Grand Prix Weekend in Montreal 2017: June 9 to June 11, 2017

Things to Do Off the Race Track During F1 Grand Prix Weekend in Montreal

Montreal Grand Prix 2017 weekend madness.
••• Courtesy of CNW Group/Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival

Montreal Grand Prix 2017 Events

Looking to jump right into Montreal Grand Prix action? Looking to actively avoid Montreal Grand Prix action? My carefully curated list has you both covered. Staying in town for F1? You'll love Montreal's top luxury accommodations and the city's hottest boutique hotels.

Through Montreal Grand Prix Weekend
Indulge in a Freebie
Why not? You've got dozens to choose from.

 

June 7 to June 12, 2017
Place du 50e
Celebrate the Canadian Grand Prix's 50th anniversary in the heart of downtown Montreal at Place du Canada, a public square sandwiched between Peel and Metcalfe, north of René-Lévesque and south of Ste. Catherine Street.

 F1 drivers Lance Stroll and Romain Grosjean will be on-site to inaugurate the space on Wednesday 7 June, at 5:30 p.m. 

 

June 8 to June 10, 2017
Crescent Street's Canadian Grand Prix Festival
Crescent Street's Canadian Grand Prix Festival has been around as long as I can remember. Pit stop challenges, bubbly, scantily clad promotional staff, live shows, DJ sets, live concerts, Crescent Street is a must for Formula One fanatics, expecting its usual alleged quota of 500,000 people who show up for the strip's annual F1 Fest held between Ste. Catherine and de Maisonneuve (map), over the course of three days. Every day of the fest runs from roughly noon to 10 p.m.

 

June 8 to June 11, 2017
Peel Formula
Scantily clad promotional staff are typically dressed in slightly more elegant ensembles at this particularly upscale outdoor street event. Gawk at luxury cars, linger on the terraces of nearby restaurants like my personal favorite, Ferreira Café (reservations strongly recommended), drink and be merry.

 

Organizers say up to 350,000 people walk through the Peel Formula block party and recommend reserving a terrace spot ahead of time if you want a guaranteed seat in the heart of the action. On Peel, above Ste. Catherine (map). You can't miss it.

 

June 8 to June 11, 2017
Old Montreal Celebrates Grand Prix
Outdoor grills, foodie kiosks, copious terrace-lingering and more is in store along the pedestrianized portion of St.

Paul (map) on Grand Prix weekend.

 

June 8 to June 18, 2017
Les FrancoFolies
Discover the best in the French music scene via Les FrancoFolies' free outdoor concerts held daily in and around Place des Festivals.

 

June 2017
Mural Fest
Previous street fests on St. Laurent coinciding with Grand Prix weekend featured vintage cars, dancers, live DJ sets, oyster shots, terrace-lounging, choice people-watching and blowout sales. But since Mural Fest's street fest focus took over, the Montreal thoroughfare shifted gears. At least a little. 

 

June 9 to June 11, 2017
Weekend de Courses de la Petite Italie
This Little Italy street fest is a nice pit stop for families and tourists removed from the downtown hubub that's still in the spirit of F1.

It's also right near the Jean-Talon Market, one of my favorite places in Montreal. The last time I brought tourists there, they were squealing with joy over the flavors and selection of foodstuff that in some cases, they didn't know existed. And one of them was a seasoned Manhattan foodie. Montreal may not have much over on the Big Apple but when it comes to food, this city can compete.

 

Through June 2017
Find a Street Fest That Has Nothing to do with Grand Prix
What can I say?

Not everyone is a fan of the brouhaha.

 

Through June 2017
Linger on a Terrace
Not particularly interested in doing the Grand Prix dance but still want to fit in some people-watching? Consider lingering at one of these Montreal terraces, or terrasses as locals call them, an omnipresent city feature come springtime, an integral part of the Montreal lifestyle which stays put as long as it's warm enough to enjoy patio life.

From posh spot to watering hole, casual pub to date-worthy restaurant, they're everywhere: on high-rise rooftops, lining sidewalks for all to see or nestled in courtyards privy to only those in-the-know. But if I had to narrow the list down and play favorites, the following Montreal terraces would get first dibs.

 

Through June 2017
Montreal Fringe Festival
An irreverent, uncensored, anything goes performance arts festival perfect for the Grand Prix avoidee, over 20 years strong.

Expect the best of performance art and the worst of performance art. Acts are chosen via a lottery draw so you never know what you're gonna get, which is the Fringe Fest's inherent charm. Admission varies by event, often in the $10 range. Lots of free and affordable outdoor shows, concerts, and beer tent action too at the Fringe Fest epicentre located at Parc des Amériques. Just show up and roam around.

 

Through June 2017
Shop!
If money is no object, drop by Ogilvy's and Cours Mont-Royal for a solid choice of upscale luxury brands, from Versace to Michael Kors. They're within walking distance of each other on Montreal's chief shopping thoroughfare, Ste. Catherine Street, mostly in the Museum Quarter

For a more uptown shopping experience adjacent the Mile End and Plateau neighborhoods, try Laurier Street West, a choice haute shopping destination filled with fabulous full-service boutiques featuring well-known international brands like Neil Barrett, Robert Rodriguez and Jean Paul Gaultier as well as high-end Montreal labels. I wrote about it here.

 

Through June 2017
Do Something Completely Different
Wanna catch a concert? Live performance? The Pompeii exhibit?

 

Through Grand Prix Weekend 2017
Be Seen: Traditional Grand Prix Haunts
For those who want to see and be seen, blow wads of cash as well as be served by hot service staff, you probably already know where to go. At a loss? Any hot-listed Old Montreal boutique hotel lounge and associated restaurant -the Saint James, the W- should do the trick. Meanwhile, these locales gave traditional haunt status when it comes to celebrating F1:

 

Through Grand Prix Weekend 2017
Be Seen: More Hot Spots
Also want to see and been seen but looking for locales more along the lines of hot with a hint of posh? Try:

 

Through Montreal Grand Prix Weekend
Celebrity-Hunting
Tom Brady, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Pfeiffer, Naomi Watts, Snoop Dog... I can't remember a Montreal Grand Prix as celeb-studded as 2016 was. Wouldn't be surprised to see more of the same in 2017. But I dunno. Maybe I'm getting old or maybe I've met enough high-profilers in my humble lifetime to realize that seeing or meeting a celeb isn't exactly life-altering. It would take nothing short of God -maybe a resurrected Tesla?- to get me starstruck at this point.

By the same token, good for them for achieving notoriety and success as actors. Or models. Or athletes. Or musicians. Or producers/directors/writers/whatevers. That's fantastic! I adore and admire anyone with the chutzpah to work every cell in their being passed its perceived limits to realize their highest potential. You don't make it to the top (and stay there) by sitting around and doing nothing. Or by taking shortcuts. It takes WERK. Hours and weeks and years of intense focus.

Now healthy admiration is one thing. But what is the deal with this cult of celebrity worship, right down to following Celebrity X from their front door to their car? It's gotten sillier with every decade. Why do we do this?! Even the most powerful head of state is mortal, pooping and farting and yes, fumbling like everyone else. Besides, it's only a matter of time before every name is forgotten, whether it takes a few weeks, months or millennia. We all crumble to ashes in the end, don't we.