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It’s Montréal’s 375th birthday this year, and being the fun-loving city it is, everyone’s invited to the party. Though Montréal may be long in the tooth (by North American standards), it proves it’s young at heart with a thrilling line-up of celebrations.
A spectacular street theatre event, symphony performances, the chance to rediscover Expo67, a larger-than-life multimedia show, an urban rodeo, an Holi-inspired colour extravaganza, a giant electronic dance parade and more are going on city-wide. You got it: make Montréal a part of your summer.
Be dazzled by the AURA light show in Old Montréal’s crown jewel, the sublime Notre-Dame Basilica. This awe-inspiring show of light and sound was created by none other than Moment Factory (of the Sagrada Familia fame in Barcelona), and highlights this gem’s breathtaking architecture and artworks.
Maybe you were there and want to relive the excitement, or maybe you were too young and missed it. Here’s your first or second chance to see this groundbreaking world fair in its heyday for its 50th anniversary year. Explore it through 14 dynamic and interactive exhibitions that shine the spotlight on music, film, fashion, art, photographs, architecture and more of the times. You can even get a replica of the Expo67 passport!
You’d be hard pressed to find a more authentic Montréal experience than La Grande Tournée, presented by the renowned Cirque Éloize. May through September, each of Montréal’s 19 vibrant neighbourhood throws a giant picnic/party in a park to celebrate its history, places, merchants and artists. Music, film, art, food and more, plus the chance to rub elbows with the locals.
Tickets to Montréal AVUDO are going like hotcakes, so you’d better get on this one fast. The breathtaking multimedia show on water in the city’s Old Port (think: huge water fountains, shipping containers, archive images, 3D, poetry, sweeping emotions) was created by the illustrious Compagnia Finzi Pasca. Reserve yours now and see a breathtaking tribute to the cultural and historic impact that the St. Lawrence River has had on Montréal.
Montréal definitely rocks a good vibe. And the city keeps it going with the Expo67-inspired La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-Air Museum at the heart of downtown. This huge open-air art exhibition and walk for peace showcases 67 works of art from world-class Canadian and international artists that the universal values of humanism, tolerance and openness that inspired this blockbuster world fair.
July-long, Montréal becomes an open-air theatre with We’re acting out!, a humongous street theatre event that promises big-time entertainment. Some 50 of best and brightest street arts troupes from around the world and some 18 troupes from Québec will be wowing crowds with 800 free outdoor—and often jaw-dropping—shows in and around the city’s vibrant Quartier latin.
In August, Montréal’s three major orchestras—the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestre Métropolitain and the McGill Symphony Orchestra—come together for Montréal Symphonique, a grandiose outdoor concert featuring musicians, pop artists and choir singers together at the foot of the city’s iconic Mount Royal. With seasons as its theme and multimedia projections to thrill, this promises to be a powerhouse, spirit-lifting performance.
Wait a minute, country? You got that right, partner. With NomadFest in late August, this urban hub becomes a hitching post for a rodeo that showcases riding, food and music. Some 150 professional riders from cities across North America who be competing in dressage events, saddle and bareback bronc riding, bull riding, barrel races and more. Live music includes country, folk and bluegrass bandsand a gourmet southwestern culinary theme kick it up a couple of notches too.
During Électro Parade in September, and for the very first time in North America ever, Montréal will host a kilometres-long party featuring DJs (local and international) on amped-up floats, electronic beats and thousands of people dancing in the streets. Get ready for some limb-loosening, groovy good times!
Mid-September, dance dominates once again during the Super Méga Continental, a massive line dance with contemporary undercurrents at the Place des festivals. This world-renowned concept, which has toured the world in other versions, is back in town, and they’ve cooked up a brand-new choreography for a whopping 375 amateur dancers.