Things to do in Montréal August 25 to 31

Robyn Fadden

Montréal soaks up the end-of-summer sun this week with all kinds of outdoor activities for the city's 375th anniversary, from electronic music at MUTEK and country music at NomadFest to open-air art, circus, dance and fashion shows and more.

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Montréal celebrates

Join the city's 375th anniversary celebrations as Cirque Éloize hosts La Grande Tournée family-friendly events – from circus acts to art activities, plus picnic food from local restaurants – in Jarry Park, August 25-27. Hear country, bluegrass and folk music at NomadFest in the Old Port, also featuring rodeo events, line-dancing and all kinds of comfort food, August 24-27. Explore Montreal-Nord by the Rivieres des Prairies at the Mon Vélo Raconte street art event, featuring a parade of brightly decorated bikes along boulevard Gouin and a party at Parc Aimé-Léonard on August 26. Not too far away, Village BUNKR hosts an afternoon block party with music from Tupi Collective. Watch world-class puppet shows outdoors at the Festival Marionnettes Plein la rue in Verdun, August 26-27.  On the esplanade of Place des Arts every evening August 27 to September 10, follow the dancers of RUBBERBANDance's City Thread via your smartphone. And the colourful art of KM3 fills the Quartier des Spectacles starting August 30 – join a tour through the area's iconic and usual spaces.

Electro sights and sounds

Some of the most creative electronic music and digital art in the world today comes to MUTEK, August 22-27, featuring over 100 musicians, producers and audiovisual artists in free outdoor daytime events, late-night shows, 360-degree visual spectacles, free talks, demos, and art exhibition Subversions of Reality. On Friday night, step into the realm of the alchemical interface with artist Herman Kolgen and don't miss music to move to by Surgeon and Lady Starlight, Aurora Halal, Space Afrika, Beatrice Dillon, INTER_CONNECT Barcelona, and more. Stay up all night on Saturday with DeWalta & Shannon, Zip and more, plus immersive visuals at A/Visions 3 and eclectic electronic sounds at the INTER_CONNECT Berlin showcase and NTS Radio on stage. Sunday closes out the festival with Piknic Électronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau and two stages of music at the SAT late into the night. See MUTEK's complete festival program for the full schedule.


Food and drink

Grab a bite from one of Montréal’s food trucks or a drink and more on restaurant patios. Stop by one of the city's seasonal outdoor markets for picnic supplies for the park. Cool down with some of Montréal's best ice cream and rev up with the city's best iced coffee. If you're downtown this weekend, brunch it up. Or eat your vegetables in style at these health-conscious restaurants. Enjoy live music, yoga classes, family activities and more at Les Jardins Gamelin in the heart of downtown – hear King Abid on August 25, salsafolie on Saturday night, sing a karaoke tune on Monday night, and listen to Wesli on August 28. Discover some of Montréal's liveliest neighbourhoods through music, food and socializing at the Village au Pied du Courrant next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge (where six restaurants offer delicious dishes at the FoodFest MTL Asian Night Market August 25-26), Les Jardineries garden space at the Olympic Park Esplanade, Marché des Éclusiers local food delights in the Old Port, and at the Night Market outside Alexandraplatz in Mile-Ex this Saturday.


Athletic activities

Montréal's MLS soccer team the Impact plays Toronto FC at Saputo Stadium on August 27, while earlier in the day the Impact hosts the first Special Olympics friendly soccer game with members of the Impact and Toronto FC playing alongside Special Olympics athletes. The Allouettes take on the Ottawa Redblacks in CFL action on August 31 at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. Run or cheer runners on in the Color Run at Parc Jean-Drapeau August 26, or go for a swim at the park's beach. And get out and play with the family-friendly adventure aerial obstacle courses of Voiles en Voiles, the tower descent of Decalade and the zipline and quick jump in the Old Port.

On screen

See Michel Gondry's documentary L'épine dans le coeur on August 29 and hear him speak (in French) about his work on August 31 at the Phi Centre, also where you can see Bill Morrison's documentary Dawson City: Frozen in Time August 24-26, an ongoing roster of short films, and immersive VR work in Lucid Realities. Walk around Old Montréal to see the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire and stop into Notre-Dame Basilica to see multimedia wonder AURA. The CINÉMANIA festival presents Dans les forêts de Sibérie under the stars at Village au Pied-du-Courant on August 27 and La Danseuse on August 29 at Parc Lafontaine. Cinémathèque québécoise presents its 20x5 program, a tour through cinematic history, this week featuring The Circus, Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln and more. Explore space in double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. And as part of NDG Arts Week family friendly events, see short films outdoors on August 25 in NDG Park.


Art and fashion

Montréal's annual Fashion and Design Festival brings high-fashion shows, music, films and pop-up shops to the Quartier des Spectacles, August 21 to 26. World Press Photo opens August 30, featuring the most captivating images of news, life and politics from the past year, at Marché Bonsecours. For more fashion greatness indulge in the haute couture wedding wear of Love Is Love by Jean Paul Gaultier and the colourful styles of the 1960s in Revolution at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. See yourself in the colourful shadow and light art of famed artist Olafur Eliasson at the Musée d'art contemporain alongside new contemporary art inspired by Expo 67. Experience the computer-generated videos of British artist Ed Atkins's Modern Piano Music at DHC-ART – and hear poetry inspired by the art on August 30 at the Phi Centre. Walk along Sherbrooke Street in the Golden Square Mile to see La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-Air Museum. In Mile-Ex, drop by gallery Never Apart for the Femme Realness summer exhibition. Marvel at EXPO 67: A World of Dreams at the Stewart Museum. Cheer for baseball history at the Grévin wax museum's Montréal, City of Baseball. And see artist 2Fik perform at the opening of multidisciplinary exhibition 2Fik : Histoire au pluriel outside Mont-Royal metro station on August 31.

More live music

Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Vérité shines with soul-pop on Friday, August 25 with opener Tigertown at Petit Campus while London-based progressive metal band Haken get loud at Club Soda – or catch cool sounds outdoors at OK LÀ! with Le Fruit Vert, Alex Moskos and Unzip Violence in Verdun, or FISH-FEST MTL's blend of psych, shoegaze and garage rock with Vypers and more at L'Escogriffe. David Calzado and Charanga Habanera bring their Afrolatin dance party to Club Soda on Saturday night and NYC-based eclectic indie-folk band Thelma comes to Casa del Popolo with openers Blue Smiley, Alexa Avina and Maggy France – or get down with live soul, motown and funk and at Le Balcon supper club. Karkwa singer-guitarist Louis-Jean Cormier plays an outdoor afternoon show at the Botanical Garden on August 27 and later on rapper Merkules comes to Le Belmont. Hip hop-R&B underground project Princess Nokia returns to Montréal with openers chillsoul trio Strange Froots and DJ Gayance on August 28 at Club Soda. Superstar singer-songwriter Bruno Mars brings his 24K Magic World Tour to the Bell Centre August 29 and 30. Melodic L.A. rockers Surf Curse play Casa del Popolo with Lala Lala and Bermudes on August 29. Shortly after MUTEK wraps up on Sunday, another major summer festival starts on August 31: MEG opens with Afrikana Soul Sister, rapper L. Teez and French producer GUTS at Le Belmont.


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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