Montreal Festivals – Celebrate Canada’s Coolest City

Written By: The Planet D

Montreal is one of Canada’s greatest cities. We love visiting and have had the pleasure to go to Montreal in every season and for many Montreal Festivals. It truly is a city of Festivals and if you are planning to travel to Montreal, you may want to check to see if any of these festivals are happening during your stay.

Home to the famous Montreal Jazz Festival and Fetes Des Neiges (Winter Fest), Montreal is always ablaze with energy, especially when of these awesome festivals are taking place.

Montreal, a City of Festivals

The Just For Laughs Comedy Festival

city of festivals sign

It is exciting to be in Montreal for the Just For Laughs Festival. This is definitely Montreal’s most famous festival attracting the top comedians in their day. Dating back to 1983, this little festival began as a small two-day event. Today it has grown to the top comedy festival on earth! It has attracted the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, John Cleese and Wanda Sykes!

We’ve been to Montreal during this festival and it is a great time to be in the city and the weather is usually great!

Just For Laughs Festival Takes Place each July for 2 weeks.

Montreal Jazz Festival

haunted new orleans jazz

The Montreal Jazz Festival takes place at the end of June and attracts performers from around the world. The 10-day jazz festival has been running for 40 years and brings the city alive with music and festivities.

It’s the largest jazz festival in the world and there are plenty of free events tour people to watch the best jazz musicians on earth. There are festival stages, street performers, and intimate performances. We visited Montreal for the Jazz Fest and it was a great time in Montreal. We kept running into spontaneous performances.

The Montreal Jazz Festival takes place at the end of June for 10 days. See the website for details.

Fetes Des Neiges (Winter Fest)

Snow Tubing at JAques Cartier Park for Winterlude

The Montreal Winterfest takes place over a four week period from mid-January to mid-February. It’s a great way to celebrate winter in Canada by getting outside to do some snowtubing, ice skating, and ice sculpting. This is family event that takes place on weekends. So zip up your snow pants and put on that scarf and get outside in Montreal!

Read: 5 Winter Layering Tips to Dress for the Deep Freeze

The Circus Festival, Montreal Completement Cirque

gymnasts at festival

Montreal is the home to Cirque du Soleil. It originated in this artistic city and when we saw the silks hanging from the crane, we knew that a performance was about to take place. Montreal Cirque takes place every July over a 10 day period where the streets come alive with circus performances.

Everything becomes a stage for street performers, acrobats, and high flying adventures. We attended the festival the year it premiered in 2010 and it has been going strong ever since.

We had never witnessed a human cannonball before and to see the World Record Holder was even better! It takes a certain breed to be able to shoot themselves out of a rocket and I will have to admit, it looks like fun! We thought it was over and were about to walk away when we looked up in the air and saw a crane moving overhead.

Osheaga

summerfest milwaukee

Summertime in the city heats up with another awesome Montreal Festival. Osheaga is a music festival that takes place on the final weekend of every July.

The festival takes place at Parc Jean-Drapeau and has turned into a massive event with 120,000 people attending Canada’s most popular indie music and art festival. Cold Play, The Killers, The Roots and Eminem have all performed at Osheaga. Osheaga happens annually on the last weekend of July.

 Fierté Montréal / Montréal Pride

Pride at Winterlude in Ottawa

The Montreal Pride festival takes place each August celebrating the LGBTQ community. It is the largest Pride Festival in Canada and it is the largest Francophone LGBTQ festival in the world! 2.5 million people are in the city for the 11 day event with parades, performances, and panels.

Montreal Fringe Festival

lanterns city of festivals

If you love the theatre, you’ll love the Montreal Fringe Festival. Artists amass on Plateau-Mont-Royal for all things artistic. Dance, theatre, comedy, and music fill the streets for this lively block party.

The best night is before the festival begins when all the local performers take the stage for two minutes to give a sneak peek of their upcoming performances. With more than 800 performances, there’s something for everyone. And it’s affordable with tickets capped at $12 for each show.

Montreal Beer Festival – Mondial de la Biere

travel-blog-meeting-Montreal-canada
Meeting GlobeTrooper and Wandering Tradr in Montreal

Canadians love their beer and the Montreal Beer Festival celebrates that love of Hops. There are blind taste tests, beer making exhibitions and workshops. Nobody ever needed an excuse to visit Montreal, but when you add more than 500 beers from around the world, it’s a good time to be in town! So grab your stein and get ready to sample some suds. The Festival is a three day event in May.

International Fireworks Competition

fireworks at festival

This annual fireworks competition has countries competing for the top prize. During the festival, the countries their latest pyrotechnics displays over  Jacques-Carter Bridge. Spectators head to the grandstand at La Ronde, to watch the greatest fireworks displays set to music.

