This summer the heart of Montréal beats downtown!

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

This article was updated on June 6, 2022.

There’s something undeniably special about a Montréal summer—from the picnics and relaxing hangs in the city’s calming parks to the beloved bustling terrasses, the neighbourhood fresh markets to the island’s unforgettable biking routes all over the island—and summer 2022 is sure to be yet another stunner. If you’re looking for the perfect starting point for a season of adventure and surprise, look no further than Downtown Montréal, stuffed to the brim with performances, pedestrianized streets, arts installations and innovative urban flourishes guaranteeing something fresh around every corner.

The heart of the island

Back for another vibrant season, Les moments du cœur de l’île transforms downtown and the Quartier des Spectacles boroughs into eye-popping hot spots of fun and frolic for all ages. Easily accessible via 10 pedestrianized streets, bike paths and a multitude of easy to navigate métro stops (not to mention free parking on weekends), the city’s centre-ville glow-up across eight categories promises #mtlmoments galore throughout the entire district all summer long.

 

1. Oases of calm in the city centre

From the Gay Village and the Jardins Gamelin at downtown’s eastern edge to the Esplanade Place Ville Marie to the west, eight specially constructed relaxation installations promise both a well-deserved break and the perfect #selfie background to spark some true #FOMO amongst the folks back home.

2. Get sporty in the Old Port

From June 24-26, 2022, the Triathlon Mondial Montréal sees athletes from all over the world competing in an urban test of wills and skills. And as an added bonus, the 2022 edition also includes the World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships. (And while the athletes are breaking a sweat, you can catch some of the action from the vantage point of the La Grande Roue de Montréal, or soak up one of the more than 70 special events and features the Old Port has in store for summer 2022).

 

3. Art as far as the eye can see

Montréal is a mural city, and several stunners make for picture-perfect punctuation on any stroll through the downtown quartiers.

4. Futuristic public places

Be they modern sidewalk installations like urban revitalists XP_MTL’s Le Sentier des Jasettes garden and resting spot or the trend-setting digital history lessons accessible by mobile of Ste-Catherine Circuit—Montréal en Histoires, the cutting edge is fully on display.

 

5. Performance, performance, performance!

When it comes to pubic performances this summer, the numbers don’t lie. With over 300 appearances by more than 530 multidisciplinary artists, central Montréal is an open-air theatre all summer long.

 

6. A city of culture

Ranging from Cirque du Soleil’s mind-boggling KOOZA's return to the Big Top, the epic fireworks demonstrations of Soirées DJ de feux, a full season’s worth of programming at Le Balcon and Cabaret Tangente and the open-air stages of the Zone Musique Place d’Armes this summer puts the spectacle in the Quartier des Spectacles on a grand scale.

 

7. A day at the museum

The Montréal-centric Musée McCord presents a jam-packed summer program including photography exhibitions including Alexander Henderson’s Art et nature and JJ Levine’s Queer Photographs. The McCord’s iconic Urban Forest also returns, offering shady seating and public performances.

 

8. Did someone say festivals?

Every summer in Montréal is punctuated by its unbeatable roster of festivals, encompassing music, film, food, comedy and more. This year is no different, with the downtown core playing host to the likes of Montréal Complètement Cirque, Les Francos de Montréal, the Estival du nouveau cinéma at the Esplanade Tranquille, Festival AfroMonde, Le Grand PoutineFest and more. A crowning installation in the height of this year’s festival season is Les 3Géants, uniquely constructed giant figures upon which three of Montréal’s top circus troupes will perform feats of derring do free for all.

 

Your summer hub

Created in collaboration between Tourisme Montréal, Montréal centre-ville, Ville de Montréal, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, Les moments du cœur de l’île marks Downtown as the place to be in summer 2022.

For full details, complete listings and ticket links check out their interactive website.

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

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