“Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting, little darling it seems like years since its been clear,” once sang John Lennon in celebration of warmer sunny times to come. His sentiment is one shared by many in the north as the last of the spring snow melts and on come the longer days of vacation time, trips and the merry making of precious family memories.
But, as Quebec’s celebrated summer is but a few mere months that are jam packed with an incredible bounty of activities, parties, festivals and fun, the best way to not miss out is to plan, plan, plan away your sweet days and scintillating nights.
Without further ado, here is the Nation’s guide to all things sensational and summer for the 2012 season so you too can be up on what is hot and cool for the sweetest of seasons.
Celebrating in the City
Here’s a look at what Montreal has for the hot summer months.
Montreal Museums Day
After a good two weeks devoted to time with family while out on Goose Break, if you just happen to be in Montreal, why not feast your eyes and mind on the best of art and culture that the city has to offer on Montreal Museums Day?
Featuring free admission to over 30 marvelous Montreal museums, for the last 25 years this day has been celebrated in Montreal as a chance for the whole family to get out and see some extraordinary exhibits for the bargain for price of $0.00!
Created in the spirit of International Museum Day on May 18, the event in Montreal will be celebrated on Sunday, May 27, this year. And, for those interested, free transportation courtesy of Montreal’s transit system will also be provided to shuttle patrons from one museum to the next.
For more info: www.museesmontreal.org/en/Montreal_Museums_Day
Montreal Bike Festival
Also beginning on May 27, Montreal’s annual Bike Festival starts turning its wheels to gear up for a fun-filled week of cycling activities for both major cycling aficionados and those just learning to go at it without the training wheels.
The event kicks off with the Metropolitan challenge, a leisurely and sociable tour through the Montérégie where cyclists are encouraged to go at their own pace so to take in the beauty of the land. Next up, on May 30, Operation Bike-to-work springs into action as the city of Montreal aims at getting commuters on a fast, healthy and ecological mode of transportation.
On Friday, June 1, Montreal plays host for Tour La Nuit as city’s night owls gear up in all sorts of special night-glow paint and glow accessories for a nocturnal ride through 22 kms of city streets in the warm June air.
And then finally on Sunday, June 3, the week culminates with the annual Tour de l’Ile, a grueling 50-km trek around the island of Montreal. A classic major bike tour, this event attracts around 25,000 cyclists every year.
For more info: www.veloquebec.info
For lovers of electronic arts and music, there is no better place to get a digital fix than during the Mutek International Festival of Digital Creativity and Electronic Music, running May 30-June 3.
Featuring a stellar lineup of electronic artists and DJs from around the world as well as the latest in audio-visual technology to set the mood for this event, the Mutek festival has been setting beats for the masses to dance to in Montreal for over 12 years now.
With shows running throughout the afternoons and evenings until the early morning hours as well as two special daytime dance events through Picnik Electronik, this is the top Montreal event to delve into the electronic world.
For more info: www.mutek.org
Montreal Fringe Festival
Montreal’s 22nd Annual St-Ambroise Fringe Festival kicks gets into production June 4-24 for 20 unbelievable days of alternative theatre, dance, music and so much more!
Whether it is theatre in the form of comedies, dramas, dramadies, musicals, clown acts, men racing in high heels, drag queens putting on a mini-pageant, cabaret acts and just about any and every other form of live entertainment you can think of, this Fringe fest has got it.
This non-stop party brings together over 500 artists from around the globe to congregate, be creative and perform in so many different contexts. Once more, if you’re new to this kind of entertainment, come by and visit the festival’s Fringe Park located at Parc des Ameriques (corner St-Laurent and Rachel) to take in samples of shows, concerts, standup and get your bearings before you head out fringing.
This event has something for just about everyone in the family and is a culturally enriching event that has become a favourite in the heart of Montrealers and tourists alike.
For more info: montrealfringe.ca
Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival
With all of the big and buxom festivals that are put on as major corporate events in the core of the city, sometimes the little fests, like the Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival, are the most refreshing.
Staged June 6-23, Suoni Per Il Popolo translates to the Sounds for the People and it delivers just that. This low-key fest is about bringing out the best of the avant-garde to provide the dynamic, community-based leftfield music to those who enjoy it most. This includes everything from jazz to noise to experimental rock.
With over 75 different acts and artists slated to perform over a two-week period, this eclectic festival has a lot to offer when it comes to putting on acts and music that resonate with progressive social movements.
For more info: www.casadelpopolo.com/contents/node/74
Mondial de la bière
For those who love nothing more than to celebrate all things beer and artisanal domestic alcohol products, there’s nothing like the Mondial de la bière to celebrate, sample, discuss and pair up all things “brewski”.
