The start of June in Montréal means the streets and parks are officially filled with festival music and performances of all kinds – plus a city-wide family-friendly bike ride this weekend – while public urban gardens bloom and chefs serve up dishes fit for hot days.
Walk the length of Sainte-Catherine Street from designer and brand name retail shopping downtown all the way to the redesigned Jardins Gamelin near Berri-UQAM metro station in the Quartier des Spectacles, where food, drink and entertainment awaits – on June 6, hear the Montréal Gospel Choir sing at 7 pm. Walk a little further and you’ll find yourself under a pink canopy in the Gay Village. The Montréal Botanical Garden is in full bloom this week – walk its paths to discover a variety of indigenous, foreign and rare plants, flowers and trees. The annual Mont-Royal Avenue street fair, June 2-5 in the Plateau neighbourhood, closes part of bustling Mont-Royal Avenue to traffic and fills the street with music, art, food, pop-up shopping, mini golf, a giant slide and more. Dance and lounge to electronic music, with food and drink in hand, at MUTEK’s outdoor stage at Place des Festivals – on February 3, hear DJ sets by Booma Collective, Lee Gamble and more artists starting at 5 pm, while the music starts up at 3 pm on Saturday with Von Party, Peder Mannerfelt, Nautiluss, Machinedrum and Jlin. And when night falls in Old Montréal, you’ll see 20 poetic and playful tableaux of Cité Mémoire projected on the walls, trees and alleyways of Old Montréal.
Tour on two wheels
While the pace of the city’s many guided walking tours (including Haunted Montréal’s Friday night Ghost Walks) is perfect for some visitors, others like a little speed: see the city sights and learn about its secrets on a guided bike tour that suits your interests and your style. Or if you’re ready to join the bike-riding crowds, this weekend’s got it all: the Go Bike Montréal Festival holds its annual family-friendly mass bike rides this weekend. Take part in the daytime Tour de l’Île de Montréal on June 5, and light your bike up for nighttime ride Tour la Nuit on June 3. Get more on the inside scoop from our Guide to bike paths, bicycle Rentals, Bixi and all things biking in Montréal.
Local food and history
Celebrate summer patio time by trying a dozen local microbrews at a dozen artisanal-style bars with the Beer Passport. Find some of the best local eats in our Guide to living in the lap of luxury in Montréal. The McCord Museum combines local food with Québec history in their Urban Forest, turning a downtown street next to the museum into an brightly hued oasis with a public piano, food trucks, a café bistro serving light lunch, and all kinds of entertainment every day until October – be sure to go indoors too to see the Eleganza: Italian Fashion From 1945 to Today exhibition. If you missed Montréal Museums Day last Sunday, you can still experience most of the season’s exhibitions of history, art, science and circus. Meet Egyptian mummy Hetep-Bastet and her sarcophagus at the Galerie de l’UQAM; see work from one of the world’s largest private circus-art collections at circus centre TOHU; step into the ancient city of Pompeii Montréal Fine Arts Museum; learn about animals from the inside out at the Montreal Science Centre, and get deep into history’s stories with multimedia and interactive exhibitions at Pointe-à-Callière history and archaeology museum. Soak up the sun while eating amazing food at the largest street food gathering in Canada: Montréal’s First Fridays celebrates its fifth year with more than 50 food trucks, 4 stages of live music and family activities for on June 3 starting at the Olympic Stadium’s Esplanade Financière Sun Life.
Inspiring and boundary-pushing dance, theatre and artistic performance from around the world come to Festival TransAmériques this week and until June 8, including free dance-meets-architecture show Corps secret / Corps public at Place des Arts’ Espace culturel George-Émile-Lapalme, Trajal Harrell’s Twenty Looks of Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (M2M), Québec dance icon Louise Lecavalier’s Mille batailles, Ann Van den Broek’s film noir choreography The Black Prince, and much more. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens presents surrealistic and emotional contemporary ballet Dream Away (Rêve) by choreographer Stephan Thoss, at Place des Arts to June 4. See a vivid musical version of coming-of-age, undercover-feminist film Dirty Dancing on the Place des Arts stage to June 5. And the ELEKTRA festival of digital art unveils new multimedia performances and installations, from robotics to biological ooze, to June 5. Indian classical dancer the “King of Kathak” Pandit Birju Maharaj performs at Cinquieme Salle at Place des Arts on June 8. Star of comedy stage and screen Jerry Seinfeld unleashes his new observations on June 9 at Place des Arts. And the mighty Montréal St-Ambroise Fringe Festival lets us see local and international artists in quirky, dramatic, comedic and genre-defying shows for low prices – plus free live music and more at the Fringe Tent on St-Laurent – ongoing until June 19.
Electronic music and arts festival MUTEK takes over the MACM museum and Metropolis downtown this weekend with shows by Franck Vigroux, Kurt D’Haeseleer, Nonotak, Colleen, and more artists on Friday and Paul Jebanasam, Dasha Rush, Sonja Moonear and many more on Saturday, plus free talks, outdoor shows and the run of Piknic Electronik on Sunday afternoon. The Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil gives a spring concert at the Maison symphonique at Place des Arts on June 4. The Suoni per il Popolo jazz and underground music festival beings this week and runs all month, presenting dozens of excellent shows at La Sala Rossa, Casa del Popolo, La Vitrola and other venues: see Jef E. Barbara’s Black Space performance on June 3, Wolf Eyes and Thus Owls on Saturday night, Will Eizlini and the Это курам на смех! ensemble playing a live original soundtrack for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain on June 7, while on June 9, Thor Harris Friends play a show of wild, inspiring electro and acoustic ambient music. Meanwhile, on Saturday night, party to deep grooves and future classics with DJ Windows 98 (Win Butler of Arcade Fire), Lexis (Music is My Sanctuary) and Pierre Kwenders at Théâtre Fairmount. Dance to new and classic EDM at New City Gas on Friday night, and keep dancing there on Saturday with Vicetone and Jayceeoh – New City Gas also hosts a new happy hour event every Thursday evening on their terrace. Metalcore legends Hatebreed get rowdy at Théâtre Corona on June 5. Eclectic Los Angeles indie-rock artist Chris Cohen conjures up fun with local openers Freelove Fenner at at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. on June 6. Paris-based French pianist and composer Maxence Cyrin dazzles with his mix of electro-pop and classical at Théâtre Fairmount on June 7. And Florence and the Machine and Of Monsters and Men belt out their hits to happy crowds at the Bell Centre on June 8.
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