Montreal’s rich cultural heritage and sophisticated intellect generate an exciting arts scene as diverse as the city’s residents. Explore Quebec’s deeply religious history through the church architecture of bygone eras. Dive into everything from traditional fine art and Inuit sculptures, to contemporary theatre, comedy, and family-friendly natural science museums.
1. Galerie Elca London
Galerie Elca London, in Old Montreal, exhibits remarkable Inuit art by established and emerging talent. Discover the fascinating secrets of Inuit sculptures, with early versions created whalebone and caribou antler, while recent works are fashioned from minerals specific to each Inuit community, such as serpentine, marble and quartz.
2. Circus capital of the world
If you visit Montreal during the circus arts festival, Montreal Complement Cirque, there’s no excuse not to immerse yourself in the city’s most quintessential cultural experience. Even if you miss the festival, TOHU stages incredible circus performances with heart-stopping acrobatics all year round.
3. Space for Life
Montréal’s Space for Life is a combination of family-friendly natural science museums, including the Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Gardens and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. From eye-popping creepy crawlies, to sub-polar worlds, and the starry galaxies, Space for Life provides an unforgettable insight into life on planet Earth.
4. Festival du Nouveau Cinema
Film buffs flock to this independent film festival every year in October to view around 300 films, with a focus on progressive cinematography and new film technologies. Festival du Nouveau Cinema showcases everything from mainstream to edgy, niche productions in its rich line-up of local and international films.
5. Laugh it up
Montreal is the Canadian epicentre of all things funny. Every July, Quartier Latin is tickled pink by the largest comedy festival in the world, Just For Laughs. Some 1700 artists from 19 countries perform in galas, and on stage to some two million comedy fans.
6. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Montreal’s largest museum dates back to 1860. Its four stately pavilions display an impressive works from disciplines as varied as music, fine art, fashion, and stained glass. A fifth pavilion will open at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in time for Montreal’s 375th anniversary in 2017.
7. Religious architecture
Go on a pilgrimage of Canada’s most beautiful religious architecture right here in Montreal. Visit the Gothic Revival Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal, with its 7000-piped organ and starry vaulted ceiling, and the stately domed Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Canada’s largest church.
8. Montreal street art
Montreal’s colourful street art reflects the eclectic character of the diverse neighbourhoods. Stand on the corner of Napoléon and Saint Dominique downtown for a 360 degree mural display. Observe eye-popping graffiti being created in real time during Montreal MURAL Festival on Saint-Laurent each June.
9. Centaur Theatre Company
Immerse yourself in the rich theatrical culture of Montreal at Centaurs. Housed in the converted 1903 Stock Exchange building in Old Montreal, the Centaur Theatre Company produces classic plays, Broadway hits, documentary theatre, and the best circus shows in town.
10. Museum of Contemporary Art
Brimming with Quebec’s most avant-garde works of art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in the Quarter des Spectacles, has been displaying incredible works of local and international artists for more than 50 years. The compelling, often confronting art ranges from paintings and sculptures, to digital and audio creations.