Must-see Winter and Spring Exhibitions in Montréal

Richard Burnett

The emperor Napoleon, iconic singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and the hockey gods of the famed Montréal Canadiens hockey team are some of the blockbuster exhibitions at Montréal museums this Winter and Spring 2018.

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He shoots! He scores!

The Canadiens de Montréal of the National Hockey League have won more Stanley Cups (24) than any other NHL team, in a city where Montrealers worship their hockey gods. The Passion: Hockey exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière is an entertaining look at the fascinating world of Canada’s national sport. The exhibition also marks the centenary of the NHL and the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup.

It was in Montréal, in November 1917, that a group of hockey team owners from Quebec and Ontario came together to form the NHL. And 125 years ago, then-Governor General of Canada Lord Stanley first awarded the cup that would bear his name to Canada’s hockey champions.

The Pointe-à-Callière exhibition features more than 500 items, including Jacques Plante’s famous goalie mask, Hayley Wickenheiser’s skates, Maurice Richard’s and Vincent Damphousse’s Hall of Fame and Stanley Cup rings, a wax statue of Maurice Richard on loan from the Grévin Montréal wax museum, plus more than 1,200 hockey trading cards!

Passion: Hockey runs at Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Archaeology and History Complex, to March 11, 2018. For more information, visit



The critically-acclaimed Leonard Cohen – Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything exhibition continues at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (known as “the MAC” by locals).

The visual and aural exhibition was inspired by the world of Leonard Cohen. Forty artists from 10 countries explore the themes that marked Cohen’s life: darkness, light, religion, politics, love, desire, intimacy and poetry.

“When we came up with the idea for this exhibition, we went to seek the agreement of Leonard Cohen, who was thrilled with the project and the angle we were proposing,” says co-curator John Zeppetelli, adding the exhibition has taken on new meaning since the death of Cohen in November 2016: “It has also become a tribute to this global star.”

This major exhibition is the first to be entirely devoted to the imagination and legacy of the iconic singer-songwriter, artist and poet, and runs to April 9, 2018. For more information, visit


Shining Light

While at the MAC, check out That’s How The Light Gets In which explores light as both subject and material. The collection brings together works by some 15 Québec and Canadian artists painters who were asked, “How does light come into your work? How does it infuse your practice?”

Responses by artists Marie-Claire Blais, Leopold Plotek, Claude Tousignant and others are displayed along the route through the exhibition and shed light on the importance of light in our lives and the world. The exhibition runs to August 19, 2018. For more information, visit


Welcome to the Imperial Palace

Witness the opulent lifestyles of Emperor Napoleon and his court in the blockbuster exhibition Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace which begins its world tour at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts on February 3, 2018.

Visit the six departments that made up the “Imperial Household,” whose 3,500 employees were responsible for the daily lives and ceremonies of Napoleon and his family during Napoleon’s reign, from his coronation in 1804 to his exile in 1815.

The exhibition features more than 400 art works and objects from French palaces – paintings, sculptures, furniture, silverware and porcelain, tapestries, silk hangings and court dress – most of them never before been displayed in North America. The splendour of the apartments are also recreated by mapping projections throughout the layout.

Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace runs from February 3 to May 6, 2018. The exhibition is accompanied by a 352-page catalogue, published in French and English, by the Museum’s Publishing Department. For more information, visit


The Art World in Montréal

The Gabor Szilasi – The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980 exhibition at the McCord Museum features 43 black and white photographs from the artist’s personal collection. They are an extensive photographic record of the individuals who made up Montréal’s visual arts community, many of whom would shape the history of art in Canada.

Born in Hungary in 1928, Gabor Szilasi settled in Montréal soon after immigrating to Canada in 1957, and is one of Quebec’s best-known living photographers. These photos – 40 of which have never been published – were snapped at exhibition openings and other artistic events held in Montreal between 1960 and 1980, at a time of great social and cultural upheaval in Québec. These images not only chronicle an era, but also capture Szilasi’s longstanding fascination with people—and, in particular, artists.

Gabor Szilasi – The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980 continues at the McCord Museum until April 29, 2018. For more information, visit


Paris boutiques

Paris and Montréal are two of the world’s great French- speaking metropolises. But now you can also visit Paris while in Montréal, at the upcoming Paris on Display: 18th-Century Boutiques exhibition which opens at the Stewart Museum on April 25, 2018.

The exhibition showcases 18th century Parisian boutiques in three renowned commercial districts in the City of Light: la Cité, la Ville and l’Université. Some 300 artefacts from the Stewart Museum’s permanent collection evoke the shops and merchants of 18th century Paris, giving us a historical peak at a consumer society in the making. The exhibition runs from April 25, 2018, to March 24, 2019. For more information, visit

First Nations Inventions

The Montréal Science Centre presents the Indigenous Ingenuity exhibition showcasing Indigenous science and timeless inventions by Indigenous Peoples from across North America. Visitors can take part in a virtual canoe race, build an igloo, test a kayak’s centre of gravity, and discover interactive frescoes. This exhibition will engage and educate children and adults alike, and continues until March 25, 2018. For more information, visit

Richard Burnett

Richard Burnett, blogger

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

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