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Montreal's 10 Unmissable Festivals And Events: Summer 2014
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Montreal's 10 Unmissable Festivals And Events: Summer 2014

Picture of Jess Dawdy
Updated: 9 February 2017
One of the hubs of French-speaking Canada, Montreal is said to be the cultural heart of the country. With its historic architecture, unique French-Canadian cuisine, and vibrant arts scene, few Canadian cities can compete with Montreal’s entertainment options. This energetic city hosts some of Canada’s biggest festivals, drawing massive international crowds and industry leaders. Here are some of the most exciting festivals taking place in Montreal this summer, 2014.
© Emmanuel Huybrechts/Flickr

Art l Fabulous Fabergé

14 June – 5 October, 2014

The most important Fabergé collection outside of Russia is on exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The Fabulous Fabergé exhibit features over 240 pieces created by Carl Fabergé, jeweller for the Russian Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The pieces are not only beautiful, but historically significant, associated with luxury of the Russian imperial family in the last days before the Russian Revolution. The collection features four of Fabergé’s famous Easter eggs, as well as gold cigarette cases, rock-crystal flowers, jewelled brooches, enamelled picture frames, and other dazzlingly precious pieces.

Fabulous Fabergé, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 514 285 2000

OEuf de Pâques impérial dit Pierre le Grand
OEuf de Pâques impérial dit Pierre le Grand, 1903 Mikhaïl Perkhin (maître d’atelier) une miniature de Vassily Zuiev
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Music | Montreal Jazz Festival

26 June – 6 July, 2014

The largest jazz festival in the world, the Montreal Jazz Festival draws over 2 million visitors each year to the city’s entertainment district, Quartier des Spectacles. The festival is known for featuring some of the biggest names in music, with this year’s line-up including Diana Ross, B.B.King, Ben Harper, Aretha Franklin, Rufus Wainwright, and Tony Bennett. Celebrating its 35th year, the festival has evolved to incorporate many different genres of music, from rock and reggae, to soul and country, with hundreds of indoor shows, as well as an equal number of free outdoor shows. The festival is also increasingly committed to showcasing local jazz musicians, with several night clubs in the area hosting a series of home-grown talents.

This event will be held in various locations across Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles, +1 514 871 1881

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Panaroma
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Panaroma | Courtesy Victor Diaz Lamich

Culture l Montreal Complètement Cirque

2 July – 13 July, 2014

Home of the National Circus School and celebrated circus troupes such as Les 7 doigts de la main and Cirque du Soleil, there couldn’t be a more perfect place than Montreal for festival devoted to the circus. Montreal Complètement Cirque is a relatively new festival in which circus professionals from across the world come to network with one another and perform for spectators. The events take place at both indoor and outdoor venues across the city, with most of the outdoor events free to the public. Visitors can expect a variety of acrobatic acts, clowns, jugglers, and other high-flying performances from some of the world’s top circus acts, plus the opportunity to test their own trampoline, trapeze, or slack wire skills with circus school trainers.

This event will be held in various locations across Montreal.

Culture l Carifiesta

5 July, 2015

One of the city’s most energetic summer festivals, Carifiesta is the second largest Caribbean festival in Canada. Taking place since 1975, the event features a lively carnival-style parade of Latin, West-Indian, and Afro-Caribbean music and dance. Visitors can expect to see up to 500 unique Caribbean costumes, as well as bright floats decorated in the colours of the different countries being represented. The parade typically attracts up to 100,000 spectators, who are encouraged to dance along with the parade participants. The parade, which runs along St. Catherine St. W between Rue Du Fort and Square Phillips, is aimed at promoting cultural inclusiveness and highlighting the talents of Montreal’s Caribbean community.

