38 FREE things worth checking out in Montreal this August

Jul 23 2019, 7:46 pm

With weddings, parties, and activities happening all summer, you deserve a month of free events.

Here is what’s happening around town this August where your wallet can stay tucked into your pocket where it belongs.

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Harmonie Laval – Mont Royal

AI conference

Susanne Pommer/ Shutterstock

Mont Royal is about to get even more enjoyable as two free outdoor concerts are set to perform throughout the beginning of the month.

Harmonie Laval, a wind and percussion musical ensemble, is bringing five free shows to the base of the mountain and guests are asked to only bring a chair.

August 1 – Saxophone soirĂ©e
The Ensemble de Saxophones de Montréal brings together ten saxophonists, most of whom are both musicians and teachers. Four members of the group will perform with amateur and student saxophonists presenting a program of eclectic music for all tastes.

August 8 – Harmonie Laval, conducted by Catherine Parr
To end the concert series, Harmonie Laval will perform works from film and popular music. From How to Train your Dragon to Duke Ellington, there will music for all ages.

When; August 1 and 8
Time: 7 pm
Where: Mordecai Richler Gazebo, Mont Royal

First Fridays

Les Premiers Vendredis/Facebook

Montreal is about to keep on truckin’ as the fourth First Friday of 2019 kicks off at the beginning of the month.

First Fridays is a special culinary event in which a variety of the city’s food trucks gather at the Olympic Stadium allowing Montrealers to gobble up dishes from dozens of local spots.

The festival, which calls itself “the largest street food fest in Canada,” is known to dish off everything from tacos and churros, to mac and cheese, burgers, and lobster rolls from over 40 participating eateries around Quebec.

Check out a list of participating spots right here.

When: Friday, August 2
Time: 4:30 pm – 11 pm
Where: Olympic Stadium

Matsuri Japon 2019

Japanese street festival

matsurijapon/Instagram

Montreal is getting ready to host Matsuri Japon’s 18th annual Japanese Street Festival.

The festival will reflect the Japanese community and culture here in Montreal.

According to Matsuri Japon’s Facebook page, the festival will feature Japanese food, activities, desserts, drinks, drum and dance shows, kimono rentals, language workshops, and martial arts demonstrations.

When: Saturday, August 3
Time: 11 am – 8 pm
Where: Matsuri Japon, 8155 rue Rousselot

Honey Martin Trivia

Honey Martin/Facebook

Honey Martin is a cozy Irish Pub in NDG that hosts a phenomenal pub trivia every trivia. They do six rounds of ten questions and 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.

Buy him a shot and you just might get that European geography question right after all.

When: August 6, 13, 20, and 27
Time: 9 pm – 1:30 am
Where: 5916 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Cité Mémoire

levieuxmontreal/Instagram

Head to Old Montreal to admire 25 of the world’s largest projection circuits. Montreal’s history is displayed on buildings and streets throughout the Old Port every Tuesday to Sunday this month.

Download the free “Montreal en Histoires” app for destinations, details, and schedules.

When: August 1 -4, 6 -11, 13-18, 20-25, 27-31
Time: From nightfall until 11 pm
Where: Old Montreal

Tam-Tams

Tam-Tams

nadimsoued/Instagram

Tams, the weekly outdoor party at the base of the mountain, is a perfect summary of Montreal, open to both locals and tourists.

The magical outdoor bash is where Montrealers from far and wide, gather in Parc Mont Royal for an afternoon of food, vendors, fun, music, and maybe even a couple beers and some smoking (shhh, don’t tell anyone).

When: August 4, 11, 18, and 25
Time: 12 pm until sunset
Where: Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument

McKibbin’s Pub Stumpers

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Test your trivia knowledge at McKibbin’s Irish Pub every Monday.

The pub’s trivia has five rounds, general knowledge multiple choice, short answer, a picture round, and a music round. The winner of each round receives free drinks or a round of shots.

