Guide to Labor Day in Montreal: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

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. No matter what your interests, you're sure to find some way to enjoy the holiday weekend—from sharing a delightful summer brunch with friends to attending a one-of-a-kind parade to heading to one of the nearby beaches.

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. 

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Pick Some Apples

Montreal Labour Day weekend things to do? Apple picking.
Bruce Yuanyue Bi / Getty Images

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 Les Vergers Spénard in St. Eustache, Jude Pomme in Oka, and Les fromages du verger in St. Joseph du Lac.

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02 of 10

Dine on Some Local Cuisine

Café Régine
Courtesy of Café Régine

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.

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, and eggs, along with other goodies. 

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Montreal World Film Festival

Montreal Imperial Cinema
Jeangagnon / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Montreal World Film Festival is one of the oldest international film festivals in Canada, with over 40 years of showcasing films from around the world and promoting connection among different cultures. The annual event takes place from late August through early September, with features, workshops, and awards to be announced closer to the date. Typically over 400 films from about 80 countries compete in the Montreal World Film Festival each year, including feature-length world premieres, short films, documentaries, and even some animations.

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Party at the Montreal Gay Village's Summer Events

Things to do Montreal Labour Day weekend include visiting the Gay Village before it shuts down its pedestrian zone.
George Rose / Getty Images

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. Fetish Weekend takes place just from late August to early September, entailing a street fashion show, a photo walk, workshops, and more.

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Shop at Sidewalk Sales

Montreal sidewalk sale
Chris Mellor / Getty Images

Montreal's summer sidewalk sales wind down come September, but two of the season's biggest sales take place over Labor Day Weekend: the Gay Village and the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve summer street fair finale.

If you're planning to visit the latter, you can pair your shopping adventure with a trip to the nearby Montreal Biodome, Montreal Botanical Garden, or Planetarium, or check out the Olympic stadium or a cute café. Alternatively, you could spend the day cruising around some of the Montreal cycling hot spots along the waterfront instead.

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World Press Photo Exhibition

Things to do in Montreal Labour Day weekend 2017 include World Press Photo.
© Francis Pérez / Courtesy of World Press Photo

Since the first award in 1955, World 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 in late August for one month, 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.

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Piknic Electronik

Montreal Labour Day weekend activities in 2017 include Piknic Electronik's three back-to-back long weekend editions.
Bruce Yuanyue Bi / Getty Images

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.

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08 of 10

The Montreal Tam-Tams

Montreal Labour Day weekend's top things to do in 2016? The Tam Tams!
Guylain Doyle / Getty Images

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 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.

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09 of 10

Check out Museums and Other Rainy Day Activities

Montreal Labour weekend 2016 events include the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Pompeii exhibit.
Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

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.

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La Ronde

La Grande Roue de Montréal

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre 

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—referred to as 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.

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