Things to Do in Montreal : May Festivals and Events 2017

Salon du Livre Anarchist de Montreal. Anarchist Bookfair. 2016. Photo Rachel Levine Patches. Salon du Livre Anarchist de Montreal. Anarchist Bookfair. 2016. Photo Rachel Levine

Beautiful May with its sunny, long days is a perfect time to get out in the city and enjoy the many festivals that make our city the place you want to be. I’m keeping this intro short and sweet because there are over 20 different festivals this month. Stop reading and start going!

The Gay Village Pedestrian Street Opens

April 29 – September 25, 2017

St. Catherine Street

The Gay Village closes to cars and opens to foot traffic this weekend. Terraces open, and free art exhibits, street sales, and street performers arrive.

Montreal Grilled Cheese Festival

Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese Sandwich. MLT DWN. Mt. Royal. Plateau. Photo Laura Dumitriu

Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese Sandwich. MLT DWN. Mt. Royal. Plateau. Photo Laura Dumitriu

May 1-7, 2017

Beloved sandwich goes from classic to upgraded in a food festival that everyone can enjoy. The participants haven’t been listed yet, but check out here for INFO.

Accès Asie

Spring Gala

Spring Gala

May 2-28 2017

Asian culture in Montreal is diverse. The Accès Asie festival makes it easy to sample all arts from all of Asia: theatre, music, comedy, literature, visual arts, dance, and film. Many events are free and are centered around Place des Arts. Click HERE to find out more.

Concordia Film Festival

Film Reels. CinéBazar 2015. Photo Sinj Karan.

Film Reels. CinéBazar 2015. Photo Sinj Karan.

May 5-8, 2017

H-110 Auditorium at Henry Hall Building (de Maisonneuve W).

Student film can be some of the most exciting and challenging film experiences to be had. See what the up and coming generation are producing at the annual film festival. This marks their 44th year! Details HERE.

Montreal Sketch Comedy Festival

Sketchfest. The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

Sketchfest. The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

May 4-13, 2017

Theatre St. Catherine (264 St Catherine E) and the Montreal Improv Theatre

Ten days of mad comedic performances by sketch comedy groups. Most come from Montreal and Toronto, a few from further afield. Many repeat performers are back and the overall vibe is one of a massive family gathering of the funniest people from Canada’s major cities. Keep an eye out for Ladies & Gentlemen, Kirsten Rasmussen, Dink Floyd, and Gross! Most shows are $12 a pop, but packages are available too. Check it out HERE.

La Virée des Ateliers

May 4-7 , 2017

Rue Parthenais

Over 90 local artists vend their wares. Check out one of a kind engravings, prints, sculptures, and more. To find out who is selling, check out HERE.

SIDIM Design Show

SIDIM. Place Bonaventure. Photo Laura Dumitriu

Couch. SIDIM. Place Bonaventure. Photo Laura Dumitriu

May 4 – 6, 2017

Place Bonaventure (800 de la Gauchetière W)

Designers descend on Place Bonaventure in this annual fair to showcase the newest trends in interior, graphic, and industrial design, architecture, and fashion. Information HERE.

La Fête du Croissant

May 6, 2017

Croissants are hard to argue with. Why not try out the city’s best for $1 a croissant during the annual Fête du Croissant throughout the province. Click here for the participating stores.

First Fridays Food Truck Fair

Taste of Monkland. Photo Rachel Levine

Pas de Couchon dans Ma Salon Food Truck . Taste of Monkland. Photo Rachel Levine

May 5 – Oct 6, 2017, the first Friday of the month, 4 p.m. – 23 p.m.

Esplanade at Parc Olympique

The food trucks gather to sell their offerings. If you want to find out who is new or try something you adore, this is a chance to find your truck in a convenient place. Info HERE.


Montreal Medieval Fair / Salon de la Passion Médiévale et Historique

May 5 – 7, 2017

Centre Pierre Charbonneau (3000 Viau)

Get your chain mail kit, sword, and shield here. The Montreal Medieval fair is a chance to stock up on all the costumes and equipment you need. Dance, music, re-enactment are all part of this event. LARPers have both a tournament and a fashion show to attend. There’s also a masquerade party. This one is a not miss. One day tickets $13, three day tickets are $25. Click here for info and tickets.

