Travel Blog

8 May

Things to do in Montréal: May 6 to 12

Mothers make the world go ‘round, and Montréal knows it – the city is set to celebrate all moms this weekend, whether at brunch or the spa, the garden or craft fairs, cocktail bars or the beer fest. There’s also Cirque du Soleil’s newest show for the whole family, a big food truck event, and evening entertainment, from symphony orchestras and ballet to musicals and  electro dance nights.

Le_CartetMothers’ Day

Treat Moms to something special in Montréal this weekend. Numerous restaurants offer a Mother’s Day special Sunday brunch menus: the Ritz-Carlton hosts brunch and a live jazz band, while 400 Coups, Restaurant Tandem, Restaurant Helena, Les Cavistes, Chez Alexandre and Industria Brasserie Italienne celebrate mothers with multi-course prix-fixe meals. Brunch favourites Tapas 24, Mercuri, Nolana and Madre also celebrate the day with great food and service, as do many more restaurants around the city. Our guide to living in the lap of luxury in Montréal details where to shop for locally designed and internationally desired fashion, and find high-class food and drink to go with it – plus the most relaxing spas around. If you’re coming to the city with kids, look into staying at a family-friendly hotel and wonder at the incredible likenesses of celebrities at the Musée Grévin wax museum – moms get 20% off ticket prices on May 8. One of the most elegant and advanced design shows in North America, the 28th Montréal international design show Salon du design is open to the public on May 7 at Place Bonaventure, featuring new product launches, furnishing and lifestyle trends. Find one-of-a-kind, made in Montréal clothing, accessories, jewelry, body care and more Puces Pop’s Puces des Fleurs spring art and craft fair, May 6-8 at Église St-Denis (5075 Rivard). And men can dress to impress mom and anyone else who’s got an eye for fashion at the Montréal headquarters of Frank Oak.

Jardins_GamelinSpring sights

See spring come into bloom downtown on a guided walking tour of the Quartier des Spectacles – see public art, learn some of the city’s history, and stroll by and take a swing on interactive musical art installation 21 Swings, located on de Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts – and on May 12, the Quartier des SpectaclesJardins Gamelin opens for the  season with an evening of free entertainment. In Old Montréal walk past museums, restaurants and shops. And further east, go to the Space for Life to walk around the blooming Botanical Garden or the Biodôme, currently celebrating Bird Fest. Indoors, there’s plenty of ground to cover at the Montréal Science Centre (or take a break with their new IMAX films) and Pointe-à-Callière archaeology museum. And find more places to go in our free things to do in Montréal guide.

MLT_DWN_classicFood choices

From the latest trends – grilled cheese anyone? – to Montréal’s oldest restaurants, the city’s restaurants cater to every taste. Gourmet food trucks take over the esplanade outside the Olympic stadium on May 6 for the First Fridays event starting at 4 pm. Walk around the city’s public markets to find colourful fruits and veg, local meats and cheeses, affordable meals and delicious desserts. For fine dining options, choose from our lists of some of Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants for 2016 and Grand Prix du Design Montréalais-winning restaurants and cafés, as well as Montréal’s hottest new restaurants. And though the celebration of beer never really ends in Montréal, events like Montréal Beer Week take beer culture to the next level: enjoy great microbrews and check out the locals who make them happen, from Bier Markt Montreal and Annexe St-Ambroise to the House of Beers.

On stage

High art meets adventure in the Ballet Nacional de Cuba’s interpretation of Spanish adventure tale Don Quixote, presented by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, May 4 to 7 at Place des Arts. Escape under the big top at Cirque du Soleil’s newest artistic and acrobatic circus creation LUZIA, a show of fantastical feats inspired by the beauty and culture of Mexico – see it in the Old Port of Montréal April 21 to July 17 – the director of creation behind LUZIA, Patricia Ruel, spoke to Tourisme Montréal about the show and more about Cirque du Soleil too. A show as unique as Montréal: Danse Danse and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal present the Québec contemporary dance troupe Le Carré des Lombes paired with the OSM and its organist on the exquisite Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique – they’ll perform Anatomie d’un souffle by choreographer Danièle Desnoyers, an original composition by Canadian composer John Rea, and more, in the resonant surroundings of Maison symphonique at Place des Arts, May 6-7. Choreographer Sophie Corriveau collaborates with Katya Montaignac on Nous (ne) sommes (pas) tous des danseurs May 6-8 at Agora de la danse. Fragility and force meet in contemporary dance piece Car c’est par la fragilité que la révolution oeuvre by Adam Kinner and Noémie Solomon, May 5 to 8 at Monument National. Kids will love George Productions’s Beethoven Lives Upstairs, a musical story of a young boy whose new neighbour turns out to be composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven, to May 8 at D.B. Clarke Theatre. Comedy-musical Last Night at the Gayety illuminates Montréal’s jazzy nightlife history as “Sin City” at Centaur Theatre to May 15 and classic comedy-music I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change plays for laughs and love at the Segal Centre, May 8-29.  See A. R. Gurney’s Off-Broadway theatre hit Sylvia, a New York story about a man (and his wife) and his dog, to May 14 at Mainline Theatre. And for something completely different, burlesque meets pop culture in the Suicide Girls – Blackheart Burlesque show, with opener BonBon Bombay, at La Tulipe on May 6.

