Things to do in Montréal - April 2022

Robyn Fadden

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.

The joys of spring are in full force in Montréal this April: there’s something exciting and new to see everywhere! Explore the parks, city streets and cultural venues this month whether for Easter long weekend or any time. Enjoy seasonal food and signature cocktails at new and classic restaurants and bars. Visit museums and art galleries to experience new exhibitions. And let Montréal entertain you with international film festivals, theatre, dance, live music and more on stage and screen.

Springtime and Easter weekend activities

The Easter long weekend is the perfect time to take a break in Montréal, whether you’re visiting the city with family or have a romantic staycation planned in Old Montréal or downtown. Make plans for an indulgent Easter brunch – or everyday brunch! Pick up the perfect chocolate Easter bunny, chocolate eggs and other delicious creations at Montréal’s best chocolate shops.

Outdoors, explore Montréal's parks as they spring into bloom. See incredible city views from Mount Royal Park: take a walk through the park and up the stairs to the lookout or bus or drive up to Beaver Lake. Stroll around Parc La Fontaine or cross the river to Parc Jean-Drapeau for long riverside walks and a different view of the city – while there why not visit the Biosphère Environment Museum too! Or if you’re here in early April, try ice skating downtown at Esplanade Tranquille, open during the evenings until April 3.

In Old Montréal, walk the cobblestone streets to the Saint-Lawrence River to visit the peacefully illuminated square outside Notre-Dame Basilica – inside, see gorgeous multimedia show AURA. Explore Old Montréal in a whole new way with a free scavenger hunt created by Guidatour and the SDC du Vieux-Montréal. And see incredible city and river views from the Observation Wheel.

At the Space for Life, stroll through the Montréal Botanical Garden and its tropical greenhouses or experience the amazing ecosystems of the Biodôme and at the incredible Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Also, the the Insectarium will reopen on April 13 after major renovations! Or head to the West Island’s Ecomuseum Zoo to see local wildlife in their natural wintry outdoor habitats.

Indoors, catch the Montréal Canadiens on home ice at the Bell Centre throughout the month and CF Montréal on the Stade Saputo pitch on April 16 and 30. Or you could simply relax in the warmth of world-class spas, including Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau (their outdoor pools are open year-round), Strøm Nordic Spa (also with amazing outdoor pools), Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal and Spa William Grey.
 

April festivals and major events

Festival Art Souterrain fills Montréal's underground pedestrian network with new artwork by over 50 artists from around the world – explore the walkways and tunnels on your own or take a guided tour from April 2 to June 30. Film festival Les Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma celebrates Québec cinema from April 20 to 30 with screenings, events and face-to-face activities, as well as an online broadcasting platform. Vues d’Afrique International Film Festival screens over 100 films from Africa and the African diaspora from April 1 to 10.

Attend author readings, workshops, events and more at Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, online from April 28 to May 4 and in person from May 5 to 8. It’s hard to miss the massive Cirque du Soleil blue-and-yellow tent going up in the Old Port of Montréal this month: Kooza doesn’t start until May 12, but tickets sell out fast, so get them early!

Engines rev and mud flies at Monster Spectacular at the Olympic Stadium on April 9. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s all about alternative energy, electric cars and eco-everything, at the Montréal: Green Tech Festival and Montreal Electric Vehicle Show at Olympic Stadium from April 22 to 24, followed by the 19th Montréal Bicycle Show from April 29 to May 1.

After winning an impressive four medals at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, Canada’s short track speed skaters are ready to cap off their season with a battle against the world’s very best on home ice in Montréal during the 2022 ISU World Short Track Championships. Tickets are on sale now!

Seasonal food and drink

The Happening Gourmand restaurant event continues until April 3: discover three-course table d’hôte menus (with prices you’ll love) at ten Old Montréal restaurants, as well as brunch options. We’ve been waiting all winter for the return of sugar shack season and it’s finally here! Indulge in Québécois traditional – and not so traditional – sugar shack meals at restaurants in the city and cabane à sucre in the surrounding countryside throughout April.

