As the chill finally leaves the air and the days grow longer and brighter, one can’t help but ponder what will be the best way to take advantage of the upcoming summer months and where the best times are to be had.
For those fortunate enough to get some downtime this summer to enjoy with family or rock it out with friends, the province of Quebec has, as always, a great deal to offer.
Whether you seek sizzling nights of rhythms and tunes or cool splashing and family fun under the sun, the Nation has the 411 on it, even if you’ve never heard of it.
From the big city parties to remote jewels in the rough, here is the Nation’s 2011 Summer Guide.
Montreal Festivals, Parties & Events
Montreal Museum Day
While summer is just synonymous with party-time and relaxation, why not feed the mind and the soul to kick the whole thing off on Montreal Museum Day if you happen to be in town.
For the last 24 years the Board of Montreal Museum Directors (MMD) has been opening the doors to the public for free on the last Sunday of every May to inspire the hearts and minds of the young and old. This year there will be 38 museums and exhibitions open for free viewing on May 29.
The event is put on by the MMD and Quebecor, in collaboration with the Société de transport de Montréal who provide free shuttles to get participants around the city from museum to museum.
In honour of the 25th anniversary of the event, the MMD will be throwing a big party at Promenade des Artistes in the Quartier des spectacles. The day will feature special celebration activities in the various museums that are offering free admission to the public from 9 am to 6 pm.
Montreal Bike Fest
If museums just aren’t your speed – with “speed” being the operative word – the Montreal Bike Fest is just the event for those who want to get the adrenaline pumping on two wheels while stretching out those winter-pale legs.
The action starts on Sunday, May 29, with the Metropolitan Challenge, an all-day bike-a-thon for cycling enthusiasts who just want to get out and enjoy a beautiful day on two wheels. From Monday to Friday people on the island of Montreal are also encouraged to walk to work as a means of promoting physical fitness and also the upcoming major events on the weekend.
Friday, June 3, marks the 13th annual Tour de la Nuit for those who want to take in the bright lights of the big city. A spectacularly colourful activity as many cyclists tend to dress up with extra reflectors both for fun and safety, this is less of a competition and more of a fun cycle for those who love night riding.
The main event is the 27th annual Tour de l’Île on Sunday, June 5. The mega bike-a-thon brings out about 30,000 participants every year for this exclusive tour around the island of Montreal.
For those who love theatre in its purest and rawest form, Montreal’s
St-Ambroise Fringe Festival brings the best of fringe theatre, dance and performance art to the Plateau Montreal district from May 30-June 19.
Growing exponentially over the last 25 years, this year the festival is adding a unique visual-arts aspect to the fest with the first-come first-served arts show and a mural-painting event in the Fringe Park (corner St-Laurent and Rachel)
As for main attractions, this will be the biggest festival ever with 111 companies putting on over 600 performances in several new venues.
This year’s event also features a new Eco Carnivale put on by the Fringe’s new “Green Team”, a Slow Dance night, an Air Guitar competition, and the Slam Montreal francophone spoken-word event.
Plus, the Fringe Fest will have a special music component put on in collaboration with POP Montreal called FringePop. That will happen at the Fringe Park from June 16-19.
The first major music festival of the spring/summer season with both indoor and outdoor programming is MUTEK and it is a major treat and hardcore celebration for electronic music and media fans alike.
Running from June 1-5, this fun and invigorating festival of digital creativity in sound, music and audio-visual art is all about bringing what is most innovative and cutting edge to the forefront of the Montreal scene.
Featuring five solid days of electronic shows, conferences and workshops on everything from sound to vision, outdoor dance parties at Parc Jean Drapeau (Île Sainte-Hélène), and the first of the outdoor shows at Montreal’s Place des Festivals, this is the great event for those looking to dance the day or night away.
Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival
While there are many big, bright and shiny corporate-funded music events that happen in Montreal to bring out the biggest and most mainstream artists in the world, there are other events that support the little guy.
Suoni Per Il Popolo translates to the Sounds for the People and from June 5-25 it delivers just that. This low-key little 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 music that resonates with progressive social movements.
