Events in Montreal

• A Travel Guide for Montreal, Quebec.
A veritable city of festivals and celebratory spirit, the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Montreal offers a unique cultural atmosphere replete with Francophone flair, cutting-edge creativity and world-renowned events that every year collectively draw millions of visitors from near and far. No matter the time of year or whether preferences are for music, art, sports, comedy, film, performing arts, global cultures or culinary arts, the city provides ample opportunities to immerse oneself in the diverse and colourful local way of life.

Visitors of all ages will delight in the festive joie de vivre atmosphere that accompanies any Montreal event, punctuated only by its impressive architectural surroundings and an eclectic mix of Old World European charm and pure metropolitan energy.


Just as the city is renowned for its diversity and vivaciousness, an impressive collection of acclaimed events grace the cultural landscape, drawing hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of visitors to its streets, parks and major performance venues for one-of-a-kind entertainment and festivities.

Founded in 1983 and the largest event of its kind in the world, the Just for Laughs Festival brings laughter to the city every July with live comedic performances by up-and-coming and international acts. Even more grand are the festivities surrounding the Montreal International Jazz Festival, which welcomes over two million visitors, offers more than 600 concerts and features major headliners and emerging musical acts from around the globe.

The Montreal International Fireworks Competition illuminates the skies over nine nights from late June through July, when countries from around the world compete for top titles by combining awe-inspiring pyrotechnics with music.


Long regarded as a creative, artistic hub of Quebec, all of Canada and throughout the world, the city also features events catering to film and art lovers that range from international cinematic festivals to thought-provoking technology-based expositions like the innovative, annual Elektra International Digital Arts Festival. Ushering in the summer season, the unique Nuit Blanche sur Tableau Noir street festival features music, public art installations and an art market. The event is highlighted by late-night live street-painting events along Mont-Royal avenue, created by a line-up of over 40 invited artists.

Held along a pedestrian-friendly section of Ste-Catherine street west in late June, the annual Festival International Montreal en Arts features the bustling BoulevArt at its heart—an open-air gallery space of exhibitions, live street art, artisan demonstrations, music, film projections and interactive installations—that are sure to incite creativity and inspired thought. An impressive annual repertoire of film-based events representing global, documentary, Canadian, Quebecois and media-arts genres of filmmaking are also part of the cultural interchange of the city, including the Montreal World Film Festival and the International Festival of Films on Art.


A world-class city is nothing without its sporting experiences, and Montreal surely delivers in that department, featuring an NHL franchise (the Montreal Canadiens—known locally as Les Habs), a Canadian Football League team (the Montreal Alouettes) and a successful Major League Soccer (MLS) club (the Montreal Impact).

Those seeking the adrenaline-rush of high-profile auto racing flock to the Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit every summer, where top international racers compete for titles in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 NASCAR series and the high-performance F1 Canadian Grand Prix. Boxing, tennis, cycling competitions and the renowned Montreal Marathon round out the offerings, all of which are sure to appeal to a wide range of audiences.


In addition to showcasing a stellar line-up of headlining concerts year round at major venues around the city, Montreal is a prime destination for music festival-goers and performing arts enthusiasts by catering to many interests and entertainment preferences.

Celebrating diversity in talent, the popular Montreal Fringe Festival features a full month of one-of-a-kind entertainment held every June in the trendy Plateau Mile-End district, while lovers of the Bard will appreciate the program of performances available during the summer-long Shakespeare-in-the-Parks Festival. Home to the celebrated Cirque du Soleil performance empire, it's no surprise that Montreal celebrates their home-grown form of creative expression every July during the Montreal Completement Circus Arts Festival—a virtual feast for the eyes and chock-full of performances by entertainers and troupes from around the globe.

If visitors seek musical entertainment, Montreal will not disappoint—close to a dozen music-based festivals are held annually in the city and cater to lovers of classical, Francophone, independent, folk, rock and pop genres. The celebrated Montreal Chamber Music Festival, held every May, showcases a program of chamber, jazz and other classical form concerts in the inspiring surroundings of St. George's Church. Local, regional, national and international Francophone talents representing all styles of music are featured at the burgeoning Les FrancoFolies de Montreal while contemporary music, emerging, independent acts and international headliners comprise the line-ups of the POP Montreal International Music Festival and the Osheaga Music & Arts Festival, which are held in September and late July, respectively.


As Canada's centre for the dissemination of French language media and culture, the city's role as a predominantly Francophone community has shaped its distinctive social landscape. Graced with flourishing immigrant enclaves representing every corner of the globe, the metropolis is characterized by its diversity and widespread appreciation of cultural traditions, customs and celebrations, all promoted through a range of culturally-based festivals.

Scottish customs are recognized with jovial festivities and family-friendly fun at the Montreal Highland Games & Festival while East Asian culture is promoted during the Matsuri Japon Japanese festival, the Acces Asie celebrations and the awe-inspiring Magic of Lanterns fall showcase, fashioned on traditional lantern festivals of China. The city's vibrant Italian community shares its food, music and charm during Montreal's Italian Week and the pageantry, arts and musical traditions of the local and international Arabian community are showcased during the Festival du Monde Arabe de Montreal.

Known for having one of the largest gay villages in the world and as a predominant gay-friendly destination, the city also celebrates sexual diversity through two major annual events—the Divers/Cite Festival and the Montreal Pride Celebrations—each designed to provide a platform for social awareness and a place of support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.


Families and children of all ages will delight in the events available year round in the city, including colourful parades celebrating regional and international traditions and festivals catered specifically to youngsters—including the Montreal Children's Festival and Petit Bonheurs, each of which will appeal to eager minds in search of fun, entertainment and discovery.

Winter fun abounds in the city during La Fete des Neiges de Montreal and Old Montreal's Extravaganza Festival, events filled with kid-friendly festivities celebrating the magic of the city in the snowy season.

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