Finally spring has sprung! The days are lengthening and growing warmer. Vacation season approaches. If you are planning to visit other regions of Quebec this summer, now is the time to start researching as this province hosts a phenomenal amount of festivals and celebrations that suit just about anyone’s tastes.
For your recreational enlightenment, the Nation has once again compiled a list of top-notch festivals, happenings, activities and gatherings to make your vacation planning easier. Whether it is family time you have in mind, a romantic getaway, deeply steeping yourself in foreign cultures or sampling the bounty that la belle province has to offer, we almost certainly will have something that piques your interest.
Montreal’s Festive Festivals
As locals, we often gripe about the never-ending festivals in this city that make it hard to keep track of what’s happening on your own street comer. But, let’s face it: as a tourist destination, Montreal is where it’s at! Montreal has it all going on, from Jazz with pizzazz to “Folies” with the Franco.. .phones and getting perspective on the retrospective… of Expo 67, that is.
Chamber musicTo ease the city into the season, first up on the festival roster is the 12th annual Montreal Chamber Music Festival. From May 3 – June 2, chamber music enthusiasts will have the opportunity to take in the likes of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” Beethoven sonatas for cello and piano, a Franz Schubert 12-hour marathon and so much more in a spectacular new venue. The spectacularly renovated St-James Church in the heart of downtown Montreal has become the new home for this festival of sweet sounds. Even if you are not in town for the festival, taking in the St-James’s breathtaking, freshly restored beauty can grant its own satisfaction. Info: www.festivalmontreal.ong/Museum open house
If you’ve ever wanted to take a tour of as many museums as one person can handle during the course of one day, the Quebecor 21 st annual Museums Day is the ultimate, drawing over 120,000 participants annually. With 27 participating museums, patrons have the option of either boarding a shuttle bus or going from venue to venue themselves and taking in what Montreal’s museums have to offer for the nominal charge of… nothing! On Sunday, May 27, all participating museums lift their fares and let the public in for free. For more information on this fabulous museum open house: www.museesmontreal.org/site/museumsday.htm
Shifting into the spring season into high gear is the Montreal Bike Festival on May 27. Kicking off the city’s cycling season, over 3,000 cyclists will take over Beloeil (on Montreal’s south shore) for 75, 100, 125 or 150 km bike tours. Natrel milk will be provided for the cyclists at the scheduled lunch spot, and at the finish line “Fromages D’Ici” provides edible treats. Both Volkswagen and Purex have little surprises for participants. As this event is also the first in a series of three, and if you are a big time cycling enthusiast, it might be a good idea to book a few days in Montreal with your bike. Velo Quebec will also be putting on “Un Tour La Nuit,” June 1, when 12,000 cyclists embark on a night-time, 20-km cycling journey through the streets of Montreal. Kicking off at 8:30 from Rosemont Boulevard, treats and surprises will also be offered. Of course, if you are feeling really, really athletic, join 30,000 others in the mother of all cycling events, The Tour de I’lle de Montréal. On Sunday, June 3, the annual 50 km event delights cycling tourists from around the world. Yet more cheese(what is it with cyclists and cheese?
) will also be provided for those who will tour the island on two wheels.
For more information or to register for any of these events, go to: www.velo.qc.ca/Electronica
Of course, if you’d rather get your groove on with two feet on the ground, Mutek, Montreal’s premiere underground electronic music festival, is back in its eighth edition and is bigger and better than ever! From May 30-June 3, over 100 celebrated global digital artists will create spectacular and sophisticated showcases of electronic music and arts. The event will feature a number of indoor shows. Special events include outdoor dance parties at île Jean-Drapeau at the Piknic Electronique dance party site. Shows range in prices but five-day event passes are a flat rate. For more information: www.mutek.ca/Beer bonanza
If you are serious about your suds, there is no better place to sample the world’s finest in beer than Le Mondial de la bière, Montreal’s ultimate beer festival. From May 30-June 3Windsor Station and its courtyard will be transformed into the ultimate beer hall, featuring more than 350 products and about 100 new beers. To balance the suds after some hefty “sampling,” various vendors will also be hawking various edibles, ideally paired to go with beer.