This homegrown festival brings about hundreds of brewers from all over the world to show off their wares, exchanging tickets for small samples of the exquisite suds.
Cooking demonstrations, seminars on brewing, pairing and sampling events are also part of this fest so that patrons can learn more about each product and how to plan a soiree around it.
Held June 6-10 at Place Bonaventure in downtown Montreal, this new venue will mean that the event can now host many more exhibitors as well as accommodate lots more patrons comfortably.
For more info:
Les FrancoFolies de Montréal
When it comes to the incredibly diverse world of francophone music, no festival on earth celebrates its many voices as well as the FrancoFolies de Montréal!
Whether it is major music events with local Québécois singers, mega events with international francophone artists or theatrical musical extravaganzas, the FrancoFolies (June 8-16) has boundless amounts of sensational sights and sensuous sounds to feast one’s eyes and ears upon.
Some of this year’s major headliners include Richard Séguin, Bénabar, Ariane Moffatt, Claude Dubois, Radio Radio, Philippe B et le Quatuor Molinari, Hughes Aufray, Thomas Fersen, Stefie Shock, Catherine Major, Julien Clerc, Jean-Louis Murat, Cali in a duet with pianist Steve Nieve, Vincent Vallières, Michel Fugain and new hit sensation, Cœur de pirate.
For more info: www.francofolies.com
Montreal Grand Prix
Revving up its engines for June 8-10, the Montreal Grand Prix is back for another exciting three-day marathon of Formula 1-style fun, all culminating with the main event on Sunday, June 10.
After two previous successful years, back this year is “The Grand Evening”, a benefit soiree that serves as the official opening event of the 2012 Grand Prix du Canada.
This event combines well-known personalities, joined by drivers competing in the Formula 1 World Championship at a major event to meet with the Montreal business community at the impressive new Arsenal Contemporary Art Complex in Griffintown district.
This exclusive event serves as a major fundraiser that will jointly benefit the Hôpital Sainte Justine and Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal foundations.
Downtown Montreal also plays host to three amazing days of street parties, free concerts, vintage and F1 car displays as well as F1-themed shopping with Crescent Street serving as ground zero for all of the festivities.
Even if you can’t make it to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to catch the event in person, there are plenty of public screens set up on Crescent and in various locations to enjoy the event.
For more info:
National Aboriginal Day
Terres en vues, the company that puts on the Aboriginal festival later on in August, will once again be handling the festivities to mark National Aboriginal Day on June 21.
Going with a change of pace from last year’s festivities at the Botanical Gardens, this year’s ceremony will take place in the small park in front of City Hall, next to Place Jacques Cartier.
From there participants will also enjoy a picnic and then proceed to view the 11 Nations art show at Marché Bonsecours.
For more info: www.nativelynx.qc.ca
La Fête nationale du Québec à Montréal
While there are major events happening for Quebec’s big day throughout the province, because Montreal is the biggest city, it no doubt gets the biggest celebration.
In the past, the province has seen wide arrays of major celebrities take to Montreal outdoor stages in the city’s many parks, fireworks and parades.
The lineup for this year’s event has yet to be released, but be sure to check out their website.
For more info:
Montreal International Jazz Festival
When it comes to major festivals that have every bell and whistle around to jazz it up to the jazziest festival on the block, nothing in Montreal is ever done bigger than the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Now in its 33rd year, this year’s blockbuster event has over 180 incredible indoor shows that have already been announced and expect at least another 100 spectacular outdoor events to round out another 10 days of jazz, blues, rock, folk, flamenco, hip hop and so much more running from June 28-July 7.
This year’s event sees the return of James Taylor in a pre-opening concert as well as the reemergence of legends like the one and only Liza Minnelli and German space rockers Tangerine Dream.
Some returning Miles Davis Award winners include Stanley Clarke (2011) and Ron Carter (2012), Al Stewart, Van der Graaf Generator and Wayne Shorter.
Then there are other big international names like Seal, Norah Jones, Melody Gardot, Sophie Milman, Esperanza Spalding, Gianmaria Testa and Victor Wooten.
Of the acts that tend to transcend borders and genres, this year you will see the likes of Emir Kusturica, CéU, Jovanotti, Johnny Clegg, Strunz & Farah, Tord Gustavsen and his Scandinavian guests, the Free Flamenco Trio with Dorantes, Garcia-Fons and Spassov.
There will also be some incredible hybrid concert events with Harry Manx and his World Affairs and World Kora Trio Longsworth-Soumano-Di Fraya.
Going from old school to new school, some of the hottest recording artists of the moment will also be on hand, such as Get The Blessing, Adam Cohen, The Barr Brothers, Moriarty, Caravan Palace, Ziggy Marley, Timber Timbre, Janelle Monáe and Fishbone.
