Things to do in Montréal October 13 to 19

Robyn Fadden

As the leaves change and the temperature finally cools in Montréal, autumnal outdoor activities merge into indoor musings on art, film, design and dance – throw a hockey game, a fabulous local meal and some live music into the mix for the full Montréal experience. 

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Celebrating Montréal's 375th

Montréal's 375th anniversary celebrations continue in fine autumn form this week, featuring some of the free things to do this fall in Montréal. Explore the Quartier des Spectacles to spot the outdoor art of KM3 until October 15 in city squares and parks, along sidewalks and on building facades. Walk along McGill College Avenue to see the photographs of Expo 67: The Place to Be, along Sherbrooke Street in the Golden Square Mile for La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-Air Museum, and in Old Montréal to see the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire and multimedia wonder AURA at Notre-Dame Basilica. See the Plateau neighbourhood through the eyes of Paul à Montréal, a self-guided tour based on the beloved comic art of Michel Rabagliati. Spend an evening illuminated at the Montréal Botanical Garden’s enchanting family-friendly 25th edition of Gardens of Light. And Montréal hosts the World Design Summit, October 16-25 at the Palais des Congrès, a major international conference and public expo featuring design in all its forms, from architecture to graphics and urban planning, as well as the new project exhibition Indigenize Montreal.

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Fall food and drink

Autumn in Montréal means seasonal feasts and a variety of harvest activities for all ages, including the Pumpkin Ball at the Botanical Garden October 6-21 and plenty to see and eat at the city's colourful public markets. Whether you've never tried poutine or have a craving for smoked meat, check out these musts for foodies visiting Montréal – and go shopping for foodies too. Rev up with the city's best iced coffee, brunch it up in style, get health-conscious, or relax with a cocktail. And discover some of Montréal's liveliest neighbourhoods through their restaurants or explore the downtown core from Sainte Cahterine Street West to outdoor garden and bistro Les Jardins Gamelin, closing out the season this weekend with live music and more. Or eat, drink and dance at the closing soirée of Les Jardineries on the Olympic Stadium esplanade on October 13.

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Hockey and more

The NHL regular season revs up as the Montréal Canadiens take to home ice against Toronto at the Bell Centre on October 14. Montréal's CWHL team Les Canadiennes de Montréal play the Boston Blades in the season's home opening weekend at Complexe Claude-Robillard on October 15 at 1:30 pm – bring your skates for Skate with Les Canadiennes after the game! Pull on a wetsuit and catch a wave surfing in Montréal on the Saint Lawrence River rapids. And if you're freaked out by heights but want to try rock climbing or have a love-hate relationship with ghost stories, we've got all kinds of ways to face your fears in Montréal, including going way up in the sky on La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel.

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Art inspires

Explore concepts of reality in photography at multi-venue exhibition Momenta Biennale de l’image with evocative art at Galerie de l’UQAM, VOX, Artexte, McCord Museum, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to October 15. Also at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, fashion meets art in the haute couture wedding wear of Love Is Love by Jean Paul Gaultier to October 22, while multidisciplinary exhibition Once Upon A Time… The Western gives the Western film genre new artistic life. Renowned art foundation DHC/ART in Old Montréal celebrates its 10th anniversary with L'Offre a dynamic group exhibition exploring concepts of "the gift." The Montréal Science Centre presents interactive new exhibition Indigenous Ingenuity: Timeless Inventions, from the essentials of First Peoples’ scientific principles to how to build an igloo, alongside photo exhibition Regalia: Native Pride featuring 30 Indigenous portraits. Explore the golden age of magicians in the McCord Museum's Illusions: The Art of Magic. Mile Ex gallery Never Apart opens its fall exhibitions, featuring the work of 20 artists. And spot Alain Paiement's art work Bleu de Bleu along Highway 20 from the airport.

