Things to do in Montréal April 6-12

Robyn Fadden

April in Montréal signals the height of traditional Québécois sugar shack season, high-tech Digital Spring events and interactive outdoor art, your last chance to see art exhibition Leonard Cohen – A Crack in Everything and your first to see Queens of Egypt, plus more excellent art, food, film, dance, theatre and live music.

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Springtime sights

The Quartier des Spectacles springs to life with new digital and interactive creations this week. Hop onto a colourful swing and make music with the 21 Swings artistic installation, opening April 9. Nearby, Montréal's collective identity and myriad differences can be seen in the suspended spiral staircase of Our DNA by artist Patrick Bérubé. Watch for the intergalactic antics and disco stylings of Space Monkey, outdoor projections that are part of this year's Digital Spring events. And see six amazing new creations by the semi-finalists in the Interactive Architectural Mapping International Competition, outside the entrance to Saint-Laurent metro station downtown, April 11-12 at 8:30 p.m., part of the MUTEK_IMG forum on digital creation. View the whole city from the La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port, the Observatoire Place Ville Marie in the heart of downtown or the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium at Olympic Park – follow our guide to Montréal's most famous icons to see more of the city's unique sights and architecture. At night, spot some of Montréal's high-tech wonders and flagship legacy 375th anniversary projects in Old Montréal, including Cité Memoire and AURA. Indoors, step into a bright natural world as hundreds of butterflies and moths flit through the air at the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free event. Hear the call of the great Canadian outdoors at The Outdoor Adventure Show, Québec’s largest showcase of outdoor gear and adventure travel, at Palais des Congrès, April 7-8. And the Harlem Globetrotters put on an energetic basketball spectacle on April 8 at the Bell Centre.

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Food and drink

Dig in to the abundant seasonal meals at Québec sugar shacks in and around Montréal, including La Cabane chez Jean in Parc Jean-Drapeau, chef Laurent Godbout’s Un Chef à l’Érable and Panache et Bois Rond. Spring clean your eating habits at these great health-conscious restaurants and the many vegan options in our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal. On the other hand... for tried-and-true Québécois classic dishes, follow our guides to the best poutine, the best Montréal bagels and the best smoked meat, along with more musts for foodies visiting Montréal and where to go shopping for foodies too. And discover amazingly delicious chocolate creations made by Montréal's top chocolatières. Warm up with spicy Indian food to big bowls of ramen and pho. From creatively casual to classically French, these restaurants let you bring your own wine. Take it easy at these new casual restaurants in Montréal or grab a quick bite at Montréal lunch counters. If you're on the hunt for a favourite haunt, try these restaurants open from brunch to well past dinner. Sip some of the best hot chocolate in the city, incredible coffee at Montréal's indie coffee shops, Montréal's best bubble tea and great drinks at creative cocktail bars. Spend some time sampling your favourite tipple in the mood lighting of Montréal's new bars and brasseries. And if you're here with friends for Spring Break, indulge in all Montréal can offer when it comes to amazing food, sweet socializing and late-night fun.

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Leonard Cohen's Montréal

A must-see for anyone visiting Montréal, international exhibition Leonard Cohen – A Crack in Everything at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal features immersive art inspired by Leonard Cohen's life, music and writing – see it before it closes on April 9! While there, also explore That's How the Light Gets In, a collections exhibition that frames art in terms of the fundamental aspect of light. Dancer-choreographer Clara Furey's dance cycle When Even Then, inspired by the poems of Cohen, also graces the Musée. And the Musée's Leonard Cohen Symposium addresses the artist's life and work and tackles the link between pop music and contemporary art, April 6-7 at Concordia University. See building-sized murals of Leonard Cohen on Crescent Street downtown near the Sir Winston Churchill Pub and on Saint-Laurent Boulevard at Napoleon Street not far from Schwartz's. Nearby, stop by The Museum of Jewish Montréal to see new immersive installation Scintillements | 1001 Lights by award-winning filmmakers Marlene Millar and Philip Szporer.

On stage

Montréal's winter-spring dance season continues this week as Danse Danse and Printemps nordique present Norway's zero visibility corp.'s Again, choreographed by company founder Ina Christel Johannessen, April 5-7 at Place des Arts, followed April 11-22 by Threshold, an astonishing dance on ice by Le Patin Libre at Aréna St-Louis in the Mile End. Experience Dana Gingras's installation-performance-concert Another intrigues at Agora de la danse April 4-14. Also part of Printemps nordique, Swedish artist Gunilla Heilborn blends dance with dialogue and video in solo show The Knowledge, exploring the world of the brain and memory, at Place des Arts' Cinquième salle. A thriller in a strange location, Théâtre à corps perdus's new play Local | Unit B-1717 takes place among storage units in a warehouse, unravelling the mystery of one woman's memories. Infinithéâtre's epic play Fight On! re'rights' history about occupation and colonization of the Canadian West, with talkbacks after each performance at Espace Knox April 10-22. And circus meets visual arts, theatre and archery in Dois by brothers Luis and Pedro Sartori do Vale, at Place des Arts' Cinquième Salle April 12-15.

