Things to do in Montréal from June 16 to 22

Robyn Fadden

Get outside and celebrate summer this week in Montréal with music, art, performances and more at festivals Francofolies, Montreal Folk Fest, Mural and Fringe plus 375th anniversary and Expo 67 events, art, film and more.

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Outdoor entertainment

It's officially summer festival season in Montréal! Start your festival hopping with French-language music festival Les Francofolies' free outdoor shows all afternoon and into the night on several stages at Place des Festivals – don't miss Friday night with Karim Ouellet and special guests, Saturday night with Alaclair Ensemble and Rymz et la Mifa, and Sunday's finale shows with Philippe Brach, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Les Cowboys Fringants. Amble up Saint-Laurent Boulevard to see artists paint new works on buildings’ walls and catch live music at Mural Fest to June 18, and stop by the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival outdoor stage at Rachel Street for live music and performances – you can buy your tickets to festival shows there too! From Friday night to Sunday, enjoy free and folky performances on three outdoor stages at the Montréal Folk Festival on the Canal. And on June 21, it's Aboriginal Day Live at Place des Festivals, featuring all-day celebrations and an evening of live music and performances.


Celebrate the city

Watch Montréal history come to life on the Saint Lawrence River in spectacular, free multimedia show Montréal Avudo every night in the Old Port. The Old Port is also where you'll see Cirque du Soleil's VOLTA under the big top. From there check out the city's high-tech 375th anniversary light show on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. Old Montréal landmark Notre-Dame Basilica, one of the city's most stunning churches, lights up with beautiful high-tech spectacle Aura, while the surrounding streets illuminate with the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire.

Urban green space, outdoor eatery and bar in the heart of downtown Les Jardins Gamelin hosts music performances, dance classes, family activities and more all week – on Friday night dance to the cutting-edge electro of NANO MUTEK. Grab a bite from one of Montréal’s great food trucks or seasonal outdoor markets. Head to the Village au Pied du Courrant next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge for music, food and socializing. Walk through the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts Open-Air Museum on Sherbrooke Street, and there's shopping, music, kids' facepainting and more at the St-Denis Street Sidewalk Sale this weekend. And feel like a kid again on the music-making 21 Swings in Place des Festivals, to June 18.


Exploring Expo 67

Montréal puts city-changing Expo 67 in a new historical light this year to mark the event's 50-year anniverary: go to McGill College Avenue to view the large-scale photographs of Expo 67: The Place to Be; see colourful outfits and products created by Québec designers at the McCord Museum's Fashioning Expo 67; marvel at the technological innovations of EXPO 67: A World of Dreams at the Stewart Museum and Écho 67 at the nearby Buckminster Fuller designed Biosphère; baby boomer youth culture is a blast in Explosion 67 – Youth and Their World at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal; Centre de design de l’UQAM honours architect Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67 in The Shape of Things to Come, and see new works by contemporary Québec and Canadian artists inspired by Expo 67 In Search of Expo 67, at the Musée d'art contemporain.


Art and film

Fashion meets passion in Love Is Love – wedding haute couture and prêt-à-porter by Jean Paul Gaultier at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, while brand new exhibition Revolution explores the 1960s in music, film, fashion and design in 700 objects and works of art. Meanwhile at the Musée d'art contemporain, the first solo exhibition in Canada by internationally acclaimed artist Olafur Eliasson opens June 21. Mexican artist Gilberto Esparza’s Plantas autofotosintéticas has us rethinking how biology, technology and art intersect at Galerie de l'UQAM to June 17. British artist Ed Atkins intrigues with questions on human bodies, digital creation and reality in video exhibition Modern Piano Music at DHC-ART. Pointe-à-Callière archaeology and history museum presents the fascinating Amazonia: The Shaman and the Mind of the Forest. And see interactive local-history exhibition Mon Coeur est à Montréal - 41 Vies à Découvrir at the Grande Bibliothèque.


Stage and screen

For more theatre, eclectic performances and parties than you can shake a silly stick at, nothing beats the fun and affordability of the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival , ongoing to June 18. Watch a free performance of contemporary dance by emerging choreographers chosen by Springboard Danse Montreal at Place des Arts' Espace Culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme on June 16 at 5:30 p.m. The Segal Centre presents wedding musical It Shoulda Been You in Yiddish with French and English supertitles, to June 25. On screen: travel through virtual worlds in Felix & Paul Studios Virtual Reality Garden at the Phi Centre; explore space in double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, and watch Jonathan Demme's Something Wild under the stars at Place de la Paix on June 19.


Live music

Along with outdoor shows, French-language music festival Les Francofolies features high-talent indoor shows this week with Québec music stars Claude Dubois, Richard Séguin, Pierre Lapointe (in Amours, délices et orgues, featuring contemporary dance performances), Daniel Bélanger, Safia Nolan and more artists at Place des Arts, Parisian rapper MHD on Friday and Éric Lapointe on Saturday at Metropolis, French rappers Bigflo & Oli on Friday at Club Soda, and eclectic artists at L'Astral. The Montréal Chamber Music Festival continues with pianist Jan Lisiecki solo on June 16, Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster and her quartet perform on June 17, festival closer Vivaldi, the Four Seasons and More on June 18, along with free Matinées Musicales. The eclectic and excellent Suoni per il Popolo festival continues all month – this week open your ears to: the Anthony Braxton Sextet, Orphx, a Saturday afternoon showcase at gallery Never Apart, Hailu Mergia, Les Filles de Illighadad, Gordon Grdina's Haram, and more..


On Friday, American indie pop band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart plays Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. Join the New City Gas electro garden party on Saturday afternoon, while Sunday afternoon at outdoor dance party Piknic Électronik features UK producer Jesse Rose, B.Traits and more artists, at Parc Jean-Drapeau. American rock with a country edge, The Last Internationale, play L'Escogriffe on Monday, June 19. Funk rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers make a scene at the Bell Centre on June 20 and indie band Twin Peaks rolls into Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. On Wednesday, June 21, Montréal's Digital Spring events conclude with a night of dancing and audiovisual delights at the SAT. Meanwhile, pop singer-songwriter Scott Helman and Featurette keep things light at L'Astral and Illinois rock band Planes Mistaken for Stars returns to play Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. On Thursday night: return to the electro-pop '80s with British icons Tears For Fears at Place Des Arts, while honky tonk garage rockers Banditos and locals Bad Uncle come to L'Escogriffe and jazz, hip hop, funk and electro keyboardist and producer Anomalie is at the Phi Centre. Also on June 22, the words of Yves Sioui-Durand meet the blues, rock and jazz music of Normand Guilbeault and Kawandak quartet in Wampum-Kaionn'i, echoing the revelations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the First Peoples of Canada, at Place des Arts' Cinquième Salle.

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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Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard, blogueuse

Laure est la fondatrice du blogue « Une Parisienne à Montréal ». Rédactrice et gestionnaire de communautés, Laure est aussi une globe-trotteuse épicurienne toujours en quête de concepts innovants et de bonnes adresses. Début 2016, elle a cofondé Slow Journeys, un webzine sur le tourisme écoresponsable et design.

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