5 unique activity ideas to discover in downtown Montreal

3 minutes

Stéphane Deslauriers

Un cinéaste qui tourne un film dans Brooklyn
  • © **** EMBARGO 12 DÉCEMBRE 4H **** Le directeur de la photographie Yves Bélanger et l'actrice Saoirse Ronan sur le plateau de tournage de «Brooklyn». PHOTO KERRY BROWN

Featured image photo credit : Film Brooklyn Saorise Ronan © Kerry Brown

As health measures are gradually lifted, we know a lot of you are focused on filling up your schedule with everything you’ve missed. We get it! So for those of you looking to get out there and enjoy the city, here are a few interesting outings to be found in our beloved downtown that may not be on your regular itinerary.

For the film buffs: learn about Montreal’s film industry while on-location with Action Montreal

Presented by the CINEMANIA French Film Festival, the Action Montreal audio tour offers a soundtrack that combines stories and anecdotes from beloved Montreal film shoots. The thirteen stations are marked by signs with QR codes which you simply scan with your phone’s camera to begin discovering the history of that particular film or tv set. Of course, with such beautiful architecture everywhere, three of those spots are downtown: Philips Square, the Îlot Balmoral, and Dawson College.

Additional podcast episodes have also been recorded specifically for the occasion, so you’ll get to dive even deeper into the heart of our North American film hub. If movies are your thing, this is the perfect opportunity to satisfy the geek in you.

For those off the beaten path: attend a concert in one of Montreal’s beautiful places of worship

Located next to Concordia University’s Webster Library, St. Jax Church is a beautiful Anglican place of worship with Gothic Revival architecture. Over the years, the church has been extensively renovated and restored to meet the changing needs of the downtown community. Today, the church has two halls and a majestic Casavant organ. It is home to, among other things, Le Monastère’s eclectic circus arts programming as well as the borough of Ville-Marie’s free musical performances.

In fact, two concerts have already been scheduled for the end of March: Maxim Bernard, an exceptional classical pianist, and Diogo Ramos, a Brazilian singer-songwriter. Discover one of Montreal’s most beautiful progressive churches while attending what promises to be a delightful concert.

For lovers of the cabaret: catch Celeste, the new Cirque Éloize show presented at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth

Presented exclusively at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, Cirque Éloize’s brand new show, Céleste, will have you dreaming with your eyes wide open. This enchanting yet cheeky cabaret celebrates the mythical universe of stars through truly spectacular acrobatic moments, captivating music, quirky repartée and the magic of circus arts!

This 90-minute experience is for people ages 14 and up, as the flirtatious host and in-theatre bar brings that distinct cabaret feel to the production. If you’ve never been to this historic Montreal hotel, this show and brand new performance space are a great opportunity to discover it. And while you’re at it, why not grab a pre-show cocktail or two at their beautiful Bar Nacarat?

For art fiends: visit L’heure mauve, a heartwarming exhibition presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA)

Known for his masterful paintings and vibrantly coloured installations, Swiss-born visual artist Nicolas Party presents L’heure mauve. With over a hundred nature-inspired works on display, the Museum of Fine Arts’ rooms serve as a canvas on which the artist shares his poetic and pastoral imagination.

To enliven this mauve hour, the MMFA has invited Quebec singer-songwriter Pierre Lapointe to create a soundtrack of 14 musical pieces that accompany the art and add a musical dimension to this generously immersive exhibition. Whether they depict a sunset, still life, undergrowth, or insects, these paintings and sculptures will take you places.

For music aficionados: hear a stunning performance from one of Canada’s most famous choral ensembles

Every week, at the 10:45 am Sunday worship service, St. Andrew and St. Paul’s Church choir performs for an awed audience of believers, music lovers and architectural admirers. Located at the corner of Bishop and St. Paul, the St. Andrew and St. Paul Church is a multicultural Presbyterian congregation that welcomes all those who wish to worship within its majestic walls and stunning stained glass windows.

If you’d prefer, you can also watch the performance from the comfort of your own living room, as all Sunday services are now featured on the church’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/standrewstpaul. No matter your religious background, we’re willing to bet you’ll be moved.

We can feel it folks – Spring is around the corner. Taking part in a cultural activity or two is a wonderful way to expand your horizons while helping your body and your mind unwind from a rough few years of confinement. So if you’re looking for a mix of simplicity and wonder, chances are, downtown Montreal has just the thing you’re looking for.