For more information go to: www.festivalmondialbiere.qc.ca/Fantastic Fringe
The St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, from June 7-17, is the city’s only annual festival of theatre, dance, and performance art. It’s also the only bilingual, bicultural festival on the international Fringe circuit. With 11 full days of indoor and outdoor shows, live music and a hopping beer tent, this event is a favourite for many Montrealers and tourists alike! Now in its 17th edition, the festival where anyone can perform just about anything is back and with many old favourites and loads of new performances. For more info: www.montrealfringe.ca
If speed, engines and a globalized glam scene of the rich and pampered make your heart palpitate, Montreal’s Grand Prix is likely to be your idea of heaven! From June 8-10, the downtown transforms into a Formula One racing wonderland, featuring street parties, vintage car displays, fashion shows and black and white checkered flags hanging from every available night spot. Getting into the spirit of the weekend, local retailers will frequently redesign their storefronts for the event and speciality racing shops open up for paraphernalia seekers. The main event goes down on Sunday, June 10, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but it’s vital to reserve early for this event, as tickets tend to go fast. For more information: www.grand-prix.ca/Fireworks fest
One of Montreal’s most celebrated annual events is l’International des Feux Loto-Québec, also known as the Fireworks festival. Since the competition began back in 1985, the fireworks fest has averaged 2.3 million viewers, gathering at either La Ronde, on the Jacques Cartier Bridge, or on either side of the river. This year’s edition runs from June 30 through July 28 and will feature eight competing countries: Spain, England, Mexico, Hong Kong/ China, USA, Canada, France and Germany. For more information: www.intemationaldesfeuxlotoquebec.com
Nationalism the fun way
If you’ve never experienced la Fête nationale in an urban setting, hitting the big city for St-Jean Baptiste Day is an ideal way to get your Quebec politics and culture kick. Some of the biggest names in Québécois music will be hitting the big stage at Parc Maisonneuve for a one-night blow out bash. On Saturday, June 24, come and see the likes of Normand Brathwaite, Eric Lapointe, Nanette Workman, Garou, Dobacaracol and many more in this spectacular free outdoor show. There will also be a series of shows in various different Montreal boroughs. To check out show times and to get more information on what will be happening in Montreal for la Fête St-Jean, go to: www.cfn.ong/accueil.html
All that jazz
Now in its 28th Edition, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is back and jam packed with musical gems, fun, excitement and festivities. This year will see 2,500 musicians from across the planet in the city from June 28 to July 8 for an extravaganza of the best in jazz, soul, blues, traditional music, electro and folk. Though the outdoor stage schedule has notyet been released, the indoor concert schedule is looking hot! Fantastic classics like Keith Jarrett, Bob Dylan, Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis will grace Montreal stages as will Louisianan Zachary Richard and French artist Francis Cabrel. In a mega-spectacular, Latin-alternative crossover sensation Manu Chao with the Radio Bemba Sound System and guests will play at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Béla Fleck & The Flecktones with Victor Wooten, Future Man and Jeff Coffin, with special guest and honorary Flecktone Howard Levy and North Mississippi Al Stars will play a very special show at Place-des-Arts. Local sensation Oliver Jones will share the same bill as Susie Aridi with I Musici for a magical evening of jazz and swing. Commemorating the tenth anniversary of the death of the father of Arobeat, Fela Kuti, Antibalas and Femi Kuti & The Positive Force will be joining forces and sharing the same bill. Canadian jazz-pop sensation Holly Cole will be returning to showcase her new album. Dolores O’Riordan, former front-chick of The Cranberries will make her solo debut. There are so many acts playing at this year’s event that we couldn’t even dream about listing them all in one article and the festival has not even released their outdoor stage programming. To get updates, buy tickets or for any other information, go to: www.montrealjazzfest.com/La Fête du Canada
If you are already in town for the jazz fests, take in some of the many Canada Day festivities July 1. Every year Montreal throws a mega bash in the Old Port and transforms the quay area into a playground for activities the whole family can enjoy. This year’s celebrations are expected to run from 10 am to 10 pm with over 200 free activities. Festivities kick off with the annual benefit walk for the Hudson’s Bay Company’s young athletes program. There will also be free giant birthday cakes, a parade, acrobatic skiing, guided outings aboard canoes, kayaks and rabaskas, rafting and a climbing tower. For the wee ones there are all sorts of craft activities like mask making, sand castles, soap bubbles, paper planes and inflatable structures featuring themes such as the Tsunami slide, Pirates of the Caribbean, Kiddie Garden, the Fortress and Dungeon, and Roller-coaster. The sugar shack will also be back this year, packed with delicious maple goodies to keep everyone energetic. At night, the scene heats up with an all-Canadian showcase of performers, including Frédéric De Grandpré, Boom Desjardins, Annie Villeneuve, Gage, Jeff Martin, Jeremy Fisher, le groupe André, Melissa Lavergne, Cirque Envol, le groupe Asani and Lafas Druméria. The evening will close with the traditional Canada Day fireworks.
For more information go to: http://www.celafete.ca/Laughs et Rires galore
It’s hard to believe but the world’s biggest comedy festival bash, Just for Laughs/ Juste pour rire, is celebrating its silver anniversary! The fun gears up on July 8 and runs until July 29, with the majority of English shows and outdoor events between July 12 and July 22. Some of the biggest stars of comedy today are lined up: Howie Mandel, George Lopez, Russell Peters, Eddie Izzard, Billy Connolly, Louis CK.
A special feature this year is a live reading from the cast of The Family Guy, starring Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Mila «unis, Seth Green and Mike Henry. There will also be a live presentation from the cast of “How I Met Your Mother,” starring Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, Jason Segal and Cobie Smulders entitled Celebrity Autobiography.