Art and film

The 21st edition of Festival Accès Asie begins this week with music, art, dance, film and more – see photography exhibition Found throughout the festival at La maison de la culture Frontenac and, on May 12 at La Sala Rossa attend Spiritual Counsel, an evening of Japanese silent films and live music by Japanese drumming group Arashi Daiko and more artists. Digital Spring showcases technological art and creativity to June 21 at venues such as the Phi Centre, the SAT (see immersive 360-degree surround performance Le Cauchemar merveilleux based on the writing of musician Arthur H), Circa, Oboro and Arsenal galleries, and dozens of other locales. On only until May 13, the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal presents work by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, who blends song into durational performance on video, featuring music by The National. DHC/ART hosts a must-see retrospective spanning five decades of work by American multi-media artist Joan Jonas. Galerie UQAM screens a 2011 meeting of great artistic minds, the musical art film Conte crépusculaire by David Altmejd et Pierre Lapointe, to May 7. The Montréal Printed Art Festival showcases the vitality of the city’s printmaking scene at 5445 de Gaspé, space #105, in Mile End. And music doc MTL New Wave takes us back to the early 80s underground music scenes of Montréal, at Cinema du Parc to May 12.

Live music

Friday night is off to a smooth start with international reggae star Tiken Jah Fakoly singing songs of hope and justice at Métropolis, the experimental electro-pop of Memory Tapes at Théâtre Fairmount, teen British musician Declan McKenna (winner of Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition) sings song of love and youth at Savoy du Métropolis, and Winnipeg indie-pop band Royal Canoe at La Vitrola. On Saturday night, get your classic rock fix with George Thorogood The Destroyers at Métropolis or dance to French laser-disco-rave producer Vitalic and Danger at Théâtre Fairmount,  the hit sounds of Austin, Texas EDM-pop duo Tritonal at New City Gas, or chill house producer Dr Dru at Newspeak. Meanwhile, Festival Anachronik takes over venues in the Latin Quarter all weekend: rock out with Black Lips at Club Soda on Saturday, plus The Gruesomes, Kandle, The Brains, Cherry Chérie and many more high-energy bands. On May 8, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra plays Symphony no. 4 by Brahms and John Adams’s Scheherazade at Place des Arts. Wonderful French singer Francis Cabrel and his band play songs from the artist’s new album In Extremis, at Place des Arts, May 8-9. British indie-pop-folk band Crystal Fighters lets the sunshine in at L’Astral on May 9. Tough Kentucky modern-rock band Cage the Elephant takes over the big stage at the Bell Centre with Portugal the Man opening on May 10, while San Francisco psych-rockers The Brian Jonestown Massacre play old favourites and some ambient experimental rock at La Tulipe, and get a taste of Italy in Montréal as the charismatic musician and showman Renzo Arbore takes over the biggest stage at Place des Arts with The Orchestra Italiana. On May 11, legendary Pittsburgh punk band and political activists Anti-Flag comes to Foufounes Electriques, the excellent eclectic folk-rock of Land of Talk and Little Scream let loose at Théâtre Fairmount, retro-inspired yet cutting edge, Montréal electro duo Fabrikate launch a new album, BODIES, at Velvet Speakeasy, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard get weird at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B., German free jazz saxophonist and clarinetist Peter Brötzmann plays La Sala Rossa, and Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko leads the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in Mahler’s Titan and more at Place des Arts.

Up next: Where to hear live music in Montréal



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