Things to do in Montréal September 29 to October 5

Robyn Fadden

Montréal greets October and fall weather with a weekend of free arts and cultural events, new circus, dance and theatre shows plus The Phantom of the Opera, global film festivals, the athletic feats of the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships and more.

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375 celebrations

Join Montréal's 375th anniversary celebrations in the Quartier des Spectacles this week with EXPO 67 Live – projecting thousands of clips of colourful Expo 67 archival material onto giant outdoor screens on the Place des Arts Esplanade to September 30 – and with public art exhibition KM3. 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. Explore the Plateau neighbourhood through the eyes of Paul à Montréal, a self-guided tour based on the beloved comic art of Michel Rabagliati and stop by the vibrant Viaduc 375 project in Mile End, October 2-9. See the entire city from the newly opened La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port. And spend an evening illuminated at the Montréal Botanical Garden’s enchanting and family-friendly 25th edition of Gardens of Light.


Free art for all!

Among the many free things to this fall in Montréal, this weekend's Journées de la culture offers free art exhibitions, performances, workshops and more activities in every part of the city, for all ages, shining the spotlight on Québéc's diverse cultural heritage. From September 29 to October 1, explore the city through its art and culture, whether you're visiting major museums downtown and in the Quartier des Spectacles or artist-run galleries and studios in the Plateau, Saint Henri (check out the Détour: La grand fete) and beyond. Create your own schedule online by neighbourhood or area of interest – maybe you'll end up on a walking tour of public art, in a drawing class, listening to a choir or learning how to swing dance.


Food and drink

As the warm weather starts to wane, grab a bite and a drink on a restaurant patio or stop by one of the city's seasonal outdoor markets for picnic supplies for the park. Go shopping for foodies, cool down with some of Montréal's best ice cream, rev up with the city's best iced coffee, brunch it up in style, get health-conscious, or simply relax with a cocktail. If you're really feeling autumnal, Montréal's got you covered with a variety of harvest activities. And 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, and Les Jardineries on the Olympic Stadium esplanade, featuring Bad Uncle and more bands on Friday and a Funky Town soirée on Saturday.


Sports action

Watch the awe-inspiring intense competition of the 47th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, October 2-8, as more than 600 gymnasts from 80 countries go for gold at Olympic Stadium. The Montréal Canadiens skate into their final games of the pre season on Friday as they take on the Florida Panthers and on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday at the Bell Centre. And catch a wave before the cooler weather hits – try surfing in Montréal on the Saint Lawrence River rapids.


Art inspires

The World Press Photo exhibition features the best images of international news, life and politics from the past year, at Marché Bonsecours until October 1. Explore concepts of reality in photography during multi-venue exhibition Momenta Biennale de l’image 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 to October 1. There's more Expo at immersive Expo 67: A World of Dreams at the Stewart Museum. DHC/ART opens L'Offre on October 5, a group exhibition celebrating the foundation's 10th anniversary and exploring concepts of "the gift." 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 and music at Eastern Bloc's Sight & Sound Festival this weekend and see what's new and bold in performance art at VIVA! Art Action October 4-7. And new roadside art work Bleu de Bleu by Alain Paiement brightens up your ride along Highway 20 from the airport.

On stage

Cirque Éloize thrills with Wild West circus acts in their wonderfully theatrical and creative new show Saloon, to September 30 at Monument National, while New Zealand circus theatre company The Dust Palace wows with stunning show The Goblin Market at Centaur Theatre to September 29. Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera returns to Montréal with a huge new cast and inventive staging, October 4-15, 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 October 3-29, while play The History of Sexuality tackles sex and power from a queer perspective at Mainline Theatre to September 30. Montréal's fall dance scene promises thrilling, contemplative, boundary-pushing shows, including Danse Danse presentation Le Jardin des délices by Jérôme Bosch September 28-30 at Place des Arts and Beijing Dance Theater's performance of the Golden Lotus ballet inspired by a famous Chinese erotic novel of the XVIIth century, October 1-2 at Place des Arts, plus atypical artist-dancer Sylvie Cotton's Le jour se lèv(r)e at Agora de la danse to October 2-5, Australian Nicola Gunn performs conflict-resolution works Piece for person and ghetto blaster September 27 to 29 at Usine-C, and David Albert Toth and Emily Gualtieri's theatrical and playful La vie attend at Théâtre La Chapelle until October 7.

On screen

The 13th Montréal International Black Film Festival continues to October 1, featuring a program of 66 new films from 25 countries, along with master classes, talks, a tribute to Oliver Jones and more events. The Festival Nouveau Cinéma takes over starting October 3 with Blade Runner 2049 and hundreds of feature films and shorts from Québec and around the world alongside talks, workshops, VR installations, parties and more film-fabulous 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. And the Cinémathèque québécoise hosts Cinéma Punk: Le chaos et la fureur, featuring Repo Man on September 30, Driller Killer and Sid and Nancy on October 1 and Suburbia on October 3.

Classical music

The music of video games created in Montréal comes to the stage in Montréal Video Game Symphony, a multimedia event and Orchestre Métropolitan performance at Place des Arts September 29. Contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux joins Les Violons du Roy in the Lemieux et Spinosi concert on September 30 at the Maison symphonique de Montréal. Organist Réjean Poirier plays a concert at Le Grand Séminar as part of The Concours international d’orgue du Canada pre-festival series. On October 1, Marc David conducts the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in The Flying Canoe and other stories, an adventure that merges classical music with storytelling at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique. L'Arpeggiata & Christina Pluhar present the Greek, Italian and Spanish baroque music of Mediterraneo on October 3 and Italian cantatas composed by Luigi Rossi in La Lyra d'Orfeo on October 4, both at Église Saint-Pierre-Apôtre. And the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal plays concert From Ravel to Barber at the Maison symphonique de Montréal on October 4-5.

More live music

On Friday night, Australian singer-songwriter Tash Sultana wows at at MTelus with opener Pierce Brothers. Saturday night brings the electronic sounds of Parisian musician Perturbator and Le Matos to the SAT while Italian millionaire Gianluca Vacchi plays a DJ set at New City Gas. On Sunday afternoon, get a taste of what's to come at winter's Igloofest at a special edition of Piknic Électronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau with electronic music by none other than British Producer Pete Tong along with Quebec producers Green & Lateez and Paskal Daze. Sunday night's a wild one with high-energy London producer TroyBoi and Daktyl at Club Soda, Malian desert blues group Songhoy Blues at L'Astral, Poptone featuring Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins at La Tulipe, singer-songwriter and 4AD artist Torres at Petit Campus and Coil's Thighpaulsandra at Bar le Ritz PDB. Hip hop artist Madeintyo rolls into Théâtre Fairmount on Monday night. On Tuesday, October 3, see British indie-rockers Glass Animals and opener Amber Mark at MTelus, spend an evening with Hanson at Théâtre Corona, chill with Leroy Sanchez and Mario Jose at Théâtre Fairmount, go for ethereal indie-pop-electro with Hundred Waters and Kelsey Lu at the SAT, and hear California's Wand psych-rocks out in cool ways at Bar le Ritz PDB. Wednesday brings legendary British heavy rockers UFO and Saxon to Théâtre Corona. And Québecois singer-songwriter and rock star Yann Perreau marks the 10th anniversary of his concert Perreau et la Lune with a reprise at Place des Arts' Cinquième Salle on October 5, while Australian hip hop trio Bliss n Eso bring the beats to Le Belmont.