Travel Blog

22 May

Things to Do in Montreal: May 23-29

Museum Day

See more of the city in warm weather this week by foot, bike or even Sunday’s Museums Day shuttle bus, ferrying visitors from the urban centre to pastoral gardens. At night, take in the international entertainment of ballet, opera, contemporary dance, electronic music and art, and rock ‘n’ roll…

(spring sights) See art, history and the natural world Montreal-style – and all for free – during Montreal Museums Day on Sunday, May 25, when 34 museums open their doors, quickly accessible via five shuttle buses – check out our Guide to Montreal Museums to plan your day. Plus, take part in creating a collective mural on the Promenade des Artistes outside Place des Arts. The Botanical Garden also hosts the family-friendly Great Gardening Weekend, May 23-25 – learn more about growing plants from experienced Botanical Garden horticulturists, check out new products and services at the exhibition centre, and share your ideas with landscaping experts – as a bonus on May 25, hear a string quartet among the lilacs and piano in the Rose Garden. Aires Libres brightens the city’s Gay Village with pink “roses” over Ste-Catherine Street and art by Valérie Blass, Adrian Kondratowicz and many more. This weekend, the Olympic Stadium keeps us agile at the new urban freestyle Park Exalto, a giant playground for all ages. Pro boxing returns to the Bell Centre as WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson defends his title against Andrzej Fonfara on May 24. And the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers (hopefully!) keep the hockey playoff going strong in town at the Bell Centre on May 27. Take in all the sights at your own pace by bike: the Tourism Montreal Bike Guide includes details on bike paths, bicycle rentals, BIXI and more.

Transfigured night - Grands Ballets Canadiens

(life on stage) Innovative Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis brings two beautiful new works to Montreal’s Les Grands Ballets – his tragic Orpheus’s Gaze and the titular, love-focused Transfigured Night light the Theatre Maisonneuve stage at Place des Arts to May 24. Catch the final night of Opéra de Montréal and Opera Australia’s presentation of Puccini’s last opera, Turandot, on May 24 at Place des Arts. International performance comes to several city stages during the 8th edition of Festival TransAmériques – connect with strangers in a pool filled with 25,000 balls inscribed with quotes from Stoic philosophers, see Le NoShow camp and perform outside Place des Arts, and Montreal Dance Prize winner Benoît Lachambre’s Snakeskins, Angélica Liddell’s All The Sky Above the Earth (Wendy’s Syndrome), and Meg Stuart’s Built to Last, among many other brilliant shows, while emerging artists push boundaries at sister-festival OFFTA. Circus centre Tohu shines the spotlight on new and daring circus talents in two high-entertainment shows by National Circus School graduates: L’Abri (Shelter) and La matrice de Morphée (Morpheus’ Matrix) beginning May 27, while Cirque du Soleil continues to impress in Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities under the big top in the Old Port.

(electronic entertainment) Cutting-edge electronic music meets high-tech digital art at EM15, as the combined forces of the MUTEK and Elektra festivals celebrate 15-year anniversaries, May 27 to June 1 at the Musée d’art contemporain, the Imperial Theatre and Metropolis – lose yourself in immersive audio-visual shows every evening from Tim Hecker, Robert Lippok, Dinos Chapman, Shackleton and many more, hear international and local artists play free-admission shows on May 29, and dance all night to Richie Hawtin’s ENTER experience, with more music throughout the weekend. The Musée also hosts Japanese artist and musician Ryoji Ikeda’s C4I as part of the city-wide Montreal Digital Spring program and 2nd International Digital Arts Biennial. Visit the Ix Symposisum on immersive creativity at the SAT in downtown Montreal, to May 25 to see immersive films and performances. Digital art centre Eastern Bloc explores technology-infused sound, video and installation art at the Sight and Sound festival to May 25. And May 27-29, C2MTL: Commerce + Creativity features talks by big names in business and entertainment, such as filmmaker James Cameron, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Nobel Peace Prize–winning banker Prof. Muhammad Yunus and more – and on May 29, the C2MTL Open House highlights live music by James Murphy, Le Matos and other party-makers at L’Arsenal gallery space.

(live music) As excitement mounts for the Montreal International Jazz Festival in late-June, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival wraps up its 19th edition with jazz performances of its own, along with first-class classical music too: hear jazz-fest regulars Israeli artists Vira Lozinsky and the Emil Aybinder’s quartet on May 23, the Calidore String Quartet on May 24, Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker play Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring on May 27, and Vivaldi’s seasons interspersed with Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas by tango master Piazzolla on May 29. Hot summer music festival Osheaga presents Terrasses on St-Denis Street outdoors between Sherbrooke and de Maisonneuve, with music starting at 6 p.m. – on Friday hear Catherine Leduc, Fire/Works, Alaclair Ensemble and more and on Saturday it’s The Seasons, Loud Lary Ajust and more. Friday night also offers a preview of EM15’s vibe at the Musée d’art contemporain with music by Mateo Murphy, Pulses + TiND, Akufen and several DJs beginning at 8pm. May 24 brings beloved indie-dance-pop stars Tegan and Sara to Metropolis. Spend a sunny Sunday at the second weekend of annual, summer-long electronic music event Piknic Electronik, with the UK’s Daniel Avery headlining. On Monday, May 26, Kurt Vile and the Violators get out their guitars and wow at Theatre Corona. Evan Dando returns with new heartfelt songs and rockers at Petit Campus on May 27. On May 28, Eels comes to the Corona Theatre, while British pop-opera crossover quartet Il Divo introduce their A Musical Affair show to Montreal at Place-des-Arts, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra pulls out all the stops in its inaugural concert of the new organ at the Maison Symphonique. And on May 29, one of Vancouver’s best new bands The Courtneys rock out at Quai des Brumes.

Photo credits: Richard Champagne

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