Montreal is recognized as the world capital of festivals. There are various types of festivals & events in Montreal throughout the year. Many of these Montreal festivals are leading festivals that offer free events that are often held inside the Quartier des Spectacles at the Place des Festivals. Montreal is a city of festivities, particularly during the summertime when the city is buzzing with activities. Although summer is when most festivals & events in Montreal occur, you can still find an incredible selection of Montreal festivals and events during the winter, spring and fall. You can see the international fireworks competition from the Quays of the Old Port, or listen to the sounds of the Montreal international jazz Festival.
The Quartier des Spectacles is the area known as the heart of the summer festivals. It’s where hundreds of thousands of visitors and Montreal natives alike gather to celebrate every year. In the Quartier des Spectacles alone, more than 40 Festivals Take place, including three of the biggest festivals in the world. Montreal’s international jazz Festival, the just for laughs Festival, and the Francofolies de Montreal alone attract more than 5 million spectators to Montreal every year.
The following are Montreal’s top festivals and events. You can also view Montreal’s festivals and events calendar to find out when these festivals take place. Don’t forget to view Montreal’s must-see festivals and events.
| Bal en Blanc à Montreal (White Party Week) |
Montreal’s White Party Week (Le Bal en Blanc à Montreal) is a five night celebration that reaches its climax with the White Party (Bal en Blanc) rave. This five-day event occurs from Thursday to Monday during the Easter holidays. Held at Montreal’s Convention Centre (Palais des Congrès), the White Party Week features an impressive selection of international DJs and artists.
| Black & Blue Festival Montreal |
Montreal's Black and Blue Festival is considered to be the world's largest gay-benefit dance festival. The festival is a week-long string of parties hosted by Bad Boy Club Montréal (aka BBCM and Foundation BBCM). It is held every year, during the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. The festival attracts thousands of tourists to Montreal every year. The proceeds of the festival are donated to AIDS support organizations.
| Canadian Grand Prix (Grand Prix du Canada) |
The Canadian Grand Prix (Le Grand Prix du Canada) is a 3-day Formula One event that has been taking place for over 30 years in Montreal. It is part of the Formula One World Championship and takes place on Montreal's Circuit Villeneuve which is located on Île Notre-Dame. Some of the most popular names in Grand Prix participate in the Canadian Grand Prix.
| Dîner en Blanc de Montréal |
Montreal's Dîner en Blanc (Montreal’s White Dinner) is an elegant, festive and delicious event in which thousands of guests , dressed in all white meet to share a meal at an undisclosed location in Montreal. The special thing about this all-white picnic is that none of the guests know the location of the picnic until the very last minute. The guests are brought to the secret location by bus “charter”, with their own basket of food and wine.
| Divers/Cité |
Montreal's Divers/Cité Festival is an international arts and music festival that takes place each year in the heart of downtown Montreal and Montreal's Gay Village. It is considered to be one of Canada's largest and most festive gay celebrations. This week-long arts and music festival features parades, wild parties, music and cultural activities celebrating sexual diversity. This annual Gay Pride Celebration attracts nearly one million people to Montreal.
| Fantasia International Film Festival (Festival International de Films Fantasia) |
Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival (Festival International de Films Fantasia) is the largest genre film festival in North America. Taking place every summer in downtown Montreal, the Fantasia Film Festival features various fantasy, horror, sci-fi, manga and action movies from all over the world. Around half of the films presented at the festival originate from Asia.
| Festiblues International de Montréal |
The International FestiBlues of Montreal (FestiBlues International de Montréal) is an annual blues music festival that features a wide range of national and international blues artists. This five-day festival features an exceptional lineup of blues-infused shows at various venues around the Ahuntsic-Cartierville neighbourhood. The best blues musicians from all over the world participate in this popular blues festival.
| Festival du Nouveau Cinéma |
Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinéma is an annual film festival dedicated to new trends in the field of cinema and new media. It offers a springboard for original and largely unseen works, placing emphasis on promoting cinema d’auteur and digital production.
