What to do in Montréal on Labour Day weekend 2021

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.

The final 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 3 to 6, 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 restaurants, and spend evenings under the stars. Let the Labour Day weekend begin!

Outdoor activities

Montréal is know 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 pool or beach at Parc Jean-Drapeau or 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. See the photographed faces of Montrealers in collage exhibition Les Visages de Montréal in Place des Arts, Complexe Desjardins and other cultural venues. And Art Souterrain’s CRÉER DES PONTS installs 60 art works in storefronts and transparent “exhibition cubes” – keep your eye out for roving performances too!

Gourmet food event First Fridays returns to the Esplanade of the Olympic Park from September 3 to 5, with all kinds of food trucks, outdoor bars, DJs and more activities. Enjoy music and more entertainment alongside food and drink at seasonal spaces Jardins Gamelin outside Berri-UQAM metro station, Village au Pied-du-Courant near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, the Old Port’s Marché des Éclusiers and other outdoor seasonal spaces in the city.

Festivals and entertainment

Festival MEG returns with three days of music at Parc Jean-Drapeau, featuring Mike Shabb, Omnikrom, Misstress Barbara, Robert Robert and many more artists from September 4 to 6. Immerse yourself in 360º art-and-sound experiences at electronic music and arts festival MUTEK until September 5. A mini music festival on the water, Contre Courant brings Lido Pimienta, Safia Nolin, Arianne Moffat, Dan Mangan and more artists to Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Jean-Doré Beach from September 1 to 4 – rent or bring a paddle board, canoe or kayak for the full experience! Stay tuned for Labour Day weekend electronic music in the park with Piknic Électronik.

Festival Zéro Déchet focuses on a waste-free future, with installations in beautiful Parc La Fontaine from September 3 to 5. August’s 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 take a musical soundwalk with the Portrait Sonore app, featuring modern architecture, public art, Expo 67 and more.

See the city

In Old Montréal and the Old Port of Montréal, stroll the boardwalk and catch circus performances by Cirque Éloize and Les 7 Doigts until September 5. Or look out at the entire city on the Observation Wheel, relax with a river view at Clock Tower Beach and immerse yourself in the water 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, and zip over the 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.

Family activities

Explore the nature-focused Space for Life museums at Olympic Park: walk around the themed gardens 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); and search the cosmos in immersive shows at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. A few steps away on the esplanade of Olympic Park, watch (or join!) skateboarding at Vans Skatepark and rock climbing at Nomad Bloc.

Along with park playtime, swimming and boating, visit Parc Jean-Drapeau for the famed geodesic Biosphère, Environment Museum, recently reopened with 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

New seasonal menus at local restaurants, a Montréal foodies program (with prizes!) and a Food & Fun gourmet getaway make this year’s MTLàTABLE a must from September 1 to October 11 – with table-d’hôte menus for every budget, it's a great time to dine at your favourite neighbourhoods, on a terrasse downtown and in Old Montréal, or grab take out for a picnic in the park. Meanwhile, Le Burger Week serves up original and exclusive burgers from dozens of participating restaurants from September 1 to 14.

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

Dine, have a drink and relax outdoors on Montréal terrasses and mysterious hidden terrasses too Grab a pick-me-up at Montréal's indie coffee shops, local coffee roasters and most “Instagrammable” cafés and tea housesSip a creative cocktail at happy hour. Also eat well at these top Montréal restaurants for the gourmet travellerromantic dining options and casual restaurants. And of course, don't miss Montréal classics like poutinesmoked meatbagels and brunch! Indulge your sweet tooth at Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shops. Or go for dinner and a show or just go for the great music at Le Balcon opening this weekend with soul divas Kim Richardson and Michelle Sweeney. For more culinary discoveries, check out Tourisme Montréal's favourite year-round food picks. And save on hotels and activities all month with the summer 2021 Food & Fun Package!

Art and history everywhere

Art enlivens every corner of the city this Labour Day weekend. Visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures (until September 12), Ecologies: A Song for Our Planet, as well as exhibitions that are part of the multi-venue MOMENTA Biennale de l’image. Annual event Journées de la culture is one way to experience art for free in person and online, visit studios, join workshops and more from September 24 to 26. Explore the International Space Station in The Infinite, the world’s largest multi-sensory and interactive VR experience, created by the Phi Centre and Felix & Paul Studios, at Arsenal Contemporary Art. See Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Oscar® award-winning virtual reality installation CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible) at Arsenal Contemporary Art. At the Phi Centre, experience Venice VR Expanded, 30 VR works from the Venice Biennale, as well as the multidimensional and mysterious worlds of Three Movements. 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 A Railroad to Dreams and Italian Montréal, tracing the journey of Italo-Montrealers from the early 20th century. Ssee the McCord Museum's Christian Dior, featuring over 50 classic designs, as well as works by cartoonist Chapleau and outdoor exhibition All Together.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 with the Château Ramezay virtual exhibition 1812: Objects to Discover. 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..

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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