Montréal has successfully developed a resolutely contemporary dynamic culture that shines on both the local and international scenes making Montréal Québec's leading cultural destination. Summer and winter alike, lovers of festivals, theatre, cinema, music and science can choose among a multitude of activities.
Montréal: the City of Festivals:
Renowned for their joie de vivre and their hospitality, Montréalers welcome visitors and let them discover all the pleasures of their metropolis.
- For almost 30 years, the Montréal International Jazz Festival has been recognized as the largest jazz festival in the world. It attracts over one and a half million visitors. Some 400 concerts are performed, including 300 free concerts in outdoor venues.
- For the past 25 years, the Just for Laughs Festival has presented comedy shows from all four corners of the world. 2,000 performers and over one and a half million spectators attend this event every year, which takes place in some 30 halls and on the streets of Montréal.
- For 20 years, the FrancoFolies, a French music festival, has attracted over 1,200 artists. 70 indoor shows and 180 free outdoor concerts every year reflects the quality and vitality of this program, that attracts thousands of people.
- Montréalers adore the cinema and are lucky to have several international festivals, including the World Film Festival and the Festival du Nouveau cinéma. These two events offer film buffs a unique opportunity to see the latest offerings of renowned directors or to discover new talent.
- The Montréal High Lights Festival, that takes place every year in February has become a must see winter event. Since 2000, this celebration of the senses has combined three aspects: stage art, gastronomy and light. During ten days, participants are invited to a host of indoor and outdoor activities, including an all-nighter, right in the heart of downtown.
- The Loto-Québec International Fireworks Competition takes place every summer and presents pyrotechnic shows by the best firework specialists in the world.
- The Eureka Festival a huge celebration of science and technology, is a chance to experience a unique adventure, one that shows just how central science is to our lives.
Montréal: a Rich and Diverse Cultural Offering
Montréal has a vast network of museums, art galleries and exhibition centres. These include:
- The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts houses over 35,000 works covering the main artistic schools from Antiquity to the present day. Throughout the year, it presents numerous thematic exhibitions.
- The Montréal Museum of Contemporary Art offers permanent collection of 7,000 works as well as temporary exhibitions of Québec, Canadian and international artists.
- The Canadian Centre of Architecture (CCA), an avant-garde cultural institution whose mission is to raise public awareness of the role of architecture in society, promotes top-flight research and fosters innovation in design practice.
- The McCord Museum is a research museum with an educational vocation dedicated to the preservation, study, promotion and appreciation of Canadian history.
Greater Montréal also boasts numerous scientific institutions, including:
- The Montréal Biodome recreates the flora and fauna environments of some of the most beautiful ecosystems on the planet, including the tropical rainforest and the polar regions.
- The Insectarium presents exhibitions and animated activities related to the world of insects.
- The Botanical Gardens one of the largest in the world, hosts a collection of 22,000 plant species, 10 exhibition glasshouses and some 30 thematic gardens.
- The Planetarium presents multimedia shows highlighting aspects of the fascinating world of astronomy.
- The Montréal Science Centre offers a multitude of discovery activities and scientific exhibitions for both children and adults.
- The Cosmodome located in Laval includes the Space Camp and the Space Sciences Centre. It initiates youngsters in science and space technologies, as well as the history and evolution of space exploration.
In addition to the Canadian National Theatre School, Montréal houses several theatre companies and troupes, including the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (TNM), the Théâtre du Rideau Vert, the Compagnie Jean Duceppe, the Théâtre de Quat’sous and the Espace Go. Their varied repertoires include works from the major classics to contemporary creations to experimental theatre. During the summer, a large number of players move out to the countryside to present productions in the area's picturesque summer theatres.
Music lovers are spoiled for choice in Montréal, with a rich and diversified musical offering.
- The Montréal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) has built itself an international reputation through its many prestigious tours and recordings.
- The Opéra de Montréal is renowned for its interpretation of the best-loved masterpieces from the operatic repertoire.
- Classical music lovers can also count on excellent concerts from the Montréal Baroque Orchestra and the Greater Montréal Metropolitan Orchestra.
- In summer, music festivals such as the Montréal International Jazz Festival, the FrancoFolies and the Festiblues international de Montréal liven up downtown public squares. At approximately one hour’s drive from Montréal, the Lanaudière International Festival, a renowned festival of classical music, takes place in an outdoor country setting.
Montréal boasts a very dynamic contemporary and classical dance scene. Troupes of international renown, such as the Grands Ballets canadiens, share the centre stage with avant-garde dance troupes such as La La La Human Steps, O Vertigo and the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation.
- Montréal hosts several film festivals including the Montréal World Film Festival, the International Festival of Films on Art, the International Festival of New Cinema and New Media, the Fantasia Film Festival, the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, the Journées du cinéma africain et créole and the Scientific Film Festival.
- Devotees of the seventh art can also take advantage of several movie complexes that present original local and international films. Repertory cinema and art and experimental cinema take centre stage at the Cinémathèque québécoise. Montréal also hosts the headquarters of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).
Montréal is today one of the gastronomic capitals of the world, as acknowledged by Food & Wine magazine. It has its own original, innovative cuisine reflecting its multicultural identity. From establishments run by young audacious chefs to large classic restaurants to friendly family-run eateries to ethnic neighbourhood restaurants, Montréal has something for everyone, for every taste and every budget.