In terms of homegrown talent, the fest is serving up a fine bevy of artists, including Patrick Watson, Adrian Vedady, Misstress Barbara, Oliver Jones, Peter Appleyard (this year’s recipient of the Oscar Peterson Award), Jorane and I Musici, Lorraine Desmarais, Vic Vogel, Rafael Zaldivar, Patricia Deslauriers, Rémi Bolduc and Ranee Lee.
And don’t miss out on unique acts like Carlos Saura’s Flamenco Hoy, The Rat Pack is Back!, a recreation of the famed foursome of ’60s Bad Boys, the resurrection of a blues queen with The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith, and the return of GRUBB, a humanitarian musical adventure.
For more info:
L’International des Feux Loto-Québec
The Loto-Quebec International Fireworks competition is one of Montreal’s most cherished festivals as it literally explodes onto the scene in a rainbow of colours every June. Running June 30 to August 3, this year’s schedule has lots to offer.
As always, every summer this event sees different schedules and nuances with this year’s being fireworks on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, unique themes, Greece will be participating for the first time and there will be a special tribute to British rock band Queen.
Also competing this year are Japan, Switzerland, Canada, France, Portugal, Italy and the United States.
As always, the best spot to take in the fireworks are from the comfort of La Ronde amusement park, but as many Montrealers in the know usually do, you can always take them in alongside the water in Montreal’s Old Port.
For more info:
Montreal’s Canada Day celebrations this year include loads of festive family fun during the day and a sizzling party at night to commemorate the country’s birthday in style.
Featuring a special kid’s play village comprised of all sorts of bouncy structures, Montreal’s Old Port is party central for this event.
The traditional great big 1000-piece birthday cake for Canada is also served at noon for all those little people that want to sing “Happy Birthday”.
This year’s daytime festivities also include acrobatic water-skiing performances as well as a Milot Land motocross show.
As the sun sets the Quay becomes a more grownup playland as Anne-Marie Withenshaw hosts an evening of music and entertainment. Starting with classic hits from the ’70s and ’80s put on by the Boogie Wonder Band, followed by DJ King Louie and then a fireworks display at 10:30 pm.
For more info: http://montreal.about.com/od/attractionsbyholiday/a/montreal_canada_day_in_montreal_parade_events
Just for Laughs
Montreal’s top-ranked comedy festival is back and better than ever as it is celebrating yet another incredible milestone, having hit its dirty 30s!
And, with 30 comes an extra special festival this summer with tons of incredible comedians doing loads of entertaining shows.
Running July 10-29, this year’s lineup includes Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppets gang, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Bill Hader, Bob Saget, John Pinette, Jim Gaffigan, Patton Oswalt, Wayne Brady, Mario Cantone, Epic Meal Time, JB Smoove as Leon Black, Jeff Garlin, Jim Jefferies, Jimmy Carr, Mike Birbiglia, Tommy Tiernan, Chelsea Handler, Adam Carolla and Lewis Black.
For more info: hahaha.com/en/montreal/overview
The International Festival of Circus Arts
Of all of the fabulous things this city is famous for, circus arts are quickly becoming synonymous with all things Montreal like smoked meat and the Habs.
And, with the number of circus companies as well as circus schools that have started since the emergence of the Cirque de Soleil back in the ’80s, it should come as no surprise that there is now a special festival dedicated to spectacular big-top type performances put on by some very brave and flexible individuals.
This year’s event runs from July 5-15 and is masterminded by Montreal’s haute gamme circus production company, La Tohu, with the support of Cirque Éloize, Les 7 doigts de la main, Cirque du Soleil, the National Circus School and En Piste.
For more info: www.montrealcompletementcirque.com
Montreal International Tango Festival
When the summer sizzle is really in full swing, there is nothing better than taking part in hot Latin culture and there’s nothing that sums it up better than the tango.
Montreal’s International Tango Festival brings in some of the best tango performers in the world for a series of shows from July 10-15. Local tango musicians will be teaming up with these performers for some spectacular shows and also be putting on nights where you too can show your passion and take to the dancefloors. This year’s event features 72 classes, 10 dancers, seven milongas (term for a place or an event where tango is danced), four shows and three orchestras.
Even if you don’t know how to tango, this is a perfect opportunity for anyone to take a crash course at the festival with professional instructors.
For more info: www.fitm.ca
If this summer’s heat is anything like the seemingly endless 30+ days that Montreal faced last year, festivals like Fantasia may be just what the doctor ordered to catch some ultra-cool cinema from around the world in some fine air-conditioning.
Especially if you have already caught all of the summer’s mega-blockbusters, running from July 19-August 7, this fest is almost like its own cinema course.