Don’t miss the live the world premiere of a new show from Kids in the Hall with the original cast. Many favorites from previous years are also coming back like Tommy Tieman, John Pinette, Susie Essman, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, Dom Irrera, Dave Attell, André-Phillipe Gagnon, Sinbad, Greg Proops, Lewis Black, Jeremy Hotz, and Andy Kindler. There are so many new features and brand spanking new shows happening at this year’s comedy festival for their big 25th birthday bash that it would practically take a phone book to describe them all. Check out the festival’s website for more information or to purchase tickets at www.hahahacom
One of the best ways to escape the dead heat of July is at the movies and if you’ve already seen the summer’s blockbusters, why not check out some imported delights at Vision Globale’s Fantasia Festival? On the bill for this year’s edition are films from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. The Fantasia festival runs from July 5-23 and while the complete schedule has not yet been released, many impressive works have debuted here, including last summers blockbuster Bon Cop. Bad Cop. For more information: www.fantasiafestival.com
If la Fête nationale failed to satisfy your franco fetish, the Franco
Folies de Montréal has all the medicine you need, and more. Though last year’s festivities went down in June, the Franco
Folies are back in their usual time slot, running from July 25 through August 5. The line up for the outdoorstages will not be announced until early July, but the indoor show schedule is already up and is promising a few can’t-miss shows. On the playbill for this year’s indoor shows are: Loco Locass Symphonique, Vincent Vallières, Misia, Jeanne Cherhal, Juliette Gréco, Marie Mai, Barbara Carlotti, Grand Corps Malade, Emilie Simon, Abd Al Malik, Calogero, Marie Jo Thério, Chloé Sainte-Marie, Karkwa, Stefie Shock, TTC, Numéro#, Judi Richards and many more. Tickets are already on sale for the main events and are going fast. Pour de plus amples renseignements : www.francofolies.com
Bringing together athletics and ancient Asian culture, the Montreal International Dragon Boat Race features live entertainment, arts and crafts, vendors and a wide range of delectable ethnic delicacies. To keep the kiddies expressing themselves creatively, the ever-popular children’s drawing contest is also back. There’s also a race. Over 200 teams from across North America compete in this free event that is sure to please everyone young and old. www.montrealdragonboat.com/Pride but no prejudice
Now in its 15th edition, Montreal’s Divers/Cité, gay and lesbian pride celebration returns for five full days of festivities. Originally created to celebrate the diversity of the gay community through multidisciplinary performing arts and openness with the world, Divers/Cité attracts tourist from around the globe. Though the schedule is not yet available, dance parties, outdoor shows and the annual pride parade are booked from August 1-5 and it’s open to everyone. For more information go to: www.diverscite.org
That’s a NASCAR!If Formula 1 racing wasn’t enough for you, get your motor running at Montreal’s first ever NASCAR Busch Series event August 3-4. The fastest growing motorsport in North America, this event is bound to attract visitors from across Canada and the U.S. A I O-year deal was inked in 2006 between the City of Montreal and motorsport promoter Normand Legault to bring NASCAR to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The NASCAR Busch Series will haul 43 of its Chevy, Ford and Dodge stock cars to the Saint Helen’s island for two solid days of thrills, chills and global warming. For more info: www.nascar.com/Love and aces
If tennis is your game, The Rogers Cup, Men’s Edition is being held in Montreal this year at Uniprix stadium in Jarry Park from Saturday, August 4, through Sunday, August 12. Tickets for this event vary dramatically in price, depending on the match. For more information: www.rogerscup-men.com
Whether you are of Celtic descent or not, the Montreal Highland Games, Montreal’s premiere Scottish festival is back for another wild day of caber tossing, bag piping, haggis eating fun! For thirty years now, Montreal has been host to this popular event, attracting between 40 and 50 pipe bands annually, making it the one of the largest pipe band competitions in North America Take in some highland dancing or Scottish country dancing whilst sipping fine Scottish ale or sit back and enjoy the fiddle playing. There are over 60 vendors offering a wide array of Celtic goods. The little ones get their own comer with inflated bounce rides, pony rides and other activities designed especially for them. On Sunday, August 5, everyone is Scottish, so bring the whole family for a day of fun. For directions and information go to www.montrealhighlandgames.qc.ca/Le blues de la métropole
If the blues soothe your soul, Festi
Blues is the place to be August 9-12. Featuring a diverse array of blues acts on indoor and outdoor stages, Festiblues has been a stellar success for the last decade in Montreal. Though the programming schedule is not yet available, last year 74,000 enthusiasts flocked to the Ahuntsic (a borough of Montreal North) stages to take in the best of Québécois blues. For information: http://festiblues.com
All about the kids
Though the bulk of Montreal festivals have activities geared towards kids there’s only one major event devoted to the young ones. La Fête des enfants de Montréal on the weekend of August 18-19 is the most family friendly event of the summer. This festival is a giant picnic with loads of activities; families can bring their own coolers and leave them in a safe storage area until lunchtime or purchase meals featuring international gourmet. Participants in this completely free event are invited to the Botanical Gardens, the Biodôme or the Insectarium. Also available on site are checking areas for strollers, a nursing tent, changing tables and bottle warmers and microwave ovens. For information: http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?
