Things to do in Montréal - July 6 to 12

Robyn Fadden

Music, circus, fireworks and more festival entertainment keeps Montréal hopping this week, from the closing nights of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal to outdoor circus acts of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE and the opening of the Fantasia film festival plus fabulous summer food, Carifiesta, Comiccon and much, much more.

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Endless festival entertainment

This week marks the height of July festival season in Montréal. Catch the final two days of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal on July 6 and 7, featuring indoor performances on Friday by Kimbra, Jack Broadbent, Ranee Lee Quartet and Lido Pimienta and on Saturday by Bobby McFerrin & Jireh Gospel Choir, Ian Anderson presents Jethro Tull, Soft Machine and more, along with free outdoor concerts in Place des Festivals by Thornetta Davis, Pierre Kwenders and more on Friday and a gala closing show on Saturday night by M. Ward and The War on Drugs. Circus spectacles delight all ages as MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE brings spectacular shows such as Les 7 Doigts’s Sisters and Gravity & Other Myths' Backbone to indoor stages and fills the streets and parks with outdoor performances such as Phoenix, July 5 to 15. A celebration of global cultures, Week-ends du monde features several free mini-festivals in one big event, with live music, dance and more cultural performances and activities for all ages, July 7 and 8 at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Festival International Nuits d'Afrique brings major artists to Montréal from 35 countries from July 10 to 22, including Sabry Mosbah on July 10 and Femi Kuti & The Positive Force on July 12. And fireworks competition L'International des Feux Loto-Québec kicks off on July 7 at 10 p.m. with a pyrotechnic performance set to the music of ABBA, followed on July 11 by a creation inspired by the emotions and physicality of dance.

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Markets, parades, Comiccon and more

Summer's packed with all kinds of free things to do in Montréal. Don't miss the high-energy Caribbean cultural celebrations of the Carifiesta parade on July 7 downtown, while the Taste of the Caribbean Festival returns to the Old Port from July 12 to 15. Hear the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in Jarry Park, performing excerpts from Carmen, Romeo and Juliet, Tristan und Isolde and other works on July 10. More outdoor joys await at Montréal's ephemeral summertime spaces, including markets and outdoor music venues Jardins Gamelin near the Village and the Aires Libres rainbow, Village au Pied-du-Courant near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, the Old Port's Marché des Éclusiers, the Station F-MR along the Lachine Canal, and Les Jardineries on the Esplanade Financière Sun Life at Olympic Park. And in Mile End the Marché des Possibles celebrates its 5th anniversary all weekend (and all summer!) with music, activities for all ages, a market and more. Shop the sidewalk sale and hear live music every evening at Atmosph'air on the Plaza, July 4 to 8 on La Plaza St-Hubert, close to Jean-Talon Market. Indoors, meet the stars of comic-book, sci-fi, fantasy and video game fame at Montréal Comiccon from July 6 to 8 at the Palais des congrès, featuring panels, workshops, concerts, autograph sessions and more. Hundreds of forward-thinking startups and entrepreneurs gather this week for talks, workshops, networking and more at Startupfest, July 10 to 14. And on Friday, July 6, the Montréal Alouettes take on the Ottawa Redblacks in a home CFL game at Percival-Molson Memorial Stadium, while our Major League Soccer team the Montréal Impact plays the Colorado Rapids at Saputo Stadium on July 7.

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July city sights

The view from the top of Mount Royal is a must-see – the new Café suspendu du mont Royal adds refreshing beverages, free activities and music to the mix from July 6 to 8. See the city sights from above in the high-altitude comfort of Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown, La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port or the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium. Or come down to earth at the Montréal Botanical Garden, where you'll see plants from around the world in bloom. Fun-seekers of all ages need to check out the Old Port of Montréal's pirate ship ropes course Voiles en Voiles, MTL Zipline, SOS Labyrinthe, high-tower experience Décalade and river cruise Bateau-Mouche. (Pick up a Passeport MTL pass to save on a bundle of activities, museums and much more.) And discover places to cool down and relax by the water in our ultimate guide to Montréal's beaches and pools. At night in Old Montréal, watch high-tech wonder AURA at Notre Dame Basilica and spot Cité Memoire projections on the sides of historic buildings – follow our guide to Montréal's most famous icons to see more of the city's major sights and architecture. Relax indoors and in the sun at some of Montréal's best spas. Check out what's in style and scoop it up when shopping at Montréal designer boutiques. Go antiquing along the Canal for unique treasures or gallery hop for that one-of-a-kind work of art. We've got the intel on where to watch the 2018 World Cup, from packed sports bars to old-school cafés citywide until July 15. Or watch over 150 teams paddle their way through the MTL Dragon Boat Challenge at Parc Jean-Drapeau's Olympic Basin, July 6 to 8. Find all this and more at your fingertips with My Official Montréal City Guide, a travel app that lets you experience the city like a Montrealer.

