Travel Blog

8 Aug

Things to Do in Montreal: August 9–15

montreal outdoors event festival

Enjoy Montreal-made entertainment and August’s sunny days at several outdoor events this week, ranging from rock and blues music festivals to orchestra performances to live graffiti art – all the while, eat well at food and cultural festivals…

(open-air entertainment) Conductor Kent Nagano leads the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in a world-class free concert on August 14 on the esplanade outside Olympic Stadium, beginning at 7:30 p.m. – bring a chair! Listen to live blues, folk, rock and even hip hop by Quebec star Garou, rock musician Louis Jean Cormier, Swiss pop-folk fave Bastian Baker and local hip-hop group Loco Locass, and many other musicians at the FestiBlues International de Montreal, August 8-11 at Ahuntsic Park. Meanwhile, the Orchestre de la Francophonie plays well-known classical works downtown at Place de la Paix (next to the SAT on August 9 at 7 p.m. And, in the sport-cultural event that is the Rogers Cup the world’s top male tennis pros continue to battle it out at Uniprix Stadium to August 11. And, just south of Montreal in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, the International Balloon Festival, the biggest gathering of hot-air balloons in Canada, begins August 10, with shuttle service available from downtown Montreal.

cultural festival

(cultural abundance) Montreal’s multiculturalism hits a few more celebratory heights this week. Visit Montreal’s Little Italy during Italian Week, August 9-18: St-Laurent Boulevard becomes a pedestrian-only zone, with live music, opera and dance performances, fresh food, and more. Learn to tango or simply watch and enjoy the dance at the Montréal International Tango Festival, August 13-18, featuring 62 classes, 12 dancers, 6 milongas, 4 shows and two orchestras, including free outdoor shows at Théâtre de la Verdure in Parc Lafontaine. And on Saturday, August 10, spend some time at the Matsuri Japon Japanese Festival, where Montreal’s Japanese-Canadian community converges in celebration, welcoming everyone to watch performances of taiko drumming, martial arts and dance, participate in art and activities for kids, and eat all kinds of great locally-made Japanese food.


(street art) Walk down the pedestrian-only zone of Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles to the corner of Clark Street to see the gorgeous photography of Gabor Szilasi in a major exhibition featuring 27 photos of Ste-Catherine Street in the 1970s – showing until September 29. Further east, on Ste-Catherine near St-Laurent, graffiti artists paint, b-boys breakdance, skaters skate and DJs play music through it all at the Under Pressure International Graffiti Convention, August 10-11.

(rainbows sunshine) This year’s Pride Montreal festival, kicks of on August 12 with a brand-new rainbow lighting display on  the Olympic Stadium tower, film screenings, talks, dance nights, and more, and culminates in an August 17-18 weekend-long party in the Gay Village, between Berri-UQAM and Papineau metros. In the days leading up to that, check out the Queer Comics Conference and screenings of the Meow Mix Retrospective and Trans at La Cinémathèque québécoise, and on August 14-15, free music, an arts café, a photo exhibition, Kids Day and more at Place Émilie-Gamelin. For the full schedule, see Pride’s site.


(fabulous food) Eat well and often at the Omnivore Festival, August 14-19, an internationally-traveling project that celebrates the creativity of local and international chefs. Over six days, the festival offers five different multi-course dinners, 16 cooking demonstrations, and one big, food-filled party. At different locations each night, the Maudits Soupers pair out-of-town guest chefs with Montreal restaurants, resulting in never-before-seen menus. On August 17 and 18, the SAT’s FoodLab hosts cooking demos by chefs from Montreal, Paris, New York and Brussels. And the Omnivorious party on August 17 turns the SAT’s entire first floor into a gourmet-food-tasting extravaganza, complete with drinks and DJs playing electronic-music to eat by.

(rock the weekend) Much of the live music this week is of the loud variety, but before we get to that, legendary country singer-songwriter Steve Earle comes to town to play all the hits and more, at Théâtre Corona on August 9. Also on August 9, head to the Under The Influence of Music Tour with hip hop stars Wiz Khalifa and A$AP Rocky at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Meanwhile, the Soirée Bénéfice L’Afrique de Montréal brings together several great musicians, including Oumar Ndiaye, Gotta Lago and Sébastien lacombe, at Sala Rossa on August 9. Getting louder: rock-metal festival Heavy MTL starts off at Metropolis on August 9 with the Summer Slaughter Tour with headliners The Dillinger Escape Plan and nine other bands, and moves to Parc Jean-Drapeau August 10-11, with headliners Avenged Sevenfold, Steel Panther, and Megadeth, along with dozens of other bands. On the other hand, dance the day away at Piknic Electronik, relocated this Sunday to Jardin des Floralies. And, if after that you’ve still had it with the sunshine of summer, get a dose of gloom and darkness via the rock-metal dirge of Ancient VVisdom and St-James Society, at Divan Orange on August 13.

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