Things to do in Montréal – November 15 to 21, 2019
The snow arrived this week in Montréal but it's not holding the city back with everything from world-class art exhibitions to hockey games and roller derby keeping November bright. See opera Lucia di Lammermoor, contemporary flamenco by La Otra Orilla, new films at CINEMANIA Francophone Film Festival and Montreal International Documentary Festival, the puppetry of Little Dickens and more. Stay warm with great food at restaurants citywide. And scroll down for details on music festivals Mundial Montréal and M for Montréal, classical music concerts and more live music.
While the snow came early to Montréal this year, you can still take a scenic walk and look out on the snowy city from Mount Royal Park or the Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown, La Grande Roue de Montréal in the Old Port or the observatory at the top of the Montréal Tower at Olympic Park. Montréal shines bright after dark too: in downtown's Quartier des spectacles, see 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. 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 if you're feeling cold, warm up at Montréal's best spas. 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
Warm up this week with a wide variety of hot food for cold days. Get a taste of Montréal at these 5 restaurants with amazing chefs crafting unique dishes, from classic French menus to ground-breaking Asian cuisine. Discover what's in season at Jean-Talon Market and Atwater Market, while these inventive Montréal microbreweries craft seasonal beers to join their classic line-ups. And 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.
Located right downtown in Eaton Centre on Sainte-Catherine Street, the brand new Time Out Market Montréal is officially open – try fantastic food by local culinary creators, including chef Paul Toussaint, Montréal Plaza Deli, Signé Local and many more. And put on your sparkliest outfit and get ready to boogie under the giant disco ball at the Casino de Montréal's We've got the funk event from November 4 to December 21 – enjoy a special three-course meal, bubbly cocktails and an incredible show by a variety of singers, dancers and musicians performing 50 years of funk and disco hits.
Sports, comedy and big events
Catch the Montréal Canadiens at home this week against the New Jersey Devils on November 16 and the Ottawa Senators on November 20 at the Bell Centre. The 2019 International WFTDA Championships mark the first year the roller derby tournament happens outside the U.S. – the Montréal Roller Derby League hosts the best 10 teams in the world as they out-skate each other from November 15 to 17 at Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard (children 10 and under enter for free).
Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco has fans in stitches at the Bell Centre on November 15, while Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy performs his new show Age of Fools at Place des Arts on November 18 and 19. HUB Montréal brings multimedia creators and business developers together from November 18 to 21 at Studio Les 7 doigts. Immersive pop-up experience HideSeek on Saint-Denis Street has us playing like kids again. And the Salon du livre de Montréal book fair highlights the best writing in Québec, including events for youth and bilingual Quebec Writers' Federation events, from November 20 to 25 at Place Bonaventure.
A tale of love, betrayal, forced marriage and tragedy, the Opéra de Montréal production of Lucia di Lammermoor enchants with the soaring voices of soprano Kathleen Kim and tenor Frédéric Antoun, at Place des Arts from November 9 to 17. Renowned contemporary flamenco company La Otra Orilla contrasts a tale of winter with the heat of flamenco in Magnetikae, presented by Danse Danse at Place des Arts from November 19 to 23. The 20th Arab World Festival of Montréal features dance, music, film and more dedicated to the meeting of Arab and Western cultures, with closing performances this weekend. Experience the high-energy dance and music of Bollywood in Taj Express – The Bollywood Musical Revue at Place des Arts on November 20 and 21. The choreographers of La Tresse draw on their Romanian, Québécois and Irish roots in L’Encre Noire at Agora de la danse from November 13 to 16.
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, while youth-focused Geordie Theatre presents the transformative story of Persephone Bound at D.B. Clark Theatre from November 15 to 24. And outrageous puppet master Ronnie Burkett returns to Montréal with Little Dickens, a naughty remix of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Théâtre du Trillium turns theatrical expectations upside down, merging virtual and physical realities in Jeff Koons from November 20 to 23 at the Phi Centre. Known for immersive performances, The Other Theatre combines theatre, dance and polyphonic singing in All Flesh is Grass, a meditation on randomness on Earth and in the ever-expanding universe, from November 13 to 30 at Espace Knox. Laugh out loud and sing along to hit songs from the ‘60s to the ‘80s at Shaggypup Productions' Menopause The Musical at Centaur Theatre from November 21 to 23. And in the Gay Village, stages light up with world-class drag shows in Montréal.
Two international film festivals shine bright this week in Montréal. CINEMANIA Francophone Film Festival continues November 17, screening international French-language features and shorts (with English subtitles!), along with presentations, workshops, parties and more. And the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) screens 154 auteur documentary films from 47 countries and also features free discussions, activities, interactive UXdoc Space and more from November 14 to 24. Experience the contemporary VR artistry of the Cadavre exquis exhibition, featuring work by Marina Abramovi, Olafur Eliasson, Laurie Anderson, Antony Gormley, Paul McCarthy and other artists, at the Phi Centre – also visit the VR Cinema to see films by artists Anish Kapoor, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Jakob Kudsk Steensen and Mali Arun.
