Things to do in Montréal – November 1 to 7, 2019

Expect a week of excellent food in Montréal during MTLàTABLE, celebrating Québec’s terroir with special prix-fixe menus and culinary events. Halloween activities continue with eerie events and ghoulish parties. Discover unique wine, beer and spirits at La Grande Dégustation de Montréal. See inspiring new dance, theatre, art and film, including at the Arab World Festival of Montréal and CINEMANIA Francophone Film Festival. And music fans can hear world-class orchestras, bands and producers from around the world every night.

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Halloween happenings

Montréal loves Halloween and keeps the Halloween activities going all weekend. Go on an Old Montréal ghost walk or discover the ghosts of the Red Light district with Secret Montréal on November 1. Scream at amusement park La Ronde's Bal de la Frayeur zombie event as night falls on November 1. Join the antics of ultimate cult movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show on November 1 and 2 at Cinéma Impérial, or sing along with Richard O'Brien's fabulous and hilarious live musical The Rocky Horror Show until November 2 at MainLine Theatre

Halloween parties keep going at New City Gas too: on Friday with electronic music producers Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike at Festival Karnavale and Vicetone and Brooks on Saturday. On Friday night you can also dance in the Society for Arts and Technology’s 360° dome with New York DJ Veronica Vasicka, Toronto’s Kehdo and Montréal’s Matthew Salaciak accompanied by incredible visuals.


Autumn activities

For a colourful vision of fall, visit Mount Royal Park, where the air is crisp and the leaves hued in oranges, reds and yellows, the picturesque Montréal Botanical Garden or the city's many other parks and green spaces to see Montréal's fall colours. Take a bike ride through city streets and parks – consult our guide to bike paths, bicycle rentals, BIXI and all things biking in Montréal. Or visit the Ecomuseum Zoo conservation area to see 115 animal species from the St. Lawrence Valley, including otters, wolves and hawks.

This fall also marks Tourisme Montréal's 100th anniversary! We've made a list of 100 creative things to do in celebration of the city's inventive spirit and gathered several free things to do this fall too. See Montréal in all its glory from the Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown, La Grande Roue de Montréal in the Old Port, and the observatory at the top of the Montréal Tower at Olympic Park. Catch the Montréal Canadiens at home this week against the Boston Bruins on November 5 at the Bell Centre.


City of lights

Autumn nights shine bright in Montréal after dark. In downtown's Quartier des spectacles after dark, watch the façade of UQAM’s Pavillon Président-Kennedy for the geometric projection art of Caroline Monnet's Mooniyang, inspired by traditional Anishinaabe patterns. Visit Notre-Dame Basilica (one of many Montréal churches featuring cultural activities) to see multimedia show AURA and by night in Old Montréal search out the projections of Cité Mémoire on building facades. Indoors, bright new immersive pop-up experience HideSeek on Saint-Denis Street has us playing like kids again. Whether you're in Montréal for a long weekend or a week, plot your visit with My Official Montréal City Guide (and save with the MTL Sweet Deal).


Food and drink

Major Montréal culinary event MTLàTABLE begins November 1, featuring guest chefs, prix-fixe menus and other events at 150 restaurants until November 13. Three-course meals (at $23, $33 or $43) feature Québec ingredients, while special brunches, Signature Events with chefs, Cacao Barry chocolate dishes and more round out the event. Meanwhile, La Grande Dégustation de Montréal features 200 winegrowers, distillers and brewers from Québec and around the world, at Place Bonaventure from October 31 to November 2. Or DIY your own Oktoberfest at these inventive Montréal microbreweries.

Discover more of what's in season at Jean-Talon Market and Atwater Market. Get a taste of Montréal at these 5 restaurants with amazing chefs crafting unique dishes, from classic French menus to ground-breaking Asian cuisine. If the weather's cool, warm up with a wide variety of hot food for cold days. Explore more of Montréal and its culinary delights on Montréal's best food tours or discover some of Montréal's hidden gems, including excellent restaurants off the beaten track. Or take a day trip to orchard Verger Labonté to pick apples and find your way through its massive galaxy-themed corn labyrinth.