24 Hours of Science

May 12-13, 2017

Somehow, I think this should go a little longer than 24 hours, but no matter. In unexpected venues, science comes to the public. If you’re hoping to encourage (push) your kids into STEM careers or just want to learn for yourself, over 300 different activities are taking place around Quebec. Information HERE.

Jane’s walks

May 5-7 2017

Montreal’s Urban Ecology group is taking up the message of Canadian’s urbanization spiritual leader, Jane Jacobs. Volunteers lead interested people on guided tours of the city. So far, Cote des Neiges, NDG, the Plateau, Le Sud Ouest, and Ville Marie are offering walks. Find out more about this unusual event HERE.

Distortion Psychfest

May 10-14, 2017
Eglise Saint Enfant Jésus

Check out these sound bending bands in a festival of noise and glory. Among those playing this year are We Are Wolves, PyPy, Fet.Nat, Co/NTRY and many more. For more info, click HERE.

Invasion Cocktail

lemon is the sky. bar le lab. cocktail

lemon is the sky. bar le lab. cocktail

May 10 – 16, 2017

Get your mixology on at this festival. Pick up your drink passport and try out 200 original cocktail creations in 35 different bars and restaurants. Opening party is at Ateliers and Saveurs on May 8 and the Phi Centre on May 10. The closer is at TRH Bar. What you try in between is up to you. Information HERE.

The Anarchist Film Festival

May 11 – 12, 2017

Coop Katacombes (1635 St Laurent)

Stop oppression now! Of all kinds, everywhere. Watch the best radical, feminist, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist films from around the world. sub.Media will launch “Best of the Stimulator” and Chris Robe’s book “Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas.”  In addition, there will be a group project to create a short film and panel discussions. More info can be found HERE.


May 24 – June 1, Arsenal and Studio L’Eloi

Part art, part digital party, the Chromatic festival celebrates the art of Montreal. Information HERE.

Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival

May 23-24, 2017

Theatre can get very radical. This festival presents seven different shows that are meant to challenge and expose. There is no government or corporate support (and the creators come from around the world. Check out works by Valises en Cavale, Thought Experiment Productions, Bilal Baig, and Beeftina Productions. For more information, check it out HERE.

Montreal Underground Film Festival

May 18-21, 2017

They put the call out, now the question is what will show. Low budget, boundary challenging, and guerrilla filmmakers find a home here. Hang tight for more details on this unusual film festival in the city. Check HERE.

Montreal Salsa Convention

May 18-22, 2017

For Victoria Day weekend, get your party shoes out and join the salsa festival. Watch both Canadian and international greats or learn to salsa for yourself. Check out the competition, watch nightly shows, or take workshops. Partners not required. For those interested, click HERE.

Pouzza Festival

Pouzzafest 2015. Photo Melissa Martella.

Pouzzafest 2015. Photo Melissa Martella.

May 19 – 21, 2017

Rage like your punk heart has always wanted to. The Pouzza festival is all about the loud, the screechy, the noisy, the rebellious, the fun. The outdoor shows are free, but you can check out Lagwagon, PUP, The Flatliners, RVIVR, Red City Radio, Joey Cape, and the Real McKenzies with day passes. There’s a comedy event and a brunch as well. Tickets for all are HERE.

NDG Porchfest

Porch Fest 2016. Photo Rachel Levine

Porch Fest 2016. Photo Rachel Levine

May 20-21, 2017


The front porches of NDG homes and businesses provide the make-shift stages for the musicians of NDG. This neighbourhood is thick with talent. Get taken on tour or just wander around. Schedule of performers and where to find them can be found HERE.

Lobster Clam Jam

May 28, 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.

 Esplanade du Centenaire du Canal Lachine (Rue Pitt and St. Patrick), 

When you see food, do you eat it? Or is that sea-food? Either way, if you like lobster and clams, this outdoor culinary event raises money for Starlight Children’s Foundation. Come down, enjoy a mojito and food from 40 different restaurants. Tickets and information available HERE.

Piknic Electronik

Piknic Electronik. May 24. Photo Daniel Wooden.

Piknic Electronik. May 24. Photo Daniel Wooden.