Mondial de la bière
From June 8-12, beer fans and aficionados can once again rejoice as their time to celebrate is finally back with Mondial de la bière or the Montreal World Beer festival.
Now in its 18th edition, this festival has grown beyond its britches since its humble beginnings, going from a tiny little fest that could to a top professional event that brings in exhibitors and participants from around the world.
There are literally thousands of different products to sample at this event between the imports, organic brews, meads, ice wines, ciders and other related products. For the gourmands of the world, there are also a number of different food samplings as well as seminars on pairings. There are even courses on products to make you a better host when it comes to serving and pairing items in your own home to impress your guests.
When it comes to festival greatness with over-the-top shows, a jam-packed schedule that fills up just about every major concert venue in the city, free outdoor shows that rock the days and nights of the downtown core and major headliners, nobody does it better than Equipe Spectra, the mastermind behind Les FrancoFolies de Montréal and the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
The 23rd edition of FrancoFolies runs from June 9-18 and is the most triumphant celebration of francophone music this world has ever seen.
Among some of the highlights this year are: Catherine Ringer (of Les Rita Mitsouko) make her return to the music scene after the loss of her partner Fred Chichin, Québécois sweetheart Mara Tremblay, an intimate evening with Jean-Pierre Ferland, Étienne Daho and Jeanne Moreau, Akhénaton and, in a surprising first, Quebec rocker Éric Lapointe will perform for the first time with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
The festival this year will also see the premiere of Gerry, a highly anticipated film on the life and music of rock legend Gerry Boulet.
As a unique special event there will also be a concert tribute to poet Serge Gainsbourg, directed by Pierre Lapointe.
With hundred of acts playing from around the globe to showcase the best music of the francophone world, French music fans are in for the time of their lives and will certainly not be disappointed.
Montreal Grand Prix
Not only is it the hottest ticket on the North American Formula 1 circuit, but the Montreal Grand Prix attracts swarms of racing fans from all over the world for an ultimate three-day party.
While there has been some instability in the past with the event, this year’s Grand Prix is bigger and badder than ever, with three solid days of street parties, vintage and F1 vehicle displays, club and restaurant events and lots more running from June 10-12. So don’t be left out of the action!
National Aboriginal Day
For National Aboriginal Day Celebrations on June 21 the organizers of Terre en Vue, Montreal’s Aboriginal Festival, will be putting on a special ceremony at Botanical Gardens that will be performed by Elders.
The event will also include drumming, a picnic and a small exchange between First Nations Elders and also seniors from the general population concerning the survival of Quebec’s Boreal Forest.
La Fête nationale du Québec à Montréal
Every June 24 the province of Quebec likes to spoil itself with huge birthday party to celebrate national pride and all things Québécois. While there are major events throughout the province, Montreal is always the nerve centre for this major event.
In the past, the province has seen many major celebrities take to outdoor stages in the city’s many parks. Plus there are fireworks, parades and lots more.
des Feux Loto-Québec
Montrealers and tourists alike know that the summer season has finally hit when they hear that rumble and pow accompanied by a spectacular explosion of colour and light of the Montreal International Fireworks Competition.
Kicking off on Saturday, June 25, and running on Saturdays and selected Wednesdays until the end of July, this truly magical event has become an institution.
Here is a list of this year’s competitors and their themes: China has a Kung Fu theme on June 25; the Czech Republic’s Night with a Flower duet theme on July 2; England puts on a Stars of the World theme on July 9; Italy has Angels and Demons on July 13; Australia has The Colors of Kakadu July 16; the US does a Wizard of Oz-themed show July 20; France will go with a Maudites Français theme July 27; and then the competition ends with a special Beatles tribute presentation.
For the best seats in the house, tickets can be purchased for seating at La Ronde or, as many Montrealers often do, folks can line the quays of the Old Port to take in the show.
Montreal International Jazz Festival
Ultimately the biggest bash of the city’s summer season, the Montreal International Jazz Festival is now in its 32nd edition and as usual presents an embarrassment of riches from June 25 to July 4.
