Often considered the last summer days of the year, Labor Day weekend is one of the most popular times to visit Montreal in the Québec province of Canada. The September holiday is a long weekend in Canada as well as the U.S., and no matter what your interests are, you're sure to find some way to enjoy the holiday weekend—from sharing a delightful summer brunch with friends to attending a fetish festival to picking apples on local orchards.
Although many attractions, offices, businesses, and governmental agencies will be closed on Labor Day in Montreal, there are still plenty of events and things to do over the holiday weekend.
Pick Some Apples
Although Labor Day may be a little early for some autumn crops, apple picking season officially starts over the weekend and there are several lovely orchards scattered in every direction from Montreal, many of which are not too far away.
To the east and southeast of the city, you can head to Paradis des Fruits in Dunham, Au Coeur de la Pomme in Frelighsburg, or Verger du Flâneur in Rougemont. To the north and northwest of Montreal, you can check out Jude Pomme in Oka and Les Fromages du Verger in St. Joseph du Lac.
While available year-round, some of Montreal's best brunch spots offer discount prices all weekend in honor of Labor Day. Additionally, some restaurants that open specifically for the holiday itself have special lunch and dinner menus with limited or seasonal options.
Some restaurants will allow you to linger on their terraces throughout the day, enjoying multiple meals at your leisure. If you're looking to squeeze a bit more rest and relaxation into your extended weekend, visit one of the best Montreal terraces for an afternoon snack or early evening dinner, such as Saloon Bistro or Jardin Nelson.
If you'd rather grab some local produce and pack a picnic lunch to take to the park, you could head to one of Montreal's major public markets like the Jean-Talon Market. These public shopping areas are akin to farmer's markets in the United States, selling a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meats, baked treats, and other types of goodies.
World Press Photo Exhibition
Since the first award in 1955, World Press Photo has become one of the most important events and exhibits in the field of photojournalism. The World Press Photo Exhibition will return to Montreal beginning August 26 until October 4, 2020. You can see this iconic exhibition at the Marché Bonsecours (Bonsecours Market), known as one of the most attractive heritage buildings in the country. This special exhibit features the winning works for one of the biggest photo contests in the world; over 4,700 photographers from 129 countries submitted a total of more than 78,000 images for the competition.
The Montreal Tam-Tams
Head out to Monument George-Étienne-Cartier, the angel statue at Parc Mont-Royal, on Sunday of Labor Day weekend and you'll be sure to hear the distinctive drumming of the Tam-Tams, one of Montreal's favorite summer weekend activities. Guests are welcome to bring their own drums to join in this traditional drum circle, but you can also just attend to dance, converse, sing, and be part of the experience.
If you're more of a thrill-seeker and want to spend your Labor Day weekend in Montreal at an amusement park, the only place in the city with all the thrills is La Ronde, featuring more than 40 of the most notable roller-coasters and attractions in Canada. La Ronde is known for the virtual reality experience the Goliath—considered to be one of the best and most exhilarating roller coasters in the world. The amusement park is Montreal's biggest tourist attraction and Labor Day is one of the busiest weekends of the summer season, so be prepared for long lines and big crowds if you decide to visit during your holiday vacation.
For 2020, advance reservations are required to enter the park and admittance will be limited. If you want to visit on a busy weekend like Labor Day, be sure to purchase tickets well in advance.
Fetish Weekend is canceled in 2020 and returns September 1–7, 2021.
Fetish Weekend is actually a week-long event that's filled with parties, educational workshops, shopping opportunities, dining out, and a fashion show. This uniquely Montreal event celebrates all things kink and is one of the most popular annual festivals that takes place in the city. The Kinky Picnic is one of the best-attended events, taking place at the lovely Jardins Gamelin park to take advantage of the end-of-summer weather while enjoying Montreal's sultriest event.
Piknic Electronik is canceled in 2020.
A great way to catch some electronic music, Piknic Electronik is Montreal's favorite Sunday rave in the park since 2003. The event usually has not just one but two or three back-to-back Piknic editions on the holiday weekend from Saturday through Labor Day Monday. Piknic Electronik takes place at Parc Jean-Drapeau, 10 minutes from downtown, and offers a full line-up of some of the best DJs from Montreal, Canada, and around the world. Be sure to bring plenty of water, a picnic blanket, and some snacks in case you get hungry while dancing to the beats.
Party at the Montreal Gay Village's Summer Events
The scheduled events in the Gay Village are canceled for summer 2020.
In the cosmopolitan city of Montreal, you'll find one of the largest gay villages in North America, full of nightlife, restaurants, and shops. The Montreal Gay Village's summer events and activities are in full swing on Labor Day weekend. You can enjoy the festive, jovial atmosphere of the closed-to-cars pedestrian walkway and sidewalk sale created just for the season in the middle of Sainte-Catherine Street all summer in downtown Montreal.
Check out Museums and Other Rainy Day Activities
While it's not common that Montreal experiences much rain over the holiday weekend since August and September are among the city's driest months, a sudden shower might send you running for shelter and something to do inside. Fortunately, many of Montreal's famous museums, galleries, and concert venues are open over the Labor Day weekend and holiday.
You can enjoy high tea at a salon before heading to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for a day of ancient history and modern art, or catch a movie at one of the city's many theaters before shopping in Montreal's underground city or gambling your money away at the Montreal Casino.
If music's more your preference, everyone from mainstream pop stars to underground hip-hop, indie, and electronic dance music artists will be performing all weekend long. Check out local concerts to see if your favorite musicians will be around over the holiday weekend.