It’s finally fall in Montréal, and we’re celebrating the change of seasons with outdoor activities (from garden walks to Oktoberfest), a city-wide weekend cultural event, new art, film, theatre and dance, and live music for classical afficianados to late-night dancers.
Action and adventure
Explore exotic greenery lit by the soft glow of 1000 lanterns at the Botanical Garden’s Gardens of Light exhibition – the Chinese Garden features the Forbidden City while the Japanese Garden provides a contemplative setting. Or discover urban public art in a walk among the skyscrapers. The graceful power of figure skating hits the ice as top athletes compete at the 2016 Skate Canada Autumn Classic International, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. The on-ice action continues at the Bell Centre as the Montréal Canadians take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 6. Show your true colours in 5K The Color Run Night at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Oct. 1. Tour the universe in animated film We Are Stars on the 360° dome at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium at Montréal Space for Life. And seek out new tastes by sampling craft beer from Québec microbreweries at Oktoberfest at Atwater Market, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. It’s also Litty Italy Pizza Week Oct. 3-9!
Art and culture
Free performances and activities abound during Les journées de la culture, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at galleries, museums and cultural centres in the city. Experience the captivating photography of Focus: Perfection – Robert Mapplethorpe at the Montreal Fine Arts Museum and striking images of international events at World Press Photo at Marché Bonsecours. The Montreal International Black Film Festival continues to Oct. 2, including Spike Lee’s presentation of his doc Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, and the 45th Festival du nouveau cinéma begins Oct. 5, featuring 340 films from 62 countries and opening with Kim Nguyen’s Two lovers and a bear. Artist-run centre Eastern Bloc hosts the Sight Sound Festival of cutting-edge multimedia art, to Oct. 2. See virtual reality exhibitions and short films curated by Red Bull Music Academy and the Phi Centre at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. And The Long Haul artist collective celebrates its 15th year with the Expo N art auction on Oct. 1 – bid on art, win gift certificates to restaurants, stores and more, and stay for the great party.
The fall dance season kicks off as Danse Danse presents the grand dame of flamenco María Pagés in Yo, Carmen, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at Place des Arts, and dancer-choreographer Daina Ashbee’s Pour exposes the transformative nature of menstruation, Sept. 26-30 at Theatre La Chapelle. In theatre, follow the compelling story of a young artistic talent in a traditional religious family in My Name Is Asher Lev at the Segal Centre, take a fantastical journey to parallel worlds in relationship tale Constellations at Centaur Theatre, and laugh it up at the Montréal Clown Festival at Mainline. And in circus, David Dimitri performs his acrobatic, wire-balancing and comedy-filled one-man show L’Homme Cirque, an event for the whole family at La Tohu, to Oct. 2.
Hello: Adele takes over the Bell Centre on Friday and Saturday night. RB duo and Drake collaborators Majid Jordan shake up Metropolis on Friday, while Mac DeMarco tourmate Alex Brettin goes solo as Mild High Club at Casa del Popolo. The multi-faceted Red Bull Music Academy serves up incredible shows for weeks: this Friday, Drone Activity in Progress features Tim Hecker and more artists; on Saturday, saxophonist Colin Stetson joins Ex Eye, while Monday night’s Ondulations features pioneering electronic artist Suzanne Ciani, and on Oct. 5, pianist Jean-Michel Blais joins producer CFCF. More Saturday night shows: rock stars and prolific YouTube cover artists Boyce Avenue play Metropolis, NYC-based multi-instrumentalist Elliot Moss gets deep at Bar le Ritz P.D.B., and French house producer Cedric Gervais is at New City Gas.
Catch the last few days of entertainment, food and drink at open-air markets Jardins Gamelin downtown, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port and Les Jardineries at Olympic Park. Piknic Électronik also says goodbye to summer with a weekend of sweet dance beats at Parc Jean-Drapeau: Misstress Barbara, Gino G and Mike Larry headline on Saturday, while on Sunday, Red Bull Music Academy brings Theo Parrish, Underground Resistance and more artists to the party. Monday night sees Italian musician Eros Ramazzotti at the Bell Centre, rapper-singer-songwriter Post Malone at Metropolis, and the synthpop of NYC’s Porches at Bar le Ritz P.D.B. Swedish metal band Opeth gets heavy on October 4 at Metropolis, while coloratura contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux celebrates poet Baudelaire at Theatre Outremont, and children’s musicians The Wiggles bring the fun to Théâtre St-Denis.
On Wednesday night, beloved British singer-songwriter James Blake comes to Metropolis, long-time rockers Sloan make fans happy at Théâtre Fairmount, and the Black Blue Festival starts its 26th year with parties in the Village every night followed by the main event on Oct. 9. Also on Oct 5, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra plays the original score as silent film Battleship Potemkin screens at Place des Arts. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Bourgie Hall presents Dame Evelyn Glennie and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Irish electronic producer Eden plays La Sala Rossa, and the incomparable Jenny Hval performs at Casa del Popolo. And on Thursday, Orchestre Métropolitain launches the season with its Shared Emotions concert at the Maison Symphonique, performing Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
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