Travel Blog

15 Apr

Things to do in Montréal: April 15 to 21

Take your pick of outdoor and indoor activities this week in Montréal because warm weather has returned – pair it with some truly world-class wining and dining, digital art, bountiful nature, incredible circus shows, literary luminaries or live classical, rock and electronic music.

21 balancoiresWhatever the weather

Spring can be unpredictable in Montréal, but that also means the city’s full of surprises – discover all kinds of free things to do in Montréal this season, whether this is your first time here or you’re searching for the latest and greatest things to do. Downtown, try your hand at making music just by swinging: located on de Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts downtown, 21 Swings is an interactive and community-minded musical instrument, art installation and colourful swing set all in one, ongoing to May 29. When night falls, look up on building facades in the Quartier des Spectacles area to see 9x [MTL] Video Projections, colourful photomontages of iconic people, places and events in Montréal. Nature thrives at Space for Life, where the Butterflies Go Free event has local butterflies venturing outdoors and tropical butterflies and caterpillars inside at the Botanical Garden’s and Insectarium’s Main Exhibition Greenhouse, until April 24. And if you’re in the mood for something louder, settle in for mud and engine revving at the Monster FMX Spectacular on April 16 at the Olympic Stadium.

Marche_Jean-TalonDine and dress

As spring emerges, the city’s urban sugar shacks prepare to close for the year – get a taste of the usually rural Québécois tradition with a gourmet urban twist. Visit the city’s public markets to find colourful fruits and veg, local meats and cheeses, affordable meals and delicious desserts. Try natural wines and locally sourced food all afternoon and evening at Les Turbulents, Salon Des Vignerons Naturels, at the SAT on April 17. Among the city’s many, many fine eateries, try some of Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants for 2016 and Grand Prix du Design Montréalais-winning restaurants and cafés, as well as Montréal’s hottest new restaurants. For even more indulgence in food, drink, shopping and relaxation, look to our guide to living in the lap of luxury in Montréal. And if you’re looking for designer clothing and accessories at incredible sale prices, skip over to Le Grand Braderie de Mode Québécoise, April 14 to 17 at Marché Bonsecours in Old Montréal.

The world’s a stage

The incredible acrobatics and artistry of Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA, a wild and colourful waking dream of Mexico, comes to the Old Port of Montréal April 21 to July 17 – hear more about Cirque du Soleil and the Cité des arts du Cirque centre in Montréal from Patricia Ruel, the director of creation behind LUZIA. Meanwhile, Cirque Éloizes incredibly creative show CIRKOPOLIS flies high at La Tohu circus centre, inviting us into its wild and electrifying world, at Place des Arts, April 14 to 16. The Agokwe Collective and Waawaate Fobister present award-winning tragic yet humorous love story Agokwe at La Chapelle to April 15 (preceded each night by a projection of artist Kent Monkman’s short films.) Musicians and artists Moe Clark, Katia Makdissi-Warren and guests perform Transcestral Incantations, invoking ancestral memory and expressing our common quest for harmony, on Saturday, April 16 at Monument National. Company 605’s ensemble contemporary dance work Vital Few investigates authenticity, endurance and more, as choreographed by Lisa Gelley, Josh Martin and the six dancers, at Agora de la danse, April 20 to 22. Dancer-performer-artist Dulcinea Langfelder harnesses authentic human emotion and her own dreams in multimedia stage show Pillow Talk at Centaur Theatre to April 24, while Montréal’s jazzy nightlife history as “Sin City” hits the stage in musical Last Night at the Gayety, beginning April 19.

Seen and heard

Hundreds of writers and readers gather for the 18th Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, April 11 to 17, featuring readings, talks, workshops and parties with numerous writers including Anne Carson, Anakana Schofield, Thomas King, Joseph Boyden, Valeria Luiselli and more, plus a children’s literary festival for ages 0-12 – consult the Blue Met calendar for all the details (and read our interview with award-winning author and former Montrealer Yann Martel too!) The 32nd Festival international de cinéma Vues d’Afrique festival brings feature and short films from Africa and the African diaspora around the world to Montréal April 17 to 24. The multimedia art event Digital Spring continues at venues around the city, including screenings at the SAT’s 360-degree audio-visual dome during SATFest and at the Phi Centre, exposition My Name is Raj at ELLEPHANT gallery, and La nuit de Robert Lepage at the Grand Bibliothèque. Pluridisciplinary international visual art and performance event Ibrida*Pluri intrigues and inspires April 21 to 23 at artist-run centre Eastern Bloc. The Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal spotlights the video work of Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson, while the ancient city of Pompeii is uncovered at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. And see artist Marie-Michelle Deschamps’s deconstructed watercolours, enamel and sculptural exhibition concept at Battat Contemporary gallery in Mile Ex and her work in conversation with other artists at the Darling Foundry gallery in Old Montréal.

Live music

The world-renowned Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra plays Montréal for the first time, conducted by Mariss Jansons, performing Korngold, Shostakovich and more on April 15 at Maison symphonique at Place des Arts. Also on Friday, prog metal legends Dream Theatre play songs from their new rock-opera album The Astonishing and more at the Bell Centre, while Québécois Pink Floyd cover band Echoes cruise through the hits at Club Soda, electronic dance music fest headliners WW bring the party to New City Gas, indie synth-pop rockers Ra Ra Riot play Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. and folk-rock singer-songwriter Asaf Avidan strums up a storm at Théâtre Berri. On Saturday, April 16, hear avant-garde jazz by Alain Bédard and the Auguste Quartet at L’Astral, super cool L.A. indie-rock duo Bleached at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B., and electronic dance music producer Kennedy Jones makes music to dance madly to at New City Gas. On Sunday afternoon, the Marlboro Music Festival presents rising stars of classical music in the Pro Musica – Musicians from Marlboro concert at Bourgie Hall. On April 18, British rock band The Subways jangles up a good time at Théâtre Fairmount and Australia’s Atlas Genius and Skylar Grey play shimmering, dance-y synth-pop at L’Astral. Classic guitar-rock band Santana steps out of the radio and into the Bell Centre on April 19, while Norwegian metal band Kvelertak comes to town with openers Torche and Wild Throne at L’Astral and Québécoise contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux interprets the French melodies of composers Duparc, Hahn, Koechlin and Lekeu, at Maison symphonique at Place des Arts. Wednesday, April 20 sees Montréal’s awesome SUUNS and Lungbutter at Cabaret La Tulipe. String quartet Quatuor Alcan plays a free concert of Quintette de Schumann, with pianist Marie-Martine Bollmann, at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, April 21 at 7:30 p.m., while later on, the charming and mysterious Father John Misty owns the stage at Metropolis, Minneapolis indie-pop-rockers Poliça put on a synthy-sweet show at Petit Campus, and Austin’s OBN IIIs mix hard garage with classic rock at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B.

Up next: The most Instagrammed spots in Montréal (Part 1)




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