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46 FREE things to do in Montreal this August

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DH Montreal Staff Jul 31, 2018 12:50 pm 2,367

Fear not, everyone. There’s a lot of summer left and we’ve got a big event list to prove it. We’ve assembled a hefty amount of free things to do in Montreal. Because, let’s face it, two words that go really well together are ‘summer’ and ‘free.’

You might want to bookmark this one, it’s an entire month’s worth of events to make sure you’re capping off your summer in style, free style.

Matsuri Japon

street

@matsurijapon/Instagram

Matsuri Japon is a massive festival that celebrates the Japanese community and culture.

The one-day event will feature Japanese food, karate lessons, desserts, drinks, drum and dance shows, kimono rentals, language workshops, art demonstrations and Japanese archery tutorials.

When: August 11
Time: 11 am – 8 pm
Where: Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal, 8155 rue Rousselot

First Nations Festival

The 28th edition of the festival will bridge Montreal and the First Nation community with aboriginal heritage.

The festival will host a vast array of food, cinematography, poetry reading, electro concerts and dance, connecting the city to the Kahnesetake pine forest, in honouring the history of Canada’s First People.

When: August 7 to 15
Where: Place des Festivals, Quartier des Spectacles
Price: Free

PoutineFest

poutine

Food Truck Poutine/Shutterstock

After travelling to Mirabel and Laval, PoutineFest is back to its original location at the Jacques Cartier Quay in the Old Port and everything is gravy.

The festival will welcome more than 20 poutine outlets from various restaurants all over the city, some of whom will dish out the classic poutine and some will give it a little spin. The venue will feature live music, shows, cooking workshops and a family zone.

PoutineFest is free to enter and meal packages prices vary.

Say goodbye to that summer body, these poutines are totally worth it.

When: August 1 – August 5
Time: 11 am to 11 pm
Where: Jacques Cartier Quay – Montreal’s Old Port
Price: Free

Elmnt Studio Hiit Class

It’s not an accident to promote a workout class after a poutine festival.

Monkland’s Elmnt Studio is hosting two free high-intensity interval training classes at Girouard Park. Both classes are run by personal trainers Valerie Poynter and George Dawson.

These outdoor workouts will definitely have you sweating, Elmnt doesn’t mess around.

When: August 8 and August 22
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: Girouard Park, NDG

Italian Week

The massive Italian community in Montreal will be celebrating its 25th annual Italian Week this month in the renowned Little Italy.

The festival aims to promote the Italian culture through music, fashion, cars, shops and obviously, food.

When: August 3 to 12
Time: 9 am – 5 pm
Where: Boulevard Saint-Laurent between Rue Jean-Talon and Beabien

ITU World Triathalon Montreal

The Montreal World Triathlon runs from August 25 to the 26 and spectators can watch for free along the race course’ sidelines. Athletes compete in a 750 M swim, a 5 km run and a 20 km bike scattered around the Old Port.

When: August 25 and 26
Time: 9 am – 3 pm
Where: Quay Jacques Cartier – Old Port

Outdoor Yoga Classes

Inhale. Exhale.

Sivananda Yoga Montreal is offering free yoga every Saturday at two different locations.

Both classes start at 9:30 am to 10:30 am at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park
and Outremont Park respectively and stretch out throughout August.

When: Every Saturday in August
Time: 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Where: Park Outremont: St. Viateur & Avenue Outremont and Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park: Rue Mentana and Avenue Laurier Est

Tam Tams

Sundays in Montreal in the summer is synonymous with Tam Tams. It’s a giant outdoor party with dancers, sports and drummers all gathered around the Sir George-Etienne Cartier monument. If the weather is nice on a Sunday (still worth it even if it’s raining) head over to the mountain and enjoy a longstanding Montreal tradition and vibe. It’s 420 friendly.

When: Sundays in August
Time: Noon
Where: Mont Royal Park

Montreal Pride Parade

mtl pride

Paul Vance / Shutterstock.com

Montreal’s Gay Pride Parade (Défilé de la fierté gai) invites everyone to a fun and flamboyant celebration of the community’s solidarity and strength, demanding for the same respect, dignity and basic rights as those granted to heterosexuals.

When: Sunday, August 19
Time: 1 pm
Where: Boulevard René-Lévesque and Rue Metcalfe and ends at Rue Alexandre-DeSève

The Maisonneuve Bike Path

Bike season is in high gear in the summertime. The Maisonneuve bike path runs throughout Montreal and has a gorgeous path from NDG to the East End. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the city as the bike path runs parallel with all of it.