In the Society for Arts and Technology's 360° dome, families can experience immersive audiovisual creation Sphere by German composer Robot Koch and French artist Mickael Le Goff, on November 16 and 23. 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. The Montréal Science Centre presents IMAX film Great Bear Rainforest 3D and hands-on science exhibitions such as Health from Head to Toe. Among Montréal's great indie cinemas, see art-house, documentaries, Québécois, cult films and more at Mile End's Cinéma Moderne, the Cinémathèque québécoise, Cinéma du Musée at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and at long-running Cinéma du Parc.
Art for everyone
Untamed Colour: Celebrating Jean McEwen pays homage to the Montréal painter at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. See Francis Alÿs: Children's Games at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal as well as a survey of works by prominent Montréal painter Janet Werner and more. At the McCord Museum see new retrospective exhibition Jean-Claude Poitras: Fashion and inspiration, Celia Perrin Sidarous: The Archivist and the holiday season magic of Enchanted Worlds, recreating the magic of Ogilvy's department store window displays. 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 Eva and Franco Mattes dissect, test and redefine the boundaries of the Internet in 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, see Building a new New World – Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture, as well as Second Life and Rough Cuts and Outtakes, showcasing the work of Gordon Matta-Clark. The Museum of Jewish Montreal presents Return to The Fortress by Julie Gladstone. 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 – don't miss its Art Sale on November 16 or the local artistry and creative writing at Expozine this Saturday and Sunday. And there's more art to discover while gallery hopping and antiquing in the city.
History near and far
Montréal is also a must for history buffs. 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. Experience multimedia exhibition Generations MTL, cabinet of curiosities Into the Wonder Room and more at Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex. 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. Château Ramezay offers a glimpse into New France and features World War I exhibition WAR Flowers.
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. Discover Irish Montréal and Montréal's Scottish history through historic landmarks and more. 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.
The Montréal Bach Festival presents a family concert on November 16 by members of l’Orchestre de l’Agora and conductor Nicolas Ellis at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, while later on The Night of the Choirs free concert returns, and on November 17 award-winning organist Dexter Kennedy performs at Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal. The OM celebrates UQAM's 50th anniversary, with maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 “Romantic” and more on November 16 at Maison symphonique de Montréal. While on November 17, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Orchestre Métropolitan and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito arias and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 “Romantic” at Maison symphonique. Hear cellist Alban Gerhardt and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal perform Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor and more on November 20 and 21. And Pro Musica presents duo Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov performing Beethoven and more on November 21 at Pierre-Mercure Hall.
More live music
Music festival Coup de coeur francophone gathers local and international rock, pop, hip hop and electronic artists until November 17. World music festival and summit Mundial Montréal pairs Montréal's musical and cultural diversity with the world's from November 19 to 22, featuring performances by Bellflower, Grupo Rebolu, La Léa and more. Meanwhile, festival M for Montréal fills the city's venues from November 20 to 23 with established and emerging artists who merge pop, electronic, hip hop and more in their own unique ways: this week see Lydia Képinski, Antony Carle, TEKE::TEKE, Mind Bath, Busty and the Bass and more artists. And the one and only Céline Dion puts on a series of spectacular shows at the Bell Centre on November 18, 19, 20 and 21.
On Friday night, see Canadian rock band Moist with opener Stuck On Planet Earth at Corona Theatre, L.A. singer-songwriter Sasha Sloan at L’Astral, rapper Bryce Vine at Le Belmont, dance into the night with NYC techno producer Layton Giordani at Newspeak and South African-Swiss deep house producer Nora En Pure with Jody Wisternoff, Martin Ikin and Return of the Jaded at New City Gas and Funtcase and more producers at the Society for Arts and Technology. On Saturday, ska-punk faves Streetlight Manifesto play L'Olympia while metal stalwarts Cannibal Corpse thrash MTELUS, incredible composer and violinist Owen Pallett and opener Carmen Elle stun at the Phi Centre, California psych-rock band Moon Duo and Ben Shemie wow at the Society for Arts and Technology, Brooklyn's Black Marble and Automatic thrill fans at Ritz P.D.B. (and on November 17 too), as does Australian singer-songwriter Alex Cameron at Théâtre Fairmount – and it's all about the electronic beats with L.A.-based British techno producer Eagles & Butterflies at Newspeak and Arty and Brohug at New City Gas.
On Sunday, November 17, Guyanese-American rapper Saint Jhn shows off his songwriting skills at L’Astral and Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum descends on Corona Theatre. Monday night brings Angel Olsen and Vagabon to MTELUS, Clairo to Corona Theatre, and Mikal Cronin to Ritz P.D.B. On Tuesday, see rapper Danny Brown at Corona Theatre and Americana-folk duo Mandolin Orange at L’Astral, while Wednesday features synth-pop artist Neon Indian at L’Astral. 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.