Things to do in Montréal August 11-17

Robyn Fadden

It's a party in Montréal this week as the Canada Pride festivities kick off, Rogers Cup tennis amps up, electro rules at ÎleSoniq, classical music concerts and art abound, and music, food, film and more fill the parks and the streets.

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Montréal celebrates

The city's 375th anniversary celebrations continue throughout the summer: explore Montréal history in the tableaux projections of Cité Memoire, the Aura multimedia show in Notre-Dame Basilica, and multimedia show Montréal Avudo in Old Montréal, along with La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-Air Museum on Sherbrooke Street downtown, La Grande Tournée with Cirque Éloize in St-Henri's Parc Sir-Georges-Étienne-Cartier August 11-13, pop-up happenings in every neighbourhood in the city, and more free things to do. But this week's biggest celebration is the inaugural edition of Canada Pride, hosted and organized by Montréal Pride, featuring over 150 events and activities, including a Weekend of Vogue, an Alouettes football Pride Game on Friday, Drag Superstars on August 17, free outdoor shows (including Nelly Furtado August 18), films and art, a food fair on Sainte-Catherine Street, Community Day on August 19, a massive Pride Parade on August 20, and so much more.

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Sporting life

See the world's top male tennis pros in action at legendary Canadian tournament the Coupe Rogers the August 4-13 at Uniprix Stadium. Or join the creative tennis-inspired fun of family-friendly and free event Alt Court, August 11-12 under the Van Horne Viaduct (entrance on de Gaspé) – music and dancing meet urban art battles on both nights while daytime activities features games, kids activities, food trucks, a bar and an art-focused marketplace. Dress in white and join a massive outdoor yoga class for the Lolë White Tour, August 12 in the Old Port. Take a hot air balloon ride or just watch them float by at the International des Montgolfières Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a short drive away from the city, August 12-20, featuring an amusement park, bouncy castles, climbing games and live music.

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Cultural fare

Enjoy affordable – and even free! – classical concerts during the OSM Classical Spree Festival, including Kent Nagano conducting the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal with honoured guests, a storytelling kora performance, the musical tale Peter and the Wolf, a free screening of West Side Story on August 11 and The Barber of Seville: The Opera on August 12 on the Esplanade of Place des Arts at 8 p.m., and much more. Live music, dance and family-friendly activities cross three continents, from North Africa to China, at the free and fascinating Festival Orientalys, August 11-13 in the Old Port. If you're exploring or dining in Little Italy, watch for Italian Week entertainment. Matsuri Japon 2017 showcases Japanese culture and community in Montréal on August 12 with music, dance, martial arts, kids activities, great food and a marketplace outside the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.

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Food and drink

The Old Port cooks up a true Québecois feast with Le Grand PoutineFest de Montréal August 8-13. Grab a bite throughout the city from one of Montréal’s food trucks or on restaurant patios or stop by one of the city's seasonal outdoor markets for some picnic supplies. Cool down with some of Montréal's best ice cream and rev up with the city's best iced coffee. These health-conscious restaurants remind us to eat our vegetables in style. Enjoy live music, yoga classes, family activities and more at Les Jardins Gamelin in the heart of downtown or music, food and socializing at the Village au Pied du Courrant next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge and Les Jardineries at the Olympic Park Esplanade, while local food delights at Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port. And in Mile End, Pop Montréal's family-friendly Marché des Possibles closes for the summer this weekend with music, food, local goods, activities for kids and more, while 5 à 7 pour les entreprises du Mile End celebrates the neighbourhood on August 17.

Stage and screen

The Animaze Festival of animation begins August 17 with a cocktail event, Opening Night Ceremony and film screening and runs to August 20 with feature film Junod, short films and Virtual Reality installations at the McCord Museum. Repercussion Theatre stages Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing in Cabot Square downtown on August 12. Cinémathèque québécoise presents its 20x5 program, a tour through cinematic history from Charlie Chaplin to Lars von Trier. Immerse yourself in the Lucid Realities VR exhibition at the Phi Centre. Explore space in double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. And among this week's outdoor film screenings, see short films presented by Kino on August 14 and short films presented by  Prends Ça Court on August 17 at Place de la Paix and Film Noir au Canal presents Drive, starring Ryan Gossling, on August 13 outdoors along the Lachine Canal. And Acts to Grind Theatre presents Off-Broadway exotic musical revue Naked Boys Singing! at Cabaret Café Cléopâtre, August 16-20.

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Urban art

Fall in love with the haute couture wedding fashion of Love Is Love by Jean Paul Gaultier and dive into the 1960s realm of Revolution at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Interact with the colourful creations of famed artist Olafur Eliasson at the Musée d'art contemporain alongside new contemporary art inspired by Expo 67. See fascinating work by British artist Ed Atkins in Modern Piano Music at DHC-ART. In Mile-Ex, drop by gallery Never Apart to see the Femme Realness summer exhibition. 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. Cheer for baseball history at the Grévin wax museum's Montréal, City of Baseball. Music, live painting, dancing and more make the Under Pressure Graffiti Festival stand out on Ste-Catherine Street E. August 9-13. And explore the art of Déviation in gallery spaces along Notre-Dame Street West, with afternoons of live mural painting, barbecues, DJ sets and more August 11-13 and a Silent Disco on August 11.

Live music

One of Montréal's major summer festivals, international electronic music festival ÎleSoniq brings EDM and colourful party vibes to the great outdoors in Parc Jean-Drapeau, featuring headliners Tiësto, Porter Robinson, Afrojack and more faves August 11-12. Plus all kinds of official afterparties: on Friday it's The Orb at L'Astral, late-night with Moody Jones at Stereo, and special guests at New City Gas, Théâtre Fairmount and Newspeak Friday and Saturday. Saturday afternoon bounces with the Good Vibes Only Garden Party at New City Gas and Sunday afternoon shines at outdoor dance party Piknic Électronik with Jennifer Cardini, Honey Soundsystem and more electro on the Plaine des Jeux in Parc Jean-Drapeau. On August 12, Keith Urban plays the Bell Centre while ska punk legends Streetlight Manifesto raise the roof at Métropolis, Echo & The Bunnymen thrill with a comeback at Théâtre Corona, Odonis Odonis go for indie-garage-electro at L'Escogriffe, and Cult MTL alt-monthly celebrates its 5th anniversary at the SAT with a Foodlab barbecue and music by Wake Island, Zen Bamboo and more artists. Sunday night brings surf punk band The Frights to Bar le Ritz PDB. On Monday, August 14, the Birdhouse Brass Quintet plays a lunch-hour concert at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Florida indie-rockers Surfer Blood ride high at Bar le Ritz PDB. Art-rock out on August 17 with Yamantaka // Sonic Titan and Lungbutter at Bar le Ritz PDB or see Scottish singer-songwriter King Creosote at Quai Des Brumes.

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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