La Grande Tournée: Experience Montréal like a local

Laure Juilliard

Do you want to see the “local” side of Montréal? Get swept up in the festive spirit as you explore the city’s 19 boroughs during La Grande Tournée, presented by Cirque Éloize. Every weekend, this major event in Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebrations will take you into the city’s different neighbourhoods and parks, where a flurry of fun activities, unique exhibits and welcoming people await. This is your chance—discover Montréal’s secrets every weekend from May 12 to September 17!

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Eat, drink and imagine the future together

The warm weather is back, and so is a cherished Montréal tradition—picnics in the park. Pack a colourful blanket or gather around a trusty picnic table and join Montréalers for a big get-together in the city’s green spaces.  Shopkeepers, restaurant owners and artisans from the different neighbourhoods will be on hand to serve up local fare and tell you all about Québec products. Cheers!


Prowl through the green alleyways

Montréal is a city of many charms, and stumbling onto one of its ruelles vertes (green alleyways) can be like discovering a secret path. You will love Alley Cats, a mobile party for residents and visitors alike. Presented by Le Comité cooperative in partnership with La Tohu, it features urban agriculture workshops, circus performances, shows by emerging artists, outdoor movies and even an augmented reality experience. Come and party Montréal-style in alleyways throughout the city’s different neighbourhoods.


Open-air circus

Cirque Éloize will also be there to entertain and amaze you on those 19 weekends. Listen to storytellers in the morning and join an extraordinary crew in the afternoon while taking part in circus and dance workshops. On Saturday evening, be sure to catch L’Heure magique, a show packed with emotion and dazzling acrobatics for the young and young at heart.

“The city as it has evolved through history”

Every weekend, a different borough will host the McCord Museum’s stunning artistic representation of the city’s past and future, inspired by “Montréal’s clotheslines and monumental neon signs.” Through photos, personal narratives and historical facts, the exhibition-installation A Suspended City  reveals different aspects of the Greater  Montréal region.

Art, the ultimate conversation piece

Keep your eyes open, because the windows, porches and stairs of Montréal residents will be turned into temporary exhibition spaces. Talking Windows invites you to contemplate photographs, comic strips, installations, painting and texts, and talk about them with the people around you. Fascinating conversation guaranteed!


Cinema under the stars

There’s nothing like wrapping up the evening with a movie on the big screen! The Vélo Paradiso projector bike will be stopping in the 19 boroughs to present excellent short films by First Nations directors as part of Wapikoni mobile, as well as video clips created by First Nations musicians and the city’s cultural communities.

Test your Montréal smarts

Think you’re an expert on all things Montréal? Neighbourhood Treasure Hunts puts your skills to the test with two fun and stimulating circuits that will unravel all the city’s secrets. For example, did you know that Montréal north is not the true north?

Sign off with futuristic poetry

Can you imagine receiving a postcard 25 years later? Les Postes du futur can, and so can the roughly 40 Montréal artists who illustrated these visionary letters.  On board a mail truck straight out of the future, letter carriers will come pick up your thoughts and musings and mail them just in time for Montréal’s 400th anniversary in 2042. Pick up a pen and let the inspiration flow!

You can find complete programming for La Grande Tournée by borough here.

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard, blogger

Laure is a writer, community manager and the founder of the blog Une Parisienne à Montréal. She’s also an epicurean globetrotter who’s always on the hunt for innovative concepts and must-try restaurants. In 2016, she co-founded Slow Journeys, a webzine that focuses on ecotourism and design.

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