Things to do in Montréal – November 8 to 14, 2019

After an autumn walk in Montréal, indulge in excellent food this week during MTLàTABLE, a celebration of Québec’s terroir with special prix-fixe menus and culinary events. See opera Lucia di Lamermoor or inspired dance, theatre, circus, art and film, including at the Arab World Festival of Montréal and CINEMANIA Francophone Film Festival and Montréal International Documentary Festival. Catch a game, from NHL hockey and CFL football to roller derby, or watch UFC speed skating. And listen to orchestras and rock bands, electronic producers and hip-hop artists at venues citywide.

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Autumn activities

As autumn's leaves begin to fade, there's still time for a gorgeous walk through the park: visit Mount Royal Park, the picturesque Montréal Botanical Garden or the city's many other parks and green spaces to see Montréal's fall colours. 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. 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.

Autumn nights also shine bright in Montréal after dark. In downtown's Quartier des spectacles, see the geometric projection art of Caroline Monnet's Mooniyang, inspired by traditional Anishinaabe pattern. 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, immersive pop-up experience HideSeek on Saint-Denis Street has us playing like kids again. After all that adventuring, relax at Montréal's best spas.

Among other November happenings, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal presents A Conversation with Barack Obama at the Bell Centre on November 14, and HUB Montréal brings multimedia creators and business developers together from November 18 to 21 at Studio Les 7 doigts. Meanwhile, the Montreal Zero Waste Festival has ideas for sustainable consumption, minimalism and more from November 8 to 10 at Marché Bonsecours. 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 continues until November 13, with guest chefs, incredible prix-fixe menus and creative events at 150 restaurants. Three-course meals (at $23, $33 or $43) feature Québec ingredients, while special brunches, Signature Events, Cacao Barry chocolate dishes and more make MTLàTABLE exceptionally memorable. Also get a taste of Montréal at these 5 restaurants with amazing chefs crafting unique dishes, from classic French menus to ground-breaking Asian cuisine. And 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-up. 

Located right downtown in Eaton Centre on Sainte-Catherine Street, the brand new Time Out Market Montréal officially opens on Thursday, November 14 – try fantastic food by local culinary creators, including chef Paul Toussaint, Montréal Plaza Deli and many more. 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. 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 7 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 entertainment

Catch the Montréal Canadiens at home this week against the Los Angeles Kings on November 9 and the Columbus Blue Jackets on November 12 at the Bell Centre. Or watch CFL football Eastern semi-final when the Montréal Alouettes play the Edmonton Eskimos on November 10 at Percival-Molson Memorial Stadium. ISU World Cup Short Track skating returns to Montréal from November 8 to 10 for the ISU World Cup on the Olympic-size ice surface of the Aréna Maurice-Richard in Olympic Park. And 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 are free).

On stage

A tale of love, betrayal, forced marriage and tragedy, the Opéra de Montréal production of Lucia di Lamermoor enchants with the soaring voices of soprano Kathleen Kim and tenor Frédéric Antoun, at Place des Arts from November 9 to 17. In acrobatic feats and contemplative reflections on what it means to be human, the circus artists of Australia's Circa take us on a stirring journey in Humans, from November 5 to 10 at La TOHU circus centre. 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 performances this week by Abozekry Project, El Djenadia, Arx, Oktoecho & Anouar Berrada, Navak Ensemble, a tribute to tarab chaâbi music and more.

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. For families, enjoy the storytelling of Tales From the Wind by Brazil's Cia. Paideia De Teatro at 10:30 am on November 9 at Centaur Theatre. The three choreographers of La Tresse draw on their Romanian, Québécois and Irish roots in contemporary dance work L’Encre Noire at Agora de la danse from November 13 to 16. Watch a captivating and creative circus show in an elegant cabaret atmosphere at Le Monastère's Circus Cabaret, located in 19th-century neo-Gothic Centre St Jax. And in the Gay Village, stages light up with world-class drag shows in Montréal.

On screen

Two international film festivals shine bright this week in Montréal. International CINEMANIA Francophone Film Festival continues until November 17, screening 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 Cadavre exquis, 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.

Artists Montreal Life Support and Woulg's present audiovisual performance Empty Vessels in the Society for Arts and Technology's 360° dome from November 5 to 9. 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. The Montréal Science Centre presents IMAX film Great Bear Rainforest 3D and hands-on science exhibitions 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 at the Montréal 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, 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. 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. Experience multimedia show 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. 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 Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and violist Antoine Tamestit perform Edward Gardner and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances on November 9 and 10 at Maison symphonique de Montréal. The Montréal Bach Festival presents a pre-festival organ concert by Olivier Vernet on Sunday, November 10 at Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal. Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10 and more at Maison symphonique on November 12. The OSM presents a Tribute to Félix Leclerc, giving the Québécois songwriter's hits a symphonic twist, at Maison symphonique on November 13 and 14. The National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the European Union Youth Orchestra perform at Notre-Dame Basilica for The Frenergy Tour, a celebration of music and friendship led by Viennese conductor Sascha Goetzel, on November 14. And 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.

More live music

On Friday night, British cellist and electronic producer Oliver Coates blends altered acoustic cello with synth-folk and minimalist drones at the Phi Centre, hear Big Wild's lush melodic sounds of electronic producer at L’Astral, singer-songwriter Greyson Chance proves his talents beyond viral fame at Ritz P.D.B., soulful New Zealand-Australian musician Jordan Rakei comes to Le Belmont and British electronic music producer Chris Lake shakes up New City Gas. On Saturday night, fans won't want to miss rapper-singer-songwriter Ghostemane and openers 3teeth at MTELUS, while English experimental rock band Black Midi and opener Fat Tony are at Foufounes Électriques, Vandal & Froid take us on a deep-listening journey in Substrat #7 in the Society for Arts and Technology's 360° dome, Finnish deep house producer Yotto gets the crowd dancing at Théâtre Fairmount, producers Blackgummy and Eekkoo do the same at Newspeak and Borgeous claims the dancefloor at New City Gas.

All week, music festival Coup de coeur francophone features local and international artists from November 7 to 17 – this week check out rock, hip hop, electronic music and more from Choses Sauvages, Mathieu David-Gagnon, Bleu Jeans Bleu, and more artists at several of the city's best venues. On Sunday night, see rapper Yelawolf at Corona Theatre, seasoned Americana singer-songwriter Patty Griffin at Café Campus, and British post-rock band Seefeel at Ritz P.D.B. On November 11, salsa-pop star Marc Anthony performs at the Bell Centre. Tuesday features Danish musician and wide-ranging vocalist King Diamond and opener Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats at MTELUS. And on Thursday check out Chicago production duo Louis The Child and opener Léon at MTELUS, English post-punk band Chameleons Vox with Theatre Of Hate and Jay Aston at Théâtre Fairmount, long-running Canadian rock band Moist and Stuck on Planet Earth at Corona Theatre, rockers New Found Glory at L’Astral and Seattle R&B-pop band The Dip and The Holds at Petit Campus.

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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