Sarah's Weekend List, August 26-28

Time travel to 18th-century Montreal, with Pointe-à-Callière's historical re-enactment market in Old Montreal. PHOTO: Jean-Michael Seminaro | Pointe-à-Callière
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

One of my favourite annual events returns for its 29th edition: Pointe-à-Callière Museum helps you travel back in time to the 18th-Century Public Market in Montreal, when the city was a French colony. Historical re-enactors will be on hand, with live music and play acting, plus 70 kiosks selling local foods, treats and other goods. Take in a workshop to learn about Indigeous cuisine or crafts. Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 4pm outdoors at Place Royale, outside the Museum in Old Montreal. While you are there, check out the Museum’s Vikings exhibit.

Well, if Time Out says you live in the city with the coolest street in the world, you’d want to check it out, no? Congrats, Verdun, for the anointing of Wellington Street as the ‘coolest street’ bar none - but I’ll just go ahead and let you know I’ve been a fan of this eclectic strip for years. My recommendations: Brock-Art for delightful gifts and crafts, Les Bons Débarras for secondhand reads, used home goods in the basement of Renaissance and Sweet Lee’s for incredible pastries, breads and other treats. Oh, and the half-dozen game and toy stores lining the street, too. Promenade Wellington also happens to be hosting Festival Marionettes Plein la rue, which begins today! 

Digital creativity festival MUTEK marks its 23rd edition. Check out the daily cavalcade of outdoor music, 5 to 11pm at the new Esplanade Tranquille, at Place des Festivals. Saturday’s lineup includes Toronto’s Korean Town Acid, a DJ set from machina and world premiere of Quebec artist, SIM. Or head indoors to the Satosphère or nearby MTelus for the Play and Nocturne series, respectively, which combine visuals and music from 10pm to 3am. Until Sunday. 

Quebec’s largest art fair Papier marks its 15th year with an in-person and online gathering. Over 400 artists will be exhibiting, repped by 39 galleries from Montreal to Calgary. (Make sure to claim your timed, $15 ticket online - no ticket sales on site.) Roundtables, talks and guided visits will enrich your experience. Until Sunday at the Grand Quai, 200 de la Commune W. 

Mode + Design Festival takes over the Quartier des spectacles with fashion shows spotlighting local brands and students, rounded out by live music and workshops. Until Sunday. 

Twenty One Pilots (the duo behind ‘Heathens’) bring their newly-started Icy Tour to the Bell Centre, Friday 8pm. 

Ska-punk pros Streetlight Manifesto at L’Olympia, Friday 8pm. 

How’s this for a mouthful? Swedish metal band At The Gates Will Perform Slaughter Of The Soul In Its Entirety takes over the Corona, Friday at 7:30pm. Openers: Enforced and Municipal Waste. 

Still rocking since ‘65! German metal group Scorpions bring the Rock Believer tour, in company with Thundermother, to the Bell Centre, Saturday at 6:45pm. 

Conductor Erik Ochsner leads the 78 members of the Montreal’s Orchestre FILMharmonique in performing the score to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as the 1980 sci-fi rolls on the big screen at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. This is the fifth chapter of George Lucas’s space opera, starting off with the Imperial forces advancing on a rebel base on the icy planet of Hoth. Performances Friday, 7:30pm and Saturday, 2:30 and 7:30pm. 

The Kanien'kéha community in Kanehsatà:ke holds its annual Powwow this weekend, with traditional dancing and other activities, including a Friday night social. Until Sunday, at 664 Pine Road. 

Browse over 20 food stalls at the Asian Night Market, corner of St Laurent and René-Lévesque. Until Sunday.

Sudbest is planning a weekend-long celebration of food and fun in the Sud-Ouest borough, with three locations: Atwater Market, Sir George-Étienne-Cartier Park and Lien Nord (40 rue des Seigneurs, behind Arsenal Art Gallery), all linked by tuk tuk service. Friday’s launch party will include music by Of course, Karaba and KidCrayola, as well as a wine bar and oyster bar. All three locations will feature stacked schedules with food, live music and art. Until Sunday.

