15 things to do this April

Spring is in the air, and you can feel the city slowly coming back to life. Here are some things you can do to help you wake up from hibernation.

1. MFF Night Market  

What: A nighttime market featuring Montreal artists and live performances 

When: April 5 and 19 from 6 to 10 p.m. 

Where: Le Frigo Vert

2. Comedy Carnival  

What: Nights filled with songs, laughs and food. Sounds like a good time!

When: Every Thursday from 10 to 11:30 p.m. until May 3

Where: 2015 Rue Crescent, third floor

3. Conférence-Débat Upop Montreal 

What: If a classroom setting just isn’t for you, try joining in on one of these events to learn about life on Earth 

When: April 5, 19 and 26 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Where: La Brassée, 2522 Rue Beaubien Est

4. Shiny Disco Ball Dance Party 

What: Have you ever felt like you were born in the wrong era? Well, for one night you can party like it’s the 1970s at the Shiny Disco Ball. 

When: April 8 at 8 p.m. 

Where: Plaza Centre-Ville 777 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa

5. Blue Metropolis Literary Festival 

What: This year is the 25th anniversary of the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, and they’re hosting virtual and in-person events revolving around literature and writing workshops. 

When: April 12 to 30

Where: Events are all virtual until the April 27, where the in-person festival takes place at Hotel 10 Sherbrooke St. W

6. Le Grande Braderie de Mode 

What: Also known as the Big Fashion sale, this semi-annual clothing sale features some of Quebec’s most prominent names in the fashion world. 

When: April 13 – 16 

Where: Marché Bonsecours  

7. Trek Boucherville Roulez et Réparez 

What: A chance to try out different bicycles while learning to upkeep and repair them at the same time. 

When: April 15 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Where: Trek Bicycle Montréal Griffintown, 291 Rue de la Montagne, Montréal, Canada

8. ToyCon Montreal   

What: A convention that displays the latest action figures, collectables and comics. Head over in your favourite cosplay and see what you can find. 

When: April 15 – 16 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Marriott Montreal Airport Courtyard 7000 Place Robert-Joncas

9. Festival Vues d’Afrique 

What: A festival that consists of themed days focusing on different cultures. It features films, art exhibits, food and round table discussions on a variety of topics. 

When: April 20 – 30

Where: 100 R. Sherbrooke E Bureau 3100,

10. Montreal Green Tech Festival 

What: A weekend that showcases the newest technological advances in green technology, as well a special showcase event on electric vehicles. 

When: April 21 – 23

Where: Olympic Stadium

11. Plural Contemporary Art Fair 

What: This event shows off some of the best contemporary art from across the country with a mix of virtual and in-person events.

When: April 21 – 23

Where: Grand Quay of the Port of Montreal 

12. Terra Concert  

What: A one-hour concert that focuses on the environment as a tribute to earth day

When: April 22 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where:  Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel 400 Rue Saint Paul Est

13. Vegapalooza 

What: Celebrate springtime at Vegapalooza, where you can try vegan foods and buy vegan products.  

When: April 29 – 30

Where: Maison du développement durable 50 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest

14. SAT Cabane a Sucre Experience 

What: An immersive and unique sugar shack experience that was a collaborative project put together by different Quebecois artists. 

When:  March 30 – April 29 

Where: 1201 Saint Laurent Blvd

15. The Belgo Building 

What: The Belgo building features 27 free galleries and installations open to the public.

When: The building is open every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. but each installation has their own opening hours

Where: 372 Saint-Catherine St. W

Bonus: WWF’s Climb for Nature 

What: If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for a challenge, you can partake in the WWF’s climb for nature. 

When: April 15 – 16

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre Hall C, North Building.

Community Student Life

Mushroom Workshop At le Frigo vert

On Nov 2. 2022, Le Frigo Vert hosted a mushroom workshop where participants can learn about how to use mushrooms in a variety of ways.

