Things to do in Montréal May 4 to 10

May begins beautifully in Montréal with the transformation of Sainte-Catherine Street into a backyard springtime oasis, along with a First Fridays food truck gathering, a Montréal Impact game, classical ballet Cinderella and an abundance of art, food, film, dance, theatre and music.

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Montréal celebrates spring

With the arrival of May, Sainte-Catherine Street in Place des Festivals closes to cars for the season – this week it's looking more like a typical Montréal backyard than a downtown street thanks to art installation Dans ma cours (In my backyard): islands of grass, hammocks and deck chairs invite passersby to rest, eat and watch the world go by, while on May 10 you can join the Tous dehors! picnic event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Among many other free things to do this spring in Montréal, swing and make music together on 21 Swings, a colourful set of high-tech swings in the Quartier des Spectacles, and at night watch for the intergalactic antics and disco stylings of outdoor projections Space Monkey, part of this year's Digital Spring events. Step inside Place des Arts on May 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Music Monday, free classical music performances presented by the Coalition for Music Education in Canada. Follow our guide to Montréal's most famous icons to see the city's major sights and architecture and see Montréal from above at the Observatoire Place Ville Marie downtown, the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium at Olympic Park and on La Grande Roue de Montréal observation wheel in the Old Port. At night in Old Montréal, spot some high-tech wonders and flagship legacy 375th anniversary projects, including Cité Memoire and AURA. Spot 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. Among the spring highlights of Montréal's pro sports scene, our Major League Soccer team the Montréal Impact plays the New England Revolution on May 5 at Saputo Stadium. Or if you're a baseball fan, check out our exclusive peek into the world's biggest collection of Montréal Expos memorabilia. Find all these activities and more at your fingertips with My Official Montréal City Guide, a new travel app that lets you experience the city like a Montrealer.


Spring food and drink

For the first of many First Fridays this year, Montréal's food trucks emerge along with enthusiastic crowds on May 4 at the Esplanade Financière Sun Life at the Olympic Park, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Even more local food and Québécois classics await in our guides to the best poutine, the best Montréal bagels and the best smoked meat, delicious chocolate creations made by Montréal's top chocolatières, along with more musts for foodies visiting Montréal and where to go shopping for foodies too. Explore the city through its culinary side on Montréal's best food tours. From creatively casual to classically French, these restaurants let you bring your own wine. Take it easy at these new casual restaurants in Montréal or grab a quick bite at Montréal lunch counters. If you're on the hunt for a favourite haunt, try these restaurants open from brunch to well past dinner. Sip some of the best hot chocolate in the city, incredible coffee at Montréal's indie coffee shops, Montréal's best bubble tea and great drinks at creative cocktail bars. Spend some time sampling your favourite tipple in the mood lighting of Montréal's new bars and brasseries. And if spring inspires a change to your eating habits, try these great health-conscious restaurants and the many vegan options in our ultimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal.

On stage

Montréal's Les Grands Ballets presents the classical stylings of The National Ballet of Ukraine in a sumptuous Cinderella at Place des Arts from May 2 to 6. See more of Montréal's spring dance season in Sutra by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, interweaving Buddhist philosophy and contemporary styles into a beautifully tranquil choreography, presented by Danse Danse at Place des Arts from May 3 to 9. At the theatre: The Angel & the Sparrow follows the true story of Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf and features 20 unforgettable songs, at the Segal Centre; Michaela Di Cesare's new Italian-Canadian family dramedy Successions unfolds at Centaur Theatre; Hockey Noir, L'opéra turns the Toronto-Montréal hockey rivalry into an operatic tale of love, lust and scandal at Monument-National from May 3 to 4. Poet Andrea Gibson centres gender norms, social and political issues, and LGBTQ struggles in her performance at Bar Le Ritz PDB on May 4. Storytelling gets personal and often hilarious in Confabulation: To Infinity and Beyond at the Phi Centre on May 5. And the eclectic and colourful program of the 23rd Festival Accès Asie features the powerful, spiritual music and visuals of multi-artist show Oracle Bones, curated by Yen-Chao Lin, on May 4 at La Sala Rossa, exhibition Nœud, featuring Iranian artist Parisa Rajabian, opening May 5, plus a discussion on the place of women artists in Iranian contemporary art on May 6 at MEKIC Gallery, and multidisciplinary creation Indivisible by dance troupe Le Groupe Herencias, on May 10 at MAI.

On screen

Virtual reality meets space travel, climate change and other global concerns in Particles of Existence, an immersive experience that lets us explore the universe at a non-human scale, at the Phi Centre. While there, see some of the best indie feature films of the Venice Film Festival until May 5. In the multimedia Satosphere dome of the Society for Arts and Technology, immerse yourself in the audio-visual worlds of two features, Cage and Lost, until May 5, followed by Creatures starting May 8. Explore the cosmos in science-meets-multimedia creations EXO, The Blind Man with the Starry Eyes, Continuum and Aurōrae at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Go on a wild ride in IMAX at the Montréal Science Centre with Tiny Giants 3D, Amazon 3D and Incredible Predators 3D, plus a new addition starting May 10: America's Musical Journey. The 13th edition of the Montréal Israeli Film Festival opens May 6 with The Testament by Amichai Greenberg and runs until May 17, screening a variety of features, shorts and documentaries. And the Cinémathèque québécoise brings back films from the year 1968, featuring Pasolini, Cassavetes, Godard, cult animation series The Shadoks and more.

Museums and galleries

Don't miss your chance to see the paintings, design objects and other opulent art of Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts until May 10. Also at the MMFA, see Nadia Myre's Scattered Remains, the drawings of From the Hands of the Masters II From Parmigianino to Matisse, design show Bon Appetit! Contemporary Foodware Designs in Quebec and more. In acclaimed painting and sculpture woven through with the artist's signature use of the bindi, Bharti Kher: Points de départ, points qui lient explores hybridity, the female body and the nonphysical in the material world at DHC/ART. Discover just how royally the Queens of Egypt lived in a new exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière and uncover 500 years of local history at the Château Ramezay Historic Site and Museum, also offering Suivez Le Chef! 18th-century culinary tours this spring. At the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, The Prophets features small sculptures by Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens, while That's How the Light Gets In frames art in terms of light. Peer into Montréal's past through photography exhibition Michel Campeau: Life Before Digital–on only until May 6–and new exhibition Shalom Montreal – Stories and Contributions of the Jewish Community at the McCord Museum. Explore what life was like during the fur trade in the late 1600s in the Maison Le Ber-Le Moyne historical site's Scene of Dreams exhibition at the Musée de Lachine. Lab Cult at the Canadian Centre for Architecture addresses the unorthodox history of interchanges between science and architecture and Where’s Class? looks at spaces designed for collective learning experiences. Machines make their own art in Adam Basanta's All We'd Ever Need Is One Another mixed-media installation at Ellephant. Stop by Mile Ex gallery Never Apart to see the spring 2018 exhibitions. Fashion is an art in the hands of these Montréal high-end designers. Go antiquing along the Canal for unique treasures and find art to bring home with you in our guide to where to buy art in Montréal.

Live music

On Friday night, Frankie Cosmos plays delightfully revamped '90s indie rock at Théâtre Fairmount, lovable NYC rock band Sunflower Bean comes to Petit Campus, Canadian country singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega spins lyrical yarns at L'Escogriffe, South African singer-songwriter Jeremy Loops grooves at Le Belmont, and it's a night of deep listening at Substrat featuring electroacoustic and acousmatic experimental music by Simon Chioini, France Jobin, Dominic Thibault and Robert Normandeau in the Society for arts and technology's Satosphere dome. On May 5, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Orchestre Métropolitain and tenor Rolando Villazón in Respighi’s Pines of Rome, Strauss and more at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique. Also on Saturday night, Kim Deal leads The Breeders in a night of rock at Corona Theatre and Mad Decent-signed producer Grandtheft makes the dance floor shake at New City Gas along with Kap Slap and Jenaux. Sunday night brings Maître GIMS, one of France's biggest urban artists, to L'Olympia, while viola player Elias Goldstein and pianist Angela Draghicescu engage in musical dialogue at Place des Arts and Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Steve Gunn plays La Sala Rossa. On May 7, hear the Faroe Island folk-metal sounds of Týr with opener Orphaned Land at Corona Theatre and Detroit avant-garde rock-funk band Double Winter at L'Escogriffe.

On May 8, Canadian rockers Theory of a Deadman get fans singing along at MTelus, British R&B singer-songwriter Jorja Smith thrills at Corona Theatre, Seattle producer Sango brings his beats to Théâtre Fairmount and members of Shearwater and Cross Record make slowcore musical chemistry as Loma at L'Escogriffe. Wednesday night means it's time for the ska-punk of Mad Caddies at Corona Theatre and the French rap of Sinik at L’Astral. Distortion Psych Fest begins on May 9 at Église du Mile End with the opening of art exhibition Chromaesthesia with music by Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel BandTeke Teke, Yonatan Gat, Sunwatchers and more, followed on May 10 by The Besnard Lakes, Corridor, Moonwalks and Spaceface. On May 9 and 10, Jérémie Rhorer conducts The Organ Symphony by Saint-Saëns and more, with organist Chelsea Chen, at Place des Arts' Maison symphonique. Also on May 10, famed British singer Petula Clark performs classic hits and new French-language songs at Place des Arts, NYC indie-pop makers AJR come to Corona Theatre and legendary Québécois musician Robert Charlebois goes “rock'oustic” with his band at Place des Arts' Cinquième Salle from May 10 to 12. For more live music throughout the week, check out our picks on how to get your nightlife on in Montréal, where to hear live music in Montréal, Montréal's best jazz and blues clubs and our guide to electronic music in Montréal.

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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