When: The bike path is open year round
Where: Runs parallel with Boulevard Maisonneuve

Film Noir on the Canal

Film Noir au Canal is showing free film noir classics at St-Patrick Square on the canal. August’s showing is Fritz Lang’s 1953 classic The Big Heat. It’s screened in its original English version on a massive screen.

Dip your toes in the water, paddle up to the screen or relax in the park.

Montreal trombonist Alex Desjardins will perform to open the film screening.

When: Sunday, August 5
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Saint-Patrick Square – Lachine Canal

BIXI Sunday

Bixi sharing program

bixi/Shutterstock

Speaking of the bike path, free BIXI Sundays are back for the third season in a row. The last Sunday of every month from June to October, BIXI is offering free day passes to everyone in the city. All you have to do is swipe a credit card, solely for the fact that you don’t take these mini-choppers home with you.

Maybe you can get so lucky and nab a new BIXI with a laser light, or the electric model.

When: Sunday, August 26
Time: 12 am – 11:59 pm
Where: Various locations throughout Montreal

Lachine Canal National Historic Site

The Lachine Canal is the city’s link between urban and nature. The canal is a 13.5 km route that spans between the Old Port and Lake Saint-Louis, a completely navigable waterway.

The historic site features free tours and events like the Classic Boat Festival and a 90-minute tour of Silo No. 5 – Montreal’s first structure able to store one million bushels. The silo played a prominent part in the history of the Canadian grain economy.

When: The Lachine Canal is open year round
Where: From the Old Port of Montreal to Lake Saint-Louis

Notre-Dame Basilica

Celebrate Sunday mass at Montreal’s most viewed structure at 11 am and hear a 25-person choir accompanied by the organ. Or, take a walking tour of the basilica which is an absolutely gorgeous spectacle. It is filled with hundreds of wooden carvings, several religious statues, and gigantic stained glass windows.

When: The Notre-Dame Basilica is open year round
Time: 8 am – 4:30 pm on weekdays, 8 am – 4 pm on Saturdays and 12:30 pm – 4 pm on Sundays (mass starts at 11 am)
Where: 110 Rue Notre Dame Ouest

Go Topless Day Montreal

Go Topless Day

Gotopless.org

On Sunday, August 26, Montreal women are invited to converge and stand up for a woman’s right to go topless in public with the new religious movement, the Raelians.

The Montreal event is scheduled to begin at 1 pm and last until 4 pm. The meeting spot as per tradition, is at the Monument Sir George Etienne Cartier on Parc Mont Royal.

Montreal’s Go Topless Day will run simultaneously with the constantly packed Tam Tams party, meaning there will be a lot of people there.

The nipples won’t be the only thing free, as the event has no entry cost.

When: Sunday, August 26
Time: 1 pm – 4 pm
Where: Monument Sir George Etienne Cartier – Parc Mont Royal
Price: Free

Yoga en Plein Air

Jardins Gamelins, Montreal’s resident summer garden, is hosting free outdoor yoga sessions every week in August. “Yoga en Plein Air,” invites Montrealers to practice yoga outdoors at Jardin Gamelins for free. The outdoor sessions are run by Yo-Yoga and take place every Tuesday morning from 7:30 am until 8:30 am. The official site encourages Montrealers to “tone your body, awaken your senses in the heart of nature, and move through harmony.” No registration is required, however, participants must bring along their own yoga mat.

When: Tuesdays in August
Time: 7:30 am – 8:30 am
Where: Place Emilie-Gamelin, 1500 Rue Berri

First Fridays

The largest food truck festival in the province has begun. Olympic Stadium is known for a lot of things but First Fridays have got to be high on the list. The city’s food trucks gather at Olympic Stadium showcasing an array of mouthwatering local food allowing Montrealers to sample dishes from over 50 food trucks. You can expect to find everything from tacos and churros, to mac and cheese and lobster rolls. The event takes place on the first Friday of every month all summer. It’s free to enter but the food samples have varying costs.

When: Friday, August 3
Time: 4 pm – 11 pm
Where: Olympic Stadium

Fashion & Design Festival

The Fashion & Design Festival celebrates creativity and culture through a major outdoor event in the heart of Montreal’s theatre district. The activities include fashion shows, live creative sessions, design showcasing and musical performances. The Fashion & Design Festival’s presence will also be felt around the city with novel exhibits, original installations and unique experiences open to all.

