Things to do in Montréal February 2-8

February begins in Montréal with a celebration of winter's wild side at Fêtes des Neiges and Igloofest, alongside a cultural feast of opera, Broadway, dance and theatre, gallery hopping, made-in-Montréal meals, classical concerts and rock music.

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Winter playtime

Among the many free things to do this winter in Montréal, don't miss family-friendly Fêtes des Neiges this Saturday and Sunday in Parc Jean-Drapeau, with ice slides, snow tubing, a zip line, dog sledding, boot hockey, singer Andie Duquette, La Raviolimanie musical-comedy and more fun in the snow. Spend more time outdoors with these classic Montréal winter activities, from sledding on the Mountain to bird watching at the Botanical Garden and ice skating at Olympic Park's V Winter Village or next to the Saint-Lawrence River on the Natrel Skating Rink. And dance like you've never danced before: outdoors to the electronic beats and incredible visuals of Igloofest in the Old Port – the festival's final Friday features a 3-hour DJ set from Sasha & John Digweed, plus Tone Depth and live sets from great locals, while on Saturday afternoon the free Off Igloo all-ages event gets us dancing with Tupi Collective, Qualité de Luxe and Tizi, followed by a night of music with French producers Worakls, N'To and Joachim Pastor plus stellar Canadian producers on the second stage.


Snowy city sights

Old Montréal sparkles with some of Montréal's high-tech wonders and flagship legacy projects for Montréal’s 375th anniversary, such as the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire on building facades throughout the area and in multimedia wonder AURA at Notre-Dame Basilica, one of the Montréal's stunning historic churches. Follow our guide to Montréal's most famous icons to see the city's famed architecture and other unique sights, including the Buckminster Fuller-designed Biosphère and its exhibition Planète MTL. See Montréal from great heights at the top of Mount Royal, on La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel, from the Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown and at the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium. Or take in a relaxing river-level view of the Saint Lawrence at Bota Bota floating spa, one of Montréal's best spas. Indoors, watch animals at play in the tropics and beyond at the Biodome and discover Montréal hockey history in exhibition Passion: Hockey at Pointe-à-Callière museum. On the ice, watch NHL greats the Montréal Canadiens play the Ducks on Feb. 3 and the Senators on Feb. 4 – get your tickets from secure Canadiens-authorized site Ticket Vault.



Food and drink

Enjoy a delicious multi-course meal or gourmet brunch at the 11th edition of Happening Gourmand in Old Montréal until Feb. 4 at BEVO Bar + Pizzeria, Taverne Gaspar, Kyo Bar Japonais, Méchant Boeuf, Modavie, Brasserie 701, Verses Bistro, Vieux-Port Steakhouse and Maggie Oakes. For tried-and-true Québécois classic dishes, follow our guides to the best poutine – this week you're in luck because it's also Montréal Poutine Week with specials and contests at over 40 restaurants! – plus the best Montréal bagels along with more musts for foodies visiting Montréal and where to go shopping for foodies too. Winter weather calls for just the right hot food for cold days, from spicy Indian food to big bowls of ramen. Warm up in classic Montréal style with traditional terroir, high tea and more gourmet meals. Or get cozy next to a fireplace at several great bars and restaurants. Try some of the best hot chocolate in the city, excellence coffee at Montréal's indie coffee shops or indulge at the city's most creative cocktail bars. Or discover brand new Montréal restaurants and a wide world of health-conscious food in Montréal along with vegan options in our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal. And the Phi Centre gives us another perspective on food in the Women with Knives series, featuring a discussion with Slovenian chef Ana Roš on Feb. 5, culinary demos and more culinary conversations to Feb. 8.

Leonard Cohen's Montréal

Montréal celebrates Leonard Cohen and his legacy with international exhibition Leonard Cohen – A Crack in Everything at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, featuring work by 40 artists from 10 countries, inspired by Leonard Cohen's life, music and writing – an absolute must-see. 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 (visibility, reflection, representation, perception), and The Gaze Listens, an auditory contemplation of art. Dancer-choreographer Clara Furey's dance cycle When Even Then, inspired by the poems of Cohen, also graces the Musée this week. 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.

