Things to do in Montréal April 13-19

Robyn Fadden

With spring comes Québec's traditional (and delicious) sugar shack season along with the city's high-tech Digital Spring events, insightful history exhibition Queens of Egypt, contemporary dance on ice, and more excellent art, food, film, dance, theatre and music.

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See the city in spring

Swing into spring in the Quartier des Spectacles with 21 Swings, a colourful set of high-tech swings that let you make music in harmony with others. At night, watch for the intergalactic antics and disco stylings of Space Monkey, wild outdoor projections that are part of this year's Digital Spring events. Nearby, Montréal's collective identity and myriad differences can be seen in the suspended spiral staircase of Our DNA by artist Patrick Bérubé. Get a bird's eye perspective on Montréal from the Observatoire Place Ville Marie in the heart of downtown, the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium and on La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port. 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. 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. 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. Find all these activities and more at your fingertips with My Official Montréal City Guide, a new travel app that lets you experience the city like a Montrealer.

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Food and drink

Maple syrup – and the many dishes that go with it – reigns during sugar shack season. 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 Cabane Panache et Bois Rond. The Olympic Park's Esplanade Financière Sun Life transforms into a family-friendly village of rustic restaurants for sugaring-off time: Le temps des sucres offers signature meals from four Québec chefs from April 12 to 15. For more 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 or big bowls of ramen and pho. Mac + Cheese Week showcases 40 restaurants' versions of the comfort food until April 15. 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. Or 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 stage

Montréal's winter-spring dance season continues this week as Danse Danse presents Threshold, an astonishing dance on ice by Le Patin Libre at Aréna St-Louis in the Mile End, April 11-22. Part of the Printemps nordique events, extraordinary opera NeoArctic is an ode to the planet by Danish visual arts and performance company Hotel Pro Forma at Place des Arts' Théâtre Maisonneuve on April 14, and Helsinki-based Tero Saarinen Company's contemporary dance work Breath blends invigorating physicality and humour, featuring accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen, April 17-21 at Place des Arts' Cinquième salle. Experience Dana Gingras's installation-performance-concert Another at Agora de la danse from April 4 to 14. In theatre: The Angel & the Sparrow is based on the true story of Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf, featuring 20 unforgettable songs, opening April 15 at the Segal Centre; Michaela Di Cesare's new Italian-Canadian family dramedy Successions begins at Centaur Theatre; a thriller in a strange location, Théâtre à corps perdus's 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 from April 10 to 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 from April 12 to 15.

On screen

The most important African and Creole film festival in North America, Montreal’s Vues d’Afrique International Film Festival presents 88 new films from 33 countries this year, from April 13 to 22 at the Cinémathèque Québécoise. 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, from April 11 to 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 immerse yourself in the audio-visual worlds of two features: Cage and Lost. 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.

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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 extensive Queens of Egypt exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière. The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal The Prophets, an installation work of small sculptures by Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens, while exhibition That's How the Light Gets In frames art in terms of the fundamental aspect of light. 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. On April 19, gallery Never Apart launches its Spring / Printemps 2018 Exhibitions. Lab Cult at the Canadian Centre for Architecture explores the unorthodox history of interchanges between science and architecture. Fashion is an art in the hands of these Montréal high-end designers making classic and edgy ready-to-wear and unique accessories for all tastes – and you can find all kinds of fashionable clothing and accessories on sale at The Big Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers (also known as the Braderie), from April 12 to 15 at Bonsecours Market! 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, famed Canadian musician, songwriter and producer David Foster performs his hit songs, from Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard to Chicago’s You’re the Inspiration and many more at Maison symphonique, while pop boy band Why Don't We thrills fans at MTelus, Chicago future-house and art collective Autograf comes to Le Belmont, and UK techno producer Daniel Avery performs album Song for Alpha at the Phi Centre. Kent Nagano conducts the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and violinist Christian Tetzlaff in Bruckner's Symphony no. 7 in E major at Maison symphoniquefrom April 11 to 14. Saturday runs the gamut from heavy – L.A. industrial band 3TEETH at Foufounes Électriques and California alt-metalists Papa Roach at MTelus – to the lighter sounds of '80s pop sensation (and internet meme) Rick Astley at Théâtre Corona, the synth beats and melodies of electronic-pop artist Baths at Théâtre Fairmount, Australian singer songwriter Fatai at La Sala Rossa, summer electro dance vibes at Destination îlesoniq with Michael Sparks at Club Soda and the R&B-styled electronic dance music of CADE at New City Gas along with Ship Wrek, Swedish abstract electronic producer Cid Inc. at Newspeak, Australian alt-pop band Cub Sport at Petit Campus, and a night of indie-rock with Faith Healer, Pottery and Maggy France at Bar Le Ritz PDB.

On Sunday, April 15, hear acclaimed pianist Maurizio Pollini with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique, while '90s stalwarts Ministry at MTelus, Dweezil Zappa plays Théâtre Corona, and The Mountain Goats grace L’Astral. On April 16, groove to the funk-addled psychedelia of Khruangbin at Théâtre Fairmount, while Berlin-based Max Raabe & Palast Orchester bring ballroom hits and original songs to Place des Arts, and melodic post-punk makers Preoccupations play Théatre Plaza. April 17 brings The Darkness to Théâtre Corona. On April 18, it's a rock n' roll party with The Wild! and The Lazys at Petit Campus and a sweet garage-pop time with NYC rockers Gladshot at Bar Le Ritz PDB. And on April 19, progressive metal supergroup Sons of Apollo rules Théâtre Corona, L.A. electro-pop duo Frenship brings the beach to Bar Le Ritz PDB, melodic dubstep artist MitiS chimes in at L’Astral and !!! (Chk Chk Chk) plays a wild DJ set with openers Wake Island at Newspeak. 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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