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Tam Tams Drumming Sessions
Every Sunday (depending on weather)
George-Étienne Cartier Monument at Mount Royal Park
Montréal, Québec, Canada

Living in Montréal means that I often act as hostess to various friends and family visiting the city. My guests usually know what they want to do while they’re here — visit cool bars, go to the Old Port, and eat poutine at 4 am. Often, however, they have never heard about the Tam Tam sessions in Mont Royal so if we have a lazy Sunday in the works we’ll make our way over to the mountain after brunch. It’s hard to explain, though, what the Tam Tams are about and really, even, why we should go and see this event. Hippies drumming and free-flow dancing in a circle? I admit, it’s not for everyone but it’s a big part of this city and it’s a different part of Montréal living that I like to expose my guests to if they’re open to alternative cultures.

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A shop on rue Saint-Denis in the Plateau

Montréal is a truly beautiful city in the summer. In the winter? Well, the city becomes endowed with a damning amount of snow so we make most of what we’ve got during these gloomy months. But let’s get back to the summer season. Even though the daytime sun shows off European-inspired architecture and the well-kept gardens dotting the city, some might argue that Montréal becomes even more alive at night. And I’m not just pointing to the city’s famous adult entertainment — the city is so much more than being just the default Canadian getaway city for those celebrating the last of their bachelor(ette) days.

Some cases in point follow. An evening stroll reveals picturesque silhouettes of numerous steeples, vestiges of the city’s strong religious past. The city with the most number of restaurants per capita in Canada (and second in North America) brings fierce competition for diners, serving up excellent culinary experiences into the night. And of course the ongoing array of events jam-packed in the summer, such as Just for Laughs and Montréal Jazz Festival, keeps the city partying past your usual bedtime. It just happens that we took a few photos here and there during these warm months between sips of cocktails on a terrace. Here are a few images of some of the city’s summer evenings thus far, a small snapshot into the bustling summer nights in Montréal.

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Changing lights on the façade of Pavilion Judith-Jasmin at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
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Just For Laughs Comedy Festival 2014
Métro Place-des-Arts
Montréal, Québec Canada
Wednesday July 9th to Monday July 28th 2014
Box Office: 1-888-244-3155
www.hahaha.com/en

Montréal’s annual comedy festival is back and flashbracket was there too to soak up the summer laughs. Every year, we try to see one or two shows, and this year we opted for The Ethnic Show hosted by Maz Jobrani and Date Night: The Relationship Show hosted by Godfrey. But you don’t need to buy tickets to partake in this summer festival favourite — head to Montréal’s Quartier des Spectacles at Place-des-arts metro and see the free outdoor stage events, spontaneous on-the-road magic and comedy acts, and a funk-playing bank dressed up as aliens (see picture below).

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Watching the live performances at Quartier des Spectacles at Place des Arts
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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
(Montréal Jazz Festival)
Métro Place-des-Arts
Montréal, Québec Canada
June 26th to July 6th 2014
1-855-299-3378 (in North America)
www.montrealjazzfest.com

The last night of Montréal Jazz Festival, officially known as Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, closed on Sunday after eleven days of free and outdoor concert events, ticketed attractions, and lots and lots (and lots) of roaming spectators across the grounds at Place des Arts in Montréal.

The 35th edition of this annual summer festival did not disappoint. The lineup of free and outdoor, or ticketed (with fees) events included a range of artists that were not only rooted in jazz but meandered into the other usual genres such as pop, hip hop and rock. This year’s participants had heavy hitters such as Cassandra Wilson, Angélique Kidjo, Keith Jarrett, married couple Elvis Costello and Diana Krall (who performed individual events), Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and Mulatu Astatke; Canadians Rufus Wainwright, Nikki Yanovsky, Coeur de Pirate, Barenaked Ladies, and Michael Bublé; and contemporaries represented by Snoop Dogg, Of Montreal, St. Vincent, frequent participant Ben Harper, Bonobo, and Deltron 3030 who closed the festival with a free outdoor concert.

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Parc National du Mont-Saint-Bruno
330, rang des 25 E.
Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Québec J3V 4P6
1-800-665-6527
www.sepaq.com/pq/msb/

There is so much to explore in my city of Montréal but I also love trips outside the island to discover the rest of the province. A friend had been harping about hiking at one of the mountains outside of the city forever so we finally planned a day to visit the national park at Mont-Saint-Bruno (the trails and not the ski hill), which is so close to Montréal and makes a fun day time excursion.

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The different trails were marked by signs with various route distances

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As promised in the previous post, here are the balloon photos from the Festival de Montgolfières (Festival of Balloons), the annual summer festival at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. The small city is just 40 minutes southeast of Montréal, and is a celebration of air sports, family time and Québecois culture. Balloons take off at 6 pm every evening during the festival off the airport grounds of the National Defence training centre.

My favourite balloons were the fire hydrant, the blue smiling character, and the Canadian and Québec ones, of course. Which ones were yours?

Previous Post:
Introduction to the International de Montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu

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International de Montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
5 Chemin de l’Aéroport
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec J3B 7B5
(450) 346-6000
www.montgolfieres.com

Québec is a province that loves air sports. It’s very common to see paragliders, hand gliders, and other air vehicles in the sky when you drive around outside the island of Montréal, something I never saw when I was growing up in the Toronto suburbs. So it only makes sense that this province would host a balloon festival every summer in the form of Festival de Montgolfières (Festival of Balloons) in the city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 40 minutes south-east of Montréal. I have a friend who is a big fan of balloons and blimps, and since we didn’t make it to the festival last year we made sure to catch the event on the last day of the 2013 festival.

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