Things to do in Montréal from June 30 to July 6

Robyn Fadden

Enjoy summer excitement in the city this week with the Montréal International Jazz Festival, Canada Day celebrations and fireworks, a world-class circus festival, Montréal's 375th anniversary events, open-air art and film, and even more live music.

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Celebration city

Summer events get a festive boost this year as the city celebrates its 375th birthday all year and Canada’s 150th anniversary on July 1 – that also means plenty of free things to do this summer! Join thousands of happy locals all day on Saturday to celebrate Canada Day in the Old Port, followed by the grand opening show of the International Montréal Fireworks Festival at 10 p.m. and the Canada Day Discothèque at Place des Festivals. And as part of the Montréal 375 celebrations groove to an electro-tropical DJ set by Tupi Collective on June 30 at Place à la tour along the Lachine Canal, see Cirque Éloize performances and more at La Grande Tournée in Côte-des-Neiges June 30 to July 2 at Parc Kent, and marvel at the Les Minutes Complètement Cirque circus show on Saint-Denis Street on July 6.

Jazz Fest

With over 500 concerts – 2/3 of them free – the Montréal International Jazz Festival is the biggest festival of its kind in the world and one of Montréal's biggest summer festivals, with jazz, blues, rock, pop, electro and hip hop on 20 indoor and outdoor stages throughout downtown, June 28 to July 8. Among the many great shows this week: on Friday see blues triple bill Buddy Guy, Charlie Musselwhite and duo Steve Hill and Matt Andersen, Harlem Gosple Choir, and Austrian trio Interzone at the Casino de Montréal; on Saturday, Thievery Corporation, The Gipsy Kings, Squarepusher, and British prodigy Jacob Collier; on Sunday, Ron Sexsmith and La La Land In Concert; on July 3, King Crimson, The Stanley Clarke Band, Wax Tailor and Kid Koala's Vinyl Vaudeville; on July 4, Feist, Charles Bradley and Spanish singer Buika; on July 5, Melissa Etheridge, Joss Stone and Joey Bada$$; on July 6, The O'Jays, The Four Tops, Lisa Simone and Michael Kaeshammer. Plus free concerts morning to night outdoors in Place des Festivals, including a July 1 Canada Day Discothèque with Carly Rae Jepsen, Men Without Hats, Radio Radio and more, and a July 4 TD Grand Event with Walk Off The Earth.


Outdoor activities

Watch Montréal history come to life on the Saint Lawrence River in spectacular, free multimedia show Montréal Avudo every night in the Old Port, while the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire illuminate the streets of Old Montréal. Urban green space, outdoor eatery and bar in the heart of downtown Les Jardins Gamelin hosts live music, dance classes, family activities and more. There's more music, food and socializing at the Village au Pied du Courrant next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Grab a bite from one of Montréal’s great food trucks, seasonal outdoor markets or on a restaurant patio. Pop Montréal's family-friendly Marché des Possibles in Mile End features live music, food, workshops and more every weekend. Eat, drink, shop and dance at the Marché de nuit Mile X Night Market at Alexandraplatz on July 1. St-Hubert Plaza's Atmosph'Air on the Plaza returns July 5-9 with live music, a sidewalk sale, food and drink, and more. Kids can join adventure quests at the Botanical Garden, Polar Immersion tours at the Biodôme, and forensic investigations at CSI: The Experience at the Montréal Science Centre. And there's swing dancing for all at the Olympic Park Esplanade on the afternoon of July 1.

Stage and screen

The 8th edition of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE begins July 6 with outdoor circus shows at Jardins Gamelin and along Saint-Denis Street, plus with incredible indoor shows TABARNAK by Cirque Alfonse, Cirque du Soleil's spectacular VOLTA, Limbo at the Casino de Montréal, and Just For Laughs co-presentation Rêveurs Définitifs, a cutting edge technological spectacle of art, dance and circus with music by Patrick Watson, June 29 to July 15 at Théâtre St-Denis II. Cinémathèque québécoise presents its 20x5 program, a tour through cinematic history from Charlie Chaplin to Lars von Trier. On July 3, Fantasia presents an outdoor film screening of DJ XL5's Mondo Zappin' Party superhero films retrospective at Place de la Paix and the Cinémania festival presents A kid (Le Fils de Jean) on July 4 under the stars in Parc La Fontaine. Learn more about Québec's Quiet Revolution and beyond in Québec, My Country, Mon Pays at Cinema du Parc. And explore space in double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.


Art events

Mtl en Arts brightens Sainte-Catherine Street in the Village this weekend with an open-air arts exhibition and street sale, a collective mural, performances, music, an art zone for kids and more, while AIRES LIBRES presents open-air Galerie Blanc at the corner of Wolfe and Ste-Catherine. Fashion meets passion in Love Is Love – wedding haute couture and prêt-à-porter by Jean Paul Gaultier and Revolution explores the 1960s in music, film, fashion and design at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The Musée d'art contemporain inspires with the first solo exhibition in Canada by Olafur Eliasson. For Montréal's 375th anniversary, the Brigade Arts Affaires de Montréal unveils a new public art work at the corner of Sherbrooke Street and McTavish downtown on the evening of July 5. British artist Ed Atkins intrigues with questions on human bodies, digital creation and reality in Modern Piano Music at DHC-ART. And Pointe-à-Callière archaeology and history museum presents the fascinating Amazonia: The Shaman and the Mind of the Forest.

Live music

Even with the hundreds of Jazz Fest shows this week, there's more music going on in Montréal venues. On Friday night, none other than Bob Dylan brings his music to the Bell Centre. On Saturday not far from Montréal, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal with pianist Alain Lefèvre and conductor Kent Nagano opens the 40th Festival de Lanaudière, one of the biggest classical music festivals in the country. And Saturday afternoon bounces with the Good Vibes Only Garden Party at New City Gas. Sunday afternoon at outdoor dance party Piknic Électronik features Roman Flügel, Lost Heroes, Shanti Celeste and 00:AM DJs, plus a new Petit Piknic area for families. On July 4, Rooney, Run River North and Romes rock La Sala Rossa, while (Sandy) Alex G, Japanese Breakfast and Cende play Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. July 5 sees Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull to the Bell Centre. On July 6, hear Brooklyn folk-rockers Woods at La Sala Rossa, the glittering-grinding rock-pop of Taylor Knox at La Vitrola, and the electronic depths of Danger and Das mörtal at Newspeak.

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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