Things to do this Thanksgiving weekend in Montréal

Robyn Fadden

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.

This article was updated on October 4, 2022.

Along with the changing season and cooler weather in Montréal comes Canadian Thanksgiving, or as we know it in Québec, Action de grâce, on Monday, October 10 this year. The holiday also means a long weekend full of things to do indoors and outside in the fine fall weather – along with plenty to eat – from October 7 to 10.

Thanksgiving dinner and more

Montréal satisfies the seasonal palate with classic and non-traditional dinners alike, including fine-dining luxuries and local delicacies at Montréal’s award-winning restaurants. For excellent Thanksgiving and seasonal means, dine at these top Montréal restaurants for the gourmet traveler, such as Chef Normand Laprise’s Restaurant Toqué! and Beau Mont, Daniel Boulud’s  Maison Boulud, and Old Montreal favourites Le Club Chasse et Pêche and Monarque.

For twists on tradition, try classics at Europea and Leméac, Impasto for Italian comforts, or incredible creative meals at Jatoba, Marcus and Vin Papillon, as well as Liverpool House, Nora Gray, Candide or Perles et Paddock in the city’s south-west. Find Parisian flair at these authentic French restaurants or tap into Montréal's DIY spirit at these cheerful bring-your-own-wine eateries.

Whether you’re in Montréal this fall for a weekend with your sweetheart or a solo excursion, you’re sure to find food you’ll love – and for families exploring the city, Montréal has plenty of great places to eat with kids. By day, go for an excellent brunch, pick up something sweet or savory at Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shops, and sip the perfect latté at the city’s indie cafés. For something light, check out these health-conscious restaurants, great sushi restaurants and our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal – also experience vegan cuisine, cooking workshops and more at the Montreal Vegan Festival at Palais des Congrès on October 8 and 9.

Discover more Montréal neighbourhoods on a local food tour. Visit Montréal’s public markets, including Jean-Talon Market and Atwater Market for in-season fruit and vegetables, meats and cheese and all manner of Thanksgiving-worthy pies. And visit Montréal’s First Fridays gourmet food truck gathering on October 7 at the Esplanade of the Olympic Park: dive into new food creations with a “smoke show special” theme, along with outdoor bars, DJs and more activities.


Outdoor and family time

An enchanting autumn must-do, visit the Botanical Gardens to walk along the illuminated paths of exhibition Gardens of Light, featuring hundreds of colourful lanterns inspired by Chinese, Indigenous and Japanese cultures. By day at the Botanical Gardens, join harvest and Halloween activities. Roam through nature in the city at Mount Royal Park and see all of downtown and the St. Lawrence River from the lookout and chalet. Watch the leaves fall in beautiful Parc La Fontaine in the Plateau and cross the St. Lawrence River to visit Parc Jean-Drapeau and the famed geodesic Biosphère, Environment Museum.

See the city from great heights on La Grande Roue de Montréal in the Old Port. Even take a boat tour on the St. Lawrence River with Croisières AML and Navark. Or take a day trip dedicated to fall harvest activities, like apple picking, pumpkin picking and finding your way through corn mazes.

Also in the Old Port of Montréal, climb high at the Voiles en Voiles adventure park every weekend in October, wander through the SOS Labyrinthe (dressed up for Halloween all month) or visit the Montréal Science Centre for science activities, interactive experiments and 3D IMAX films. For kids of all ages, Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate thrills at Place Bell in Laval from October 6 to 10. And add extra adrenaline to your month at La Ronde amusement park, featuring a pumpkin festival for kids and Fright Fest weekends in October.


Urban sights and festival fun

In the heart of downtown Montréal, explore the Quartier des spectacles to see Quebec history in new outdoor exhibition and video projection L'Espace René-Lévesque à Montréal : le parcours d'un homme d'exception on the Promenade des Artistes. Also downtown, Art Souterrain’s CRÉER DES PONTS installs new works of public art in storefronts throughout the city. Classical music by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal meets dreamlike multimedia art in Harmonium symphonique - The Original Creation this weekend at Place des Arts. And cheer on the CFL action as the Montréal Alouettes play the Ottawa Rough Riders on October 10 at Percival-Molson Stadium.

For film fans, watch new films from around the world at Festival du nouveau cinéma, celebrating its 50th season this year from October 5 to 16. The Montréal OFF Jazz Festival returns with live jazz at Place des Arts and several other venues from October 6 to 15, and MUZ brings live music to at L’Astral from October 6 to 9. Go for dinner and live soul and jazz music at Le Balcon. Or simply relax for an extended moment at Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau and other world-class spas. And hear live music, see drag performances, dance and stay up late into the night this Thanksgiving weekend at LGBTQ+ Festival Black & Blue, with the main event on October 9 at La Tohu circus centre, as well as Carnaval des couleurs on stage at Esplanade Tranquille in the Quartier des spectacles all weekend.


Long-weekend art excursions

While the trees provide their own colourful display, Montréal’s galleries and museums pop with bright offerings as well. Among this year’s fall exhibitions, seeNicolas Party: L’heure mauve, Shary Boyle: Outside the Palace of Me and Diane Arbus: Photographs, 1956-1971, plus more inside and outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts ‒ and if you’re staying after October 15, don’t miss new exhibition Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music. The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal presents colourful and surprising video installation and sculptural work by NYC-based Argentine artist Mika Rottenberg.

Experience award-winning virtual reality at the Phi Centre in Horizons VR, as well as Marco Brambilla: Heaven’s Gate Renaissance tableaux, Festival du Nouveau Cinema Explore programming, and more. At the Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art, see Yayoi Kusama: DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE ‒ tickets are limited. And step into immersive exhibition VAN GOGH - Distorsion at OASIS immersion at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. Search out public art everywhere in the city, including murals and more. Bring a work of art home with you while gallery hopping and antiquing, and even pick up arts and crafts at these genuinely cool souvenir shops.


History then and now

Downtown, walk among the photographs of the McCord Stewart Museum’s outdoor exhibition Eating Local, while indoors see Alexander Henderson: Art and Nature, photography exhibition Incipit - COVID-19 by Michel Huneault, and permanent exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience. History buffs will also love Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex’s major exhibition Vikings – Dragons of the Northern Seas with 650 objects and artifacts from the collections of the National Museum of Denmark, along with kid-friendly interactive display Come Aboard! Pirates or Privateers? and more. Or go back in time at the Château Ramezay Québec history museum, also featuring exhibitions Inuit Worlds – The Collection of Saladin d’Anglure and Roald Amundsen – Lessons from the Arctic and seasonal event Pick a Peck of Pumpkins. And in Old Montréal on weekend nights, look for the historic projections of smart-phone enhanced tour Cité Mémoire.

With so many things to do, sights to see and amazing food to eat, a Thanksgiving long weekend in Montréal is truly something to be thankful for.

Robyn Fadden

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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