As the Montreal sun starts to set earlier and earlier each day and those hot summer terrasse nights get chillier with every beer we drink, it starts to feel like we’re on a free fall to the end of summer. So let’s make the most of it. Here is our list of 13 things you still need to experience before the summer ends in Montreal.
1. First Fridays at Olympic Stadium
This is Montreal’s premiere food truck festival that goes down every first Friday of the month in the summertime. With over 30 food trucks packed onto the busy Sunlife Esplanade at the Olympic Stadium, there is something delicious to be had for everyone. Make sure you head on down Friday, September 5th or October 3rd, between 4pm and 11pm, as these are the last two days of First Fridays this summer. Go early to avoid long line-ups as it gets pretty full by 7pm.
2. Mile-End’s Kem Coba Ice Cream Shop
You cannot have summer end without going down to Kem Coba for their famous soft serve ice cream.
Located in the heart of Montreal’s Mile-End neighborhood on Fairmount Street, this little ice cream shop has become the talk of the town. What makes Kem Coba stand out from the rest is their soft ice cream and sorbet combos twisted onto one happy cone. Every few weeks or so, Kem CoBa concocts a new beautiful duo of flavours that will be the only one to be featured at the ice cream shop’s soft serve machine. Some past flavours such as La Florida, (Orange sorbet with coconut ice cream), La Latina (mango sorbet with Dulce de Leche ice cream) and La Bien-Aimee (sour cherry sorbet with almond milk ice cream) were very popular amongst the crowds that would line up for a taste of Kem Coba. Head on down before owners Vincent and Ngoc shut down for the season.
3. Montreal Italian Week 2014
Little Italy will be housing all the action for the 10-day feast that goes until August 17th. Do you like zeppoles? Well, you’re in luck. There will be a best zeppole contest going down on the 17th as top chefs go head to head in creating the best deep-fried dough pastry filled with sweet ricotta cheese. Another event not to be missed on the 16th is the Moda Sotta le Stelle, which is an outdoor starlit fashion show by up and coming Italian-Canadian designers. There will also be free outdoor concerts by Italian-Canadian artists. Other events not to be missed are the bocce ball tournament, Italian film festival, Fiat car show and Scopa card game tournament.
4. Lachine Canal
What’s a Montreal summer without a little biking down the beautiful Lachine Canal? Start out at the Atwater market and explore the amazing wonders of the locally grown and fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and delicious cheeses. Make sure you check out the amazing Satay Brothers stall for some warm BBQ pork buns and chicken satays that scream flavour at the mini Hawkers Market. Head onto the canal’s path and walk westward towards the McAuslan brewery. The McAuslan brewery, famous for their St-Ambroise and Griffon craft beers, has a beautiful and quaint terrace right by the canal where you can eat and drink. Jump onto a Bixi bike and ride down west towards the end of the canal where you’ll find one of Montreal’s most beautiful parks, René Lévesque Park.
5. Les Survenants au Mile-Ex
Les Survenants Block Party is a truly unique festival that all takes place in the Mile-Ex neighborhood. Amidst all the old industrial concrete factories and modern condos, you’ll find Alexandraplatz bar, the Mile-Ex’s brainchild. Alexandraplatz along with the Quebec Street food Association have organized Les Survenants Block Party and a night market that takes place on Av de L’Esplanade. The night market features many street food vendors and trucks, a beer garden and live DJs. The next one is happening on August 30th between 1pm and 11pm and is a great way to celebrate summer in one of Montreal’s rapidly growing hybrid neighborhoods, the Mile-Ex.
6. Montreal’s Rooftop Patios
Montreal has an abundance of amazing rooftop patios with views that will leave you breathless, but which ones are worth trekking to? Our favourites include Terrasse Nelligan and Suite 701 in Old Montreal, where they do 5a7 right. These terraces are the best place to drink, eat and mingle with the trendy young professionals of Montreal. If you want to keep it a little more casual and less pretentious, then head out to Terrasse sur L’Auberge Terrace atop the Auberge du Vieux Port Hotel. You can’t beat the view from this rooftop. Outside Old Montreal, our favourites are The SAT on St. Laurent Street. This cool urban rooftop terrace is always hosting a plethora of events such as the famous Omnivore World Tour. Just down the block is the all-new Pandore at the corner of Ste. Catherine Street. This resto bar with fifth floor terrace overlooks Montreal’s festival hub.
7. Fashion and Design Festival
The 14th edition of the Montreal Fashion and Design festival all goes down August 20th to 23rd at Place des Festival. Check out the free outdoor runway shows featuring young and upcoming fashion designers presenting the hottest trends of the season to the rhythm of musical performances. While you’re there, make sure to not miss the hilarious and popular stiletto race on August 20th.
8. Village Éphémère
Want to enjoy a different side of Montreal summer? The Village Éphémère is the perfect place to hit up. Sitting at Notre-Dame East near Bellerieve Park by the Jaques Cartier Bridge, the Village Éphémère brings a little bit of Brooklyn to Montreal. Food trucks, a sandy beach with a biergarten, free shows and local artists’ work on display are all on offer. Just sit back with friends and enjoy the summer while munching on delicious local grub. Village Éphémère is on from Thursdays to Sundays with its last day on August 16th.
9. Monkland: Flavours of the Village
The Monkland Flavours of the Village festival begins Thursday, August 21st and runs until the 24th. Monkland Avenue will be closed to pedestrians between Draper and Girouard Streets for the festival, which will feature over 10 food trucks, live shows, side walk sales and restaurant and bar terraces sprawled onto the streets. This is one end of summer block party you don’t want to miss.
10. La Ronde Theme Park
Who doesn’t love theme parks during the summer? Eastern Canada’s largest theme park, La Ronde, shuts down for the season in November, so this is the time to enjoy the thrills. The all-new DEMON will bring you into an infernal whirlwind while the Vol Ultime will soar you to new heights in one of the 16 twin seats, circling up to 55 meters above the park – as high as a 15-storey building. Leave your little kid pants at home.
11. Mount Royal Park
Everyone’s favorite mountain has so much to offer in the summer: Great hiking trails that lead up to the picturesque Beaver Lake, bike paths that circle the mountain, and plenty of family friendly picnicking areas. But the best part of summer at Mount Royal happens on Sundays. The Tam Tams are still going strong and have become an integral part of our Montreal summers. Bring a blanket, some friends, food and wine, and you’ll have the perfect lazy Sunday.
12. Jean-Drapeau Park Beach
Montreal doesn’t have that many options for nearby beaches, so instead we all flock to neighbourhood parks. But when summer is here, sometimes we just crave a beach to lay on. The beach shuts down for the summer on September 1st so hurry down before it’s too late. But before Jean-Drapeau closes for the season, a huge beach party goes down August 16th at noon. DJ Steve Watt, radio entertainment, Zumba, beach volleyball, wakeboard, boat rentals and games are all on the bill. Party on, Montreal.
13. Victoria Pier at the Clock Tower Beach
If you still haven’t been or heard about the revamped and completely re-branded Clock Tower Beach in the Old Port, you are seriously missing out. With two outdoor beach bars, an exquisite terrace, and a cultivating restaurant lead by renowned top chef Dan Geltner, it is beyond easy to indulge in Victoria Pier’s parasols, relaxing lounge areas, retro slush machines, trendy beach vibes and a variety of distinct services. With a state-of-the-art sound system, the beach offers an epic vibe and brings a fantastic roster of local music talent.
Cover Image: Victoria Pier