When: August 5, 12, 19, and 26
Time: 7:30 pm – 10 pm
Where: 1426 Rue Bishop
Price: Free to play (with purchase of a beverage)

Orange Julep Vintage Car Night

orange julep

Orange Julep/Shutterstock

Montreal has its fair share of well-known local restaurants – Schwartz’ Deli, Joe Beef, and Chalet Bar-B-Q – but you’d be hard-pressed to find one more obvious than Gibeau Orange Julep.

Obvious is the proper word here because the place sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s a giant, orange sphere that stands three stories high and is forty feet wide.

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.

Grab yourself some OJ, poutine, and marvel at a parking lot full of gorgeous vintage cars.

When: August 7, 14, 21, and 28
Time: 7 pm – 10 pm
Where: 7700 Boulevard Decarie

Hampstead’s Summer Concerts

Hampstead is offering three free outdoor concerts to cap off the summer.

The borough’s lineup offers a variety of music genres ranging from pop country to classic, and a tribute to Leonard Cohen.

August 6: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen and other Jewish music makers
August 13: String Theory Summer Concert
August 20: Sandra & The Latin Groove

When: August 6, 13, and 20
Time: 7 pm
Where: Hampstead Park, 30 Lyncroft Road

First Peoples’ Festival

first nation's

Terresenvues/Facebook

As the Just for Laughs festival sums up at the end of July, the Quartier des Spectacles will swap out comedians for culture with the First Peoples’ Festival in August.

One of the oldest and most storied communities in all of the Americas will be celebrating their joyous culture for a week-long festival from August 6 to 14.

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 6 to 14
Time: TBA
Where: Place des Festivals, Quartier des Spectacles

Italian Week

Montreal’s well-represented Italian community will be celebrating it’s 26th annual Italian Week in August.

The week-long festival will be celebrated throughout the island, promoting the Italian culture through music, fashion, cars, shops, and obviously, food.

Anchored primarily in Little Italy, the festival also branches out to Montreal-Nord, Laval, Lasalle, NDG, and St-LĂ©onard.

When: August 9 to 18
Time: 9 am – 5 pm
Where: Various locations throughout Montreal

Montreal Pride Parade

mtl pride

Paul Vance / Shutterstock

Montreal’s Gay Pride Parade (DĂ©filĂ© de la fiertĂ© 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 18
Time: 1 pm
Where: Boulevard René-Lévesque and Rue Metcalfe and ends at Rue Alexandre-DeSève

18th-Century Public Market

Montreal is going to be doing a little bit of time travel this summer as an 18th-century public market is blasting in from the past.

On August 24 and 25, Pointe-à-Callière will transform into a different era.

Guests can learn about the city life under the French regime, meet characters, and admire the know-how of the First Nations.

When: August 24 to 25
Time: 11 am – 6 pm
Where: Pointe-à-Callière, 350 Place Royale

Shakespeare in the Park

shakespeare

Shakespeare by the Bow/Facebook

The untraditional rendition of Shakespeare has been going on all summer and it concludes on August 11.

The long-running outdoor theatre event is celebrating its 31st year and takes on a Shakespearean classic this summer in the form of Measure for Measure.

When: August 1 – 11
Time:  7 pm – 10 pm
Where: Various outdoor venues across Montreal

Village au Pied du Courant

beachside

djamishere/Instagram

Montreal’s man-made beachside venue, Village au Pied-du-Courant is open all month.

Every year, dozens of teams of collaborators and designers come together to set up the man-made village for Montrealers and tourists to join for a view of the St. Lawrence River and the famous Jacques Cartier Bridge.

(Not to mention a slew of summertime parties.)

The reinvented site is a place for citizens, designers, volunteers, and participants to create a unique and collaborative community.

