Photo by Claude Lafond

Montreal’s Botanical Gardens. Photo by Claude Lafond

While summer seemed reluctant to leave during a beautiful month of September, colder weather is not far away so here is our annual tip sheet for fall and winter fun.

There is little doubt that most Crees will say the best things about the return of cold weather are hockey or hunting. But for those times when you and the family want to get away for some festival fun, catch some top-notch entertainment or find out what will be happening while you are down south on business, here are several ideas.

Special events, spectacular shows in Montreal

Gardens of Light festival

If you’re looking for something serene yet spectacular in Montreal, check out the Botanical Garden. It puts on one of its most brilliant events of the year with its Gardens of Light festival that runs from September 4 to November 1.

Hosted in the Chinese and Japanese gardens, come dusk the waterfalls, decorative boats, stones and other displays take on new forms as they become illuminated for an evening of magic.

If you prefer to hit the gardens a bit earlier to tour the many outdoor and indoor gardens, during October children can check out some fall fun at the Little Monsters Courtyard.

For more info:

Montreal Burlesque Festival

If you’re seeking a more adult form of entertainment, turn the sizzle up on your October with Montreal’s 7th annual Burlesque Festival.

Showcasing internationally renowned burlesque dancers, these cabaret gals are all about sequins and feathers and bringing old world glamour back to Montreal stages! Running from October 15-18 at various show venues in Montreal.

For more info:

National Education Fair

If you are a young person who is looking to find a special post-secondary institution, study abroad or have already checked off the previous two and are looking for a job in the south or across Canada, Place Bonaventure is featuring a three-in-one event by simultaneously offering three major events from October 15-15. The 2015 editions of the National Education Fair, the Study and Stay Abroad Fair and the National Job Fair will be offered all together this year for those looking to plan out something grand for their futures.

For more info:

La Braderie de mode québécoise

For the fashionista looking for some fabulous new finds, the fall event to check out for local designers has always been the Braderie de mode québécoise or the Big Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers.

Featuring fine apparel and accessories from the best in the province, this event takes place at Marche Bonsecours October 22-25 with special dates in Gatineau and Quebec City.

Featuring gorgeous goods from hundreds of designers, this mega-sale features clothing for the whole family, including a wide selection of plus-sized designs.

For more info:

Arab Festival

A cultural gateway into the magic and beauty of the Arab world, Montreal’s Arab Festival is a celebration of song, dance, cinema, visual arts and whirling dervishes.

A chance to explore exotic cultures and their flavours from the comfort of Montreal, this event runs from October 31-November 14.

For more info:

La Grande Dégustation

For those looking for only the most sophisticated and distinguished bottles of booze for their home/office/fall-out shelter/holiday party or under the tree, La Grande Dégustation is just about the best event in Quebec each year to try and buy some of the world’s finest hooch.

Running from November 6-7, this wine, beer and spirit show ain’t just about hawkin’ what is hot as you can purchase tickets in exchange for small samples of these beverages so you can get acquainted with what you like.

This year there’s a special focus on Spain and a special on bubbly products.

For more info:

Gem and Mineral Show

Ideal for the person into designing and making jewelry for friends and family or the person into gems, minerals and rocks of all kinds, the 56th annual Gem and Mineral Show attracts over 100 out-of-province dealers to sell and showcase their goods.

If you are on the market for semi-precious gems, jewelry, sculptures, pearls, beads, fossils, tools and minerals, this is the event to find unique gifts for the upcoming holiday season or just learn more about these fine natural goods. Runs from November 6-8.

For more info:

Salon National des animaux de compagnie

At Place Bonaventure November 7-8, for those who love their pets as though they were their own flesh and blood or those looking to find a new pet companion, the Salon National des Animaux de Compagnie (SNAC) is a perfect starting point.

Featuring competitions and demonstrations with cats, dogs, rodents, rabbits, birds, reptiles and other domestic animals, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet breeders, veterinarians, as well as experts on animal behaviour and vendors of pet supplies.

For more info:

Santa Claus Parade

If you happen to be in Montreal with the family on Saturday, November 21, take them to welcome Santa Claus’ arrival to Montreal for the Christmas season. Kicking it off in style, the Santa Claus Parade is a time-honoured tradition in the city that brings out families in droves to sip hot chocolate, dance and cheer as Jolly Old St. Nick arrives on his reindeer-drawn sleigh.

For more info:

Nutcracker Market

If you are looking for a unique holiday shopping experience in an exquisitely decorated venue, Montreal’s Nutcracker Market is all about celebrating holiday magic while creating a magical shopping experience.

Featuring delectable gourmet delights, exclusive jewelry, eye-dropping holiday décor (that nobody else has), incredible fashions, toys and gifts, the Nutcracker Market is the ultimate place to shop with fellow Christmas lovers, get very special presents and buy for your own home what nobody else has. Runs from November 26 to December 6.

For more info:

Weekend au Masculin

The Weekend au Masculin is at Place Bonaventure November 27-29 and is all about featuring presenters, companies, vendors and well-known media personalities that men are into.

