Sarah's Weekend List in Montreal, December 20-22

Winter: love it or hate it? The artists of Quebec company Flip Fabrique incarnate the joy, despair and splendour of winter in Blizzard, a new circus show at La Tohu.
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 romance, joy and despair of a winter storm is laid bare in Flip Fabrique's excellent circus show Blizzard. The six acrobats (and one very busy, talented musician) veer from the funny to the more intangible moments of what it is to live in the cold. I schlepped my father amid blowing snow to the opening, where we were wowed by the tricks with the infinity scarves, as well as the best slow-burn finale I've ever seen. At La Tohu until January 3. 

Cirque du soleil has opened a brand-new show on ice, Axel, bringing the kind of daring aerial jumps and fancy footwork that we wish the Habs could work into every game. Follow our hero, Axel, an avid young artist who is falling in love for the first time. There are daring feats, bursts of flame, an animated dog and pop hits from Radiohead and Rihanna, played and sung live. Fun fact: in the costume closet for Axel, you'll find 80 pairs of skates and over 500 costume pieces. At the Bell Centre until December 29. 

The people behind Cavalia have set up Illumi, an ambitious multimedia show and Christmas market in Laval. Explore eight different worlds, like the savanna and the magic lanterns, illuminated thanks to over 10 million lights! It's by paid admission, and there is a spot to grab a bite to eat and drink, as well. At the intersection of highway 15 and St Martin Boulevard. 

The time-honoured ballet classic The Nutcracker transports young heroine Clara from a Christmas party to a wondrous world of fairies, dancing sheep and malevolent rat kings. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal interprets Tchaikovsky's stunning score until December 30. 

Puppeteer extraordinaire Ronnie Burkett returns to Montreal with his colourful cast of absurd, scandalous characters. In Little Dickens, the Daisy Theatre spoofs A Christmas Carol. Burkett, who is known for his masterful improvisation, does stick to the general story of this classic story, but with a few tweak that guarantee that no two shows are like. This is your last weekend to catch the show at The Centaur. 

Still hunting for that special gift? Check out the Salon des métiers des arts du QuebecOver 300 artisans will be exhibiting jewelry, wine, nougat, spices, home goods and more! Friday to Sunday at Place Bonaventure.  

AURA, Moment Factory's immersive multimedia show, is back! Audiences get to take in a mega light-and-music spectacle within the Notre-Dame Basilica and the light show, running for about 45 minutes - favourable for fidgety kids (and adults).  Shows on Friday and Saturday, running until December 30. (More dates in 2020.)

Relive a Montreal tradition by checking out the animated figures of the Ogilvy Christmas windows at the McCord Museum. The Mill in the Forest can be seen outside, while you'll need to head indoors to see The Enchanted Village (kids under 12 get in free). 

While you're downtown, head over to the Quartier des spectacles for the 10th edition of Luminotherapie, the outdoor light installation guaranteed to crack a smile on your frozen face. This year, five playful cartoon monoliths will entertain kids and adults alike - you just have to stand in front of them!

The Chalet on Mont-Royal is offering up family activities and drawing contests for kids, starting Saturday until January 5. 

Experience a slice of Canadian history through a surreal lens with The Twentieth Century, a comedy with deep roots in Montreal. Not yet the quirky Prime Minister we now know him as, young William Lyon Mackenzie King juggles demands and faces a leadership challenge in Toronto, in 1899. Director Matthew Ranking lived in Montreal, and several of his stars and crew have connections here. Starting Friday at Cinéma Moderne and Cinéma du Parc. 

Clever comic Ryan Conner (a one-time SNL Weekend Update writer!) hits up the Comedy Nest Friday and Saturday, 8 and 10:30pm.

Tribute band The Fabulous Flashbacks take over the Wheel Club in NDG to celebrate former owner Dickie Hearn's 83rd birthday. Friday at 8:45pm. 

Quebec all-male singing quartet Tocadéo since the holiday classics, Friday and Saturday 8pm at Cinquieme salle.

Explore over 1,000 strange and exotic objects of curiosity at Pointe-a-Callière Museum. Into the Wonder Room explores the phenomenon cabinets of curiosities, until January 10. There is also a new show at the Old Montreal museum: The Incas, Treasures of Peru explores the mysterious civilization's ancient rituals, art and achievements. Until April 13. 

The Mummies are here! Learn about the average day of six people who lived along the Nile a long, long time ago in this ongoing new show, Exploring Ancient Lives. At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

The Stewart Museum at Jean Drapeau Park hosts a span of holiday activities for families. 

The Museum has adapted its ongoing literary exhibit Nights, which brings to life unpublished stories by Montreal writers including Heather O'Neill, to include a toys theme for young patrons. Riffing on nocturnal life, these theatrical stagings incorporate over 100 artifacts from the Museum's collection, like toy soldiers and old maps. Until March 7. This Sunday, author and actor Sylvi Belleau will share the Swedish folk story, Christmas with The Trolls and Scottish tale Robin Redbreast, in English at 1pm and French at 11:15.Entry is free for children aged 12 and under, and admission is only $10 those over 12.  

Grab your best friends and go on an epic adventure to the land of The Main, when Lord of the Rings Burlesque spoofs the world of Tolkien at The Wiggle Room. Lou Lou la Duchesse de la Riere headlines, with Dr Orifice and Zilly Lilly and others. Friday, 9pm.


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