My Montreal Bucket List: Sunday Afternoon at the Tam Tams

Montreal Tam Tams. Photo by Annie Shreeve Montreal Tam Tams. Photo by Annie Shreeve

Share with:

It’s almost impossible not to be drawn in by the great festivities of the Montreal Tam Tams. One great city wide party held every Sunday afternoon during the summertime, it really is a sight to see. Whether you are travelling and passing through or a permanent resident here in Montreal, if you haven’t seen the Tam Tams in action, then get yourself there! One of the cities well known and greatly loved summertime events, the Tam Tams is like nothing else in this city.

It all kicks off sometime between 1pm and 2pm on a Sunday afternoon and goes until the sun sets. Perhaps even beyond if the vibe is right! People gather near the angel statue of Mount Royal (Parc Avenue) and continue to stretch across the grass as the afternoon passes by and more and more people join the event. At the base of the statue, people gather with their instruments and an explosive amount of energy! The drums start and the beats begin to flow. People create music, they dance, laugh and enjoy their afternoon as the beats of the Tam Tams fill the air.

Montreal Tam Tams. Photo by Annie Shreeve

Montreal Tam Tams. Photo by Annie Shreeve

So you are probably wondering why such an event is called the Tam Tams!? Well, the name is in reference to the drum circle. And this, this is the life and soul of Sunday’s gathering. There are many theories about the Tam Tams originality, however people have been enjoying the park and sunshine during the summer months since it was inaugurated in 1876. Some believe it was started by a group of students in the 1960’s as a meeting place to practice their music. Others believe it began much later in the 1990’s by a group of musicians. But it doesn’t matter, because all we really need to know now is that Mount Royal Park is an unreal place to be on a Sunday afternoon.

Other than god vibes and the strong rhythmic beats, it’s also a place with many more attractions. If you don’t wait to partake in the creation of the music itself, them just sit back, take a picnic and enjoy the atmosphere. It’s a great place to chill with a few drinks and snacks. There are also a collection of small market stalls around the square featuring both local and imported hand made goods. If you venture a little further from the roadside into the park, many people participate in an activity called larping! “Live Action Role Playing”. The area is set up like a medieval battle field where teams battle it out all afternoon. And, also, this is a great place to practice your slack-lining, giant bubble blowing and all kinds of other interesting and amazing activities. And probably the best spot in the city to people watch.

Blowing Bubbles! Photo by Annie Shreeve

Blowing Bubbles! Photo by Annie Shreeve

On top of all this, what I love most about the Tam Tams is the intense community spirit. It’s a place where the artistic side of Montreal really comes together. People from all walks of life, all areas of the city and all ages gather to share the love of the music and celebrate summer. It really is, for many reasons, an amazing sight to see.

The Tam Tams are held at Mount Royal Park near the Monument George-Étienne-Cartier from early afternoon every Sunday during summer and into the fall (weather depending).

also of interest