Things to do in Montréal - June 22 to 28

Robyn Fadden

Summer officially arrives in Montréal this week! We're celebrating Québec's Fête Nationale with live music and more free activities, indulging in all kinds of delicious summer food, catching some high-tech art shows and live music, and welcoming the return of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal on Thursday!

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Summer festivities

Summer's packed with free things to do in Montréal, starting with the 182nd Fête Nationale du Québec – a weekend-long celebration packed with Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day activities, including a huge outdoor concert in Place des Festivals on June 23, a parade downtown on June 24, the Fête de quartier dans le Quartier Latin celebration and celebrations in every neighbourhood. Discover the magic of Montréal's ephemeral summertime spaces, including open-air markets and outdoor music venues Jardins Gamelin near the Aires Libres rainbow downtown, Village au Pied-du-Courant near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, the Old Port's Marché des Éclusiers, La 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. The world’s largest jazz festival, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, opens June 28 and runs up to July 7, featuring hundreds of concerts on free outdoor stages as well as paid concerts indoors – outdoors on Thursday night hear psych-rock outfit !!! (Chk Chk Chk), the hip-hop and Latin sounds of Boogát, jazz vocalist Zara McFarlane, the Urban Science Brass Band and more, plus indoor shows featuring UK icon Seal, Franco-American singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, extraordinary jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, jazz fusionist Al Di Meola, Laurent de Wilde and the New Monk Trio and famed Spanish jazz pianist Chano Domínguez.

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June sights and sounds

How to spend a long weekend in Montréal? We've got ideas. Explore the gorgeous greenery of the Montréal Botanical Garden on a seasonal harvest tour (keep your eyes open for sheep mowing the grassy areas!). 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. 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 a bundle of those activities, museums and much more.) Hear all the Handel you can handle at the Montréal Baroque Festival, June 21 to 24, featuring the operas, oratorios and choruses of Georg Friedrich Handel as well as free outdoor shows of Celtic folk music in Philips Square, a Sing-Along Messiah on the morning of June 23 at Saint John the Evangelist Church, and more. 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 World Cup 2018, from packed sports bars to old-school cafés citywide, from June 14 to July 15 – and in CFL action, the Montréal Alouettes take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on June 22 at Percival-Molson Stadium. 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

Now that the weather's warm, it's time to head to the park and picnic like a Montrealer or explore Montréal and its culinary delights on foot or by bike with Montréal's best food tours. What else goes with warm weather? Take it easy 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, along with more musts for foodies visiting Montréal. From creatively casual to classically French, these restaurants let you bring your own wine. If you're on the hunt for a favourite haunt, try these restaurants open from brunch to well past dinner, caffeinate with a perfect espresso at Montréal's indie coffee shops, go out for creative cocktails or spend time sampling your favourite tipple in the mood lighting of Montréal's coziest bars. Try these great health-conscious restaurants and the many vegan options in our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal. Or if you love chocolate, look no further than boutiques belonging to Montréal's top chocolatières.

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Stage and screen

Digital art meets high-tech performances at ELEKTRA from June 26 to July 1 at the Society for Arts and Technology: the festival presents international artists who've created shows under the theme AUTOMATA, such as Tattoo Hacking by NSDOS, Some Songs by Anne-James Chaton, a sound installation by Swiss artist duo COD.ACT and more. As part of the Jazz Fest, Robert Lepage, Ex Machina and Betty Bonifassi's theatrical odyssey SLĀV opens June 26 at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. Fans of musicals are flocking to Motown The Musical, based on the story of Motown founder Berry Gordy, from June 19 to 24 at Place des Arts. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic book Le Petit Prince becomes French-language play Astéroïde B 612, opening on June 26 in Parc La Fontaine. Immerse yourself in high-tech new worlds of artistic entertainment in the 360-degree Satosphere dome of the Society for Arts and Technology: on June 22 see artist Yan Breuleux's multimedia piano concert Les Planètes, followed from June 26 to 30 by audiovisual ELEKTRA fest performances end(O) by Alex Augier and Alba G. Corral and Trajectories by Chikashi Miyama. 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, Amazon 3D and Incredible Predators 3D, plus new addition America's Musical Journey – while at the Science Centre, be sure to see the 400 original art objects and drawings of DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition. And see the world anew in virtual reality 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.

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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, see works by Canadian artists of African origin in Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art 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 DHC/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. Stop by Mile Ex gallery Never Apart to see the spring 2018 exhibitions. See art by master engraver Ludmila Armata in Field Walk Works at Galerie D'Este. Playful and critical, WORLD CUP! takes a different look at soccer, community and national identity, at articule. And video art meets live performance and music inspired by the legends of Vietnam in artist Khoa Lê's project Dans nos villes, from June 23 to 28 at Centre CLARK, the MAI, the SAT and other venues.

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. Stroll through the City of Light and explore Parisian boutiques of the 18th-century at the Stewart Museum. Explore what life was like during the fur trade in the late 1600s in the Scene of Dreams exhibition at the Musée de Lachine. The Exporail Museum adds music and picnics to a morning of vintage railroad and streetcar rides. Or if you're a baseball fan, check out our exclusive peek into the world's biggest collection of Montréal Expos memorabilia. Lab Cult at the Canadian Centre for Architecture addresses interchanges between science and architecture while Utopie Radicali: Florence 1966–1976 explore the Italian radical movement's utopian architectural visions. And travel way, way back in time to discover just how royally the Queens of Egypt lived in a blockbuster exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière.

Live music

On Friday night, beloved Haitian DJ-producer Michael Brun shares his Bayo musical concept of generosity at Théâtre Fairmount, with openers J.Perry & Paul Beaubrun, while Tracyanne & Danny (members of Camera Obscura and Crybaby) play beautifully crafted folk-pop for a relaxed night at Le Ministère. Saturday night's a wild one at the Repopulate Mars party featuring the future house electro of Lee Foss, Detlef and Option4 at New City Gas. Spend Sunday afternoon outdoors at electronic dance party Piknic Électronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau featuring an all-Québécois line-up that includes CRi, Ryan Playground, Tommy Kruise and more, along with the return of Petit Piknic family activities. On Sunday night, it's the electro of Synkro at Bar Le Ritz PDB and Jonas Saalbach live at Newspeak. On Monday, June 25, it's Poptone with Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins and Diva Dompe (of Bauhaus, Love & Rockets and Tones on Tail fame) at L’Astral, while Matador-signed Danish punk band Iceage rock La Sala Rossa with opener Mary Lattimore. The one and only Shania Twain brings country to the Bell Centre on Tuesday, June 26. The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presents two nights of music with Charlotte Gainsbourg at MTELUS on June 26 and 27. Wednesday also welcomes indie-folk singer-songwriter Old Sea Brigade with Pierce Brothers and Elliot Taylor to Petit Campus. And Thursday's hot as the Jazz Fest kicks off with the dream-folk of NYC trio Wilsen in an early show at MTELUS, followed by a show from  instrumental fusion group Snarky Puppy, while French hip hop group IAM performs at L'Olympia and Korean-American rapper Dumbfoundead shakes Le Belmont sur le Boulevard. 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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