Workshop attendees learned to make their own mushroom tinctures from red belted conk, birch polypore, chaga, and reishi mushrooms. CATHERINE REYNOLDS/The Concordian

Different mushroom tinctures. CATHERINE REYNOLDS/The Concordian

Different herbs, spices, and mushrooms that participants can choose from. CATHERINE REYNOLDS/The Concordian

The participant is seen putting mushroom tincture into their container. CATHERINE REYNOLDS/The Concordian


Three unique VR activities to try out over the weekend in Montreal

Bring a few friends and venture into a realistic sci-fi adventure or get a “bird’s eye view” of a new and innovative flight simulator experience.

When you think of Montreal and its surrounding regions, a booming virtual reality (VR) scene is likely not what comes to mind. Despite this, it may be surprising to discover that Montreal has some of the most established VR experiences in all of Canada, and a slew of unique activities for those who seek them out. 

Join The Concordian in trying out three VR activities spread out around the downtown area.

  1. Réalité Virtuelle Zero Latency Montréal

Zero Latency Montreal is definitely a top contender for being one of the most innovative, advanced and unique VR experiences in Montreal. 

With experienced game masters guiding you through every portion of the game and a multitude of different free-roam experiences to choose from (a facet of VR in which you are given an entire room, with friends, to fully immerse yourself in the VR world with the aid of a VR headset and, at times, VR weaponry), it is no surprise that Forbes’ review of the place included the following quote: “This surreal multiplayer experience is the world’s most advanced free-roam virtual reality game.”

The Concordian was able to try their Singularity free-roam game and the complete immersiveness of the experience was mind-blowing; it’s definitely one of the most advanced VR experiences out there.

To try it yourself, head to their website and book a slot for one of the free-roam games ($44.99/ player for a half an hour session).

  1. MontVR 

MontVR offers a lot of versatility with their VR experiences. While each location includes a different array of experiences, combined there are over six unique activities to choose from. 

With everything from free-roam, to VR escape rooms, VR gaming stations, minigolf, axe throwing and even a mock flight simulator at their DIX30 location.

The VR gaming stations and the flight simulator (Birdly) in particular are both high-quality experiences. 

The staff are also extremely kind and accommodating, and with so much to choose from, there was not a single boring moment. 

Book your own experience here

  1. PHI Centre 

With a variety of ever-rotating interdisciplinary experiences to choose from year-round, PHI Centre acts almost as a futuristic version of what we would currently call an art museum. 

With both free and paid installations to choose from, ranging from tableaus to live music performances and conferences, the PHI Centre seems to have it all. One of their most captivating installations is Horizons

A VR experience that transcends the genre, Horizons is a collection of four award-winning works put together to form an intense and immersive journey. 
If you’d like to experience Horizons firsthand before it closes on Oct. 24, book here.


Broken Promises, Closed Community Organizations

Quebec community organizations have gone on strike across the province this past week as a result of intense pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers say they lack the funding needed to deal with the massive growth in the need for their services to house, feed, and provide care for vulnerable populations.

Video Editor Anthony-James Armstrong spoke with community sector workers at a massive demonstration near downtown Montreal on Tuesday, Feb. 22.


PHOTOS: Community organizations strike amidst pandemic pressures

Coalition des Tables régionales d’organismes communautaires (CTROC) kicked off their mobilization week with a massive protest in the Berri-UQAM area on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

The CTROC is a coalition of Quebec’s community organizations primarily supporting the area’s health and wellness needs. According to the organizers, the need for their services by vulnerable people has increased greatly since the pandemic began, whereas their resources remained the same.

Accompanying the mounting pressures of the pandemic, many feel a lack of moral and financial support from the provincial government. Workers in these community organizations have struggled to adapt on their own without clear guidelines to follow. According to those who attended, some 2500 protesters filled the streets, and the strike will continue for at least the next week with demonstrations taking place across the province.

Photo Story by Catherine Reynolds

Concordia Student Union News

CSU fighting for student building

Hopes went down for the Concordia Student Union (CSU) when learning a few weeks back that the last potential building to accommodate student housing was being replaced by a condo project.

