Sarah's Weekend List, July 29-31

Montreal's own Arcade Fire supports their sixth album WE at Osheaga's opening day. PHOTO: Michael Marcelle
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

The 15th edition of Osheaga takes over Parc Jean-Drapeau! Three days of non-stop music, over 100 artists, spread out over six stages, with headliners Arcade Fire (Friday), rapper Future (Saturday) and pop princess Dua Lipa (who just filled the Bell Centre last Sunday). My Friday highlights: Charli XCX, The Kid LAROI, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Saturday: Hamilton’s Arkells, singer Mitski, Zambia’s own Sampa The Great (hot off Nuits d’Afrique), Montrealer Pierre Kwenders and mathematician-turned-musician Caribou. Sunday: hot Brit duo Wet Leg (on Obama’s summer playlist), singers Safia Nolin, Tinashe and Lucy Dacus, ‘Heat Wave’ hitmakers Glass Animals, Royal Blood and Megan Fox’s fiancé, Machine Gun Kelly. 

Third and final weekend for the 40th edition of Just for Laughs! There is a plethora of club and gala shows to check out. The Fest throws itself a big party with a mega birthday gala (Howie Mandel, Jimmy Carr, Katherine Ryan, George Wallace, to name a few names) Saturday at 9:45pm. Rick Mercer hosts Comedy Night in Canada, Friday at L’Olympia, 7pm. At the same time, outdoors and free: champion lip synchers Never Surrender hit the Loto Quebec stage. On Sunday: Russell Peters Gala, 7pm followed by the Ronnie Chieng Gala at 9:45pm.

Go off the beaten path with OFFJFL Zoofest’s lineup of quirky, indie and local acts. Viral comic (the drop!) Atsuko Okatsuka presents her one-woman show, The Intruder one final time Friday, 7:30pm at TSC. 

The Comedy Nest also presents its own eclectic JFL lineups, Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm.

Final weekend to catch the travelling Grand PoutineFest in the Old Port! With over 20 poutines to choose from (including the limited burrito poutine!) and a variety of family-friendly fun. (Shoutout to the organizers for offering up recyclable, reusable and compostable containers.) Friday to Sunday, starting at noon, until Sunday. 

Festival Haïti en Folie continues, with a food market and workshops at Lafontaine Park. Acclaimed writer and “Immortal” Dany Laferriere will be at the Park in person,Saturday 3pm and later in the day Win Butler of Arcade Fire and Paul Beaubrun team up for a DJ set, 7pm. Singer Corneille hosts a closing concert, 7pm at Park Lafontaine. Until Sunday.  

The 46th annual Montreal Highland Games celebrates Scottish culture, music and sport. Catch athletic competitions, pipe bands and highland dancing and more. Free for kids 14 and under, $20 regular. On the grounds of the Douglas Hospital, this Sunday. 

Across the Ontario border, the Glengarry Highland Games will host the North American Pipe Band Championships, as well as various athletic (a 5K kilt run!) and highland dance competitions. Until Saturday. 

Montreal is one of a handful cities to host the International AIDS Conference twice! The 24th edition is the first in-person event since the pandemic, with virtual programming as well, for thousands of researchers, advocates and doctors. But the public is invited to the Global Village space at Palais des congrès: check out art exhibits, live performances and film screenings, or shop for a good cause! Organizations will be selling goods, with proceeds going to HIV programming around the world. 

You might remember that the 1989 AIDS conference in Montreal was a turning point for AIDS activism. Soirée au Parc is a musical celebration in honour of the HIV-AIDS community, at Hope Park in the Gay Village. Singer Michelle Sweeney will perform, and McGill’s Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy, local co-chair of the conference, will deliver a speech that asks where the fight against AIDS will be in two decades. Sunday, 7pm. 

While Montreal Fierté only kicks off on Monday, a new dance show under the banner of the fest attempts to capture the trauma and fear of the AIDS crisis. Dave St-Pierre’s Rapture fills the hallowed space of Le Monastère, with an inclusive dance crew highlighting the vibrancy and resiliency of the queer company in the face of the epidemic. I caught the opening - the show is fluid, dramatic and harrowing. Until August 6.   

The Sud-Ouest borough hosts an outdoor market. This season’s second edition of Sudbest will be behind the Arsenal Art Gallery, at 40 Seigneurs, on the Lachine Canal. Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 10pm. 

While you’re there, how about checking out 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. 

Repercussion Theatre brings back Shakespeare-in-the-Park with a new, live show that mines the Canon for the Bard’s take on living through plague times. This weekend: Friday at Philippe-LaHeurte Park in Ville Saint-Laurent, Stanstead’s Cercle de Pierres on Saturday and Sunday in Hudson at the Hudson Village Theatre. Bring something comfy to sit on with your snacks and drinks. Free, but donations are accepted. (Follow along in French or English with the show app.)  All Shall Be Well tours in and around Montreal until August 6. 

A ‘giant flying greenhouse’ has touched down at the Botanical Gardens! L’Expédition végétale is a French science-meets-fantasy display that has arrived in North America for the very first time. Meet the ‘scientists’ doing research on local plants and biodiversity at the Gardens. Until Sunday, then July 28-31. 

Film Noir au Canal presents Mario Monicelli’s 1958 dark gang comedy I Soliti Ignoti in its original Italian (with French and English subtitles) Trombonist Alex Desjardins opens the show at 7pm with a musical performance,, followed by a film lecture by Chiara Rapaccini, Monicelli’s former spouse. The film screens at 8:45pm. Bring chairs. Free on Sunday at Square Saint-Patrick. 

On the bill at Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room this weekend: it’s Starstrip! Star Wars versus Star Trek Burlesque. Featuring stars Zyra Lee Vanity, Honey Dynamite, Honey Lustre and Galadriel Caresse. Shows Friday and Saturday.

And hats off to Bernie Gurberg and his Dollar Cinema, which is set to close up shop after nearly 20 years of film at Décarie Square. 


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! 

Stranger Than Kindness is a new exhibition 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. We start in his hometown Wangaratta, then travel to London then Berlin, then a loving recreation of his actual home office. Over 300 bits of ephemera, from lyrics to letters, books to bits of hair, bring the show to livid life. 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. The show opens Friday at Galerie de la Maison du Festival, 305 Sainte-Catherine. Until August 7. 

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. 

Indie venue Montreal Improv is back, at its new home in St Henri. Catch one or more of the four shows up this weekend! Tickets and schedules here

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!