Things to do in Montréal July 7-13

Robyn Fadden

Outdoors is the place to be this week in Montréal, with Jazz Fest, circus shows, fireworks, food trucks, the Carifiesta parade, activities for kids, all kinds of live music and so much more. 

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Summer celebrations

Montréal celebrates its 375th birthday all year – this week see the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire illuminateing Old Montréal, outdoor circus shows at circus fest MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, music-meets-circus show Lâcher de violons in Old Montréal, “walkabout” theatre shows La quête and Les Oiseaux and others, rolling stuffed animals for kids to ride on by Zoo Roule, plus more free things to do this summer! The International des Feux Loto-Québec Montréal Fireworks Festival brightens the sky on Saturday night at 10 p.m. with an Italian-themed musical show. Earlier in the day, don't miss the colourful, musical Carifiesta parade along Ste-Catherine Street starting at noon. Try mouth-watering food from local food trucks at First Fridays on the Olympic Stadium Esplanade July 7. And all kinds of music, cultural events and activities add high-energy, family-friendly fun to Parc Jean-Drapeau during Week-ends du Monde, July 8-9.

Joys of Jazz Fest

With over 500 concerts – 2/3 of them free – the Montréal International Jazz Festival is the biggest festival of its kind in the world and one of Montréal's biggest summer festivals, showcasing jazz, blues, rock, pop, electro and hip hop on 20 indoor and outdoor stages. Among the many great shows closing the festival this weekend: indoors on Friday night see Groenland and San Fermin at Métropolis, Tanya Tagaq at Club Soda and Bobby Bazini at Place des Arts, and on Saturday, it's Serena Ryder and Fast Romantics at Métropolis, Jesse Cook at Maison symphonique, while on the outdoor stages there's music all afternoon and into the evening in Place des Festivals, including a Friday night show with Ghana artist Pat Thomas and the Kwashibu Area Band and a Saturday night finale starring Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals.

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Outdoor activities

Urban green space, outdoor eatery and bar in the heart of downtown Les Jardins Gamelin hosts live music, dance classes, morning and afternoon family activities and more. Grab a bite from one of Montréal’s great food trucks, seasonal outdoor markets or on restaurant patios throughout the city. There's  music, food and socializing at the Village au Pied du Courrant  next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Pop Montréal's family-friendly Marché des Possibles  in Mile End features live music, food, workshops and more every weekend. St-Hubert Plaza's Atmosph'Air on the Plaza returns July 5-9 with live music, a sidewalk sale, food and drink. The  Canadian Centre for Architecture hosts a noon-hour concert on July 7 with cellist Elinor Frey. The Festival of India brings music, dance and food to Jeanne-Mance Park this weekend. See an abundance of nature in the city on a guided hike on Mont Royal July 9. And kids can join adventure quests at the Botanical Garden, Polar Immersion tours at the Biodôme and forensic investigations at CSI: The Experience at the Montréal Science Centre

Circus and comedy

The 8th edition of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE takes to the streets and parks with circus shows at Jardins Gamelin, along Saint-Denis Street, and at the Olympic Park Esplanade and a fun fair outside Tohu circus centre all weekend. Add to all that a program full of incredible indoor shows, including TABARNAK by Cirque Alfonse, Cirque du Soleil's VOLTA, Limbo at the Casino de Montréal, Les 7 Doigts's  VICE & VERTU and Rêveurs Définitifs, a cutting edge technological spectacle with music by Patrick Watson at Théâtre St-Denis II. Adding to the fun, the world's largest comedy fest Just For Laughs starts July 12 with The Ethnic Show at Club Soda.

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On screen

Meet screen stars (like David Tennant and John Cusack) and incredible comic artists, get the scoop at Q&A sessions, shop for rarities and more at Montreal Comic Con July 7-9 at Palais des congrès. The excellent Fantasia film festival kicks off its 21st edition on July 13 with the North American Premiere of Jung Byung-gil's action thriller The Villainess. Cinémathèque québécoise  presents its 20x5 program, a tour through cinematic history from Charlie Chaplin to Lars von Trier. See Annie Hall on July 10 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind on July 12 at the Phi Centre. See noir film Drôle de drame outdoors at Film Noir au Canal  on Sunday. Cinéma sous les étoiles presents documentaries in Laurier Park on July 12. And explore space in double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.

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Art events

At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, fashion meets passion in Love Is Love – wedding haute couture and prêt-à-porter by Jean Paul Gaultier and Revolution explores the 1960s in music, film, fashion and design. The Musée d'art contemporain  inspires with the first solo exhibition in Canada by Olafur Eliasson and contemporary art illuminates a city-altering event In Search of Expo 67. Marvel at the technological innovations of EXPO 67: A World of Dreams at the Stewart Museum and architect Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67 in The Shape of Things to Come at the  Centre de design de l’UQAM. British artist Ed Atkins intrigues with questions on human bodies, digital creation and reality in Modern Piano Music at DHC-ART. AIRES LIBRES  presents open-air Galerie Blanc at the corner of Wolfe and Ste-Catherine. Pointe-à-Callière archaeology and history museum presents the fascinating Amazonia: The Shaman and the Mind of the Forest. Walk up St-Laurent Boulevard to see mural art  on building walls, and stop by multidisciplinary exhibition Take Care of Your Self  at 3845 St-Laurent. And Mile-Ex gallery Never Apart  opens its summer exhibition on July 13.

Live music

Along with this weekend's Jazz Fest  shows, there's even more live music all week. On Friday night, dance to electro acts Feed Me and No Mana at Théâtre Fairmount  or at Awesome Tapes From Africa with Andy Williams and Patrick Mocan at Artgang. All Day I Dream transforms a section of Parc Jean-Drapeau into a magical, electro fantasyland with Lee Burridge and more artists all day July 8, while on Saturday night indie rock band Seven Day Sons plays Théâtre Fairmount and ska-punk-rocker Jeff Rosenstock plays L'Esco. The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra plays a free concert for Montréal's 375th on July 9 at Maison symphonique de Montréal. The 40th Festival de Lanaudière, one of the biggest classical music festivals in the country, continues to August 6 in nearby Joliette. Saturday afternoon bounces with the Good Vibes Only Garden Party at New City Gas. Sunday afternoon at outdoor dance party Piknic Électronik features Tazz, Adam Solomon, Cassy and more on two stages, plus a Petit Piknic area for families. Festival International Nuits D’Afrique brings the best of African and African-influenced music to Montréal July 11-23 – see Amadou & Mariam July 13 at Métropolis and more great shows at Club Balattou. Cool Fest takes over La Sala Rossa July 12-13, and on July 13, see captivating electro singer and musician Kelly Lee Owens at Bar Le Ritz PDB.

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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