Travel Blog

5 Jun

Things to do in Montréal: June 2 to 8

It’s still officially spring, but Montréal summer festival season kicks off this week with  outdoor music, dancing and F1 parties. Also see the city’s history rendered in light, the  sights of Expo 67, circus and theatre, award-winning classical musicians and more.

Watch Montréal history come to life on the Saint Lawrence River in spectacular, free multimedia show Montréal Avudo every night in the Old Port. From there you’ll also see the city’s high-tech 375th anniversary light show on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal under conductor Kent Nagano plays a Symphony for Montréal, with visuals by Moment Factory, June 2 at Maison Symphonique. Old Montréal landmark Notre-Dame Basilica, one of the city’s most stunning churches, lights up with beautiful high-tech spectacle Aura, while the surrounding streets illuminate with the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire. And La Grand Tournée weekend events, presented by Cirque Éloize, run throughout the summer and in every neighbourhood, from group picnics in the park and green alleyway tours to circus shows and cinema under the stars.


The first First Fridays of the season turns Olympic Park into a giant food truck rally with music and family-friendly things to do on June 2. Ubisoft video game giant hosts L’été Mile End on June 3, with live music, games and a kids zone. Urban green space, outdoor eatery and bar in the heart of downtown Les Jardins Gamelin hosts music performances, dance classes, family activities and more. While downtown, grab a bite from one of Montréal’s great food trucks or pop by the Marché des Éclusiers market in the Old Port for a meal, a drink, local produce and other creations. Drop by Village au Pied du Courrant next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge for music, food and socializing. Join the crowds of cyclists in the streets during the Go Bike Montréal Festival‘s massive public bike rides Tour de l’Île on June 4 and Tour la Nuit on the night of June 2. The F1 Grand Prix festivities begin June 8 at the free Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival and Peel Formula downtown, featuring DJs, fashion shows, driver appearances and more. Take a walk up traffic-free Saint-Laurent Boulevard during Mural Fest, June 8-18, when you can watch artists paint new works on buildings’ walls. Discover the great tunes of French-language music festival Les Francofolies, opening June 8 with Les Trois Accords, Dumas, Pierre Kwenders and Lydia Képinski in a free outdoor concert in Place des Festivals. Find more outdoor activities in our guide to free things to do this Spring in Montréal.

Expo 67

Montréal celebrates the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 with entertaining and history-rich exhibitions: see colourful outfits and products created by Québec designers at the McCord Museum’s Fashioning Expo 67; photographs tell the tale in The Sixties in Montréal: Archives de Montréal at City Hall; marvel at the technological innovations of EXPO 67: A World of Dreams at the Stewart Museum and Écho 67 at the nearby Buckminster Fuller designed Biosphère; baby boomer youth culture is a blast in Explosion 67 – Youth and Their World at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal; it’s all about ’60s artistic expression in the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts’s Révolution: “You say you want a revolution” and the Musée d’art contemporain’s In Search of Expo 67; Arcmtl presents Expo 67: Avant Garde! – forward-looking, boundary-breaking art of the ’60s at the Cinémathèque Québecoise; and Centre de design de l’UQAM honours architect Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 in The Shape of Things to Come. Photography exhibition Aime comme Montréal celebrates the city’s diversity in an installation at Place des arts.

Prepare to be dazzled and delighted at Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA, the most exciting circus around – see acrobats, dancers, parkour experts, motor bike athletes and many more incredible performers under the big top in the Old Port of Montréal. Expect extraordinary, boundary-pushing performances in dance, theatre and art at the international FTA – Festival TransAmériques, including major Polish director and set designer Krystian Lupa’s Wycinka Holzfällen – Woodcutters, Marie Brassard’s La fureur de ce que je pense, Barcelona company El Conde de Torrefiel’s Possibilities that Disappear Before a Landscape, incredible contemporary dance, parties and more. Les Grands Ballets presents the contemporary dance of Jiří Kylián’s Falling Angels and Evening Songs in a triple bill with Stephan Thoss’s Searching for Home, at Place des Arts to June 3. For more theatre, eclectic performances and parties than you can shake a silly stick at, go to the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival, including a Fringe Prom on June 2, and and a Mini Fringe afternoon for kids and evening opening concert on June 8 at Fringe Park.

