If you are heading on a summer trip to multicultural Montreal in the Quebec province of Canada, the scenic city set on an island offers August events covering everything from today's fashion to yesteryear's customs. You'll find a little something for everyone and every budget. The dense festival crowds in June and July thin out to make way for a more relaxing, slower vibe that gently takes hold of the city.
Whether you are taking a vacation or planning a staycation—even if you get only one weekend in Montreal this summer—plan for a great time in August.
The province of Quebec celebrates Archaeology Month in August, with nearly 50 places participating in over 80 activities for everyone from beginners to experts eager to learn about the past and heritage all month. Montreal history and archaeology museum Pointe-à-Callière typically proposes family-friendly quests for the occasion.
Each year in August, Montreal First Peoples Festival focuses on the history and art of the aboriginal cultures of the three Americas. They offer film screenings, concerts, poetry readings, and food. Don't miss free shows at Place des Festivals nearly every evening during the several days of festivities.
Repercussion Theatre presents this year's Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of the dark comedy "Measure for Measure" from July to August in Westmount Park and Mont Royal Cemetery. People of all ages can catch a show in one of Montreal's beautiful parks.
World cosplay, a performance art in which participants called cosplayers are dressed in costumes to represent a specific character, is part of what attendees explore at Otakuthon. You may also want to experience the Japanese singing competitions and meetups with Japanese pop and anime industry guests of honor. Catch Otakuthon in mid-August at Palais des congrès.
Montreal Italian Week is back for 10 days in August. Fashion shows, live opera and popular music concerts, Italian films, car exhibits, and addictive food anchor this annual street fest, which holds its activities in La Petite Patrie's Little Italy and other boroughs in Montreal and Laval.
If you crave some poutine—a dish from Quebec made of french fries and cheese curds with brown gravy—look for Le Grand Poutinefest de Montreal, in early August at the Quai Jacques-Quartier at Old Port. Sample more than 20 styles of poutine with everything from foie gras to mac and cheese, and wash it down with selections from the city's microbreweries. You can get in for free, but bring money to pay for poutine.
Occurring on Sunday afternoons and evenings in August, Piknic Electronik is an outdoor electronic music event held at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Saint-Hélène, a few minutes from downtown Montreal. Featuring a diversity of house, progressive, techno, and minimal music concerts, the event has a number of local and international talents at the park each year for this family-friendly gathering from May through September.
ÎleSoniq, Montreal's largest electronic music and dance festival, runs for two days in August, at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Though the focus is electronic music, you might find hip hop and other pop genres at this event, which has three stages and more than 50 artists. You can also explore the nearby forested areas and artwork. Tickets are required to attend.
Dubbing itself the “underside of pride,” Pervers/cité is a summer festival created by community organizers that aims to link social justice groups, queer communities, and radical visions of pride. Free events include a series of panel discussions, workshops, and actions. Catch Pervers/Cité's Trans March as well as several talks and meetups in Montreal in mid-August.
Fierté Montreal (also known as Montreal Gay Pride) celebrations kick into gear in mid-August with the annual community event taking place in Parc des Faubourgs in the Gay Village's pedestrian zone, where local artists perform and parties go wild. The Montreal Pride parade begins on Metcalfe Street and ends on Alexandre-DeSève Street.
In August, the whole family is welcome for the annual FALLA Saint-Michel celebration, an event that ends in fire at TOHU at the Cité des arts du Cirque. In the spirit of the carnival traditions of Valencia, Spain, FALLA burns an enormous collective art piece to symbolize rebirth and renewal. This performance features clown acts, live world music, stunts, and other activities.
Starting in early August, Orcheste Symphonique de Montréal Le Virée Classique Festival (Classic Spree) features annual concerts in the park. The festival's large opening concert is Verdi’s Requiem at the esplanade of the Olympic Park. You'll also find many performances in Complexe Desjardins and outside Place des Arts, such as the Classical Spree Symphony and the Montréal Video Game Orchestra.
An annual tradition at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal, the Matsuri Japon Festival takes place in early August. You'll have a good time at this outdoor event featuring martial arts demonstrations, dance performances, Taiko drummers, food from Japan, and more. Kids can participate in traditional Japanese activities like origami crafting, Daruma otoshi (doll-making), and sumo wrestling.
Join thousands of yoga enthusiasts around the world when a group yoga session comes to Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau for one Saturday in August. The admission fee includes a musical performance, a complimentary yoga mat, and a few additional perks. You must wear all white yoga clothing to participate.
Catch Jackalope in mid-August at the Olympic Park Esplanade. This unique, free extreme sports event features slacklining, base jumping, longboarding, BMX racing, a water gun fight, and more. In 2017, skate legend Tony Hawk attended.
The annual Montreal Fashion and Design Festival is known as the biggest such event in North America, with outdoor catwalk action and industry talks over the course of nearly a week in August. Held at Place des Festivals, the event has urban art, music and dance, an adjacent shopping and exhibitor section, and conferences.
Réappropriation Urbaine (RU) is a street fair, a sidewalk sale, and a live arts creation festival all wrapped into one. You'll find sidewalk art, light and art installations, and additional activities at RU, which takes place for four days in late August on L'Avenue du Mont-Royal.
Experience a rodeo and immerse yourself in country, bluegrass, and Celtic music, gourmet food, and bull riding at NomadFest Rodeo Urbain for four days in late August. Taking place at Quai Jacques-Cartier, the event has various ticket options available to purchase.
The Montreal World Film Festival
Featuring films from across the globe with a mission to encourage cultural diversity and understanding between nations, the Montreal World Film Festival usually runs from late August through September. The festival has both competitive and non-competitive sections. In many cases the films are being shown to the public for the first time; don't miss this event if you are a global film fan.
Pointe-à-Callière's Public Market around the Museum and on Place Royale in Old Montreal is held in late August.
Enjoy some historical reenactments, or vendors selling authentic 18th-century foods such as maple syrup, cider, cheese, and sausages, jams, and spruce beer. Games for kids and storytelling are usually part of the entertaining package.