Montréal reignites for the Formula 1 Grand Prix

JP Karwacki

JP Karwacki is a Montréal-based writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Time Magazine, the Montreal Gazette, National Post, Time Out, NUVO Magazine, and more. Having called the city home for over a decade and a half, he regularly focuses on spreading the good word about the amazing things to eat, drink and do in Montréal. One half raconteur and the other flâneur (with just a dash of boulevardier), when he wasn’t working on the frontlines of the city's restaurants and bars, he spent his time thinking about, reading about and writing about restaurants and bars.

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This article was updated on June 15, 2022.

There’s always excitement in the air in Montréal, but only so many times of the year get as electric as when the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada comes to the city. The energy level can be felt just about anywhere, whether it’s on or off the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Parc Jean-Drapeau, as locals and tourists flood stands and streets alike to take in the parties, the races, and a lot more.

Taking place from June 17 to 19, hundreds of thousands of racing aficionados, gearheads, socialites, and celebrities coming from around the world to join Montrealers for the Grand Prix. From the mounting tension of the qualifying rounds to the climactic moment when the last chequered flag waves through the air, there’s something fun happening in every direction you go, from parties in restaurants and nightlife venues to red carpet events and more.

 

Official On-Site Activities

The racing festivities begin on Friday, June 17 when the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve’s track covering 4,361 metres opens at 8:00 a.m. for all kinds of practice sessions and various races throughout the day and end by or before 6 p.m.—usually with the biggest race of the day, be it qualifying races or the final Grand Prix.

First-timers take note: Bring snacks, sunscreen and water if you’re watching the races from the track, and a folding chair can come in handy in the general admission area. Don’t forget that the cars can be very loud, so consider bringing earplugs as well, especially for the kids.

 

F1 Experiences

Nothing gets racings fans closer to the action than the official experiences offered by the Grand Prix. There’s exclusive access to the pit lane, learning about the circuit with tours from professional race car drivers-turned-guides, photo opportunities, pit lane visits with F1 insiders, and behind-the-scenes access to areas like the Formula 1 Paddock and the Podium Ceremony.

 

Heineken Terrace

Located on the edge of a lagoon, this terrasse offers visitors a chance to rest and relax as they grab a cold one and take in the sights. It also provides visitors with a chance to discuss the races with their guests, or to connect with other racing fans.

 

Family Zone

Bringing family to the Grand Prix and looking to entertain the kids in between the action? This area near the Family Grandstand is free for children under 15 and has activities for the young and old to enjoy together.

 

 

Park & Cosmos Zone

With its collection of e-sports activations, podium photo ops, pitstop challenges, acrobatic motocross exhibitions to watch adrenaline-fuelled feats and more, this collection of kiosks and activities helps keep your energy level up between each race. It’s also a great place to grab a souvenir.

 

Beach Zone

There’s no need to wait for the start of summer to put sand between your toes. At Grand Prix, this zone is where visitors will find a festive rest area to relax or take photos together and with an F1 2022 car. A good place to keep in mind if you want a break from the crowds.

 

Support Races Paddocks

Located behind Grandstand 15, this area allows all spectators to get up close and personal with all of the cars taking part in the support series of races that include the Nissan Sentra Cup, the Ferrari Challenge, and the F-1600. Enjoy getting to see the everything in detail and taking a deep dive into what makes these engines tick.

 

Grand Prix Parties and Events

 

Le Grand Soir

Taking place inside Windsor Station’s Salle des pas perdus on the night of Thursday, June 16, the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix’s official launch event Le Grand Soir will kick things off with a gala full of entertainments and refined dining. Tickets go for $1,000 a pop, with all profits for the evening going to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation and the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.

 

A Grand Prix Party at the Ritz-Carlton

Hosting an elegant black-tie event on the night of June 17, the Ritz-Carlton Montréal will celebrate Montréal’s notorious racing weekend—as well as its own hospitality that’s lasted more than a century—with a champagne, food stations by the hotel’s own executive chef, live entertainment and musical performances, and more. Proceeds from each $1,000 ticket sold will be donated to the Barry F. Lorenzetti Foundation and its commitment to improving mental health care in Canada.

 

Grand Prix Parties at Le Richmond

Griffintown’s destination supper club known for serving northern Italian cuisine in its urban industrial ambiance will be hosting parties every single night of the Grand Prix weekend in Montréal. Le Richmond will start things off with a Kickoff Party on June 16, a VIP Gentlemen’s Club experience on June 17, a ticketed Red Carpet Gala event on June 18, and a Race After Party on Sunday to wind down with.

 

The Maxim Grand Prix Party

Billed as the most exclusive and glamorous event of the weekend, Maxim’s inaugural Grand Prix Party will collect artists, celebrities, influencers, moguls and athletes together at Windsor Station on Saturday, June 18 to enjoy race-themed experiences and live performances from musicians like T-Pain and Wyclef Jean. For those looking for more luxuriant experience, full VIP areas can be reserved.
 

L'Auberge Saint-Gabriel

The unlikely but intriguing pair of Canada’s oldest restaurant and a lively late night speakeasy come together in one address here: Kicking off on Thursday, June 16 with an automobile show, Old Montréal’s L'Auberge Saint-Gabriel has a whole weekend’s worth of late-night parties straight through to a brunch during the day on Saturday, June 18 and a closing party on Sunday, June 19.

