As the snow melts away in Montréal, urban sugar shacks serve up delicious meals, spring break activities continue, film festivals and art events grant new perspectives, dance and theatre move us, and live music sets the weekly soundtrack.
Welcome spring with thousands of Montrealers at the city’s boisterous 193rd St. Patrick’s Day Parade, taking place downtown along Ste-Catherine Street starting at noon on March 20, and keep on celebrating the luck of the Irish at the city’s best Irish pubs. In sports action, the hockey season isn’t over for the Montréal Canadiens – they play the Flames on March 20 and the Ducks on March 22 at the Bell Centre. Whether you’re on Spring Break or not, check out our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style for places to eat, drink, dance and chill out. If you’re here with family, our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide has kids covered. And if the warmer weather has you itching to paint the town red – whether that means sampling local microbrews or going late-night dancing – Montréal’s nightlife has it all.
If you’re in Montréal in March, you must experience the Québecois tradition of the sugar shack – whether out in the woods or in the city, the sugar shack meal is all about abundance and maple syrup, plates piled high with sausages and pancakes either in their classic high-calorie forms or reimagined into new dishes. Among the city’s many great eateries, try one of Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants for 2016 and explore the exquisite tastes of Montréal’s best women chefs. See the bright side of being caught in a spring shower by warming up at Montréal’s hottest new restaurants and wicked winter bars. And bring the culinary colours of Montréal home with you in expertly compiled and beautifully photographed cookbooks by local chefs.
Film and art
Let new documentaries, shorts and feature films shed both an educational and artistic light on visual art, architecture, music, dance, fashion, literature, comics and more during the FIFA International Festival of Films on Art – the 34th edition of the festival runs to March 20 at various locations – get a taste of what it’s all about in our list of five films to watch at FIFA 2016. Downtown’s underground city welcomes art lovers to do some shopping and see excellent contemporary art in expansive exhibition Art Souterrain and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts invites visitors to experience the ancient Roman city of Pompeii in hundreds of ancient art and artifacts and see what’s new in international designer jewellery at the BIJOUX=ART exhibition. Meanwhile, see the intriguing performance art of Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson in large-scale video works at the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, and around the corner at Place des Arts’ Salle d’exposition, historical images celebrating Gradimir Pankov, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal’s Artistic Director and one of the great figures of the dance world. Arsenal gallery in Griffintown presents a new show of works by American artist Mark Jenkins, opening March 18. Immerse yourself in new films created by Kid Koala and other local artists for the SAT’s 360-degree audio-visual dome and try a VR headset on for size at the Phi Centre’s Virtual Reality Garden, featuring creative takes on a new technology.
Les Grands Ballets presents two new contemporary ballet works: a double program of Préludes, featuring Dim Light of Dawn, a tribute to Sergei Rachmaninoff by choreographer Ken Ossolaand, and choreographer Shen Wei’s RE-(II), figuratively located at the Cambodian temple of Angkor Wat, to March 19 at Place des Arts. Also in dance, Louise Bédard’s La Démarquise is inspired by Portuguese visual artist Paula Rego, to March 19 at Agora de la danse, and Maïgwenn Desbois shatters taboos surrounding disabled people and sexuality in Avec Pas d’cœur, March 16 to 19 at Monument-National. In English-language theatre, see the English-language world premiere of Marilyn Perreault’s Bus Stops at Centaur Theatre, a fantastical children’s marionette show by Panadream Theatre on the morning of March 19 at Centaur Theatre, Montrealer Rick Miller’s one-man show BOOM chronicling the post-war Baby Boom years, at the Segal Centre March 20 to April 10, and The Other Theatre presents Love U Lovecraft, an experimental bilingual performance inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Color Out of Space, at La Chapelle March 22 to April 2. And Théâtre Motus’s musical puppetry and circus show Baobab, inspired by African legends, begins March 24 at La Tohu.
The handsome devils of jazz standards trio Forever Gentlemen – that’s Québec stars Garou, Corneille and Roch Vosine – grace the Bell Centre on March 18, electro dance music producers Black Tiger Sex Machine roar into Club Soda, wonderfully soulful RB and pop singer Andra Day rises up at Théâtre Corona, and put on your red shoes and dance at David Bowie night at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. Canadian electro-pop outfit Metric opens for Death Cab for Cutie at the Bell Centre on March 19, Dutch electronic dance music producer Dannic thrills at New City Gas, French DJ crew Birdy Nam Nam flies into Olympia, house duo Prok Fitch drum up good times at Newspeak, and charming Ottawa band Pony Girl is joined by Montreal’s Michael Feuerstack and Tamara Sandor at Casa del Popolo. Legendary rock duo Heart return to the stage with all the hits and more, March 21 at the Bell Centre, while Boston’s Funeral Advantage play their perfectly jangly-guitar shoegaze at Casa del Popolo. Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund gives her first recital in Quebec with a program of Strauss and Wagner melodic works and lieder at Bourgie Hall at the Montreal Fine Arts Museum on March 22, Swedish rapper Yung Lean is at Théâtre Berri, and Montreal indie-rock singer-songwriter Laura Sauvage launches her new album at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. Famed Montréal singer-songwriter Coeur de Pirate performs her magical pop-folk songs in both English and French on March 23 at Metropolis, Niger-born blues guitarist Bombino dazzles at the Phi Centre and UK electronic legends Nick Warren and Jody Wisternoff unleash a new album as Way Out West live at Théâtre Fairmount. Larger-than-life Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd bring their infamous laser-light show to the Bell Centre on March 24, while hard rockers The Motorleague drive right through Turbo Haus.
Up next: Five films to watch at FIFA 2016
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