The Bulletin: What's Montreal without one of its biggest festivals? [Issue #67]

The Bulletin is a collection of what's happened, what’s happening, and what’s to come in and around Montreal.

The Main

The Main

March 7, 2024- Read time: 9 min
The Bulletin: What's Montreal without one of its biggest festivals? [Issue #67]Photograph: © Just For Laughs Festival, Julia C. Vona

There's no way around it: Festivals are in a bad way right now.

Just For Laughs made headlines internationally this week for cancelling this year's edition at a time when Netflix is dominating the world stage, following months of festivals citing climbing costs and bad publicity—from cancelled fireworks and as many as 16 different events citing the need for cash to poor planning that impacts the local businesses they're meant to support—and to top it all off, the world experiences the 'funflation' of ticket prices.

Across North America, organizers are seeing disproportionate increases in production costs, talent buyouts, and other numerous facets of the live event sphere. Without being able to draw in the big acts from around the world, where are we going to go from here?

We might have an answer: Go local, even if it's just a bit more.

That's what we do, and we know there's more than enough to celebrate in our own backyard, and it can be done in a way that doesn't cost us $12 for a bottle of water on one of the hottest days of the year. Think about it.

Anyway, off the soapbox—it's time for another weekend.

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Activities, parties, points of interest, art exhibitions, you name it: These are the weekend events you don't want to miss.


  • This weekend's your last chance to watch live music, eat food, go ice skating, and ride the Ferris Wheel among the lights of Montréal en Lumière.
  • More than 1,300 athletes from 15 countries are participating in L’international Gymnix, a women’s gymnastics competition at Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard—tickets are about $25 to $30 a day.


  • Tokyo-born multi-instrumentalist Takuya Nakamura is bringing their vast array of instruments to the stage of Bar Le Ritz PDB.
  • Comedy Central's Arthur Simeon, seen on Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, HBO’s Funny as Hell and Just For Laughs (RIP?) is headlining at The Comedy Nest all weekend long.
  • We, uh... we don't know how to put this, but there's a Shrek Rave at Club Soda?


  • If you're into Nordic and Scandinavian culture, the FIKA(S) festival, dedicated to its music, movies and food is starts on Saturday with a hygge artisanal market and runs until March 15.
  • You a Swiftie? Couldn't afford tickets? No problem: A sultry and sassy burlesque cabaret featuring the music of Taylor Swift is hitting the stage of Cafe Cleopatra.


  • It's the final weekend for Montréal Boréal festival: Ending on a fun note, they're doing winter yoga, a dog show, food from local restaurants, and live music to express the last vestiges of this year's cold-weather culture along the Lachine Canal.

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The new arrival Onigiri Shop, featured in this month's best new restaurant list. | Photograph: @randomcuisine / Instagram


Scope the latest restaurant openings, recommendations on where to eat, plus new menus, old classics, and everything in between.

Stay up to date on your eats

Another month, another updated batch of the best new restaurants in Montreal. Just like our unseasonably warm weather, things are heating up in the city right now when we take stock of the latest openings on offer right now. (The Main)

The Best New Restaurants in Montreal [March 2024]
Under the radar or over the top, these are the 24 best new restaurants in Montreal that you should get a taste of right now.
  • Want a Montréal en Lumière recommendation? The Bell Centre's executive chef Yves Lowe is cooking with NFLD's chef Jeremy Charles for a collaborative dining experience that precedes a good ol' Hockey Night in Canada.
  • Further to the above, Marcus at the Four Seasons is doing a very special dinner and brunch that you don't want to miss.
  • Happening Gourmand runs until March 30th, an event where Old Montreal's grand collection of bistros, steakhouses, sushi spots, and more serve up table d'hotes ranging from $39 to $59.
  • Finally, acerum is all the rage right now, and if you don't know it? Get to know it with this masterclass.
  • The Old Port's got itself a fancy new speakeasy in the form of The Grotto, a cocktail-forward bar with snacks available on Friday and Saturday.
  • Starting March 7 (today!) Léché Desserts is launching an Après Hours series, a monthly 5 à 7 in their Saint-Henri café with local and organic wines to go with ephemeral bits and bites.
  • On Sunday, March 10, Saint-Henri's Bonheur d'Occasion will be celebrating its 1st anniversary with homemade pogos, sauces and a whole lotts vinyl playing.
  • If you're going to go sugar shacking, you may as well do it in style: Reservations are now open to try out the gastronomic version from Parcelles in April.
  • Celebrating 15 years in the business, the Plateau's neighbourhood bistro destination La Fabrique is offering a "nostalgia menu" March 12 to 23, where favourites from over the years will be sold at the price of their year's creation.
  • Vinorama is turning two years old, and will be partying from 3pm to late on March 10 with snacks and lots of wine courtesy of Bambara, Dieu du Vin, Plan Vin, Ward & Associées, and Vin Dame Jeanne.

