The long weekend is finally here!
Whether you plan on going all out for Saint Jean Baptiste Day by attending Le Grand Spectacle, the annual St-Denis parade, and Olympic Stadium’s bonfire, or you’re looking to take in some of the festivals happening this weekend (the Baroque Festival, Jerk Food Festival, and Taste of the Caribbean, to name a few), we’re confident it’s going to be one for the ages!
Check out 28 things to do in Montreal this weekend: June 23 – 25.
Friday, June 23
Le Grand Spectacle, the famous free concert that takes place each year on St. Jean Baptiste Day, has been confirmed for 2017. Kicking off tonight, this massive concert will take up residence at Place des Festivals for an incredible show. Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge is the host of this year’s extravaganza, and he will be joined by a series of musical performers, most notably, Robert Charlebois and Claude Dubois. In addition, Philippe Brach, Charlotte Cardin, Patrice Michaud, Émily Bégin, Gardy Fury, La Bronze, Shauit, and Alaclair will also be taking the stage throughout the evening. Be sure to join in on this annual Montreal St. Jean Baptiste Day tradition!
When: June 23, 9 pm
Where: Place des Festivals, Quartier des Spectacles
A whole new way to cool off! The borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal just opened a unique installation on the east side of St-Denis between Marie-Anne and Duluth that comprises a 22-metre long misting rack, allowing pedestrians to cool off on hot summer days.
When: Opens June 15
Where: St-Denis between Marie-Anne and Duluth
This year, the Montreal Baroque Festival presents “Cirque Musical Circus,” in honour of The Royal Circus which was founded in England and embarked on a Canadian tour that began in Montreal in September 1797. Over the course of the four day festival, which kicked off yesterday, there will be 14 indoor concerts as well as a multitude of free outdoor concerts and fun activities for all. According to the official description, the Cirque Musical Circus theme brings “musical acrobats, trumpet clowns, and fiddling fools of the king!” This circus spectacular will also feature tightrope walkers, live musicians, and plenty of other circus surprises!Though the indoor concerts do require tickets, the festival kicks off with a free parade, and then each day of the festival begins with a free outdoor concert and has free talks and exhibitions for all!
When: June 22-25
Where: Various locations, click here for a list of venues
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
To celebrate the city’s 375th anniversary, all 19 of Montreal’s boroughs are hosting parties this summer. Officially titled La Grande Tournee celebrates Montreal: 19 boroughs in 19 weekends, the event is 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: May 12-September 17 (Thursday to Sunday)
Where: Different borough every weekend
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.
A brand new exhibit on famed Canadian editorial cartoonist, Aislin, just opened at the McCord Museum. The exhibit showcases 50 years worth of work from Aislin, whose real name is Terry Mosher. Mosher wrote for the Gazette for many years, and is considered one of the most influential political cartoonists in all of Canada. In fact, Maclean’s has even referred to Aislin as “probably the best satirist in Canada.” Not only does Aislin’s work make you think, but it reflects “Canadian society in its beautiful and less glorious moments.”
When: Until August 13, 2017
Where: McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St W
Saturday, June 24
Is there anything more traditional than attending the annual Saint Jean Baptiste Day parade? Set to take place on Saturday, June 24, this annual parade goes back over a century. During the parade, St-Denis Street is closed to traffic and is instead filled with thousands of Montrealers, not to mention some pretty awesome floats and performances. This year, the parade will be just as exciting as always with one slight adjustment. In an effort to be as eco-friendly as possible and reduce their footprint, electric cars will be used during the parade and all balloons will be replaced by bubbles. Click here for more details and be sure to head to St-Denis early so you can secure your spot in advance!
When: June 24
Where: St-Denis Street
Celebrate Saint Jean Baptiste Day, bonfire-style. The French tradition of lighting a bonfire on Saint Jean Baptiste Day was only recently revived in 2013, however, the tradition dates back as far as Quebec’s first settlers in the 17th century. Montreal’s official Fete Nationale bonfire will be happening in Olympic Park at 8:00pm!
When: June 24, 8 pm
Where: Olympic Park
The Montreal and Chateauguay Jerk Food Festival kicks off on Saint Jean Baptiste Day! For one day only, Lachine’s Soccerplex will be packed to the brim with delicious Jamaican food vendors, live DJs, and plenty of children’s activities. This outdoor food fest is free to attend and will have all sorts of culinary treats including jerk chicken, jerk poutine, jerk pork, jerk pizza, jerk lobster, and much more! This sounds like a pretty fantastic way to spend your Saint Jean Baptiste Day weekend!
