The snow is gone and the sun is out – it’s perfect walking weather! Explore all kinds of art in the Old Port and downtown, make your way to the Cirque du Soleil big top, hunt down the city’s most legendary restaurants, and spend a night on the town with theatre, dance and live music shows.
The spring weather calls out for outdoor time: Take a sight-seeing stroll with our guide to walks in Old Montréal to see all the sights and historical locales of the old city and find the best restaurants and cafés. Or head downtown for a musical ride on 21 Swings, an interactive and community-minded musical instrument, art installation and colourful swing set all in one, located on de Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts. After dark, the building facades in the Quartier des Spectacles see 9x [MTL] Video Projections, colourful photomontages of iconic people, places and events in Montréal. Duck inside the Botanical Garden’s main exhibition greenhouse at the Space for Life, where the Butterflies Go Free event has local butterflies venturing outdoors and tropical butterflies and caterpillars inside until April 24. Even if you’re indoors, kids can play and learn at the Montréal Science Centre and Pointe-à-Callière archaeology museum. In sports, Minor League Soccer team the Montréal Impact keep things active in a game with Toronto FC at Saputo Stadium on April 23 or you could cheer on Montréal roller derby teams at tournament Beast of the East, April 22 to 24 at Arena St-Louis in Mile End. And discover all kinds of free things to do in Montréal this season, whether this is your first time here or you’re a Montréal pro.
If you’re on the hunt for the city’s authentic culinary institutions, check out 10 of Montréal’s oldest restaurants, from 262-year-old Auberge Saint-Gabriel to 88-year-old Schwartz’s Deli. Visit the city’s public markets to find colourful fruits and veg, local meats and cheeses, affordable meals and delicious desserts. For fine dining options, choose from our lists of 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. Our guide to living in the lap of luxury in Montréal indulges your indulgences in food, drink, shopping and relaxation. Or if you’re looking out for your health and are over 50, check out the nutrition and lifestyle info at the free Salon Carrefour 50 ans+ conference at Place Bonaventure.Art forms
Find many of Montréal’s commercial galleries (and several from Ottawa and Toronto too) under one roof at Papier16, April 22 to 24 at the industrial Hangar 16 space on the quays of the Old Port. An art fair for everyone with sociable crowds to match, Papier is dedicated to works of art on paper – meaning that what you’ll see on the walls, the majority by well-known artists, is relatively affordable. Not much paper can be found at digital arts event Digital Spring, a citywide showcase for technological creativity in its many forms, ongoing to June 21 at venues such as the Phi Centre, the SAT (see immersive 360-degree surround performance Le Cauchemar merveilleux based on the writing of musician Arthur H), Circa, Oboro and Arsenal galleries, and dozens of other locales. Song and durational performance mix in Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s work, featuring music by The National, in video form at the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal. DHC/ART opens a new exhibition on April 28: a retrospective spanning five decades of work by American multi-media artist Joan Jonas – catch her in conversation on April 26 at the Phi Centre. And the second edition of the Ibrida*Pluri festival of pluridisciplinary creations sees local visual and sound artists present short collaborative films, exhibitions and performances, to April 23, 7-10 p.m. at Eastern Bloc.
On stage and screen
The newest show from Cirque du Soleil begins its international tour in Montréal: LUZIA is a wild and colourful waking dream of Mexico, replete with incredible acrobatics and artistry – see it under the big top in the Old Port of Montréal April 21 to July 17 – hear more about Cirque du Soleil from Patricia Ruel, the director of creation behind LUZIA. The Sao Paulo Companhia de Dança presents a triple bill of world-class contemporary dance: Édouard Lock’s The Seasons (inspired by Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons), Jomar Mesquita’s Mamihlapinatapai and Nacho Duato’s Gnawa, April 28 to 30 at Place des Arts. La Chapelle presents When the Ice Melts, Will We Drink the Water? by choreographer Daina Ashbee, April 22 at Monument National, part of the RAOTIHÖN:TSA Focus on Firsts Nations’ contemporary creation program. Company 605’s ensemble dance work Vital Few investigates authenticity and endurance, choreographed by Lisa Gelley, Josh Martin and the six dancers, at Agora de la danse, April 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 rollicking musical Last Night at the Gayety brings Montréal’s jazzy nightlife history as “Sin City” to the stage. The Bagel Burlesque Expo shimmies and shines this weekend with local and international performers at Theatre Plaza. And on screen, 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.
Friday night is all about big pop hits with Hedley and Carly Rae Jepsen at the Bell Centre, while the singular and captivatingly strange The Residents descend on Cabaret La Tulipe, Montréal indie-electro-pop band Motel Raphaël groove at Théâtre Fairmount, British band Coasts bring pop-rock anthems to Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. Meanwhile, the Orchestre Métropolitain, with conductor Christoph Campestrini and pianist David Jalbert, plays Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Chopin and Ravel, April 22 at Maison symphonique at Place des Arts. And jazz and boogie-woogie pianist Michael Kaeshammer is at L’Astral. On Saturday night, party with Passovah Productions (during Passover!) inside the Satosphere dome with local electro-pop greats Young Galaxy, Inside Touch, DJ Frankie Teardrop and Wake Island or go clubbing with electronic dance music producers Dzeko and Torres at New City Gas. The Howl! Arts Collective underground music and art festival happens April 22 to 25 at La Sala Rossa and Casa del Popolo. On Sunday, April 24, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Platypus Theatre present Presto, Mambo!, a show just for kids, at Maison symphonique at Place des Arts. Later on, Ivory Coast reggae musician Sekouba Diakite plays Club Balattou and Los Angeles-based electronic producer and musician Big Wild has us chilling out to sweet sounds at Newspeak. Dina Gilbert conducts the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in a classical concert of movie soundtracks on April 26 at Maison symphonique at Place des Arts. Also on Tuesday, Irish rockers Little Green Cars play Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. and Mayfair cocktail bar and lounge hosts a Frank Sinatra night with a live band and signature drinks on April 26. On April 27, see The Terry Gillespie Band plays blues, reggae and jazz at Club Balattou. L.A. producer Fortune and UK producer The Ninetys bring electronic music infused by hip hop beats to Newspeak on Thursday, while the loops and beats of electronic club music influence Manchester jazz trio GoGo Penguin at L’Astral and legendary Canadian blues musician Steve Hill plays Club Soda.
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