Focusing on men’s fashion, automotives, sports and games, health, 7747electronics, food and spirits, this three-day event is a great opportunity for guys to get some “me” time or for the ladies to shop for the fellas on their Christmas lists.

Find out more at:

Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir

If you need something special to get you into the holiday spirit and want to enjoy some spectacularly melodic joyful noises, be sure to check out the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir at Place des Arts for their annual Christmas concert. Come Sunday, December 6, songs of praise, worship and holiday tidings are sung out loud and proud by the city’s most renowned gospel choir. An exhilarating experience for gospel lovers, this event happens for one night only at Place des Arts.

For more info:

Salon des métiers d’art du Québec

If you are searching for unique, artisanal products for your loved ones, look no further than the Salon des métiers d’art du Québec! Running from December 11-20, some of the best artisanal product makers from across Quebec, Canada and beyond bring their wares to Place Bonaventure so that shoppers can buy some of the best handmade goods on the market. Fur products, wood carvings, stained glass, wool creations, hand-woven fabrics, and artisanal chocolates and alcohol, this is where you’ll find quality handmade goods in all of their glory.

For more info:

International Auto Show

If your New Year’s goal is to purchase a new vehicle, there’s no better place to do your research and step into the driver’s seat of just about any model of car or truck than the Montreal International Auto Show at Palais des Congrès January 15-24.

Featuring floor after floor of vehicular joy, this is where every big name in the auto industry showcases everything from the sleekest and sexiest sports cars to the latest technology when it comes to heavy-body trucks and SUVs.

This year’s event will feature over 40 modified cars, test drives plus a childcare centre for children 3-10 so that their parents can find a new family car.

For more info:


Come January the post-holiday blahs are in full swing as the deep cold sets in and people start to feel a little cagey indoors. This was why the folks behind the summer-long dance party, Piknic Electronik, put together a nocturnal winter version of the dance party spectacular known as Igloofest.

Featuring some of the hottest DJs from around the world, this event runs on weekends (January 16-February 8) and is guaranteed to get rid of your winter blues. Offering electronic music, spectacular light shows and a whole series snow and ice sculptures that fit the winter paradise theme, this is the best time ever to don your best outdoor winter gear and hit the outdoor dance floor with thousands.

For more info:

Fête des neiges de Montréal

Of course, if you are looking for a more kids-oriented outdoor party, the Fête des neiges de Montréal always has a lot to offer to the whole family. Running from January 16-February 7 on weekends, this fest is all about getting outdoors with your family and friends to enjoy some snowy fun. Featuring Ziplines, tube sliding, sled dog tours, skating, shows and music, this event is held in Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau and offers loads of fun for everyone.

For more info:

Salon de l’Amour et de la Séduction

If your life at home needs a little spicing up come the new year or you’re looking for something special and adult to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day with your partner, Montreal’s 22nd Annual Salon de l’Amour et de la Séduction might be worth a visit. Running January 15-17, this is Quebec’s largest sex and romance consumer show and is pretty much a large-scale emporium of lingerie of all kinds as well as adult products and lectures on healthy relationships and how to improve yours! This event goes down at Place Bonaventure and is a surefire way to add some sizzle to your life!

For more info:

Boat and Water Sports Show

If come February you are already dreaming about fishing with the family and friends, the Montreal Boat and Water Sports Show is the ideal spot to peruse the newest and hottest boats that 2016 has to offer. Featuring more than 450 different boats, 275 exhibitors and approximately 27,000 visitors, this show takes place at Place Bonaventure February 4-7.

For more info:

Highlights Festival

Just when winter seems to be droning on forever, Montreal’s Highlights Festival returns February 18-27 to bring life, light, celebration and fabulous fun festivities back to the city’s indoor and outdoor stages. Featuring concert, dance and theatrical performances, fireworks, an outdoor playground complete with a Ferris wheel, ice luges and spots to roast weenies and marshmallows as well as an entire series of gastronomic celebrations with visiting chefs from around the world, this is the event to celebrate the cold in style.

Going down a various venues throughout the city, this is a mega event that definitely has something to appeal to each of the sense and beyond.

For more info:

Hunting, Fishing and Outfitting Show

For those looking to invest in the latest gear for hunting, fishing and outdoor living, Montreal’s Hunting, Fishing and Outfitting Show showcases the best firearms, fishing gear, camo clothes, knives and solar panels. Running February 18-21, this is the event of the year to check out the latest technology in fish finders, check out top-of-the-line scopes, crossbows, rifles and hunting dogs. A celebration of goodies for the bush, be sure to be in town for this fantastic event!

For more info:

Motorcycle Show

Whether you are a motorcycle aficionado, an all-out biker or are just curious about what the latest technology is in ATVs, Montreal’s Motorcycle Show showcases the best of the best when it comes to fun on two, three and four wheels! Whether you want try out the latest from big hog makers like Harley Davidson, Triumph or Indian, see what is new in the world of Arctic Cat or Polaris or check out the latest add-ons for any of these kinds of rides, this event features the best and the latest and has lots of gear to go with it. It’s going down February 26-28 at Palais de Congrès.

