There's magic in the air and the jingle bells are ringing — wait a minute. It's not Christmas, so what's going on? You're not hallucinating, you're just in Blainville on Montreal's North Shore, taking in the town's Christmas in July celebrations.
During your visit, you'll cross into an illuminated tunnel that'll transport you to a Christmas playground complete with elves, lit-up trees, and other giant decorations including a 25-foot-tall Christmas tree.
There is also a traditional Christmas market, so you can buy your gifts early. VERY early.
Blainville residents have even decorated their homes with Christmas lights to really immerse visitors in the Christmas spirit.
The site is open by reservation only during three time slots: 8:30 p.m., 9:15 p.m. or 10 p.m. You will have 45 minutes to stroll the area and take in all the wonderful sights.
Address: At the corner of boulevards Saint-Laurent and René-Lévesque, Chinatown, Montreal
Why You Need To Go: Montreal always has a way of coming to life and night and the new installation "Place des Souhaits" simply adds to it. The wish tree part of the piece twinkles at night! It's also set up next to a patio where you can spend your day chilling.
Why You Need To Go: Seven spaces along avenue Mont-Royal will be recreating colourful urban gardens for the rest of the summer. You'll be able to find a colourful skate park, a light and shadow garden, a rose mural, and other unique spots to check out.
When: Every day until September 6 from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Address: Place des Commencements; 200, rue de la Commune O., Montréal, QC
Why You Need To Go: You can find Place des Commencements located at the end of the Grand Quai in Old Montreal, which has a lovely beautiful green terrasse where you can sit on chairs and admire Habitat 67 and the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.
Having locked in plans with his friends to help with the proposal on July 2 and without expecting the Canadiens to still be in the playoffs, McCooeye planned to decorate a beach near the Pointe-Claire windmill with thousands of LED lights and pop the question.
But the Canadiens' playoff winning streak proved inconvenient to his plan because much like the rest of the city, the couple were gripped with Habs fever.
"My proposal plan was virtually out the window at this point, and I really considered changing the date and plan entirely," said McCooeye.
"I was scrambling and freaking out, trying to think of a way to watch the game and also pull off my proposal on the originally intended date and time."
So, he thought, "what if I convinced her that there was a projected broadcast of the game at the Pointe-Claire windmill, which was right beside the spot of beach where I was going to propose?"
In order for his plan to work, McCooeye first had to photoshop an Instagram post that claimed that the windmill was hosting a screening of a Stanley Cup Final game.
"If she was to see MTL Blog saying that there was a game being broadcast at the Pointe-Claire windmill, that would probably convince her," he said.
"Come Friday, the plan was in motion."
McCooeye enlisted their group of friends and even a waiter at a bar for the adorably elaborate ruse. In the end, he pulled it off masterfully.
"We walked towards the windmill, and on our way, we arrived at the entrance to the hidden beach where I was going to propose," he said.
"At that point, she said something to the effect of 'pretty cool that MTL Blog posted about this.' I [...] responded 'oh, you mean that MTL Blog post that you knew was fake and you scrolled through your Instagram to check? Because you might have been right about that.'"