Montreal is internationally known for its amazing program of festivals all year long. Particularly in the summer, one festival after another has the city buzzing with music, food, film, art, and much more. Montreal’s rich ethnic diversity and strong cultural identities, combined with a world-class food scene, create some amazing festivals, as you might imagine. While you’ve probably heard of the International Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs, and the major events the city is known for, some of the smaller, lesser-known festivities happening around town are magical indeed and offer culinary adventures not-to-be-missed. Here’s a quick guide to what’s coming up.
Festival of India
The annual Festival of India will begin with a colourful parade down St-Laurent Boulevard (beginning at Milton Avenue) and arrive in Jeanne Mance Parc for two full days of celebrations. The festival is open to the public and is expected to draw crowds of around 12,000 people this year. It’s a unique opportunity to experience the ancient traditions of India including free yoga classes, music, dance, henna and face painting, and, of course, a feast of vegetarian Indian food.
Where: Parc Jeanne Mance
When: July 7 & 8
2. A Taste of the Caribbean
Explore the cuisine of the Islands at Taste of the Caribbean, a three-day festival in the Old Port coming up this month. Many of Montreal’s best Caribbean restaurants will be in attendance offering an abundance of delicious food and beverages from Jamaican jerk chicken to spiced rum. There will also be dance, music, and arts from Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Vincent, Grenada and others of the 25 island nations in the Caribbean.
Where: Clock Tower Quay, Old Port
When: July 12-15
3. Night Market at Alexandraplatz
Alexandraplatz is a seasonal bar located in a hip garage space in Montreal’s up-and-coming Mile-Ex neighbourhood. Throughout the summer they organize a night market featuring over 20 different stands from local vendors with all kinds of unique products. With a local DJ, food and drink offered by Cuisine de Rue Montreal, and Alexandraplatz local beers and ciders, excellent wine selection, and creative cocktail menu, these are events not to be missed. Check out the Facebook event here for more info.
Where: Alexandraplatz Bar, 6731 Avenue de l’Esplanade
When: June 30th, July 28th and August 25th, from 2:00 pm until 11:00 pm
4. Marché des Possibles
Marché des Possibles is a free, open-air mini-festival in the Mile End neighbourhood that happens every weekend from mid-June to the end of July. Each weekend features a variety of socio-cultural programming including live music, film screenings, amazing local food and bar, arts and crafts vendors, free activities for kids, yoga classes, and much more. With pop-up restaurants and food trucks setting up all over the corner, there’s always a great supply of tasty local foods to try. Find the full schedule of activities and entertainers on the Facebook event here.
When: Every weekend from June 22 to July 29, 2018
Where: 5635 rue St-Dominique (corner Bernard)
5. Matsuri Japon
Matsuri Japon is a day-long festival that takes place in August each year to celebrate Japanese culture and heritage. Food kiosks offer traditional Japanese cuisine, performance stages offer dancing and music, and a plethora of activities throughout the day include Japanese archery, origami, drumming, and much more.
Where: Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal, 8155, rue Rousselot (Jarry Metro station)
When: August 11th from 11 am to 8:30 pm
6. Asian Night Market in Montreal’s Old Port
Celebrating the culinary flavours of Asia, the Asian Night Market celebrates street food from all over Asia offered by some of Montreal’s most popular Asian restaurants. This year will be the second edition of the festival, which is a partnership with FoodFestMTL, and a recent addition to Montreal’s lineup of annual festivals. Entry to the night market will be free and the food served will range from $3 to $8 (after taxes).
Where: Clock Tower, Old Port Montreal
When: August 17-19