Montreal chock-full of family festivities in 2012
It's no surprise that people flock to Montreal in the summer. This city boasts a mind-boggling array of festivals, programs and events to satisfy all kinds of interests from music and history to nature and sports. Better yet, the prices for many activities are quite affordable so getting out and about doesn't have to break the bank. On these next pages, you'll find a ton of information about activities that we hope will inspire you to explore the city this summer. Enjoy the fun and sunshine!
Canada Day Festivities
On July 1, you can kick up your patriotic heels at one of the many Canada Day celebrations happening around town. Traditionally, many families head down to the Quays of the Old Port, where a huge party is held complete with inflatable games and face painting for children, a gigantic cake and plenty of live entertainment. The festivities finish off with an impressive fireworks display in the evening. Families will no doubt enjoy the Canada Day Parade, which goes along Ste. Catherine St. from Fort to Peel St. It starts at 11 a.m. and there will be fun activities in the afternoon at Place du Canada, 1010 de la Gauchetiere St. W.
Many boroughs also have their own Canada Day festivities with free activities for families. Expect mini-putt, entertainers, music and BBQs. Click here for a full listing of municipal Canada Day celebrations.
Completement Cirque Festival
Montreal doesn't just bring one circus to town: the city hosts an entire festival devoted to all things circus. Now in its third year, the Montreal Completement Cirque event runs from July 5-15 and features dozens of performances in various locations. Many shows are appropriate for families including those by Sequence 8, performed by Les 7 Doigts de la Main; Jamais 2 Sans 3 and La Cuisine de Pan, which adds a dash of urban dance flavour. Families can also check out the outdoor programs taking place across the city from Verdun to St. Leonard. Every evening, enjoy clowns and various artists at Place Emilie-Gamelin, 1550 Berri St. Tickets are now on sale.
For more information and a complete list of activities, visit www.montreal completement cirque.com.
Travel the World – in a Weekend!
Discover the sounds, rhythms and flavours of the world’s diverse cultures over two weekends at the Jean Drapeau Park. On July 7-8 and July 14-15, visitors of all ages can discover the food, music, dance and traditions of more than 50 different countries. The event, called “Week-ends du monde,” takes place on four different sites (Ile Ste. Hélène, Carrefour du Monde, Plaine des Jeux and Place des Traditions), which are open from noon to 11 p.m.
For a complete list of events, visit www.parcjeandrapeau.com.
Family Activities in Ile Perrot
The Pointe du Moulin Park in Ile Perrot buzzes with activities all summer, from a soup tasting to star gazing. Events are held on weekends through Sept. 2. For example, on July 14, visitors can discover vintage cars, take a ride on horse-drawn carriages and embark on a rabaska adventure. On July 27-29, kids can discover the 18th century Quebec in a special historic recreation. And on August 10, visitors are invited to view the constellations in a night of stargazing through a telescope and then enjoy a late night walk by candlelight. Families are invited to pitch their tents and stay the night. A reservation and deposit is required. Breakfast is included. Most of the activities are included as part of the park admission fee, which is $18 per car, no matter how many people in the vehicle. The park is located at 2500 Don-Quichotte Blvd.
For more information about all the park’s activities, visit www.pointedumoulin.com.
Just For Laughs Festival
Share some laughs with family and friends at the Just for Laughs Festival from July 12-28. On the festival’s site near lower St. Denis St., families will enjoy a slew of outdoor activities like live comedy and street performers. There will be a children's centre open July 14-28 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., where shows, drawing activities and more will be available to youngsters. The popular twins’ parade is also back on July 22 at 4 p.m.; kids get a real kick out of seeing hundreds of sets of twins marching down the street.
For a full list of activities, events, and comedians, visit www.hahaha.com.
Cabot Square Park Activities
The Montreal Children's Library and the Ville-Marie borough have cooked up a summer menu of kid-friendly activities downtown at Cabot Square Park from July 10 to August 9. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, kids ages 3 to 5 can enjoy a special event, such as magic shows, singing performances and yoga workshops. On Thursdays, children ages 6 to 10 years old can enjoy activities like musical workshops, kite making and puppet workshops. All events are free and take place from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Registration is only required for the Thursday events). Cabot Square Park is across from the Montreal Children’s Library, 1200 Atwater Ave., Montreal.
For more information or to register, call (514) 931-2304 or visit www.mcl-bjm.ca.
Shakespeare at Local Parks
Watching Shakespeare under the stars is a long-standing Montreal tradition thanks to the Repercussion Theatre, which stages the Bard's plays outdoors. From July 11 to August 5, the company will be presenting The Taming of the Shrew, a sharp look at the never-ending battle of the sexes. This show will appeal to older children and adults; bring chairs and blankets. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
For a complete list of parks and performance times, visit www.repercussiontheatre.com.
Dragon Boat Festival
Families can embark on a journey through Chinese culture at the Dragon Boat Festival on July 20-22 at the Olympic Basin in Jean Drapeau Park. More than 200 teams from across North America will compete in races. An array of live performances, culinary delights and exhibitions will be offered for visitors of all ages. Children can enjoy arts and crafts, games and the popular Children’s Drawing Contest. Admission is free, but there is a parking fee. Free shuttle buses will be leaving from the corner of de la Gauchetiere St. W. and St. Urbain St. to the site.
For more information, visit www.montrealdragonboat.com.
Expo de St. Hyacinthe
City-dwellers can explore the agricultural world, plus indulge in amusement park rides, at the Expo de St. Hyacinthe held from July 26 to August 5. There will be exhibitions, farm animals, 25 amusement park rides and live entertainment. Families won't want to miss demonstrations and activities such as cow milking, face painting and pony rides. Admission is $15 for kids 3-15, and $17 for visitors 16 years and over. The expo site is located at 2670 Beauparlant Ave., St. Hyacinthe.
For more information and a complete list of activities, visit www.expo-agricole.com.
Rogers Cup Family Weekend
Even if you have never hit a tennis ball in your life, you can still enjoy a weekend of family fun presented by Rogers Cup. On August 4-6 at Jarry Park, the Rogers Tennis tournament invites families to enjoy an array of free activities during the qualifying rounds of the competition. Kids can get their face painted, participate in a game of mini-tennis or jump in giant inflatables. There will also be a mini gymnastics obstacle course and entertainers such as jugglers and mascots. Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit; if it’s a hot day, you can use the public pool at Jarry Park to cool off.
For more information, visit www.rogerscup.com.
International Balloon Festival
Families are invited to attend the biggest gathering of hot air balloons in Canada at the International Balloon Festival in St. Jean sur Richelieu. From Aug. 11-19, families can enjoy activities, workshops and even hot air balloon rides at the festival site. There will be more than 50 inflatable structures and families can meet with hot air balloon pilots to learn more about this sport. There will also be live shows featuring Simple Plan, Mika and Carly Rae Jepsen. A one-day family package for two children and two adults costs $50 or $60 on Saturday. Balloon rides cost $170 for a morning flight and $210 for an evening flight.
For more information and a complete list of rates and activities, visit www.ballooncanada.com.
The Brome Fair
Give the summer a glorious send-off by attending the Brome Fair held from August 31 to September 3. This agricultural fair takes place in the Eastern Township’s village of Brome and attracts more than 40,000 people each year. The festival's line-up includes midway rides for kids of all ages and an educational zone where children can learn about agriculture and where food comes from. Kids will also want to make a stop at the Agri-Zone to enjoy the petting zoo, pony rides and a chance to milk Bella the cow. Visitors won’t want to miss the classic truck pull, horse pull, and circus entertainers. This year, there will be nighttime performances from rock band This Side Up and Juno award-winner Jessie Farrell. Tickets are available at the door for $12. The fair site is located at 345 Stagecoach Rd. in Brome.
For more information, visit www.bromefair.com.