations. How does water enter the equation, you may ask? Water jets from 30 fountains create huge 30 x 11.5 meter tall screens of water. The show also includes an 11-storey tall shipping container tower (the largest in the world).
When: Thursday to Saturday until September 2, 2017, 9:30pm and 10:30pm each night
Where: The west sector of the Old Port of Montréal, near the King Edward Pier and the Montréal Science Centre

Sainte-Catherine Street Celebrates

It has recently been confirmed that Montreal’s annual Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale, otherwise known as Sainte-Catherine Street Celebrates, will return in 2017! Taking place between Friday, July 14 and Sunday, July 16, this annual outdoor event is one of the biggest sidewalk sales the city sees all summer. Over the course of three days, Sainte-Catherine Street West between Bleury and Guy is closed to traffic, giving Montrealers the chance to shop until they drop! In addition to the stores of Sainte-Catherine having major sales and displaying their clothes outdoors, the street temporarily becomes home to live musicians, artists, dance troupes, acrobats, and all sorts of food and drink stalls.
When: July 14-16, 2017
Where: Sainte-Catherine Street West between Bleury and Guy

Great Country Fair

As part of Montreal’s 375th birthday celebrations, The Local Council of Community Intervenors of Bordeaux-Cartierville is hosting a Great Country Fair. Set to take place on July 8th and 9th, this exciting event is happening in Parc Belmont and is an ode to its beginnings as an amusement park. All Montrealers are invited to join in a “grand vintage picnic” featuring costumed actors to teach you a bit about the park’s history. There will also be a Venetian carousel, a large slide, distorting mirrors, and loungers, boats, and fishing rods to use along the river. Finally, a photo-video exhibition will be presented highlighting the area’s rich history.
When: July 8-9, 2017
Where: Parc Belmont

Sherbrooke’s Open Air Museum

As part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations, Sherbrooke Street has been temporarily turned into an open-air museum. According to the website, it gives Montrealers “the chance to soak up a spectacular world-class public art exhibition.” Coordinated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the project marks the 375th anniversary of the city, the 50th anniversary of Expo 67, and the 150th anniversary of Canada. In honour of these important dates, this pop-up museum features 67 original works of Canadian art that “convey a message of peace and reflect the universal values of humanism, tolerance and openness that inspired Expo 67.” Finally, flags from each of the 13 provinces and territories, and from over 200 countries have been flown above the exhibition on Sherbrooke.
When: May 29 – October 2, 2017
Where: Sherbrooke Street West between the McCord Museum and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Free Bixi Sundays

There are lots of exciting things going on with Bixi this year. In addition to newly designed bikes in honour of the city’s 375th anniversary, Free Bixi Sundays has returned! On Free Bixi Sundays, all one-way trips under 30 minutes will be free of charge for the entire day, from midnight until 11:59pm. And guess what? July’s Free Bixi Sunday is happening on July 30th! We highly recommend you take advantage of this incredible deal and spend Sunday biking Montreal’s most beautiful bike paths!
When: July 30, 12 am-11:59 pm

Marche des Eclusiers

Old Montreal’s resident summer farmers’ market, Marche des Eclusiers, has officially returned for 2017.Set up right on De La Commune by the water, this small market is now open for business every Thursday and Sunday for the remainder of the summer. The mission of Marche des Eclusiers is simple: showcase Quebec products. There is no middle man. This unique market gives producers the chance to sell their products directly to the public. Offerings at the market are seasonal but typically you’ll find fruit and vegetables, bread and pastries, organic juices and breakfast, hot sauce, dog food, and cheese.
When: Sundays 9 am-2 pm
Where: 400 Rue de la Commune Ouest

Mtl en Arts

It’s recently been confirmed that art festival and sidewalk sale, Mtl en Arts, will be returning to the Gay Village at the end of this month. Mtl en Arts is an outdoor art festival that showcases all kinds of art, ranging from visual arts and crafts to performances and interactive installations. This year, it is taking place between June 28 and July 2, during which time the pedestrian zone of the Gay Village will become home to over 150 artists. Montrealers will be free to roam this artistic sidewalk sale of sorts and marvel at all kinds of artwork, as well as speak with the artists first hand. The festival will also include creative workshops for children, live painting demonstrations, and musical performances.
When: June 28-July 2
Where: Sainte Catherine Street East between St-Hubert and Papineau

Outdoor Cinema on the Avenue

Each year, L’Avenue Mont-Royal hosts an outdoor cinema during the summer. Held in Parc des Companions, at the corner of Mont-Royal and Cartier, Outdoor Cinema on the Avenue attracts hundreds of Montrealers to each event! Throughout the month of July, a free film screening will take place each week. Scheduled for Thursdays at 9pm, you won’t want to miss this open-air movie experience. On the 2017 schedule are none other than Kiss Me As You Love Me, La La Land, Ma Vie de Courgette, and Dalida. Outdoor Cinema on the Avenue kicks off July 6th at 9pm, so be sure to add this to your calendar ASAP! Don’t forget to bring a lawn chair and your coziest blanket.
When: Thursday at 9 pm between July 6th and July 27th
Where: Parc des Companions (corner of Mont-Royal and Cartier)

Free Outdoor Pianos

Montrealers love music, which is why we couldn’t be more excited that the city’s public piano initiative is back! Since 2012, the city of Montreal has been installing public pianos in the summertime. The project first began in the Plateau but has since spread to other parts of the city. Over 50 pianos have now been installed across Montreal for summer 2017. While the bulk of them are located in the Plateau, Mile End, and downtown, you’ll be able to find them as far as Pointe-Aux-Trembles and St-Leonard. Completely free of charge to the public, Montrealers far and wide are invited to play a note on these colourful and beautifully-decorated pianos!
When: Anytime
Where: For a full list of piano locations, click here.


DH Montreal Staff

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