The building, located on the corner of Mackay St., was once home to Mizan Gourmet, a Mediterranean supermarket, and Copy Concordia, among other shops and restaurants. It will be demolished any day now.

“We got an email that the building was bought, that it’s going to be torn down and that it’s going to be turned into a condo building,” said CSU President Chris Kalafatidis. “The reason why we’re so offended by this building is that once it goes up it’s over. It can never be undone.”

The building is said to be 20-storey high.

“To put things in context, JMSB is less than 20 storeys,” said Kalafatidis. “This is going to be the tallest object and it’s going to be in the middle of our campus.”

Kalafatidis is also concerned by the lack of infrastructure Concordia offers its students as well as its professors. According to Kalafatidis, students should have more welcoming infrastructures to hang out in and feel attached to their university.

However, Concordia replied in an email to The Concordian that in the past years, the university has invested in the construction and renovation of infrastructure such as the PERFORM center in 2011, EV building in 2005, and JMSB in 2009.

The building cornering Maisonneuve and Mackay St. was of interest to the CSU to achieve a long living goal: a student building. Not only would it serve to house all Concordia clubs, but would also feature things such as places to hang out, restaurants run by students, and maybe even a movie theatre, according to Kalafatidis.

He says such a project would be feasible.

We have the money [to pay for the building] because back in early 2000 we established a fund called the SSAELC fund,” said Kalafatidis. SSAELC stands for Student Space, Accessible Education, and Legal Contingency. “The purpose of this fund is to buy a club building and now it’s acquired enough wealth where we can actually do that.”

Following Concordia’s historical expansion, such a building would also serve as a way to build a campus proper to the university. Unlike many others, Concordia’s Sir-George-Williams campus is not a traditional distinct campus. Located in the middle of Montreal’s downtown, the university shares its location with dozens of shops and restaurants. Concordia’s ‘natural expansion,’ as defined by Kalafatidis, was foreshadowing a potential campus of its own; yet, hopes of achieving it went down.

“Ideally, Concordia will buy more in the area and slowly build what McGill already has: a campus of our own,” said Kalafatidis. “And now instead of getting more campus, or maybe green space where students can hang out, we’re getting a giant building.”

In an interview with CTV, Kalafatidis said the CSU is willing to take action and escalate the situation to the municipal government level. They are also hoping Concordia will join forces in the cause.


Photo by Kayla-Marie Turriciano

Student Life

Hats off to the master brewer

When walking along the streets of St. Laurent Blvd., one can easily find a place to dine, shop or party. However, every so often a spot stands out amongst all the flashy lights, restaurants and dive bars.

Next time you’re walking North on St. Laurent, try something new; take a right onto Duluth and step into Le Reservoir, a bar that stands out for its excellent house-brewed beers and its irresistible snack bar.

The two story bar offers a pub setting and ambiance that would easily fit in the trendy hipster neighbourhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Both floors are equipped with their very own bar, as well as an L-shaped, non-smoking terrace which wraps around the second floor. The interior design of the place is retro with just the right amount of lighting to set the perfect mood over a pint of any one of their fine beers.

Upon being seated, my girlfriend and I ordered off their chalk-written menu hanging above the bar. I ordered their white India Pale Ale, and my girlfriend ordered the cherry beer. Both came rather fast as they were skillfully poured before our eyes.

Through the glass wall behind the bar, the clientele can easily see the room where the giant metal containers called “worts” are kept. These massive containers house the delicious beer as it ferments in all its glory.

I have been yearning to go to Le Reservoir and try their beers crafted by their master brewer Nathan McNutt—beers that I can now happily say exceeded my expectations.

“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing people enjoy my work while at the same time fulfilling my passion for creation,” says McNutt. “Combining my skills, creativity, and toil with raw ingredients and machinery to make a delicious product that many people enjoy; I just don’t get tired of that.”