Montreal Mural Festival

Cool Berlin

The Montreal Mural Festival was started in 2012 for people to celebrate their love for art. The 11 day event showcases the artists work and throughout its 8 years running has transformed Montreal into a living work of art.

Read More Montreal Travel Tips

For more information on other Canadian Cities, read our other city guides

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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20 thoughts on “Montreal Festivals – Celebrate Canada’s Coolest City”

  1. Very good content. I’ve got a dilemma. As a blog owner, just how long did it require for your web site to be productive? Furthermore what do you like most with regards to blogging?

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  2. If you like festivals, their environments, and enjoy a unique course to become the envy of your friends do not let pass the opportunity to visit in Canada, Montreal, the real city of festivals for excellence. And it is precisely at this time, with the arrival of summer, when the burst of the same increases. We continued on the most important place to go and prepared to face the body. More: The Montreal Summer Festivals

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  3. Other festivals held in the city are the Les Franco Folies Festival in late July and early August, dedicated to French music from around the world, the Celtic Festival in Montreal, in honor of music, dance, storytelling , art, food and drink traditional Celtic in mid-August and the Festival Nights Africa in mid-July, which promotes African music through concerts both outdoor and covered.

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  4. Montreal festivals begin in the month of January with its “Festival of Snow” Its customary for Montreal to have enough snowfalls during this month to make it possible for this to be a fun event for children and adults alike.

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  5. We had an absolute blast with you guys. And how good are your pics!!??? Were we at the same festival? Must have something to do with our camera; clearly nothing to do with the ineptitude of the person behind it. 🙂 I still can’t get over what a great show they put on. It rocked. But your post now explains why. It wasn’t just a sideshow down a side street after all.

    I also find it interesting that so many people say they love Montreal. If only summer lasted forever, I’d move here in a heartbeat.
    .-= Globetrooper Todd´s last blog ..Fine Photography From Fellow Troopers =-.

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    • Thanks Todd. Yes, it was definitely the camera:-) Dave did take his other camera out the second night. Most of our shots from the night before with the iphone and little crap camera from Malawi weren’t great.
      It explained a lot after we looked up the show on the Internet. I kept trying to find the circus stuff on the Just For Laughs Festival and then found about the circus festival. It was cool to learn that it wasn’t even cirque du soleil we were watching during that show, it was a blend of a bunch of different troops from around the world.
      I am glad to see that many people love Montreal, there is something very cool about the city. It was fun watching Marcello’s reaction when people were talking French, I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it is awesome how everyone in Montreal flips between perfect English and perfect French in their conversations. They are exactly what people think of when picturing Canadians. If only we all were fluently bilingual like them!

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  6. Ahh, Montreal, my favorite city in North America. Festivals all the time, though with all the times I’ve been there never managed to be there during one of these busy fun times.

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    • Isn’t that the way it goes. That was our first festival after many visits ourselves. We never seem to go to festivals in our own town either, we always seem to be going out of town on big festival weekends, so it was nice to finally go to a festival in our own country (even though it wasn’t our own city.

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  7. I haven’t been to Quebec since I was a teenager but it looks like you had an awesome time! I love the food there. I will have to catch Cirque de Soleil next time they are in Dallas because I won’t be making it to Canada any time soon.
    .-= Jennifer Barry´s last blog ..Discoveries from a Southern US Road Trip =-.

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  8. That looks like so much fun! I’m embarrassed that, as much as I love Montreal, and despite how close I am to the city, I still haven’t made it up there for Just For Laughs. What is wrong with me?! Great photos, btw.
    .-= Gray´s last blog ..New York’s Pod Hotel- Budget-Friendly for the Solo Traveler =-.

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    • Your not alone Gray. We never seem to go to any festivals or events in Toronto. We seem to head out of town on a weekend festival. It is funny how when traveling you tend to do so much more. We have missed some awesome events in Toronto and if it weren’t for meeting up with fellow travelers visiting Canada, we probably wouldn’t have gone to the festival in Montreal.

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  9. oh wow! very cool.. i love charlie Chaplin too 😉 colors are so vivid and the grand finale looks truly grand.. i wonder when I will get to experience all this .. sigh 🙁 LOL.. nice one D&D
    .-= agentcikay´s last blog ..10 Ways to Experience the Malaysian Night Market =-.

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    • Well, the great thing is that Cirque du Soleil is worldwide, maybe you will see them some day. And there are many other circus acts like this one we saw popping up all over. It is really worth it if one comes your way. We were totally blown away by the show. I loved it, and I don’t normally love theatre type stuff.

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    • It is true, there seems to be some sort of festival every weekend in the summer. And the great thing about Montreal is that they don’t let the cold winter slow them down, they keep the festivals going all year long!

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  10. I love Cirque du Soleil and to be in the city where it originated, that’s just awesome! Looks like a spectacular time. Check out some travels I’ve ventured on and read about my preparations to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. AdventureTravelBlog.org

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