When: August 20 – 25
Time: 12 pm – 11 pm
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

Jean Talon Market

jean talon

Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

The highlight of Little Italy is undoubtedly the Jean Talon Market. The Jean Talon market has been supplying Montreal with fresh Quebec products and specialty items from around the world since 1934.

The market is free to enter and is open every day. Visitors can find a wide variety of produce, flowers, fish, meat and specialty ice cream for sale, the area is also a great destination for lunch. Barbeque lamb, pork, and chicken sandwiches, as well as bison on a stick, are all available for a few bucks.

It’s a Montreal landmark.

When: The Jean Talon Market is open year round
Time: 7 am – 6 pm from Monday – Wednesday and Saturday, 7 am – 8 pm on Thursdays and Fridays and 7 am – 5 pm on Sundays
Where: 7070 Avenue Henri Julien

Outdoor Movies

Free movie nights have returned to Hochelaga all summer and they’re gearing up for their final act in August. The parking lot of the Dairy Queen on Rue St. Catherine’s Est has been transformed into an outdoor, walk-in movie theatre.

All that viewers need to do is bring their own folding chair (or any form of seating), a blanket or jacket, and any snacks they prefer. Complimentary popcorn will be offered on-site at the events.

When: August 3, 10 and 17
Where: Dairy Queen, 4545 Saint-Catherine Street East
Time: 8 pm

Place Publique

Place Publique has nested itself on to Rue Ottawa every summer since 2007. The space is dedicated to the visual arts and its expanded audience. Site-specific artworks, performances and workshops enliven the space and transform it into an interactive platform by bringing together artists and citizens.

When: Every day in August
Time: 6 pm – 10 pm
Where: 745 Rue Ottawa

Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Orchestra

Orchestre Métropolitain/Facebook

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra is playing a free show at the Olympic Stadium. They will leave their renowned home at Maison Symphonique for a night while performing Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.”

The concert will focus on Shéhérazade’s stories that have captivated audiences for centuries, from Sinbad the Sailor to Aladdin’s mysterious lamp.

When: Wednesday, August 29
Time: 8 pm
Where: Olympic Park

Shuttle Bus to Yamaska National Park

Parkbus is offering free shuttle services from downtown Montreal to Yamaska National Park every Saturday in August.

Yamaska is located in La Haute in the Montérégie region of Quebec, northeast of Granby. Its hilly landscape hosts creeks, mountain trails, and breathtaking open spaces. The majority of the land is forested and boasts over 40 tree species including maple, fir, eastern hemlock, grey birch, and basswood. Not to mention a library of wildlife and birds.

The shuttle will depart every Saturday from the Montreal Tourism Info Centre on Rue Metcalfe. It leaves twice in the morning with two returns in the afternoon.

When: Every Saturday in August
Time: 8 am and 6 pm
Where: Montreal Tourism Info Centre

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

If you want to expand your knowledge this August, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has got you covered. The MMFA offers free admission to all of their Collections and Discovery exhibitions to people under 30-years-old

When: Every day in August
Time: 10 am – 6 pm
Where: 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

International Fireworks Competition

L’International des Feux Loto-Québec/facebook

L’International des Feux-Loto Quebec is an international fireworks competition in which major companies, representing their respective countries, demonstrate the latest techniques, and innovations in the field of pyrotechnics.

On the nights of the fireworks, the Jacques-Cartier Bridge is completely closed off to vehicular traffic and it’s a perfect vantage point to see the fireworks in all their glory.

When: August 1 and 8
Time:10 pm – 11:45 pm
Where: Various spots around the city (Jacques-Cartier Bridge is the popular spot)

18th Century Public Market

Journey back in time and experience what life was like in New France in the 18th century with this massive historical re-enactment.

There’s a military regiment, an Amerindian camp, musicians, artisans, and over a hundred historical figures reproducing period scenes.

They also offer a market with an opportunity to purchase the kind of products available back in the days of New France.

When: August 25 and 26
Time: 10 am – 8 pm on August 25 and 10 am – 6 pm on August 26
Where: 350 Place Royale – Montreal’s Old Port

Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park

The Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park is a large park on the northwestern part of the Island of Montreal. It is located in the cities of Dollard-des-Ormeaux and Dorval and is absolutely stunning. Especially in August when the weather cools down a bit.