For more info:

Expo Manger Santé et Vive Vert

Always a sign that spring is just around the corner, Montreal’s Expo Manger Santé et Vive Vert show is all about showcasing the latest health food products, vitamins, health trends and environmentally friendly products. Running March 11-13 at Palais de Congrès, this is a great event to check out if you are looking to change your diet, find new products to accommodate a food allergy, learn more about vitamins, spices and supplements and check other related products such as baby gear, organic products and clothing.

For more info:

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

After a long winter inside, Montrealers of all walks of life and ethnicities love to congregate, don their green and orange and get out to celebrate on the streets for Montreal’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Now in its 193rd edition, Montreal’s parade brings the young and the old out for fun and celebrations on a special day where everybody can be Irish. Running along St. Catherine Street in Montreal’s downtown core, this year’s event takes place on March 20.

For more info:

Major Events and Festivals outside Montreal

Festival du cinéma international en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Northern cinema fans get their own event in Rouyn-Noranda October 31-November 5 with the Festival du cinéma international en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Featuring local films, foreign films from over 30 countries, short films, animated films and all sorts of famous guests and experts, this mind-expanding beacon of culture attracts folks from all walks of life.

For more info:

La Symposium Gatineau en couleurs

If you are driving through south-west Quebec come November and are looking to catch some seasonal colours and local culture, the Symposium Gatineau en couleurs is an event that brings out 70 local artist and sculptors from Quebec and Ontario to display their works. Inspiring, invigorating and educational, this event happens at the Maison du Citoyen in Gatineau November 6-8.

For more info:

Festival du film de Sept-Îles

If you’re looking for a film festival that has a northern flair, the Festival du film de Sept-Îles Ciné 7 is a non-profit event whose goal is to work with local film companies and their partners to present a 10-day celebration of local talent. Runs January 21-31.

For more info:

Festi-Volant Grandes-Piles

If you want to see something bright and beautiful in the stark skies of January, then check out the Festi-Volant Grandes-Piles in the Mauricie region January 23-25. Featuring spectacular kites in all shapes and sizes, this kite festival also features ice fishing, paraskiing, snow scooters and mini-putt, a gigantic slide that spans the length of a village street plus a little Nordic village to check out and all sorts of kite-related events and workshops.

For more info:

Quartiers d’hiver Festival

One of the hottest musical tickets in northern Quebec is the Quartiers d’hiver festival in Rouyn-Noranda as it attracts new musical talent from throughout the province for a very special three-day showcase January 29-31. Now in its second edition, this event is a great way to enjoy the Quebec music scene.

For more info:


Whether you are in Quebec’s south for business or pleasure, if you are looking for a family-friendly event that has been enjoyed by generations of Canadians, the Ottawa-Gatineau region’s Winterlude is a time-honoured classic.

Running January 29-February 15, this event features three fun-filled weekends centred around skating on the Rideau Canal, which every winter transforms into the world’s largest skating rink. Also featuring beautiful ice sculptures at Ottawa’s Crystal Garden and superb sliding for the whole family at the Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau, this event is family fun at its finest.

For more info:

Quebec Winter Carnival

No doubt Quebec City’s biggest and most recognized festival, the Winter Carnival takes place January 29-February 14 and packs a mighty punch of entertainment, winter sports, ice castles, culinary events, parties and family activities. For over 60 years, Bonhomme Carnival has played host to the world for this magnificent and celebrated event that has become one of the best parties of the year.

For more info:

Saguenay en Neige

Come February Saguenay’s Jonquiere borough transforms into a winter wonderland, gussied up by some of the most spectacular snow and ice sculptures that the province has to offer. Sponsored by Loto-Québec, the Saguenay en Neige festival brings out over 1000 sculptors from throughout the province for this breathtaking event. Running February 4-14, this event features all sorts of winter sports, fun and shenanigans to entertain the whole family.

For more info:

Les Hivernades de Chicoutimi

Les Hivernades de Chicoutimi is all about enjoying the spoils of winter as a family! Set for February 28-March 8, this Chicoutimi party features traditional activities, dancing and music, snowmobile and ATV activities, an outdoor amusement area for kids that has inflatable games, skating, dogsledding and horseback riding.

For more info:

La Fête d’hiver

No doubt Abitibi’s biggest winter family event is La Fête d’hiver de Rouyn-Noranda February 20-22 offering all kinds of outdoor events that are guaranteed to get your blood pumping. Featuring dog sledding, tubing, snow sculptures, a boot hockey tournament, foot races, live entertainment and lots of indoor and outdoor activities, don’t miss this major northern fun fest!

For more info:

Festival Folifrets Baie-James

No doubt one of the biggest events on the Chibougamau winter social calendar, the Festival Folifrets Baie-James has become a hot tourist draw to the region when it comes to winter sports and celebrations. Running February 25-March 6, there are loads of winter activities to be enjoyed.

For more info:

Festival Art’Danse

If dance is your flavour and you so happen to be in Val-d’Or March 11-13, the Festival Art’Danse de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue features all kinds of dance performances, workshops and contests. All of the events are put on by dance professionals and there are gala events to strut your stuff.

For more info: