Montreal Travel Guide


In January-February, the Féte des Neiges (Snow Festival) celebrates the pleasures of snow for two weeks in the Parc des Îles. In June, the province's cyclists assemble for the Tour de l'Île, and enthusiasts can attend Canada's only Formula One race, the Grand Prix Player's du Canada. On every weekend during June and July there are firework displays on the banks of the Saint Lawrence during the Benson & Hedges International. The same months also welcome Montréal's International Jazz Festival, a major event hosting more than 400 concerts throughout the city. In July, the Juste pour Rire (Just for Laughs) Festival brings together some 500 artists from all over the world, while the entire city dances at the Nuits d'Afrique celebrations. There are over 200 shows during the Francofolies de Montréal, a festival of French song held in July and August; the Du Maurier Omnium, a world tennis tournament, is held at the same time. The Festival des Films du Monde (World Film Festival) takes place during three weeks in August-September, with many films and debates. In September, a wide range of people - from young people to those in wheelchairs - run the Montréal Marathon..

Public Holidays
Dec 26 - Boxing Day
dec 25 - Christmas Day
Nov 11 - Remembrance Day
second Mon in Oct - Canadian Thanksgiving
first Mon in Sept - Labour Day
Jul 1 - Canada Day
Jul 1 - Jean-Baptiste Day
May 24 or nearest Mon - Victoria Day
- Easter Monday
- Good Friday
Jan 1 - New Year's Day

Montreal International Auto Show
New cars and trucks along with the latest accessories draw crowds of appreciative automotive fans. Call (514) 331-6571 for more information.
Fete des Neiges
Fete de Neiges, Montreal’s largest outdoor winter event with dog-sled rides, tube rides and more, attracts families and outdoors enthusiasts on weekends from late January through early February. Call (514) 872-6120 for more information.
Wildside Festival
Montreal’s first festival of the year starts at the Centaur Theatre with reasonably priced shows already winning a fair share of acclaim. Call (514) 288-3161 for more information.

Fete des Neiges
Fete de Neiges, Montreal’s largest outdoor winter event with participants dressed up in polar bear suits, dog-sled rides, tube rides, snow sculptures and more, attracts families and outdoors enthusiasts on weekends from late January through early February. Call (514) 872-6120 for more information.
Festival Montreal en Lumiere
In February and March, Montreal’s theaters, dance organizations, museums and restaurants team up for multimedia light shows and culinary extravaganzas. Nearly a dozen downtown buildings are lit up to add magic to the frosty air. Call (514) 288-9955 for more information.
Festival Voix d’Ameriques
The seven-day Festival Voix d’Ameriques (FVA) is dedicated to oral literature, and to words brought to life with flair and outrageous experimentation. Poets, writers, singers and performers interpret the world in French, English, Spanish and Aboriginal languages. Call (514) 933-0878 for more information.
Highlights Festival Fine Dining
Montréal chefs tantalize tastebuds while sharing culinary secrets during the Fine Dining Series of the 11-day Montréal Highlights Festival. Activities include theme brunches, gastronomic evenings and culinary workshops in restaurants throughout town. Call (888) 477-9955 for more information.
Montreal International Children’s Film Festival
This film festival, running in late February through early March, is dedicated entirely to children. Call (514) 721-6060 for more information.
Red Weekend
Montreal’s gay / lesbian community celebrates Valentines as a four-day extravaganza patterned in colorful name after Philadelphia’s Blue Ball, and New York’s Black Party. Call (514) 790-1245 or (800) 361-4595 for more information.

Targeting a local, regional and international audience, Festivalissimo is regarded as the most important multidisciplinary cultural event in Montreal. Call (514) 935-0129 for more information.
International Festival of Films on Art
Art is perpetually reinventing itself and the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) in mid March chronicles this revolution from the front lines, presenting nearly 250 films from some 30 countries each year. Call (514) 874-1637 for more information.
St. Patrick’s Day
Thousands of celebrants head downtown each year to cheer on the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Call (514) 932-1512 for more information.

Blue Metropolis
The Blue Met, Montreal’s international literary festival, gathers writers, actors, musicians, journalists and publishers from around the world for five days of literary indulgence in English, French, Spanish and other tongues. Call (514) 790-1245 for more information.
White Party Week
White Party Week hails arrival of spring with five days of music, dance, fashion and fun to bridge culture gaps. Call (514) 840-9164 for more information.
Vues d’Afrique African & Creole Film Festival
Vues d’Afrique is North America’s biggest film festival devoted to African and Creole countries. Call (514) 721-6060 for more information.

Music and People Festival
Working to foster creative links among talent from a variety of cultural backgrounds, the festival promotes up-and-coming artists. Call (514) 856-3787 for more information.
Montreal Jewish Film Festival
The Montreal Jewish Film Festival celebrates the diversity of the Jewish experience around the world. Call (514) 987-9795 for more information.
Hot & Dry Weekend
Hot & Dry Metropolis in mid May is the second largest event organized by the BBCM Foundation. Call (800) 667-8549 for more information.

Cajun Festival of Quebec
Acadian heritage and culture is celebrated through song, dance, story-telling, arts and crafts, foods and genealogy. Call (514) 748-7816 for more information.
Montreal Bike Fest
The Montreal Bike Fest is an ideal way to kick off the cycling season. Call (514) 521-8356 for more information.
Montreal International Jazz Festival
For a quarter century, the Montreal International Jazz Festival has featured concerts and much more. Call (514) 790-1245 or (800) 361-4595 for more information.
St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Dance, music and theater from companies across Canada add to this cutting-edge entertainment showcase. Call (514) 849-3378 for more information.

Calypso musicians and dancers in elaborate costumes parade down the Boulevard Rene Levesque. Call (514) 735-2232 for more information.
Fantasia Film Festival
Mostly a fantasy/action/horror festival, the nearly month-long Fantasia also welcomes sheer individuality in separate genres. Film lovers revel in cinema fantasy and horror marginalia. Call (514) 790-1245 or (800) 361-4595 for more information.
Mondail Fireworks Competition
The Montreal International Fireworks Competition was founded in 1985 at La Ronde, Québec's largest amusement park, created for Expo '67. From the start, the fireworks competition was a smash, since becoming an annual extravaganza. Call (514) 790-1245 or (800) 361-4595 for more information.
Just For Laughs Festival
Two decades ago Gilbert Rozon wanted to gather together people with funny bones, and now Just For Laughs is a multiple-venue, four-day affair drawing some 1.7 million spectators every summer. Call (514) 790-HAHA for more information.

Mr. Christie International Balloon Festival
Quebec’s mostly family-oriented summer festival with decorated hot air balloons and much more. Call (450) 347-9555 for more information.
World Film Festival
Late August and early September bring Canada’s highly attended World Film Festival featuring well-known and emerging filmmakers from more than 70 countries. Call (514) 848-3883 for more information.
Molson Indy
The cars and stars of the champion car world series return. Call (866) 670-INDY for more information.

Magic of Lanterns
In September and October, Montreal Botanical Gardens hosts the Magic of Lanterns with varying annual themes. Call (514) 872-1400 for more information.
La Biennale de Montreal
From late September through October, the annual Biennal de Montreal places focus on public space development, urban planning and public art at locations throughout the city.
International Video and Electronic Arts Festival
Drawing architects, urban planners, video artists, and more, festival events unfold in various venues. Call (514) 393-3937 for more information.
Orgue et Couleurs
Since 1999, Orgue et couleurs has presented varied musical activities showcasing the organ. Autumn Festival, its main event, has grown to some 25 activities (including concerts, talks and an exhibition) in this 10-day affair featuring organists, ensembles and other performers. Call (514) 899-0644 for more information.

Black & Blue
The Black & Blue is a multimedia major show and party and bills itself as one of the most important gay and gay-friendly events on the planet. Call (514) 875-7026 for more information.
Pop Montreal
Young, vibrant, relevant, this festival provides a great time for the young at heart. Call (514) 842-1919 for more information.
Montreal Festival of Nouveau Cinema
Devoted to fostering and promoting alternative approaches to film and new media, the Montreal Festival of Nouveau Cinema serves as a springboard for unknown artists, original works and their creators. Emphasis is on digital creations and auteur-driven cinema. Call (514) 847-9272 for more information.

Coup de Coeur Francophone
Coup de Coeur Francophone is a festival promoting French music. Call (514) 253-3024 for more information.
Cinemania Film Festival
At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Cinemania Film Festival celebrates contemporary independent French films with English subtitles. Call (514) 878-0082 for more information.

Boxing Day
Dec. 26 is Boxing Day, a public holiday.
Bal des Boys
This big, romping New Year’s Eve party celebrates the forthcoming year. Call (514) 875-7026 for more information.

When to Go

Montréal has a notoriously arctic winter (December-March) that makes it great as a base for winter sports, but with the sort of spiteful temperatures that would probably frighten a polar bear. Thankfully, Montréal gets around the problem with its 'Underground City', a unique climate-controlled labyrinthe of 2000 shops and 29km (18mi) of corridors. This makes the city an alluring year-round tourist drawcard - a winter wonderland during the cold season and warm, long, lazy nights in the summer. Late May to early September is peak tourist time and sees a seamless procession of festivals, including the legendary Jazz Festival and the Grand Prix, take over the town.

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