 

Bord'Elle

Those who love a good spectacle during their Grand Prix weekend nights out on the town would do well to reserve themselves a spot at the 1920s burlesque-inspired parties of Bord’Elle. Already flush with theatrical and festive entertainment on a normal night, they’ll celebrate the races from Thursday, June 16 to Sunday, June 19; expect a lot of dining and drinks that are as elaborate as its shows.

 

212 Montréal

All the essentials of a Grand Prix feast and then some are on the weekend menus of 212 Montréal, a newer restaurant with dining both finessed and fine. Towering platters of seafood, 25-ounce AAA steaks with cognac and truffles, Osetra caviar—all of it comes à la carte as well as part of experiences and packages from Thursday, June 15 to Saturday, June 18.
 

La Voûte

Some of the city’s highest-profile performances by DJs will be taking place in the transformed 1920 bank vault of La Voûte, from Claptone and Vite V to the Netherlands’ Christophe Lacroix and Erok, Red Bull Racing F1’s official DJ, every night from June 15 to June 19 will be featuring a party to experience. Each night has dinner and bottle service packages as well that includea seafood towers and huge platters of proteins.

 

 

Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival

Among all the streets to flock to during the Formula 1 weekend in Montréal, Crescent Street and its Grand Prix Festival is among the most popular destinations. Dating back to 1999, the event runs from June 16 to June 19 and has been the site of driver appearances, autograph sessions and DJs playing music as terrasses fill to the brim with exciting racing fans.

 

Formule Peel

During Grand Prix weekend, Peel Street’s Formule Peel event turns its street into a bona fide weekend racing party offering its own unique blend of more than 10 restaurants opening their terrasses up for drinks and bites all weekend. All kinds of activations and car demos join the party as well, and the whole affair runs from June 16 until June 19.

 

La Maison Peroni’s Le Paddock

Running from June 16 until June 19, F1 fans can explore the free Le Paddock experience across two storeys of Italian décor to enjoy Peroni’s 0.0% Nastro Azzurro beer, curated Peroni cocktails, and a menu of Montréal’s own Mano Carnuto. No F1 event would be complete without a car; that’s why guests will have a chance to take photos with an Aston Martin F1 car and learn about its design with on-site experts.

 

Playa Patrón in Old Montréal

This pop-up taking place in Bassin Peel alongside Old Montréal will be serving up luxurious brunches during the day and beach festivities with deep tropical house DJs and cocktails by night from June 16 to June 19. inspired by the beach clubs of Tulum, Playa Patrón will provide an oasis of a getaway to enjoy drinks and a menu curated by famed Tulum chef Cesar Castañeda.

 

Grand Prix Fever at Le Pois Penché

With its prime location between two of Downtown Montréal’s most-frequented streets for Grand Prix, Peel Street and Crescent Street, the Parisian-style bistro of Le Pois Penché will be cooking up storms for everyone who sits either in their dining room or below the parasols of their long red-carpeted terrasse. It’s great for both people watching and scoping all the luxury cars that roll by.

 

Things to do on the sidelines

 

An All-Star Funk Special at Le Balcon

The dining and entertainment of Le Balcon will be turned into a special Grand Prix evening on June 18 as Funk, soul and Motown-era music played by Slim Williams, Danny Blanco, Meredith Marshalls, Snooky and other musicians take to the stage to get guests moving on the dance floor. It’s not just dinner and a show; it’s dinner and an All Star Funk & Soul show.

 

MURAL Festival

Those looking to spice up their Grand Prix weekend with variety might be interested in the last days of the 10th edition of MURAL Festival, ending on June 19. Each day will see a show with all kinds of artists as part of the festival’s Stage Saint-Laurent concert series, and visitors can take to the streets and hunt down the city’s newest murals.

 

Les Francos de Montréal

French-language music fans looking to enjoy both high-octane races as well as live entertainment should consider catching one of the dozens of shows happening at Francos de Montréal. The tail end of its eight days of music will be taking place during Grand Prix weekend, with the final shows happening on June 18—just enough time to catch at least one (or two) acts.
 

St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival

The hundreds of dance performances, live comedy, provocative works of drama and more of the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival may be coming to end during Grand Prix weekend, but its festivities will be running down to the last possible hour. Nearly a dozen venues are hosting evenings that will start a drawn-out night out off on the right foot, and bonus: tickets don’t exceed $15 this year and all proceeds to the artists onstage.

 

Montreal International Portugal Festival

Opportunities to explore cultures are never in short supply in Montréal, but the Montreal International Portugal Festival only happens once a year, and it’s taking place during Grand Prix weekend. That means there will be lots of opportunities to duck away from the action downtown just for a moment to enjoy music, dancing, and more from June 17 to June 19.

JP Karwacki

JP Karwacki is a Montréal-based writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Time Magazine, the Montreal Gazette, National Post, Time Out, NUVO Magazine, and more. Having called the city home for over a decade and a half, he regularly focuses on spreading the good word about the amazing things to eat, drink and do in Montréal. One half raconteur and the other flâneur (with just a dash of boulevardier), when he wasn’t working on the frontlines of the city's restaurants and bars, he spent his time thinking about, reading about and writing about restaurants and bars.

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

 

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