Things to do in Montréal – June 7 to 13, 2019
Sunshine and festival season make June a perfect time to be Montréal. This week, the city's got a need for speed during the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada, while the colourful outdoor art of MURAL Festival, on-stage creativity of the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival and delicious food of First Fridays take life at a slower pace. Also see Cirque du Soleil's Alegria and all kinds of amazing art, and scroll down for this week's live music.
June festivals and more
Montréal revs into outdoor festival season this week with the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada from June 7 to 9 at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in newly redesigned Parc Jean-Drapeau – also where the Casino de Montréal celebrates with Grand Prix Garden Party events. Meanwhile in the city, Grand Prix parties roar all weekend, including at the Crescent Street Grand Prix and Peel Formula events downtown and at Little Italy's Grand Prix street fair. New immersive entertainment space PY1, created by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté's Lune Rouge, also features Grand Prix nightlife along with multi-sensory experience Through the Echoes in the Old Port of Montréal. From June 6 to 16, MURAL Festival brightly transforms St. Laurent Blvd. into a pedestrian-only space from Sherbrooke Street to Mont-Royal Avenue – watch local and international artists paint murals live, take an art tour, listen to live music, grab some barbecue and go for a stroll. In the Old Port, the family-focused Eureka! Festival puts science and tech in the spotlight, with free workshops, demos and performances from June 7 to 9. For outdoor drinks, food, live music and entertainment, make a stop at Montréal's seasonal outdoor markets, including Jardins Gamelin outside Berri-UQAM metro station, Village au Pied-du-Courant near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and the Old Port’s Marché des Éclusiers. The Montréal Chamber Music Festival features Grammy-winning violinist James Ehnes, acclaimed pianist Gregory Charles, free afternoon concerts and evenings of Beethoven and Liszt, from June 7 to 16. And experience the affordable theatre, dance, comedy and genre-defying events of the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival, including free outdoor entertainment at Fringe Park (corner of Saint-Laurent and Rachel), like Sunday's Mini-Fringe for kids.
Downtown's Quartier des spectacles hums with festival activity and plenty of free things to do: take an official free walking tour of the Quartier des spectacles or stroll along Sainte-Catherine Street in the Village under a rainbow canopy of 180,000 resin balls designed by landscape architect Claude Cormier (part of summer-long cultural event Aires Libres.) See the city from the Mount Royal Park lookout, one of the most Instagrammable views in Montréal – walk up through the park and climb the stairs or get there by bus or car and stroll over to the lookout. For a 360º view of the city, ride the funicular at the Montréal Tower at Olympic Park, look out from the Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown (check out their outdoor terrace too) and ride the La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port. Walk the landscaped Promenade Fleuve-Montagne down from Mount Royal Park to the St. Lawrence River. Along McGill College Avenue downtown, see historic photography exhibition Montréal at Work, presented by the McCord Museum. In the the Old Port of Montréal try high-ropes course Voiles en Voiles, the MTL Zipline, SOS Labyrinthe and other adventurous activities. In Old Montréal, visit Notre-Dame Basilica (one of Montréal's most famous icons) and see Moment Factory's immersive multimedia show AURA, while on Friday and Saturday nights you can search out the projections of Cité Mémoire on building facades. Stroll through the Botanical Garden and other parks and green spaces as spring flowers bloom. Watch the NHL and NBA playoffs at Montréal's best sports bars. Go for gold at the interactive and immersive Canadian Olympic Experience at Canada Olympic House downtown – create an athletic profile, try virtual bobsleigh, track and field, fencing and freestyle skiing, and discover Canada's rich history in the Olympic Games. Get a thrill at La Ronde, the second largest amusement park in Canada, featuring new rollercoaster Chaos. If spring showers send you indoors, keep your mind active with escape game adventures or relax at Montréal's best spas. Whether you're in Montréal for a long weekend or a week, by plane or train, solo or with family, plot your days and nights with My Official Montréal City Guide, a travel app that lets you experience the city like a Montrealer. And save on your next visit with the MTL Sweet Deal.
Food and drink
Join the delicious fun of First Fridays, with 50 food trucks serving up all kinds of local dishes, from tacos and lobster rolls to dim sum and dessert, at Olympic Stadium on June 7, starting at 4 p.m. Also dine in the open air on Montréal terrasses – among the many patio dining experiences, drop by Marcus Restaurant + Terrace at the Four Seasons Hotel and downtown's SAT Foodlab for great food and DJs. See what's in season and bring home locally made gourmet products at Jean-Talon Market and Atwater Market. Eat well at these top Montréal restaurants for the gourmet traveller, cheerful bring-your-own-wine eateries (including some in charming Little Italy), lovely romantic dining options, laid-back casual restaurants and our new restaurant picks. Let Montréal's design-trending restaurants and bars inspire a home makeover. Do lunch like a Montrealer at these ten great lunch spots. Any time of day grab a pick-me-up at Montréal's indie coffee shops and most “Instagrammable” cafés. Later on, see what's hot at the city's new bars, relax with a perfect cocktail, or have a drink away from it all in a hidden bar, speakeasy or perfect date spot. For something light, seek out these health-conscious restaurants and great sushi restaurants and peruse our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal. Or indulge your sweet tooth at Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shops. Explore more of Montréal and its culinary delights on Montréal's best food tours. If you're traveling solo, make the most of solo dining in Montréal or if you're traveling with kids, check out these great places to eat with kids in Montréal.
Cirque du Soleil's stunning Alegria impresses and inspires with world-class circus arts performers, incredible costumes and beautiful design, with shows until June 30 under the blue-and-white big top in the Old Port of Montréal. See the National Circus School’s annual show, this year titled Où vont les fleurs?, spotlighting the artistic and acrobatic mastery of up-and-coming circus stars, at La TOHU from May 29 to June 9. blooms in theatre and dance this week too. Technology and art collide in audiovisual performances, live music, innovative design, gaming and interactive art at Festival ELEKTRA, from June 11 to 16: see New York-based Austrian artist Kurt Hentschläger's immersive performance FEED.X, Myriam Bleau's Eternity Be Kind, robot-human art explorations and more. Broadway fans can delight in the Lyric Theatre Singers’ TOO DARN HOT! A Sizzling Broadway Revue, at DB Clarke Theatre from June 13 to 15. Mexique en couleurs features more than 70 artists celebrating Mexico's customs and traditions through music and dance, at Place des Arts on June 8. And famed comedian-actor Adam Sandler brings his 100% Fresher stand-up tour to Montréal on June 8 at the Bell Centre.
Step into the Phi Centre's new virtual reality exhibition >HUM(AI)N, a 360° view of human nature and evolution in nine immersive VR works – the Centre also highlights five famous paintings in VR Cinema: Short Films on Canvas. Also at the Phi Centre, Goodee Pop-up Studio puts sustainable brands and humanist e-commerce in the spotlight. Roam the cosmos in science-meets-multimedia shows Planet Nine, Secrets of Gravity, Continuum and Aurōrae as well as new films POLARIS and Passport to the Universe at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. The Montréal Science Centre features IMAX films Oceans 3D, Pandas 3D, Volcanoes 3D and Superpower Dogs 3D – along with hands-on science activities such as the Clic! zone (made specifically for kids ages 4 through 7) and a 3.8-billion-year-old moon rock! Among Montréal's great indie cinemas, Mile End's Cinéma Moderne screens art-house, Québécois and cult films every day plus family screenings on weekends, Cinémathèque québécoise shows films by more auteurs, while Cinéma du Musée and Cinéma du Parc also screen Canadian and international features and documentaries all week.
Art for all
A truly moving exhibition, Yoko Ono: LIBERTÉ CONQUÉRANTE/GROWING FREEDOM, explores how the art and life of icon Yoko Ono (and partner John Lennon) has affected years of contemporary art practices, art reception and activism, at The Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain in Old Montréal – on June 12, music group Donzelle presents Music to Give Peace a Chance. The Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel commemorates the 50th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 Bed-In for Peace, with tours of the suite and more. Among this season's other must-see exhibitions, enter the high-fashion art world of Thierry Mugler: Couturissime, featuring wild creations by the French designer at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – also see Montreal Couture, showcasing inventive Québec designers, exhibitions Omar Ba: Same Dream and Alanis Obomsawin: Printmaker and ale Chihuly sculpture The Sun. The McCord Museum features new exhibition The Polaroid Project, highlighting the artistic and scientific creativity of Polaroid photography through the work of 20th century artists – while there, also see Sding K’awXangs – Haida: Supernatural Stories and work by Kanien’kehá:ka artist Hannah Claus. As part of UQAM university's 50th anniversary, Galerie de l’UQAM features group show Over My Black Body, a social reflection and celebration of black life, and installation works by Maude Arès. In Speculations at Artexte, Black, Indigenous and people of colour artists reflect and speculate on their position in the universe, the world and society. Jean-Paul Kelly's A sensation best described by another questions the limits of representation, at VOX, centre de l'image contemporaine. See works by Indigenous women artists in Oubliées ou disparues : Akonessen, Zitya, Tina, Marie et les autres at ASHUKAN Cultural Space. Discover the complex and contemporary beadwork art of 11 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in exhibition Beading Now!, une exposition de perlage contemporain at La Guilde. Galerie Deux Poissons presents Overworld, collaborative and solo new work by Jim Holyoak and Matt Shane. Galerie D’Este presents Un mythe immaculé by painter Andy Curlowe, exploring narratives of the American wilderness. Head to Mile Ex for the edgy Never Apart Spring Exhibitions. Tattoo artists and fans celebrate the art form's creativity at the Nouvelle Ere Tattoo Show from June 7 to 9 at Le Salon Richmond. And there's more art to discover while gallery hopping and antiquing in the city.
History near and far
Archaeology and history complex Pointe-à-Callière Archaeology and History Complex brings Montréal's past to life in high-tech multimedia exhibitions like the brand new Generations MTL! and illuminates an international cabinet of curiosities in exhibition Into the Wonder Room – and new exhibition Dinner is served! French Gastronomy at its Best chronicles the food-related history and secrets of monarchs to artisans. Among the city's other family-friendly museums, watch kids' eyes light up when they see the dinosaur skeletons, fossils and more at the Redpath Museum. Wax museum Grévin MONTRÉAL features Québecois and international celebrities past and present. Nature and climate come into full view at the geodesic Biosphère, Environment Museum in Parc Jean-Drapeau. The Canadian Railway museum Exporail celebrates locomotive history and, on June 9, commemorates CN's centennial year with visits on board the Canada Car. History museum Château Ramezay features touching and beautiful World War I exhibition WAR Flowers alongside rooms full of local history. The Musée de Lachine presents history and archeology from the times of fur trade and New France alongside contemporary art. At the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Second Life takes us away from it all in real, imagined and virtual spaces outside of ordinary time and space, and Our Happy Life Architecture and Well-Being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism looks at measurements of happiness. Learn more about Jewish culture in Montréal at the Museum of Jewish Montreal exhibitions. The city's Irish roots also run deep – discover Irish Montréal through landmarks and more. See Barbie's high-fashion transformations through the decades at the free Barbie Expo downtown. Read all about jazz in Montréal, from the Roaring Twenties to today, featuring local history and jazz clubs still hopping to this day. And pick up some historic and present-day facts about Montréal that even some locals might not know.
This weekend's Oasis Weekend Beach Club parties transforms the Olympic Park Esplanade into a club: on June 7, dance to house and techno by Green Velvet, Justin Martin and more producers, while June 9 brings Don Omar's reggaeton to the club. New City Gas goes Grand Prix this weekend too with Tyga performing live on Friday night and Benny Benassi, Chantel Jeffries and 88GLAM on Saturday. Electro dance parties Motorcity at the Society for Arts and Technology, with Etienne De Crécy, Danger, Cherry Cola, Haffenfold and Skii Tour on Friday, followed on Saturday night by Tokimonsta, Leikeli47, Grandtheft and DJ Illo. Also on June 8, Choeur Baobab performs multi-cultural traditional and modern songs in Traditions gospel et chants du monde at Cinquième Salle and the Chœur classique de Montréal presents five Russian soloists performing compositions by Russian-Polish composer Osip Kozlovsky, at Maison symphonique. Meanwhile, rapper Bones is at Club Soda. On Sunday, June 9, see rockers Death From Above with opener Murray A. Lightburn at Corona Theatre, Red Bridge Fest features Face To Face, Cigar and more punk bands at Club Soda, amazing New Orlean's group Tank and the Bangas at L’Astral, and Oscar-winning maestro Michel Legrand presents An evening in Hollywood, a concert dedicated to his classic film scores, at Place des Arts. Le Salon de la Musique brings together music companies and emerging musicians for acoustic performances and more at Olympic Stadium from June 7 to 9, while Sunday's free outdoor event Fiesta Olympica combines dancing, delicious food and Latin beats at Olympic Park Esplanade.
On Tuesday, June 11, a cappella group Pentatonix sings pop hits past and present, with opener Citizen Queen at the Bell Centre and rapper-singer-songwriter Nav comes to MTELUS. June 12 brings singer-songwriter Pink Sweat$ to L’Astral and Finn Andrews (of the Veils) to La Vitrola. On Thursday, June 13, it's none other than rapper Cupcakke at Théâtre Fairmount and indie-rock artist SYML (Brian Fennell of band Barcelona) at L’Astral. Month-long music festival Suoni per il Popolo, dedicated to avant-garde jazz, outsider rock and experimental electronic excursions, continues with: Dave Burrell and Egyptian Cotton Arkestra as well as Anika, Le Fruit Vert and Ben Shemie on June 9, Irreversible Entanglements on June 10, Saul Williams on June 13 and many more great artists all week.
And the Montréal Folk Festival sur le Canal begins on Thursday night with the Tejano BBQ Burrito party at Bar de Courcelle, followed by a weekend of free music and more, outdoors alongside the Lachine Canal. For even more music throughout the week, check out our picks on how to get your nightlife on in Montréal, where to hear live music in Montréal, 10 great places to see indie bands, Montréal's best jazz and blues clubs and our guide to electronic music in Montréal. And if you want to bring the music home with you, go record shopping at Montréal's excellent vinyl stores.
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.