20 things to do this weekend: May 12 to May 14

May 12 2017, 6:07 pm

A boozy cocktail festival, a dazzling water show, an interactive art installation, and an outdoor block party are just a few of the awesome events taking place this weekend in Montreal.

To make your weekend the best yet, check out 20 things to do in Montreal this weekend, May 12 – 14.

Friday, May 12

Invasion Cocktail

Margaritas, mojitos, daiquiris, and more. Invasion Cocktail, Montreal’s own cocktail festival takes over the city this weekend. This is the 4th edition of Invasion Cocktail, and over 30 bars and restaurants are participating, not to mention the 200 cocktails available. And new this year, the signature Invasion Cocktail Passport (that gets you cocktails for just $7) is completely free of charge.
When: May 10-16, 2017
Where: For a list of locations, click here

Montreal Avudo

A dazzling water show paying tribute to the Saint Lawrence River is taking over Old Port starting this weekend. 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 from May 12-September 2, 2017, 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm each night
Where: The west sector of the Old Port of Montréal, near the King Edward Pier and the Montréal Science Centre


In addition to the beloved 21 Swings, Montreal has a second interactive installation taking up residency near Place des Arts this month. It is none other than Maestro, an installation that allows Montrealers to become the conductor of a water fountain. Sound a little bit confusing? Here’s how it works. There is a podium set up in front of a water fountain in Quartier des Spectacles. There is also a motion-sensored baton. When someone stands on the podium, picks up the baton, and waves it around, the water fountain will mimic their movements. More specifically, the official website says, “the spouts will activate in sync with your motions and the music.” In essence, this art installation makes you feel like the conductor of a grand water symphony orchestra. Open between May 8th and May 28th, you have less than three weeks to check out this unique art installation in Quartier des Spectacles.
When: Until May 28, 2017
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

Fashioning Expo 67

The McCord Museum has opened 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 make up the exhibition, ranging from hostess uniforms to paper dresses, all of which have been created by Quebec designers. Further, Fashioning Expo 67 features 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, 2017
Where: McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St W

Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA

Canadian entertainment company, Cirque du Soleil, has returned to its hometown this spring 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

Montreal Sketchfest

Prepare to LOL! Montreal Sketchfest kicked off this week, bringing Montrealers a slew of gut-wrenching comedy shows. Lasting until May 13th, Montreal Sketchfest features some of the best comedy troupes in Canada and the United States. The 2017 programmes includes the likes of Backstreet’s Back, Box of Bees, Cousins, Employees of the Year, Kristen Rasmussen: Full Time Idiot, Michael Becker Live, Pickle Party, Tom & Erica, Too Blondes, and Vest of Friends. Over 20 shows are being performed throughout the 10-day festival at Theatre Sainte Catherine.
When: May 4-13, 2017
Where: Theatre Sainte-Catherine, 264 St Catherine St E

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

Walk up Mount Royal

The weather has finally turned so why not take advantage? Go for your first spring 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.
When: Anytime
Where: Mount Royal

Saturday, May 13

La Grande Tournee celebrates Montreal: 19 boroughs in 19 weekends

To celebrate the city’s 375th anniversary, all 19 of Montreal’s boroughs will be hosting parties. Officially titled La Grande Tournee celebrates Montreal: 19 boroughs in 19 weekends, the event is organized by Cirque Eloize, who will be travelling across Montreal to help honour the city, its people, and its history. Each weekend, a neighbourhood park will host a party for all ages that speaks to the characteristics of that community. In addition to a simple gathering of residents, each borough’s party will feature all sorts of entertainment. Activities include circus and artistic performances, historical exhibitions, live music, treasure hunts, and farmers’ markets. The series kicks off in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie’s Parc Jean-Duceppe this weekend!
When: May 12-September 17 (Thursday to Sunday)
Where: Parc Jean-Duceppe

Mount Royal Discovery Walks

May is Mount Royal Month which means Les Amis de la Montagne are hosting several exciting mountain activities all month. One such activity are their three-summit discovery walks. In honour of the city’s 375th anniversary, Les Amis de la Montagne has planned a 14km guided hike that takes Montrealers through the entire Mount Royal territory. The discovery walks will highlight breathtaking views, as well as Montreal’s anniversary legacy projects. It also promises to be “an exceptional way to learn more about the mountain and the issues of ecology, urban planning and landscape architecture that define it.” Tickets are $20 per person, the walks are in French only, and a reservation is required in advance.
When: Weekends in May between 9:30am-6pm
Where: Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument

Paul Van Dyk

A year since his massive fall from a stage in Amsterdam, German producer Paul van Dyk returns to the music scene with a bang. He released his single “Touched by Heaven,” and after his miraculous recovery, van Dyk is back on the road. Catch him at New City Gas this Saturday!
When: May 13, 10 pm
Where: New City Gas, 950 Rue Ottawa

Aislin: 50 Years of Cartoons

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

Virtual Reality Garden: Felix and Paul Studios

Step back into the Phi Centre’s virtual reality garden, this time showcasing the works of Felix and Paul Studios. This “eclectic and powerful” collection boasts 7 of the studio’s best virtual reality creations, including many curated in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil. Prepare to be amazed by everything from fire and acrobats to President Obama and amphibious characters.
When: March 22-May 29, 2017
Where: Phi Centre

CSI: The Experience

The Montreal Science Centre recently became home to an all new exhibition titled CSI: The Experience. The interactive, crime scene-themed exhibit opens April 6th and is based on the famous television show of the same name. According to the exhibition’s description, CSI: The Experience is a “learning adventure into the world of criminalistics,” that encourages participants to crack the case. Museum-goers will get to draw their own conclusions about the evidence presented and try to decipher which clues need further analysis. From there, participants will have the opportunity to compare tire tracks and shell casings and to carry out real-life forensics tests, such as blood spatter and DNA analysis. Not only will you learn about forensic anthropology and toxicology, but you’ll get to feel like a real detective solving the case. Don’t miss out on the chance to conduct your own criminal investigation!
When: Until September 4
Where: Montreal Science Centre

Chagall: Colour and Music

A special exhibition on world-renowned painter, Marc Chagall, is on at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts right now. The exhibit, titled “Chagall: Colour and Music,” explores the importance of music in Chagall’s life. It is multidisciplinary, featuring over 400 works ranging from sculptures and paintings to photographs and films. In addition, puppets, costumes, stained glass windows, maquettes, and gouaches are on display. According to the official site, “Music was a constant source of inspiration” for the Russian-French artist. “A favourite subject for his creations, it served as an internal rhythm and driving force for his compositions, and a key to the intensity and range of colour in his work.”
When: January 28-June 11, 2017
Where: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Sunday, May 14

Festival Acces Asie

Montreal’s resident Asian culture festival, Festival Acces Asie, returns with a seriously awesome program for 2017. Showcasing the best in Asian culture, cinema, music, art, and dance from the south of India to eastern China, the 2017 event includes everything from workshops and conferences, to meditation activities. The festival kicks off May 2nd and lasts for four weeks until May 28th. The event’s programme is divided up by week, with the first week including a free cocktail hour that features a Bollywood dance troupe and famed pianist. Other activities throughout the month include a Middle Eastern dance competition, a “sizzling spices, sacred stories” culinary lesson, and two dazzling shows in Jardins Gamelin. The best part about Festival Acces Asie? Most of the events are completely free of charge, meaning you can celebrate your own culture or learn about a new one at absolutely no cost!
When: Until May 28, 2017
Where: Various locations

Tam Tams

Grab your sangria kits and drum sets! Tam Tams is back this Sunday 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: Every Sunday until September 24, 2017
Where: Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument

21 Swings

Montreal’s beloved 21 Swings (or 21 Balancoires) has returned to Promenade des Artistes! Open until May 28, is there any better sign that spring has arrived? The interactive, music art installation has us all feeling like children again as we swing back and forth while a beautiful melody plays. Created by Daily tous les jours, in collaboration with animal behaviourist Luc-Alain Giraldeau and composer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, this fun and colourful urban playground is open 24 hours a day between April 10th and May 28th.
When: Until May 28, 2017
Where: Promenade des Artistes

Explore a new bike path

Bixi Bikes are now back on the roads which means it’s time to start exploring our city’s beautiful bike paths. With bike paths all around the city, cycling in Montreal has never been easier. And if you know where to go, you’ll find that Montreal boasts some pretty magical bike paths – so magical in fact, they may give you a whole new perspective on your favourite city. So hop on your bike, borrow one from a friend, or take advantage of the city’s Bixi bikes and get pedalling! For a little inspiration, check out the most beautiful bike paths in Montreal.
When: Anytime
Where: Various locations

Montreal Digital Spring

Quartier des Spectacles is hosting a unique digital art festival all season long. Throughout the months of March, April, May, and June, Quartier des Spectacles will see all sorts of events pertaining to the digital arts. These include a media lab, live musical performances, and sculptures. Be sure to check out what’s going on in Quartier des Spectacles every weekend in the spring.
When: March 21-June 21
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

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