Why writing about Montreal ? My own city! Classic, cliché, easy, you would say, but why not giving you a summary of activities that can offer you this cosmopolitan city, where we speak French-English and continues to expand year over year. Economically, culturally and for me personally Montreal offers me and continues to offer me a rewarding experience where it is good to live here. Even though I’m not from here, like many Montrealers in fact, this city has this “je ne sais quoi” that brought me here a few years ago, since I’ve never left it!
The festivals in Montreal
Like any major metropolis in the world, there are always events that are organized in summer and winter where the streets are festive and lively, during the weeks and the weekends it’s a festival of festivals … especially in Montreal!
– June : For racing car enthusiasts, the Canadian Grand Prix week has been taking place for several years in Montreal, at Parc Jean Drapeau, on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit. This is also the opportunity to see luxury cars parading downtown with plenty of Formula 1 activities. It’s also the first big festival that marks the beginning of summer.
– Late June – early July : Then comes the famous Jazz Festival with music and artists of all kinds in the Place des arts district and now other shows will be presented in different neighborhoods. Thus, for the first time this summer 2019, some shows will be in the south west, in Verdun. And I can’t wait to see that!
– July : Still in the Places des arts district, during the whole month of July we are spoiled, since there is that very popular festival Just for Laughs, with comedians for all tastes in French and English.
– July : Let’s not forget the week-ends du monde which take place during two week ends in July at Parc Jean Drapeau, with cultures from all over the world where you discover their typical culinary dishes and their traditions. Flavors that will awaken your taste buds!
– June – July (sometimes July – August): I forgot to mention the fireworks, since they are so much part of the Montreal scene. A few Saturdays and Wednesdays in July and August (or June), the Loto-Quebec International Fireworks offers an international fireworks competition representing different countries. Music and festive atmosphere, this show takes place at the amusement park La Ronde, but can be seen from several points. They start at 10pm and last 30 minutes!
– January : One of the festivals that takes place in winter and which I was once, is the Igloofest. As the name suggests it is cold like an igloo but we still party, with drinks and (very cold) outdoor concerts with friends (if you still have some at the end of the evening). You can even go with your ski uniform and party all night long!
– February – March : Montréal en lumière is one of the biggest winter festivals in the world. On the program: gastronomy, hot drinks and drunk drinks, a lot of free outdoor family activities, including the Nuit Blanche where the subways are open all night and many places offer free tickets.
What activities to do outdoors ?
The beauty of Montreal is that it is certainly a big metropolis but a lot of greenery is still preserved to escape from these large buildings in the dowtown. You can see that by hiking to the Mount Royal Park to discover that while staying in the city, a part of nature surrounds us all around, like the Botanical Garden, which offers very original floral exhibitions. For amateurs and lovers of yoga and pilates there are even outdoor and group sessions! Thus, cyclists, hikers, joggers, climbers, crossfitters and many other athletes in “ers”, the city has many surprises for everyone.
To me, I really enjoy biking when the weather allows me, especially in summer, autumn and late spring. Take your bike or vélib and pedal along the Lachine Canal in the southwest of the island until the Old Port. A very nice road for just cyclists or joggers. In the city, traffic between cyclists and car drivers do not always reassure me so the Canal is just perfect for cycling in peace and security. Between de l’Eglise and St-Patrick streets up to the Quai du Vieux-Port it would take between 20 and 30 minutes. A pleasant ride to enjoy the weather and take the air while admiring the landscape that goes from a very old industrial area to more urban condos. From the brewery at the reception St-Ambroise through the charming Atwater market, the Griffintown district and the famous Farive Five Roses with its red neon, a historic flour mill that makes it an integral part of the Montreal landscape, to finally finish at the Old Port and enjoy a delicious meal or / and have a few drinks.
Where to go out in Montreal ?
Depending on whether you are a party animal or a stay-at-home person, here again there is always something for everyone. Other than nightclubs and pubs, why not having an original activity with your date 😉
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the outings, I guess it will grow with the time :
– Ceramic café : a coffee-restaurant where you can paint on ceramics. The concept is original and very friendly! You can choose a ceramic shape of your choice (for example: a cup, a vase, a bowl, a plate etc) and the accessories of paintings are given to you. Drink and eat with friends or family, this activity is very pleasant and even gives you a souvenir of your masterpiece.
– The Randolph pub : it’s a pub place with board games. There are several them in Montreal, in the Quartier Latin (in Saint-Denis street), in Rosemont but also in Villeray. A very entertaining and fun outing, you can have a drink with snacks and talk to each other without screaming… unless a player cheats!
– Putting Edge : A recreational mini-golf spot with ambient music and neon decor! To play with friends, family, couples, colleagues for teens and adults. A very different activity that will appeal to many people, for amateurs or even golf professionals!
– The Forum : bowling, arcade, cinema, ping pong, pool, comedy shows at Comedy Nest, bar and restaurant. Yes, this place combines all these activities in one place on St. Catherine West street. Perfect if you do not know what to do on a weekday or weekend. It is also known for a place where the hockey team, the Canadiens of Montreal, used to play and train.
– Escape Game : There are several places in Montreal and in the suburbs where you are in a theme room and you need to find clues to get out of this room together. The sets and the scenarios put you in a total immersion of the theme. A very cool and stimulating group activity that will test your senses and your teamwork skills.
– Casino de Montreal : Like any casino it is mainly a place for games and bets but there are also shows, drinks and restaurants in a festive atmosphere night and day. Who knows ? You may be able to win the jackpot while having fun!
The city of Montreal either you like it or you don’t, just like any other city in the world, it has its advantages and disadvantages. No matter where you are, the most important thing is to feel good enough to call it “home”. For mine, I’m still discovering it from day to day. If you have other activities to offer do not hesitate to share …
See you soon !