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Food and drink

Find great food and family-friendly socializing in the open air at First Fridays on July 6, featuring dozens of the city's gourmet food trucks plus music and other activities at the Esplanade Financière Sun Life. Enjoy the summer weather while picnicking like a Montréaler in the park or explore Montréal and its culinary delights on foot or by bike with Montréal's best food tours. What else goes with warm weather? The best ice cream and frozen treats in Montréal of course! As well as iced coffee at Montréal's indie coffee shops, your favourite new beer at Montréal microbreweries or that perfect summer cocktail. From creatively casual to classically French, these restaurants let you bring your own wine. Take it easy in the heat at these new casual restaurants and lunch counters in Montréal. Discover Montréal's many brunch options and more local food and Québécois classics in our guides to the best poutine, the best Montréal bagels and the best smoked meat, Montréal's top chocolatières and more musts for foodies visiting Montréal. If you're on the hunt for a favourite haunt, try these restaurants open from brunch to well past dinner. And if you're looking for something light to eat, check out these health-conscious restaurants and the many vegan options in our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal.

Stage and screen

A uniquely spectacular production, Cavalia Odysseo fuses the equestrian arts with high-tech theatre, featuring 70 horses and 50 talented riders, acrobats, dancers and musicians under the big top near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. Repercussion Theatre stages gender-bending Romeo & Juliet: Love is Love for its annual Shakespeare-in-the-Park performances, beginning July 6 in Mount Royal Cemetery, followed by performances on July 10 and 11 in Westmount Park. Roam the cosmos in science-meets-multimedia creations EXO, The Blind Man with Starry Eyes, Continuum and Aurōrae at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Go on a wild ride in IMAX at the Montréal Science Centre with Tiny Giants 3D and America's Musical Journey. Visit the Montréal Science Centre to see 400 original art objects and drawings in DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition. At the Phi Centre, Particles of Existence is an immersive experience that lets you travel through the universe at a non-human scale while delving into global concerns. And watch films under the stars too with CINEMANIA, Le Cinéma sous les étoiles and the SAT's Cinéma Urbain at Parc de la Paix downtown (presenting The Work on July 10). And the Fantasia International Film Festival opens on July 12 with Daniel Roby's Dans la brume, Akiko Ohku's Tremble All You Want, Shin Dong-seok's Last Child and Mick Garris's Nightmare Cinema.

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Art for all

Among the blockbuster Montréal museum exhibitions this summer, visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see how From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-Face Picasso, Past and Present tackles the complex question of “primitivism” in art history, works by Canadian artists of African origin in Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art, new solo exhibition Motion – Emotion of works by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, and much more. Outside the museum, the sun glints off gorgeous glass sculpture Chihuly's Sun. Immerse yourself in architectural “anti-monuments” and other large-scale, participatory installations of artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer in new exhibition Unstable Presence at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. At the DHC/Art Foundation for Contemporary Art, Bharti Kher: Points de départ, points qui lient explores hybridity, the female body and the nonphysical in the material world in works woven through with the artist's signature use of the bindi. On July 12, join the opening party for Mile Ex gallery Never Apart's summer exhibitions. And the International Digital Art Biennial (BIAN) continues until August 5 at Arsenal gallery, featuring art under the theme AUTOMATA: Sing the Body Electric.

Local history and beyond

Dive into Montréal's past at the McCord Museum, featuring new exhibition Balenciaga – Master of Couture, a haute couture retrospective of the legendary Spanish fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, as well as remarkable exhibition Shalom Montreal – Stories and Contributions of the Jewish Community and outdoor photography of Montréal's retail past along McGill College Avenue. Stroll through the City of Light and explore Parisian boutiques of the 18th-century at the Stewart Museum. The Musée de Lachine presents history and archeology from the times of fur trade and New France alongside contemporary art. Or travel way, way back in time to discover just how royally the Queens of Egypt lived in a blockbuster exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière. Exporail / The Canadian Railway Museum harkens back to a time of vintage railroads and streetcars, while the Montréal Aviation Museum recaps our local history flying the friendly skies. Lab Cult at the Canadian Centre for Architecture addresses interchanges between science and architecture while Utopie Radicali: Florence 1966–1976 explores the Italian radical movement's utopian architectural visions. And if you're a baseball fan, check out our exclusive peek into the world's biggest collection of Montréal Expos memorabilia.

Live music

Downtown Montréal pulses with the diverse sounds of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal on Friday and Saturday. Also on Friday night, see rockers The Sick Things and Pale Lips at L'Escogriffe, Kurse and Shooting Guns at La Vitrola and Peking Duk at Le Ministère. Go out dancing Saturday night at the Society for Arts and Technology's Dômesicle partys - Édition estivale or with producers Hunter Siegel and Ryan Shepherd at New City Gas. Spend Sunday afternoon outdoors at electronic dance party Piknic Électronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau, this week featuring the electronic dance music sounds of French producer Brodinski and Québec producers Bwana, Laurence Matte, Funktastic Travel and Nana Zen, along with the Petit Piknic family activities. On Sunday night, see pop artist Halsey with opener Sasha Sloan at MTELUS. Monday night is made for the Norwegian indie-pop-rock of Boy Pablo and opener Winona Forever at Bar Le Ritz PDB. Wednesday brings electronic sound-art duo Immersion (members of Wire and Minimal Compact) to La Vitrola and Make-Overs and Fuudge to L'Escogriffe. For more live music throughout the week, check out our picks on how to get your nightlife on in Montréal, where to hear live music in Montréal, 10 great places to see indie bands, Montréal's best jazz and blues clubs and our guide to electronic music in Montréal.

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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