Enjoy the refreshing breeze off the lake, the wildflowers in full bloom and the variety of birds.

If you’re looking for some new social media pics, Bois-de-Liesse is your go-to spot for the day.

When: Bois-de-Liesse is open year round
Time: 10 am – 4:30 pm
Where: 9432 Boulevard Gouin Ouest

Vintage Cars at the Orange Julep

orange julep

Orange Julep/Shutterstock

The Orange Julep is quite possibly Montreal’s most iconic restaurant. The roadside snack-bar has been around since 1932 and everybody in Montreal knows about it, regardless of how old you are.

This summer, like the summer before and the summer before that, the Orange Julep will host vintage cars and motorcycles in its parking lot every Wednesday.

Go check out some gorgeous old-school cars and motorcycles.

When: Every Wednesday from now until October
Time: 7 pm – 10 pm
Where: 7700 Boulevard Decarie

Honey Martin Trivia

Honey Martin is a cozy Irish Pub in NDG that hosts a phenomenal pub trivia. They do six rounds of ten questions. A winner is rewarded each round with either a round of drinks or a round of shots. A round for a round – solid deal. The questions are all general knowledge and the trivia host is interactive and funny.

When: Every Tuesday at Honey Martin
Time: 9 pm – 1:30 am
Where: 5916 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Shakespeare in the Park

The untraditional rendition of Shakespeare returns on July 5, and will run until August 8. The long-running outdoor theatre event is celebrating its 30th year and takes on a Shakespearean classic this summer in the form of Romeo & Juliet: Love is Love.

Repercussion Theatre produces Romeo & Juliet: Love is Love with a contemporary, gender-bent take on the classic love story.

When: From now until August 8
Time:  7 pm – 10 pm
Where: Various outdoor venues across Montreal

McCord Museum

The McCord Museum is a public research and teaching centre that is dedicated to the preservation, study, diffusion, and appreciation of Canadian history. The museum features a variety of clothes, objects, and artifacts from dozens of different Canadian aspects.

The McCord Museum offers free admission every Wednesday after 5 pm all summer.

When: Every Wednesday until October 8
Time: 10 am – 9 pm
Where: 690 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Tiny House Festival

Small home house real estate (Cory Woodruff/Shutterstock)

(Cory Woodruff/Shutterstock)

The Tiny House Festival sounds like it could be just a collection of Legos but it’s actually the gathering of exhibitors from North America who have made the move to tiny houses. The festival will showcase several tiny houses that you can visit, family games and lectures.

When: August 11 and 12
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: Rue de la Commune, Ouest – Montreal’s Old Port

Barbie Exhibition

The world’s largest permanent exhibit of Barbies is happening at Montreal’s Cours Mont-Royal. The upscale mall hosts over 1,000 entertainment industry Barbie dolls, all dressed by leading fashion houses.

When: The Barbie Exhibit happens year round
Time: 10 am – 7 pm
Where: Cours Mont-Royal, 1445 Rue Peel

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is a 19th-century church modelled after the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The church opened in 1894 and is an absolutely stunning visual.

When: Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is  open year round
Time: 8 am – 4 pm
Where: 1085 Rue Cathedrale

Cinema NDG Under the Stars

Cinema NDG is hosting outdoor movies for the first three weeks of August. There will be five movie screenings: La Terre Vue du Coeur, Rumble, Pieds Nus Dans L’Aube, Isle of Dogs and La Bolduc. All screenings will be shown in French with English subtitles except for Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs on August 16 which will be screened in English with French subtitles.

When: August 2, 9, 10, 16 and 17
Time: 8:30 pm
Where: 5560 rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Station F-MR

metro cars

lacroixjulie85/Instagram

Station F-MR is an urban park that is headlined by 1960s Montreal Metro Trains.

The park is located alongside the Lachine Canal and its bike path. The station has a cafe, food counter, art gallery, community garden, stage and relaxation area.

When: Wednesdays – Sundays until October
Time: 11 am – 11 pm
Where: Allee des Barges, Lachine Canal

Marché des Éclusiers du Vieux-Port

Set up by the water in the Old Port, the mission of Marché des Éclusiers (Farmers’ Market) is simple: showcase Quebec products. There is no middleman. The quaint market gives producers the chance to sell their organic products directly to the public.

