It’s all fun and games at the Joue Festival

Kids can choose from more than 300 different games and workshops, including video and board games or role-playing and other interactive, group-based activities in 19 boroughs

Looking for a fun and dynamic activity to shake off those dreary winter blues? The Montreal Joue Festival is back in 2018 for a sixth edition, bringing fun and games throughout the entire island. For two weeks, this festival will highlight the city's games and recreation culture with an assortment of indoor and outdoor activities for families to enjoy — most of which are free of charge. 

Presented by the Bibliothèques de Montréal Library Network in association with TD Bank, children will have the chance to experience more than 300 different games and workshops including video and board games, role-playing and other interactive, group-based activities throughout all 19 boroughs on the island. The festival runs from Feb. 24 to March 11.

According to Montreal  City Councillor Christine Gosselin, the festival has become an unmissable go-to event for many Montreal families, giving them the chance to freely experience an array of recreational activities and workshops offered by their local libraries.

It all kicks off with Montreal Video Games Day, Saturday Feb. 24 at the Coeur des Sciences culture and science centre. There, participants will get to explore a number of different kiosks showcasing video games by the best and brightest local video game talent. This will include developers and gaming studios, along with YouTubers. Workshops on virtual reality tech and video games will also be offered.

The festival also has activities for those who prefer traditional board games. The Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board will be hosting a Creative Board Games Fair all day on Feb. 26 while La Récréation café is set to host a huge Settlers of Catan tournament on the same day. Qualifying rounds take place Feb. 26 and 27 while the finals are scheduled for March 1 at 6 p.m.

For older kids looking for something more dynamic, the highly popular Zombie Survival Night is also back this year. This year’s event is scheduled for March 2, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Frontenac Library where, once again, the entire library will host a live-action game in which participants must use their strategy and cunning to outrun the hordes of zombies.

Other venues at this year’s festival include Concordia University, the CÉGEP du Vieux Montréal, the Pierre-Charbonneau Centre as well as all 45 municipal libraries.

For those eager to get a head start on the fun, the entire schedule is online. While most events are free and open to all ages, a handful of events do require advanced registration to reserve a spot. 

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