May 23, 2013

Montreal festival season starts now

MONTREAL — Festival season in Montreal is officially under way. Here’s where to get your festival fix this summer.

First up, the “biere” is here. The festival season begins with a toast at Festival Mondial de la Biere, or the International Beer Festival, which features some 500 beers from more than 120 breweries from around the world. The event runs Wednesday, May 29, through Sunday, June 2, at new downtown digs: Palais de Congres, both indoors and outside on the esplanade. There’s live music and tasty finger food, too. Admission is free. Tasting coupons cost $1 each; one tasting ranges from two to six coupons. Visit for more information.

The Montreal Grand Prix rolls into town Friday, June 7, through Sunday, June 9, with high-octane Formula One-style racing at Jean Drapeau Park on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. This one’s a pretty big draw. When the racing’s not on, the party is — the nonstop party central is located along downtown’s Crescent Street. Visit or for details.

Downtown’s fairly new Place des Festivals, located near Place des Arts, hosts a number of summertime events and fests. Opening the season here (and closing many city streets) is Les FrancoFolies de Montreal, which offers an original lineup of Francophone music from around the world. Many concerts are free and held outdoors. It runs Thursday, June 13, through Saturday, June 22. Call (514) 876-8989 or visit for information.

Montreal’s Gay Village hosts a number of events. Aires Libres closes Ste. Catherine Street to vehicular traffic and turns it into one giant outdoor restaurant terrace now through Labor Day. Visit for more information. The 14th edition of Festival Montreal en Arts, or FIMA, adds an outdoor art gallery to the St. Catherine Street mix, with works of more than 125 artists Wednesday, June 12, through Sunday, June 16. For details, visit And there are two separate pride celebrations. One features music and dance hosted by Divers/Cite Monday, July 29, through Sunday, Aug. 4. Visit for more information. More festivities start Monday, Aug. 12, complete with a centerpiece pride parade Sunday, Aug. 18. Visit for details on that celebration.

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