On stage

In acrobatic feats and contemplative reflections on what it means to be human, the circus artists of Australian company Circa take us on a stirring journey in Humans, from November 5 to 10 at La TOHU circus centre. A woman's life turns upside down in fascinating drama-comedy Alice and the World We Live In from October 15 to November 3 at Centaur Theatre. See new pop-rock musical theatre work Mythic, a journey of self-discovery based on the myth of Greek goddess Persephone, from October 27 to November 18 at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. The 20th Arab World Festival of Montréal features dance, music, film and more dedicated to the meeting of Arab and Western cultures, from October 25 to November 17, with the Ayoub Sisters on November 1, Lebanese singer Oumaima El Khalil on November 2 and an homage to Abdel Halim Hafez on November 7 at Place des Arts, as well as a free belly dancing workshop on November 2 at Place des Arts and more.

Danse Danse presents Australian contemporary dance company Bangarra Dance Theatre's Spirit, interweaving contemporary dance with ancestral traditions and sacred Aboriginal cultural rituals, at Place des Arts from October 30 to November 2. See Australian choreographer Lucy Guerin's demanding, physical and intimate Split at Agora de la danse from October 30 to November 1. Award-winning Montréal choreographer-dancer Dana Michel probes societal constructions of her personality and body in Cutlass Spring at Usine C from October 29 to November 1. Artist Justin Shoulder introduces a post-human shapeshifting specter in Carrion at Monument-National from October 30 to November 2. And in the Gay Village, stages light up with world-class drag shows in Montréal.


On screen

Experience the contemporary VR artistry of Cadavre exquis, featuring work by Marina Abramovi, Olafur Eliasson, Laurie Anderson, Antony Gormley, Paul McCarthy and other artists, at the Phi Centre in Old Montréal. See artists' Montreal Life Support and Woulg's audiovisual immersive experience and performance Empty Vessels in the Society for Arts and Technology's 360° dome from November 5 to 9. International CINEMANIA Francophone Film Festival kicks off on November 1 with Céline Sciamma's Cannes Prix du Scénario winner Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, and runs to November 17, screening French-language features and shorts (with English subtitles!), along with presentations, workshops, parties and more.

Among Montréal's great indie cinemas, see art-house, documentaries, Québécois, cult films and more at Mile End's Cinéma Moderne (featuring a retrospective of filmmaker Chantal Akerman from November 5 to 9), the Cinémathèque québécoise, Cinéma du Musée at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and at long-running Cinéma du Parc. Meanwhile, the South Asian Film Festival of Montréal showcases new artistic films focused on South Asia and the South Asian diaspora, from November 1 to 3. The Montréal Science Centre presents IMAX film Great Bear Rainforest 3D and hands-on science exhibitions and activities such as Health from Head to Toe. Explore the universe at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, featuring science-meets-multimedia shows Planet Nine, Secrets of Gravity, EXO, POLARIS, Continuum and Aurōrae as well as Mice and the Moon for younger kids.


Art for everyone

Untamed Colour: Celebrating Jean McEwen pays homage to the Montréal painter. See Francis Alÿs: Children's Games at the Musée d'art contemporain as well as a survey of works by prominent Montréal painter Janet Werner, two animated films by South African artist William Kentridge and more. At the McCord Museum see Celia Perrin Sidarous: The Archivist as well as SDING K’AWXANGS – Haida: Supernatural Stories and new retrospective exhibition Jean-Claude Poitras: Fashion and Inspiration. Starting November 7, the Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain presents music-oriented installations and video work by British artist Phil Collins exploring how we participate in popular culture, while artistic duo Eva and Franco Mattes dissect, test and redefine the boundaries of the Internet in several video and sculptural works.

Galerie de l’UQAM presents Le déploiement, an exhibition of works focused on the Canadian Far North by photographer and video artist Emmanuelle Léonard. At La Guilde see exhibition Nunatsiavut / Our Beautiful Land featuring work by 25 artists from Nunatsiavut, the Inuit region of Labrador. At the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Second Life offers a glimpse of getting away from it all while Rough Cuts and Outtakes showcases the work of Gordon Matta-Clark. The Museum of Jewish Montreal presents Return to The Fortress by Julie Gladstone, portraits and landscapes drawing from medieval Sephardic iconography, ancient legends and native flora of Béjar, Spain. In Mile End, Centre CLARK showcases new work by Jeanne Marsh, Ingrid Tremblay and Karina Pawlikowski. Mile-Ex gallery and cultural space Never Apart features new art in its fall exhibitions. The Darling Foundry presents Javier González Pesce's Two Ways To Disappear Without Losing The Physical Form. The Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec presents exhibitions Escales de murmures and Permanence & transfiguration. And there's more art to discover while gallery hopping and antiquing in the city.