Experience creative dishes and comfort foods alike at Montréal’s incredible variety of restaurants. Take a seat at the city’s newest restaurants and “buvettes," plan for brunch with friends and family, or dig into long-time classics like smoked meat, poutine and Montréal bagels. Warm up with hot food for cold days in Montréal, including big bowls of ramen and a variety of Indian food. If you’re craving pizza, join the debate over who makes the best pizza in Montréal. And it’s a great time to have dinner and see a show at the Casino de Montréal, where live music is back along with incredible seafood and more on the grill at Le Montréal restaurant.

Explore the wide variety of excellent meals at the downtown’s gourmet food halls, including Time Out Market, Marché Artisans, Le Cathcart Restaurants et Biergarten and Le Central - Manger Montréal, Whether you’re dining in person or ordering take-out and delivery, seasonal food and classic dishes are all on the menu in Montréal. Get your caffeine fix at Montréal's indie coffee shops – and fresh-baked doughnuts to go with it! Add sweetness to your life with creations from Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shops and best chocolate shops. Warm up with hot chocolate, grab a sweet treat at local candy shops or pick up musts for foodies in Montréal. By night, mix cocktails at home with gin, vodka, rum and more specialty spirits from these Montréal specialty alcohol and spirit makers. For the beer lovers, pick up a six pack from inventive Montréal microbreweries

 

Spring shopping

Find a fresh spring look in Montréal, whether for your wardrobe, your home or even your bookshelf! Go shopping in Old Montréal’s boutiques, downtown along Sainte-Catherine Street and in the underground city malls, or head to the Plateau and Mile End for unique finds. Keep your eye out for items made by Montréal designers, relaxing self-care staples and plenty of home decor. Add sparkle to your life at the coolest Montréal jewelry stores. Shop local and eco-friendly at the most fabulous vintage boutiques in the city. Pick out the perfect new books for friends and family from Montréal’s bookstores and a wide world of music from Montréal's excellent vinyl stores.

 

April exhibitions and experiences

Montréal’s museums and art galleries inspire all year – and there’s always something new to see in spring. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts features a diversity of programming for 2022: this month, see L’heure mauve, an exhibition of work by Swiss-born artist Nicolas Party (plus the monthly evening Monochrome Party: April 20’s theme is red - The Forest of Woes), Ecologies: A Song for Our Planet, new exhibition Adam Pendleton, These Things We’ve Done Together and much more throughout the museum.

The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal installs multimedia exhibition Terror Contagion: Forensic Architecture with Laura Poitras at Place Ville Marie, featuring narration by Edward Snowden and music by Brian Eno. At home, explore immersive online exhibition Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything, a recreation of the MAC’s monumental show. At the Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art, Stan Douglas: Revealing Narratives focuses on the revered Canadian artist’s most recent photo series Penn Station's Half Century (2021) and Disco Angola (2012). Meanwhile, the Phi Centre showcases visual and audio journey An exhibition by Marven Clerveau: Visions Hip-Hop QC, immersive poetic journey Lashing Skies, The Disintegration Loops by William Basinski and more.

Explore Montréal's underground pedestrian network to discover new artwork by over 50 artists at Festival Art Souterrain – roam on your own or take a guided tour from April 2 to June 30. Galerie de l'UQAM presents DataffectS, a group exhibition bringing together seven artists and a collective from around the world. A massive immersive experience in surround sound and laser light, Oasis Immersion’s RECHARGER/Unwind and other sensory installations take over the ground floor of Palais des congrès – buy individual tickets or add it to your Passeport MTL. Surround yourself in the wonderful world of Imagine Monet, featuring over 200 immersive projections of Monet’s paintings at Arsenal Contemporary, extended until April 10.

Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition explore the Australian singer-songwriter’s creative world at Galerie de la Maison du Festival, opening April 8. See new exhibitions at Bradley Ertaskiran in St. Henri (see group show Last Call curated by Danny Báez), Hugues Charbonneau, Galerie B-312 and Elephant downtown, at Oboro and MAI (see Documentaire en dérive by Nayla Dabaji) in the Plateau, Centre Clark in Mile End and many, many other amazing art galleries in every neighbourhood – find out more in our Montréal guide to gallery hopping and these affordable places to buy contemporary art. Go on a Portrait Sonore sound walk downtown and on the Mountain. And hunt for more public art everywhere in the city.