The weekend is stacked at outdoor structure Marché des possibles at L'Entrepot 77 in Mile End, with a DJ lineup programmed by Slut Island, featuring La Fhomme, Messkina and Lia Plutonic. Singer-songwriter Thanya Iyer launches her new experimental-pop EP, Saturday at 8pm. On Sunday, check out a performance by Club Ukulélé de Montréal, 2 to 3:30pm. Located at 77 Bernard East, east of St Laurent.

Geordie Theatre holds a fundraiser Food Fair for families, with information sessions and demonstrations and beer tastings. Free activities include book readings, crafts, face painting - and of course, theatre workshops for the kids. Saturday, 11am to 4pm at Selwyn House School grounds, 95 Côte-St-Antoine in Westmount. 

Marché Sainte-Anne hosts its annual Garlic Festival with local kiosks, cooking and gardening workshops, activities for kids and live music! There are four competitions as well: best garlic dessert, beautiful costume, best bulb and garlic bulb bouquet. As the organizers put it: ‘Garlic is savory, garlic is wonderful, garlic is life.’ At Lalonde Park in Ste-Anne de Bellevue, Saturday, 9 am to 4pm. 

Celebrate Polish Day with food (pierogies, sausages, beer!), folk dancing, music and kids’ activities. Saturday, 1 to 7pm at Médéric-Martin Park in Hochelaga. (‘Euro-Music DJ’ Andrzej Kluz will lead the dance party after 7pm.) 

Pointe-Claire Commercial Association marks Village Day, with food trucks, music, magic shows and activities for kids, Saturday 11am to 9pm. 

Ah, two of my favourite art forms smashed together! La Tohu hosts Impro-Cirque, which pits two teams of three circus performers (and an accompanying musician) against one other through various thematic challenges. One of the most disciplined forms soars to spontaneous heights! The audience picks the winner. Every Thursday and Friday in August, at 9:30pm. There are discounts for multiple show passes. Located in St-Michel, La Tohu also hosts activities for kids, sports equipment rentals (kites!) and guided tours every weekend. 

The Comedy Nest hosts Juno- and Canadian Screen Award-nominated Pat Thornton, Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm.

The West Island’s Andrew Searles tapes his LA Chocolat routine, Friday and Saturday, 8 and 10:30pm at Cafe Cleopatra. 

Danger: High Voltage Burlesque takes over Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room: international headliner Redbone leads a solid lineup:The Foxy Lexxi Brown, Zyra Lee Vanity and Petro. Friday, 8:30pm. 


And two shows about two boundary-breaking artists have been extended to Labour Day: 

The Arsenal’s immersive show about the life and work of an iconic Mexican surrealist! Frida Kahlo, The Life of an Icon is in a similar vein to the recent Monet show: a big airy space filled with colourful, dynamic projections. At the Arsenal Contemporary art Gallery, now until September 5. 

Stranger Than Kindness is based on the life and work of Nick Cave, the Aussie-born artist known for his deep baritone and religiously-tinged lyrics probing love, religion and violence.Keep your eyes peeled for an email Leonard Cohen wrote to Cave after tragedy hit his family… Cohen is one of Cave’s inspirations, and that’s partly why Stranger Than Kindness is stopping off here after its inaugural run in Copenhagen. Galerie de la Maison du Festival, 305 Sainte-Catherine, until September 5. 

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.

The Innocent is your guide to the fantastical world of Charivari in Kooza, Cirque du soleil’s first big show under the big top in Montreal since 2019. At the Old Port until August 14. 

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. 

Also check out the fascinating exhibit JJ Levine: Queer Portraits. The Montreal artist presents 52 intimate images of people who self-identify as queer, selected from three different series taken between now and 2006. 

Cabaret Celeste is a new show at the recently renovated Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel. A meeting room has been converted to a cozy cabaret space for this Cirque Éloize production, which was cancelled hours before its original opening back in December (thanks, Omicron). Celeste draws inspiration from the astrophysical… think tarot, horoscopes, planets and deities … and it is by equal turns sensual and silly! I loved the creative clay juggling act, and the master of ceremony’s Cyr wheel act. The talented and gorgeous Coral Egan provides the vocals through a slew of pop songs, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Coldplay to Leonard Cohen. 

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!