While many of these films hail from Asia, Europe and other continents, sometimes less mainstream major films make their world premieres at this festival as did Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.
While the schedule for this year’s event has yet to be announced, more can be found out on their website.
For more info: www.festivalfantasia.com/pre2011/en
Montreal International Dragon Boat Race Festival
While most festivals are all about music, art and performers, the stars of the Dragon Boat Race Festival are the ancient-style Chinese boats and the racers who push them to the limit to win.
Running from July 20-22, this fabulous free event takes place in Montreal’s Olympic Basin and offers a taste of Chinese culture along with a race that has 2294 years of tradition. Featuring Chinese fare, live entertainment, the various arts and crafts, and the ever-popular Children Drawing Contest, this is a fun event for the whole family to enjoy and also learn from.
For more info: www.montrealdragonboat.com/en/pages/home
For those who really want to get their dance on, the Montreal Electronic Groove Festival offers a series showcases throughout the year to bring up-and-coming artists to Montreal stages and their next edition will be running from July 26-August 4.
For more info: www.megmontreal.com/en.html
Turning 20 this year is Montreal’s fabulous lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride festival, this year running from July 30-August 5.
While the first three days of this fest will see events in the downtown part of the city, including outdoor film screenings and shows, for the big birthday celebration loyal festival-goers will be treated to four fantastic days of activities in the Quays of the Old Port where the new event stages will be set up.
Featuring concerts, drag shows, DJ events, a parade and much more, expect a blowout for this year’s big birthday bash to celebrate one of Montreal’s most diverse demographics.
For more info: www.diverscite.org/2012
First Peoples’ Festival/Présence autochtone
For those looking to celebrate Aboriginal culture in a modern and sophisticated urban setting, the First People’s Festival is a spectacular celebration of cinema, art and crafts, traditional foods, visual arts and all that is First Nations from across Canada and beyond.
The festival will be happening once again at Montreal’s brand new festival space, Place des Festival, July 31 to August 8, and this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever before.
The full schedule for this year’s festival will be available come early June.
For more info: www.nativelynx.qc.ca/en/index.html
While California has Coachella and Britain has the Reading Festival, Montreal has its own premier international alternative-rock festival to lust after with Osheaga.
Started back in 2006, Osheaga has since become a world-class event featuring some of the biggest alternative rock, pop and crossover acts in the world and they are all coming to Montreal’s Parc Jean Drapeau from August 3-5.
This year’s lineup includes: Aloe Blacc, Adventure Club, Amadou & Mariam, Arkells, ASAP Rocky, Atlas Sound, Austra, Black Lips, Bloc Party, Bombay Bicycle Club, Brand New, Brandt Brauer Frick, Calexico, City and Colour, Classified, Dan Mangan, Down With Webster, Dum Dum Girls, Dumas, Feist, Florence + The Machine, Franz Ferdinand, Freelance Whales, Fun., Garbage, Gary Clark Jr., Graffiti6, Half Moon Run, Hey Ocean!, Huoratron, James Vincent McMorrow, Justice, Kandle, Karim Ouellet, Kathleen Edwards, Knife Party, Le Matos, Les Breastfeeders, Little Dragon, M83, Madeon, Metric, MGMT, Michael Kiwanuka, Of Monsters and Men, Passion Pit, Plants and Animals, Portugal. The Man, Propofol, Sigur Rós, Snoop Dogg, Tame Impala, The Black Angels, The Black Keys, The Death Set, The Jezabels, The Raveonettes, The Shins, The Walkmen, The Weeknd, Woodkid, Yeasayer, Young Galaxy, Young The Giant, Zeds Dead, Zeus and Zola Jesus!
For more info: www.osheaga.com
The Montreal Highland Games
For those of you in the north with a drop of Scottish blood or for those who just like to pretend, Montreal’s Highland Games is the event to get in tune with all things Scottish.
Come and take in the sights and sounds of live entertainment, Scottish fare, piping and drumming, highland dancing and Scottish athletics like the caber toss, sheaf toss, putting the stone and the hammer toss.
Now in its 35th year, this one-day festival on August 5 is fun for the whole family, with plenty of children’s activities, such as bouncy castles, pony rides and games.
For more info: www.montrealhighlandgames.qc.ca/index.html
Roger’s Cup Tennis
The divas of the tennis world are back in Montreal this year to turn the eyes of the world upon Uniprix Stadium from August 4-13.
The likes of Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Vika Azarenka will be hitting the courts in Jarry Park in Canada’s hottest tennis event of the season.
Once more, patrons are welcomed to catch the main events courtside or watch the greats play warm-up matches in the smaller adjacent courts for a much lesser fee.
For more info: www.rogerscup.com/men/english
The Montreal International Festi-Blues Festival
While Montreal celebrates jazz in the most exuberant manner, its celebration of all things Blues takes on a more chilled-out approach, much like the music itself.
