Sarah’s Weekend List, June 16-18

This massive, ephemeral artwork by Saype on Parc Ave. is already starting to fade, but to me it's the crowning succes of this edition of Mural. The festival wraps on Sunday. PHOTO: Mural
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

Vroom vroom! The Formula 1 Grand Prix is in town! Practice sessions are Friday, with the qualifying session Saturday at 4pm, and the race Sunday at 2pm. To get into the action outside the track, drop by the Crescent Street Grand Prix for live music and action. Sam Roberts Band performs, Friday 9:30pm. Site open 11am to 11pm. BMW, Porsche and Ferrari will be at the Peel Street festivities, where the champagne will be flowing at Restaurant Alexandre. (Or if you’d rather take in the fun from home, watch a new documentary about Gilles Villeneuve and his Ferrari fellow, Didier Pironi, on Crave, or take in the reality show Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix.) 

Final weekend for musical festival Francofolies! Daniel Bélanger sings Mercure en mai, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Friday and Saturday, 8pm. And there are free outdoor shows aplenty at Place des festivals, like rising acts Velours Velours, Friday 7pm and singer Naomi, Saturday 7pm. The fest wraps up Saturday, with Robert Charlebois’s huge closing concert, surveying his greatest hits, at 9 pm. 

The Cure take over the Bell Centre for two evenings, Friday and Saturday, 7:30pm. 

The Shania-ssance continues when country icon Shania Twain visits the Bell Centre, Sunday at 7:30pm. 

A few more days left to check out the Montreal Fringe Festival, with dozens of theatre, comedy and dance shows through the Plateau and downtown. The tickets are cheap, the shows are about an hour in length and the artists can do whatever they like! How to Fringe? Pick a handful of shows, including something you want to see and at least one show at random. It’s that element of surprise that can yield the sweetest of results! Then share your thoughts over a cold beer at Fringe Park, and dash off your recommendations with a handwritten Fringebuzz note. 

While some shows may be sold out for the final weekend, you can get some inspiration by checking out the just-announced list of Frankie award nominees. And here are some of my recommendations: 

In the same ‘hood, the Mural Festival celebrates public art and fun along the axis of the Main, which is now exclusively for pedestrians as the street fair takes over. Pick up something nice at the Mural Market, take a guided tour of the area’s expansive murals and scope out murals-in-progress. Live DJ sets and music performances are daily on stages around St-Laurent and Prince-Arthur. Check out the Monstro, an outdoor puppet show at a colouful mural at the northeast corner of Marie-Anne and Saint-Laurent, Friday 7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 2 and 4pm. Mural wraps up Sunday.

The Montreal Chamber Music Festival pays homage to local legend Oliver Jones. Former members of Jones’ jazz quartet, and the Oscar Peterson Trio, as well as singer Ranee Lee take to Salle Bourgie, Friday at 7:30pm. Cellist and festival director Noemie Raymond-Friset performs a free midday concert at Salle bourgie, Saturday at noon. 

The Festival closes out their programming with a unique show about the relationship with a great composer, and his muse and patron. Tchaikovsky had a long and curious alliance with Nadezhda von Meck (one of her stipulations was that they should never meet). Michele Marchand has written a script based on her reading of over 700 letters between the artist and mécène. Hear excerpts between Trachikovsky’s Trio Op. 50 and Souvenir de Florence. Maison symphonique, 3:30pm. 

Final weekend to catch Josephine: A Musical Cabaret, an award-winning bijou of a play that portrays the many lives of cabaret performer and celebrity, Josephine Baker! Co-creator and star Tymisha Harris has been touring the show since 2016, including a run off-Broadway, and an acclaimed appearance at the 2022 Fringe. This is a revamped edition, guided by noted director Sean Cheesman and music director and Montreal jazz scene fixture Taurey Butler. Until Sunday. 

A moving tribute to a Montreal playwright wraps up this weekend. Teesri Duniya Theatre and Theatre Esperance teamed up to present Tribes! (No Matter What) by Rana Bose. The producers rolled out the show within a month, hoping to present the show to Bose before his passing. Unfortunately, the writer died in May, too soon to see the staging. But Bose’s work lives on in this production, an absurdist examination of the lessons of war. Until Sunday, at the MAI. 

Friday is Bloomsday, a celebration of the work of Irish writer James Joyce - it is the day in the life of Leopold Bloom, recounted in his 1922 novel Ulysses. Organizers say Montreal’s Bloomsday festival is the largest in the country, and this year’s festivities culminates in a reading from the book at 11am, Friday at Westmount Library and online. 

