Although it’s not officially summer quite yet, the warmer weather has definitely begun to creep up on Montreal. That said, after a conversation with a fellow coworker, we quickly realized that as born and raised Montrealers, it is imperative for us to take at least a week off to soak up some of the sights and sounds our city is renowned for! So, after compiling a list of local sunshine-filled happy times on a mustard-stained napkin, I’ve decided to share some of what we’ve come up with. (Yes, the list is probably best suited for out of towners but I’m sure there’s a few things you haven’t done in a while that could turn a fruitless afternoon or two into enjoyable ones!)

  • Mount-Royal
    Metro: Place-des-Arts or Mont-Royal
    Yep, seems like an obvious one when you think of it but there’s so much to do that, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably missed out on a few. Among the obvious activities are taking a walk or bike ride along the mountain, soaking in the sounds of the tams on a Sunday afternoon, renting a paddleboat up at Beaver Lake, or just admiring the view from the belvedere. What you might not have known is that the foot of the mountain (aka Jeanne-Mance park) is home to a few beach volleyball courts! Yep, beach volleyball!  All you gotta do is show up with or without your posse and for a few measley bucks you can enjoy the beach en ville. I’m also told that BBQ’s are held every Wednesday evenings at Jeanne-Mance park. If anyone could confirm the latter, it would be greatly appreciated.
  • Olympic Park
    Metro: Pie-IX or Viau
    Montreal’s official Money Pit! Well, we paid for it so why not make use of it? Among some activities are a visit to the Biodome , the Insectarium, and the Botanical Gardens. You can also take advantage of the somewhat decent sporting facilities or board le funiculaire and make your way atop the tower of the Big O for one impressive view of the city! More info about activities going on in the Olympic Park area are available at www.rio.gouv.qc.ca .
  • The Old Port/Old Montreal/City Hall
    Metro: Champ-de-Mars, Place D’Armes, Square Victoria
    No shortage of stuff to do in and around Old Montreal! Just chill out at one of the many charming restaurants, bars, or cafes lining what’s left of the cobble street roads. Enjoy an ice cream along Place Jacques-Cartier or just take in some of the street performances. Take a tour of City Hall — yes, I’m told they have guided tours! And, for those with the artist in you, there’s more than heaving amounts of inviting galleries run by local artists! Not the artsy type? Well, there’s always the saute-mouton water adventure or for those who are less adveturous, the bateau-mouche water tours. Also available are peddleboats and those ginormous ghetto bikes for 3+ people. Kids? Not a problem, why not drop into the Science Museum or the Labyrinthe. More info is available here: www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca and here: www.quaysoftheoldport.com
  • Montreal Festivals
    Yeah, there’s no shortage when it comes to major arts, cultural, entertainment, and music fests in Montreal. Here are just a few that offer both paying and free attractions:
    Piknic Electronik – Various Sat. and Sun.: www.piknicelectronik.com
    Fringe Festival – June 11 > 21: www.montrealfringe.ca
    Jazz Festival – June 30 > July 12: www.montrealjazzfest.com
    Fanstasia – July 9 > 27: www.fantasiafest.com
    Just for Laughs Festival – July 16 > 26: www.hahaha.com
    Francofolies – July 30 > August 9: www.francofolies.com
    Italian Week – August 7 > 16: www.semaineitaliennedemontreal.com
    World Film Festival – August 27 > September 7: www.ffm-montreal.org
    M For Montreal – September 5 > 6: www.mformontreal.com
    Fireworks Competition – see below
  • Fireworks Competition
    Metro: Jean-Drapeau (La Ronde), variou
    Taking place between June 13 – August 15th, Montreal’s annual fireworks competition is a must. Teams from around the world bring together their best pyrotechnicians (is that a word?) to put on breathtaking fireworks displays! Although the actual fireworks are fired from La Ronde, you can catch the show free of charge (I suggest you show uop armed with a lawn/camping chair) from a variety of spots including Notre-Dame east of the Jacques Cartier bridge, on the Jacques Cartier bridge itself or along the quais of the Old Port. Note: Notre-Dame and the Jacques Cartier bridge will be blocked off to traffic on the night of  the fireworks. Full schedule available here: www.internationaldesfeuxloto-quebec.com
  • Parc Jean Drapeau/Ste-Helene’s Island
    Just so much going on at one of Montreal’s largest green spaces. everything from huge concerts (i.e. Virgin Music Festival, Osheaga) to the Piknic Electronik. Or maybe, just visit the Biosphere, take a dip at Montreal’s public beach, rent a peddle boat,  scream your lungs out at La Ronde, visit the ancient ruins so to speak (or is it so to write?) of Expo 67 and Les Floralies.
  • Shakespeare in the Park
    Quite an interesting concept indeed. Quite simply put enjoy a night of theatre under the stars as Repercussion Theatre tours various parks in the Greater Montreal area. Complete show listings are available at www.repercussiontheatre.com
  • Movies in the Park
    Yes, a cheap plug on my part. Every Wednesday night (start date to be confirmed), Astral Media’s 3 anglophone radio stations park hop, so to speak, bringing along a big screen, a BBQ as well as some eats and treats to various suburbs in and around Montreal. All you need is a blanket, lawn chair optional while you catch the latest blockbuster. Best of all, it’s free of charge. More info to become available at www.montreal.virginradio.ca

Keep in mind, the list is a work in progress. Feel free to share your ideas!

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