When: Thursday – Sunday in August
Time: 4 pm – 9 pm (Thursdays), 5 pm – 12 am (Fridays), 4 pm – 12 am (Saturdays) 3 pm – 8 pm (Sundays)
Where: 2100 Rue Notre-Dame Est

Oka Beach

Beach Volleyball/Shutterstock

Beat the August heat at a real 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

Parc Jean-Drapeau Aquatic Complex for kids

aqua complex

Parc Jean-Drapeau/Facebook

Parc Jean Drapeau’s Aquatic Complex features three massive Olympic-sized pools, trampolines, diving boards and towers, a shaded area, sprinklers, and water sports.

What’s even better? It’s free for kids (aged 13 and under) on Wednesdays!

When: Every Wednesday until September 3
Time: 10 am to 8 pm (Jean Doré Beach until 7 pm)
Where: Parc Jean-Drapeau
Price: Free for kids under 13

Yoko Ono’s “Arising”

Reykjavik Art Museum/Facebook

As part of the Japanese multimedia artist’s ongoing installation called “Arising,” Yoko Ono is asking women to share stories of harm that has been brought on as a result of being a woman. Participants are asked to also send in a photo of their eyes as part of the project.

Both projects take an important stance about the condition of women, particularly in regards to the #MeToo movement.

Submissions can be made by email, regular mail or in person and will be accepted at any time before or during the exhibition. Every and all submissions will be displayed.

The exhibition will be on display until September.

When: Every day in August
Time: 12 pm – 7 pm (Wednesday to Friday), 11 am  6 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Where: Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain, 451 rue St-Jean

Le Lave-Auto

MURAL Fest

CNW Group/Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.

MURAL Fest may be done, but this art installation is here for keeps.

A Montreal car wash has undergone a complete transformation as part of the seventh edition of the street art festival.

World-renowned urban artist Joshua Vides, who is known for making real-life 3D objects appear as simple 2D black and white sketches, applied his signature treatment to a Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Lave-Auto Laurier, 40-year-old car wash at the corner of Saint-Urbain and Laurier.

It’s totally Instagram worthy.

When: Every day in August
Where: 85 Avenue Laurier Ouest
Time: 8 am – 6 pm (until 7 pm on Thursday – Sunday)

Give Peace A Chance – The Exhibition

fairmonthotels/Instagram

From May 26 to June 2 of 1969, The Queen Elizabeth Hotel welcomed John Lennon and Yoko Ono for their famous Bed-in for Peace.

In honour of the couple’s 50th anniversary of the famous bed-in, the hotel’s lobby will transform into a showroom that showcases photos and guest testimonials pulled from the book, “Give Peace a Chance: John and Yoko’s Bed-in for Peace” by Joan Athey and photographer Gerry Deiter.

Deiter was the only photojournalist covering the 1969 event.

The free exhibition will be on display until October 9, Lennon’s birthday. Visitors are encouraged to share peace vows on their social networks with the hashtags #bedin50 and #givepeaceachance.

When: Every day in August
Time: 8 am – 10 pm
Where: Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, 900 René-Lévesque Boulevard Ouest
Price: Free

Tulips atop Mont Royal

tulips

inkedmtl/Instagram

Fuse hundreds of tulips with Mont Royal’s picturesque views of the city and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous photo waiting to happen.

A beautiful uprising of tulips has bloomed atop the mountain, signalling that Montreal’s well-deserved spring and summer weather is finally here.

Sprouted at the lookout, in front of the Mont Royal Chalet are hundreds of tiny, beautiful orange, red, and yellow tulips.

When: Every day in August
Time: 24/7
Where: 1576 Voie Camillien-Houde

Free BIXI Sundays

BIXI

lesquartiersducanal/Instagram

Exploring Montreal is great but checking out the city on a bike is even greater. Add on scoping out the city on a bike, for free, and you’ve got yourself a dandy of a day.

For the fourth year in a row, BIXI Montreal wants to make sure you’re hitting the road for free all summer.

On the last Sunday of the month, the city’s bike sharing program will be offering free rides for everyone throughout the city.

