Play with light and sound outdoors at Luminothérapie

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

This article was updated on January 7, 2021.

As winter kicks off in Montréal, the city fills the seasonal darkness with light. This year, the annual outdoor artwork of Luminothérapie envelops visitors inside interactive illuminated pods, entertains with music and animation, lights up building facades and  creates a festive glow in the heart of downtown.

Note: Due to current public health directives, some businesses and attractions may be temporarily closed or may have reduced hours or services, so we recommend that you call ahead or visit their websites for the most up-to-date information. As well, under the province-wide curfew in effect from January 9 to February 8, 2021, residents must be home between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. so plan your activities accordingly. For more details on the current situation in Montréal, click here.

Upbeat urban illumination

The 11th edition of Luminothérapie  taps into Montréal’s affinity for technological innovation with a playfully artistic edge, turning downtown’s Quartier des spectacles into an interactive (and highly Instagrammable) art playground from December 3 to March 14, 2021.

Lighting up winter nights in increasingly inventive ways has earned Montréal a reputation as a city of lights – with a high-tech twist. Past Luminothérapie installations had us riding illuminated musical see-saws, playing with luminous larger-than-life dominoes and creating a symphony of sound. This year, we’ll get to experience 10 different light-and-sound artworks throughout the many blocks of the Quartier des spectacles!

Light in the loop

Outside Place des Arts, step into the 12 giant zoetrope pods of Loop. Designers and artists Olivier Girouard, Jonathan Villeneuve and Ottoblix reinvented Loop for this year's Luminothépie, adding brilliant visuals and sounds that celebrate Quebec literature by authors such as Joséphine Bacon, Dany Laferrière and Wajdi Mouawad. Meanwhile, on the facade of UQAM’s President-Kennedy Pavilion, Ottoblix's Index video projection brings the illustrations to life on a massive scale.

Nearby, watch shadow-theatre play out on the inflatable spheres of Nouvelle Lune. And on the façade of the Grande Bibliothèque see MAPP_MTL's Un monde multicolore. Keep your eyes and ears open for even more bright surprises as you walk through the neighbourhood!

Winter shines bright in Montréal

One of many winter holiday activities in Montréal – not to mention one of the free things to do this winter in Montréal – Luminothérapie turns the power on from noon until well after dark in Place des Festivals. Right next door, you'll find entertainment hub Place des Arts and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. Across Sainte-Catherine Street, check out the sparkling Complexe Desjardins and its illuminated fountain. And stroll down Ste. Catherine Street all the way to the Village to see the sights at Noël dans le Parc in Place Émilie-Gamelin.

A showcase for primarily local artists, Luminothérapie grew out of Montréal’s participation in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, a global network exchanging ideas on innovative urban culture. Montréal's winter inventiveness continues after Luminothérapie, when the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE festival of food, art and culture lights up downtown in late February.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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