_pageid= 168,561754&_dad=por tal& schema= PORTALHollywood Nord
If you just can’t get enough of the cinema, the Montreal World Film Festival, August 23 to September 3, is an end-of-summer tradition that in the past has launched many famous films amidst many big celebs. Although at the moment the festival is still in the stages of accepting submissions, the giant outdoor screen is guaranteed to be a hit for movie lovers who love their film under the stars. Every night at 8:30 pm, big blockbusters and classic films are screened on outside on the comer of Esplanade and Ste-Catherine Street to the completely free delight of thousands. For more information: www.ffm-montreal.org/en_index.html
Last year Gillett Entertainment Group collaborated with local promoters Greenland, Higher Ground and MEG to create a spectacular two-day, five-stage phenomena that brought groups like The Flaming Lips, Ben Harper and so many others together under one moniker, OSHEAGA With last year’s 25,000+ festival-goer attendance, the one word that came to mind was more! This year the ambitious festival is back with even bigger names and more of them. Though a large portion of the line-up is yet to be announced, already scheduled are the Smashing Pumpkins, Stars, Amy Wnehouse, Placebo, Paolo Nutini, Peter, Bjorn & John, Sam Roberts Band and Xavier Caféine, to name a few. Bringing together local sensations with big name acts, this year’s OSHEAGA festival is the hot rock ticket of the summer. Info: www.osheaga.com/Marathon madness
After a summer of festival induced indulgence, end the summer on a healthy note with the Festival de la Santé Oasis and the Montreal International Marathon on September 9. Featuring various marathons, half marathons, race/walks, wheelchair races, a health cycling event and a corporate marathon challenge, the marathon/health fest was created in 1991 to encourage people to improve their physical fitness. Marathon enthusiasts line up annually on the Jacques Cartier Bridge and run through many of Montreal’s most scenic neighbourhoods. To register or to find out more: www.marathondemontreal.com/Expo 67 retrospective
Expo 67 was Montreal’s ultimate celebration and for those who had the chance to be one of the 50 million visitors, the memory still lingers. When Montreal hosted the world’s fair back in the summer of love, it became an international debutante party for the city, putting us on the map. In all, 84 pavilions represented 62 countries, giving many their first glimpse behind the (then) Iron Curtain, their first tastes of exotic foods from places like Thailand or exotic drinks from the Caribbean. Many remember the summer as the best of times, a cultural revolution and the birth of local hippie-dom. Now the City of Montreal wants to revive the conviviality of Expo 67 with a six-month retrospective.
The original world’s fair ran six months as will its retrospective, with special events planned from May I through November I. Kicking off the festivities is “Rendezvous at Man and His World,” an exhibition of 30 large-scale photos tracing the creation of the islands for Expo 67 and showing their impact on the environment, hosted at the Biosphere. For those of you who were not there originally or bom later, the Biosphere is the geodesic dome that Buckminster Fuller designed as United States pavilion for Expo 67.
Though its quite unknown to its current regulars, La Ronde was actually created for Expo 67’ and to celebrate its birth, the now Six Flags owned establishment will be, in participation with the City of Montreal, devoting its season opening to Expo. Special activities and entertainment will be featured throughout the weekend, as will preferential rates May 19-21. Celebrate the birth of this historic amusement park and relive your Expo memories or create new ones! For more info: www.laronde.com
The art of Expo
June 23 through September 3, the City of Montreal and the Quebec government will sponsor an exhibition at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. This outdoor exposition, described as an “open-air art gallery,” will feature the public art works that decorate Parc Jean-Drapeau, the majority of which were created for Expo 67. This exhibit will also feature the ongoing restoration of the Totem, carved by aboriginal artists from British Columbia. The goal is to recreate the atmosphere of “Man and His World.” For more information: www.parcjeandrapeau.com
While you’re at it, The Centre d’art public de Montréal will also be sponsoring a sculpture exhibition featuring works recalling the various themes and national pavilions at Expo 67. This exhibit will also run from June 29 through September 3 and will take place on Ile Sainte-Hélène. Go to www.parcjeandrapeau.com for more information.
From July 4 through August 28, you can rekindle the spirit of Expo 67 with a ride on the Balade, the miniature train that was created for Exposo that visitors could tour around the site while getting a bird’s eye perspective on the festivities. The train tour will feature historic information and be animated by a guide. For more information: www.parcjeandra-peau.com
There will be “Week-ends du Monde au parc Jean-Drapeau” celebrating Expo in July and August, which will celebrate diverse cultures from around the world at a series of events packed with entertainment, shows, dancing and gastronomy, among other things. These festivals run from July 6-8, 13-15, 20-22 and August 23-25. Check the Parc Jean Drapeau website for updates: www.parcjeandrapeau.com
The Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal will be playing its own tribute to Expo’s 40th anniversary with a concert of special programming. Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead the show July 18 at Centre Pierre-Charbonneau with a 7:30 pm start. The show is presented as part of the Pop Concert series planned for the Expo retrospective. Call 514 899-0644 for more information or visit www.orgueset-couleurs.com
The Montreal Symphony Orchestra will play July 28 on the Parterre of Ile Sainte-Hélène, paying tribute to two events, Expo 67 and 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Sulpician Order. This event is part of an ongoing series of outdoor symphonies that the MSO perform for free in parks throughout the city of Montreal. For more information on this event or the MSO’s free outdoor concert series, go to www.osm.ca
Musical mega events
With all of the festivities already planned for Montreal during the summer months, it’s hard to believe there are other major musical events planned. Yet, a whole slew of major acts, cutting-edge shows and large-scale outdoor musical extravaganzas are planned. The Gillett Entertainment Group will supply information on ticket prices and show details on its website at: www.geg.ca
Bell Centre concert and event listings
Fall out Boy hits the stage May 25 with +44, The Academy Is…, Fbul Wall and Cobra Starship. Come and get your emo on with Pete Wents and the boys and don’t forget your “guy-liner” if you want to fit in.
