Things to do in Montréal April 27 to May 3

Robyn Fadden

The end of April in Montréal means it's your last chance to indulge in sugar shack season. It's also time to cheer at the FINA Diving World Series, discover the Printemps nordique events, see classical ballet Cinderella and explore even more excellent art, food, film, dance, theatre and music.

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Explore Montréal in spring

Montréal's great outdoors is in full bloom, letting us take advantage of the many free things to do this spring in Montréal! Swing and make music together on 21 Swings, a colourful set of high-tech swings in the Quartier des Spectacles. That spiral staircase suspended in the air nearby? It's Our DNA by artist Patrick Bérubé, representing Montréal's collective identity and myriad differences. At night, watch for the intergalactic antics and disco stylings of Space Monkey, outdoor projections that are part of this year's Digital Spring events. Get a bird's eye view of Montréal from the Observatoire Place Ville Marie in the heart of downtown, the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium at Olympic Park 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, including Cité Memoire and AURA. Spot 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, things are just as colourful: 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 until April 29. Watch world class athletes compete in Olympic diving events at the FINA Diving World Series from April 27 to 29 at the Olympic Park Sports Centre, wrestlers fight and feign their way to televised glory at WWE Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live on April 30 and May 1 at the Bell Centre, and the biggest fire performers competition in North America, The Masters of Fire Gala of Fire at TOHU on April 28. 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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Spring food and drink

Catch the end of sugar shack season this week – pile your plate high with traditional seasonal dishes and maple syrup treats at Québec sugar shacks in and around Montréal, like La Cabane chez Jean in Parc Jean-Drapeau. 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. 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 spring inspires a change to your eating habits, try these great health-conscious restaurants and the many vegan options in our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal.

On stage

Part of Printemps nordique at Place des Arts, Swedish actor Krister Henriksson (of Wallander fame) embodies a lonely doctor devoted to his patients in Doktor Glas from April 27 to 28, while Marionnetteatern Kulturhuset Stadsteaternhas puppet theatre brings colourful characters to life in family show Papper, from April 28 to 29, alongside free art activities and storytelling at Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme. Montréal's spring dance season continues with Sutra by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, interweaving Buddhist philosophy and contemporary styles into a beautifully tranquil choreography, presented by Danse Danse at Place des Arts, from May 3 to 9. Classical ballet wows as The National Ballet of Ukraine dances a sumptuous Cinderella at Place des Arts from May 2 to 6. Atypical bodies go clubbing in musical, theatrical, burlesque Les rois de la piste by Thomas Lebrun from April 25 to 28 at Agora de la danse. Malik Nashad Sharpe and Ellen Furey embody notions of solidarity across borders in SOFTLAMP.autonomies and Andrew Tay, François Lalumière and Katarzyna Szugajew queer spirituality in Fame Prayer / EATING, both at LaChapelle. And choreographer Aisha Sasha John (of WIVES) performs solo in aisha of is, from April 27 to 28 at MAI. At the theatre: The Angel & the Sparrow follows the true story of Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf and features 20 unforgettable songs, at the Segal Centre; Michaela Di Cesare's new Italian-Canadian family dramedy Successions begins at Centaur Theatre; Hockey Noir, L'opéra turns the Toronto-Montréal hockey rivalry into an operatic tale of love, lust and scandal at Monument-National from May 3 to 4; and the whole family can go on an epic adventure in Geordie Productions' Around the World in 80 Days, until April 29. Authors from Québec and throughout Canada and the world come to literature festival Blue Metropolis, until April 29, featuring readings, talks, awards ceremonies, a special series on LGBTQ literature, the Blue Metropolis Children's Festival and more! Librairie Drawn & Quarterly presents author Sheila Heti in a talk on her newest novel, Motherhood, at Rialto Hall. And it's all about champagne and showgirls at extravagant burlesque show Scarlett James Grande Revue, on April 28 at Club Soda.

On screen

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. Also at the Phi Centre, Giornate degli Autori Festival screens the best features from the independent section of the Venice Film Festival, from April 30 to May 5. In the multimedia Satosphere dome of the Society for Arts and Technology, immerse yourself in the audio-visual worlds of two features, Cage and Lost, as well as the short immersive experiences of international presentation Connexions (CHI 2018). Explore the cosmos in science-meets-multimedia creations EXO, The Blind Man with the Starry Eyes, Continuum and Aurōrae at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Go on a wild ride in IMAX with Tiny Giants 3D, Amazon 3D and Incredible Predators 3D at the Montréal Science Centre. And the Cinémathèque québécoise presents a retrospective of Ingmar Bergman until April 30, new activist documentary Tomorrow’s Power by Amy Miller, and more.

Museums and galleries

In acclaimed painting and sculpture woven through with the artist's signature use of the bindi, Bharti Kher: Points de départ, points qui lient explores hybridity, the female body and the nonphysical in the material world at DHC/ART. Don't miss Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, featuring over 400 paintings and other art objects – hear revolutionary and imperial music of the time in concert at Bourgie Hall on May 2. Also at the MMFA, see Nadia Myre's Scattered Remains, the drawings of From the Hands of the Masters II From Parmigianino to Matisse, design show Bon Appetit! Contemporary Foodware Designs in Quebec and more. Discover just how royally the Queens of Egypt lived in a new exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière and uncover 500 years of local history at the Château Ramezay Historic Site and Museum, also offering Suivez Le Chef! 18th-century culinary tours this spring. At the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, The Prophets features small sculptures by Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens, while That's How the Light Gets In frames art in terms of light. Art fills Place des Arts as part of Printemps nordique: 35-screen otherworldly animated video Leges Motus; photographer Fred Ivar Utsi Klemetsen's Frost - The life and culture of the Sámi, and a lavvo (tipi) filled with music. 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. Stop by Mile Ex gallery Never Apart to see the Spring 2018 exhibitions. Lab Cult at the Canadian Centre for Architecture addresses the unorthodox history of interchanges between science and architecture. Fashion is an art in the hands of these Montréal high-end designers. Go antiquing along the Canal for unique treasures and check out our guide to where to buy art in Montréal.

Live music

On Friday night, have fun with NYC indie-pop duo Sofi Tukker and Nigerian singer-songwriter Kah-Lo at Théâtre Corona (followed by a Sofi Tukker DJ set at Newspeak), Brooklyn analog-loving electronic artist Chrome Sparks and opener Machinedrum play Théâtre Fairmount, melodic Norwegian gothic metal band Sirenia is at Katacombes, NYC ska-rocksteady band The Slackers gets down at Petit Campus, and electronic–funk pioneer Gramatik and house producer Møme keep the night going at New City Gas. On Saturday, acclaimed Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun, who sang on Peter Gabriel's New Blood tour, concludes the Printemps nordique program at Maison symphonique, Cuban-American pop and R&B singer-songwriter Camila Cabello performs at MTelus, French synthwave artist Carpenter Brut and Le Matos get loud at Corona Theatre, and progressive-electro house fan favourites Vicetone shake the dancefloor at New City Gas. On April 29, voyage through space with the Orchestre Métropolitain and scientist Martin Carli in the Les Planètes : Génial! concert, featuring Holst’s The Planets, at Maison symphonique, while L.A. punk duo No Age return to rock bright noise at Bar Le Ritz PDB.

Tuesday, May 1 brings the psychedelic pop-rock of New Zealand's Unknown Mortal Orchestra to Corona Theatre with opener Makeness and soulful British singer-songwriter Tom Misch captivates at Le National with opener Hablot Brown. Celebrated singer Véronic DiCaire performs with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal at Maison symphonique from May 1 to 3. Barcelona frontman Brian Fennell plays solo synthy soundscapes as SYML at Le Ministère on Wednesday, May 2. On Thursday, May 3, brilliant Québec indie-pop musician Dumas performs solo new material at Cinquième Salle. Check out the unpredictable alt-folk-rock of Providence, Rhode Island's Deer Tick with Liz Cooper & The Stampede at L’Astral, while beloved Montréal-based indie-rock band Braids play La Sala Rossa with must-see openers Graham Van Pelt and Common Holly. 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 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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