Though Monday closures are what come with Canadian legal holidays, they don't hinder Montrealers’ ability to take advantage of a long weekend. Labour Day weekend, from September 4 to the 7, is one to look forward to in Montreal. Various autumn activities are starting up, while certain summer events are coming to an end. This year’s labour day weekend falls right in the middle that period, which is why it is the best time to make the most of end-of-summer/beginning of fall shindigs, especially since it’s the final weekend before many of us put our ‘school-mode’ into overdrive.
Here are the 10 things to do during Montreal’s Labour Day weekend:
Photo cred - Steph Vaillancourt
1. World Press Photo Exhibit
Running from August 26 to September 27, World Press Photo is holding their 10th annual exhibit in our Old Port’s very own Marché Bonsecours.
Starting the Friday of Labour Day weekend in Montreal’s Botanical Garden, the Gardens of Light will begin to illuminate our city until the beginning of November. The beauty and magic that you’ll encounter while strolling through both the Chinese and Japanese Gardens will be indescribable. The lanterns, illuminated walkways, and vibrant colors will captivate you. It’s a definite must-see to kick-off the fall season, and the perfect evening activity for Labour Day weekend.
4. La Grande Terrasse Rouge
Nearly one-kilometer long, La Grande Terrasse Rouge is a public terrace situated on rue Saint-Denis. Though the festivities in the terrasse area began at the end of August, La Grande Terrasse Rouge’s official inauguration is at the beginning of September, just in time for Labour Day weekend. On rue Saint-Denis’ website, you’ll find a program of events for each weekend of September. For Labour Day weekend, you can indulge in a Friday night filled with folk-rock, a Saturday afternoon surrounded by a Brazilian orchestra, or a Sunday afternoon head-banging to local DJs – the choice is yours. No matter what you decide, you’re guaranteed to have a great experience hanging out on the free terrace and hammocks.
5. Aires Libres
Every year on Saint-Catherine’s pedestrian walkway, between Saint-Hubert and Papineau, rests a public art event called Aires Libres. The various works of art are dispersed along the street, and this year’s art in particular centers on the theme “Politics of Empathy.” It’s been running since the end of April and will wrap up on September 7, which means that your last chance to go is during Labour Day weekend.
6. First Friday Food Trucks
This doesn’t even really need an explanation. But in case there's anyone who don’t know, from May to October, on the first Friday of every month, the Olympic Stadium hosts the biggest food truck rally in Canada. Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., food trucks from different Montreal restaurants all band together in one location. What could be better than that? On the Friday of Labour Day weekend, 40 food trucks await you. Don’t miss out on the delicious grub!
Every Sunday, thousands of Montrealers religiously flock to Mount-Royal Park to take part in the Tam-Tams. This festival showcases an enormous amount of percussionists and dancers, taking place from noon to sundown. You can vibe to the music all day long, while relaxing and simultaneously being immersed in a lively audience. Be sure to experience the Tam-Tams at least once before it’s too late. The festival ends on September 7, so Labour Day weekend would be the perfect time to take advantage.
8. Jardins Gamelins
A new and very trendy establishment has called Place Émilie-Gamelin in the Quartier des Spectacles its home. Running from May 7 to October 4, Jardins Gamelin offers a large outdoor patio complemented by bar and restaurant services. What’s also special about it is that it’s adjacent to the building that projects video along the surface. Jardins Gamelin is the best way to spend your Saturday night during the long weekend of Labour Day.
9. The Labyrinth
If you’ve ever wanted to find your way out of a hangar that’s full of obstacles, traps and dead ends, then your wish has come true. SOS Labyrinthe, located in the Old Port’s Clocktower Pier, is a 2-kilometer maze that’s sure to give you an hour and a half of good fun. The Labyrinthe is available to do up until November 1, every day from noon to 5:30 p.m. This Labour Day weekend would be a great time to visit the Old Port and try out the Labyrinthe for a night of thrills.
10. Piknic Électronik
Jean-Drapeau Park on Sundays is a wild party. Piknic is a weekly outdoor electronic music event that amasses thousands of music lovers because of the many different acts that perform. On the Sunday of Labour Day weekend, you can take in in the music, the upbeat atmosphere of the park, and, the most appealing part for some: day-drinking. Piknic would be the best way to end off your long weekend of partying.