Montrealers live life loud and a little snow and ice do nothing to slow them down. The festival spirit is contagious in Montreal with an endless line-up of food, music and family-friendly events keeping the city pumping all year round. Boasting the world’s most important comedy, jazz and circus events, it’s little wonder Montreal is known as Festival City.
With the best international and home-grown DJs, this outdoor festival in the middle of winter is for die-hard electronic music fans. Dance to keep warm, sip on a classic Canadian ‘caribou’ mix of whiskey and maple syrup and soak up the atmosphere of the glittering igloo village.
February/March: Montréal en Lumière
Celebrate winter in Montreal with this 11-day cultural and gastronomy event that transforms the downtown precinct with open-air shows, theatre, dance and children’s activities. Montreal en Lumiere is a must for foodies, with the culinary program attracting internationally acclaimed chefs and sommeliers.
Every year the Saint-Laurent Boulevard gets a vibrant makeover with 20 original works of art splashed across its walls between Sherbrooke Street and Mont-Royal Avenue. The 11 day MURAL street art festival attracts huge crowds as talented graffiti artists take to the walls with spray paint each summer.
June: Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada
The Montreal Formula 1 Grand Prix race is the unofficial kick-off to the city’s summer celebrations, heralded with festivities for race fans and revellers alike. Soak up the carnival atmosphere at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, dine in Old Montreal and party on at race events throughout the city.
June/July: Festival International de Jazz de Montreal
Montreal’s annual Jazz Festival transforms Montreal into an international gathering of more than two million jazz aficionados. The largest and most important festival of its kind on the planet hosts more than 3000 musicians and hundreds of free concerts throughout its indoor/outdoor venues.
July: Just For Laughs
Every summer the world’s largest comedy festival has Montreal’s Quartier Latin in stitches with some 1600 artists from across the globe performing stand-up to two million fans, along with galas and funny films throughout the immense open-air theatre in the Quartier Latin.
July: Osheaga Music and Arts Festival
Arguably Canada’s coolest music festival, Osheaga’s 2016 summer line-up includes Radiohead, Lana Del Rey and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, to name a few. Canada’s answer to California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the three-day event is held at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène.
July: Montréal Complétement Cirque
As the world capital of circus art it makes sense that the six years-young Montreal Complement Cirque festival is already a major drawcard for residents and visitors to the city. Local and international troupes show off their talents during two weeks of incredible shows every July.
August: PRIDE Montreal
A colourful week in August marks Pride Montreal, culminating in the grand parade featuring hundreds of floats from cultural and LGBT organisations. 2017 is set to be momentous with Montreal hosting Canada Pride as the city turns 375 and Canada celebrates 150 years of Confederation.
December: Merry MTL
Christmas is magical in the city with the annual Merry Montreal celebrations igniting the festive spirit throughout Old Montreal and Old Port. From 1 December to 1 January, the historical streets come alive with free all-ages activities, outdoor movies, yoga in the snow, and Christmas markets.