Things to do in Montréal September 15 to 21

Robyn Fadden

Enjoy a blast of summer in September this week in Montréal with 375th anniversary celebrations, the POP Montréal music festival, several dance, theatre and circus performances, photography and multimedia art, gardens of light and fabulous food.

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Urban time travel

EXPO 67 Live brings the excitement and global scope of Montréal's city-changing Expo 67 to the Place des Arts Esplanade September 18-30, projecting thousands of clips of colourful archival material onto giant outdoor screens, with a sound system to match. Experience more blasts from the Expo 67 past at immersive multimedia exhibition EXPO 67: A World of Dreams at the Stewart Museum, Fashioning Expo 67 at the McCord Museum, new contemporary art inspired by the event at In Search of Expo 67 at the Musée d'art contemporain, Écho 67 at the Biosphere museum, the photographs of Expo 67: The Place to Be along McGill College Avenue and Explosion 67: Youth and their World in Old Montréal.


Celebrate the city

Join Montréal's 375th anniversary celebrations in the Quartier des Spectacles with the local artistry of interactive public art exhibition KM3, walk along Sherbrooke Street in the Golden Square Mile to see La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-Air Museum, see the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire in Old Montréal and stop into Notre-Dame Basilica to see multimedia wonder AURA. It's all-weekend fun at the La Grande Tournée at Parc des Faubourgs near Papineau metro station, September 15-17 – family activities, Cirque Éloize's L’Heure magique on Saturday night, music and food to celebrate 375 years of Montréal. See the entire city from the newly opened La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port. Spend the evening illuminated at the Montréal Botanical Garden’s enchanting and family-friendly 25th edition of Gardens of Light. And join local hockey fans as the Montréal Canadiens play preseason NHL games against the Capitols and the Devils at the Bell Centre September 20-21.

Pop, rock and so much more

Long-running, city-wide music and arts festival POP Montréal fills the city with the sounds of its sweet 16th edition, from free performances, BBQs, art and talks at POP Headquarters to hundreds of shows by music legends, up-and-coming pop stars and more incredible artists. Among those many shows to see: on Friday it's experimental ambient composer William Basinski (also in afternoon conversation at POP Headquarters), Vagabon and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya in a church, The Dears playing No Cities Left, John Maus, Un Blonde, Royal Canoe, reggae legends Mighty Diamonds; on Saturday go to a BBQ show with Kid Koala, Lunice and many more, later check out Royal Trux, Moor Mother, Alison Wonderland, Aldous Harding, Ebhoni, Duotang, The GTs and Think About Life; and on Sunday see Mount Eerie, Trio Joubran, Ouri, Jay Som and Hurray for the Riff Raff. All that and the Puces POP craft fair, the Record Fair, Film POP screenings at Cinéma du Parc, the POP symposium's artist talks, Art POP's art installations at POP HQ and KIDS POP! For the full schedule, tickets and passes, see POP's calendar of events.


Food and drink

Enjoy this week's summer-in-September weather with a visit to L'Avenue Gourmande Mont-Royal this weekend (featuring open-air food tastings and special restaurant menus for the occasion), or grab a bite and a drink on a restaurant patio or at a cocktail bar. Stop by one of the city's seasonal outdoor markets for picnic supplies for the park or go shopping for foodies, cool down with some of Montréal's best ice cream and rev up with the city's best iced coffee. If you're downtown this weekend, brunch it up! Or eat your vegetables in style at these health-conscious restaurants. Discover some of Montréal's liveliest neighbourhoods through music, food and socializing at Les Jardins Gamelin downtown, the Village au Pied du Courrant next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge (ending its summer season this weekend with great music and more), Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port and Les Jardineries on the Olympic Stadium esplanade – whereas inside the stadium this weekend you'll find the Autorama Montréal car expo this weekend.


Art and the world

Go global at the World Press Photo exhibition, featuring the most captivating images of international news, life and politics from the past year, at Marché Bonsecours. Multi-venue exhibition Momenta Biennale de l’image explores concepts of reality in photography, with  art and events at Galerie de l’UQAM, VOX, Artexte, McCord Museum, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and the Montreal Museum of Fine-Arts. Indulge in the haute couture wedding wear of Love Is Love by Jean Paul Gaultier and the colourful styles of the 1960s in Revolution at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. See yourself in the brilliant shadow and light art of Olafur Eliasson at the Musée d'art contemporain – and join the night-time fun of the Nocturne music-and-art event on Friday. See Belgian artist Adrien Lucca's Soleil de minuit stained glass windows in the Place-d’Armes metro station. Cheer for baseball history at the Grévin wax museum's Montréal, City of Baseball. The Déviation gallery project features a performance by artist Nicolas Nabonne at 1 p.m. on September 17 at 3467 rue Notre-Dame Ouest in Saint-Henri. And Tour Mile-End artist studios at several locations in the neighbourhood September 16-17.

On screen and stage

Opéra de Montréal presents the passionate drama of Puccini's Tosca at Place des Arts, September 16-23. Cirque Éloize thrills with Wild West circus acts in their wonderfully theatrical and creative new show Saloon, September 20-30 at Monument National. See the large-scale group line-dancing of choreographer Sylvain Émard's Le Super Méga Continental and join the dance party later on, all outdoors at Place des Festivals September 15-17. Contemporary dance wows at Festival Quartiers Danses to September 17 with shows at Place des Arts and free outdoor programming in Place des Festivals. Laugh it up at the MTL Clown Fest at Mainline Theatre, where you'll also find play The History of Sexuality starting September 21. Urban art festival Chromatic presents Michel Gondry’s Home Movie Factory – free start-to-finish 3-hour film workshops open to anyone, September 1 to October 15. See an ongoing roster of short films and immersive VR work in Lucid Realities at the Phi Centre, while over at Cinéma du Parc it's documentary RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World starring Link Wray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson and more artists, plus classic midnight screenings. 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 watch high-tech audiovisual spectacle Lamparium in the SAT dome. And Canada’s first spaceship commander, Chris Hadfield speaks about life, the universe and everything at Place des Arts on September 21.


More live music

Along with POP Montréal's many offerings comes even more shows this week, including some of the big names in our Fall concert roundup: multiplatinum pop-punks Simple Plan at MTelus on September 18; dazzling pop royalty Katy Perry on September 19 at the Bell Centre; prog-rock stars Yes at Théâtre St-Denis while famed singer-songwriter Rodriguez strums up a storm at MTelus on September 19. The 48th season of Musica Camerata Montréal opens with a concert of chamber music by Brahms and Fauré for piano, violin, viola and cello on September 16 at the Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur, one of Montréal's historic churches. Dance outdoors at Piknic Électronik on Sunday afternoon at Parc Jean-Drapeau with electronic music from Honey Dijon and Ghost Club Records producers. On September 18, see both The Afghan Whigs and Har Mar Superstar in one grand show at Théâtre Fairmount. See British indie-rockers The Cribs and PAWS on Tuesday at Bar le Ritz PDB. The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano, opens the season with Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand, September 19-21 at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique. See Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly on September 20 at Petit Campus, while Seu Jorge presents The Life Aquatic, A Tribute To David Bowie at Théâtre St-Denis and pop-rock band Boyce Avenue play MTelus. And Thursday night brings true art-punk greats Wire and opener Noveller to Théâtre Fairmount and London-based alt-pop duo Oh Wonder and James Young to MTelus. Thursday also marks opening night of the Red Bull Music Academy Weekender with the heavy electronic sounds of the Temple Damné event, featuring TRNSGNDR/VHS, Âmes Sanglantes and more.

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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