By the end the evening I had tried four of his beers and as a result, must encourage anybody who appreciates a well-rounded beer to head over there next time they want a quality pint.

I may not be a beer expert, but I can say that their white IPA was a refreshing pint filled with taste and character, and their Irish-inspired black beer was a full-bodied pint with a perfect coffee flavour finish. Even my girlfriend’s cherry beer was not just a simple, pretty coloured beer. It is fermented twice with polished cherries, resulting in a savoury beer worthy of being served along the other outstanding choices.

“Reservoir up until recently focused solely on classic styles of beer as opposed to the more fashionable aggressively hopped beers or strong exotically flavoured beers found in other brewpubs,” says McNutt.

While their beers may be filling and satisfying on their own, craving food after a few drinks is expected. Thankfully, Le Reservoir has a kitchen.

The place is well known for its weekend brunch which is supposedly superb. However, I went on a weeknight and so I got a chance to indulge in their snack menu.

I ordered the calamari platter and my girlfriend the Gruyere grilled cheese, toasted to perfection with marinated onions and apple butter. Both plates held decent portions and were creatively served. The grilled cheese was placed on a wood platter and the calamari served in a mason jar. Turns out we chose wisely as the food perfectly complimented the beer.

Overall, the place provided an ambiance and vibe that is different from many bars in Montreal. It is original and versatile in the sense that it is a cool place for a late night drink, yet perfect for an afternoon snack or weekend brunch. They offer a fine selection of beers and spirits at reasonable prices, and their food menu changes daily for a fresh and impressive experience. I love this place and I highly suggest you head on over and try it for yourself!

Student Life

Concordia cheap eats

Photos by writers

I was so excited when I discovered Nilufar last year; I was told this was the place to go for good food that’s cheap. I definitely wasn’t let down!

Located on Ste. Catherines St., about a five minute walk from the Sir George Williams campus, Nilufar, which means “Lily of the Valley,” serves up healthy and fresh Middle Eastern cuisine.

For only $2 you can get a tasty falafel sandwich, a soup, and a drink. It’s a deal that is hard to beat.

The falafel sandwich is great. The falafels are moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and are a perfect blend of flavours. They are wrapped in a pita and topped with tomatoes, lettuce and hummus. It’s a small portion, but when combined with the soup, it makes for a filling snack. The lentil soup is my favourite.

The small family-run business will be celebrating its 18th anniversary on Halloween. Nilufar Al-Shourbaji, the owner’s daughter, is the cheerful girl behind the counter.

“My mother is the magic behind the food,” she said.

There’s nothing fancy about the place, but the food, the value, and the friendly atmosphere are what makes it worth it. It’s really a great alternative to the abundance of unhealthy and sometimes expensive food options around the downtown campus. Another added bonus—it’s vegan friendly!

Located on 1923 Ste. Catherine St. West

-Marie-Josée Kelly


Schnitzel and ice cream are part of a well-balanced student diet

You may have noticed food options around Loyola Campus are few and far between and are not of remarkable value. My absolute favourite place to eat is the wonderful Cafe Bano.

Located at a short distance from campus on Sherbrooke St., this charming cafe serves a combination of Persian and Israeli inspired cuisine. Prices range from $2-10. All of the food they serve is homemade and when the season permits, produce is picked from the owner’s garden.

Reza Avi Ensafi and his mother Paris run the cozy cafe and have been for the past six years. His high-energy and good-natured attitude along with his mother’s nurturing smile are what makes this place unique.

They offer a number of homemade desserts, coffee and tea on any given day. I’ve had their homemade vanilla, saffron, honey and pistachio ice cream, and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like it!

It’s their famous chicken schnitzel sandwich that always keeps me going back for more. It  is served on a fresh ciabatta roll, topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise. To kick things up a notch, ask them to spice up your sandwich. The combination of flavours is mouthwatering! It is worth the $6.25. For an extra dollar or two I usually add either one of their tasty soups or salads to complete the meal.

They also offer vegetarian options for veggie lovers. It’s a delightful and reasonably priced eatery that will satisfy your appetite guaranteed!

Located on 6929 Sherbrooke St. West

-Marie-Josée Kelly


Chinese comfort on the second floor

On the second floor of an unassuming building, nestled just behind the John Molson School of Business building on de Maisonneuve St. W., Shi Tang is just as easy to miss as it is to find; all you have to do is look up.

Shi Tang is a local fixture that serves up some cozy Chinese fare. Be warned though, it’s a little different from the other Chinese restaurants around the city. It is another iteration of the new variety of Chinese restaurants that surround Concordia University, serving up a taste and feel straight from the mainland.

If you find the restaurant and gather up the courage to climb the stairs, you will find yourself in a different world. The place sports a coat of institutional white walls and linoleum floors; and just to warn you, there are no English or French menus.

In short, the immediate feeling is one of intimidation and perhaps alienation, but the warm smile of the staff and the buzz of student banter will provide you with the bravery to order.

Shi Tang is the Chinese word for “cafeteria,” and that’s just what it is. There are long wooden tables and  benches, and most importantly, a kind looking lady with a spoon in hand standing over a hot array of glistening Chinese food, ready to serve you. The place serves an assortment of hearty Chinese dishes canteen style where you just point at what you want.

The food is affordable, delicious and most importantly, comforting. Suddenly, all the obstacles and foreignness of the place seem to take a backseat to the act of sharing a meal with the people around you.  Good thing you looked up.

Located on 1622 de Maisonneuve West

-Daniel Chen


I Pick Picks

Picks serves up casse-croûte food in a warm hole-in-the-wall setting. Tiny and unimposing, a fluorescent “open” sign encourages you to enter, and the food  makes you  never want to leave. The joint offers up a criss-cross of food cultures as the premise of the restaurant is to offer up the Korean take of various American street foods. The results are intensely satisfying.

Picks grills up one of the best burgers in the area (much better and slightly cheaper than neighbouring Buns). In addition, there are some novel toppings such as kimchee, eggs and a large assortment of sauces.  I recommend the chipotle mayo and the dried tomatoes and basil sauce.

From the fries to the chicken burgers, everything is made to order. Though it might take a little longer than other fast food places in the city, the food comes sizzling.

Finally, what elevates this greasy spoon above the others is the KOGO. What is the KOGO you ask? It’s a corn dog embedded with french fries. Try it out in all its greasy glory.

Located on 1407 Rue Saint Marc  Montreal

-Daniel Chen


Hundreds of thousands flood the streets

Check out a photo slide show from the march here.

Over 200,000 people took to the streets March 22 to protest tuition increases, many of whom were students from universities across Quebec.

The Concordia delegation, which led the way for the better part of the three-hour event, congregated near the Hall building around 12 p.m. Over 500 students then began to proceed down Ste-Catherine Street lead by Concordia Student Union VP external Chad Walcott, and President Lex Gill.

The scene at Berri and Ontario at Thursday’s tuition hike protest where an estimated 200,000 people took to Montreal’s streets.

The march began officially at Canada Place, where buses full of students from outside the city started arriving earlier in the day. The approximate length of the route was 5 km, with protesters marching down both Sherbrooke and Ste-Catherine Streets to their ultimate destination, Jacques-Cartier Place in the Old Port.

Protesters held signs denouncing Premier Jean Charest’s Liberal government, the leadership of Education Minister Line Beauchamp, and the idea that accessible education is not a priority.

The historic nature of the march had some people in the Twittersphere saying that a “Printemps erable” (Maple Spring) — clearly a play on Arab Spring — had arrived in Quebec.

Despite the massive turnout, the protest was extremely peaceful and the SPVM reported no major incidents during or after the march. Police presence was very light in comparison with other demonstrations that have taken place over the past few weeks.

“This sends an incredibly strong message to the government,” said Gill of the protest. “If anything else, the Liberal party has lost 200,000 voters for life.”

She went on to say that the march was the “largest mass demonstration over a public issue […] in years. It’s twice what they had in 2005,” she said of the last major student strike in Quebec.

The participation far exceeded the predictions made earlier in the day, proving that there is more public support for the student movement than estimated. Despite the success of the demonstration, Gill explained that protesters still have much work to do.

“The fight is not over,” she said. “There will be massive actions in the coming weeks until the government backs down.”

Walcott agreed with her saying that “it’s not a done deal,” and student groups need to “keep the pressure on. He said that the organizers’ willingness to communicate with the SPVM really made a significant difference in the tone of the day’s activities.

Participants in the March 22 demonstration represented every age demographic, from toddlers with their parents to cheering grandparents. Grade 10 student Terra Leger-Goodes of Paul-Gerin-Lajoie School in Outremont was at the march with a large group of students from her class.

“We heard that the cost of going to university is going up by a large amount, so we’re here to protest that. Society can only advance if people can go to school and gain knowledge,” she said, mentioning that by the time she enters university four to five years from now, the government’s tuition hikes will have almost reached their maximum. The Charest Liberals are planning to increase tuition by $325 a year between 2012 and 2017.

For grandmother Danielle Genereux, accessible education is an issue that affects everyone in Quebec, and should be at the top of the government’s priority list.

“Major investments in education should be an absolute priority. There should be no further discussion on that,” said Genereux, a grandmother of seven. “[The government] says opposition against tuition increases is not representative of the whole population. But today, they will see that it is representative.”

At the end of the march, Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarite syndicale etudiante spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois told students to return to their schools and to keep the student movement going. By 6 p.m., most of the protesters had dispersed, crowding into the nearest metro stations.

CLASSE, one of the main organizers of the day’s march, is planning a series of protests next week in an effort to cause an “economic disturbance” in the city, which they say will only end when the government retracts its decision to up tuition. The first “manif-action” takes place Monday, March 26 at 11 a.m. at Henri-Julien Park.

Concordia’s next general assembly where students will vote whether or not to remain on strike is scheduled for Monday, March 26 at 2 p.m. on the Reggie’s terrace. The university has already made clear that as of Monday, students who continue to block access to classrooms or buildings will face charges.

Opposition parties join students

Earlier in the morning, a press conference was held at Palais des Congres by the Federation etudiante universitaire du Quebec and the Federation etudiante collegiale du Quebec, and included representatives from groups such as the Centrale des syndicats du Quebec and the Confederation des syndicats nationaux, as well as opposition political parties, the Parti Quebecois, Quebec Solidaire and Option Nationale.

At the conference, PQ leader Pauline Marois reiterated that a PQ-elected government would not proceed with the tuition hikes, and would call for a provincial summit on post-secondary education. “The Charest government must stop considering students as enemies of the state,” she said.

QS spokesperson Francoise David, for her part, emphasized that the government could increase taxes on larger corporations in order to bring in more revenue, rather than asking for more money from students.

After the conference, PQ post-secondary education critic Marie Malavoy spoke to The Concordian about the issue of mismanagement of public funds in Quebec universities that has often been brought up in the debate on tuition increases.

Speaking on Education Minister Line Beauchamp’s recent decision to impose a $2 million fine on Concordia for handing out severance packages totalling $3.1 million, Malavoy said “there is no reason to have targeted one university. We must look at the salaries, the benefits and the severance packages at all universities. It’s foolish to think it’s just Concordia,” she said.

Malavoy mentioned that an idea has been floating among PQ ranks to institute a “commission” to look more closely at the management of public funds in Quebec universities.

Reaction from the government to the March 22 protest became more severe as the days passed. On the morning of March 22, Charest told reporters at the National Assembly in Quebec City that his government would “never stop listening to students.”

By Friday, his education minister was telling the Canadian Press that students needed to get back to class, or else they would face consequences. Line Beauchamp reiterated that the government would not back down from its decision, and said that should students continue to boycott classes, they risk having their semesters extended or classes scheduled at night. Concordia already indicated in a previous statement that it has no intention of prolonging the winter term.


