Travel Blog

19 Apr

Geek out in Montréal!

Montréal has reached new levels of geekdom over the past few years. From large Hollywood comic book adaptations being filmed in the city (We’re eagerly awaiting X-Men: Apocalypse, shot in Montréal last summer), growing pop-culture festivals, and some of the largest video game publishers setting up shop in Montréal (hello WB Games Montréal!), it’s no surprise that this city has been taken over by geeks. So what is there to explore in Montréal? Grab your trusty fanny pack, slather on some sunscreen, and put on your favourite super hero t-shirt: we’re going to show you where the geeks roam free in the city!

ComicConLEVEL 1: The Pop Culture Festival Zone

The world of pop-culture comes together in July for Montréal Comiccon, and every year it promises to be nothing short of awesome. Aside from being the place to meet-and-greet stars from your favourite shows and films, it’s a must if you seek vendors who sell one-of-a-kind art, TV and movie merchandise, rare comics, and more! Plus, attendees are encouraged to dress-up as their favourite characters. Trust us, you haven’t lived until you see dedicated cosplayers dressed as pop culture characters such as Katniss Everdeen, Wolverine, and Sailor Moon in one place.

The Fantasia International Film Festival held at Concordia University continues to be the marquee event of the year for geeks and film buffs. Not only is this the best festival for films from around the world, it’s now a must for geeks to see the latest mainstream comic book adaptation or that rare international gem that film aficionados will talk about for days. No wonder Quentin Tarantino hails Fantasia as “the most important and prestigious genre film festival on this continent”.

Cinematheque_QuebecoiseNot to be missed the next time around is the Montréal Stop Motion Film Festival, the first festival dedicated to showcasing films using stop motion techniques. While this year’s edition has already passed, you can be part of their Stop Motion Creative Club, which meets every other month at the Cinémathèque québécoise to discuss and share their love for stop motion animation.

Mondial_des_jeux_Loto_QuebecBONUS LEVELS: Otakuthon, held in August, is the biggest Anime Convention in the city! Video Gamers will love the Mondial des Jeux Loto-Quebec, the World’s Largest Free Gaming Festival held at the Quartier des Spectacles in July. Toy collectors can get their fix at The Montréal ToyCon, which is held twice a year. Comic book hunters can find that rare issue or their next favourite graphic novel at the Montréal Comic Arts Festival held at Parc Lafontaine in late May. Furries can join in the fun during What The Fur in May. You can also get transported to a galaxy far, far away with L’Orchestre à Vents de Musiques de Films ode to Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens on June 19th. And of course, Sunday is the perfect day to go LARPing at Mont-Royal in the Summer!

ElektraLEVEL 2: Out of This World Expos Museums

Art aficionados should check out the Sight Sound Festival in Mile-End’s Eastern Bloc until May 27th, featuring 23 artists offering a mix of performance and art installations. The Digital Art Biennial follows suit from June 3rd to July 3rd at various locations, and this year’s theme is AUTOMATA, featuring art created by machines for machines. At the heart of the biennial is the 17th edition of ELEKTRA  from June 1st to the 5th, featuring the latest robotic work from Louis-Philippe Demers and Bill Vorn, entitled ‘Inferno’. In this participative performance, inspired by representations of hell, 25 spectators wear exoskeletons on their bodies, resulting in a unexpected, involuntary choreography programmed and controlled by computer.

SAT_Societe_des_arts_technologiquesBONUS LEVELS: If you need to be immersed into another world, perhaps the Société des Arts Technologiques SAT FEST is for you, featuring mind-blowing art projections in their dome, until April 8th. For something out of this world, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium also has an immersive (and educational!) show about the Northern Lights entitled ‘aurōrae’, set to the beats of DJ Champion. And if you need to look inwards, literally, set out to the Montréal Science Centre in the Old Port and find out what truly makes us human, in their new permanent exhibition aptly titled “Human”. Just around the corner, you can be part of “Virus: The Game” at Peur Depot, where you try to survive a dangerous and frightening virus. If that’s not enough, perhaps a trip to the BAnQ’s virtual exhibition “The Library at Night”, created by Quebec’s own Robert Lepage and Alberto Manguel in collaboration with Ex Machina, will take you on an immersive trip to the great libraries in the world.

North_Star_Machines_a_piastresLEVEL 3: Bars Cafes to Power Up!

With all the geeking you’ll be doing in the city, you’ll need to rest and gain your energy back!

Video gamers can score at some of the most unique bars in the city! Nexus Bar is the place to play the latest console games with friends in an cool atmosphere. If you’re in a more retro mood, head to North Star Pinball, where restored pinball machines are waiting to take your quarters. Arcade MTL, Montréal’s first bar arcade is soon to open in April! Classic gamers can check out Foonzo and bring back the days of 8-Bit fun.

Randolph_pub_ludiqueFor those seeking out the old school fun of board games, places like Randolph, Le Colonel Moutarde, La Récréation, and La Revanche offer all the joy of actual social gaming, with tournaments, themed nights, and more!

Cafe_OSMOIf you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, check out Otaku Lounge, which combines a cafe, a reading room and a bookstore with the latest manga. Cafe Falcos Japanese inspired decor and coffee will bring back your zen in no time. On Sherbrooke Street, Cafe OSMO is located inside Notman House, a new and thriving Montréal startup ecosystem.

If your dining plans need to go to a whole different period (like say, the Middle Ages), head to L’Auberge du Dragon Rouge, where history and fine dining are not out of place, but you must RSVP before hand!

BONUS LEVEL: Gaymers, we haven’t left you out! Gaymer Zone returns to its roots at the new Play Montréal (formerly Club Apollon), where gaymers meet every Tuesday to play games such as Ubisoft’s Just Dance!

drawnquaterly-625x400LEVEL 4: Upgrade Your Equipment!

Hunting for a rare comic, the latest Pop! figurine for your collection or a costume that’s sure to impress, Montréal has it all!

May 7th is Free Comic Book Day! Stores that are officially part of the event include 1,000,000 Comix and Capitaine Quebec in Downtown Montréal, Studio 9 Comic Shop, Comic Hunter, and Librairie Millenium. Other shops that carry all the comics and graphic novels you could ever want include: Planète BD, Crossover Comics, Sci-Fi Anime, Drawn and Quarterly Bookstore, and Librairie Astro.

Valet d'coeurFor those searching for hard to find Pokemon cards or The Lord of The Rings Edition of Monopoly, store such as Le Valet d’cœur, Chez Geeks, Carta Magica and Gamers’s Vault are sure to help you on your quest to find what you’re looking for! Hardcore toy collectors should find Toys on Fire to have a better selection than your typical big box store.

Malabar_CostumierFinally, if you’re truly going to geek out in Montréal, do it in style! Dressing up isn’t just isolated to Halloween, so stores like Imagine Le Fun, Malabar Costumier, Johnny Brown Inc., and Ponton offer plenty of options (such as rentals!) for whatever cosplay event you happen to be going! Other specialty stores such as Montréal Cosplay, can create personalized items, and if you’re looking for fun geek apparel, Boutique Geekatorium and Kigurumi (check out their adult onesies!) offer something for everyone to wear and accessorize with.

Happy Geeking Out in Montréal, and may the force be with you!

Up next: Warning all Trekkies and Batman fans: An epic Montréal Comiccon this way comes


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