29 things to do in Montreal this weekend: May 19 to May 22

May 19 2017, 2:49 pm

Celebrate the first long weekend of the summer by partaking in any one of the many events happening in our fair city!

From St-Viateur Bagel’s anniversary party and the Concordia Greenhouse seedling sale, to the opening weekend of La Ronde and Piknic Electronik, each day of your three-day weekend is sure to be packed with exciting activities.

In addition, the MTL 375 festivities continue with giant Marionettes taking over downtown and Old Port starting today.

Check out 29 things to do in Montreal this weekend: May 19-22.

Friday, May 19

Concordia Greenhouse’s Epic Seedling Sale

Concordia’s massive Seedling Sale returns! One of the best plant sales in the city, the Concordia Greenhouse is once again hosting their Epic Seedling Sale. 2017 marks the 6th edition of the event which features over 150 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Perennial fruit trees, houseplants including terrariums, and organic seeds will also be available. The sale will take place today, May 19th and tomorrow, May 20th between 11am and 5pm, and no, you don’t have to be a Concordia student to attend. This is the perfect time of year to stock up on plants in order to create a beautiful spring garden!
When: May 19-20, 11 am-5 pm
Where: Concordia Greenhouse, 1455 de Maisonneuve

Jardins Gamelin Opening Party

Jardins Gamelin is known for their rich programme of cultural activities, ranging from film screenings to contemporary dance festivals, which is why we couldn’t be more excited they are back this summer! Even better, they are hosting a massive outdoor garden party to promote their opening day! The event will take place tonight from 5:30pm until 11pm, likely drawing thousands of Montrealers. The night promises to include dancers, live music, the stunning Janet Echelman sculpture, food trucks, and the unveiling of their newly remodeled gardens.
When: May 19, 5:30 pm -10 pm
Where: Jardins Gamelin

Pouzza Fest

Montreal’s resident punk rock festival, Pouzza Fest, returns to our fair city this weekend Taking over St-Urbain Street, as well as seven of the city’s best music venues including Katacombes, Theatre Sainte Catherine, Midway, and Foufounes Electronique, the festivities begin tonight and last until May 21st. 2017 headliners come from all over North America and Europe and include Lagwagon, Pup, The Flatliners, Rvivr, Iron Chic, Joey Cape, Sims, and the Real Mckenzies. For the full lineup, click here.
When: May 19-21, 2017
Where: 2100 St-Urbain Street (headquarters)

Montreal Salsa Convention

Things are heating up in downtown Montreal owing to The Montreal Salsa Convention’s return. Kicking off yesterday, this holiday weekend festival is sure to get Montrealers on their feet. Hosted by the Canadian Salsa Dance Corporation, this dancing event features a slew of workshops, performances, and competitions. There will be free dance shows, an international night with DJs and dancing, dance workshops, and a special gala night. The majority of the festival is free to the public so be sure to watch the best of the best duke it out at Complexe Desjardins (or better yet, try it yourself!). For more information on the Montreal Salsa Convention, click here.
When: May 18 – 22
Where: Complexe Desjardins

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 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

Saturday, May 20

The Giants

According to the official program of events for Montreal’s 375th anniversary, a not-so-secret art installation featuring giant marionette dolls will be set up in the city starting today. Titled, The Giants, the unique sculptures, otherwise known as The Giant Marionettes of the Royal de Luxe street theatre company have landed in Montreal. This means for three full days Montrealers get to marvel at these historic figures and “experience a very first for the city: the gentle and grandiose promenade of the Royal de Luxe giants.” Check them out in Old Port and downtown over the course of the weekend.
When: May 19-21, 2017
Where: Click here for a map of their locations

Dance Under the Stars

Have you ever wanted to dance the night away atop Montreal’s most famous landmark? Non-profit organization, Les Amis de la Montagne, is hosting a free dance party outside the Beaver Lake Pavilion this weekend. Titled Dance Under the Stars, this one-of-a-kind event features both traditional and electronic music. The free event will begin at 6pm with an international dance workshop from the Association montréalaise des arts et des traditions populaires. At 9pm, DJ Doro will take the stage playing electronic music all night long. There will also be drinks and snacks available at Cafe des Amis at the Beaver Lake Pavilion. To learn more about this Mount Royal dance party, click here.
When: May 20, 6 pm-10:30 pm
Where: Outside Beaver Lake Pavilion

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

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 highlight breathtaking views, as well as Montreal’s anniversary legacy projects. They also promise 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

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 21

St-Viateur Bagel 60th Anniversary Party

It’s a little known fact that Montrealers love bagels, thus it’s no surprise that St-Viateur Bagel thought it would be fitting to host a summer block party in honour of their 60th anniversary. The St-Viateur Bagel 60th Anniversary Party is set to take place this Sunday, May 21st between 10am and 4pm, and all Montrealers are welcome! There will be all sorts of activities set up, including live entertainment, a kid’s zone, a barbecue, a raffle, drinks, giveaways, and of course, lots of St-Viateur bagels.
When: May 21, 10 am-4 pm
Where: St-Viateur Street between Parc Avenue and Jeanne-Mance

O-hanami Picnic Under the Flowering Crabapple Trees

Celebrate spring in the most magical way possible, with a cherry blossom tree picnic happening at the Montreal Botanical Garden this Sunday. The Montreal Botanical Garden’s annual O-hanami Picnic Under the Flowering Crabapple Trees, returns on May 21st for one afternoon only. The event is named after o-hanami, a Japanese tradition of holding flower-viewing parties when the cherry blossom trees were in bloom. For the purposes of this springtime event, Montrealers are adopting this custom and joining the Botanical Garden in a peaceful afternoon picnic beneath the blooming flowers. Not only does the Montreal Botanical Garden have cherry blossom trees, but they have the pink flowers of crabapple trees that are in full bloom Tickets cost $25 per person and must be purchased in advance. Bring a picnic blanket and prepare for a romantic day under the flowers!
When: May 21, 11:30 am-3:30 pm
Where: Montreal Botanical Garden, 4101 Rue Sherbrooke E

Piknic Electronik

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. |
When: Every Sunday from May 21 until September 24, 2017
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau

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

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 kicked off May 2nd, meaning there is only one week left to enjoy! 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

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

Monday, May 22

Dating in New France

Step back in time to New France and experience a magical town market like never before. In honour of the city’s 375th anniversary, Montreal is hosting a unique event called Dating in New France. Not only will guests learn what it was like to live under the French regime, but they will have the pleasure of walking around a “festive spring market” and meeting all sorts of characters from the time period. There will be live musicians, as well as craftsman and entertainment for children. And of course, there will be lots of food, from freshly baked bread to artisanal jams. Taking place outside Pointe-A-Calliere in scenic Old Port, be sure to visit this eighteenth century market over the long weekend.
When: May 19-22
Where: Place d’Youville

La Ronde

Mark your calendars! Montreal’s resident amusement park, La Ronde, is officially scheduled to open this Saturday, May 20th. 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: Opens May 20
Where: La Ronde, 22 Chemin Macdonald


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 until May 28th, you have one week left to check out this unique art installation in Quartier des Spectacles.
When: Until May 28, 2017
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

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

Village des Ecluses

A unique traveller’s village has popped up along the Lachine Canal. Titled Village Des Ecluses, the newly built area offers “urban camping and boating” accommodation for tourists. Village Des Ecluses is situated on the Lachine Canal Historic Site and boasts close proximity to downtown Montreal. Made of three types of accommodation, “A Night on a Boat,” “The Lock Keeper’s Cottage,” and “Park Canada’s oTENTik,” guests are able to experience Montreal like they never have before. A Night on a Boat will have guests spending one night on a classic wooden boat docked in Basin 1 of the Lachine Canal, while The Lock Keeper’s Cottage is a series of fully-furnished one bedroom cottages that overlook the canal and feature urban amenities. Finally, Park Canada’s oTENTik is a prime example of glamping with each unit being a cross between a tent and a basic cabin.
When: Beginning May 16, 2017
Where: Lachine Canal

Jet Skiing in Old Port

Sure to give you a major rush of adrenaline, Old Port becomes home to Adventures Wet Set MTL’s fleet of jetskis every summer. As it opened earlier this week, tourists and locals alike once again have the opportunity to experience the city through the eyes of the Saint Lawrence River. Adventures Wet Set MTL offers guided tours of the city, as well as individual rentals. Rates start at $45 and go up to $375.
When: Until October 15, 10 am-8 pm
Where: Quay Jacques-Cartier

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

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