Things to do in Montréal November 24-30

Robyn Fadden

Winter is on its way to Montréal, and while the temperature hasn't dropped, seasonal activities from Christmas markets to carols appear among the film festivals, food and drink, art shows, theatre, dance and live music Montréal has in store this week.

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Seasons greetings

Hinting at the upcoming winter holiday activities in Montréal, the streets begin to glitter with the opening of Luminothérapie on Nov. 30, where you can ride illuminated see-saws while having a warm drink and a bite to eat at Place des Festivals. Meanwhile, holiday shopping sparkles at Montréal's Christmas markets with the festive Nutcracker Market Nov. 30 to Dec. 10 at Palais des congres, local-designer market Souk@SAT Nov. 29-30, indie fair Expozine featuring books, zines, printed wares, posters and more Nov. 25-26, the Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair at Monument National Nov. 25-26, designer furniture market Marché de l’école nationale de meuble et de l’ébénisterie Nov. 25 to Dec. 4, and the sparkling Gem and Mineral Show Nov. 24-26 at Place Bonaventure. Santas Are Taking Over the Museum at the Stewart Museum's annual history exhibition of Santa figurines – the “real” Santa will be there too. In Old Montréal, choirs sing Christmas carols and Québécois traditional songs on Saturday afternoon on the Place d’Armes and the square of the Marché Bonsecours. Later on, see the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire and multimedia wonder AURA at Notre-Dame Basilica. And if you're in Montréal for the U.S. Thanksgiving Weekend we've got all kinds of suggestions on where to eat, what to do and where to shop while you're here.

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City sights

It's not winter yet, so take advantage of free things to do this fall in Montréal – not to mention the picks in our budget-friendly guide to Montréal – such as a self-guided history tour of the Saint-Lawrence River with Montréal, toute une histoire, or Projet EVA art collective's Cortège app tour along the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne. Explore the Plateau neighbourhood through the comic artwork of Paul à Montréal. At the Buckminster Fuller-designed Biosphère see the city anew in 3D interactive model Planète MTL and travel back 50 years with Écho 67. We've got all kinds of ways to face your fears in Montréal, including conquering heights in the name of amazing views from La Grande Roue de Montréal, the tallest observation wheel in the country, fm the Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown and the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium. Cheer for NHL greats the Montréal Canadiens as they face off against the Sabres on Nov. 25, Blue Jackets on Nov. 27 and Senators on Nov. 29 at the Bell Centre – and learn more about Montréal's hockey history at Passion: Hockey at Pointe-à-Callière museum in Old Montréal.

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Leonard Cohen's Montréal

As part of Montréal's 375th anniversary and in honour of his artistic impact on the city and the world, Montréal celebrates Leonard Cohen. International exhibition Leonard Cohen – A Crack in Everything at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal features work by 40 artists from 10 countries, inspired by Leonard Cohen's life, music and writing – as well as an upcoming concert series covering Cohen's music album by album. And see building-sized murals of Leonard Cohen on Crescent Street downtown near the Sir Winston Churchill Pub and on Saint-Laurent Boulevard at Napoleon Street not far from Schwartz's.

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Food and drink

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. Or discover creative new cuisine from Québec at our Montréal restaurant picks for fall. Explore the city's public markets and some of Montréal's liveliest neighbourhoods through their restaurants. Caffeinate in style at Montréal's indie coffee shops. Relax with weekend brunch or a creative cocktail. And there's plenty of genuinely delicious health-conscious food to be found in Montréal.

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Art inspires

Once Upon A Time… The Western gives the Western film genre new artistic life at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – while there also see installation Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan – A Glimpse Into the Other World by Atikamekw artists Eruoma Awashish and Meky Ottawa and Innu artist Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush, Nadia Myre's new exhibition Tout ce qui reste – Scattered Remains and WOOL WAR ONE, composed of a battalion of 780 small knitted soldiers. Renowned art foundation DHC/ART in Old Montréal celebrates its 10th anniversary with dynamic group exhibition The Gift as well as the pioneering video art and installation work of Bill Viola: Naissance à rebours. The Phi Centre also pays homage to American artist, designer and illustrator Barbara Nessim in exhibition Conditions de fluidité, featuring over 50 works. See local celebs in photography show Visages, part of a collaboration between Red Bull Music Academy and Street Dreams Mag, Nov. 23-25 at September Surf in St-Henri. Don't miss Montréal painter Melanie Authier's solo show Contrarieties & Counterpoints and new photography work by Carolyne Scenna at Galerie de l’UQAM. The Montréal Science Centre presents 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. Hannah Claus and Peter Morin address the fluidity of culture, body and land in there are so many stars at OBORO. Galerie D'Este presents Japanese photographer Masako Miyazaki's dreamlike show 木 - A tree. 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

World-renowned circus company Les 7 Doigts collaborates with choreographers Marie Chouinard, Victor Quijada and Marcos Morau in spectacular Triptyque at Place des Arts Nov. 23-25. International rhythm sensation Stomp shakes up Place des Arts on Nov. 24, while Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story has everyone dancing in the aisles on Nov. 26. On the English-language theatre scene this fall, see smash comedy hit Bad Jews to Nov. 26 at the Segal Centre, while Alfred Hitchcock murder-mystery spy story The 39 Steps intrigues at Centaur Theatre; romance goes rocky for two women in genre-bending romance-horror Vic and Flo Saw a Bear, also at Centaur Theatre to Dec. 2; and Geordie Productions presents Anita Majumdar's excellent and thought-provoking Boys With Cars Nov. 24 to Dec. 3 at Monument National. Montréal's fall dance scene pushes boundaries with new shows this week: Agora de la danse presents Paul-André Fortier's mosaic of short dances Trois Nov. 22-25 at the Wilder, while Tangente offers Christine Germain and Stem's Corps Étranger II and Geneviève C. Ferron's Je suis la fille Nov. 23-26 and Ingrid Vallus's Féral and Gabrielle Bertrand-Lehouillier's La paix dans le monde Nov. 30 to Dec. 3; Frédérick Gravel brings a party to the stage in Some Hope for the Bastards, Nov. 29-30 at Usine C; Burkina Faso choreographer Sarah Elola explores the origins of dance and rhythm in La Pileuse, Nov. 24-26 at MAI; and at La Chapelle see Thomas Duret and Théâtre Du Baobab's An Awesome Trilogy About Life on Nov. 29 and the merging of words, dance, music and cinema in Brice Noeser's Ruminant Ruminant, Nov. 30 to Dec. 5.

On screen

International animation festival Les Sommets du cinéma d’animation features over 30 stunning films, many of them premiers, at the Cinémathèque québécoise Nov. 22-26. LGBTQ international film festival image+nation celebrates its 30th edition Nov. 23 to Dec. 3 with award-winning, trendsetting new feature films, powerful documentaries and shorts. Two new immersive films open this week at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium: EXO takes us on an emotional search for extraterrestrial life and Space Next dives into the history and present of space exploration. Immerse yourself in IMAX with Amazon 3D and Incredible Predators 3D at the Montréal Science Centre or in the high-tech audiovisual spectacles Liquid Architecture by Wiklow, Diagraf and EWERX and Hyperforme by Max Cooper and maotik, at the 360-degree SAT dome to Nov. 25. Atmospheric instrumental group Esmerine perform a powerful, beautiful cine-concert to Disney film Fantasia 2000 on Nov. 28 at the Phi Centre. Also at the Phi Centre, try on a VR headset to see a roster of short films and immersive VR work in Lucid Realities and the Virtual Reality Garden, watch the shorts in the Not Short on Talent showcase and feature films in the Phi loves Hamburg series.

Classical music

The Montréal Bach Festival continues to Dec. 3 with the Arion Baroque Orchestra at Notre-Dame Basilica on Friday, a Saturday afternoon Bach Undercover children's concert followed by Night of Choirs at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, I Musici de Montréal's From Bach to Britten at Bourgie Hall on Monday, followed by Julian Prégardien and Tamar Halperin on Tuesday and Ensemble Jacques Moderne performing sacred music on Thursday, concerts at Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal, lunchtime Mélodines concerts feature young Québec musicians at Place des Arts, and more. In other classical music this fall, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal performs concert Don Quixote's Spanish Adventure on Nov. 26 and The OSM celebrates 50 years of CEGEPS on Nov. 30, both at the Maison symphonique. The Four Seasons of André Gagnon honours the prolific Québécois composer, Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at Place des Arts. Austrian 10-piece ensemble Studio Dan plays works by new composers at the Phi Centre on Nov. 29. And the McGill Chamber Orchestra presents Handel’s Messiah at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul on Nov. 30.

More live music

It's a busy weekend for music in Montréal. Friday night highlights Canadian pop singer-songwriter Jonathan Roy at Théâtre Corona, Montréal eclectic-rock sensation The Barr Brothers at MTelus, the indie-pop of Final State at L'Astral, Blank Banshee's electro vaporwave at Théâtre Fairmount, Australian hip hop trio Hilltop Hoods at Le Belmont, and beloved award-winning Québécois musician Kevin Parent plays two intimate shows at Place des Arts' Cinquième Salle Nov. 24-25. On Saturday, groove to melodic electro producer Seven Lions with openers Tritonal and Kill The Noise at MTelus, ska legends The Kingpins headline at Café Campus, iconic Québécois singer Michel Louvain performs a 60-year anniversary show at Place des Arts, R&B and soul singer-songwriter Daniel Caesar captivates at Théâtre Corona, indie rockers North of America play Bar le Ritz PDB, hip hop artist SonReal at Théâtre Fairmount, The Tea Party frontman Jeff Martin goes solo at L'Astral, British singer-songwriter Jacob Banks impresses at Le Belmont, French future house producers Tchami and Malaa get the dancefloor hopping at New City Gas, and UK label Anjunadeep lands its North American Tour in Montréal with electronic artists 16 Bit Lolitas, Dom Donnelly, Jody Wisternoff and Luttrell at the SAT.

Sunday night welcome the creative indie-rock tunes of Grizzly Bear at MTelus, and pop violinist Damien Escobar at L'Astral. On Nov. 27 Franco-Israeli singer-songwriter Amir Haddad performs at L'Olympia and Choir! Choir! Choir! sings to the rooftops of at Théâtre Fairmount. American rockers Thrice and Circa Survive play Nov. 28 at MTelus while Québécois folk duo (and Céline Dion's parents) Jacques and Geneviève perform at the Gesù theatre. On Nov. 29, Jungle rumble at Théâtre Corona. Ex Eye post-metal quartet, featuring saxophonist Colin Stetson, plays the Phi Centre Nov. 30 with opening act Sheenah Ko, while The Glorious Sons rock Café Campus, and Heartstreets and Ryan Playground turn L'Astral into an electronic wonderland.

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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