Montreal Spring Events and Festivals You Have to Experience

Spring Forward with Montreal's Hottest Festivals

Spring is a funny time in Montreal. Sometimes it arrives in March. Sometimes it doesn't. And even if it does let locals show some skin by the third month of the year, the season also bares its subzero teeth, teasing onlookers into submission with sudden snowfalls and mercury drops well into April.

To counter the climatological powers that be, Montreal proposes a plethora of spring events that follow the season's slow, gradual onset, reminding locals while illuminating visitors to the very real fact that apart from some overt social media grumbling, it's gonna take a lot more than a temperature dip to get a Montrealer down.

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    Montreal spring events 2018: festivals to see include the Botanical Garden's Butterflies Go Free.
    Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

    Before spring even begins to take hold, some of us like to live in denial and pretend we live in a tropical paradise. Thousands of butterflies unleashed in the Montreal Botanical Garden's climate-controlled greenhouses in late winter generally helps with that. 

    When: Late February to late April

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    Montreal spring events 2018 festivals to see include everything surrounding St. Patrick's Day.
    Photo by Flickr user jpmpinmontreal

    A lot of places in North America celebrate St. Patrick's Day. But Montreal really loves St. Patrick's Day.

    It may have something to do with basic statistics. About one Quebecer in 20 claims Irish ethnicity and over 40% of Quebecers allegedly have Irish ancestry somewhere down the bloodline, depending on the historian you consult.

    So we celebrate. But not just for a day. Think week. St. Patrick's Week.

    When: Mid-March

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    Montreal's one and only white party is best known under its original French moniker, Bal en Blanc. And it easily attracts 15,000 people every year dancing to beats spun by a cross-section of the world's top DJs and producers.

    When: It was held Easter weekend from 1995 to 2016 but a new team of organizers changed the event's usual indoor format and pushed the dates to May in 2017, holding Bal en Blanc outdoors for the first time in its history. Whether 2018 will be a repeat of 2017 remains to be seen.

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    Montreal spring events 2018: happenings to check out include the Braderie de Mode.
    Photo courtesy of Eve Gravel

    The Braderie de Mode Québécoise otherwise known as the Big Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers is just that: a big fashion sale featuring Quebec designers. The prices can be rather spectacular and discounts can be as steep as 80% off retail.

    When: Mid-April

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    Montreal spring events in 2018 include a croissant festival.
    Carolyn Taylor / Getty Images

    On one day every year, gluten reigns supreme across the Greater Montreal area. That day is called Fête du Croissant, and it's become a spring fixture in the city since its debut in 2012.

    When: Late April or early May

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    The Blue Metropolis Literary Festival is the place to rub shoulders with the emerging and the elite in the publishing world. From authors to photographers, storytellers to illustrators, publishers and literary professionals of all sorts from across the globe gather right here every year, in Montreal.

    When: Late April to early May, depending on the edition

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    Montreal spring events 2018: festivals to see include the Tam Tams.
    Photo © Evelyn Reid

    Montreal sure loves its Tam Tams. The drum circle tradition in the park has been going strong since the '70s. But it's a spontaneous grassroots event that doesn't have an organizing committee.

    So it's hard to predict just when the season starts up as it varies every year. People usually find out if Tam Tams are back up and running by simply showing up.

    When: It depends, could start up any Sunday in April or May

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    Montreal spring events 2018: fests to see include the Montreal Chamber Music Festival.
    Photo courtesy of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival

    We can't say this is Montreal's most popular festival, but the Montreal Chamber Music Festival certainly has its charms, proposing a balance of live classical and jazz performances running over the course of a month.

    When: Usually most of May, sometimes spills into June

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    Montreal spring events 2018: festivals to see include Piknic Electronik.
    Photo © Evelyn Reid

    Electro fans love this event. Piknic Electronik is the ultimate broad daylight open-air nightclub-in-the-park.

    When: Late May through late September

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    Montreal spring events in 2018 include Festival Transamériques.
    Photo courtesy of Festival TransAmériques

    Festival TransAmériques is Montreal's leading international festival, if only international festival in these parts, combining both contemporary dance and contemporary theater, three weeks of world and North American premiere performances directed by top choreographers, artistic directors, and playwrights.

    When: Late May to early June

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    Montreal spring events 2018: festivals to check out include Montreal Museums Day.
    Photo © Evelyn Reid

    Montreal Museums Day proposes free admission to dozens of Montreal museums as it has every last Sunday of May since 1986, marking the May 18th celebration of International Museums Day, a 1977 UNESCO/International Council of Museums initiative revolving around the motto that "museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, co-operation and peace among peoples."

    When: Last Sunday of May

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    Montreal spring events 2018: festivals to check out include Montreal beer fest Mondial de la Bière.
    Photo courtesy of the Mondial de la Bière

    Otherwise known as the Montreal Beer Fest, the Mondial de la Bière is one of the city's favorite events of the entire year, a chance to sample hundreds of different brews from across the globe.

    When: Early to mid-June

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    Montreal spring events 2018: festivals to see include Canada Grand Prix festivities.
    Mark Thompson / Getty Images

    Technically-speaking, the Canada Grand Prix is a spring event since it traditionally falls on a date prior to the the summer solstice. But if there was a Montreal event that heralds summer in the city, this is it, attracting in the upwards of a half a million people primed for a weekend of decadence and debauchery.

    When: Usually early to mid June

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