Featuring an unbelievable bevy of musicians, this year’s indoor concert schedule features some of the world’s biggest acts. This includes Robert Plant, Diana Krall, Sade, Marianne Faithfull, Wanda Jackson, Dave Brubeck, Peter Frampton, Tony Bennett, Don McLean, America, Return To Forever, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Artie Shaw Orchestra in a new edition of the friendly Battle of the Bands.
For those really looking to get their jazz on, there is a variety of contemporary jazz acts coming, such as Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Richard Galliano, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Christian McBride, David Binney, Erik Truffaz and Esperanza Spalding.
For the music fans who always try and catch the biggest new thing or quickest rising stars, the Jazz Fest has a series of breathtaking new women performers who won’t disappoint, such as Émilie Clepper, Clara Furey, Keren Ann, Katie Moore, Jill Barber and Sophie Hunger.
As for Canadian music fans, this year they are in for a treat with acts like: Blue Rodeo, Jean Pierre Zanella, k.d. lang, Ron Sexsmith, Holly Cole, Colin James, Oliver Jones, Champion et ses G-Strings, the unexpected return of Men Without Hats, and Nikki Yanofsky playing with the Orchestre Métropolitain.
For those looking to check out the contemporary music scene, Milton Nascimento, Tigran Hamasyan, Ana Moura, Youssou N’Dour, Yaron Herman, Hugh Masekela, Sierra Maestra, Harold López-Nussa, The Jolly Boys and Pink Martini are all playing for their enjoyment.
With hundreds of acts playing indoors or on main stages outdoors, check the festival’s website frequently for updates and to see the much-anticipated outdoor stage lineup expected later on this month.
While there is still no information available on Montreal’s annual Canada Day spectacular in the Old Port, the usual activities include an inflated bouncy village for children as well as a series of other children’s activities, concerts, dance parties and water skiing. Check local listings in late June for more info.
Just for Laughs
Whether you are young or old, everybody enjoys a good laugh! This is why Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival has become a world-renowned event, attracting the crème de la crème of comedy.
July 6 marks the festival’s opening when the francophone program takes Montreal by storm. French comedic icons like Stéphane Rousseau, Serge Postigo, Jean-Marc Parent and Éric Salvail take over a series of Montreal theatres for night after night of laughter.
On July 14, the English programming kicks off with Jeff Ross (of Celebrity Roast fame) hosting the Nasty Show.
Also coming to Montreal this year for the fest are: Danny Bhoy, Jimmy Carr, Maz Jobrani, Anthony Jeselnik, Craig Ferguson, the Daily Show’s John Oliver, Eric Stonestreet, Russell Peters, Eddie Izzard, Tim Minchin, Louis C.K, Daniel Tosh and Colin Quinn.
Montreal International Tango Festival
Whether you love to do the tango yourself, want to learn, take in professional performances or hear a spectacular array of tango music, this wild and whirling festival has it all.
This festival brings in some of the best tango dancers in the world for a series of performances from July 6-11. Local tango musicians will team up with the visitors for some spectacular shows and also be hosting nights when you too can show your passion and take to the dance floor.
Don’t know how to tango? This is a perfect opportunity for anyone to take a crash course at the festival with professional instructors.
Montréal Complètement Cirque
Montreal’s one and only homegrown circus festival is back for is second consecutive year to wow audiences in a celebration of circus art forms from July 11-14.
This festival brings together some of the best circus acts from around the world to perform with Quebec’s best homegrown talent.
The mastermind behind this major operation is 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.
The height of thrilling and inspiring family entertainment,
In the dead steamy heat of July and August, many city dwellers retreat to move theatres to take a break from the concrete jungle and cool off with a movie.
If you’ve already seen all of the big summer blockbusters, the Fantasia festival runs from July 14 to August 7 to provide a different array of cinematic entertainment.
While many of these films hail from places like Asia, Europe and other continents, sometimes less mainstream major films make their North American premieres at this festival as did Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.
Montreal International Dragon Boat 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.
From July 22-24 this majestic festival takes place in Montreal’s Olympic Basin and offers up a taste of Chinese culture along with a race that has 2294 years of tradition. Featuring Chinese fare, live entertainment, various arts and crafts, and the ever-popular Children Drawing Contest, this is a fun event for the entire family to take in and learn from.