When: June 24, 12 pm – 9 pm
Where: Soccerplex, 775 1re Ave, Lachine
The weather has finally turned so why not take advantage? Go for a summer walk up Mount Royal! Explore the flora and fauna, wander a new trail, or even have a picnic at Beaver Lake. There is so much to explore at this Montreal landmark.
Where: Mount Royal
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 between June 23 and August 13, 2017
Where: 5635 Rue St. Dominique
Parc Jean Drapeau’s stand up paddle boarding lessons and rentals are open for the summer! Run by Quebec company, KSF, Montrealers once again have the opportunity to rent a SUP or take lessons from a certified instructor. Rentals start at $17.25 for one hour, and go up to $115 for 10 one-hour rentals. Wetsuits are also available for rent. In addition, KSF offers some awesome lessons! For those new to the sport, there are introductory lessons for $44.85. However, for more experienced paddlers, there are also SUP yoga, fitness, fitness XT, yoga jala flo, and yoga sunset yin classes. These start at $34.90 per session and go up to $56.35. Reservations are required for all SUP lessons, but are not necessary for rentals. SUP lessons and rentals finish after Labour Day weekend so be sure to take advantage while you can! For more information, check out the Parc Jean Drapeau website, or visit Pavillon des Activites Nautiques in Parc Jean Drapeau.
When: June 21-September 4, 2017
Where: Pavillon des Activites Nautiques, Parc Jean Drapeau
Old Montreal’s famous Clock Tower Beach was closed last summer, but it has reopened in summer 2017, giving Montrealers all the benefits of a beach without leaving the city. Set up at Clock Tower Quay, Clock Tower Beach sits on the banks of the Saint Lawrence and features white sand, blue umbrellas, lounge chairs, and even a resident bar (L’Horloge). Entrance to the beach is just $2, which is a small price to pay for paradise! The beach will be open on weekends only until June 11, and then every day of the week starting June 16.
When: Until September 4
Where: Clock Tower Quay, Old Port
A brand new temporary exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts opened this past weekend, and we couldn’t be more excited! Titled Love is Love, the exhibit showcases French designer, Jean-Paul Gaultier’s haute couture bridal creations. Centred around a grand wedding cake, Love Is Love displays Gaultier’s most beautiful and mesmerizing bridal ensembles. According to the official description, “Their daring lines and exquisite artistry bear witness to the eccentricity of this iconoclastic designer who is renowned for his spectacular silhouettes as well as his humanist, inclusive vision. This celebration of marriage and love brings together heterosexual, homosexual, intercultural and interracial couples in diversity and peace.”
When: Until October 9, 2017
Where: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Opened by Montreal’s archeology and history museum, Pointe A Calliere, the city’s newest underground tunnel is a tribute to North America’s first collector sewer. Pointe A Calliere has turned a portion of the underground sewer tunnel into a permanent exhibition at the museum entitled “Memory Collector.” The continent’s first collector sewer was built between 1832 and 1838 and collected rainwater and wastewater up until 1989. Part of the sewer was incorporated into the Pointe A Calliere building in 1992, and this year, was turned into a museum exhibition. “Memory Collector” spans 110 metres and offers visitors a “multisensory, contemplative experience thanks to an ingenious light installation projected onto the stone walls of the collector sewer, in a specially designed sound environment.” Ultimately, the exhibit promises to take visitors on a journey to a “mysterious underground world imbued with history and emotion.”
When: Monday to Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm
Where: Pointe A Calliere
The McCord Museum has announced a temporary exhibition on fashion from the Expo 67 era. The exhibit, titled Fashioning Expo 67, explores the “effervescence of Montreal’s fashion moment.” Over 60 outfits will make up the exhibition, ranging from hostess uniforms to paper dresses, all of which have been created by Quebec designers. Further, Fashioning Expo 67 will feature accessories like hats, gloves, umbrellas, purses, and jewellry, as well as drawings, photographs, documents, and film footage of the fashion at Expo 67.
When: March 17 – October 1
Where: McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St W
Sunday, June 25
As if Clock Tower Beach, Old Port’s very own urban beach, could get any better, they’ve now re-introduced Salsafolie Sundays for the 2017 season. For those that don’t know, Salsafolie Sundays are a special day dedicated to all fans of Latin music, ranging from salsa and reggaeton to merengue and bachata. On Salsafolie Sundays, Clock Tower Beach’s “Tropical Zone” turns into a giant beach dance party between noon and 5pm complete with dance classes, beach games, and workshops.
When: Sundays noon-9 pm during the summer
Where: Clock Tower Beach
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!
Where: For a full list of piano locations, click here.
Centred on food, rum, music, and art, Montreal’s Taste of the Caribbean festival is a local favourite. Needless to say, it’s returning this June for five days of Caribbean-themed fun. This free festival is entering its 18th year and boasts activities for the whole family, ranging from kid’s workshops and outdoor concerts, to cooking and mixology classes. In addition, this year’s special theme is The Rum Edition, so if you’re a lover of Caribbean rum then you definitely have to attend! Plus, between Friday and Sunday, there will be live music and food vendors all afternoon and evening. In essence, if you’re looking to transport yourself to a tropical island with a rum-based cocktail in hand, Taste of the Caribbean is the festival for you!
When: Until June 25, 2017
Where: Old Port of Montreal
Canadian entertainment company, Cirque du Soleil, has returned to its hometown this summer to perform its newest show, VOLTA. Volta is the travelling company’s latest show which tells a story centered on the freedom to choose and create your own path. Inspired by action sports, the show will feature a series of acrobatic stunts, an emotional score, a “visually striking” set, and a spiritual theme. Prepare for one of the most raw and emotional stories ever told by Cirque du Soleil.
When: Until July 23, 2017
Where: Under the Big Top, Old Port of Montreal
Voiles en Voiles has returned to Old Port once again! Open all summer long, this attraction encourages both children and adults to “live a memorable adventure.” This family park features 61 activities and will have Montrealers exploring a giant pirate ship by way of climbing, sliding, aerial adventure courses, and inflatable games. Whether you want to soar 20 feet high in the air, conquer a built-in rock climbing wall, or play in a bouncy castle, there is something for everyone. Rates vary depending on which activities you want to do aboard the ship. For example, access to the inflatable games is just $12, while access to the inflatable games, rock climbing wall, aerial courses, and the all aboard course will set you back $45. No matter which you choose, it’s guaranteed to be an afternoon you’ll never forget! Be sure to head down to Old Port before the end of the season!
When: Until the end of October
Where: Place des Vestiges, Old Port
Parc Jean Drapeau’s Aquazilla, the park’s resident inflatable obstacle course on the water, is back for summer 2017. The 30×35 meter inflatable structure is comprised of obstacles, slides, and more in the form of a wiggle bridge, a water trampoline, an infinity loop, monkey bars, a flip bag, and a giant swing. Aquazilla officially opens June 12th, and will be open between 10am and 7pm daily until August 27th. Tickets cost $12 per hour for children and $15 per hour for adults.
When: June 12 – August 27, 10 am-7 pm
Where: Beach Jean-Dore, Parc Jean Drapeau
The Botanical Garden recently opened their new exhibit. Open until September 4th, Monumental Dougherty is a unique installation featuring sculptures made out of willow tree branches. Famous land artist, Patrick Dougherty, is the one behind this magnificent exhibit. According to the website, “His sculptures woven from willow branches will be true odes to nature, treating visitors to a poetic adventure and paying tribute to these trees in artistic and creative fashion.”
When: Until September 4, 2017
Where: Montreal Botanical Garden, 4101 Rue Sherbrooke E
Montreal’s favourite Sunday EDM festival, Piknic Electronik, is back for summer 2017! Kicking off May 21st in Parc Jean Drapeau, this outdoor electronic music festival is a true sign that summer has returned to the city. 2017 marks the 15th edition of Piknic Electronik, so you can bet the lineup is going to be a particularly good one. The 2017 programme won’t be unveiled until May 4th, so be sure to check the official website in May.
When: Every Sunday until September 24, 2017
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau
Mark your calendars! Montreal’s resident amusement park, La Ronde, is officially scheduled to open on May 20th. Less than two months away, we suggest you start preparing for the upcoming season. What’s the best way to prepare, you may ask? We recommend taking advantage of the park’s incredible season pass deal! Once you’ve purchased your passes, it’s time to curate your plan of attack. For a little inspiration, check out 11 rides at La Ronde you have to try. Alternatively, you can read all about La Ronde’s insane new ride, Titan, here.
When: Until October
Where: La Ronde, 22 Chemin Macdonald
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
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