Things to do in Montréal - June 8 to 14

It's festival season in the streets of Montréal this week with the music of Les Francos on multiple stages, the art of MURAL fest, the engine-revving action of Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada, the Eurêka! Festival's family-focused science activities, St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival fun and so much more.

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Outdoor festivities

Hear music from every corner of Place des Festivals during music festival Les Francos de Montréal, with free outdoor shows from rap crew Alaclair Ensemble on June 8, rock star Éric Lapointe on June 9, indie singer-songwriter Klô Pelgag on June 10, Malian duo Amadou & Mariam on June 12 and much more, plus a street fair all day on June 9. Join the MURAL Festival street party on Saint-Laurent Boulevard between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal from June 7 to 17 – watch artists painting murals on building facades (including for the first time at the Museum of Jewish Montréal), take an art tour, dance to live music, and eat well at the Grill Saint-Laurent on June 13 and 14. The science-focused Eurêka! Festival engages curious minds of all ages from June 8 to 10 outdoors in the Old Port. Montréal's officially off to the races as the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada revs up on Friday at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve and the free Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival and Peel Formula events feature car demos, fashion shows, music and more. Pro sports fans can also watch the Montréal Alouettes play the Hamilton Tiger Cats at Molson Stadium on June 9 in a pre-season CFL game, and the Montréal Impact play Orlando City SC on Wednesday, June 13 at Saputo Stadium.


June sights and sounds

It's not only June festival season but the seasonal opening of many of Montréal's ephemeral summertime spaces, including open-air markets and outdoor music venues like Village au Pied-du-Courant, the Old Port's Marché des Éclusiers and La Station F-MR, a boutique and café built using Montréal's signature-blue metro cars. As downtown's busy Sainte-Catherine Street undergoes a 21st-century makeover, there's nothing stopping its annual summer transformation into a pedestrian-only zone in Place des Festivals and further down the street under the Aires Libres rainbow in the Village and at Jardins Gamelin, where you'll find activities for all ages and music of all kinds, great snacks and drinks, and Retro Music Brunches on June 9 and a Jazz Lunch on June 8. Explore the Montréal Botanical Garden on your own or on a seasonal harvest tour (keep your eyes open for sheep mowing the grassy areas!). See Montréal sights from above in the high-altitude comfort of Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown, the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium or La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port. 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. 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. 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.


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? The Montréal Beer Festival, also known as Le Mondial de la bière! The fest features local and international beer sampling, workshops, demonstrations and more from June 6 to 9, with indoor and outdoor activities at Palais des congrès. 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.

On stage

World-renowned dancers from the National Ballet of Canada, the Boston Ballet, the Cuban National Ballet and more perform to classical music and the songs of Leonard Cohen in Les Grands Ballets's Soirée des étoiles – Dance Me to the End of Love, June 7 to 9 at Place des Arts. New graduates of the National Circus School present two amazing year-end shows at La TOHU until June 10: the multidisciplinary and spectacular Barok XXI and Sapience. See Tableau D’Hôte Theatre's award-winning production of Michel Tremblay's Hosanna at Centaur Theatre in English until June 10. Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh portrays Israel’s first and only female Prime Minister in Golda’s Balcony at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts up to June 10. Broadway musical fans will love The Lyric Theatre SingersJourney to Broadway revue at D.B. Clarke Theatre from June 14 to 16. And don't miss out on the wild and wonderful DIY theatre, dance, comedy and unclassifiable stage antics of the 28th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, running until June 17 at multiple indoor and outdoor venues – the outdoor Fringe Tent is also a must with its free music and theatrical performances, and so is the Mini Fringe for kids on June 10.

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 more – plus a Beach Party on Friday night, with summer cocktails, savoury appetizers and musical performances. 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 – and it's Family Day at the MAC on June 9, featuring tours, workshops and an arty breakfast. 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. Interdisciplinary group exhibition Refus contraire looks at current and historical themes of revolution and challenging the status quo through collective actions in Québec at Galerie de l’UQAM. 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 (plus outdoor performances on June 9).

