Montreal – One Festival After Another in 2017

Author: Ron Bozman

Tags : Blogs, Canada, City Break, Couples, Montreal, Multigen, Museums & Culture, Quebec

Mais oui! 2017 is a big year of festivities in Quebec, Canada: Montreal is 375 years-old and Canada as a unified country, known also as The Canadian “coalition” (the current country), is celebrating the passage of 150 years. 

Visitors can expect to find loads of entertainment in the biggest city Montreal — in chronological order, this might be Le Hivernales (2 Jan-12 Mar); Igloofest (12 Jan-19 Feb); the Circus Festival (8-18 July); the famous Montreal Jazz Festival (28 June-July 8); Just for Laughs comedy festival (12-31 July) and more!  

Most of the celebrations are free or have free sidebars for families, but keep in mind that hotels will be busy during these periods and may cost more. Having said that, if you plan ahead visiting Canada will be a bargain, as the current exchange rate between the countries make the U.S. dollar worth 30% more than it did just a few years ago.

What’s always Fun in Montreal

At any time, in any year, Montreal, Quebec is a great place to give the kids a bona fide foreign experience without having to cross the ocean. Friends and family can practice French, eat crepes and onion soup, shop or hit a museum.

While the Old Town is small, compact and easy to walk around if you like cobblestone, the city is larger than it appears. Most Montreal sights are served by the bilingually-guided Hop On and Off buses and other double decker bus tours, a good option in inclement weather. 

Kids love Montreal’s Espace pour la Vie (Space for Life), Canada’s largest natural science complex with a biodome housing four different ecosystems, a botanical garden, the creepy but fascinating insectarium and the state-of-the-art Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Do not miss Habitat 67 by the world famous architect Moshe Safdie who conceived this project for the World’s Fair of 1967 while a young student at McGill. The Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Archaeology in the Old Town is another favorite stop with a multi-screen presentation on the history of Quebec.

Special Events & Festivals for 2017

Igloofest - A weekend only dancefest to electronic music, with some crazy games thrown in for the last two weekends—Christmas tree toss and human curling.  Plus an exploration of Village Nordick, an interactive circuit created by seven Montreal design firms. Families will find amazing slides in the spirit of winter carnivals of yore. It all takes place at Montreal’s Old Port from January 12-February 19, on Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights each week.

Les Hivernales - The winter festival will feature a number of exciting cold-weather activities, such as snowshoeing, luminous curling, winter biking, zip lining, dogsledding, and an outdoor hockey tournament. The winter celebrations will take place in Parc Jean-Drapeau, Old Montréal, and the Quartier des Spectacles from January 2- March 12, 2017.

Illuminart--The massive Illuminart project is a program of technological works launched as part of Montreal en Lumiere, and the festivities of the 375th anniversary of Montreal. New this year, it promises to be an annual international crossroads for illuminated, interactive and immersive avant-garde creativity. Several light installations will be located in the Quartier des spectacles and elsewhere in the Ville-Marie arrondissement, at the Place des Festivals, from February 23 - March 11, 2017

The Wall Opera – “Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera” is an opera based on Pink Floyd's 1979 album The Wall in a collaboration between Opéra de Montréal and the band's former bassist and chief songwriters Roger Waters. It will premiere at the Quebec Opera house in March 2017 (Performance dates: March 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24, 2017)

Illumination of the Jacques Cartier Bridge – We are perhaps most excited that on May 17, 2017, the Jacques Cartier Bridge which spans the St. Lawrence River will be illuminated to showcase Montréal’s 375th anniversary and Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. Great photo op!

The Walk of The Giants - The Royal de Luxe street theater from France has created a work exclusively for the city's 375th anniversary. Over the course of three days, visitors will have the opportunity to see a grandiose promenade of the Royal de Luxe giants that have already set foot in every major city around the world.  May 19-21, 2017

Montréal AVUDO - Visitors will get a chance to see a multimedia show created exclusively for Montréal’s 375th anniversary by the Compagnia Finzi Pasca. Set on the water, Montréal AVUDO will pay poetic tribute to the St. Lawrence River with over 100 free performances taking place in the Old Port, May 17- September 2, 2017

Leonard Cohen at the MAC - Montreal's Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) will present the exhibit “Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything,” a multidisciplinary exhibition including brand-new works commissioned from local and international artists in performance art, visual art, film, music and written word inspired by Cohen's work. October 19 - December 31, 2017.                                                      

For more information about Montreal, check out our top picks for family-welcoming hotels and visit the tourism office website, Visit Montreal.

Note! This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.