History past and present

History buffs of all ages will love Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex in Old Montréal: see Vikings– Dragons of the Northern Seas with 650 objects and artefacts from the collections of the National Museum of Denmark, environmentally themed exhibition Frédéric Back: A Passion for the Planet, and kid-friendly interactive display Come Aboard! Pirates or Privateers? and more. Go to the McCord Museum for radical pop-culture fashion exhibition Parachute: Subversive Fashion of the ‘80s, discover the portrait work of JJ Levine: Queer Photographs, new permanent exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience and new exhibition Piqutiapiit, by multidisciplinary Inuit artist Niap.

See Middleground: Siting Dispossession and The Design of Carpets That Design Us at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Or go back in time in Old Montréal as you tour the rooms of Château Ramezay and historical site Chateau Dufresne. Climb aboard railway cars and learn about the history of the railroad at the Exporail the Canadian Railway Museum. Take a historic walking tour, like Beyond the Bagel Food Tour and Making their Mark, a tour of Jewish Montréal, with the Museum of Jewish Montreal. And discover the vivid history and present of Québec ceramics at the Musée des métiers d'arts du Québec.

On stage

Montréal’s cultural calendar is packed this spring, with new theatre, dance, music and more entertainment for everyone. Centaur Theatre presents actor Warona Setshwaelo in one-woman show A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction from April 26 to May 15. Black Theatre Workshop presents Dominique Morisseau’s hit off-Broadway play Pipeline at Théâtre La Licorne in English from April 12 to 23.

Cirque Éloize conjures a galaxy of circus artistry in Celeste, a cabaret show at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth. La Tohu circus centre brings the circus to town this month with the acrobatics and pulsating rhythms of Afrique en cirque by Cirque Kalabanté from April 13 to 24, and the Croque-spectacle weekend morning series, featuring two shows in one, on April 2 and 3. New and experimental performances come to LaChapelle, including the circus art vignettes of Sandy and Noah. And comedian and podcaster Andrew Schulz headlines Olympia Theatre on April 2.

In dance, Danse Danse presents leading Brazilian dance company São Paulo Companhia de Dança in a triple bill, including Trick Cell by choreographer Édouard Lock, at Théatre Maisonneuve from April 6 to 9. Contemporary Irish Dance meets mind-blowing magic in Celtic Illusion at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts on April 21. And four choreographers from Les Grands Ballets draw inspiration from the moon to illustrate humanity, coexistence and hope in Luna, from April 28 to May 1. See choreographer-performer marykiscrycrycry’s Hotter Than a Pan at MAI from April 13 to 16 and choreographer-performer Châu Kim-Sanh’s Bleu Néon from April 28 to 30. And catch a new season of contemporary dance at Agora de la danse and Tangente.

 

On screen

Les Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma celebrates Québec cinema from April 20 to 30 with screenings, events and face-to-face activities, as well as an online broadcasting platform. Vues d’Afrique International Film Festival screens over 100 films from Africa and the African diaspora from April 1 to 10 at the Cinémathèque québécoise, including Bamako by Abderrahmane Sissako with Aïssa Maïga. Immerse yourself in new multimedia creations under the dome of the Society for Arts and Technology: experience Cerebral Wastelands by Axel Helios until April 9 and Empty Vessels by Montreal Life Support and Woulg from April 26 to 30. And the Montréal Science Centre’s IMAX cinema puts nature on the giant screen in all its glory.

See independent features, family films, documentaries and more at Cinéma Moderne in person and online. And see the art world in a whole new light thanks to the International Festival of Films on Art year-round ART FILM program. Discover new art house films and more from Montréal indie cinemas' programming at Cinéma du Parc (stay up late for their Parc at Midnight series), Cinéma du Musée at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, and Cinémathèque québécoise in the Quartier des spectacles. Explore the city through cinema in these Hollywood movies made in Montréal.