Local history and beyond

Dive into Montréal's past at the McCord Museum, featuring new 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. Until June 9, enjoy free entrance at the Biosphère environment museum in Parc Jean-Drapeau during Environment Week. Lab Cult at the Canadian Centre for Architecture addresses interchanges between science and architecture. 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.

On screen

Immerse yourself in high-tech new worlds in the 360-degree Satosphere dome of the Society for Arts and Technology: from June 5 to 9, see a double-bill of Drichtel and Remote Sense alter perceptions with surround-sound experiments and audio-reactive visuals. 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. The Phi Centre also celebrates the 10th anniversary of Denis Villeneuve's spectacular short film Next Floor with an installation and screenings.

Live music

On Friday night, Mexican singer and music icon Luis Miguel brings his ¡Mexico Por Siempre! Tour to the Bell Centre, and indie rockers An Horse, Camp Cope and Heart Beach play Bar Le Ritz PDB. All month, check out the leftfield music, from jazz and classical to avant rock and folk, of the always impressive Suoni per il Popolo Festival, including Hieroglyphic Being on Friday, Limp Wrist on Saturday, Milford Graves & William Parker on Sunday, workshops and more. Saturday brings indie rock band The Front Bottoms and Hobo Johnson to Corona Theatre, blues rockers Black Pistol Fire to Théâtre Fairmount, Boston punks Street Dogs to Foufounes Électriques, and the experimental electroacoustic music of Myriam Bleau and Gabriel Ledoux on 157 speakers in the Society for Arts and Technology Satosphere. Huge factory-turned-dance club New City Gas celebrates Grand Prix weekend with high-energy electro on Friday with Hardwell, on Saturday with Nervo and on Sunday with Oliver Heldens. Also on Saturday, June 9, legendary French electro-pop hip-hop group TTC owns MTELUS with Omnikrom and Poirier, Québécois singer-songwriter Marc Dupré rocks the Bell Centre and Québécois music legend Roch Voisine performs in the intimate space of Cinquième Salle from June 8 to 11, all part of Les Francos. Spend Sunday afternoon outdoors at electronic dance party Piknic Électronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau, featuring energetic sounds from Amelie Lens, Farrago and more great producers.

In classical music, the 23rd edition of the Montréal Chamber Music Festival runs up to June 17 – hear Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Eldar Djangirov and his trio on June 8, a free concert with the Rolston String Quartet performing Steve Reich’s Different Trains, followed by an evening of Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Schumann with the quartet and pianist André Laplante on June 12, and The Tempest Trio on June 14. The Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil performs their Concert du printemps at Maison symphonique on June 10. Alain Lefèvre and guests celebrate the great composer André Mathieu with the Orchestre de la Francophonie, conducted by Jean-Philippe Tremblay at Maison symphonique on June 14. On Monday, June 11, it's Grammy and Brit Award-winning musician Midge Ure (of Ultravox) and fellow Brit Paul Young at Club Soda, while Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks jangle on at Théâtre Fairmount with opener Lithics. On Tuesday, June 12, get lost in the new-wave electro of Cold Cave and Black Marble at Théâtre Fairmount and Chicago post-hardcore post-rock band Slow Mass at L'Escogriffe. French music icon Catherine Ringer and opener Fanny Bloom perform at Place des Arts on June 12 and French singer-songwriter Camille comes to Place des Arts on June 13, both part of Les Francos. Also on June 13, the one and only Paul Simon performs live at the Bell Centre, Australian psych rock band King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard goes wild at L'Olympia, and Sneaks offers an eclectic take on electro beats and hip hop vocals at Bar Le Ritz PDB. And on June 14, see award-winning French singer-songwriter Juliette Armanet dabble in retro French pop, disco and piano melodies at L’Astral, also part of Les Francos. 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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