History near and far

One of this fall's major exhibitions, the British Museum's Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives makes its North American premiere at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, reconstructing the lives of six Egyptians who lived along the Nile from about 900 BC to AD 180. At Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex, experience multimedia exhibition Generations MTL, cabinet of curiosities Into the Wonder Room and more. The Stewart Museum's new Nights exhibition lets visitors explore the fiction-meets-reality of four night worlds created by Québec writers Heather O’Neill, Simon Boulerice, Dominique Demers and Éric Dupont – while at the museum, peek into day-to-day life in New France in History and Memory. Among the city's other family-friendly museums, the Musée de Lachine illuminates 350 years of history, wax museum Grévin MONTRÉAL features Québécois and international celebrities past and present, and the free Barbie Expo shows off Barbie's fashion transformations through the decades.

Château Ramezay features autumn activities like outdoor exhibition Pick a Peck of Pumpkins in the Governor’s Garden until November 3, as well as World War I exhibition WAR Flowers. Discover Irish Montréal and Montréal's Scottish history through historic landmarks and more. Tour Montréal architectural icon Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67. Read all about jazz in Montréal, from the Roaring Twenties to today. And pick up some historic and present-day facts about Montréal that even some locals might not know.

Classical music

The CIOC Festival presents Rupert Julian's 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera set to the impressive sound of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique at Maison symphonique de Montréal, performed by organist James Kennerly, on November 1. Legendary Russian group Borodin Quartet performs at Salle Pierre Mercure on November 1. Soprano Karina Gauvin and an ensemble of 18 musicians perform rare Italian and Russian works on November 2 at Bourgie Concert Hall, while violinist Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà perform on November 1 and 3.

A classical music concert for kids, Wizards, Witches conjures up the Halloween spirit in music at Maison symphonique on November 3 at 2 p.m. The Montréal Classical Orchestra performs Vivaldi's Gloria on November 3 at Salle Pierre-Mercure. London’s The Kingdom Choir wows with its warm energy and enthusiastic performances of songs drawn from various Christian traditions, on November 7 at Maison symphonique.

More live music

On Friday night, Saskatchewan folk-bluegrass group The Dead South and Devarrow roll into MTELUS, ska-punks The Planet Smashers and The Creepshow get wild at Foufounes Électriques, musician-producer Bad Child shakes up Petit Campus, singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis (also known for indie band Rilo Kiley) performs at L’Astral, French hip-hop duo Bigflo & Oli bring down the Bell Centre and Space Laces and Must Die! bring the bass to the Society for Arts and Technology while Norwegian electro producer Skatebård shines at Newspeak. Saturday night features French electro-pop duo Polo & Pan at MTELUS, indie-rockers Crumb at L’Astral, “Dust in the Wind” creators Kansas at Théâtre St-Denis, and French electronic producer Breakbot at Théâtre Fairmount.

On Sunday night, check out L.A. ska-punk band The Interrupters at MTELUS and former The Tea Party frontman Jeff Martin at L’Astral. Monday, November 4 brings Russian rock greats Mumiy Troll to Corona Theatre, while Godspeed You! Black Emperor and opener Eliza Kavtion perform at La Tulipe, followed by a second show on November 5 with openers Backxwash. Also on Tuesday night, see pop-soul-electro singer-songwriter-producer Toro Y Moi and Channel Tres at Corona Theatre, Scottish metal band Alestorm at MTELUS and jazz-influenced London singer-songwriter Puma Blue at Ritz P.D.B. Thursday brings British rock-styled singer-songwriter Jade Bird and opener John Vincent III to Théâtre Fairmount, while Pokey Lafarge plays his style of American traditional jazzy-swing tunes solo at Café Campus, and Australia's Htrk is a mood at Ritz P.D.B.

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

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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