When: Sunday, August 25
Time: 12 am – 11:59 pm
Where: Various docks throughout the city

Les Jardins Gamelin

garden

Le Jardins Gamelin/Quartier Des Spectacles Montreal

Just in time for the surge in spring weather, one of Montreal’s favourite spring and summer past times makes its return.

The open-air space will play home to both cultural and citizen-driven events, taking place every day and night of the week.

Returning for its fifth consecutive year, Les Jardins Gamelin is an ideal place to meet friends and enjoy new cultural experiences, Les Jardins offers a rich, original, 100% made-in-Montreal program – all for free. There’s something for everyone, with daily culture and entertainment all season long.

When: Every day in August
Time: 9 am – 11 pm
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

Montreal Clock Tower

Clock Tower

oldportofmontreal

The 45-metre-high tower, built in 1922, marks the entrance to the Old Port and is free to climb, all season long.

The Clock Tower pays tribute to the sailors lost at sea in wartime.

According to the Vieux-Port de Montreal website, the clock mechanism was made in England and is a replica of London’s Big Ben. “Like Big Ben,” reads the page, “its accuracy is legendary, and sailors would set their own timepieces by it.”

To get to the top, guests need to climb 192 steps before being rewarded with spectacular views of the island and the St. Lawrence River.

When: Every day in August
Time: 9 am – 10 pm
Where: Quai de l’Horloge, Old Montreal

The Maisonneuve Bike Path

Bike season kicks into high gear in August.

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: Every day in August
Time: 24/7
Where: Runs parallel with Boulevard Maisonneuve

Orangetheory Workout

Orangetheory is a workout that, according to the website, is scientifically designed to give guests more energy, more strength, and more results. Orangetheory combines cardio, power, and strength training to “transform your body and your life.”

They offer free classes to everyone who signs up online.

When: Every day in August
Time: 5:30 am – 9:30 pm
Where: 6275 avenue Somerled, 1056 rue Ottawa, 2380 chemin Lucerne

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

Casino de Montreal

free

Casino de Montreal/Shutterstock

It’s tough to associate casinos without money, but it’s true.

The Casino de Montreal is free to enter. If you don’t feel like blowing money at the blackjack table, head to the Casino de Montreal and simply take in the sights and sounds, it’s quite spectacular. The casino offers free refreshments and coffee, maybe you’ll find a loonie on the ground and even win big?

The Casino is decorated beautifully for the summer and is worth the trek off-island just to marvel in its beauty.

When: Every day in August
Time: The Casino de Montreal is open 24/7
Where: 1 Avenue du Casino

Notre-Dame Basilica

Mozart concert

AG Baxter (Shutterstock)

One of Montreal’s most-viewed structures is filled with hundreds of wooden carvings, several religious statues, and gigantic stained glass windows. Take a self-guided walking tour or visit the church every Sunday at 11 am to hear a 25-person choir accompanied by the organ.

When: Every day in August
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

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

If you want to expand your knowledge this month, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has got you covered. The MMFA offers free admission to all exhibitions (including major exhibitions) to people 20-years-old and younger.

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

Jean Talon Market

jean talon market

Songquan Deng/Shutterstock

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 every day in August
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

Barbie Exhibition

barbie expo

joshuajacobs81/Instagram

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: Every day in August
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

Grande Bibliothèque

bedbug

BAnQ, Bernard Fougères

The Grande Bibliothèque is 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

Mont Royal Belvédère Kondiaronk Park

Hiking Mont Royal has its rewards besides the view. The spring sunshine fused with the skyline is totally Instagram-worthy and Mont Royal’s chalet has some nice historical elements as well.

You get to see the entire city lit up – especially in July’s summer 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 in August
Time: 7 am – 8 pm
Where: 138 Avenue Atwater

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 and a sight 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

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: Every day in August
Time: 9 am – 5 pm during the week, 1 pm – 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Where: 859 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest