What to do in Montréal on Labour Day weekend 2022

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 August 30, 2022.

The last long weekend of summer, Labour Day weekend in Montréal embraces everything that summer stands for: warmth, freedom and exuberance. Among the many things to do from September 2 to 5, spend time outdoors in the parks and markets, see the city sights, enjoy open-air entertainment downtown and in the Old Port, discover new art and incredible restaurants, and spend evenings under the stars. Let the Labour Day weekend begin!

Outdoor activities

Montréal is known for all kinds of free things to do in summer, including on Labour Day weekend! Relax, play and picnic in Montréal's parks and green spaces such as Mount Royal, where you can take in the view from the Kondiaronk lookout and chalet and hear Les Tam-tams drummers next to the George-Étienne Cartier monument. Or simply relax on a blanket near the fountain in Parc La Fontaine or in Jarry Park. If the weekend's warm, go for a dip at the Aquatic Complex and the beach at Parc Jean-Drapeau or many other city pools and beaches.

Downtown, the Quartier des spectacles surprises with outdoor performances, multimedia projections, and art installations that double as urban oases as part of Les aventures du cœur de l’île ‒ don’t miss activities at Esplanade Tranquille, Jardins Gamelin and the Quartier Latin, including free film screenings presented by Festival du Nouveau Cinéma. Gourmet food event First Fridays returns to the Esplanade of the Olympic Park on September 2 with a “Vietnam Special” edition, with all kinds of food trucks, outdoor bars, DJs and more activities.


Festivals and entertainment

Festival MEG returns with three days of electronic, hip hop, indie-pop and more music at the Society for Art and Technology downtown and outdoors at Parc Jean-Drapeau in partnership with Piknic Électronik, featuring Fatboy Slim, Dillon Francis, Misstress Barbara and more artists from September 2 to 5. Also at Parc Jean Drapeau, catch Odesza and guests on September 2. See My Chemical Romance on September 2 at the Bell Centre, Florence + the Machine at Place Bell on September 2, Backstreet Boys at the Bell Centre on September 3, and Animal Collective at Corona Theatre on September 4. Dance to trance and techno with producer Armin Van Buuren and more at Elevation 002 at the Olympic Stadium on September 4.

MURAL Festival may be over, but you can still see all the newly painted murals on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and adjacent streets – hear more about the mural artists on a street art tour with Spade & Palacio. And cheer for CFL team the Montréal Alouettes at home on September 2.

September 2 to 4, the urban sports and arts festival DISTRIX brings together fans of rap, graffiti, 3X3 basketball and much more to the Quartier des spectacles. Bonus: all events are free of charge! 

See the city

In Old Montréal and the Old Port of Montréal, stroll the boardwalk for a great view of the Saint-Lawrence River and beyond. Or look out at the entire city on the Observation Wheel, relax with a river view at Clock Tower Beach and immerse yourself in relaxation at Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau and other world-class spas. Kids of all ages can climb high at the Voiles en Voiles adventure park, wander through the SOS Labyrinthe, explore the Saint-Lawrence River by pedal boat, ride a mini-train on Bonsecours Island, and zip over the port on the Tyrolienne MTL Zipline! Take an eco-friendly cruise with Petit Navire, have dinner on the river with Bateau-Mouche, or indulge your need for speed by jet boating with Saute-Moutons and Jet Saint-Laurent.

Discover more of Montréal by bike, on a guided bike tour or on a BIXI shared bike. Keep an eye out for public art works along the way.In Old Montréal, see famed Notre-Dame Basilica and search out the projections of Cité Mémoire on historic buildings. Easily viewed from the Old Port, Living Connections illuminates the Jacques-Cartier Bridge every night. Follow our guide to Montréal's most famous icons to see more of the city's major sights and architecture.

Make the most of summer and save big on attractions, museums and more with the Passeport MTL city pass: discover five Montréal attractions for one low price, and get discounts at many more!


Family activities

Explore the nature-focused Space for Life museums at Olympic Park: walk around the themed gardens and greenhouse of the Montréal Botanical Garden; visit the Biodôme's beautifully renewed immersive ecosystems, from the fish, birds and plants of the Tropical Rainforest to penguins and ice floes of the Sub-Antarctic Islands (be sure to buy your timed tickets ahead of time); search the cosmos in immersive shows at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium; and learn about insects at the newly renovated Insectarium. A few steps away on the esplanade of Olympic Park, kids can play at Îlots76 with bouncy castles, a play area, snacks and more, watch (or join!) skateboarding at Vans Skatepark and try rock climbing at Nomad Bloc.

Along with park playtime, swimming and boating, visit Parc Jean-Drapeau for the famed geodesic Biosphère, Environment Museum, featuring new exhibitions about the planet, from sea to sky. Or see a variety of Québec wildlife at the conservation-focused Ecomuseum Zoo and all kinds of animals at the Zoo de Granby. And, for the extra-adventurous, ride roller coasters and other rides both big and small at La Ronde amusement park!


Food and drink

Spend time on Montréal’s terrasses this weekend too: choose from top outdoor terrasses and amazing rooftop patios, or surround yourself with greenery at Montréal’s lushest garden patios. Try some of Montrealers’ favourite lunch restaurants,summer brunches, newest restaurants and “buvettes." Dig into long-time classics like smoked meat, poutine and Montréal bagels. If you’re craving pizza, join the debate over who makes the best pizza in Montréal or the best tacos. And it’s a great time to have dinner and see a show at the Casino de Montréal, where live music and cabaret shows are back, along with incredible seafood and more on the grill at Le Montréal, a gourmet buffet at Pavillon 67, and quick delicious eats at L’Instant.

Montréal's bountiful public markets beckon with seasonal produce and BBQ-ready food, delicious meals to go and a diversity of desserts. Speaking of seasonal, wherever you are in the city, treat yourself to the best locally made ice cream and frozen treats. Meanwhile, Le Burger Week serves up original and exclusive burgers from dozens of participating restaurants from September 1 to 14.

Downtown, explore the wide variety of excellent meals at gourmet food halls, including Time Out Market, Marché Artisans, Le Cathcart Restaurants et Biergarten and Le Central - Manger Montréal. Get your caffeine fix at Montréal's indie coffee shops – and fresh-baked doughnuts to go with it! Add more sweetness to your life with creations from Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shopsbest chocolate shops and local candy shops. Sip a creative cocktail at happy hour. Or go for dinner and a show or just go for the soul and Motown music at Le Balcon. For more culinary discoveries, check out Tourisme Montréal's favourite year-round food picks and restaurant deals.


Art and history everywhere

Art enlivens every corner of the city this Labour Day weekend. Visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see L’heure mauve, an exhibition of work by Swiss-born artist Nicolas Party plus exhibitions Views of Within: Picturing the Spaces We Inhabit, while outdoors along Musée Avenue see brightly painted into a mural titled Niamh by artist Dora and stay past sunset to see animated digital artwork Contre-espace by Sabrina Ratté on the museum’s facade until 11 p.m. 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, experimental documentary exhibit Inverse by Nicolas Jenkins, and more. A massive immersive art experience in surround sound and laser light, Oasis Immersion takes over the ground floor of Palais des congrès – don’t miss its newest creation, VAN GOGH-Distorsion, a 360° experience with surround sound, featuring 225 paintings, drawings and sketches by the Dutch-born painter. Arsenal Contemporary presents the new immersive exhibition Frida Kahlo, The Life of an Icon, extended until September 5. Music fans will love Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition, exploring the Australian singer-songwriter’s creative world, extended for the weekend at Galerie de la Maison du Festival. Discover more art in our Montréal guide to gallery hopping and these affordable places to buy contemporary art

Montréal history museums and numerous religious sites blend history with art. Visit Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex for Vikings– Dragons of the Northern Seas with 650 objects and artifacts from the collections of the National Museum of Denmark, while outside the museum and elsewhere in the Old Port catch historical demonstrations of musket firing and highland music. At the McCord Museum see JJ Levine: Queer Photographs, exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience, Inuit artist Niap’s Piqutiapiit, photography exhibition Alexander Henderson: Art and Nature, and free outdoor exhibition Eating Local. Take a guided tour of Maison Saint-Gabriel, Museum and Historic Site, where time has stopped in the days of Marguerite Bourgeoys or go back in time at the Château Ramezay, where you can also catch historical recreations during the day. 

Discover Montréal’s Jewish history and present in walking tours Beyond the Bagel Food Tour and Making their Mark by the Museum of Jewish Montreal. And don’t miss the always impressive and moving World Press Photo Montréal exhibition at Bonsecours Market.

Whether you're looking for outdoor fun and adventure, illuminating art, entertainment  or simply a long weekend of relaxation, the Labour Day long weekend in Montréal is the perfect opportunity to explore what the city has to offer and soak up summer in September.

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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