Running from August 9-12, this north-end Montreal event delivers the absolute best in blues from Quebec and right around the globe on both outdoor stages and indoor club events.
While no information is available yet on this year’s lineup, be sure to check the event’s website later on in the summer.
For more info: www.festiblues.com/2011v2/
Not to be left out, Montreal’s loyal heavy music fans also have their own two-day mega-event in Parc Jean Drapeau to celebrate all sounds heavy and dark.
The 2012 lineup includes: System Of A Down, Deftones, Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage, Cannibal Corpse, Between The Buried And Me, Job For A Cowboy, Kataklysm, Periphery, The Faceless, Veil Of Maya, Goatwhore, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Rose Funeral, Origin, Exhumed, Diemonds, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Lamb Of God, Dethklok, Gojira, Suicidal Tendencies, Voivod, Sword(Qc), Trivium, Emmure, Dance Laury Dance, Overkill, High On Fire, Protest The Hero, Cancer Bats, The Agonist, Iwrestledabearonce and more.
For more info: www.heavymtl.com
While it hasn’t been on the festival scene for very long, Otakuthon, the anime convention, is certainly gaining in notoriety for being one of the most original events with some of the most colourful conference-goers. Many attendees actually attend dressed as their favourite anime characters.
Featuring all sorts of events for fans, such as video and gaming rooms and the chance to attend workshops on anime and Manga, participate in dance, fan-fiction, karaoke and costume contests, take in anime-themed artwork, play in the gaming labs and so much more, this event is the ultimate for anime fans.
Running from August 3-5, there is so much Japanese and Chinese anime entertainment culture going on at this festival that it is sure to please any fan or hardcore aficionado.
For more info: http://www.otakuthon.com
Created to raise awareness of Japanese culture in Montreal, the 11th annual Matsuri Japon or Japanese festival (matsuri means festival in Japanese) will be rolling out on August 11 at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal.
Featuring hours of traditional dance, martial arts, cultural presentations, fashion displays and traditional Japanese foods, this bright and colourful festival is a fabulous way to expand your perspective without leaving the island of Montreal.
For more info: http://festivaljapon.com
Montreal World Film Festival
Roll out the red carpets as Montreal’s cinephiles get their taste of so-called “industry life” come August 23 to September 3 for the Montreal World Film Festival.
Just like Sundance, Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival, Montreal has its own spot on the circuit and some major films have been premiered at this event.
While it is too early for any of this year’s festival information, check the festival’s website later this summer.
For more info: ffm-montreal.org
Napa Auto Parts 200
NASCAR fans can rejoice once again as the cars, the race and the party is back for another year.
Now in its fourth edition, August 16-18 is all about racing with the return of NASCAR to Montreal for three days of the high-performance and heart-pumping automobile racing mania at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Come and see Canada’s only NASCAR event and then take in the festivities in the downtown core on Montreal’s ultra-clubby Crescent Street.
For more info: www.napa200.ca/nascar-circuit.html
Montreal International Reggae Festival
As the long and ultimately steamy days of summer draw closer to their end, why not celebrate with the kind of music that was meant to be enjoyed in the heat during three days and nights of reggae fun at the Quays of the Old Port.
This year’s fest runs from August 17-19 and so far the headliners include: Poirier, Cham, Konshens, Khago, Assassin, Tarrus Riley, Luciano and Jimmy Cliff.
For more info: www.montrealreggaefest.com/site/index.html
Festival Fun outside of Montreal
While Montreal may have cornered the market on sophisticated urban festivals, there are a wide variety of other events happening throughout the province that are more than worth checking out, if not planning a whole trip around.
Fête de la pêche
This is a unique festival that happens throughout Quebec to celebrate a favourite pastime in the North – fishing.
During this festival (June 8-10) put on by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, Quebec residents are welcome to fish anywhere they want to without a license.
So, if there is a particular area outside of your norm that you have been wanting to fish, this is the perfect opportunity to pack up the family and test out some new waters.
For more info: www.fetedelapeche.gouv.qc.ca/
Saint-Honoré dans l’Vent
Driving down south from James Bay June 15-17, why not take a detour to Saint-Honoré to take in their fabulous international kite-flying festival.
No doubt a feast for the eyes, this event brings out some of the world’s best kite flyers as well as performance kite-flying teams to put on a wide variety of kite-flying spectaculars.
With aviation-related activities, instruction on kiting for the young and old, onsite entertainment, evening shows and a variety of local artists and exhibitors, this festival is the epitome of wholesome family fun.