On stage

Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera returns to Montréal with a huge new cast and inventive staging, to October 15 at Place des Arts. On the English-language theatre scene this fall, see hockey-legend history unfold in Playing with Fire: The Theo Fleury Story at Centaur Theatre to October 29 or classic winter tale The Hockey Sweater: A Musical at the Segal Centre starting October 19; Black Theatre Workshop's powerful staging of Katori Hall's The Mountaintop at the Segal Centre October 14-29; one-man tragi-comedy Omi Mouna (or my fantastic encounter with my great-grandmother) to October 14 at MAI; and the musical-comedy theatre of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show starting October 19 at Mainline Theatre. Montréal's fall dance scene promises thrilling, contemplative, boundary-pushing shows: Les Grands Ballets dances Stabat Mater and Beethoven's 7th Symphony choreographed by Edward Clug and Uwe Scholzat at Place des Arts to October 28; Skeels Danse presents evocative Rose of Jericho choreographed by Les Grands Ballets dancer Andrew Skeels October 10-14 at Place des Arts; José Navas and his Compagnie Flak offer their contemporary retrospective at Agora de la danse October 11-14; see public disturber Peter James' carte blanche cabaret Le Chant du singe / Happening Postpostpost, October 10-13, part of Festival Phénomena. And the Montréal Burlesque Festival entertains and titillates with glamorous cabaret shows by international and local stars, October 19-21 at Club Soda.

On screen

The popular cutting-edge Festival Nouveau Cinéma screens hundreds of feature films and shorts from Québec and around the world alongside talks, workshops, VR installations, parties and more events, including Friday night's zombie-themed party with music by Les Affamés and Socalled. Urban art festival Chromatic presents Michel Gondry’s Home Movie Factory – free start-to-finish 3-hour film workshops open to anyone, ongoing to October 15. Put on a VR headset to see a roster of short films and immersive VR work in Lucid Realities or watch the short films of the Not Short on Talent showcase at the Phi Centre. Explore space in double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, see nature in IMAX at the Montréal Science Centre or lie back and watch high-tech audiovisual spectacle Lamparium in the SAT dome to October 15 followed by Harmonielehre starting October 17, featuring immersive visuals intertwined with music by John Adams as played by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

Classical music

The Concours international d’orgue du Canada features Lynne Davis's Saveurs françaises on October 13, David Briggs's L’orgue symphonique and Bine Bryndorf's Délices danois at Cathédrale Christ Church on October 14 as well as competition concerts and more (including new biergartens) at Église de l’Immaculée-Conception, Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste and Notre Dame Basilica until October 21. Conductor Vasily Petrenko leads a concert of Russian music that features pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin playing Prokofiev at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique October 14-15. Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conductor Kent Nagano and violinist Maxim Vengerov reunite for concerts at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique on October 17 followed the next night at New York's Carnegie Hall. Les Violons du Roy presents Popular Inspirations of Piazzola on October 13 at at Bourgie Hall, followed by Louise Bessette's piano concert celebration of Spain’s national day on October 17 and the eight cellists of Ô-Celli performing legendary film music on October 18.

More live music

Whatever music you're into, Friday night likely serves it up: the high-energy electro of DEADMAU5's Lots of shows in a row: pt 2 tour at the Bell Centre; essential Canadian jangle-rock stars The New Pornographers and Born Ruffians at Théâtre Corona; French alt-pop masters Phoenix and Lo Moon at MTelus; stellar local indie-pop with TOPS and Ellise Barbara at Le National; Brooklyn indie band Beach Fossils at Theatre Fairmount; Boston heavy rockers Elder with King Buffalo at Bar Spectacle L'escogriffe; and the final Friday night of L'OFF Jazz Festival. On Saturday, Austin musician Max Frost impresses at Bar le Ritz PDB, hip hop artist GoldLink performs at L'Astral, and electronic producer Slushii brings the party to New City Gas. Sunday welcomes the thrash punk of Propagandhi to Club Soda, Toronto singer-songwriter Scott Helman to L'Astral, and the jazz-inflected sounds of singer Elise LeGrow to Divan Orange. Meanwhile, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters kicks off the first of three nights of his Us + Them stadium spectacle at the Bell Centre October 16, 17 and 19.  Experience the instrumental experimental style of Grails on October 16 at Bar le Ritz PDB. I Prevail and We Came As Romans rock at MTelus on Tuesday and Seattle indie-folk singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen plays Le Belmont. Legendary punk band D.O.A. slams into Petit Campus on Wednesday while CKUT 90.3FM kicks off its funding drive with the electronic sounds of Lo Signal Sound System, William Crop, Line Katcho, Alicia Hush and dull at Mile End's Art Lounge MTL. South African musician and anthropologist Johnny Clegg captivates in his Final Journey World Tour performance at Place des Arts on October 19, while famed Lebanese alt-rock group Mashrou' Leila stuns at Théâtre Corona, and electronic music legend Hans-Joachim Roedelius (co-founder of krautrock groups Cluster and Harmonia) blows minds at La Vitrola.

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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