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The top 5 things to do in Montreal this summer

Don't miss: fireworks, water fights and French crooners.
June 9, 2016
By Elena Raznovan & J. Latimer

Photo courtesy of Parc Jean Drapeau The International Fireworks Competition runs from July 2 to 30. Photo courtesy of Parc Jean Drapeau

It's true — you don’t need a big bankroll to enjoy Montreal in the summer. Between the festivals and one-off “spectacles”, there is plenty to do for budget-minded culture vultures and daytrippers. Are you ready, boots? Start walkin'!


Fantasia International Film Festival | Concordia (Guy-Concordia metro station) | July 14 to August 2

Turning 20 this year, the Fantasia International Film Festival is a summer must, starting with the opening film King Dave — the much-anticipated entry from Quebecois director Daniel “PODZ” Grou. Fantasia has been housed at Concordia since 2003, so it’s fitting that so many Concordia graduates and cinema students are screening their short films in competition. Expect lots of world premieres, too, since Fantasia’s new affiliation with Cannes was formalized this year. Keep checking their website for the 2016 schedule.

For more updates, consult La Vitrine.


Festival International de Jazz de Montréal | Quartier des spectacles (Place-des-Arts metro station) | June 29 to July 9

Take a stroll through the Quartier des spectacles during the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and you’ll be giddy with choice from free outdoor concerts. The schedule is brimming with shows from top-drawer performers like Jordan Officer, West Trainz, Eagle Rock Gospel Singers, John Cleary and many more. You can always hope for surprise performances, too, from big names like Diana Krall, Elvis Costello and Tony Bennett.

Get more information on the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal on La Vitrine.


Montreal Watergun Fight (part of Jackalope 2016) | Parc Olympique de Montréal | Saturday, August 20 from 3 to 4 p.m.

Your apartment doesn’t have air conditioning? No worries. Cool off at the biggest watergun fight in town. It’s all in good fun, with action-packed 15-minute adventure games designed to get you soaked. There are also live DJs, animators, water refill stands, food trucks, bouldering and pop-up boutiques. Bring your water gun, water balloons and maybe your flip-flops. A towel and a good attitude are also recommended.

Find out more details on the Jackalope Festival website.


International Fireworks Competition | Parc Jean-Drapeau | July 2 to 30

Opening night for the International Fireworks Competition – a.k.a. L’international des Feux Loto-Quebec – promises a pyromusical display bringing to life the imagery and personalities of our favourites fictional figures — from superheroes Superman and Batman to larger-than-life movie characters like Indiana Jones, Rocky, Simba from the Lion King. The closing night is a tribute to Elton John. The good news is that you can enjoy the fireworks from many (almost) free vantage points around town, like the Clock Tower Beach in the Old Port, and the Jacques-Cartier bridge.

Consult the full firework schedule here. Get more information on the event from La Vitrine.


Les FrancoFolies de Montréal / Quartier des spectacles | Place des Arts (Place-des-Arts metro station) | June 9 to 18

It’s living proof that music is a truly international language.

Since 1989, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal has been a comprehensive reflection of a thriving French-speaking music world. Nearly 70 indoor shows and 180 free outdoor concerts attest to its effervescent quality, diversity and energy. Every year, Montrealers and tourists throng to the festive FrancoFolies site in the downtown core for 11 days to savour the best musical talents of the French-speaking world.

Bonus: there’s a fun, free musical event every night — on the Ford Stage, on the corner of Ste-Catherine and Jeanne-Mance. Find out more details at La Vitrine.


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