Sarah's Weekend List: August 21-23

Hello, Leonard! This iconic mural is one of many liberally sprinkled throughout the Plateau. Mural Festival provides walking tours to check out these local art gems.  PHOTO: Mural Festival
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 Fantasia Film Festival, which usually takes over Concordia's downtown campus every August, has moved online. Over 100 feature films and 180 short films will delight fans of horror, slasher and the plain ol' quirky cinema world. Catch survivalist thriller Hunted on Friday, or Montrealer Elza Kephart's Slaxx, about a murderous pair of pants, Sunday at 7pm. Airing just before the pants murderfest: The Prophet and Space Aliens, a documentary about Raêl, the founder of the raelian cult, Sunday at 5pm. Fantasia Festival runs until September 2.

Craving mango on a stick, smoked meat on a terrasse, peanut butter noodles or Toms shoes? One of my favourite times of the year is when the Main closes to cars from Sherbrooke to Mont-Royal, creating a giant pedestrian walkway complete with some of the best food, bargain basement sales and quirky street performances. This year, the street festival runs until this Sunday, with distancing and hygiene measures (like handwashing stations) in place. The organizers of the St Laurent Street Festival are hoping it will help out local businesses. 

The Mural Festival, which highlights public art with walking tours and live music, usually accompanies the closure of St Laurent; Mural returns a bit later in the season for a scaled-back edition. Check in on new works going up along the Main, including Canadian artist Denial, and a mural themed around diversity and inclusion by Burnt Toast. Venturing outside the Plateau, artist Patrick Forchild will be putting up an homage to healthcare workers, destined for the Jewish General Hospital in Cote-des-Neiges. And guided walking tours are back! 

Last chance to take part in Montreal's Italian Week! See crooner Nicola Ciccone perform Friday night, try a cooking class in person at Ateliers & Saveurs or gather the kids for a story, with teacher Marian Ghita reading a children's story online, Saturday at 10am.   

A delicious dinner at a scrumptious price: 10 Old Montreal restaurants are taking part in the summer edition of Happening Gourmand. Choose a brunch table d'hôte option at $17 or the dinner option at $25 at restaurants like Maggie Oakes, Méchant Boeuf, Taverne Gaspar, BEVO, Brasserie 701 and more. (The dinner option is available until 7:30pm.) You can also stay in and order via Doordash. Until August 30. 

The Planetarium has a new photo exhibit that shows the planet in all its wild and natural beauty. Origins features captivating images of earth by Olivier Grunewald, blown up so you can see all the glorious details. You can check it out in person, or online! A virtual visit is available here. You also have the option to check it out in virtual reality. And if the Perseid meteor shower captured your imagination, the Planetarium has several long-running immersive shows about space. 

The Comedy Nest says safety is no laughing matter, with socially distanced seating and smaller audiences. On Friday and Saturday, comic, dad and author Brian Hope headlines, with my ol' pal Daniel Carin lending a hand on Friday, and Aliya Kanani joining in both nights. 

Bar de Courcelle hosts Episode 6 of The Epic Outdoor Open Mic ShowSunday 5 to 10pm at Sir George Étienne Cartier Square in St Henri.

Hot girl summer? How about A Summer of Beethoven! On Fridays, the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal starts streaming parts of the great composer's eight symphonies, as recorded at Bourgie Hall. It costs $15, and you can stream it for 48 hours starting at 2pm. 

Great news we learned this week: the Biodome is reopening August 31. But if you're itching to learn something, why not visit one of its neighours:the Botanical Gardens and the Planetariuam are open, with kids 17 and under getting in for free until the end of August. Visit the greenhouse collections and check the blooms of the week. (It's strongly recommended to get your timed tickets online.)

And at the Old Port, paddle boat rentals, the zipline and the pirate ship have been available for the past few weeks. Now they are joined by SOS Labyrinthe, with 2 kilometres of winding paths to get lost in. (New this year: a disco zone!) 

The Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur has been presenting recordings of original dance works themed around solitude every Sunday. This time, choreograph Andrew Skeels and composer Isabelle Panneton have teamed up; Skeels will dance while Stéphane Beaulac performs the score. 

If you were jazzed about the third and final Mars rover launch this past Thursday, visit the Montreal Science Centre, which reopened last week. They have a show on now called The Journey to Space. Look for the Apollo mission space helmet, and a glove used by Neil Armstrong himself while training for his moon mission.  

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has a new show: Paris in the Days of Post-Impressionism: Signac and the Indépendants includes 500 paintings and works from a private collection. Escape from the everyday with lush, colourful works by Money, Seurat, Pissarro and Degas, to name just a few of the artists. And a new public art piece inspired by the Signac show is now available for viewing. Sailboats, created by Collectif Escargo, uses linear flower gardens and shimmering paint to evoke the seascape. See it on Du Musée Avenue. And take a cheap, family-friendly walking tour of the Museum's 30-item sculpture garden. Reserve your spot here. They last an hour and take place on Saturdays, 10:30am and 12:30pm, until September 27. 

The McCord Museum has a retrospective of the work of cartoonist Serge Chapleau, a talented counterpart to Aislin in franco circles. 

The Satosphere dome has extended SatFest, a series of immersive digital shorts, with a showing on Friday at 6pm and 7:30pm (extended until August 31). And the Domesicle series continues its weekly DJ night, with Le Rotary Club taking the helm this week, plugging in DJs Kizi Garden and Walla P, and VJs Gold Casanova and Alexis Quesnel. Attend in person, 9pm to 2am, or stream on Zoom. or you can enjoy at home or at the theatre. The SAT has also reopened its delicious Labo Culinaire, if you are peckish. 


Breaking News alerts, info on contests, and special offers from partners