Sarah's Long Weekend List, October 7-10

Learn about the creation myth of Pangu at the Gardens of Light, on until Halloween at the Botanical Gardens. PHOTO: Espace pour la vie
Sarah Deshaies produces the Andrew Carter Morning Show. Every Friday at 8:20am, she tells you about the big, quirky and off-the-beaten-path events happening in Montreal. Here is this week's list, with links for more information so you can get out and enjoy the city! Submit your event to

Happy Thanksgiving! First off, here's a reminder of what's open and closed on Thanksgiving Monday.

Final First Friday of the season! Select your supper from tons of food trucks, at the Esplanade at the Big O. Rapper Calamine is part of the stacked, live musical menu. Friday, 4 to 11pm. 

Montreal Vegan Festival presents demos and exhibitors on flavourful, filling vegan food and lifestyle options. Check out our Wednesday morning guest, Evy Mendes, presenting her recipe for ‘Pastéis de mandioca’ Sunday at noon. Or learn about veganic homesteading or baking chocolate cake! The festival is at Palais des congres, Saturday and Sunday. 

Disney On Ice: Let’s Celebrate puts 50 of your favourite characters on ice, including Mickey and Minnie, Tiana, Elsa, Timon and Pumbaa! At Place Bell, at various times, Friday through Monday. (Note, there are presentations in French and English.)

Les Jardins botaniques have a stacked set of Halloween programming for kiddos, from pumpkin lectures, a ‘potions’ workshop, the magic steps walking circuit, to the Sorcerer at the main greenhouse. The 30th edition of Jardins de lumière is also on: the Japanese, Chinese and First Nations gardens are reinvented for nightly excursions with spectacular lanterns and lighting arrangements. The focus of the Chinese garden is the Chinese creation legend of Pangu. 2021’s Ode to the Moon is back, with the interactive wolf call. Don’t forget, the tickets are now timed - but you also get daytime access to the gardens the day-of! Programming until October 31. 

Sometimes, riding a roller coaster is better in the cold dark. Fright Fest is back at La Ronde, with ‘scare zones’, roaming ghouls and vamps and several haunted houses to put you in spooky season mood. For those who prefer to not get chased by chainsaw-wielding randos, there is family-friendly programming. The festivities continue until Halloween. Opening hours this weekend: 1pm to 10pm (closes at 8pm Monday). 

SOS Labyrinth in the Old Port unveils its Halloween spirit, with seasonal decorations to spice up the 2-kilometre maze. Save 15 per cent off your ticket when you come in costume! Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 5:30pm.

Musical choices Friday include Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, Corona Theatre at 8pm. ‘Heaven trap’ DJ duo SLANDER, Olympic stadium Friday at 8pm. French rapper Josman at Club Soda, 8pm. German electronic musican Paul Kalkbrenner, at MTelus,Friday at 10pm. 

More music on Saturday: ‘virtual band’ Gorillaz, Bell Centre at 7:30pm. Pop singer-songwriter Mimi Webb at Fairmount Theatre, 8pm. Dance to the electronic sounds of German producer Monolink at 10pm, MTelus.  

Sunday: After selling out last Sunday at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt brings her 30th anniversary tour back to the venue, with another Sunday night show.  Punk rockers Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Club Soda at 7:30pm. And the balaclava-clad French electronic music DJ  Malaa at Corona Theatre, 8pm.

Terry Mosher aka Aislin will be signing his new book on the Summit Series, Montreal to Moscow, in the company of Yvan Cournoyer, at the Clio bookstore, Plaza Pointe Claire. Saturday between 10 and 2pm. 

Mile End multi-disciplinary arts fest Festival Phénomena continues, with James Knott’s theatrical spectacular The apocalypse in your bedroom and immersive, erotic walking show The Indecent Cabaret, at the Rialto on Saturday. Kid-friendly bilingual shadow play Musings of the Milky Way goes Sunday, 2 pm. Programming continues until October 21. 

Imago Theatre’s Foxfinder presents a dystopian thriller, where humans blame foxes for food scarcity. A pair of struggling farmers greet a government “foxfinder” in this play, by award-winning British writer Dawn King. Until October 15 at the MAI. 

I found Meet Me to be utterly engrossing. In this a new, immersive show, we follow three people, all connected through academia, who have to navigate their relationship after an intimate evening goes awry. Every audience member gets a smartphone that allows you to ‘choose your own adventure’ as you progress through the show… this unfolds at three different spots on the McGill campus. A talkback follows each performance. This Live Action Theatre Project, in collaboration with Teesri Duniya Theatre, continues until Saturday. 