Discover the best of contemporary Italian cinema with "Retour en Italie", a special cycle of films born from the collaboration between the Italian Cultural Institute of Montreal and the Cinéma du Musée. The program will start on April 7th with the screening of Aria Ferma by Leonardo Di Costanzo and will last until July.

 

Classical concerts

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal performs concerts at Maison Symphonique throughout April, including: The Hunchback of Notre Dame : the Movie with music composed by Gabriel Thibaudeau on April 5; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion on April 13 and 14, Rafael Payare conducts concert Russian Concertos and French Tone Poems with pianist Daniil Trifonov on April 20 and 21. The Orchestre Métropolitain performs concert Symphonic Waves: Alma & La Mer on April 8 and Beethoven and Mozart in the Spotlight on April 29 at Maison symphonique.

Also at Maison symphonique this month: Orchestre Philharmonique et Choeur des Mélomanes presents Concerto de Québec : with Alain Lefèvre on April 2; The FILMharmonic Orchestra performs concert Bolero & Symphonie Fantastique that also includes Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice on April 9; McGill Symphony Orchestra closes its season with a program of Beethoven and Mahler on April 7; Les Violins du Roy perform Le Requiem de Mozart on April 24; and The FILMharmonic Orchestra performs Holst: The Planets on April 30.

Relaxed and acoustically refined, the Salle Bourgie concert hall at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is a wonderful place to be for intimate classical concerts, with concerts almost every day of the month, including chamber music performed by members of the OSM, the Orchestre Métropolitain, and many other talented musicians. Festival de la Voix returns to the West Island from March 19 to April 10 with concerts, a number of workshops, and more in a mix of styles and voices. And La Chapelle’s Beethoven Mystique concert series focuses on Beethoven’s last five string quartets, performed by the Warhol Dervish String Quartet and pop artists: on Wednesday, April 20 hear the quartet and Katie Moore perform Quartet No 15, Op. 132.

More live music

Live music rocks Montréal venues this month too! At opulent Place des Arts this month, see Nick Cave and Warren Ellis on April 2 and 3, Blue Rodeo on April 6, Lorde on April 7, Genesis rock opera interpretation The Musical Box - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway on April 8 and 9, musical multimedia concert Heroes/Bowie/Berlin 1976-80 (featuring 26 iconic David Bowie songs performed by a full complement of singers and musicians) on April 15.

At the Bell Centre, see MIKA on April 9, James Taylor with opening act Jackson Browne on April 28, and country superstar Chris Stapleton on April 30. At Place Bell, catch Billy Talent and Rise Against on April 3, Judas Priest on April 11, alt-J and Portugal the Man on April 15, Jack White on April 16 and more. Blue Skies Turn Black presents Low at Théâtre Fairmount Brian Jonestown Massacre at Le National on April 2, Perfume Genius at Rialto on April 3, Mono at Théâtre Fairmount on April 6, Front 242 at the SAT on April 16, Big Thief at Olympia on April 18, and much more.

At MTELUS this month, see Bob Moses on April 8, Lil Tecca on April 11, Transatlantic on April 19, Kaleo on April 21 and 22, Charlotte Cardin from April 29 and to May 2, and more! Greenland presents Mogwai at the Corona Theatre on April 9, followed by Men I Trust on April 11. Ripcordz open for the Dayglo Abortions at Foufounes Éléctriques on April 9. And French electronic music artist Thylacine performs live at the SAT on April 9. At the Phi Centre, see Sunn O))) guitarist Stephen O'Malley on April 3, Montrealer Jesse Mac Cormack on April 7, Laurence-Anne’s anniversary show on April 23, composer and guitarist Joseph Mihalcean on April 29, and electro-punk duo Pelada on April 30.

Groove to live soul, disco, jazz, funk, salsa and more at Le Balcon, where you can have dinner with a show, go dancing, and even enjoy a gospel brunch on weekends. Hear live jazz nightly at Montréal’s amazing jazz and blues clubs, like Diese Onze and Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill.

Robyn Fadden

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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