The Bulletin: The flood of festivals, car-free streets, and good vibes to come [Issue #76]

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

May 9, 2024- Read time: 9 min
The Bulletin: The flood of festivals, car-free streets, and good vibes to come [Issue #76]Japan Week's series of festivities highlighting the vastness of Japanese influence in the city is happening now. | Photograph: © Yasuko Tadokoro

We're a ways off from the first official day of summer, but man, we've arrived: As you read this, you're on the precipice—the last relatively quiet weekend in the grand scheme of things—before all of the city's festivals and pedestrianized streets open up.

ChatGPT told us the number of festivities and parades varies each year (huh?), and a couple of preliminary sources suggest there's as many as 100, but even then that can't be taking full account of all the smaller and underground festivals taking over the city's cinemas, venues, and parks.

There's a lot to take in, but we'll be curating it all (hint hint tell your friends about our newsletter) to help you plan ahead and mix things up now and then. Don't forget: They're perfect for getting together with people you haven't seen in a while, and try to volunteer for the things you're passionate about.

Let's get to it.


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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.

Thursday

  • The 4th edition of Japan Week and its week-long celebration of the richness of Japanese culture in the city with an array of activities is happening right now.
  • Montreal's own comedy party Kickback, produced by comedy phenomenon Eva Alexo, is taking place at Saint-Henri's Satay Brothers.

Friday

  • Fourteen museums across Montréal invite you to live through the city’s vibrant past through the stories told over generations with the Festival d'Histoire de Montréal.
  • Local crew Ferias is bringing their selections of disco, house, funk and soul to Osmo X Marusan, taking full advantage of their sound system.
  • Queer up the Dôme! A lesbian-queer evening entitled QUEEN & QUEER will take over one of Montreal's most emblematic venues, the Satosphère.

Saturday

  • 10 of the Montréal Sketchfest's top troupes are performing one sketch each in a rapid fire explosion of sketch comedy.
  • The Journey, an Afro dance event featuring Afro House, Deep House, Soulful House, Amapiano and more, is taking over the space above Bar Pamplemousse.

Sunday

  • At Montreal’s Planetarium, the exhibition ROUGE 2100 offers a journey in five chapters guided by the AI that imagines your first steps on the red planet.
  • Le Mignonisme, an original trail made up of fifteen monumental pink sculptures by French artist Philippe Katerine, has been opened up to the city.
  • Catch Festival Accès Asie's interdisciplinary, intercultural and intergenerational festival while it lasts, known for celebrating Asian heritage month in Montreal every year since 1995.

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  • Good vibes

Bad news: Westmount's Paradiso is closing up shop on May 17, so get some (like this lobster mezzelune) while it's hot. | Photograph: @paradiso.pasta / Instagram

WHAT TO EAT & DRINK IN AND AROUND MONTREAL

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

The finer cuts 🍖

Building off the nightly revelry at the wine bar Verdun Beach, its new operation Verdun Beef is the team's new daytime operations providing grocery options to its neighbourhood alongside a tidy casse-croûte menu of sandwiches and charcuterie—but it isn't beyond parties of its own. (The Main)

Verdun Beef: The guinguette-inspired ecosystem of the Sud-Ouest
A natural progression of the wine bar Verdun Beach, Verdun Beef is a neighbourhood-first spot for top cuts of shopping and dining.

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

Getting lost in the stacks 📚

For a shop that's known for introducing Montrealers to so many stories since it opened in 1999, NDG’s friendly neighbourhood bookstore—a family-run literary and audiophilic icon of the city—has a few stories of its own. (The Main)

Encore Books & Records: Getting lost in the stacks with owner Sean Madden
Listening in to the stories behind NDG’s friendly neighbourhood bookstore, a family-run literary and audiophilic icon of the city.

The possibilities of going car-free 🚗

In response to the experience with car-free streets, the next car-free period in Montreal this summer will last longer on some roads and a new street will be added. Thing is, Montreal isn't alone in testing things out. (CBC Montreal)

More Canadian cities are warming up to the car-free street | CBC News
Car-free efforts in major Canadian cities are part of a global push that’s reconsidering city design to reduce congestion and pollution.

Tastes and touchstones

Diving into Montreal's Little Portugal, many of the Plateau neighbourhood's icons and businesses are touched upon, tracing its histories from Portuguese newcomers coming from the Azores and Madeira Islands in the 1950's until now. (Le Devoir)

Dans le Portugal de Montréal
Promenade gourmande dans un quartier riche en histoire.

A fragile but healthy state of affairs

"One of the most fascinating and yes, most frustrating things about Quebec’s constant linguistic friction," Toula Drimonis writes, "is how differently Quebecers can and will interpret the same event — a political speech, an anecdote and even a study’s conclusions." (Cult MTL)

The myth of the decline of French in Quebec, a $603M issue with fear-mongering on both sides
Following the OQLF study showing that there has been no decline of French in Quebec, the government has only doubled down.

Survival of the still-est 🫗

The number of microdistilleries in Quebec has boomed in the last decade, growing from less than a dozen to about 70. But a decision by Quebec’s liquor corporation to cull up to 200 homegrown products from its stores is a sign of the growing pains felt by an industry struggling for many reasons. (Montreal Gazette)

SAQ to cull spirits from shelves as local distillers struggle
“Do we really need 300 types of Quebec gins?”

"I thought it was important to bear witness"

As McGill's demonstration continues, voices for Palestine and counter-protestors have collided. As this author writes, no group is a monolith and among depictions of extremes, deep divisions give way to a shared desire for understanding—underscoring the complexity of identity, resistance, and the struggle for all to be recognized and free. (The Rover)

“And I Went Down to the Demonstration” – The Rover
When I was taught about Never Again, I was taught that it meant for anybody who was facing oppression, not just Jews.

Prime cuts of rap beef

As two of this century’s arguably most important musicians, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, try to destroy each other, somehow Montreal's been brought into the mix. Gotta love it when we're not directly the subject of international news. (Montreal Gazette)

Montreal dragged into Drake-Kendrick Lamar rap beef
Do you know who Drake’s so-called “Montreal connects” are?

Making noise

Sergio Da Silva can’t catch a break: Running a music venue and café with band lodging upstairs has attracted a lot of clientele and goodwill—as well as tiresome noise complaints and systemic disrespect. (Cult MTL)

Sergio Da Silva from Turbo Haüs is the kind of small business owner Montreal needs more of
Sergio Da Silva and his music venue Turbo Haüs have attracted a lot of clientele and goodwill — and noise complaints and systemic disrespect.

"Like someone cut a giant heart in two" 💔

The closure of the NFB’s interactive studios in Vancouver and Montreal earlier this year didn’t even register in Canada’s mainstream media despite the fact that the studios had operated for fifteen years and were involved in the cutting edge of new media. (The Walrus)

Cuts Push National Film Board of Canada to the Brink | The Walrus
Dozens of layoffs and the closure of studios spark questions about the agency’s future

State your case

For 22 years, Culture Montréal has championed integrating culture into urban development, advocating for its vital role in enhancing societal resilience and personal growth. Now they're making a case to keep the ball rolling. (Le Devoir)

Ravivons la flamme de notre métropole culturelle
Parce qu’elle nous élève et nous lie, la culture réhumanise la ville en rendant possible la vie en collectivité.

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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