For more info: http://danslvent.com/english
Biennale internationale d’estampe contemporaine de Trois-Rivières
For fans of fine art, this visually stunning print show has happened only every two years in Trois-Rivières since 1999 and has grown significantly in popularity since it began.
Running June 16-September 8, it is a major international print exhibition with 350 prints done by 52 artists hailing from 23 different countries.
The goal of this event is to promote the importance of contemporary printmaking as well as to look at the trends in this unique discipline from all over the world.
For more info: www.biectr.ca
The James Bay Walleye Fishing Tournament
June 21, the first day of summer and National Aboriginal Day, sees the return of a favourite festival among many Crees, the Walleye Fishing Tournament on Lake Opemiska.
This year’s tournament runs from the June 21-30 in Chapais where the festival base will be while the tournament itself will be held on Lake Opemiska. Multiple categories will be open for professionals, amateurs, youth, women as well as “old timers”.
As always there will be live entertainment at the festival base as well as days devoted to children’s activities and entertainment. This year’s acts include Out of Control, a tribute to U2 (June 22), Steve Forget (June 23) to celebrate Quebec’s national holiday, children’s entertainer Sonia (June 24) and David Jalbert (July 28).
For more info: www.festivaldudore.com
Festival Forestier IGA Bilodeau de Senneterre
Oh to be a lumberjack, if only for a day. The Festival Forestier IGA Bilodeau de Senneterre gives everybody that opportunity in a competition for major prizes.
Running June 28-July 1, this family friendly festival isn’t just about showing off how handy you can be with an axe or a saw, but it celebrates lumberjack culture with loads of activities for the young and old.
With a series of different categories to compete in and a wide variety of family activities, this woodsy festival brings out professional woodsmen from all over the world and attracts fun-seeking families from around the province.
This year’s nightly entertainment includes: Les 3 Accords, House Party, Les Porn Flakes and Shine as well as a fireworks display on Saturday, June 30 at midnight. There is also a major draw with fabulous prizes and children’s activities. So check out this event, if you happen to be in that neck of the woods.
For more info:
Le Festivoix de Trois-Rivières
Featuring homegrown Québécois talent as well as acts from the rest of Canada, the US and beyond, the Festivoix music festival in Trois-Rivières brings a wide array of sounds and sights that are normally only seen in major cities.
Featuring more than 80 acts playing over 34 styles of music, this festival (June 28-July 8) has an act for just about anyone of any liking.
This year’s headliners include Isabelle Boulay, Les Cowboys Fringants, Jean Leloup, Gregory Charles, Vincent Vallières, Jimmy Hunt, Sylvain Cossette, GALAXIE, Radio Radio, Misteur Valaire and Mario Pelchat.
For more info: www.festivoix.com
Mondial des Cultures de Drummondville
Dance, dance, wherever you may be! If you have ever wanted to learn more about what cultural folk dances from around the world look like and find out what is behind them, the Mondial des Cultures de Drummondville is a festival you need to check out.
Running July 5-15, this event is a mix of original shows and traditional dance ensembles meeting folklore as well as new technologies to give these presentations a new life.
This is one of the five biggest folklore festivals in the world and attracts over 300,000 attendees annually.
For more info: www.mondialdescultures.com
If you are a fan of Broadway-style shows and can’t seem to get those catchy ABBA tunes out of you head, then you’re in luck. Mamma Mia, the global smash hit musical, will be playing in La Sarre July 5-28.
Come and see Catherine Johnson’s original stage musical – based on the hits of ABBA – about a young girl getting married and the quest to find out who her real father is.
For more info:
Tremblant International Blues Festival
For those who want to take in a grand type of festival in an immersive environment that is all about getting away from it all, the Mont Tremblant International Blues Festival is one ticket not to miss.
Featuring big-name blues acts from both Quebec and elsewhere, this little festival literally takes over the entire tourist town with a week of non-stop music, entertainment and deluxe fun July 6-15.
Currently the schedule is not available, you can check out the lineup come June.
For more info: www.tremblantblues.com/home
Festival de la relève indépendante musicale en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (FRIMAT)
The FRIMAT is the musical event of the season in Val-d’Or. Running August 1-4, this is a major music competition for up-and-coming artists from Abitibi-Témiscamingue and northern Quebec.
Audiences can enjoy a wide variety of musical acts as they compete to be number one and for a $5000 prize in a warm and relaxed festival setting.
For more info: www.frimat.qc.ca/200x/index.html
The Truck Rodeo
This major tourist event in Notre-Dame-du-Nord expands with every year, attracting over 113,000 visitors in previous years.
Running August 2-5, this rodeo isn’t exactly what you would call “traditional” as the livestock is switched up for vehicles but that doesn’t mean you need to forgo the Stetsons and shit-kickers (cowboy boots).