World Wrestling Entertainment presents Raw Live! on May 27. Though this is just an exhibition match before the live show May 28, this is the best show in wrestling entertainment.
Topping the charts with her new single, Gwen Stefani will be bringing her successful “The Sweet Escape “lour” to Montreal May 29. Stefani brings along her platinum-selling singer Akon and UK hoodie-dad-rebel-rapper Lady Sovereign.
Mixed Martial Arts fans get a treat June I when TKO comes back to the Bell Centre for TKO 29. The main event for the evening will be a Jonathan Goulet squaring off against Steve “Uon Heart” Vigneault for the Welterweight Championship. The event will also feature “Predator” Patrick Cote and the professional debut of hard-nosed hitter Steve Bosse!Taking it old school, Interbox also offers something special to for boxing fans June 15, when Lucian Bute takes on Sakio “The Scorpion” Bika. There is no saying that anyone will last the whole 12 rounds but it’s always worth it to see them try.
Touring from the Yukon to Prince Edward Island, the White Stripes have vowed to play every province and territory this summer. Jack and Meg will be making a much-celebrated stop in Montreal July 6 to showcase their new album Icky Thump. Supporting acts have yet to be announced.
Do you remember the days when dudes looked like ladies? Def Leppard had to be one of the biggest acts of the 80s and incarnate the Hair Metal movement. Now on a 50-stop tour, Def Leppard will grace Montreal’s biggest indoor stage July 17.
The Police were one of the most accessible bands of the late 70s and early 80s. Money heals all emotional wounds, apparently, as the treacly trio is back to rekindle the spirit for not one but two dates in July. If you want to hear Sting belt out Roxanne, Message in a Bottle or Every Breath You Take, make a move on tickets for the shows July 25 and 26.
Techno-funk-punk masters Daft Punk are back in the city August 7 to tear up the stage with their own unique brand of music. Supporting them will be The Rapture, Sebastian and Kavinsky.
If you wanna see him bring “Sexyback” for a second time or if you missed him last winter, Justin Timberlake will be making his second tour stop in Montreal so that yet more locals can toss panties at him. JT will be in Montreal August 18 and hopefully this time he will sing “My dick in a box!”
After crooning the rafters off the Casino de Montréal last summer, Frank Sinatrajr. will be making a special stop at the Bell Centre August 25. Though the singer and conductor will always live in his father’s shadow, he slowly making his own reputation, selling out smaller venues and nowmoving on to latter stages. If you missed him last year; come and check out this chip off the old blue-eyed block
Ending off the Bell Centre’s summer concert season with a bang, Canadian icons, RUSH are back with their Snakes & Arrows World Tour. Snakes & Arrows is RUSH’S first all-original material album in over five years and though the group has been around longer than half of their fans have lived, Geddy Lee and the boys still have it going on! September 15 at the Bell Centre.
Attractions at the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal :
For those that are really into stepping out in style the Casino de Montreal is the place to take in high calibre entertainment in a glamorous setting.
Frédérick De Grandpré will showcase his new eponymous album of love songs at the Casino May 16-June 3.
Flower Power, a Las Vegas style musical dance show, hits the Casino May 31 to July 29. The show is described as a re-visitation of the late 60s and early 70s hippie nirvana of period fashions, colours and songs. Expect to hear music of the bands that defined the era: The Doors, The Mamas and the Papas, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, Robert Chariebois, Bob Dylan, Diane Dufresne, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Harmonium, The Who, and many more.
Pierre Lalonde’s De Jeunesse à Aujourd’hui will play the Casino June 12 to July 6. After a very successful tour of the province, Lalonde will serenade a Montreal audience with highlights of his 40-year showbiz career
Gilles Girard and his musicians are bringing back the days of the “Men in White,” July 10 to August 3. Back in their 60s heyday, Girard’s vocal group was one of Quebec’s most popular acts and now his fans will get to relive the experience in spectacular style.
A new and original production jam packed with local celebrities under the moniker “Summertime” hits Casino August 2 to September 30. Come and hear Star Académie’s Véronique Claveau, Don Juan’s Cindy Daniel, La Fureur’s Rick Hughes and many more perform summer-themed hits like Summer of 69, Walking on Sunshine, Whenever Wherever, Surfing USA Hawaiienne and Bamboléo.
If you’re craving French (de France!) culture and daytime entertainment, Sous les ponts de Paris could be just the billet! This matinee program runs August 7 to September 9 and it pays homage to the great performers of French chanson, Charles Trenet to Michel Fugain.
More information on all of these shows can be found at www.casino-de-montreal.com
Alouette, gentil alouette
The Montreal Alouettes are gearing up for another action-packed run at the Grey Cup after narrowly losing out in last year’s final. Granted, the battered old bowl has not made its way back to Montreal in going on six years now but that is only because it just keeps being stolen from us (well maybe not)! The departure of the Expos left Montreal sports fans with a huge void to fill, but fortunately the Als stepped up to the plate so to speak, winning the hearts of Quebecers. If you’ve never had the chance to sit in the raucous atmosphere of Perciva
J Molson Memorial Stadium, do check it out. There is nothing like the smell of the hot dogs, the taste of a cold one and taunting the visiting team live! The Als season kicks off on June 9. Go to http://en.montrealalouettes.com/ for the full schedule and ticket information.
Make an Impact
With the international popularity of the FIFA World Cup, and the likes of David Beckam crossing the pond to play for an, ahem, American team, it’s no big surprise that local soccer is growing in popularity. Montreal’s professional soccer team, the Impact, are gearing up for another successful season. Suzuki has actually just finished inking a three-year, corporate sponsorship deal with “footballers,” making the Japanese manufacturer a major partner of the club. The first home comer kick comes May 20 against Seattle at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex. For more information go to: www.montrealimpact.com
Sand and bikinis
The Swatch-FIVB Beach Volley World lour is also back this year for another weekend of sexy beach volleyball. For four days, July 4-8, Uniprix stadium transforms itself into a mega beach party by importing tonnes of sand and the best men and women beach volleyball players from around the world. This is their only stop in North America and the Montreal Open provides its fens with Olympic level beach volleyball along with an incredible party ambience that features wild and crazy fens, sand and music all day and night! Be one of the expected 25,000 to take in the festivities. For more information go to: www.worldbeachvolleyball.com/Ongoing Montreal Attractions
La langue de Molière
Theatre in the Park is a Montreal tradition and the summer just wouldn’t be the same without it! Repercussion Theatre has been delighting Montreal audiences and neighbouring communities with Shakespearean theatre for many years now but deciding to switch it up, they will instead be presenting their very first production of Molière’s Les fourberies de Scapin. Scapin will be presented in both French and English with the same actors in this very ambitious theatre first! An evening of theatre in the park is also a great and inexpensive way to spend time with the whole family, just remember to bring a blanket to sit on or some folding chairs. Though the schedule for this summer’s theatrics is not yet available, updates will shortly be available on their website at www.theatreinthep-arks.ca/DJs in the park
Piknic Electronik is Montreal’s premiere outdoor dance party and the hottest place to be every Sunday from May 20 through early September For those of you who have never been to the weather-permitting daytime dance party, it goes down by the monument feeing the water in Parc Jean Drapeau from noon until sunset. Folks, both young and old flock to this event to get down to the techno beats, soak up the sun and enjoy their cooler packed goods. Some of Montreal’s hottest DJs showcase their mixing techniques at this event while the most diverse crowd imaginable dances the day away. There are always kiddie pools set up for the youngins as well as misty sprinklers for anyone to cool off under and if you forgot to pack a lunch, hot dogs are always available on site. Admission ranges from $5 to $ 10, depending on which acts are spinning making this an ideal event for those who are on a budget or not. In the short five years that this event has been around, it’s become an authentic Montreal institution! For more information go to: www.piknicelectronik.com
Organic musicIf grand scale church organ music is what soothes your soul, Saint-Joseph’s Oratory’s “Wednesdays of the Organ Festival” is back to serenade you with sweet music. In collaboration with the McGill Summer Organ Academy, from July 11 through August 8 the Oratory will feature various different music recitals, from various different composers. The carillon recitals will also tie happening again this summer and for those of you who don’t know, carillon music is the music derived from synchro nised church bells. The set at the Saint-Joseph’s consists of 56 bells cast in bronze mixed with alloys of copper and pewter that were originally intended for the Eiffel “lower in Paris but was installed at the Oratory in 1954 as a gift from generous donors.
For more information on ongoing events at Saint-Joseph’s Oratory, go to: www.saint-joseph.ong
If you are planning to spend some time in the city and you are looking for to do that is wet, wild, adventurous and fun for everyone, take a jet boat tour of the Lachine rapids. Also know as the saute moutons, jet boating is similar to regular rafting only the motor does all of the work for you and its less dangerous as people generally tend not to fall out of the boats. Les sauté moutons is a great way to both take in Montreal’s spectacular skyline while enjoying a wee bit of adrenaline. Of course, if adrenaline is what you are after, Jet Boating Montreal also offers speedboating rides. Billed as the “Old Port’s fastest attraction,” this rodeo style jet boating thrill ride promises to have enough high-speed twists and turns to resemble a chase scene in a James Bond movie! If you want to ride the rapids this summer, go to www.jetboatingmontreal.com/Amphibians on the St-Lawrence
If on the other hand you’d rather take a lingering tour of the old port and then see the bottom of the St-Lawrence River, without dying, the Amphi-Bus may just be your speed. Since 1985 the Amphi-Bus, an amphibious bus like vehicle that is both sea and street legal, has been delighting its passengers with its tours of the old port and subsequent tours of the water Both an educational and exhilarating experience, the Amphi-Bus allows it passengers to see all sorts of Montreal’s hidden charms from a unique perspective while in the comfort of an air-conditioned cabin. During Llntemational des Feux Loto-Québec, the Amphi-Bus also offers a special two hour tour during the evenings. For more information or to book yourself a tour go to: www.montreal-amphibus-tour.com/Get stuffed
If you happen to be in the Old Port of Montreal with the family on a rainy day and you are looking for something unique and memorable to do with the kids, why not take them to The Plush Factory (l’Univers Toutou) to make their own stuffed animal friends. Even if you don’t have kids but just really happen to like stuffed animals, Plush Factory was developed as an interactive thematic retail store that offers a magical experience and the creation of a “new friend.” Customers can select one of the 20 “plushes” or stuffed animal shells and then proceed to stuff the animal via an easy to use stuffing machine that is manned by the store staff. There are various imaginative steps involved in the process of creating this “magical” new friend from dressing and accessorising the new toy to making wishes with it Open year round. For more information: www.plushfactory.com/Family day trips from Montreal
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!What childhood is complete without a trip to the Zoo? If you are staying in the Montreal area and are looking to take a day trip, the Granby zoo is under an hour away from the city and offers all sorts of delights for the whole family to enjoy. The park opens on June 2 this year so come and check out the Hippo River, Gorilla’s Valley, the Lemur’s Island and the many other exciting, interactive animal packed exhibitions as you stroll through the park. Once you’ve worked up a sweat from touring the park, cool off in the Amazoo Yoplait Water Park. Featuring a wave pool, a water games basin and a South American, Amazon River inspired, Lazy River inner-tube waterslide ride, kids and parents alike can cod off and have fun. Located in the town of Granby in the Eastern Townships Region of Quebec, the Granby Zoo has been a family favourite for generations! For more information go to: www.zoodegranby.com/More than a zoo
If you’ve ever dreamed of going on a real African Safari but don’t happen to have on hand the several thousand dollars it would happen to cost to go on such a trip, why not check out the next best thing at Parc Safari? Also less than an hour away from Montreal in Hemmingford, Parc Safari offers patrons the opportunity to take a somewhat authentic African-themed safari from the comfort of their own vehicle. The fun doesn’t stop with the safari aspect; there is also an animal observatory, a deer trail, an insectarium, interactive animations with animals, beaches and an amusement park. Rare Safari’s tag line is “way more than a zoo,” and it really, really is!For more information: www.parcsafari.com For the birds
If you’d rather turn your attention to one specific species and that species just so happens to be birds, why not check out the Exotic Zoo Birds and Sanctuary Icare! This specialty zoo offers permanent or temporary sanctuary to exotic birds and exotic birds can be purchased here.
Over 150 varieties of exotic birds in their full plumage are on display in various habitats along a one-kilometer landscaped path offering a both eye opening and educational experience for bird enthusiasts or novices. This exotic zoo is also under one hour away form Montreal and is a completely unique experience. For more information go to: www.zooicare.com
Other regional (roadside) attractions
If you’ve ever fantasized about swinging from the trees like Tarzan or speeding down a zip line like all of those contestants on Survivor or the Amazing Race, a visit to the Mont-Tremblant region’s Acrobranche, may just be the adventure you are craving. According to their website, visitors at Acrobranche can “fly between the leaves using logs, barrels, bridges, trapezes or flying snowboards, Tarzan ropes and even a rocky wall,” all at 25 to 75 feet from the ground. Visitors will first be given a detailed crash course on how to use slings, carabiners and pulleys before they embark on their 2 hour and 30 minute Acrobranche adventure under the supervision of a qualified operator. This is an idea activity for the adrenaline fiend in your family! For more information or to book an adventure, go to www.acrobranche.com
Full of hot air
Of course if you would rather something more laid back and visually stunning, the Llntemational de montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is a spectacular world class event. From August 11 -19 the skies over Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu become awash with color and majestic forms in the biggest gathering of balloons in Canada This event brings 350,000 visitors to the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu festival annually and features 110 hot air balloons, including many special shapes, major shows, and a huge site that hosts an incredible variety of animated activities. This is a perfect event for the whole family, including the babies and grandparents as there is something at this festival for just about everyone. For more information on this magical event go to www.montgolfieres.com
Bye Bye Mon Cowboy
There is no reason as to why Mommas shouldn’t let their babies grow up to be cowboys as that is exactly what the Festival Western de St-Tite! Located just north of Irois-Rivières (and once a meeting place for northern lumberjacks), this historic festival began back in 1967 as a marketing strategy for the town’s main industry, leatherwork, particularly for western boots. From September 8-17, country and western enthusiasts arewelcome to come and check out the rodeo, participate in the country dancing, pick up some new cowboy duds and check out some fabulous country dancing! For the main event September 13, Mr. Country Music himself, the one and only Kenny Rogers, will be playing a live show! For more information on this authentic country western festival, go to: www.festivalwestem.com
Things to do in Northern QuebecNorthern Quebec also has various different tourist attractions and events from fishing tournaments to arts festivals to an animal refuge.. .there is plenty to do if you know where to look!A golden fishing derby
From June 21 -30, the 8th annual Festival du Doré is back and this year it is featuring more than $110,000 in prizes! Located on Lake Opemiska, about 10 km away from Chapais, this festival is by far and large the most important fishing tournament in the province. There will be various different categories for groups and individuals to enter into, nighttime entertainment, kids’ activities during the day, a community dinner and fireworks at night, “lb fund the event, the festival will also be selling tickets to raffle off a brand new Ford Focus 2007! This family friendly event is the perfect opportunity for those in the James Bay community to gather, do some fishing and make new friends! For more information: www.walleyefish-ingtoumament.com/Jack some lumber“If you’re a lumberjack and you’re ok”… to quote Monty Python, why not enter the Festival forestier de Senneterre. This event attracts professional woodsmen from all over Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand and also has amateur categories for the lumberjacking novice. From axe throwing to chainsaw events to lady lumberjacking categories this festival has it all! There will be plenty of activities for the kids, too, such as games, children’s shows, face painting and a nighttime fireworks display. This festival runs June 28-July I and features some really big prizes for the winners with a grand prize of $20,000! For more information go to: www.festivalforestier.ca
If the arts are what you crave and local history is your flavour; check out Le Paradis du Nord at La Sarre in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. This blockbuster musical tells the story how the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region came to be through its more than 75 actors, dancers and gymnasts on a large stage, with spectacular sets and a multimedia projection. Running in French and put on by La Troupe A Coeur Ouvert, the show runs June 28 through August 4. Go to www.leparadisdunord.com/ for information.