| Festival International Montréal en Arts (FIMA) |
Montreal’s Festival International Montréal en Arts (FIMA) is the largest open-air art gallery in Eastern Canada. The goal of the International Montreal Festival of the Arts is to promote the visual arts in the heart of the city of Montreal. The FIMA’s open-air art exhibition provides a relaxed atmosphere where artists and the public can mingle. This annual festival takes place in the heart of Montreal’s Village area.
| Festival International Nuits d’Afrique |
Montreal’s Festival International Nuits d’Afrique is a 10-day world music festival that features music from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. Remaining at the forefront of promoting musical creativity and the arts, the Festival International Nuits d'Afrique annually deploys a wide range of mixed talents here and across the ocean from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. It is considered to be the largest festival of its kind in North America.
| Festival Montréal En Lumière (Montreal High Lights Festival) |
The Montreal High Lights Festival (Festival Montréal en Lumière) is one of the largest winter festivals in the world and Montreal's most popular winter festival. Occurring in the Month of February, the High Lights Festival is a 10-day celebration of light shows, free events, live music, performance arts and fine food and wine.
| Fête des enfants de Montréal |
Fête des enfants de Montréal is an annual festival for children that takes place in Jean Drapeau Park. La Fête des enfants de Montréal features over a hundred free activities including live performances, music, dance, creative workshops and sports, cooperative games and inflatable structures. The purpose of this festival is to provide children with an environment of discovery!
| Fête des Neiges de Montréal |
Montreal's Fête des Neiges de Montréal Winter Festival is an annual festival that is held yearly at Jean-Drapeau Park. This festival is a celebration of the essence of winter that turns the city of Montreal into a winter wonderland. It has been happening in Montreal for several decades. The purpose of this three week-end festival is to encourage everyone to have fun in the snow. The Fête des Neiges is one of Montreal's largest outdoor winter events.
| Fête nationale du Québec à Montréal |
La Fête Nationale du Québec is the National Holiday of the province of Québec. On this day, various events, shows and spectacles are planned in Montreal and throughout the province of Quebec. La Fête Nationale always occurs on June 24, which happens to be St. John the Baptist Day. Festivities take place on both June 23 and June 24. It is one of Montreal’s most popular holidays and it is a paid holiday in Montreal and the rest of Quebec.
| FrancoFolies de Montréal French Music Festival |
The FrancoFolies de Montréal (French Music Festival) is a 10-day francophone music festival that occurs during the summertime in Montreal. The festival is the world’s biggest francophone music festival and it features a wide selection of musical genres. The FrancoFolies is one of Montreal’s biggest annual festivals, attracting over one million spectators during the festival’s 10-day run.
|HeavyMTL Heavy Metal Festival|
| International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu |
The International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (International des Montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu) is the largest hot air balloon festival in Canada. This gathering of balloons is very popular with kids of all ages. The International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu features hot air balloons, music, rides and attractions. Along with hot air balloons, the festival also features activity areas with various games, inflatable structures interactive animated shows.
| International Circus Arts Festival (Montréal Complètement Cirque) |
Montreal’s International Circus Arts Festival (Montréal Complètement Cirque)is an international festival celebrating circus arts. Hundreds of circus artists from around the world participate in this summer festival. The festival features performances, showcases, conferences and exhibitions all over the city of Montreal. You’ll find circus artists, magicians, clowns, acrobats, makeup artists and much more.
| International Festival of Films on Art (Festival International du Film sur l'Art) |
Montreal’s International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA - Festival International du Film sur l'Art) is an annual event that features ten consecutive days of films on art. With almost 300 films from 30 countries showing at eight Montreal theatres, it is the largest annual festival of films on art in the world. FIFA’s mission is to increase public awareness and appreciation of art. It thus promotes artists and professionals working in the fields of cinema, television and video, as well as the world’s finest productions of media art and films on art.
| International Fireworks Competition (L'International des Feux Loto-Québec) |
Montreal’s International Fireworks Competition (L'International des Feux Loto-Québec presented by TELUS) is an annual fireworks competition that takes place during the summer months in Montreal. The Montreal International Fireworks Competition has been taking place since 1985 at La Ronde and is one of the most popular summer events in Montreal. The fireworks competition runs from mid-June till mid-August. Each year, over 3 million people attend the fireworks displays. The festival uses more than 6,000 fireworks.
| International Reggae Festival (Festival international de Reggae de Montréal) |
Montreal’s Reggae Festival is an annual reggae festival held at Montreal’s Quays of the Old Port during the summer. Since 2004, the festival has been celebrating reggae music and other forms of Caribbean music. This outdoor festival is one of Montreal’s most popular festivals.
| Just For Laughs Festival (Festival Juste Pour Rire ) |
Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival (Festival Juste Pour Rire) is a comedy festival that runs for 11 days during the month of July. The festival features hundreds of comedians and events throughout the streets of Montreal. Besides featuring many comedy shows, the festival features free street shows, dance acts, circus arts, street dancing and so much more. The Just For Laughs Festival features both English and French comedians.
| Montreal Beer Festival (Mondial de la bière de Montréal) |
The Montreal Beer Festival (Mondial de la Bière) is an annual beer festival that takes place during the summertime in Montreal. It features beer tastings, beer workshops, food and, of course, lots of beer. This 10-day festival is labeled as the largest international beer festival in North America. The festival takes place at Montreal's Windsor station.
| Montreal Bike Festival (Féria du vélo de Montréal) |
Montreal’s Bike Festival (Féria du vélo de Montréal) is a bicycle festival that features several cycling activities. During this one-week festival, the entire island of Montreal becomes a playground to participate, experience and interact with Montreal’s world-renowned cycling culture. Participants of the Montreal Bike Festival come from all over North America and all over the world.
| Montreal Fashion and Design Festival (Festival Mode & Design Montreal) |
The Montreal Fashion and Design Festival (Festival Mode & Design Montreal) is a popular event that turns the streets of Montreal's downtown area into several free outdoor fashion shows. This fashion and design festival takes place on McGill College Avenue, at the heart of downtown Montreal and features hundreds of fashion labels and designers.
| Montreal Igloofest (Igloofest sur les Quais) |
Montreal's Igloofest is a yearly multi-weekend outdoor rave that takes place at Quai Jacques Cartier in Montreal's Quays of the Old Port during the month of January. It is described by many as the coldest rave on the planet. This electronica extravaganza attracts many house and electronic music fans from around the world along with some of the most popular DJs.
| Montreal International Dragon Boat Race Festival |
The Montreal International Dragon Boat Race Festival is an annual International festival that takes place in the Olympic Basin on Île Notre-Dame in Jean Drapeau Park. This weekend event features dragon boat teams from around North-America competing in 250 meter and 500 meter races. The festival also features live entertainment such as music groups, folk dancing and other cultural entertainment.
| Montreal International Jazz Festival (Festival International de Jazz de Montréal) |
Montreal's International Jazz Festival (Festival International de Jazz de Montréal ) is the largest jazz festival in the world. This 11-day summer music festival takes place between late June and early July in the heart of downtown Montreal. Located inside the Quartier des Spectacles, around the Place des Arts, the festival features some of the most famous artists from around the world. Each year, over 2 million spectators attend the International Jazz Festival.
| Montreal Museums Day |
The Montreal Museums Day takes place every year in the month of May. During this day, many of Montreal's most popular museums offer free admission, free activities and free shuttle buses. It is the perfect occasion to explore Montreal's museums network for free.
| Montreal Virgin Festival (Virgin Festival Montréal) |
Montreal's Virgin Festival is an annual a music festival organized by Virgin Mobile. The festival takes palce at Île Ste-Hélène in Parc Jean-Drapeau. The Virgin Festival has been in existence for over 13 years, with regular shows in England, Toronto, Baltimore and Vancouver. The first-ever Virgin Festival in Montreal was held in 2009. Virgin Festival is known for delivering a ton of mind-blowing experiences and the Montreal Virgin Festival is no different.
