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Arts and Culture in Montreal

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Montreal isn’t just packed with cultural highlights – the city is a creative powerhouse, which explains why it was awarded prestigious UNESCO City of Design recognition. With massive festivals bringing the city together on a regular basis, and a wealth of venues for live performances, Montreal’s arts scene will stimulate anyone looking for avant-garde distractions.

 

Festivals

 

Stand up for Montreal, as the city shakes with laugher during the international comedy festival, or experience Montreal at its jazziest as musicians from across the world gather to groove as one. These are just of the big, audience-pleasing events that hit the region every year.

 

Just for Laughs

 

A tittering tidal wave of laughs tears through Montreal during the world’s biggest international comedy festival. You’ll giggle at the gags and snicker at the stories, and there’s plenty of time to pick and choose the performers because the festivities last for two weeks. From leading comics to up-and-coming improve experts, it’s almost literally a laugh riot.

 

2101 St. Laurent Blvd, Montreal H2X 2T5. Tel:+1 514 845 3155

 

Just for Laughs website
Montreal International Jazz Festival

 

July also sees the city grooving to huge open air concerts and intimate performances in hidden venues, as the Jazz Festival makes itself heard. Ray Charles, Miles Davis, and BB King are among an endless list of musical royalty to have played here. The best thing is that many concerts are free to attend, meaning no one gets locked outside as the jazz takes over town.

 

400 Maisonneuve Blvd West, Montreal H3A 1L4. Tel:+1 855 299 3378

 

Montreal International Jazz Festival website

 

Museums

 

Humans have occupied modern Montreal’s site for 4,000 years, so it’s no surprise that there’s more than a little history to dig into. With museums dedicated to everything from architecture to Canadian aviation, there’s a treasure trove of exhibits here that will get any inquisitive mind soaring.

 

Pointe-à-Callière Museum

 

A gateway to Montreal’s past, this museum takes you on an interactive walkthrough through distant eras, moving between the crumbling foundations of former forts and the crypts that have been linked to this land's early occupants. The historical sites are connected through a series of underground tunnels, meaning this extraordinary museum complex offers a fascinating tour of the area's storied history.

 

350 Place Royale, Montreal H2Y 3Y5. Tel:+1 514 872 9150

 

Pointe-à-Callière Museum website

 

Art

 

As you’d expect from a major city, there’s storehouses of great art to peruse and admire at your leisure. Here’s one of the best hubs to lose yourself in for an afternoon.

 

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

 

Picasso’s surreal shapes, and Monet’s tranquil lakes draw the crowds, but the Canadian art at this sprawling museum is just as spectacular. Wavy Inuit daubings of animals have a hypnotic quality, and give you a great chance to see the natural world through fresh eyes. The gallery also welcomes stirring orchestra performances, and concerts are lent an extra impact by Bourgie Hall’s glowing stain glass windows, and finely tuned acoustics.

 

1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal H3G 1J5. Tel:+1 514 285 2000

 

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts website

 

Religious sites

 

Montreal’s blessed with a wealth of spectacular religious buildings, including St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal with its immense copper domes. And there’s also this basilica to feast your eyes on.

 

Notre-Dame Basilica

 

The intricate, wrinkled facade of this Gothic Revival cathedral makes a striking landmark amid Montreal’s more modern buildings, while its interior bathes in the golden light that bounces off the cathedral’s spectacular altar. It’s not just the architecture that dazzles – look out as well for a wooden sculpture inspired by Da Vinci’s Last Supper, as well as the sumptuously detailed chapel.

 

110 Notre-Dame Street West, Montreal H2Y 1T2. Tel:+ 514 842 2925

 

Notre-Dame Basilica website