Though offerings at the market are seasonal, you’ll typically be able to find vegetables, bread, pastries, organic juices, breakfast, beef, pork, sauces, and cheese – all locally made.

When: From now until mid-October
Time: Thursdays: 2 pm – 7 pm, Saturdays: 9 am – 2 pm
Where: 400 Rue de la Commune Ouest

DogFest

Montreal’s first festival dedicated to dogs happens this month. DogFest includes live shows that showcase agility dogs, flyball, frisbee fetch, lure coursing, and a doggy kissing booth. The site also has food trucks, bar kiosks and dog-based prizes to give away.

The event goes on rain or shine.

When: August 25 and 26
Time: 10 am – 6 pm
Where: Angrignon Park – 3400, Boulevard Des Trinitaires

Oka Beach

Oka National Park boasts a gorgeous beach and a stunning view of Lake Deux Montagnes. They offer a variety of activities including canoeing, kayaking, biking and pedal boating, or you can simply relax on the cozy sand.

The beach offers numerous picnic tables and several charcoal barbeques to use at your disposal. A lifeguard is always on duty.

When: From now until September 3
Time: 8 am – 7 pm
Where:  2020 Chemin d’Oka, Oka

Grande Bibliothèque

bedbug

BAnQ, Bernard Fougères

The Grande Bibliothèque is a Montreal’s biggest public library. Its collection is part of Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Quebec’s national library.

The Grande Bibliothèque is an absolute spectacle to see. Its winding staircases will make you feel like you’re at Hogwarts and it hosts an unbelievably impressive collection of books, magazines, records, CDs, and film.

It’s one of the most visited libraries in North America.

Membership is free to all Quebec residents.

When: The Grande Bibliothèque is open year round
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: 475 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Est

Moving Dunes

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has unveiled their newest exhibit in the Sculpture Garden – an optical illusion.

The exhibit features silver spheres, designed to look like they’re moving through a dessert, fusing notions of real and virtual to give downtown Montreal its very own urban mirage.

When: Every day in August
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Mont Royal Belvédère Kondiaronk Park

Hiking Mont Royal has its rewards besides the view. The tulips fused with the Montreal skyline are totally Instagram worthy and Mont Royal’s chalet is a nice alternative to being close to the fireworks during the festival.

You get to see the entire city lit up – especially in August’s gorgeous weather. A 15-minute hike is totally worth it.

When: Mont Royal is accessible year round
Time: 6 am – 12 am
Where: 1196 Voie Camillien-Houde

Atwater Market

Jean Gagnon

The Atwater Market is a massive farmers’ market located in Saint-Henri that’s been running since 1933. The market features both indoor and outdoor vendors from a vast variety of local options: meat, bread, cheese, fruit, vegetables, flowers, candy, pizza and ice cream.

The market is free to enter and a lot of outlets hand out free samples. Take a stroll through the market, it’s lovely.

When: Every day
Time: 7 am – 8 pm
Where: 138 Avenue Atwater

Public pianos

Treat your fellow pedestrians to some live music in the heart of downtown. The outdoor piano located on the corner of Rue Guy-Concordia and Boulevard De Maisonneuve is open to anyone with or without piano experience. Play something.

When: The outdoor piano is showcased until September
Time: 24/7, the Indigo piano is from 10 am – 10 pm
Where: Rue Guy Concordia and Boulevard Maisonneuve and Place Montreal Trust

Redpath Museum

free

Musée Redpath Museum/Facebook

Founded in 1882 at McGill University, the Redpath Museum’s aims to further the understanding and appreciation of biological, geological, and cultural heritage.

The comfortable, little museum has a variety of ancient Canadian artifacts.

When: The Redpath Museum is open year-round
Time: 9 am – 5 pm during the week, 1 pm – 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Where: 859 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Promenade Fleuve-Montagne

You can experience two of Montreal’s most stunning landmarks in one trek: the St. Lawrence River and Mont Royal Park. Stroll from one to the other on a beautiful 3.8-km promenade that features wide sidewalks, pedestrian crosswalks, rest areas, greenery and access to various restaurants along the route. The multimillion dollar investment from the city’s 375th birthday celebrations is a site to see.

When: Every day in August
Time: The path is open 24/7
Where: Rue de la Commune Ouest and Place Royale to Avenue des Pins and Rue McTavish

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