Things to do in Montréal October 20 to 26

Robyn Fadden

Late-October in Montréal means mornings in museums and galleries, afternoons walking among the falling leaves and market wares or cheering at a football game, and evenings spent eating well, catching a play or dance performance or listening to high-energy live music. 

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Celebrations in the city

With autumn comes seasonally spectacular celebrations for Montréal's 375th anniversary, featuring some of the free things to do this fall in Montréal. 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. Download Projet EVA art collective's Cortège to your phone and take an immersive tour along the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne. 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 Gardens of Light. On October 22, join La Grande marche de Montréal Grand défi Pierre Lavoie at Place des Festivals, with a musical performance by Marc Hervieux at 10 am. Montréal hosts the World Design Summit October 16-25 at the Palais des Congrès, a conference and public expo featuring design in all its forms and the new project exhibition Indigenize Montreal. Kids can play, meet their favourite cartoon characters, watch a show, jump in bouncy castles and more at indoor playground KidCon, October 21-22 at Uniprix Stadium in Jarry Park. And as Halloween approaches, check out Montréal's most haunted places – if you dare...


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. Discover creative new cuisine from Québec at our  Montréal restaurant picks for fall and make plans for more at Montréal's Restaurant Week, MTLàTable, happening November 2-16. If you're looking for tried-and-true Québécois classic dishes, we've got the goods on where to find the best poutine and more musts for foodies visiting Montréal – plus where to go shopping for foodies too. Explore some of Montréal's liveliest neighbourhoods through their great restaurants. Caffeinate in style at Montréal's indie coffee shops or with the city's best iced coffee – and learn all there is to know about coffee at East Coast Coffee Madness 2017, October 22 at the SAT. Relax with weekend brunch or a creative cocktail. Or see how health-conscious food can be genuinely exciting and delicious in Montréal.


Hockey and more

Cheer with the locals for NHL greats the Montréal Canadiens as they take to home ice against the Florida Panthers on October 24 and the Los Angeles Kings on October 26 at the Bell Centre. The CFL action continues into colder days as the Montréal Alouettes take on the Hamilton Tiger Cats on October 22 at Percival Molson Stadium. Meanwhile, our MLS team the Montréal Impact plays New England Revolution on the Stade Saputo pitch on October 22. 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.


Art inspires

Catch the final days of the haute couture wedding wear of Love Is Love by Jean Paul Gaultier at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts 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," as well as the pioneering video art and installation work of Bill Viola: Naissance à rebours, opening October 25. 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. The Phi Centre pays homage to American artist, designer and illustrator Barbara Nessim in exhibition Conditions de fluidité, featuring over 50 works.  See Montréal painter Melanie Authier's first solo show, Contrarieties & Counterpoints, and new photography work by Carolyne Scenna at Galerie de l’UQAM. Explore the golden age of magicians in the McCord Museum's Illusions: The Art of Magic (and parents of babies, take note: on October 25, the McCord Museum's Parents and Tots afternoon is free.) Explore the Mile Ex neighbourhood near Little Italy and the Jean Talon Market and stop by gallery Never Apart to see its fall exhibitions. And if you're driving to or from the airport along Highway 20, keep an eye out for Alain Paiement's art work Bleu de Bleu.

On stage

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; Black Theatre Workshop's powerful staging of Katori Hall's The Mountaintop at the Segal Centre October 14-29; the drama and song of Scapegoat Carnival Theatre's Oedipus Part One: Assembly at Centaur Theatre October 20-22; 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; Eva Kolarova Dance's Blue Dependence explores the reality of struggling with addiction through dance, text, video and music, at Place des Arts' Cinquième salle October 20-21; and Tangente and Agora de la danse present the Dansu series by three Japanese choreographers to October 28. The Montréal Burlesque Festival entertains and titillates with glamorous cabaret shows by international and local stars, October 19-21 at Club Soda. And author Zadie Smith imparts words of wisdom and writing in conversation with Jenny Zhang on October 26 at the Rialto.

On screen

The magic of the Harry Potter universe gets a dramatic boost as a live orchestra performs as the film plays in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in Concert at Place des Arts October 21-22. 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 Harmonielehre, featuring immersive visuals intertwined with music by John Adams as played by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal at the SAT. And the edgy 5th annual Au Contraire Film Festival explores the relationship between creativity and mental health, October 24-27 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Classical music

The Concours international d’orgue du Canada features Bine Bryndorf's Danish Delights on October 20 at Christ Church Cathedral, an Organ Crawl tour on October 21 at the Maison symphonique, St. Joseph's Oratory and St. Matthias' church, followed by the Canadian International Organ Competition Gala Concert at the Maison symphonique, while on October 22 by-donation performances fill the Grand Séminaire and Saint-Joseph's Oratory with music. Enjoy the warm, spirited melodies of the Orchestre Métropolitain's Imagining Spain concert on October 20 at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique. French baritone Thomas Dolié joins Olivier Godin in performing Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte, works by Mozart and more on October 22 at Bourgie Hall. And the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal plays concert The romanticism of Schubert and Schumann at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique October 25-25.

More live music

Friday night kicks off a week of music with 10-time Latin Grammy® winner Javier Limón's flamenco music wonder The Paco de Lucia Project at Place des Arts, while Death From Above rocks out with The Beaches and American Lips at Théâtre Corona, Chelsea Wolfe and opener Youth Code roar at Le National, electronic music meets African rhythms and Touareg blues in AfrotroniX at the Phi Centre, and things get loud as Soulfly Does Nailbomb: Performing Point Blank with Cannabis Corpse and more at Foufounes Électriques. On Saturday, don't miss out on the punk-joys of Japandroids and Cloud Nothings at Théâtre Corona and indie-rock band Current Swell at Bar le Ritz PDB, plus the electronic dance sounds of Bro Safari at New City Gas. On Sunday night, producer Getter brings his Big Mouth tour to Théâtre Corona and post-punk experimenters Algiers and Gulfer play Bar le Ritz PDB. Rock singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw brings his Raw Tour to MTelus on Tuesday, October 24 while Sudanese-American musician Sinkane plays Bar le Ritz PDB, folk-country artist Tyler Childers plays Divan Orange and pop-rockers Bad Suns perform at La Sala Rossa. Wednesday night brings singer-songwriter Julien Baker (of Forrister) and Half Waif to Theatre Fairmount and French psych-punk rock band La Femme to Théâtre Corona. As the city amps up for Halloween weekend, dance to Australian electro project What so Not and Baauer QUIX on Thursday at Théâtre Corona or singer-rapper Lil Peep at Theatre Fairmount.


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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