Montrealer David Pryde The Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan) headlines at the Comedy Nest with support from Joey Elias, Emo Majok, Viveth Kanagaratnam, and more. Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm. 

Get cozy at Hurley’s Bar on Crescent with The World's Smallest Comedy Night. Friday, 8pm.

At Montreal Improv in St Henri, check out Troubadour on Friday, 9:30pm. Trobairitz Marlaena Moore will perform her original songs, inspiring improvisers to devise scenes. And Sunday’s 8pm show is Ìmprovisers, Do Other Stuff! which is exactly what it sounds like. 

Seduction is the theme this weekend at The Wiggle Room. On the bill, Little Galaxia, Celesta O'Lee, Rosie Bourgeoisie and Clara Develours, with hosting from host-performer Frenchy Jones. Friday and Saturday at 9pm. 

Galerie Simon Blais hosts a show for artist Francoise Sullivan on the occasion of her centenary. The Montrealer has worked in sculpture, dance and photography, but this show is focused on her colouful pastels created later on in her career. At 5420 St Laurent, until July 15. (Closed Sundays and Mondays.) 

The historic Odelltown Church marks its 200th anniversary with a weekend of activities. Founded in 1823 by Loyalists near Lacolle, the Methodist church was damaged when it was the scene of a battle in 1838. Though it no longer holds weekly services, the Church plays host to events like weddings. Celebrations are Friday through Sunday, including a choir concert on Friday evening, an open house and barbecue on Saturday, 10am to 4pm, and a service on Sunday. 


The 3-D art show Lasting Impressions returns for one final extension! The show wraps you up in various iconic scenes painted by the artists both in and adjacent to the Impressionist movement. Get cozy with Renoir’s luncheon guests and idle with Georges Seurat’s park-goers, while enveloped in a French soundtrack ranging from Debussy to Piaf to Aznavour. At Espace St-Denis until June 30. 

Lighting designer Paul Chambers creates a fascinating experience with Phosphos. The installation invites you into a darkened room, with a long strip on the floor coated with specialized paint. You are invited to interact with the space: create a doodle with a laser pointer or leave an imprint with your body and hair. At the MAI Tuesday to Saturday, 12 to 6pm, until June 29

Over at the Botanical Gardens, the clematis and Japanese tree lilacs are beginning to bloom, while the rhododendrons and irises are coming to a close. See which other flowers are in bloom this week.

SOS Vortex is the ‘little brother’ to the SOS Labyrinth in the Old Port. Enter the vibrant time vortex of a mad scientist while learning about ecology and climate change. The structure is made of recycled containers, with eye-catching colours and Pop Art esthetic. At the the CF Carrefour Laval parking lot (corner of Daniel-Johnon and Le Carrefour) until October 29. 

The Infinite virtual reality experience returns to Montreal at a different location, with new, immersive footage shot from the International Space Station. Over the course of an hour, the exhibit puts you shoulder-to-shoulder with astronauts like David Saint-Jacques, taking you through their day orbiting the Earth. A jaw-dropping V-R treat! At 2 de la Commune Street West in the Old Port, until July 3.

Cirque du soleil has just launched their 20th “big top” show, Echo. Fifty-one artists bring this ode to nature and creativity to life, with thrilling acrobatic acts, controsion and animal-masked antics. Echo is a bit of an esthetic departure from the visual over-the-topness you might have come to expect from a Cirque production. Visually, the bowler hats and blue skies brought Belgian surrealist René Magritte to mind. The stage is dominated by a large, white cube that moves and interacts with performers - with a super-sized, unexpected transformation before intermission. I adored the banquine and human cradle acts with Color Paper People, and the soaring 'fireflies' - a duo that are lifted into the air by their hair. Until August 20 in the Old Port. 

Pointe-à-Callière Museum in Old Montreal  just launched Egypt: Three Millennia on the Nile. This exhibit traces life both ordinary and royal on the legendary river, dating from the start of human settlement to the Roman conquest. Some 320 items will be displayed in an exclusive agreement with the Museo Egizio in Turin, including jewelry, statues, tools, sarcophagi and more! Until October 15. 

Get your hockey fix down at the Montreal Science Centre, where they have just launched Hockey: Faster Than Ever, an action-packed exploration of the science and culture, technology and triumph of the sport. Experience what it is like to be in an NHL locker room and the corridor that leads to the ice, test your slapshot and get acquainted with some of the legendary stars of the Canadiens franchise. Until September 10.