Shop, eat and be entertained at Complexe Desjardins

Defying the expectations of a shopping centre, Montréal's Complexe Desjardins is a year-round venue for festivals and special events, an airy place to have a meal, listen to live music or simply kick back and unwind in the middle of the day.

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Central shopping

In the heart of downtown's Quartier des spectacles, Complexe Desjardins is a go-to spot for picking up whatever you may need on the go. Its 110 shops and restaurants range from fashion boutiques to shoe stores, cafés to steakhouses, plus a pharmacy, a grocery store and the complex's namesake bank. But what truly sets Complexe Desjardins apart? The wide open La Grande-Place square at its centre, boasting 24-metre-high ceilings and a fountain that often features colourful multimedia shows – catch Fontaine Symphonique, set to the music of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony as performed by Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, every day until October 14. An eco-friendly lighting canopy, trees and other greenery create a woodsy, open-air ambience indoors. Seating (watch for hammocks in summer), free wi-fi, seasonal markets and events transform the complex into a year-round gathering place.

Events for all

With a prime location on Sainte-Catherine Street West across from major arts and culture hub Place des Arts, it's no surprise that Complexe Desjardins hosts hundreds of events year-round. In July, join family-friendly indoor circus activities with MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE and comedy shows during Just For Laughs Festival. August features a Pride at Work Canada event on August 9 for Montréal Pride, Pause Mode fashion exhibitions and style workshops during the Fashion & Design Festival from August 16 to 29 (including a big fashion show on August 24 at 6:30 p.m.), and Pause Orchestre live music for the OSM Classical Spree – see orchestra musicians in concert August 31 and September 1, such as Friday evening's tango music Concert Piazzolla followed by dance demos to a live band, and Saturday's full day of music, from klezmer band Oktopus to orchestral concerts conducted by Kent Nagano, Adam Johnson and Gregory Charles. Or if you're in Montréal for the winter holidays, step into a sparkling Santa's Kingdom, complete with a mini train, Santa and his elves. Underground access to two metro stations (Place-des-Arts and Place d'Armes) and passageways into Place des Arts and the Montréal Conventier Centre make Complexe Desjardins especially convenient for visitors on foot – no matter what the season.

Pools and patios

Music fills the Complexe Desjardins terraces at lunchtime for Pause estivale every Wednesday to Friday until the end of August, while the spacious Six Resto Lounge outdoor patio of the four-star Hyatt Regency Montréal welcomes everyone for a drink or meal overlooking Place des Festivals. Among the many hotel pools in Montréal, the Hyatt's indoor pool, awash in natural light, feels like a resort-like escape downtown. And if you're staying at the Hyatt or trying to situate yourself downtown at night, just look to the city skyline: the Desjardins towers light up entirely in green by nightfall.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

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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