Colour and music converge in CHAGALL: COLOUR AND MUSIC at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Hajra Waheed’s The Video Installation Project 1–10 and collections-based Pictures for an Exhibition intrigue at the Musée d’art contemporain and Mexican artist Gilberto Esparza’s Plantas autofotosintéticas has us rethinking how biology, technology and art intersect, at Galerie de l’UQAM. British artist Ed Atkins poses questions on human bodies, digital creation and reality in video exhibition Modern Piano Music at DHC-ART. Pointe-à-Callière archaeology and history museum presents the fascinating Amazonia: The Shaman and the Mind of the Forest. And Parisian Laundry gallery presents intuitive experimental new work by collective BGL. On screen: A full orchestra and choir accompanies Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning film Amadeus at Place des Arts, June 2-3. The Montreal Israeli Film Festival opens with Past Life on June 4 and runs to June 15. Travel through virtual worlds in Felix Paul Studios Virtual Reality Garden at the Phi Centre. Explore space in new double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Immerse yourself in live music and audiovisual wonders at the SAT’s Satosphere surround-sound dome, featuring Audio Chandelier: Latitude by Dafna Naphtali, Modulations by Chikashi Miyama and Le Loup, Lifting and Myogram by Atau Tanaka and Lillevan.

Une publication partagée par Festival Musique de chambreMTL (@festivalmusiquedechambremtl) le 20 Juin 2016 à 7h05 PDT

The Montréal Chamber Music Festival is not only a must for classical music lovers but for jazz fans too – among the concerts, hear The Dover Quartet perform the complete Beethoven String Quartet cycle and play with the Rolston String Quartet, and check out the June 3 TD Jazz Series show with saxophonist Rémi Bolduc. Pianist Alexandre Tharaud and Les Violons du Roy perform the world premiere of an Oscar Strasnoy commission, June 2 at Bourgie Hall. On June 4, hear the sublime sounds of the Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil’s Concert du Printemps at Place des Arts, the Association des orchestres de jeunes de la Montérégie‘s year-end concert featuring Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 at the Maison Symphonique, and gala concert concert of the 2017 Prix d’Europe winners and invited guest pianist Xiaoyu Liu at Bourgie Hall. On June 6, the McGill Chamber Orchestra and choirs perform Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and an oratorio by composer Larysa Kusmenko at Maison symphonique. And the Chœur classique de Montréal performs works of Bruckner to Rossini on June 6 at Maison symphonique.

Heaviness prevails on Friday as Tool rocks the Bell Centre with openers Once Future Band, while things are a little more laid back with Timber Timbre and Sin and Swoon at L’Olympia. The eclectic and excellent Suoni per il Popolo festival continues all month – this week open your ears to: an hommage to Pauline Oliveros, Pharmakon and Dorothea Paas on Friday; War of the Elements, Alan Licht and Red Mass on Saturday; Mary Margaret O’Hara on Monday; Peter Brotzmann on Tuesday; on Wednesday; Princess Nokia on Thursday, and more. Saturday night sees famed Scottish indie-rockers Franz Ferdinand with opener Omni at Metropolis, hip hop producer Blockhead with guests Kognitif, Grandhuit and Famelik at Théâtre Fairmount, pop singer-songwriter LP with Josiah The Bonnevilles at Théâtre Corona, and dance to the electro beat of Boombox Cartel and Drezo at New City Gas. Spend Sunday afternoon outside at Piknic Electronik, with music from Prins Thomas, Marcellus Pittman and more. Singer-songwriter pop-star BANKS performs at Metropolis with opener Toulouse on Monday, June 5. Intricate guitar work meets rock-noise as GIRLPOOL plays Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. on June 6. On Wednesday, Toronto’s outsider-folk-meets-electronic ANAMAI plays L’Esco with Petra Glynt, and electro producer Habstrakt brings the beats to Newspeak. And Synthwave artist DAS MÖRTAL launches a new album on Thursday at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B.

Up next:Your summer guide to Montréal’s Olympic Park




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