By Sergio Martinez
The weather was expected to be more amicable this Thursday when the 20th edition of the Montréal en Lumière was officially launched with a cocktail at the Bell Chalet at Place des Festivals. To my memory came the first edition of this unique winter festival, which at that time was seen as a bold move on the part of the Spectra team: yes, Montrealers are tough, and most of the events were programmed indoors, but would they respond to those outdoor activities when temperatures may get around minus 20? Well, twenty years later, Montréal en Lumière is already one of the iconic festivals in our city. And yes, people defied the cold to ride the Ferris wheel installed in the middle of Ste. Catherine, enjoy the ice slide sponsored by Quebec’s milk producers on De Maisonneuve Blvd. and Jeanne Mance, and now the RBC light-and-sound zip-line.
Another outdoor activity not to be missed is Illuminart, a combination of art, light, and technology that should appeal to both young and old. Illuminart is presenting a series of shows each night: Pulpe, Probability of Snowing, Influx, CYCLE, Urban Poetry, Winter’s Breath, Pyrite, Le Delta, and Danse chromatique dans la neige.
As in previous years, one of the most expected events of this festival is the Nuit Blanche, a diverse collection of artistic and gastronomical shows that extend from the whole night from Saturday, March 2 to Sunday, March 3. The events will take place in different venues, including the Fine Arts Museum, the McCord Museum and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The Nuit Gourmande has been introduced on this occasion to add to the gastronomical dimension of a night during which you are not supposed to sleep. For this occasion, the metro will run all night and a special evening pass at the cost of $5 will allow unlimited travel between 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 5 a.m. next day.
Montréal en Lumière this year has focused mostly on the gastronomical aspect, which has meant a much more reduced music line-up, yet three indoor concerts are programmed which maintain the festival’s tradition of bringing music together with gastronomy and other entertainment. The artists this year are Whitehorse (February 23), Dominique Fils-Aimé (March 1), and Soran (opening act Jordann, March 2), all these concerts will take place at L’Astral at 8 p.m.
For detailed information about ticket prices, venues, and schedule for the different activities visit www.montrealenlumiere.com