Stage and screen

Poetic world-changing drama unfolds in JFK by composer David T. Little and librettist and lyricist Royce Vavrek, presented by Opéra de Montréal at Place des Arts to Feb. 3, Followed by the dramatic passion and sacrifice of Broadway hit Les Misérables, Feb. 7-11. The Phoenix (Hua Yun) Artistic Troupe celebrates the Year of the Dog in the 2018 Chinese New Year Gala of dance, song, acrobatics, Peking Opera and Kung Fu, Feb. 3-4 at Place des Arts. Montréal's winter-spring dance season continues in fine form as Danse Danse presents Barcelona dance troupe La Veronal's Siena, an embodied contemplation of art and representation through the ages, at Place des Arts Feb. 8-10. In this season's English-language theatre calendar, a 1960s Québec tale of two young Lebanese women, their families and the emerging feminist movement is told in The Baklawa Recipe, to Feb. 18 at Centaur Theatre, Black Theatre Workshop and Montréal's Black History Month presents Athol Fugard’s play “Master Harold”...and the boys set in South Africa in 1950 during apartheid, at the Segal Centre to Feb. 11, while Hanna Abd El Nour’s Voyage(s) speaks of identity, memory, utopia and freedom through the figures of Ulysses, Don Quixote and Peer Gynt, at LaChapelle to Feb. 3, and family secrets explode in Infinithéâtre's dramatic comedy Conversion Feb. 6-25 at Espace Knox. See cutting-edge short films in the Society for Arts and Technology's 360-degree dome during SAT Fest to Feb. 2, followed by immersive audiovisual creations Hidden Dimensions and NAscent starting Feb. 6. Explore the cosmos in EXO and Space Next at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, and go on a wild ride in IMAX with Tiny Giants, Amazon 3D and Incredible Predators 3D at the Montréal Science Centre. Old Montréal's Phi Centre hosts Virtual Reality Garden: Canadian Screen Awards to Feb. 12 as well as screenings from Paris’s prestigious Cinéma Paradiso to Feb. 3. And former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama takes the stage for a much-anticipated talk at the Palais des congrès de Montréal on Feb. 5.


Gallery hopping

From major museums to commercial galleries, original art abounds in Montréal – don't miss these must-see winter and spring exhibitions while you're here. At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts catch Once Upon A Time… The Western until Feb. 4 and major exhibition Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace beginning Feb. 3, along with installation Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan by Eruoma Awashish, Meky Ottawa and Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush and Nadia Myre's Tout ce qui reste – Scattered Remains. Always a must-visit in Old Montréal, DHC/ART celebrates its 10th anniversary with dynamic group exhibition The Gift/L'Offre alongside the pioneering video art and installation work of Bill Viola: Naissance à rebours. Peer into the city's past through photography exhibition Gabor Szilasi: Le monde de l’art à Montréal, 1960-1980 at the McCord Museum. Artist Maria Hupfield explores memory and family through felt objects and performance-based works in exhibition The One Who Keeps On Giving at Galerie de l'UQAM. The Montréal Science Centre presents Indigenous Ingenuity: Timeless Inventions alongside photo exhibition Regalia: Native Pride. Lynda Gaudreau's project Out of Sight at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery explores perception and what is outside our field of vision. In Mile-Ex, Never Apart's Winter 2018 Exhibition features artwork by 10 international and local multimedia artists. 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.


Classical concerts

Among the excellence classical music this winter/spring season, on Feb. 2 Quatuor Saguenay, pianist Stéphane Lemelin and baritone Dimitri Katotakis perform a quartet by Beethoven and vocal works about Napoleon at Bourgie Hall, the Chœur classique de Montréal sings the emotionally powerful St. Matthew Passion at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique on Feb. 3, elite pianist Marc-André Hamelin and Pacifica Quartet perform on Feb. 4 at Maison symphonique, the Voces Boreales choir and ensemble Of Sound, Mind and Body sing the words of Shakespeare at Bourgie Hall Feb. 7, and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal presents Jacques Lacombe and the Russian Soul featuring Shostakovich’s last concerto and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony at Maison symphonique Feb 7-8.

More live music   

On Friday night, if you're not dancing outdoors in your brightest ski suit at Igloofest or hitting up the Igloofest afterparties, check out the indie-rock shows of the Taverne Tour festival with We Are Wolves to Le Ministère plus free shows at bars on Mont-Royal Ave. and more, followed by Saturday night shows from Duchess Says, Solids and other great bands. As part of Montréal's Black History Month, renowned musicians Eddie and Quincy Bullen perform Father and Son Duelling Pianos at Oscar Peterson Concert Hall on Feb. 3. Also on Saturday night, hang with rapper Yung Lean at MTelus, dance to the electro beats of Dutch DJ and producer duo W&W at New City Gas, the Dômesicle party winter edition at the Société des arts technologiques, Ryan Playground at Newspeak and EDM masters Above & Beyond at Place Bell. Sunday brings Norwegian traditional-folk (with a hint of metal) band Wardruna to Théâtre Corona and rockers Black Veil Brides, Asking Alexandria and Crown The Empire to MTelus. Monday's wild with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Club Soda, post-hardcore Brits Enter Shikari at Théâtre Fairmount and multi-instrumentalist songwriter Rostam (formerly of Vampire Weekend) at La Sala Rossa. On Feb. 6, see multi-genre crew Brockhampton at Théâtre Corona, Swedish indie-folk duo First Aid Kit and Van William at MTelus and Greek heavy rockers 1000mods at Bar to Le Ritz PDB. Wardruna proves their Québec popularity with a second show on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at Théâtre Corona, while Elderbrook jams ambient electro at Newspeak. And closing out the week on Thursday, electronic producers Drezo and Callie Reiff at L'Astral, Irish rockers The Coronas at Petit Campus, and the experimental sounds of Efrim Manuel Menuck (of GY!BE and Thee Silver Mt Zion) along with KGD (of Growing and Total Life) at Bar to Le Ritz PDB. For more live music throughout the week, check out our picks for 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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