Things to do in Montréal September 22 to 28

Robyn Fadden

Fall meets summer this September in Montréal: it's a week of warm weather perfect for patio dining, walking through gardens of light, seeing outdoor art, taking in a dance, theatre, circus or live music show, or even running a marathon.

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375 celebrations

Join Montréal's 375th anniversary celebrations in the Quartier des Spectacles as EXPO 67 Live brings the excitement and global scope of Montréal's city-changing Expo 67 to the Place des Arts Esplanade, projecting thousands of clips of colourful archival material onto giant outdoor screens, with a sound system to match. While there, explore interactive public art exhibition KM3 or walk along McGill College Avenue to see the photographs of Expo 67: The Place to Be, along Sherbrooke Street in the Golden Square Mile to see 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. Explore the Plateau neighbourhood through the eyes of Paul à Montréal, a self-guided tour based on the beloved comic art of Michel Rabagliati. Run or cheer on the runners in the 20th Montréal Rock’n’Roll Oasis Marathon this weekend. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the warm weather forecasted, the 42.2 km distance will not take place. Read more.) See the entire city from the newly opened La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port. And spend the evening illuminated at the Montréal Botanical Garden’s enchanting and family-friendly 25th edition of Gardens of Light.

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Food and drink

Culinary demonstrations, masterclasses and amazing food from local and international chefs make the Omnivore food festival a must for food-lovers, September 23-24 at the SAT. 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 parks (currently full of migrating butterflies too!) 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, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port, at Marché Prince Arthur (watch or join the dancers of Studio 88 Swing at 4 p.m. on September 28), and Les Jardineries on the Olympic Stadium esplanade, featuring an Oktoberfest this weekend.

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Art and the world

Evocative and captivating, the World Press Photo exhibition features the best images of international news, life and politics from the past year, at Marché Bonsecours. Meanwhile, multi-venue exhibition Momenta Biennale de l’image explores concepts of reality in photography, with intriguing 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. Fashion meets art in the haute couture wedding wear of Love Is Love by Jean Paul Gaultier and in 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 and go In Search of Expo 67 at the Musée d'art contemporain. Catch a glance of 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. Explore the golden age of magicians in the McCord Museum's Illusions: The Art of Magic exhibition. Glimpse the cutting edge of digital art at Eastern Bloc's Sight & Sound Festival, opening September 27. German photographer and former Berghain doorman Sven Marquardt talks at Never Apart on September 23. And new roadside art work Bleu de Bleu by Alain Paiement brightens up your ride along Highway 20 from the airport to downtown.

On 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, while New Zealand circus theatre company The Dust Palace wows with stunning show The Goblin Market at Centaur Theatre September 27-29. Montréal's fall dance scene promises thrilling, contemplative, boundary-pushing shows, including Danse Danse presentations of Compagnie Marie Chouinard's Le Cri du monde and Soft virtuosity, September 26-27, and Le Jardin des délices by Jérôme Bosch September 28-30 at Place des Arts, plus Anne Plamondon's Mécaniques nocturnes at Agora de la danse to September 23, and David Albert Toth and Emily Gualtieri's La vie attend at Théâtre La Chapelle starting September 27. On the English-language theatre scene this fall, play The History of Sexuality tackles sex and power from a queer perspective at Mainline Theatre to September 30.

On screen

The 13th Montréal International Black Film Festival opens September 27 with Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu, and continues to October 31 with 65 more new films from 25 countries, along with master classes, talks, a tribute to Oliver Jones and more events. 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. 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. 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.

Live music

Fans of electronic music will be dancing the weekend away at the Red Bull Music Academy Weekender shows, beginning with Friday's African summer jams at Sagacité with Portugal’s DJ Marfox and many more, followed by Equinox on Saturday at Usine-C with Australian experimentalist Carla Dal Forno and more artists, and a soulful Sunday with ethereal R&B duo Rhye at The National. Australian singer-songwriter Nick Murphy, formerly known as Chet Faker and who recently co-produced music with Montréal's Kaytranada, returns to the city on Friday, September 22 at MTelus, with local luminary opener Charlotte Cardin. On Saturday see 90s emo-rockers Rainer Maria at Bar le Ritz PDB and sway to the smooth pop of Slow Dancer at O Patro Vys.

Dance outdoors from afternoon until after sunset at the final weekend of Piknic Électronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau with electronic music by Misstress Barbara solo on Saturday and Josh Wink, Underher and more on Sunday. Catch garage-rockers Electric Six and Groves on Monday, September 25 at Bar Spectacle L'escogriffe. Local favourites Half Moon Run indie-rock out at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique September 26-27. Icelandic singer-songwriter Ásgeir visit Montréal with opening act Tusks on September 26 at Théâtre Corona while rapper and songwriter Denzel Curry brings his signature hip-hop style to Théâtre Fairmount. NYC-based indie pop singer-songwriter Tei Shi comes to Petit Campus on Wednesday, September 27. The original alt-rockers Pixies get loud, with openers Sunflower Bean, on Wednesday, September 27 at MTelus and legendary Lady in Red singer/songwriter Chris De Burgh performs at Place des Arts September 27-28.

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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