The event features truck-pull competitions, show-and-shine contests for trucks, a parade, fireworks displays, a flea market, exhibitions, a wide variety of children’s activities and nightly country shows.
Plus, this year’s $100 ticket super draw is a massive $285,000!
For more info: www.elrodeo.com/en
Festival International des Rythmes du Monde du Saguenay
Hidden away in the Saguenay is a little gem of a festival that brings together performers from all over the world to share their love of world music.
Running August 2-10, this fest has attracted musicians, dancers and artisans from around the world and brought out a walloping 240,000 festival-goers to the region last year.
With children’s events, parties, dancing and loads of free entertainment, this truly spectacular event is an ideal way to broaden one’s cultural horizons without travelling too far from home.
For more info:
Festival Western de Guigues
Running August 7-12, this northern rodeo is all about country-western-style family fun for everyone.
A traditional rodeo with all of the usual trappings and livestock competitions, this event also includes a plethora of fun activities for the young and old, such as a line dancing evening and lessons for beginners, bingo, heavy horse pulling, a folk night, several country music performances, gymkhana and kiosks for those that like to shop. There are also a series of activities designed to keep the little ones happy.
This Saint-Bruno-de-Guigues is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, even if you aren’t a cowboy.
For more info: www.festivalwesterndeguigues.com
Osisko en lumière, festival pyromusical en Abitibi-Témiscamingue à Rouyn-Noranda
Lighting up the northern sky brighter than the northern lights, the Osisko pyromusical fest in Rouyn-Noranda takes all of the awesomeness of an outdoor concert by adding coordinated fireworks to the show.
Running August 10-12, this year’s list of fabulous acts have yet to be unveiled but in light of how many major international acts the festival has brought to the North in the past, there is no doubt that this year’s edition won’t wow audiences.
During the daytime, there will be lots of kid’s activities with inflatable games, face painting and much more.
For more info:
Foire gourmande de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue et du Nord-Est ontarien
Certainly the most flavourful festival the North has to offer, the Foire gourmande de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue et du Nord-Est ontarien takes everything edible from the North and celebrates its existence.
With celebrating the spirit of eating local in mind, this is the ideal event to attend if you are tired of serving up the same-old same-old and are looking for new takes on the delicacies that come from nearby.
Running August 17-19 and featuring over 50 exhibitors with over 250 delectable delights to sample, this is a wonderful event for young and old to attend as anyone with taste buds can appreciate what it has to offer.
This event also offers free entertainment, a series of children’s activities and much more, check their website later this summer to find out more.
For more info:
International Hot Air Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
There is no other event in Canada that manages to improve upon the perfection of a beautiful sky more than the sea of hot-air balloons that go up for the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Running August 11-19, with 125 hot-air balloons from all over the world and the opportunity for anyone to take a ride, this festival offers a playground both on the ground and in the sky. For those who would rather take in the event from down below, this festival features a gorgeous bouncy village for children, family activities, kiosks to shop and various forms of live entertainment.
This year’s concert series include headliners: Mika and Simple Plan, plus there are several other dates yet to be announced.
For more info:
Festival de musique émergente de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue
If you’re the kind of person who is always looking for the next up-and-coming artist or wants to enjoy a new band before anyone else does, the Festival de musique émergente de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue in Rouyn-Noranda is the hottest place to be August 3-September 2.
With over 50 artists or groups from Quebec, Canada, the US and Europe, this showcase of rock, metal and hip-hop is the ultimate thing to discover new sounds and trends.
For more info: www.fmeat.org
Festival Western du St-Tite
If you didn’t get the chance to check out a rodeo all season or you just can’t get enough of them, Quebec’s biggest and most popular country-western event is the Festival Western du St-Tite.
Running September 7-16, this grand-scale hootenanny attracts hundreds of thousands of patrons every year to take in the daily rodeo shows as well as the nightly country music shows. There is also line dancing, a western market for leathers and loads of other country-western related products.
For those of you with RVs, drive your own accommodations to this event as space is rented out to patrons for this festival.
For more info:
Fabulous Family Favourites!
Here are some summertime family attractions that make the perfect day trips.
While festivals are fine and good, when it comes to planning trips and travelling with small children, it isn’t always as easy to pick up and go whenever you want and be there when the big events are happening.
If you are looking for attractions to take your family to while travelling down south, have a look at these picks for family fun and exploration.
Quebec’s premier amusement park La Ronde is the ultimate playground to take the whole family.
Not only does this Montreal fun park corner the market on roller-coasters for the entire province, it offers hundreds of attractions, live entertainment, fireworks, water activities and lots more. Now under the control of US amusement park giant, Six Flags, La Ronde is a wonderland for children, big and small.
