The Tourist Train: the Nation’s annual summer tourism guide

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As the snow melts and spring becomes a certainty here in Montreal, people are emerging from hibernation, losing layers and getting out to enjoy what the city has to offer.

While warm weather might still be a few weeks away in Eeyou Istchee, it’s never too early to plan your summer getaway down south. So pack your bags, bring the kids – or drop them off at Gookum’s – on your way to hop the Nation’s annual tourist train in and around Montreal.

The Big Event

MONTREAL, QUE.: August 5, 2017– Honne performs during Osheaga at Parc Jean Drapeau on Saturday August 5, 2017. (Tim Snow / EVENKO MANDATORY CREDIT)

Osheaga (August 3-5)

The crown jewel of Quebec’s summer music festival circuit returns to Montreal for its 13th incarnation. And as always, this year’s lineup spans the musical spectrum and features some notable acts in almost every genre you can think of. Performers include: Post Malone, Arctic Monkeys, Florence + the Machine, Tyler, The Creator, Odesza and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Once again, this year’s Osheaga will be presented in Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Gilles Villeneuve racetrack, as construction of a 65,000-capacity amphitheatre at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène continues.

But if it’s anything like last year, that won’t be a problem. The Villeneuve grounds feature a sprawling musical landscape, with a section for shopping and games, a designated EDM area, as well as child-care options a short walk away from the main stages.

It’s always a great time and the Nation will once again be present at the event. So drop us a line if you’re heading down for the show


Inside Montreal

Beer Festival (June 6-9)

From novices to beer connoisseurs, the Festival mondiale de la bière promises a little something for everyone. Since 1994, Montreal’s international beer festival has been bringing together the finest brews from around the world for people 18 and up. And this year, the festival will once again be held in Montreal’s Palais des congrès, with an outdoor patio as well.

On top of whites, wheats, lagers, blondes, ambers, pilsners and IPAs from large breweries and small-craft producers, the four-day event boasts free admission, beer alternatives like cider and Twisted Tea as well as an excellent selection of pub food.

Grand Prix Weekend (June 8-10)

Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix and all the festivities that come with it take over Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve at Parc Jean-Drapeau, as well as a large chunk of downtown between Peel and Crescent streets. While the massive crowds and noisy party-goers can be a bit much, the race itself guarantees excitement for motor-sport enthusiasts.

With speeds up to 375 km/h, F1 cars are the fastest road-racing vehicles in the world. The Grand Prix allows you to get up-close-and-personal with the cars and their drivers. You’ll also run into car enthusiasts from around the world who bring their fancy, souped-up rides to show them off throughout the weekend.

Comiccon (July 6-8)

Cosplayers from across the province and beyond will invade Montreal for Comiccon in early July. The family-friendly event, in a way, offers everyone a second chance at Halloween as people dress up as their favourite super-hero or movie character.

The event includes a slew of guest speakers and themed events held throughout the city during the weekend. It’s sure to be some fun for the kid in everyone. And as silly as it sounds, it’s a great place to get the kids interested in reading.

Fireworks Competition (July 7-August 8)

The International des Feux Loto-Québec features a global competition and a dazzling array of pyrotechnics Saturday and Wednesday evenings at 10 pm between July 7 and August 8.

This year participating nations include China, Austria, Australia, the Philippines and Canada. You can take in the fiery, dramatic displays free of charge from the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and along Notre-Dame Street east of the bridge, or spend a day at La Ronde amusement park and snag front-row seats. The projectiles are launched from Île Sainte-Hélène over the St. Lawrence River – get there early if you want a spot on the bridge.


Just for Laughs (July 11-29)

Montreal will again become the centre of the comedy universe when Just for Laughs rolls into town for two-and-a-half weeks in July. July 27 will see one of comedy’s biggest names, Kevin Hart, take the stage at the Bell Centre for his Irresponsible Tour.

Other well-known comics gracing the festival stages include Jo Koy, Jimmy Carr and Daily Show host Trevor Noah.

And while the big stages and concerts get the most attention, being in the city for the festival and attending some of the smaller shows can turn into the best stories. It’s become something of a tradition for A-list comics to surprise audiences with impromptu sets in more intimate venues. So, if you do make the trip, you could end up seeing your favourite comic for five bucks in a café or bar.

Kahnawake Powwow (July 14-15)

The Echoes of a Proud Nation Powwow will again be hosted on the Kahnawake powwow ground July 14-15.

Now in its 28th year, the powwow offers an arts-and-crafts exhibit, delicious food vendors, as well as world-class dancing and hand-drumming competitions and plenty of other Mohawk ceremonies and traditions spread out over the two days of festivities.

A $4 shuttle bus service is available to the site from the Angrignon metro station and admission costs $8 for the general public and $4 for seniors while children under 5 years old enter for free. Follow their Facebook page for upcoming announcements.

Heavy Montreal (July 28-29)

After a hiatus in 2017, Heavy Montreal returns to Parc Jean-Drapeau “stronger than ever”. The festival, again, will present a range of hard rock, metal, punk and other hardcore sounds with notable artists this year including Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Tech N9ne.

An ideal environment for metal-heads to let loose free of judgement, to mosh head-bang and rock out, Heavy Montreal will also bring back staple side-attractions like the Heavy Mania Wrestling tournament.

Presence Autochtone (August 7-15)

Montreal’s festival for all things Indigenous will set up in the Quartier des Spectacles and other venues around the city August 7-15. Over the course of eight days the First People’s festival features film screenings, music performances, cultural displays and Indigenous ceremonies under the sign of meeting and respecting differences. The full programming will be announced soon.

Montreal Pride (August 9-19)

One of the international LGBTQ community’s favourite Pride festivals takes place in Montreal August 9-19. “Pride Week” celebrations start with dance parties across the city and culminate with the annual parade but there are dozens of activities and events scheduled every day of the fest.

Annual events include a family-friendly Community Day and the Mega T-Dance, a huge celebration held right after the Montreal Pride Parade. And while a route for the parade hasn’t been announced, it’s sure to parallel last year’s celebrations in size and length.


Outside of Montreal

Festival de la Truite Mouchetée (June 16-24)

For those who want to squeeze out of what’s left of spring fishing and go all out with some fancy fly fishing, there’s the Festival de la Truite Mouchetée in the Mauricie’s Saint-Alexis-des-Monts. The region’s spectacular landscape offers a magical backdrop to this family-friendly event that features fishing by day and entertainment by night. All set in a quaint small town with so much to offer, this event runs June 16-24.

James Bay Walleye Festival (June 21-30)

When it comes to kicking off the longer days of warmth and light, there’s nothing better than enjoying a festival that’s nearby and is all about fishing. The James Bay Walleye Festival kicks off on June 21 (National Aboriginal Day) and runs until June 30. As per usual there will be all kinds of entertainment and events for those staying on the camp grounds and you can expect all sorts of prizes.

Festival d’humour (July 3-8)

A longtime favourite in the North, Val-d’Or’s Festival d’humour de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue is back again to provide several days of jokes July 3-8. Whether you speak French or not, there’s lots of fun to be had at this festival. And once again, they are bringing in an English-speaking performer, Kevin Stobo from Edmonton. Taking in a show in French is not a bad thing, because it’s a great motivator to polish up on your French skills.

Tremblant International Blues Festival (July 5-16)

If you crave a resort vacation and want to keep it in Quebec, you can bring the whole fam-jam down to Mont-Tremblant’s celebrated blues fest. Drawing in big name performers and offering luxurious accommodations, there are plenty of attractions for kids during the day, spectacular restaurants come dinner time and then sizzling acts come nightfall. Running July 5-16, Tremblant is known for its golf courses, boutiques, adventure sports for kids and a beach for those who love to make sand castles.

August Festival (August 2-5)

Want to keep the fun local, then check out Chibougamau’s annual summer festival August 2-5. Featuring live music, beach volleyball, a triathlon and an arts exhibition, this event has something to offer everyone in the family.

Truck Rodeo (August 3-5)

Of course, if you really want to attend the social event of the year in Quebec’s north you can hold on to your frigging hats and enjoy Truck Rodeo in Notre-Dame-du-Nord (Abitibi). If big trucks are your thing, here’s a festival that features nightly entertainment and fun for kids during the day. Truck Rodeo is the summer’s hot ticket for you! Featuring contests and prizes, music and games, and monstrous trucks billowing black smoke August 3-5.

Festival Osisko en Lumière (August 9-11)

Running August 9-11, the Festival Osisko en Lumière pairs the live music of up-and-coming artists with fireworks displays. There is no other event in Quebec like this – an intense experience for your eyes and ears. Ideal for the youth as is a late-night event. This year’s event will feature a wide variety of artists from Quebec and abroad, bringing together both francophone and anglophone bands for three consecutive nights that will feature three performances per night. Each night will also be capped off by dance parties featuring live DJ sets. As Rouyn-Noranda’s hottest attraction of the summer, be sure not to miss out on this spectacular festival of sound and vision.

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