St. Catherine St. W, Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 855 258 6787

Comedy l Just for Laughs

9 July – 28 July, 2014

The world’s largest and most celebrated comedy event, Just for Laughs, features more than 1600 performances by some of the biggest names in comedy, along with up-and-coming comedians. The festival is known for having helped to launch the careers of now-famous comedians like Denis Leary, Jon Steward, and Dave Chappelle. Attracting more than two million visitors, the festival hosts over 1000 free outdoor performances. This year’s line-up includes Seth Rogen, Russell Peters, Don Rickles and Andy Samberg. In addition to live comedy, the festival features a comedy film festival, as well as street performances, in Places des Festivals, a public space in the Quartier des Spectacles neighbourhood.

Just for Laughs, 2101 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 514 845 3155

Film l Fantasia Film Festival

17 July – 5 August, 2014

Recognised as one of the world’s best genre film festivals, the Fantasia Film Festival showcases innovative contemporary films, including more than 100 feature films and 200 shorts from over 30 different countries. With genres ranging from horror and animation, to fantasy and comedy, the festival emphasises outstanding Asian films rarely seen in North America. The films range from unique, independent films, to commercially successful crowd pleasers, with past features including the world premiere of Inglourious Basterds, Bon Cop Bad Cop, Drunken Master II and Le Grand Chef. The festival also features Q&A Sessions with directors and actors, live theatrical productions, and outdoor screenings of acclaimed films showcased during previous years of the festival.

This event will be held in various locations across Montreal.

Fantasia Film Festival
Courtesy Origin Films

Music l Osheaga

1 August – 3 August, 2014

Osheaga is a massive music festival that features renowned music acts along with up-and-coming new talents. Often compared to California’s Coachella, this year’s line-up features headliners the Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, Outkast, and Lorde. Taking place on several stages in Parc Jean-Drapeau, multiple artists typically perform at the same time in different areas of the park. There’s also plenty of festival food to keep visitors fueled throughout the performances, including appearances by some of Montreal’s top food trucks. Attracting crowds of more than 135,000 people, the festival prides itself on offering something for everyone. The venue offers enough space for hard-core enthusiasts to crowd the main stages, while more casual fans and families with children can hang back and enjoy the music in the park’s open green spaces.

Osheaga, Parc Jean-Drapeau, 1 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 855 310 2525

The Arctic Monkeys
The Arctic Monkeys | Courtesy Osheaga

Fashion l Montreal Fashion and Design Festival

20 August – 23 August, 2014

North America’s largest outdoor fashion and design event, the Montreal Fashion and Design Festival brings together leading international fashion labels and prominent designers to highlight the latest trends in fashion, design, beauty and shopping. Set in downtown Montreal’s Place des Festivals, the event features over 50 outdoor fashion shows, live creative sessions, design showcasing, original art installations, and musical performances. This glamorous event showcases the work of both emerging and established fashion creators, with previous events featuring internationally recognised designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, as well as local designers, such as Pedram Karimi and Barilà.

Montreal Fashion and Design Festival, Place des Festivals, Rue Jeanne-Mance, Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 514 876 1499

Art l Nuit Blanche sur Tableau Noir

28 August – 31 August, 2014

Montreal’s trendy l’ Avenue Du Mont-Royal closes for four days for this festival featuring street paintings, performances, concerts, installations, and children’s activities. During Nuit Blanche sur Tableau Noir, which means ‘white night on black table’ in French, the street is transformed into a massive open-air flea market, with kiosks set up along the street and shops extending their hours. Drawing crowds of more than 500,000 people every year, the highlight of the event is ‘Grande Fresque de Nuit’, during which local artists create murals while festival goers watch, painting directly onto the asphalt of the street.

Nuit Blanche sur Tableau Noir, l’Avenue Du Mont-Royal, Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 514 522 3797

Film l Montreal World Film Festival

21 August – 1 September, 2014

One of Canada’s oldest international film festivals, the Montreal World Film Festival, is the only competitive film festival in North America accredited by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations). Founded in 1977, this festival features awards for feature films, short films, and several awards voted by the public, including the People’s Choice Award. The festival features films from over 80 different countries, offering a mix of contributions by both established and emerging filmmakers, with winners eligible to be nominated for Academy Awards. Ranked among the world’s leading film festivals, the festival marks the world premiere for many of the more than 400 films showcased.

This event will be held in various cinemas across Montreal.