On screen

An immersive virtual reality experience inspired by space travel, climate change, and mass migration, Particles of Existence explores the universe at a non-human scale, giving us new perspectives on life's big questions, at the Phi Centre. Join the latest conversations on Virtual Reality at the 4th MUTEK_IMG forum on digital creation, April 11-13, featuring free VR presentations, panel discussions and lectures at the Phi Centre, including VR fiction Ma Réserve by Brigitte Poupart (based on a Paul Auster novel) and Philippe Lambert's online experience Dream, followed by Rhizomatiks Research x ELEVENPLAY's performance discrete figures on April 13. In the multimedia dome of the Society for Arts and Technology April 3-7, immerse yourself in the audio-visual magic of “piano-light” concert Les planètes, an interpretation of composer Walter Boudreau's The Planets. Explore the cosmos in films EXO and Space Next at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Go on a wild ride in IMAX with Tiny Giants, Amazon 3D and Incredible Predators 3D at the Montréal Science Centre. Wes Anderson's newest stop-motion film, Isle of Dogs, can be seen at Cinéma du Parc along with weekend family screenings of the Fantastic Mr. Fox. And film buffs flock to Mediafilm's CinéBazar to check out the city's cinema scene and find films, posters, books and more collectibles, on Saturday, April 7 at the Centre du Plateau

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Museums and galleries

At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts see major exhibition Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace featuring over 400 paintings and other art objects, along with Nadia Myre's Scattered Remains, activities for kids and more. Travel back in time in the Queens of Egypt exhibition, opening April 10 at Pointe-à-Callière. As part of Printemps nordique, multimedia artist collective Dark Matters from Denmark present otherworldly animated video Leges Motus (The laws of motion) on 35 screens in Georges-Émile-Lapalme Espace Culturel at Place des Arts, while in Frost - The life and culture of the Sámi photographer Fred Ivar Utsi Klemetsen depicts the life and culture of an indigenous Arctic people, at Place des Arts' exhibition hall. Peer into Montréal's past through photography exhibitions Gabor Szilasi: Le monde de l’art à Montréal, 1960-1980 and Michel Campeau: Life Before Digital at the McCord Museum. New exhibitions delight at Galerie de l'UQAM: Earthlings featuring ceramics and works on paper by contemporary Canadian artists, including Shary Boyle, Shuvinai Ashoona and Pierre Aupilardjuk; and Masters student Leyla Majeri's Don't Blame Us If We Get Playful. The UQAM Centre de Design presents an exhibition on design firm Foster + Partners. Lab Cult at the Canadian Centre for Architecture explores the unorthodox history of interchanges between science and architecture. Gilles Carle – Sharing and Heritage at Arsenal art contemporain Montréal gathers for the first time the entire body of painting by the Québec filmmaker. Multi-artist exhibition The Material Turn focuses on contemporary textile practices in the digital age, at Galerie FOFA. Fashion is an art in the hands of these Montréal's high-end designers making classic and edgy ready-to-wear and unique accessories for all tastes. Or go antiquing along the Canal for unique treasures. And if you're looking for that perfect piece of art to bring home with you, check out our guide to where to buy art in Montréal.

Live music

On Friday and Saturday night, Montréal welcomes Blue Rodeo frontman's The Jim Cuddy Band and Barney Bentall playing their classic Canadiana folk-rock tunes at Théâtre Corona. Also on Friday, bilingual folk duo Moonfruits bring a quaint village ambience to Place des Arts’ Salle Claude-Léveillée, Providence, RI experimental indie-folk makers The Low Anthem and Haley Heynderickx comes to Le Belmont, and Brooklyn singer-songwriter Kevin Devine and openers Thanya Iyer and Catbug strum it up at Bar Le Ritz PDB. On Saturday, chamber music ensemble Musica Camerata Montréal presents an Éclectisme européen concert at Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, and Australian house producers Timmy Trumpet and Tigerlily take over the dancefloor at New City Gas. Listen to the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal play Mozart's Great Mass at Maison symphonique on Sunday, April 8, while Justin Timberlake brings his The Man of the Woods Tour to the Bell Centre April 8-9.

On Monday, April 9, Printemps Nordique presents Sámi duo Arvvas, blending traditional Joik chanting with Americana, at Place des Arts Salle Claude-Léveillée. On April 10 get loud with Cradle of Filth and Jinjer at Théâtre Corona, the ASAP Ferg Mad Man Tour rolls into New City Gas, while Aussie indie-folk band Hollow Coves and openers Austin Basham play L'Escogriffe and NYC's Trace Mountains (members of LVL UP) brings guitar-synth joys to Casa del Popolo. Classical meets pop as 2Cellos perform at the Bell Centre on April 11. Kent Nagano conducts the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and violinist Christian Tetzlaff in Bruckner's Symphony no. 7 in E major at Maison symphonique April 11-14. And on Thursday, April 12, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy comes to Théâtre Corona with songs played solo and acoustic, classically trained keyboardist and electronic producer Anomalie plays live at Théâtre Fairmount, Spanish electronic music producer John Talabot makes his mark on Newspeak, it's the excellent indie synth-pop of Computer Magic and Le Matos at Le Ministère, Russian Circles and King Woman play La Sala Rossa and Chicago's Wrekmeister Harmonies with opener Lungbutter make a beautiful noise at La Vitrola. 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, Montréal's best jazz and blues clubs and our insider 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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