Travel Blog

5 Jun

Things to Do in Montreal: June 6-12

Montreal Grand Prix

The sun shines down on Montreal this week as engines rev for the Grand Prix, cyclists hop on their bikes to see the city sights, a beer festival adds fermented flavour, a yoga festival chills us out, and live music, theatre, dance, circus, professional mural making and more keep us highly entertained…

(fast times) Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend is upon us, June 6-8, with races at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame and all kinds of racing-related events and parties downtown. Crescent Street teems with activity all weekend, with luxury car displays, driver autograph sessions, live music and late-night parties at the Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival, while Peel Street closes to traffic for hours of entertainment, and restaurants and shops throughout downtown offer specials for Grand Prix fans of food and drink, from gourmet dishes to pub grub.

Mondial de la biere

(beer fresh air) Mondial de la Bière (also known as the Montreal Beer Festival), returns June 11-15 at the Palais des congrès, with delicious new craft beers from around the province – try them out along with food created for the occasion by local acclaimed chefs, including at a stylish cocktail event on June 12 at l’InterContinental. The balmy weather calls for plenty of outdoor dining and imbibing – check out this Best Terraces list that features over 150 restaurants and bars with patios perfect for soaking up the first rays of summer. And on June 7, check out the terrace of the SAT Foodlab, hosting a rooftop party featuring artists from German minimal label Klangsheiben all evening.

Parc Exalto

(active early-summer) See the city’s major attractions and off-the-beaten-path sights by bicycle this week – check out our Bike Guide for the scoop on bike paths, bicycle rentals, the city’s BIXI system and more. Climb high with the whole family at the first urban acrobatic park in North America – Parc Exalto welcomes climbers of all levels to its three-storey structure and also boasts a soccer zone, mini-golf, an acro-bungee trampoline and more – plus on June 6, eat well courtesy of the city’s gourmet food trucks during First Fridays. Slow down and relax at the third-annual Montreal Yoga Festival, June 6-8, featuring a variety of asana classes, workshops, meditation, music and more at the CMADQ. Piano players can take advantage of the lovely weather and make music outside on one of many public pianos in the city, making their return this week. And keep your mind active at the Montreal Mini Maker Faire June 7 and 8 at Centre Greene – an interactive show-and-tell exhibition of all kinds of digital inventions, from robots to 3D printers, musical instruments to functional sculpture.

(life on stage) Dance, theatre and eclectic new performance work abound at the 8th edition of Festival TransAmériques, on at several venues until June 7 – see Nicolas Cantin’s Klumzy, Ame Henderson’s Room With Sticks, Rabih Mroué’s The Pixelated Revolution, and more. The ever-exciting and massive St-Ambroise Fringe Festival begins this weekend and runs until June 22, host to hundreds of theatre shows, music events and gatherings in the Plateau neighbourhood – this week see My Playwright Sister, the new play by Johanna Nutter, creator of award-winning My Pregnant Brother, as well as the wild and hilarious burlesque of Cherry Typhoon and Her Burlesque Ninja, and the fourth instalment of the multi-choreographer dance show, So You Think That Was Dance? Take a fun-filled trip to the circus at two brand new, high-flying shows by National Circus School graduates: L’Abri (Shelter) and La matrice de Morphée (Morpheus’ Matrix), to June 8 at Tohu, while Cirque du Soleil’s spectacular Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities, continues it’s run under the big top in the Old Port.

(art outdoors) Starting June 12, the St-Laurent Street Fair closes a stretch of main artery Saint-Laurent, from Sherbrooke to Mont-Royal Avenue, all weekend long. Shop, eat, drink and see artists begin work on over 20 pieces of public art at the Mural Festival, opening June 12 with a Block Party presented by music festival MEG, 5-10pm, a Pop-up Shop with music, bar and interactive activities at Parc du Portugal, an opening party at the SAT later that night, and a paint jam fusing music and live body painting at Le Belmont. Also outdoors on Thursday evening, the Darling Foundry, a factory-turned-gallery on the border between Old Montreal and Griffintown, hosts its first Art in the Garden event of the season, with performances by artists Soufia Bensaid, Philippe Lauzier and Marc-André Casavant, accompanied by DJ Gayance. And art fills Montreal’s Gay Village during Aires Libres, which closes Saint-Catherine Street in the Village for an open-air art gallery June 11-15 – and don’t miss the street sale bounty June 5-8.

(live music) On Friday night, The Kills ignite the spirit of real rock ‘n’ roll at L’Olympia, while South African electro-dance, shock-and-hip-hop group Die Antwoord send fans into a frenzy at Metropolis. On a different note, international classical music competition Concours musical international de Montréal closes with a gala concert at Place des Arts, with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Also Friday night, Iranian musician and poet Shahin Najafi plays his unique style of classical guitar fused with rock, at Place des Arts. Underground rock and jazz festival Suoni per il Popolo begins its awesome program on Friday night with the solo piano stylings of Moonface and the improv jams of Steve Bates Seijiro Murayama along with Sam Shalabi Stefan Christoff, plus Magik Markers. And dance your socks off at the Montreal Faux Prom 2014 at Mainline Theatre. All musical things feminist, queer and fun appear at the very first Slut Island Festival, at multiple venues in Mile End, June 5-8 and June 12-13. On Saturday night, Brooklyn indie-folk band Streets of Laredo bring the good times to Il Motore with Mother and Ohara. Sunday night sees famed French indie-rock band Phoenix swoop in to Metropolis and Bollywood music star Sonu Nigam plays his hits at PDA, while the afternoon belongs to Piknic Electronik, celebrating Grand Prix at Parc Jean-Drapeau with German DJ-producer Mathias Zimmerman, artists from the Hushlamb label, and more. On Monday, Montreal Symphony Orchestra conductor Kent Nagano includes the symphony hall’s new Pierre-Béique organ in a concert of works by Saint-Saëns, Poulenc and Finish composer Kaija Saariaho. On Wednesday, June 11, the McCord Museum celebrates its new Music exhibition with live performances in the outdoor Urban Forest at 5:30pm, and later The Notwist make a beautiful noise at the SAT. And Thursday, June 12 marks the start of Les FrancoFolies French music festival, featuring over 70 indoor concerts and 150 free outdoor shows in the Quartier des Spectacles in downtown Montreal.

Photo credits: Olivier Bourget / Mondial de la bière

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