Montreal is one of Canada’s most exciting, romantic and fashionable cities – and it’s also one of the oldest. So, while the rest of Canada celebrates 150, Montreal, that classy old lady, is gearing up for – wait for it- 375!
The Montreal 375 celebrations translate into a great experience for visitors from all over Canada.
WestJet has just announced plans to double its number of weekly flights between Montreal and Vancouver, and increase its flights from Calgary from 14 to 19 per week. The airline is also introducing a new, twice-daily service between Montreal and Halifax, beginning March 15th. Later in the year, it will add twice-daily service between Montreal and Boston.
Whether you’re travelling with the family, planning a little Mom n’ Dad weekend romance, or just passing through on the way to or from the Maritimes, here’s our round-up of what’s happening this year in Montreal:
Memory City: Cité Mémoire is an artist-created self-guided walking tour that allows you to experience Montreal’s history through a series of projections around Old Montreal. Download the app to experience an exciting multimedia experience for FREE. Don’t forget your headphones. Top pick: “Suzanne”, a love story projection on the Clock Tower Quay set to the song by the late Leonard Cohen.
Les Hivernales (February) is one of the landmark festivals of Montreal 375. Events include a thrilling spectator sport, The Montreal Ice Canoe Challenge (February 11-th 12th) . Check out Igloofest (weekends until February 19th), a late night outdoor electronic dance party. This year, Igloofest has added programming for the entire family in honour of Montreal 375.
Montreal en Lumière (February 23rd to March 11th). With multiple top-notch sponsors, Montreal en Lumiere is a huge festival that’s mostly about food and culture (this year’s featured city is the French food capital of Lyon). There’s plenty going on, but if you’re travelling with kids, head to the Milk Family Fun Zone on the Esplanade de la Place des Arts for free outdoor activities like the Air France ferris wheel, mini-slide, and some great gourmet food kiosks.
Illuminart (February 22nd to March 11th): Illuminart presents a free display of outdoor public light-art. Bundle up, and take a stroll around this 3.6 kilometre circuit of 25 interactive light displays.
Pink FloydThe Opera: (March 11th-24th) Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera is based on Pink Floyd’s 1979 seminal concept album The Wall. The Opera is a collaboration between Opera de Montreal and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. This will be the world premiere of the production, and yes, Waters will be there, as a librettist!
Bridge Lighting: Montreal’s exact birthday falls on May 17th – the day in 1642 when French missionaries first came ashore. On the 17th, the Jacques-Cartier Bridge will be lit with thousands of LED lights, and each month thereafter, the bridge will display a different colour. The Jacques Cartier Bridge is one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century, but it’s also a Montreal icon and landmark, used daily by commuters to cross the Saint Lawrence River.
Pointe-à-Callière’s New Fort Ville-Marie Pavilion (Starting May 17th): The Pointe-à-Callière Museum is a National Historic Site is built on the site where Montreal was originally founded as Fort Ville-Marie. On May 17th, the museum will open a new pavilion, Fort Ville-Marie. The museum is also restoring the Collector Sewer, the first of its kind to be built in Canada in 1832 and 1838. This restored sewer system is considered masterpiece of civil engineering, and will connect the new Fort Ville-Marie pavilion to the main museum facility via an underground tunnel.
Giant Marionnettes (May 19th to 21st): Produced by the French street theatre group Royal de Luxe, “The Giants” will parade around Montreal. The locations are, as of yet, a secret! The Royal de Luxe shows are a worldwide sensations, promising a plenty of surprises. This is a once-in-a-lifetime show.
New Open-Air Museum: Walk for Peace (May 29th to October 27th): Montreal’s Sherbrooke Street will turn into a FREE open-air museum, inviting everyone to join in a “walk for peace” through over 67 artworks reflecting the spirit of Montreal’s historic Expo67: humanness, tolerance and openness.
Free Montréal Symphonique Concert at the Foot of Mount Royal (August 19th): Presented at the foot of Mount Royal, this FREE musical performance will bring together Montréal’s three great orchestras: the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestre Métropolitain, and the McGill Symphony Orchestra. Bring a picnic and some sunscreen!
Leonard Cohen Exhibit at MAC Museum (November 9 to April 1, 2018): There’s just no way you can fully pay homage to such a worldwide icon as Montreal’s songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen, but Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is going to try.
What are you waiting for? Montreal 375 is going to be the party of the century!