For more info: www.laronde.com
Quebec’s Aquarium Parc
If you are in the Quebec City region and want to take the whole family for a fun-filled day of aquatic learning, Quebec’s Aquarium Parc has a lot to offer.
With all sorts of learning activities geared towards children and breathtaking aquatic exhibits, this unique attraction is also Quebec’s largest aquarium.
For more info: www.sepaq.com/ct/paq
While taking the kids on a real African safari may not be accessible to everyone, if you are in the south, Parc Safari, a zoo theme park, is the closest you can get to a wild animal car tour.
With over 600 animals from five different continents, Parc Safari is an ideal one-day getaway for the family to learn about animals from all over the world, play together and be entertained.
For more info: www.parcsafari.com/home.php
For those who want to wander through a large zoo to learn about the animals and see exotic sights, there is no better place than the Granby Zoo.
Tour five different “Zoo Zones” – Africa, America, Asia, Oceania and “the village” – for hours of learning and wonder. Then cap the experience off with a visit to the zoo’s Yoplait Amazoo Water Park to cool off.
For more info: www.zoodegranby.com
Village du Père-Noël
While Christmas is over six months away, some children often wonder exactly what Santa Claus does with his downtime?
Why not take them to see him at Santa Claus’ village where they can spend the day climbing, running, jumping in a bouncy house, taking the mini cars out on the track and exploring a whole Christmas theme park designed entirely for children.
For more info: www.noel.qc.ca/en/index.php
Val-Jalbert’s Historic Village
When it comes to teaching kids about the history of Quebec and what the south of the province was like in the days of yore, if you find yourself in the Saguenay/Lac Saint-Jean region, check out Val-Jalbert’s Historic Village.
This former ghost town has been restored as a tourist attraction with many of its original structures. It features guides as well as actors playing historical characters to tell the story of the town’s industrial history and old-school entertainment. This location also features several breathtaking waterfalls.
For more info: www.valjalbert.com
La Cité de l’Or
With all of the current development happening in the North, perhaps the best way to teach children about mining is to take them to an actual mine, which has been converted into a teaching attraction for children.
The only place in Quebec where you can take a tour 91 metres underground to explore what was once one of the most productive goldmines in the province, visitors can enjoy tours of the mine, equipment and grounds, visit the mining village, exhibitions and live entertainment.
For more info: www.citedelor.com/en-ca
When it comes to learning about some of the planet’s most vulnerable creatures, the Pageau Wildlife Refuge in Amos is a great place to take the kids for a day to learn all about Quebec’s wildlife.
For decades the Pageau Wildlife Refuge has taken in orphaned or injured animals for rehabilitation before returning them to their natural habitats.
Visitors can tour the picturesque refuge to see these animals as they recover and visit with the other moose, bears, wolves, deer, raccoons, birds of prey and other small orphans that have made this spot their permanent home. This site also features a mini-farm where kids can learn about agriculture.
For more info: www.refugepageau.ca
If you have a family of climbers and thrill seekers, Acrobranche’s aerial obstacle courses and zip-line runs may be just the thing for a great big day of active, adrenaline-pumping fun.
Located in the Mont Tremblant region, this adventure park features zip-lines, ropes to swing on and a series of obstacles to get over through and under in a unique setting: up in the trees.
With different activities geared for both children and adults, this adventure park is guaranteed to thrill and chill!
For more info: www.acrobranche.com
During the dog days of summer there is nothing better to cool the kiddies off than a day at the water park.
Especially seeing as how the south of Quebec has begun to experience longer periods of extreme heat, why not check into one of the province’s three incredible water parks?
Located in the Laurentians, Super Aqua Club in Pointe-Calumet is all about water slides, rides and fun and is also the province’s largest water park. For more info: www.superaquaclub.com
Mont Saint-Sauveur also offers its own water park in a glorious mountain setting. Ideal for a day with the kids or a fun outing with friends, this winter ski park converts perfectly into a cool summer attraction come hot weather. For more info: www.parcaquatique.com/
Going further east, if you happen to be in the Valcartier region with the family and want to cool off, check out Valcartier Vacation Village? Featuring a series of slides, rafting slides through highly decorated indoor and outdoor courses, pirate ships with swinging ropes and cannons that fire water and a children’s water park, this family park is both hot and very cool for everybody.
For more info: www.valcartier.com
If you find yourself in the dead heat of summer on the Island of Montreal and want to try something fun, exciting and a little on the wet side, why not hit the Old Port and go for a jet-boating tour.
The “saute moutons” are a Montreal favourite, featuring jet-boat and speed-boat rides, these specially designed boats are the perfect way to get the adrenaline pumping while cooling off in the spray of the water.
And that concludes this year’s tourism issue. On behalf of the Nation, have a happy summer and enjoy it while it lasts.