Our sponsor this week: KeyDay

Apartment hunting in Montreal isn’t what it used to be, and as there's less inventory on the market while rents rise, finding a place to live's imperfectly evolved situation. So, enter this apartment matchmaker. (The Main)

The apartment hunting game’s changed—here’s how to find a quality home in Montreal
Craigslist ads, trawling streets for À LOUER signs, and now a sea of online listings—how’s someone supposed to find a place to lay their head these days?

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Here, you'll find a weekly round-up of the latest local news, from entertainment to current affairs and more.

So it really was no laughing matter

Welp, the news from last week's come to pass: The 2024 Just for Laughs comedy festival has been cancelled as the Montreal company behind it tries to avoid bankruptcy, seeking creditor protection under Canada's Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. (CTV Montreal)

Just For Laughs files for creditor protection, says 2024 festival ‘will not take place’
The 2024 Just for Laughs comedy festival has been cancelled as the Montreal company tries to avoid bankruptcy.

Nothing gets us hot like ''soft densification"

For the next three years, one law's amendment authorizes QC municipalities to circumvent local bylaws like height restrictions, property lines, and landscaping to approve housing projects as long as they either include mostly social, affordable or student housing units—but experts say the provisions are contradictory, could lead to corruption. (CBC Montreal)

Quebec’s new housing law aims to fast-track construction. Will it deliver? | CBC News
Amendments to Quebec’s new housing law allow municipalities to approve projects that go against their own bylaws. But experts say the provisions are contradictory, could lead to corruption and won’t necessarily speed up construction — especially with a lack of funding.

Shacked up and nowhere to go

Sugar shacks are up and running and open to visitors. Thing is, ideal sap flow conditions fall between -5 Celsius and five degrees this time of year, but they're currently climbing above that, affecting production—but the crowds are still incoming. (CityNews Montreal)

What the warmer weather means for this year’s sugar shack season | CityNews Montreal
It’s a sweet lead into spring with the start of maple syrup season. Sugar shacks like Cabane à Sucre Constantin - north of Montreal in Saint-Eustcahe - are running and open to welcome visitors. Ideal sap flow conditions fall between minus five and plus five degrees celsius. But Sunday’s temperatures climbed to plus eight.

Going beyond the books

From guided tours to music, Aly Ndiaye (also known as Webster) has been shining a spotlight on the parts of Quebec history you probably didn't learn in school for the last two decades, with a main interest in Black people and their enslavement in Quebec, dating back to the 17th century. (CBC Montreal)

This hip-hop artist and educator is making Quebec’s Black history more accessible | CBC News
Aly Ndiaye, also known as Webster, is both a historian and hip-hop artist. For years, he has been working to expand what is taught as part of Quebec’s history.

Straight from the mayor's mouth

Over the past 20 years, more than 153,000 housing units have been built in Montreal, with a record year in 2021. So, Montreal's mayor asks, how can we explain Montreal households' difficulty finding housing that meets needs? Why is the housing crisis getting worse despite being a top priority for the past six years? (Le Devoir)

Montréal peut et doit demeurer une métropole abordable
La mixité sociale et économique ne se fera pas par charité ni par miracle, mais juridiquement et politiquement.

The most livable part of Quebec is... TMR?

That's what this piece claims, anyway: Mont-Royal was designed in 1910 according to tenets of the North American “City Beautiful” movement, which sought to blend the best parts of urban and suburban life. Looks like those tenets have paid off. (Globe & Mail)

Why Mont-Royal is Quebec’s most livable city
Mont-Royal was designed in 1910 according to tenets of the North American “City Beautiful” movement, which sought to blend the best parts of urban and suburban life

"This is not a museum"

Natalija Subotincic and Mark West's Victorian house has been partly converted into a museum. Largely unknown to the public, its strange collections offer everything from personal art to insights into Quebec's rural life in the 17th century. (La Presse)

Photograph: François Roy / La Presse

An overstepped and costly online shop no more

A short-lived and short-sighted project from the QC government, Le Panier Bleu is over and done. Welcoming far fewer merchants than initially desired, it hadn't succeeded in accomplishing its objective of welcoming around 1,000 merchants by the end of 2023—and it cost the province $22 million. (Le Devoir)

En manque de revenus, le Panier bleu ferme sa plateforme
Il aurait fallu injecter encore environ 20 millions $ pour assurer la survie de l’entreprise, affirme Pierre Fitzgibbon.

And that wraps yet another weekly bulletin. We’ll be back with more curiosities, local stories, and events to discover next week.

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