Summer in the LGBTQ+ Village

The Village Summer
The Village
Richard Burnett

Richard Burnett

Montréal is home to one of the largest LGBTQ+ Villages in North America and the famed gaybourhood’s kilometre-long pedestrian mall on Sainte-Catherine Street East presents free outdoor concerts all summer long.

The Village in summer

Follow the yellow brick road

For its 18th year, the pedestrian mall in the Village is open until October 25 and stretches east from Place Émilie-Gamelin near Berri-UQAM metro station to Papineau Avenue near Papineau metro station.

The pedestrian mall and surrounding area is filled with more than 40 patios which are called “terrasses” by locals. There are LGBTQ+ and queer-friendly establishments to suit all tastes and thirsts. 

“Last summer we recorded more than 10 million passages in the Village, and we expect to exceed those numbers this year, especially if the weather is on our side,” says Gabrielle Rondy, Executive Director of the SDC du Village merchants association.

The pedestrian zone features 35 “socialization” spaces with 315 seats relocated from Olympic Stadium and painted pink, as well as a kilometre-long fresco on the ground highlighting the colours and values of the LGBTQ+ communities. 

The SDC du Village also presents outdoor activities from Thursday to Sunday weekly, from June 20 to September 1. Every Friday and Sunday, Extravaganza cabarets will feature top artists from the worlds of drag, burlesque, dance and circus, and there will also be free open-air dance, zumba and aerobics classes every Saturday.

The Village will also host several festivals: the 25th edition of Mtl en Arts (June 27 to July 1), MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE (July 12 to 14), Fierté Montréal Festival (August 1 to 11) and the second edition of the Rendez-Vous de la DRAG (October 11 to 13) which is modelled on RuPaul’s DragCon.

For the full calendar, click here.

Place du Village 2024, sketch

Place du Village

The heart of the pedestrian mall is Place du Village located at the corner of Sainte-Catherine and Wolfe streets where the City of Montreal has opened a new permanent public square and café-terrasse for summer events.

Click here for the Café de la Place du Village food and drink menu.

Jardins Gamelin

Urban oasis at Jardins Gamelin

On the west end of the Village visitors will find Les Jardins Gamelin which was established 10 years ago at Place Émilie-Gamelin right next to Berri-UQAM metro station in the Quartier des Spectacles.

Les Jardins Gamelin offers a friendly space designed to make the most of the Montréal summer, complete with a large terrasse, snack counter with bar, daily activities, a diverse musical program and free outdoor concerts.

Two new dance and music series are part of the tenth-season program: Les Jardins d’Illusion series extends from the Illusion electronic music and visual arts festival, and a series of evenings called Du streetdance avec 100Lux presents street-dance battles with freestyle dancers.

All the Jardins Gamelin classics are back: midis à la carte (lunchtime classical, jazz and pop music), evenings on the dancefloor with Salsafolie and the DJ sets of Planète Gamelin. Les Jardins Gamelin also presents crafting workshops with Les Affûtés, games with Randolph and improv nights with La Ligue d’Improvisation Musicale de Montréal.

Les Jardins Gamelin is open daily from 11 am until 11 pm from May 30 to September 15. All activities are free. Click here for full programming.

Mtl en Arts - Toma Iczkovits

MTL en Arts Festival

Since its creation in 2000, the Mtl en Arts festival welcomes more than 150 artists from different disciplines each year, many exhibiting their art along the pedestrian mall in the Village, while others perform public multidisciplinary and interactive performances. This year’s 25th edition runs from June 27 to July 1. The full program will be unveiled on June 7.

Montréal Pride

Fierté Montréal Festival

The Village is the place to party and be seen during the Fierté Montréal Festival which runs from August 1 to 11. The Pride parade on Sunday, August 11, symbolically starts in the downtown west end – original home of the Gay Village before it moved east in the 1980s – and marches 2.9 km along René-Lévesque Boulevard to the Village in its current location in the downtown east end. The parade begins at 1 pm.

Click here for the story of Pride in Montréal.

Centre-ville aux couleurs de la Fierté

The Village and beyond

Québec’s National Assembly in 2019 recognized the Village as the largest LGBTQ+ district in North America after the Castro in San Francisco and as an official place of refuge and emancipation.

From when a gay military drummer stationed with the French garrison was sentenced to death in 1648 to the Sex Garage rebellion of 1990 – widely considered to be Montréal’s Stonewall – Montrealers fought hard for their city to become the queer mecca it is today. Now, more than two million visitors come to see The Village each year.

There are also plenty of LGBTQ+ and queer-friendly establishments beyond the Village in a safe, queer-friendly city that likes to let the good times roll. Montréal also has a thriving scene for LGBTQ+ women. And click here for a primer about Montréal’s famed drag scene.

Richard Burnett

Richard Burnett

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ+ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

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