MONTREAL — Montreal en Lumiere, Montreal’s midwinter bash, serves up some fine dining, performance art, family-style fun and an activity that goes on all night long.
The tribute to the culinary arts has been a mainstay of Montreal en Lumiere since the beginning and this year is no exception. In fact, the festival boasts more than 350 foodie events including food workshops and tastings, culinary tours, gastronomic happy hours, bargain lunches and special dinner menus at hundreds of restaurants throughout the city.
The epicurean agenda this year features “Planete Montreal,” which spotlights some Montreal gastro originals. “Amities Gourmands” provides some gastronomic international “gourmet goodwill” with paired chef teams from around the world representing France, Belgium, Portugal and Morocco.
And each year the fine dining events pay tribute to a local region, city and country, with this year’s well-deserved nods going to the Laurentians region of Quebec, San Francisco and a “Hats off to Haiti” series.
The online website lets you search the complete list of activities by budget, cuisine type and meal.
The main outdoor events take place at Place des Festivals in the heart of downtown adjacent to the Place des Arts complex.
The outdoor site features free concerts every night, a family fun zone, multimedia interactive light shows, a Ferris wheel, an interactive super slide and a 60-foot indoor sphere where revelers can dance the night away.
One highlight this year is “180 Bravos,” a free, outdoor 30-minute multimedia light and fireworks spectacular that pays tribute to four Montreal institutions marking milestone anniversaries: the 80th of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra; the 50th of Place des Arts; the 40th of the Duceppe Theatre; and, of course, the 15th anniversary of Montreal en Lumiere. It will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 22.
New this year is “Nucleus,” a light show installation consisting of a giant cubic cluster of lasers, lights, smoke and original musical. How to control the nucleus? Just get moving — it comes alive when you start to move. It’s held at 6:30, 7:50 and 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday during the fest.