Though their programming schedule is not due to be out until the end of May, the annual Festival de l’humour de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue will run July 3-8. This popular event attracts thousands to the area annually and similarly to Montreal’s big comedy festival features gala events, new comic competitions, interactive improvisation, free shows and much more. For updates on who will be performing at this year’s “Festival de l’humour,” go to www.festivaldhumour.com
From July 16-July 21, the 8th annual Festival d’été de Val-d’Or is back on with its own brand of energetic musical rhythms. Previously known as the Festival d’été Métro, this event was designed to coincide with the “lour de l’Abitibi cycling marathon and Val-d’Or’s sidewalk sale. Though the musical programming schedule is not out yet, check out their website for updates, http://festivaldetevaldor.ca
Trucking and bucking
If you love your truck just as much as you love your husband or wife… don’t tell them! Instead take pride in your vehicle at the Notre-Dame-du-Nord Truck Rodeo August 2-5. This major tourist event is expanding to an international level and has brought 60,000 visitors to the region in previous years. The rodeo features over 600 trucks, various competitions, truck pulls and heavyweight races. Show and shine your vehicle or take in the parade! There is going to be live entertainment every night, a flea market, fireworks, children’s activities and all sorts of amazing prizes for the winners. For more information go to: www.elrodeo.com
Fire and light
To mesmerize your ears and eyes, check out the Osisko en lumière, Festival pyromusical en Abitibi-Témiscamingue August 3-5. Rouyn-Noranda will be hosting three evenings of synchronized fireworks and music orchestrated by three professional fireworks firms. Over 40 artists will be performing on the large outdoor stage at this event in a number shows and there will also be inflatable games and clowns to keep the kids entertained. For more information: www.corpodesfetes.ca/Ongoing attractions in Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Mining for fun
If you are looking for an educational theme park to take the kids to as part of their summer vacation, take them to Cité de l’Or / Village minier de Bourfamaque, an authentic mining theme park in Val-d’Or. When a vein of gold was discovered in the region in 1923, it brought about exploration of the future mine site and Val d’Or earned its name as the valley of Gold. The Lamaque Gold Mines were closed down in 1985 and turned into an exploration centre named La Cité de l’Or. At this theme park, visitors can discover a real 300-foot mine while dressed as a miner and also look at how gold is processed in various other buildings. A visit to the Cité de l’Or is a great way for the family to spend the day together, all the while learning something new. For more information go to: www.citedelor.com
If you’ve ever had an interest in geology or you are looking to inspire little minds while having some fun with science, a day at the Centre thématique fossilifère in Notre-Dame-du-Nord could be just the thing for you and the whole family. Also known as the Lake Timiskaming Fossil Centre, at this Museum / interpretation centre / historic site, visitors can discover the formations and geology of the Témiscamingue region through fossils. Make a day of learning about geology, paleontology and the mysteries of life on earth part of your summer vacation plans. For information: www.fossiles.qc.ca/Wildlife refuge
If you or anyone in your family is a big fen of wildlife, a visit to the Refuge Rageau zoo and wildlife observation centre could be a fun and informative way to spend the day. Michel and Louise Pageau created this home for abandoned, lost or wounded moose, bears, wolves, deer, raccoons, birds of prey and other small orphans when Michel discovered a moose in the woods in distress. A former hunter and trapper himself, Rageau’s life was transformed as he bonded with the moose while nursing it back to health. Since that time the Pageaus have transformed their lives, taking in just about any animal that needs their help and the public is welcome to come and see these animals in recovery this warm and comforting setting. While there, visitors can also check out the Rageau’s mini farm. The Refuge Pageau is located in Amos and to find out more about this attraction go to www.refugepageau.ca