Heavy metal fans can rejoice once again this summer as Montreal has two big days devoted to their fun and enjoyment at Parc Jean Drapeau from July 23-24.
Patrons of dark music are in for a serious treat this year as a multitude of heavy metal, hard rock and other darker forms of rock and metal will be blasted with the likes of Kiss headlining as well as the following acts: Disturbed, Billy Talent, Motörhead, Godsmack, Anthrax, Opeth, In Flames, Children of Bodom, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, Machine Head, Unearth, Diamond Head, The Sword, Suicide Silence, Times of Grace, Red Fang, DevilDriver, Kingdom of Sorrow, All Shall Perish and Straight Line Stich
As Montreal is ultimately known as a city reveling in diversity, it is no surprise that the city’s annual gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pride celebration doesn’t just get its own day of fun but an entire week.
From parties to drag shows to outdoor concerts, Divers/Cité is a major event and tourist draw for hundreds of thousands who flock to Montreal’s Gay Village to take it in.
The action runs from July 25-31 for a week of pride-filled fun.
& Arts Festival
While California has Coachella and England has the Reading Festival, Montreal has its own international alternative-rock festival to lust after with Osheaga.
Started 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 Parc Jean Drapeau from July 29-31
This year’s lineup includes: Eminem, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, The Flaming Lips, The Tragically Hip, Death Cab for Cutie, Cypress Hill, Death From Above 1979, KiD CuDi, Janelle Monáe, City and Colour, Bright Eyes, Beirut, Karkwa, Ratatat, Sam Roberts Band, Malajube, Bran Van 3000, Crystal Castles, MSTRKRFT, The Sounds, Sia, Eels, White Lies, Yoav, Fucked Up, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Joseph Arthur, Tokyo Police Club, The Mountain Goats, Lights, Hey Rosetta!, Bassnectar, DâM-FunK, Girl Unit, Manchester Orchestra, Twin Shadow, Anna Calvi, Smith Westerns, Braids, Galaxie, Jimmy Hunt and Natalia Kills.
Even if you’ve never had haggis or seen a caber tossed, the Montreal Highland Games & Festival is the best Montreal event to celebrate in all things Scottish.
This year’s festival is getting an extra day, Saturday, July 30, for a special Celtic festival chocked full of music, dancing and Celtic fare.
On Sunday, July 31, the day starts bright and early as the traditional athletic competition begins as does the Highland dancing competitions in various categories and the pipe band competitions.
Terres en vues
/ Land InSights
If you want to enjoy a celebration of Native culture, cinema, art & crafts, traditional foods, visual arts and all that is First Nations in the heart of Montreal, August 2-9 is the ultimate time for it with the Land InSights festival.
The festival will once again take place at the brand-new festival space, Place des Festival, and this year’s event promises not only to be longer but bigger and better as organizers have had time to adjust from last year’s redesign to accommodate the new space.
The newly enhanced festival will feature a series of new artistic installations that will include fire as well of two days of Aboriginal dance performances by the Boreades de la Dance de Loto Québec, local Aboriginal groups and First Nations groups from abroad.
The festival is beefing up the traditional arts & crafts displays, turning them into a two-day event for all of those interested in learning about how these products are made and the history behind them.
The festival will also see the return of live music shows by Aboriginal performers, who will heat up the nights and celebrate First Nations culture in style August 4-6.
Of course, this festival would not be the same if it didn’t have its annual film and video competition that takes place in various theatres to showcase the talents of Aboriginal directors and actors from around the world.
& Design Montreal
While Montreal already has its own fashion week to showcase local designers on the catwalk for industry types and the glitterati, this unique outdoor event is all about letting the public be part of the fashion world.
August 3-6, come and take part in the largest event of its kind in North America as Quebec’s top designers unveil their new looks and styles for the upcoming season. For those looking to discover Quebec’s up-and-comers, this fashion fest offers budding talent from Montreal’s best design schools the opportunity to showcase their wares.
