Canada Day in Montréal: 5 things to do

Daniel Baylis

Montréal is an important part of the fabric of Canada. Along with the rest of this great northern nation, each July 1 we proudly celebrate Canada Day.

Naturally, the nation’s birthday is a great moment to visit anywhere in Canada. But Montréal — because of its plethora of festivals and events — presents a unique offering. Between a multicultural parade, a party in a park, live music and more, visitors have plenty of activities to choose from.

So, here are five fun ways to celebrate a humble place called Canada.

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A multicultural march

At its core, Montréal’s Canada Day Parade is essentially a multicultural procession. Spectators have the opportunity to see Chinese Dragon dancing, Scottish bagpipers, First Nations groups and more. To attend the 2018 Canada Day Parade in Montréal, head to Sainte-Catherine Street, between Fort and Peel, where the parade officially starts. The parade concludes at Place du Canada, where a huge cake measuring 4 x 8 feet(!) will be served to the first 2,500 guests. Kids can have their faces painted and participate in the onsite entertainment. All activities are free of charge!

Time: Parade starts at 11 am

Admission: Free

Location: Place du Canada (corner of René-Lévesque and Peel)

Metro station: Peel


Party in a park

Located in an urban park just 10 minutes from downtown, Montréal’s weekly electronic music party, Piknic Électronik, offers the perfect opportunity to shake your groove thang while enjoying the great outdoors. Bring a picnic. Have a drink. Enjoy the chill vibes. The July 1 event features two locally-grown Québec DJs (Clickbait, Obsolete Collective) and three German DJs (Rampa, Adam Port, &ME).

Time: 2 pm – 9:30 pm

Admission: $14.50 (advance) / $19 (at the gate)

Location: Parc Jean-Drapeau

Metro station: Jean-Drapeau

Get jazzy

The Montréal Jazz Festival offers free shows each night in Quartier des Spectacles — and Canada Day is no exception. Celebrate Canada with culturally diverse sounds. Steeped in soul and blues sounds, Deva Mahal is the daughter of legend Taj Mahal (8 pm). The Suffers are an authentic jazz soul-funk group fronted by lead singer Kam Franklin (9 pm). When three Colombian immigrants in Brussels make music, you get La Chiva Gantiva — unique modern jazz with Afro-Colombian accents (10 pm).

Time: Shows throughout the evening

Admission: Free

Location: Scène Rio Tinto Alcan (corner of Sainte-Catherine and Jeanne-Mance streets)

Metro station: Place-des-Arts


Art fair

Bringing together 90 artists from various artistic disciplines (painters, photographers, sculptors, illustrators, ceramists, glassmakers and more), MTL en Arts is an annual outdoor art exhibit. The fair extends over one kilometre along Montréal’s most famous commercial stretch, Sainte-Catherine Street. The relaxed and non-elitist style of the event appeals to art debutants as much as to connoisseurs, and to an increasingly wide public. Several free activities will be offered for young ones — specifically to raise awareness of art!

Time: 11 am – 6 pm

Admission: Free

Location: Sainte-Catherine Street East (between Amherst and Papineau)

Metro station: Beaudry


Have a pitcher on a patio

If you truly want to “do as the locals do,” get thyself to a terrace and order a pitcher of your favourite libation. Montrealers are a social bunch and a Sunday sangria is the perfect opportunity to see friends and mingle with visitors. This, of course, is most successfully achieved on a sun-drenched terrace with a sweaty drink in hand. We’ll see you there.

Time: It’s 5 o’clock somewhere

Admission: The cost of a cocktail

Location: Various

Metro station: Various

Details: The ultimate guide to Montréal’s patios

Daniel Baylis

Daniel Baylis, blogger

Daniel Baylis is a writer and adventurer. Born in British Columbia, Daniel came to Montréal with the kooky bohemian notion that he would write poetry, learn to speak French and fall in love. Having achieved various levels of success in said domains, he now focuses his energy on a new hobby: artisanal pickling.

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