As the temperatures warm up in April, Montreal comes alive with a variety of events and activities to celebrate the spring season.
During your visit, you can sample maple syrup treats at area sugar shacks, enjoy the annual ode to butterflies at the Botanical Gardens, and take in concerts. No matter what your interest or budget, April is a great time to visit this eastern Canadian city.
If it's your first April in Montreal, be sure to prepare for the weather and pack accordingly. Although temperatures typically range between 37 degrees F and 53 degrees F, both snowstorms and heatwaves can happen, so you should bring a variety of clothing you can layer—including a winter coat and waterproof boots. Since most major hotels are connected to the underground city, a surprise snowstorm doesn't have to impact your visit.
The area's winter hotels will soon be closing their doors for the season and offer amazing discounts to entice last-minute guests, so April can be good for budget-conscious travelers. With deals being offered, consider staying at Montreal's top-rated boutique hotels or Old Montreal's accommodation favorites.
Depending on the year, Easter Sunday falls in March or April and there are a number of egg hunts, parties, and even parades that take place on Easter Sunday around Montreal. One of the most popular venues for Easter weekend is the Atrium le 1000 ice rink in downtown, which opens its doors with special events for the holiday.
If you're looking for a religious experience during your trip, you can attend an Easter Mass at one of the city's historic churches like St. Joseph's Oratory, Notre-Dame Basilica, or Mary Queen of the World.
There are secular events that take place Easter weekend like grabbing a Sugar Shack maple-infused treat. And even though you can enjoy brunch during any weekend in the city throughout the year, many of the local restaurants host Easter Sunday brunches with special menus and extra festivities.
The end of April and into early May in Montreal is the time for the multilingual literary festival, Blue Metropolis. The festival celebrates literature from around the world but gives special recognition to Canadian writers. Priority for the coveted Literary Grand Prize is given to Canadian literature for adults and children, with special categories for First Nations and LGBTQ+ authors. There are literary prizes awarded during this show, where you can find some of your favorite authors and attend writing workshops.
The hosting foundation produces a range of educational and social programs year-round, all focusing on the benefits of writing and reading literature. If you consider yourself a bookworm, this is one of the top literary events you can attend and is a perfect event to include in your April itinerary for Montreal.
From the Jean-Talon Market's maple taffy stands to the rural sugar shacks (cabane à sucre), late winter and early spring is time to celebrate everything maple. Through April, Sucrerie de la Montagne is the place to go to experience real Québec traditions. See the tree being tapped with a spout, the sap collected in a pail, and taken to a traditional wood-fired evaporator, where it becomes golden maple syrup.
Restaurants will be serving up cuisine featuring the taste of sweet maple and everything needed to accompany it—pancakes, bacon, meat pies, sausage links, pea soup, and more. Upscale cocktail lounges will even offer elaborate maple-themed cocktails in honor of the season.
April is time for Earth Day, (Jour de la Terre), a roughly month-long series of events. Earth Day is celebrated officially on April 22, but the tagline of the event is "Celebrate Every Day," stressing the importance of taking care of the planet all 365 days of the year. Canada's Earth Day group holds events throughout the year, but ramps up significantly during April in light of the holiday. Events include conferences and workshops with leaders and activists, plus diverse and fun activities ranging from urban beekeeping and second-hand fashion swaps.
Find Free Ice Cream
April 10 is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Since 1979, the company has thanked customers by offering free cones on this one special day of the year. You can find out which Ben & Jerry's are participating in Free Cone Day by visiting the company's Scoop Shop Locator. And if you're really dedicated to this ice cream duo, the original ice cream store and Ben & Jerry's headquarters are located less than two hours away from Montreal in Burlington, Vermont.
The Big Fashion Sale by Quebec's designers is held in April. Also known as the Braderie, this popular, semi-annual shopping event attracts 25,000 people over four days to Old Montreal. It's a great opportunity to see the up-and-coming looks while supporting local designers, and you can be assured that anything you find at the Braderie can't be found anywhere else. For those who are fashion-forward (or aren't so but want to be), this is a perfect event for picking up a unique and stylish outfit that you can show off.