Canadian Thanksgiving—known in Montreal as action de grâce—is similar to its American counterpart in that it's a celebration of the bounty of the fall harvest, but unlike Thanksgiving in the United States, this holiday is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada. If you're traveling to Montreal over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, there are plenty of seasonal events like leaf-peeping, ghost tours, and jazz festivals taking place around the city this time of year. Whether you're looking to relax indoors or explore all the fall colors of Quebec, Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to visit Montreal.
Since Montreal is further north than most American cities, the leaves start to change earlier in the year here. As a result, Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to visit Montreal to see all the fall colors in their full glory. There are plenty of great leaf-peeping destinations in and around the city for you to explore including Mount Royal Park, the Montreal Botanical Garden, and the Morgan Arboretum—though these attractions may be packed with crowds this time of year. For a quieter trip through the fall foliage, consider heading to Parc Angrignon or Bois de l'Ile Bizard to avoid the tourists and have the trails (mostly) to yourself.
Just in time for the Halloween season, embark on a walking tour of Montreal with a spooky twist. Offered year-round by Fantômes Montreal Ghosts, these ghost tours of the city take visitors on a journey through Old Montreal's streets and landmarks while recounting some of the best scary, true stories from the city's long history. From Pierre du Calvet's creepy 18th-century mansion to the phantoms that haunt Auberge St. Gabriel, these scary sites show a darker side of Montreal. Bring your comfortable walking shoes and perhaps a friend to hold when the stories get too scary.
While parts of the Montreal Botanical Garden may be closed in 2019 for major renovations to the property, the annual Gardens of Light event returns this autumn to transform three of the gardens into a dazzling display of interactive light sculptures. During this two-month-long event, the Chinese Garden hangs traditional lanterns, the Japanese Garden's illuminates its paths with meditative lights inspired by the seasons, and the First Nations Garden hosts an electric multimedia experience with projections and light displays throughout the grounds. Gardens of Light is open to the public all through Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.
While there might not be any special holiday concerts that happen in Montreal for Canadian Thanksgiving, there are several opportunities to hear some great music if you're in town this weekend, including the L'OFF Jazz Festival, which takes place from October 3 through 12, 2019. Although tickets are required to attend most of the concerts in this international festival, there are also several free performances happening at Résonance Café, one of the most popular jazz venues in the city that doubles as a vegan café. Get your festival pass online for access to all of the concerts or pay the door price at individual shows of your choice.
When it comes to celebrating Halloween in Montreal, there's no shortage of great events, festivals, and activities to put visitors in the holiday spirit this year—including over Thanksgiving weekend. If you want to carve a Jack-o-lantern this year, you can pick your own gourd at pumpkin patches around the city or head to one of Montreal's public markets like Marché Jean-Talon for a selection of fresh produce already harvest from the fields. On the other hand, if you'd rather get ready for Halloween with a costumed event, there's nothing quite like the Montreal Zombie Walk, which takes place on October 12, 2019.
Each year, the Bad Boys Club of Montreal, a queer-friendly event production company, puts on an extravagant series of nightlife events and social activities over Thanksgiving weekend. Known as Black and Blue, this annual event features six different parties over three days at various nightlife venues across the city—including the main events at both Theatre Olympia and Club Soda on Sunday night.
The 2019 Black and Blue Festival takes place from October 11 through the early hours of October 14, 2019. Parties for this year's event include Party Twinkle at Club Unity and Bal en Cuir at Lion D'or on October 11; Bal Uniforme at Salle Le Ministere on October 12; and Theatre Olympia and Club Soda parties for the main event on October 13.
Fright Fest at La Ronde
Montreal's biggest and most famous amusement park La Ronde celebrates Halloween all month long with Fright Fest, which is open on select nights from October 5 to 27, 2019, and fortunately for Thanksgiving travelers, Fright Fest is open Friday through Monday of the holiday weekend this year. If you're looking for a thrilling way to spend your Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the city, look no further than this haunted attraction, which features thrilling rides that get a spooky makeover, a huge haunted house, and a full cast of ghouls, ghosts, and demons that come out after sunset on nights of Fright Fest.
One of the biggest similarities between American and Canadian Thanksgiving traditions is the importance of sharing a holiday meal with friends and family. If you're traveling to Montreal over Thanksgiving weekend, treat your tastebuds to an elegant holiday meal at one of the city's numerous restaurants. Popular restaurants offering huge feasts for Thanksgiving this year include L'Express, Les Deux Gamins, Au Pied de Cochon, Le Robin Square, and Leméac. No matter where you decide to eat, though, make sure to order the smoked mackerel, which is a staple of the holiday feast in Montreal.