Make The Best Of Summer Stays In Montreal
If you’re planning on coming to Montreal during summer time, then you’re in for a great time. Montreal in the summer is a cornucopia of festivals. The whole city seems to turn into a continuous party, with a dizzying choice of music, art, circus performance, sports, food, drink, and celebrations. Montrealers are at risk of suffering from “Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)” because there is so much amazing entertainment on offer it is impossible to do everything. The sun comes out, the temperature heats up to shorts and T-shirt weather, and the long hot evenings are the perfect time to enjoy all the outdoor festivities. Here’s a few things to look out for.
MONTREAL IN JUNE
The Beer Festival in June kicks off the summer party season, then the Grand Prix weekend fills the city with the noise of roaring engines, as car enthusiasts from far and wide gather and line the streets with classic cars, car-related stores, stands, and exhibitions, as well as the entertainment of the races themselves.
A very striking but rather quieter festival is the Mural Festival. You can watch the best street artists take over some of the most prominent walls along St Laurent Street on the Plateau. You can participate in creating the amazing murals that will overlook the streets for the rest of the year. Art lovers also enjoy Mtl en Arts, which is the largest open-air arts exhibition in eastern Canada. Studio artists, film-makers, performance artists, sculptors, and digital artists take over a 1-km stretch of St Catherine Street. There, they set up with exhibitions, installations, events, and workshops. It is a lively, cheerful, and friendly way to meet the artists and enjoy the huge range of artworks and artsy entertainment on offer.
The International Jazz Festival is the largest jazz festival in the world, and perhaps Montreal’s best-known music festival. Founded in 1979, it takes over the city in a pedestrianized area downtown around Place des Arts. Musicians from all forms and genres of jazz from over 30 countries take part, including local and up and coming musicians. And with free shows and street performances, it is certainly one of the most popular highlights of Montreal’s festival season.
MONTREAL IN JULY
Another internationally famous festival that puts Montreal at the centre of the world festival map is the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. It produces events throughout the year, but the centrepiece is its street festival in July, where the best of the best appear. Big names like Trevor Noah and Jim Carrey perform at Montreal’s comedy venues. Although there are plenty of free events and street activities to wander around.
Canada Day on July 1st always provides family-friendly events and fireworks, as a prelude to the unmissable International Fireworks Festival. From July and August, on various Wednesday and Saturday evenings, you can see the most spectacular firework displays with several countries competing to put on the best show. You can buy tickets for seats at La Ronde or simply join the crowds at the foot of the Jacques-Cartier bridge, on the bridge itself, or around the Clocktower in the Old Port, and watch the displays for free. Montrealers often take picnics and settle in to socialize with family and friends earlier in the day and to be sure to find a perfect viewpoint.
July also sees the Circus Festival with a mixture of free and ticketed events. As Montreal is a centre for circus skills training, the performances are always thrilling. There’s also ComicCon, the Fantastia Film Festival, and the First Nations’ celebration Kahnawake Pow-Wow. For people who like their music loud and feisty, there’s Heavy Montreal.
Throughout the summer, Parc Jean-Drapeau hosts World Weekends, with activities and entertainment for the whole family.
MONTREAL IN AUGUST
For pop and rock fans August brings Osheaga, which boasts top names from the current charts.
Hot summer nights make the perfect backdrop for the International Reggae Festival. Electronic music fans can enjoy long hot weekends at Île Sonique, Montreal Electronic Groove – MEG Montreal, and digital arts extravaganza MUTEK. Piknik Élektronik runs from May to September, so is in full swing in August.
Montreal Pride is one of Canada’s biggest Pride events and always turns into a dazzling and fabulous party, with music, dancing, and street performances.
Montrealers hail from all over the world and love to celebrate world cultures and August is no exception. Scottish-Canadians and those who enjoy Scottish culture and traditions have the Montreal Highland Games, which feature pipe bands, athletes, Highland dancers, and spectators. There’s Italian Week, Orientalys, and Matsuri Japon. Film lovers can enjoy the World Film Festivaland the Otakuthon Anime Festival.
We hope this guide will have you enjoying your summer during your stay in Montreal!