Police officers on horses were at the tail end of the march.



Never fear, Montréal en lumière is here!

Spring is peeking over the horizon and Montréal en lumière has come to rattle winter’s hermits out of hibernation and remind them of all that the city has to offer.
Time to get out of bed, put your pants back on and quit staring at that stalled stream of Battlestar Galactica. The persecution of Internet pirates is in full swing and access to gratuitous new music may be waning, but Montreal’s got you covered.
Now in its 13th year, Montréal en lumière has become one of the largest winter festivals on the planet, tempting over 900,000 to indulge in cultural fusion.
This year, the festival introduces the RBC Dome, a free outdoor site that transforms the Quartier des spectacles into an urban playground. The site features light displays, food and wine tastings, an illuminated Ferris wheel, performances by Bran Van 3000, Miracle Fortress, Stefie Shock, and DJs spinning nightly—all complimentary.
Impressed? It doesn’t end there.
As one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, Montreal is difficult to take by surprise. The festival’s organizers have scoured the Earth to bring the city something new.
“We pick a different country every year and invite some of its artists to perform at Montréal en lumière,” explained Laurent Saulnier, the festival’s vice-president of planning and production. “This year we invited Belgium.”
Performing at Metropolis is Stromae, whose club hit “Alors on danse” has been remixed by Kanye West and clung to number one on European charts for weeks. The Experimental Tropic Blues Band will crank up the punk rock blues and My Little Cheap Dictaphone will bring alternative rock in the vein of Arcade Fire and Radiohead.
“We are always looking for new things, not for exclusivity, but for premieres,” said Saulnier, explaining how artists are selected. “We ask for special projects, something different.”
Six beloved Québécois artists chose to wait to debut their latest material at homecoming shows throughout the ten days of the festival. Diane Tell, France D’Amour, Marie-Denise Pelletier, Antoine Gratton, Catherine Major and Brigitte Boisjoli will headline and perform songs from their new albums. Cœur de pirate and The Barr Brothers will also step off their cross-country tours to return to the city where they got their start.
Theophilus London, for me, is one of the best new artists from the U.S.,” said Saulnier. Checking out his show is an absolute must.”
Nuit blanche, the “all-night” highlight of Montréal en lumière, is so jam-packed with events all over the city that it’s an entirely different festival of its own. Nuit blanche, originating in Paris in 2002, is a city’s nocturnal celebration of its culture through the allowance of public space for performances, art installations, social gatherings and more.
“All other versions of Nuit blanche all over the world are more focused on contemporary art, but the specialty of the Nuit blanche in Montreal is it’s a real party here in town,” said Saulnier. “It’s about music, dance, theatre and even sports.”
On Feb. 25, Nuit blanche will take over the streets of Plateau Mont-Royal, Mile End, Old Montreal, Place des Arts and the Olympic Park. With over 175 events, it is the busiest night of Montréal en lumière, and it gets more frenetic every year. Conveniently, the metro will be open all night long, a free shuttle bus will circulate between venues, and there will be plenty of Porta-Potties. Plus, there’s a smartphone app to help you digest the slew of times, locations and events.
At Nuit blanche, events are usually free of charge, so prepare for line-ups.
“The best parties in town will be at Club Soda and Metropolis,” hinted Saulnier. “It’s cool because the venues are very close, so you can walk from one place to another.”
Save the midterm sweat for Karnival, an annual Nuit blanche party hosted by Poirier and his guest DJs at Club Soda. If you’re hankering for a thrashin’, Fucked Up is playing its Polaris Prize-shortlisted album, David Comes to Life, in full after a surprise guest at Metropolis and Bran Van 3000 will be “Drinking in L.A.” on the RBC Dome stage while DJ Mini will be spinning on the side.
It’s reading week; you aren’t searing on a beach somewhere, you’re praying for your tax return, and your sink is crammed full of dirty People’s Potato tupperware.
Escape…to Montreal!

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