| NAPA Auto Parts 200 (NAPA Pièces d'auto 200 présenté par Dodge) |
Montreal's Napa Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge (NAPA Pièces d'auto 200 présenté par Dodge)is a NASCAR racing event that is held at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame in Jean-Drapeau Park. Although it is one of the newer races in NASCAR, it is quickly becoming one of the highlights of the NASCAR's annual schedule.
| Nuit Blanche a Montréal (Montreal All-Nighter) |
The Montreal Nuit Blanche (All-Nighter) is an all-night event that takes place every year to mark the end of the Montreal High Lights Festival (Montreal en Lumiere).
| Osheaga Music and Arts Festival (Osheaga Festival de Musique et Arts) |
Montreal's Osheaga Music and Arst Festival (Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts) is a two-day music festival held each year on Île Sainte-Hélène at Parc Jean-Drapeau. This popular annual festival has become one of the most anticipated summer events in Montreal since it was first introduced in 2006. The purpose of the Osheaga festival is to showcase Montreal's most talented artists along with Internationally-known artists.
| POP Montréal International Music Festival |
Montreal's POP Montreal International Music Festival is an independent music festival that features an impressive array of international and local talent. The festival includes more than 400 acts playing at more than 50 venues around Montreal, mostly in the Mile End area of Montreal's famous Plateau district. POP Montreal presents various international Anglophone and francophone artists from all over the world.
| Pride Celebrations Montreal (Célébrations de la fierté Montréal) |
Montreal's Pride Celebrations (Célébrations de la fierté Montréal) is one of the largest Gay Pride Celebrations in all of North America. This celebration brings together members of the LGBT community from all over the world for a fun, exciting and flamboyant party. During the Montreal Gay Pride celebration, visitors can experience some great shopping, dining, cruising and partying.
| St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival |
The St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival (Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montréal) is a unique fringe festival with an unbeatable neighborhood feel! Block party and performing arts collide every June in the Plateau Mile-End for this celebration of creativity without limits that includes music, comedy, dance and theatre from over 500 performers. The St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival is bilingual, and includes local, national and international artists from Montreal to Greece to Japan!
| The Magic of Lanterns (La Magie des Lanternes) |
The Magic of Lanterns (La Magie des Lanternes) is Montreal’s annual fall festival of lights that marks the arrival of autumn in beautiful style. It is a remarkable celebration of light in the Montreal Botanical Garden's Chinese Garden. The festival is marked by hundreds of silk lanterns that illuminate various areas of The Chinese Garden.
| The Rogers Cup (La Coupe Rogers) |
The Rogers Cup (Coupe Rogers) is an annual tennis tournament that is held in Montreal and Toronto. The tournament features a men and women’s tournament that is held in either Montreal or Toronto. The events rotate between both cities each year. In odd years, the men’s tournament is held in Montreal and in even years, the women’s tournament in Montreal. The men’s competition is part of a Masters 1000 event on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour while the women’s competition is part of a Premier 5 tournament on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour.
| World Choral Festival (Le Mondial Choral Loto-Quebec) |
The World Choral Festival also known as The Loto-Québec World Choral Festival (Le Mondial Choral Loto-Quebec) is the largest gathering of choirs and vocal ensembles in North America. This international choral singing festival is fuelled by the growing popularity of choral music, which happens to be a very popular activity in Quebec. Taking place mostly in the city of Laval, the festival has helped make Laval the Choral Music Capital of Canada.
| World Film Festival (Festival Des Films Du Monde) |
The Montreal World Film Festival (le Festival des Films du Monde) is also known as the Montreal International Film Festival. The goal of the Montreal World Film Festival is to encourage cultural diversity and understanding among nations, to foster the cinema of all continents by stimulating the development of quality cinema, to promote filmmakers and innovative works, to discover and encourage new talents, and to promote meetings between cinema professionals from around the world.