Vittorio Rossi’s Paradise by the River explores the internment of Italian-Canadians by the federal government during World War II through the eyes of Montrealer Romano Dicenzo. He is sent to an internment camp in Petawawa, Ontario - but his brother vows to seek revenge on those who turned Romano in on false information. Rossi is a premier chronicler of the Italian experience in Montreal. This play was first performed at The Centaur in 1998, and this latest mounting is guided by the sure hands of director Harry Standjofksi. At the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre, running until Sunday. 

Canadian playwright David Gow’s Cherry Docs explores racial hate and division in the pairing of a neo-Nazi skinhead charged with murder and the Jewish lawyer Legal Aid lawyer assigned to his case. This performance is the first time Gow’s play has been adapted in nearly 30 years to the present day, and to a location, Montreal. A talkback follows each performance. At MainLine Theatre until Sunday.

Acerbic Montreal wit Derek Seguin headlines The Comedy Nest. Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm.

English comedian and author Daniel Howell performs at MTelus, Sunday at 7:30pm.

On the bill at Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room: Satin Simone and James and the Giant Pasty perform this weekend. Perlin Dubarry and Rita Ann’Tique join in on Friday, and Rosie Bourgeoisie and Kinky Karma sub in for Saturday. Shows Friday and Saturday, 8:30pm. 

St Jean Berchmans church hosts a flea market with a variety of new and used items, Saturday and Sunday, opening at 9am. 5945 Cartier, corner of Rosemont. Food on site. 

Oh, and Brendan 'Mad-Eye' Gleeson and Willow (Jada and Will's daughter) enliven the second outing of Saturday Night Live this season, airing at 11:30pm, Saturday.  


Les 7 doigts de la Main circus troupe presents a brand new, immersive circus cabaret. My Island, My Heart is a love letter to Montreal, through the eyes of a nouveau arrivé who followed someone for love, but ends up falling head over heels for the city instead. The action unfolds in a new venue, the Studio-Cabaret at Espace St-Denis, with alternating French and English-language presentations, until October 16.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents Nicolas Party: L'heure mauve, a look at the Swiss artist’s pastels, watercolours and sculptures, set against murals he’s painted in the Museum… plus with 50 works selected by Party from the Museum’s collection. The show title is a reference to ‘that fleeting moment when the fading light casts purple hues over the landscape’ - how dreamy! Until October 16. 

Exporail, the Canadian train museum in St Constant, relaunches its 1959 MTC tramway on Saturday. See what it was like to commute way back when by by hitching a ride on the refurbished tram. Also on offer: Train, a Railroad to Dreams: A World in Miniature. It’s an homage to toy trains… so you start with the smallest of the trains, then pivot to marvel at the 50 life-size vehicles on display in the Grand Gallery.

Phi Foundation hosts whimsical, mega-popular Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama with her show, Dancing Lights That Flew Up To The Universe. The show includes her legendary Infinity Mirrored Rooms, pumpkins and more. (Tickets are free, but the virtual box office opens up on the 15th of the previous month.) And nip down the street to the Phi Centre to check out a spate of shows: a virtual reality smorgasbord in Horizons and the seven levels of purgatory in Marco Brambilla’s immersive Heaven’s Gate.

The Insectarium has reopened post-renovation with a fresh look at all the creepy, crawly, pretty creatures. The team redesigned the space to give visitors an intimate look at what it is to be an insect: in the Alcoves, vibrating floors and ultraviolet projections allow you to imagine how insects feel and see the world. Visitors get to move like an insect, too, slipping through cracks or trodding on rods hanging from the ceiling. Then you get to observe bugs up close, followed by a trip through the Dome, and finally, a greenhouse-like space, the Great Vivarium, where roaming butterflies are the special attraction. 

At the Montreal Science Centre, explore evolution in Human or explore the process of invention in Fabrik - Creativity Factory. Plus, the movie theatre is open, so you can sit back and learn about Sea Lions and the Great Bear Rainforest - in IMAX 3D! 

At the McCord: Piqutiapiit celebrates and elucidates the incredible craftwork of Inuit women. Montreal-based, Kuujjuaq-born artist  Niap is the driving force behind the show. We view the tools and the practical works they helped to craft, including beadwork and clothing. And there is original work from Niap, who is currently artist-in-residence at the McCord.