Sarah's Weekend List, September 2-5

First Friday pays hommage to Vietnamese food and culture at the Big O tonight. Sunday night, the venue plays hosts to Elevation's all-night dance party. PHOTO: Charles Olivier
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 Botanical Gardens have just kicked off the 30th edition of Jardins de lumière. The Japanese, Chinese and First Nations gardens are reinvented for nightly excursions with spectacular lanterns and lighting arrangements. 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! Until October 31. 

World Press Photo returns to Marché Bonsecours for the first time in two years, with a wide display of impressive press images captured around the globe. Included in the lineup is our Wednesday guest, photojournalist Amber Bracken, who is in town to present her award-winning image of a memorial near the former Kamloops residential school. Until October 2.

The monthly First Friday food truck party continues its 10th anniversary season, with a penultimate stop at the Big O. The theme this month is Vietnamese food, organized in conjunction with Festival Viet Montréal. The city's Vietnamese restaurants will have a starring role, including Le Red Tiger, Hungry Diana, Restaurant Phở Hùng, Pagode Dia Tang and Flora Exotica, among others. Music performances include singer Duy Phan, jazz musician Huu Bac and Mando, along with fashion and martial arts demonstrations. Oh! And the food truck lineup includes Poutine Factory, Lucille’s and Churros Montréal. Friday, 4 to 11 pm. 

The 11th annual Burger Week kicks off this week, with some 70 Montreal restaurants serving up a limited edition specialty burger on the menu. You eat, and then you vote for your favourite! Plant-based burgers are the special focus this year, like Scores Brossard’s The Imposter Burger (BeyondChicken fillet) and Burger Bros’ Vegan Falafel Burger. Check out Burger Fiancé’s Sweet & Smokey (hot red onion jam and mozzarella), Le Gras Dur’s Chef Will Burger (chili oil mayonnaise and a Korean corn dog?), Sacré Fût’s The Prodigious Burger (a whole burger, fried, with a dipping sauce!) and Maamm Bolduc’s Nutella Feast Burger (Swiss cheese, thin crepe, Nutella, egg, bacon!?) Until September 14. 

Get a taste of that farm life when Quebec largest’s agricultural fair returns after a pandemic break. The Brome Fair hosts animal competitions, handicrafts and horticulture exhibits, musical performances, midway rides and the demolition derby. Check out Sandra Thompson’s winning commemorative poster here. Until Monday. 

Heavy Montreal’s Brewtal 2022 sets up Kataklysm, Inhuman Condition, Deicide and Undeath at the Corona, Friday 7pm. 

Pop-punk band My Chemical Romance brings their reunion tour to the Bell Centre with Waterparks and Meg Myers, Friday, 7:30pm. 

Indie queen Florence + The Machine visit Place Bell in Laval, Friday at 7:45pm.

Backstreet Boys bring the DNA World Tour to Bell Centre, Saturday at 7:30pm. 

Trippy European experimental folk music band Heilung brings their antics to MTelus, Saturday at 8pm. 

English singer Calum Scott returns to Montreal with Jamie Miller, Corona Theatre, Saturday 8pm. 

Animal Collective at Le Studio TD with Tomato Flower, Sunday 8pm. 

Club kids will flock to the Big O for Elevation - Edition 002 which includes acts like Armin van Buuren, Boris Brejcha, Aly & Fila and Ann Clue, spread through two stages. Sunday, 8pm. 

Jack of All Trades Festival, or JOAT, collaborates with Danse Danse to celebrate street dance culture, with the help of over 150 dancers leading workshops and masters classes, and participating in battles that exhibit popping, breaking and hip-hop moves. On the Esplanade and at the exhibition hall at Place des Arts, with competitions at nearby Club Soda, until Monday. 

In her 2022 Fringe solo show Awkward Ballerina, Kristin Govers documents her childhood yearning for the spotlight while dealing with the limitations presented by her cerebral palsy. It is getting a remount Friday and Saturday at Salle-Pauline-Julien in Pierrefonds-Roxboro (her hometown!). 

Persephone Productions presents the trappings of fame in Mark Ravenhill’s Pool (No Water) at The Segal Centre Studio. A group of young artists hunger for success and fame - but what happens when some achieve the limelight sooner than others? Shows Saturday and Sunday. Until September 15.  

Festival Marionettes Plein la rue returns for a second weekend of live, outdoor performances, along Promenade Wellington in Verdun, which was anointed last month as ‘coolest street in the world’!  Spot the marionnettes, including a funeral procession for a beloved donkey, a majestic moose, a ‘Bird Ball’ and tiny stories that unfurl in a dollhouse in a storefront window, at various times on Saturday and Sunday. 

Festival des arts de ruelles presents free, outdoor parades in Montreal’s many boroughs, mixing an eclectic collection of disciplines, from music to magic to circus to clowning. This weekend’s programming includes a stop in Anjou, Friday, 6:30pm. Until September 11.

The Comedy Nest hosts Paul Morrissey (you’ve seen him on with David Letterman and Craig Ferguson) Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm.

Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room marks nine years of business this weekend with blowout shows! The Foxy Lexxi Brown, Sugar Vixen, Lily Monroe, Miami Minx and host Frenchy Jones. Shows Friday and Saturday, 7:30pm. 

Final weekend to catch Stranger Than Kindness, an exhibit 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 Monday. 

St-Jean-Berchmans Church hosts a basement flea market with lots of new and used items. Stop by the restaurant! Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5pm (closes 4pm Sunday). At 5945 Cartier, Rosemont Metro. 


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 October 10. 

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. 

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. 

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!