Top international DJs fly in for this classy event so the models can strut, twirl and sashay to their beats. They also set the tone and atmosphere for the too-cool-for-school after-parties.
For those looking to get “the look”, some exclusive products from these designers are sold onsite making this the perfect event for anyone with a mild or intense interest in fashion.
Fête Éco-Bio Paysanne
For the sixth year in a row, Montreal’s TOHU is proud to host the Fête Éco-Bio Paysanne, Canada’s largest organic-environmental fair, on their grounds August 5-7.
This outdoor event is just the ticket for anyone wanting to learn more about composting, environmental products, organic produce and products.
La TOHU’s public square is transformed into a festive open-air market with close to 100 exhibitors. The two major activities happening side-by-side are the organic food market and booths showing how we can all live more sustainably.
The ultimate in tennis, Canada’s own Rogers Cup is back in Montreal this summer with the men’s tennis series August 5-14.
The tension and excitement under the summer sun can’t be beat when you get the opportunity to watch match after match courtside and see the top players compete to be number one.
Come see some of tennis’ biggest names like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic and Andy Murray attempt to eliminate each other as the event progresses and the world watches on from home.
And, this event doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, because if you purchase tickets for the smaller courts, you can wander the premises to hang out with other tennis aficionados and get to meet the players.
Montreal International FestiBlues
While the jazz fest celebrates jazz and all sorts of related music, this little festival that could in Montreal’s north end is devoted to nothing but the best in blues music from Quebec and around the world.
Happening August 10-14, this five-day event brings out some of Quebec’s biggest superstars and many a blues legend to perform in north-end clubs and on outdoor stages.
Gaining more steam with every year, the festival devoted to anime/ Manga film and literature culture is back once again for its annual three-day conference, activities and parties August 12-14.
This magical event is the place to see people dressed up as their favourite anime characters, attend workshops on anime and Manga, participate in dance, fan-fiction, karaoke and costume contests, view anime-themed artwork, play in the gaming labs and lots more.
There is so much Japanese and Chinese anime entertainment culture going on at this festival that it’s sure to please both new and hardcore fans.
La Fête des
enfants de Montréal
The 13th annual Montreal Children’s Festival will take place at Parc Jean Drapeau August 13-14 and as per usual it will be a delight for any local or visiting family.
This special festival is all about families and it offers about a hundred free activities, including singing, dancing and music shows, along with creative and sports workshops, cooperative games and inflatable structures. It is all about making the little ones happy!
Created to raise awareness of Japanese culture in Montreal, the 10th annual Matsuri Japon or Japanese festival (matsuri means festival in Japanese) will be rolling out on August 13 in the Quays of the Old Port.
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 even leaving the island of Montreal.
Montreal International Reggae Festival
For those who love nothing more than chilling and vibing on reggae tunes under a hot summer sun or grooving out to them under a starry night, the Montreal International Reggae Festival is back for another two-day spectacle come August20-21.
While the lineup for the event has yet to be announced, some of the confirmed acts that have already been confirmed are: Gyptian, Mavado, Beres Hammond, Sharon Tucker, Third World, Wayne Wonder, Jah Cutta, Ijah, Visionary and Dan Fiyah Beats.
August 18-28 marks the return of Hollywood-style cinema mania to Montreal as the international film industry descends upon the city to take in hundreds of films and schmooze with industry types and do business during the 35th annual World Film Festival.
While it might not be Cannes or Sundance, this world-class event allows attendees to see some major films before they hit regular cinemas. Once more, big-time celebrities do make their way to the red carpet to promote their latest chef-d’oeuvre and sometimes even the next Oscar contender.
What’s even better about this event is that anyone can purchase tickets to take in a flick so it is best to pay attention to who you are seated next to in the theatre as you too could be just inches away from the next Angelina Jolie, Robert de Niro or Stephen Spielberg.
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 year, August 19-20 is all about racing with the return of NASCAR to Montreal for two days of the high-performance and heart-pumping automobile racing mania at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
of the Fests
While Montreal may have its own series of big-time festivals, mega parties, outdoor concerts, it doesn’t mean that the province’s biggest city is the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to festivals and major events.
