Photography by Frederique Menart, Benoit Rousseau, Brigitte Hasbron and Jay Kana
On May 17, 1642, a small colony called Ville-Marie was founded by a small group of 50 explorers from France. The little colony would soon be known as Montreal and 375 years later, a city of 1.7 million is ready to celebrate their big birthday as a premier Canadian destination to visit in 2017 thanks to an exciting line-up of festivals and events, which include:
Cité Mémoire Brings History to Life - Every night throughout 2017 and beyond - except April 10 to May 10.
Cité Mémoire illustrates Montreal's history through multimedia projections around Old Montreal - on buildings, cobblestone streets and trees. Download the free "Montreal en Histoires - Cite Memoire" app as it includes a map and best viewing times for each projection. Installations include "Suzanne", on the Clock Tower Quay set to matching Leonard Cohen song, and "The Face of Montreal", featuring projections on trees along Jacques-Cartier Quay.
Jacques-Cartier Bridge Lights Up - May 17 and onwards
Montreal's exact birthday is May 17 and the Jacques-Cartier Bridge will be lit in celebration via thousands of LED lights! Each month, the bridge will display a different colour and the design of lights will be changed to reflect things such as the weather, special holidays, and big sports wins.
Pointe-à-Callière Opens New Fort Ville-Marie Pavilion - May 17 and onwards
Pointe-à-Callière Museum is built where Montreal was originally founded and offers visitors an archaeological circuit combined with cutting-edge technology and makes the birthplace of Montreal accessible to the public for the first time. The museum is also restoring the Collector Sewer, which connects the pavilion to the main museum facility underground.
New Open-Air Museum: La Balade pour la Paix - May 29 to October 27
Sherbrooke Street will turn into an open-air museum, inviting everyone to join in a "walk for peace" through artworks reflecting Expo67. Created by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the McCord Museum, Concordia University and McGill University, this exhibition showcases 67 works of art carrying a message of peace.
Leonard Cohen Exhibit at Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal - November 9 to April 1, 2018
Well before his passing in 2016, the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal was preparing a retrospective to pay homage global star and famous Montrealers life; Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything and will feature a collection of new works created by artists who were inspired by Cohen's works.
No celebration is complete without food, so we’ve put together a list of wonderful dining options we highly recommend for you to enjoy during your visit to Montreal.
Le Quartier Général
Le Quartier Général‘s ultra-charming restaurant was listed as a hot spot to discover in EnRoute’s 2010 issue. They encourage guests to bring their own wine to personalize their meal and contribute to the culinary creativity provided.
The menu smartly omits lengthy descriptions to encourage engagement and have the staff explain what exactly their meal choice will consist of.
The duo behind this intimate galley eatery are executive chef and owners, Matthieu Cloutier and Matthieu Bourdages, firing up mouthwatering meals in their open concept kitchen. We love that guests can see first-hand the work and passion involved in these intricate dishes. From tartar to foie gras richness, they succeed with culinary mastery and their accomplished sommeliers will take you on a winery voyage that perfectly compliments each meal.
Located in the heart of Montreal’s cultural district, Brasserie T! offers guests refined dishes that exudes the creativity of Executive Chef André Sterling.
With menu items including garlic escargot, mouth-watering duck rillettes to savoury Coquille St-Jacques, patrons are spoiled by the level of attention that Chef Sterling and his brigade give to their guests and are served with a level of sophistication that Montreal is known for.
This modern Greek restaurant takes diners on a Mediterranean voyage with their palatable and distinctive dishes. Chef-owner Constant Mentzas offers a plethora of fresh seafood dishes that leave you salivating for more. Ikanos’ hospitality and impeccable marriage of wine pairings is the perfect recipe for an establishment that honours its deep rooted culture. Chef Mentzas consistently exhibits the eateries mantra: ‘where treasures of the sea are honoured with care'.
Just outside of the downtown district is Chez Chose, a favourite neighborhood restaurant with a wonderful menu, complete with diverse dishes will satisfy a wide variety of palettes. Definitely not a typical “greasy spoon” joint, they focus on locally sourced products and combine delicious flavours and intricate French cuisine.
The upbeat hospitality that we received from the restaurant staff was not only engaging but also provided the right amount of interaction to compliment our dining experience.
Bistro Le Balmoral
Situated in the heart of downtown Montreal, the Balmoral bistro attracts lovers of exquisite French food set in the most casual of settings. The level to which the epicurean delights are being delivered to patrons, provides guests the opportunity to travel to France through their taste buds! During the MEL festival, the likes of pâté en croute au foie gras and pan fried whole trout served tableside are just a few of the delicious entrées that you can look forward too at the Bistro.