Things to do in Montréal August 18 to 24

Robyn Fadden

It's a colourful, musical week in Montréal, from the Canada Pride Parade to a free open-air symphony concert, fashion shows and electronic music live in the streets, an extreme sports festival – and a solar eclipse too!

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Montréal celebrates

Join the city's 375th anniversary celebrations on August 19 at the All-Star Montréal Symphonique Concert, featuring three of Montréal’s major orchestras and more than 400 musicians, choir members and guest artists such as Coeur de Pirate and Patrick Watson, at the foot of Mount Royal at 9 p.m. There's even more reason to celebrate as the inaugural edition of Canada Pride, hosted and organized by Montréal Pride, paints the town rainbow with over 150 events and activities: free outdoor shows, including Nelly Furtado on August 18, films and art, a food fair on Sainte-Catherine Street, Acts to Grind Theatre's musical revue Naked Boys Singing! August 16-20, Community Day on August 19, and the always fabulous Pride Parade on August 20 followed by the Mega T-Dance party. 

Electronic heights

See some of the most creative electronic music and digital art in the world today at MUTEK, August 22-27, featuring over 100 musicians, producers and audiovisual artists in free outdoor daytime events starting at noon on August 23, late-night shows, visual spectacles, talks and more. See Max Cooper's intergalactic Emergence a/v show in the SAT on August 22, followed August 23 by Cooper and Maotik's creation Hyperform and Inter_Connect London artists, while Daphi (aka Dan Snaith of Caribou) plays an all-night party at Metropolis. On August 24 see Robert Henke's Lumiere III, Wiklow, Diagraf and Ewerx's Liquid Architecture in the Satosphere dome, Inter_Connect Mexico artists downstairs and drone music with Anthony Child, Fis, Deathprod, Sarah Davachi and France Jobin at Metropolis. See MUTEK's complete festival program for the full schedule.

Sports days

Play around, climb some walls and watch some of the best catch air at Canada’s largest action sports festival, the family-friendly Jackalope – this year welcoming skateboard legend Tony Hawk and Québec pro skater PLG as well as World Cup Skateboarding 2017, freestyle motocross, fixed gear cycling and more, August 18-20 on the Esplanade of the Olympic Stadium. Take a hot air balloon ride or just watch them float by at the International des Montgolfières Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a short drive away from the city, August 12-20, featuring an amusement park, bouncy castles, climbing games and live music. Montréal's MLS soccer team the Impact plays Real Salt Lake at Saputo Stadium on August 19, and the Allouettes take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in CFL action on August 24 at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. And watch Canada's top sprint canoe-kayak athletes compete in the Sprint Canoe Kayak Provincial Championship at Parc Jean-Drapeau's Olympic Basin, August 18-19.

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Food and drink

Grab a bite throughout the city from one of Montréal’s food trucks or on restaurant patios or stop by one of the city's seasonal outdoor markets for some picnic supplies. Cool down with some of Montréal's best ice cream and rev up with the city's best iced coffee. These health-conscious restaurants remind us to eat our vegetables in style. Enjoy live music, yoga classes, family activities and more at Les Jardins Gamelin in the heart of downtown or music, food and socializing at the Village au Pied du Courrant next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge and Les Jardineries at the Olympic Park Esplanade, while local food delights at Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port. And August 20 is also Restaurant Day, an international food carnival of pop-up restaurants in alleyways and living rooms across the city.

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On screen and in space

The Animaze Festival of animation runs to August 20 with feature film Junod, short films and Virtual Reality installations at the McCord Museum. Cinémathèque québécoise presents its 20x5 program, a tour through cinematic history from Charlie Chaplin to Lars von Trier. Immerse yourself in the Lucid Realities VR exhibition at the Phi Centre. Explore space in double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. And among this week's outdoor film screenings, see Mal de Pierres featuring Marion Cotillard on August 21 at Place de la Paix. And celebrate the vastness of the universe and our place in it during the Solar Eclipse on August 21 – observe the partial eclipse at Montréal's Space for Life Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, with special free activities all day including experts on hand and access to protective glasses and pinhole projectors for eclipse-viewing.

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Art and fashion

Montréal's annual Fashion and Design Festival brings high-fashion shows, music, films and pop-up shops to the Quartier des Spectacles, August 21-26. Fall in love with the haute couture wedding fashion of Love Is Love by Jean Paul Gaultier and dive into the 1960s realm of Revolution at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. See yourself in the colourful shadow and light art of famed artist Olafur Eliasson at the Musée d'art contemporain alongside new contemporary art inspired by Expo 67. British artist Ed Atkins's Modern Piano Music is a must at DHC-ART. See the tableaux projections of Cité Memoire, the Aura multimedia show in Notre-Dame Basilica, and multimedia show Montréal Avudo in Old Montréal, along with La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-Air Museum on Sherbrooke in the Golden Square Mile downtown. In Mile-Ex, drop by gallery Never Apart to see the Femme Realness summer exhibition. Marvel at EXPO 67: A World of Dreams at the Stewart Museum. Cheer for baseball history at the Grévin wax museum's Montréal, City of Baseball. And family-friendly NDG Arts Week showcases local art, film, music, food and more in parks and venues in the neighbourhood, August 21-27.

More live music

Along with MUTEK, another major summer festival happening this week, the Montréal International Reggae Festival, brings Inner Circle, Sanchez, Konshens, Tanya Stephens and many more artists to the Old Port August 18-20. See Axl, Slash and Duff play hard as Guns n' Roses plays outdoors – with openers Our Lady Peace – in Parc Jean-Drapeau, Saturday August 19. Dark wavers Ghost Love and Rose Bush play the launch of LGBTQ+ Chosen Family curated by Tranna Wintour and Thomas Leblanc on August 19 at the Phi Centre. Embrace ukelele music at the shows, workshops and strum-alongs of Montréal Uke Fest August 18-21 at La Sala Rossa, Casa del Popolo and Sporting Club. Also on Friday August 18, hear Australian singer-songwriter Stu Larsen at L'Astral and indie singer-songwriter project Waxahatchee gets emotional at Théâtre Fairmount.  

 

Enjoy live music in the afternoon on August 20 at the Botanical Garden with Shawn Phillips and in Jarry Parc with Pierre-Olivier Bolduc and more artists. Sunday afternoon shines at outdoor dance party Piknic Électronik in Parc Jean-Drapeau. On Sunday, see British rockers Anathema at L'Astral, Dave Hause & The Mermaid at Bar le Ritz PDB and Rick (of Boston indie-rock band PILE) with Footings and Ada Lea at L'Escogriffe. On August 21, Connecticut band The Most mixes math rock, jazz grooves and experimental orchestration at Casa del Popolo. Don't miss the soulful R&B-meets-hip-hop sound of SZA at Théâtre Corona on August 22. Midnight Oil comes to Place des Arts on August 23, while Cult Of Luna with Julie Christmas plays Théâtre Corona. Concert Un jour, un jour celebrates the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 with rock legend Nanette Workman and other artists performing 50 hit songs from 1967, to August 24 at the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal. Fishbum Records' FISH-FEST MTL mixes psych, shoegaze and garage rock August 23-25 with The Count Ferrara, Bodywash, Vypers and more at newly renovated long-time music venue L'Escogriffe. And on August 24, the great Kendrick Lamar performs at the Bell Centre.