Here are a handful of events in other regions that will get your toes tapping, your heart singing, your mouth watering and your eyes opening in amazement.
Festival Rétro Pop
Ever wonder what it was like to live in the 1950s? A world where phones were rotary, cars were huge, eyeglasses had pointy cat-like tips and rock ’n’ roll had a fat, organic sound, with warm, cheery notes and lyrics that called men “Daddy,” girls “Suzie” or “Donna” and they were all angels.
Well, forget about the rotary phones but the rest of these elements of the retro world get celebrated in grand style during Victoriaville’s Retro Pop festival where hundreds of vintage cars are on display, the tunes are from a bygone, innocent era and the hamburgers and fries abound. The kitschy festival runs from June 9-11.
The Sunshine Route
For those looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of their lives, the Mont Tremblant region offers a delightful two-day tour of open-house visits to their local Bed & Breakfasts, small inns, artist and artisan studios, and a certified organic farm
The tour is designed as a lazy, hazy drive where visitors can attend workshops, meet the local artists and artisans and discover the natural beauty of this breathtaking region.
Running from June 11-12, this tour is guaranteed to have visitors returning to the region to take advantage of the treasures that are being showcased.
Festival Saint-Honoré dans l’Vent
If you are planning a car trip down south between June 17-19, why not make Saint-Honoré the place you stop to stretch your legs and take in their fabulous international kite-flying festival.
This visually stunning event is ideal for the whole family and is sure impress just about everyone as it brings out some of the best kite-flyers from around the world.
With aviation-related activities, instruction on kiting for the young and old, on-site entertainment, evening shows, and a variety of local artists and exhibitors, this festival is the epitome of wholesome family fun.
Varia! Le temps d’un rêve
When it comes to family entertainment, very few acts make their way to the north but this year equine fans are in store for a delight with Varia!
This horseback-riding-meets-circus-type performance act is an artistic fusion of dance and acrobatics combined with equine sports.
A truly unique and inspiring form of family entertainment, this show runs from June 17-August 14 at the Ferme Beauvallon in Trois-Rivières.
The James Bay Walleye Fishing Tournament
June 23 sees the return of a favourite festival among many Crees, the Walleye Fishing tournament on Opémisca Lake.
This year’s tournament runs from June 23 to July 2 in Chapais where the festival base will be while the tournament itself will be held on Opémisca Lake. Multiple categories will be open for professionals, amateurs, youth and the feminine competition.
Plus there will be live entertainment at the festival base as well as days devoted to children’s activities and entertainment. This year’s headliners are AlcoholicA, Canada’s biggest Metallica cover band, and I Love Rockn’ Roll, a special musical revue with Quebec superstar Marie-Chantal Toupin.
Festival Forestier IGA Bilodeau de Senneterre
Senneterre’s lumberjack festival is back for its consecutive 17th year from June 30 to July 3. So whether you want to show off just how handy you are at cutting up lumber or compete as a lark for the first time, this event is always bound to bring about the smiles one way or another.
With a series of different categories to compete in and a wide variety of family activities, this woodsy event brings out professional woodsmen from around the world and attracts fun-seeking families from the entire province.
With nightly entertainment and a major draw with fabulous prizes, why not check out this festival if you happen to be in that neck of the woods.
Featuring major acts from Quebec, the US and beyond, the FestiVoix music festival is ultimately a favourite in the north for its professionalism and wow-factor.
This highly popular event attracts thousands to take in some blues, pop, opera, rock, world music and choral music.
Running from June 30 to July 10, the FestiVoix has once again outdone itself bringing in acts like Jonas & The Massive Attraction, INXS, KC & the Sunshine Band, Ian Kelly, Ingrid St-Pierre and many more.
Mondial des Cultures de Drummondville
If folk dancing is something you feel passionate about and exploring folk dances from all around the world sounds inspiring, why not check out the Mondial des Cultures de Drummondville as it is a truly mesmerizing event for the whole family to enjoy.
The festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year July 7-17 and patrons can expect some special activities and performances.
It is one of the five biggest folklore festivals in the world and brings out over 300,000 attendants annually to the event.
Tremblant International Blues Festival
Mont Tremblant’s annual blues blowout is a big-budget festival annually brings hot blues acts from around the world for an epic 10-day event all set in a small tourist town.
This rockin’ party kicks off July 8 and runs until July 17 and it’s guaranteed to knock your socks off.
While this year’s lineup has not been released, check their official website this June for all of the big announcements.
Festival de la relève indépendante musicale en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Holding its 7th edition, FRIMAT is the musical event of the season in Val-d’Or. Running from July 27-30, this is a major music competition for up-and-coming artists from Abitibi-Témiscamingue and northern Quebec.
Audiences get to hear a wide variety of musical acts, who are competing to be number one and for a $5000 cheque, in a warm and relaxed festival setting.
The Truck Rodeo
Notre-Dame-du-Nord hosts yet another edition of its action-packed truck rodeo. Having brought in over 113,000 visitors to the region for the event, the widely popular rodeo grows exponentially every year.
Running from July 28-31, this rodeo isn’t exactly what you would call traditional as the livestock is switched up for vehicles. 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.
This year’s $100 ticket super draw is a massive $276,250, making it the festival’s largest jackpot ever.
Festival International des Rythmes du Monde du Saguenay
Now in its 8th edition, this colourful and culturally enriched festival is all about bringing 850 musicians, dancers and artisans from around the world to the Saguenay region for a series of performances from July 28 to August 7.
With percussion music and dance performances running continuously on outdoor stages from afternoon until night, this free event brought 240,000 festival-goers to the region last year alone.
This year’s program includes acts from 20 countries, including Haiti, Morocco and Cuba, as well as several groups from Quebec and Canada.
With children’s events, parties, dancing and loads of free entertainment, this event is an ideal way to broaden one’s cultural horizons without even travelling too far from home.
Festival Western de Guigues
Held August 2-7, this northern rodeo is the height of cowboy-style family fun. A traditional rodeo with all of the usual trappings and livestock competitions, this event has a whole plethora of fun activities for the young and old, including 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 event is ideal to put a smile on the face of any cowboy or cowgirl!
Innu Nikamu is not only one of the biggest Aboriginal music festivals in North America, it is Quebec’s largest.
Now in its 27th edition, this festival is all about cultural exchange between Quebec and Canada’s First Nations as well as the general population.
Held August 4-7 on the Maliotenam Innu reserve in the Duplessis region, this music festival brings out musicians, performers, composers, dancers, storytellers, rappers and traditional drummers to the delight of thousands who travel to the region to take in the event.
Ultimately a family- and community-oriented event, there are also craft demonstrations, specific entertainment and activities for children such as an inflatable play area, an exhibit of products, fireworks and food tastings.
Osisko en lumière Festival pyromusical en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Combining the excitement and awe-striking beauty of fireworks with the drama and artistry of music, the Osisko en lumière Festival pyromusical has been a favourite among many northerners and tourists for years as it is such an all-encompassing and unique form of entertainment.
Running August 5-7, this list of fabulous acts have yet to be unveiled but in light of how many 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 days of this festival there will be lots of kids’ activities with inflatable games, face painting and so much more.
Foire gourmande de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue et du Nord-Est ontarien
This mouthwatering culinary festival has become a favourite amongst gourmets of the region and families alike.
The perfect thing for anyone who is looking for new ideas on how to prepare the delicacies local to northern Quebec and northern Ontario, this fun foodie event runs August 13-15 and is guaranteed to serve up something special for just about everyone.
Growing larger with every year, this Ville-Marie event has now taken over the local fairgrounds to be able to serve the public better and offer more activities to the entire family.
With over 50 exhibitors and over 250 products to sample, this festival isn’t just about food but also offers free entertainment and a series of children’s activities.
International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
Ultimately one of Quebec’s most visually stunning festivals, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu’s hot-air balloon festival is an international event that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region annually and why not? This festival has something to offer to the entire family and is one of the most incredible places to be in Quebec August 13-21.
With hot-air balloons from all over the world and the opportunity for anyone to take a ride, this festival provides a playground both on the ground and in the sky. For those who want 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.
At night the scene heats up with major international acts straight off the Top 40 billboard with shows by artists like Kei$ha, Pitbull and Jacynthe.
Festival de musique émergente en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
If you’re a fan of the underground music scene or just want to discover the next hot act before everyone else does, the Festival de musique émergente en Abitibi-Témiscamingue in Rouyn Noranda is the hottest place to be September 1-4.
With over 50 artists and groups from Quebec, Canada, the US and Europe, this showcase of rock, metal, hip-hop and other genres is the ultimate place to discover new sounds and trends.
Festival Western de
St-Tite’s world famous country & western festival is the best way finish up your summer travels in Quebec.
Held September 9-18, this highly spirited west-fest literally attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to enjoy the rodeos and the country-music shows that go down.
With line-dancing lessons, major country acts and vendors selling the finest western fashions, you don’t have to be a cowboy or cowgirl to go to this event but you may end up looking like one by the time you leave.
Once more, St-Tite’s Western festival is actually a non-profit organization whose twofold mission is to produce the best of western rodeos in eastern Canada and activities aimed at re-creating an authentic country & western atmosphere.
Ongoing Attractions Geared Towards the
Here are some summertime activities and attractions that are perfect for when you just want to pick up and go with the family to do something different for a day.
If you’re looking for a theme park with loads of rides and entertainment for the little ones, roller coasters and adventure rides for the thrill seekers and fun to take in for just about everyone, La Ronde has it all.
Stay for the day and play with the family or on special select evenings throughout the summer, La Ronde becomes the ultimate place to take in the International Fireworks Competition. La Ronde is open from May until mid-October.
Quebec City’s Aquarium Parc
If you’re in the Quebec City area and want to teach the kids all about life under the sea, there’s no better place to go than the Aquarium Parc.
Filled with exotic sea creatures, fish and other marine life, kids can feed the walruses or participate in a special animal-keeper-for-a-day program.
If the weather is hot the whole family can cool off in the water park.
Parc Safari is the closest you can get to going on an African safari without leaving the province.
Featuring exotic wildlife in a safari setting and an animal observatory, this animal-themed wonderland also has theme-park rides and a water park to splash around in.
For when you really just want to hit the zoo with the kids and get an authentic zoo experience, there’s no better place in Quebec to be than the Granby Zoo.
The zoo has animals from all over the world in custom-theme zones so that children can learn about the animals’ natural habitats.
After perusing the animals under the hot summer sun, the whole family can cool off at the Yoplait Amazoo Water Park in the wave pool, the “Lazy River” or the water-games basin.
There are other zoos and animal parks in Quebec, find out more about them:
Zoo sauvage de St-Félicien: www.zoosauvage.org/index_ete_en.php
Refuge Pageau: www.refugepageau.ca/index.php
Village du Père-Noël
Do your kids ever wonder what Santa Claus does during the off-season? Why not show them a world dedicated to him by taking them on a trip to Santa Claus’ Village.
Located in the Laurentians, this theme park is a great place for an active day for the kids of climbing, running, jumping in a bouncy house, taking the mini cars out on the track or meeting up with Santa Claus.
La Cité de l’Or
Does anyone in the family work in mining? Or is there a mining project going on near you? To teach your children what the process is really about, why not take them to Val-d’Or’s La Cité de l’Or to show them what mining is really about.
This mining park is the perfect place to inspire a child’s scientific side by showing them just how a mine works and teaching them all about rocks and minerals.
If you’re in southern Quebec and looking for a water park to help the whole family cool off for the day, Quebec has a few hot spots that are all about water fun.
If you want the best of the best, check out these fine establishments:
Super Aqua Club: www.superaquaclub.com/index.html
Mont St-Sauveur’s Aquatic Parc: www.parcaquatique.com/
Valcartier’s Vacation Village: www.valcartier.com/
And this concludes The Nation’s 2011 Summer Guide. On behalf of the Nation, enjoy the season and all it has to offer because sometimes the hot weather can pass in just the blink of an eye.