May 21-September 24. 2017

Everyone’s favorite outdoor dance party rages on at Parc Jean Drapeau every Sunday. The lineup will be announced on May 10 for the year, but in the past, international DJs have graced the stage. Information HERE.

Montreal International Musical Competition

May 2 – May 12, 2017

Salle Bourgie, Place des Arts

Classical musical competition this year has young pianists from around the world compete before an international jury that includes respected musical directors and professors. Winner takes home a fairly respectable $30,000 prize, but there are others to be won. The Montreal symphony orchestra accompanies the competitors during the final round and the winners during the gala concert. All info can be found HERE.

C2 Montreal

C2. Photo Laura Dumitriu

C2. Photo Laura Dumitriu

May 24-26, 2017

Arsenal (2020 Rue William)

I think of this as the advertising festival + TED talks. It’s a huge event that supposedly brings together commerce and creativity.It’s a massive networking opportunity. This year’s theme is Ecosystems and speakers include Georges St. Pierre of the UFC, Brad Keywell founder of Groupon, Laura Henderson of Buzzfeed, . It will only cost you a mere $2,995 to go. For info, click HERE.

FTA (Festival TransAmériques)

May 25-June 8 2017

Dance, theatre, opera, and performing arts from around the world come to Montreal along with a few art exhibitions and musical pieces. Most pieces only show for a few days, but are usually high quality and thought-provoking.  There are 9 world premieres, and 11 North American premieres in this year’s festival. Tickets HERE.

BD Festival

May 26-28 2017

Espace La Fontaine

Montreal’s talented graphic novelists and comic book writers are at the fore of the BD festival. Mostly francophone, but with a few anglophones, this celebration of the “ninth art” includes (of course) a book fair, but also workshops, theatrical performances, and a chance to meet some of your favorite writers. This year, some of those participating include Julie Delporte, Seth, and Pascal Girard and so many more. Information HERE.

Anarchist Book Fair

Salon du Livre Anarchist de Montreal. Anarchist Bookfair. 2016. Photo Rachel Levine

Sarah Mangle. Salon du Livre Anarchist de Montreal. Anarchist Bookfair. 2016. Photo Rachel Levine

May 27-28, 2017

Georges Vanier Cultural Center (2450 rue Workman)

Celebrating something in the triad between proper anarchy, libertarianism, and social justice the anarchist book fair fills the Georges Vanier Cultural Center in St. Henri with vendors and activists. Workshops, panels, films, and artwork are also part of this event. It’s well attended and often a great place to learn about social justice issues both home and around the world. Free. Information HERE.

African Days

May 27-28, 2017

Écomusée du fier monde (2050 Amherst)

Centre Afrika invites artists, artisans, and speakers to showcase the diversity of Montreal’s African communities. Programming tba. Information HERE.

Montreal Museums Day

May 28, 2017

The museums of the city open their doors to let you see their collections and it is all free. Free free free. This also means that the museums are crowded. Crowded crowded crowded. Information HERE.

Festival Go Vélo Montreal

May 28-June 4 2017

Montrealers are dedicated bikers. Our bike paths are well maintained and ever more numerous. We are the proud home of the Bixi. Go Velo encourages people to get out on their bikes and ride like the wind. The highlight for many is the Tour de l’Ile, when the goal is to bike the whole island (or part of it) along a specified route with many others. It’s like a biking marathon. The Tour La Nuit does something similar, but at night. Information for events HERE.

Festival des Arts Vivants (OFFTA)

May 30-June 8, 2017

While the FTA (Festival Transameriques) takes place, the OFFTA showcases local works. More information to come. Watch HERE for details.

Festival de Poesie de Montréal


May 29-June 4, 2017

200 poets promote their art in the city during this literary event. Anyone passing by the Mt. Royal metro will recognize the tent with its public readings. Of course there are special visitors, round tables, panels, and even walks through the city related to poetry. Check it out HERE.

ST. Ambroise Fringe Festival 2017

May 29 – June 18

Fans of indie theatre, dance, comedy, improv, and general madness come out to occupy venues all over the Plateau. This annual festival is full of gems and great talent, and has launched the careers of many stars of the stage. Find out more HERE.

Turkish Film festival

May tbd

Thank goodness for the Cinema du Parc. It continues to showcase festivals of film that we might not otherwise see in the city. The festival screens Turkish films. Details tba.

About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts