Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Montréal en lumière (Montreal High Lights), Feb 20–Mar 2

MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, presented by RBC in collaboration with Bell, celebrates its 15th edition this year—and how! With MEL already enjoying a dazzling surge of growth, especially with the return of its outdoor downtown site in the Quartier des Spectacles—MEL crowds have bounded by over 40% to surpass 1,300,000 visits!—our festival has everything required to welcome even more fans this year.

You’ll especially feel all the excitement on the festival’s free outdoor site, an entirely renovated location offering a record number of free activities, building bridges between its diverse programs and offering an unprecedented spotlight and profile to the chefs of Montreal! You’ll also discover top-calibre major free outdoor performances, DJ and VJ sets, the most popular urban slide in the city, the giant winter ferris wheel and impressively mind-blowing lighting effects to name but a few, along with the special grand event on the first Saturday of the festival, as well as all the delicious Gourmet Pit-Stops that allow everyone to kick off the celebration as soon as work or school ends and sustain themselves through another fun night.

In addition this year, in keeping with the theme of this anniversary edition, we’ll be thrilled to spotlight Montreal in many different ways: for example, with the creation of a signature Montreal backyard right on the Place des Festivals, where fans can taste little gourmet dishes whipped up by some of Montreal’s finest chefs and restos! From February 20 to March 2, on the Place des Festivals, the Place des Arts esplanade and Ste. Catherine St., Montreal will shine more brightly than ever!

Grand Special Event:
185 bravos
presented by Hydro-Québec and Loto-Québec

On the first Saturday of MEL, get ready to take a deep breath… for a major array of birthdays! We’ll celebrate the 15th anniversary of MEL, the 40th of DUCEPPE, the 50th of Place des Artsand the 80th of the OSM… all at the same time! That’s 185 candles to blow out, folks. What better way to celebrate than with a super free outdoor illuminated musical event you simply cannot miss: 30 minutes of classical music and video projections on the façades of the esplanade (Théâtre Maisonneuve, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, UQAM) revivifying the great, landmark moments of 185 years of these great Québec cultural institutions, in an incredibly immersive aural environment, enhanced by a fireworks display… It’s all under the artistic direction of new creative enterprise 4U2C, headed by Yves Aucoin and Stéphane Mongeau. It’s an unprecedented free illumination event, a celebration as beautiful as Montreal herself! Saturday, February 22, from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., on the Place des Arts esplanade.

Coup de chapeau à Haïti (Hats Off to Haiti)

Thanks to Hats Off to Haiti, the Pearl of the West Indies will be celebrated in every facet of the MEL programs, from gastronomy (Jouvens Jean in the Balmoral and Stephan Berrouet Durand in the Convivial Dinner) to the stage (KANAVAL KANPE 2014, Dany Laferrière and Boukman Eksperyans) to the free outdoor site. On the site, head to the corner of Ste. Catherine St. W. and Saint-Urbain Streets for the Haiti Photo Exhibit, sip a glass of Barbancourt rum or a Selecto coffee in a characteristically colourful Tap-tap bus and dream of the Caribbean thanks to the offerings at the Ministère du Tourisme Haïti kiosk. And don’t forget the pleasures of our Gourmet Pit-Stops, notably the Flavours of Haiti kiosk (Haitian giraumon soup with leek, sweet potato, carrots and beef, Haitian pastries, griot, fried plantain…), on Balmoral St., and theCaribbean Flavours evening at the Bistro SAQ with a special menu courtesy of chef Natacha Gomez of Cap-Haïtien. Festival fans will be thrilled to wrap themselves up in all the Caribbean warmth!

Place des Festivals

Of course, the Place des Festivals has more than enough action to thrill fans and fill up our evenings! The creation of a characteristically Montreal microcosm, a gigantic 7-storey screen for mind-boggling projections, a mysterious cube of lasers, lighting and music to rock the night away, major performances and DJ-VJ sets, and an array of stations gourmet pit-stops… Come early, there’s so much to do!

Cour RBC: a classic Montreal backyard where you’ll feel right at home!

At the north end of the Place des Festivals, you’ll discover an intriguing structure of containers hiding an incredible and unusual 3-storey roofed immersive environment offering a window into various different “apartments” and recreating a classic, warm, laid-back Montreal backyard: clotheslines, unlocked doors and windows, and above all, a shared back laneway ambience where, for decades upon decades, the locals have met and hung out to enjoy a beer or glass of wine, start up an impromptu street hockey game or improvise a little get-together. Relax and experience what it feels like to be “chez nous…”

It’s guaranteed to be THE gathering spot for festival fans and a landmark attraction of this edition, with something for everyone: a lounge, rebroadcasts of outdoor performances, brief live sets and, for a few dollars, little gourmet platters prepared by some of Montreal’s most popular restos: Chez Lévêque, Accords,Laloux, Renoir—for an idea of what awaits: pogo of guinea fowl confit, BBQ rabbit “wings”, mackerel “smoked meat”, onion soup garnished with foie gras… Don’t miss it! Cour RBC: every evening from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon. VJ Cafrine from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Small savoury gourmet dishes: from 5 p.m… while they last!

Musical performances, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Colin Perry (February 21), Livingstone/Tellier (February 22), Micaël Lüssi (February 26), Shlomo and Julie (February 27), Emilie & Ogden (February 28) and They Call Me Rico (March 1—Nuit blanche). Autograph signings with the RBC Athletes: Saturday (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday (noon to 3 p.m.).

Faces of Montreal presented by Bell: the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan goes mega

A 3-storey 3D mask on the façade of the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan? Absolutely, but so much more! Bell invites festival fans to enter the “vidéomaton” (corner Ste. Catherine and Jeanne-Mance Streets, at the foot of the MAC) and project giant images of their faces in real-time on the building façades! Next, hit the interactive dancefloor and activate video animation on the Maison. Yes, every evening will feature the creation of a gigantic living, progressive artwork, a magnificent mosaic of our community, an ode to Montreal cultural diversity! Every evening from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (excluding Sunday, Monday and Tuesday).

Nucléus presented by Casino de Montréal: a magnificent monster awakens…

This year, the Place des Festivals welcomes an astonishing multidimensional installation that must be seen—and experienced!—to fully understand just how original it all is… An enormous cubic “nucleus” of lasers, lighting and smoke with original sound and music, inviting visitors to take control and, via their movements and motion, generate the energy required to awaken Nucléus… Imagine a communal winter workout that activates a sound a lighting extravaganza in real time worthy of a sci-fi film, right before our eyes… It’s utterly unprecedented! The program also includes spectacular laser and lighting effects. A powerhouse! Every evening from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m, and performances at 6:30 p.m., 7:50 p.m. and 9 p.m. (excluding Sunday, Monday and Tuesday).

The RBC Stage

It’s an absolute must! The RBC Stage is the place to be for performances by some of our local artists of the moment. Now located at the northern extremity of the Place des Festivals, with its back to the Cour RBC, the RBC Stage will once again host free shows guaranteed to thrill our loyal crowds. Things kick off for the little ones on the weekend of February 22-23, at 2 p.m. with the fun-fun-fun of Henri Godon, and his Bedon Band! On the weekend of March 1-2, also at 2 p.m., the kids will love the charming Paul Kunigis and his show Wapiti. In the evening, grownups will flock out as the superb 8 p.m. series hits the ground running on February 20 with must-see singer-guitarist Louis-Jean Cormier. The following evening, February 21, welcome the excellent electro-folk-rock of Jimmy Hunt (presented in collaboration with On February 22, rocker Cafeïne whips up the electrifying songs of new album New Love. February 26, newly reunited duo Bet.e & Stef invite us to a bossa nova evening guaranteed to warm up February. On February 27, red-hot hip hop group Dead Obies deliver their stunning rap attack. The following evening, February 28, singer-songwriter Jason Bajada brings us his latest songs… in French! Finally, on March 1, Poirier and his guests Face-T, Boogat, Madhi, Pierre Kwenders and Fwonte bring the big beat to Nuit blanche. Adding to the ambience every performance evening, VJ Yanneek will slap his creative imagery onto various musical performances, projected on the immense structure of containers that makes up the Cour RBC and frames the stage.

Bell DJ-VJs

There’s nothing like a manic dance session to fight off the cold temperatures of February! Join us for sets by the Bell DJ-VJs on the RBC stage every night at 9:10 p.m.: Roux Soundsystem (February 20), LEBARON (February 21), Shash’U (February 22), Hatchmatik (February 26), The Salivation Army (February 27), Thomas Von Party (February 28) and Heidy.P (for Nuit blanche, March 1). The stage lights up with images courtesy of VJ Brille Brille (February 20 and 28),VJ Diagraf (February 21), VJ Video Girl (February 22 and March 1), VJ A-Rock (February 26) andVJ MA’’ (February 27), who’ll add their mind-blowing colours to the catchiest beats.

Bistro SAQ

This lovely trio of geodesic domes presents cheeses, soups, shredded duck parmentier, mac & cheese and a selection of wines and beers daily, as well as two special tasting evenings starring duck in many presentations and a smorgasbord of flavours from the Caribbean (details at the end of this communique).

Photo exhibit: 15 Years of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE

Fifteen years of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE: that’s a galaxy of light! For 15 years, we’ve trained the brightest spotlights on artists from home and abroad, on the city’s gourmet scene, on our urban winter wonderland! Let’s not forget the brilliant displays of lighting effects, either. And above all, a spotlight on Montreal, on the 1001 ways to rediscover your city and experience it to the fullest, from every perspective. It’s a magnificent exhibition of images chosen from among the thousands of photos offering a brilliant overview of every edition since the festival’s creation in 2000, offering ample testament to Montreal’s festive spirit and innate joie de vivre. It’s MEL magic! Facing the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan.

Galerie Lounge TD: Éclipse, a free exclusive exhibition by René Derouin

As part of the 15th edition of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan proudly welcomes an original new exhibition by René Derouin. In the interest of working in rhythm with the winter theme of the festival, the exhibition Éclipse presents a selection of recent works created specifically for the event, each playing with light and contrast in very surprising ways. In a Montreal premiere, it’s a unique opportunity to view the most recent works by this incomparable artist, winner of the prestigious Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas. February 13 to May 11, Galerie Lounge TD, Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan.

René Derouin’s work will also be showcased in Éclipses, an animated short film directed by Michel Arsenault, which will be projected non-stop from 8:15 p.m. to midnight (and until 3 a.m. during Nuit blanche) on the screen of the Place des Arts windowfront from February 20 to March 15.

The Place des Arts esplanade and Ste. Catherine Street

The eastern section of the site is just as exciting! You’ll find something to amuse—and sustain—yourself all the way to the corner of Ste. Catherine and Saint-Urbain Streets. In addition to the Special Grand Event: 185 bravos presented by Hydro-Québec and Loto-Québec, you’ll find:

Espace Financière Sun Life

An amazing array of activities await in front of the the Musée d’art contemporain, from entertainment—acrobats, street artists, jugglers…— to the ever-popular braziers, where you can roast marshmallows and grill sausages, or simply warm yourself up a bit. And enjoy a new addition, the Brighter Life Journey, an extraordinary experience that allows you to realize the impact small gestures can have on your daily life… and your finances! Transport yourself into an immersive world thanks to virtual reality glasses and bring one of your major projects to life!

The Milk Family Fun Zone and the big Urban Slide

The Milk Family Fun Zone offers activities sure to please the widest range of winter warriors: start with the gigantic Urban Slide, of course—110 metres of crazy zooming fun, with wild sound effects and multicoloured lights!—but don’t forget the giant parlour games, thePhoto Studio, a contest with instant prizes, and of course the delights of the Milk bar(including maple-flavoured milk). Young or old, teen or adult, with family or friends, you’ll find it all in this perfect rendezvous point!

The Air France Ferris Wheel: see the world differently

The exceedingly popular winter ferris wheel has moved to the foot of the esplanade, facing the MAC, smack dab in the heart of Ste. Catherine St. The fun hasn’t changed, but the view sure has—it’s even more exhilarating, spanning virtually the entire site and encompassing all of its marvelous lighting effects! Come on down with family, friends or loved ones and get an eyefull!

The Laurentians: 7 chefs serve up 7 soups

It’s another 2014 premiere! Our Spotlight Québécois region kicks off this 5 à 7 with a serving of one of 7 comfort-food soups offered free by 7 of its chefs—Sébastien Houle (sEb l’Artisan culinaire), Patrick Bermand (Restaurant Patrick Bermand), Jason Bowmer (Restaurant Les Zèbres), Fabrice Coutanceau (Cuisine spontanée traiteur), Charon Benchlouch (Maison 1890), Bruno Léger (Restaurant-caterer Recto Verso), Bernard Zingré (Le Creux du Vent). Enjoy the bracing warmth of a Laurentian welcome! Saturday, February 22, from 4 p.m., at the foot of the esplanade, Ste. Catherine St.

Potluck: UQAM façade projection

To celebrate 15 years of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, TURBINE worked under the aegis of the Quartier des Spectacles to create a 5-minute video that will be projected onto UQAM’s Pavillon Président-Kennedy. Conceived from life-sized models, the piece juxtaposes an impressive series of images veering from hyperrealist to psychedelic, and 100% mind-boggling. Presented non-stop every evening during the festival.

Gourmet Pit-Stops: the festival lives it large!

Our Gourmet Pit-Stops are now synonymous with the outdoor site of the festival… and the perfect refresher as you zip between activities! Along with delicious little gourmet dishes in the Cour RBC and a touch of the Caribbean with the Flavours of Haiti kiosk and the Tap-Tap Rum Bar, you’ll find the ever-varied Bistro SAQ menu—along with two special soirées—, our famous Argentinean sandwiches and empanadas, smoked meat, savoury sausages created especially for MEL, marshmallows for toasting, Belgian waffles, maple sweets or treats provided by the Provigo Le Marché Sphere—cupcakes, macaroons, chocolate… Finally, quench your thirst at the Cour RBC, the Balmoral, the SAQ Express and other SAQ sales points, the Lait Dairy Bar, Bar Rickard’s, the Porto Cabral and Vodka Iceberg kiosks, Bar Amarula, and Café Jura.

The Festival of Quebec Cheeses

Last but not least, the Festival of Quebec Cheeses runs from Thursday, February 20 to Sunday, February 23 on the Grande-Place in Complexe Desjardins. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet Quebec cheesemakers, whose diverse array of exceptional products never ceases to impress. To add to the pleasure, you can also discover beers and excellent wines and spirits from Élixirs on the site.

Opening hours of the free outdoor site
February 20 to March 2 (except Monday and Tuesday): 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday: Noon to 11 p.m. (Nuit blanche, March 1: Noon to 3 a.m.)
Sunday: noon to 6 p.m.
Beyond the site, you’ll also find the Tuques bleues, a nocturnal snowshoe adventure on Mount Royal, the annual benefit event hosted by Amis de la montagne, now in its 17th edition, scheduled for Thursday, February 20 at 5:45 p.m. It’s a festive outdoor activity that contributes to the conservation of Mount Royal. Registration:

Special gourmet evenings at the Bistro SAQ
Hats Off to Haiti: Flavours of the Caribbean

Chef Natacha Gomez jets in from Cap-Haïtien and joins forces with caterer Casserole Kréole to offer this delectable and very Caribbean menu:

Caribbean platter (warm entrée)
Crawfish accras
Griot barquette
Watercress soup with onion crumble
Seafood Trio (cold entrée)
Faux conch ceviche
Herring spread canapés
Fish timbales with nuts
Main course
Beer-battered crawfish
Rice au gratin with two mushrooms, beet and carrot mousseline in cane syrup
Chocolate slab cake with rum soursop
Wednesday, February 26, 6 p.m.
Tickets: $73.86, including wine, service, taxes and box office fee

An evening of duck delights

The Bistro SAQ invites you to a very special evening featuring a four-course duck menu created by a chef from Maison Rougié:

Duck canapé quartet
Parfait of foie gras in Neige ice cider
Parfait of foie gras with Périgord truffles
Foie gras mousseline
Duck rillette
Sautéed escalope with pulled duck
Rougié escalope of foie gras
Pulled duck leg confit, sweet potato purée and balsamic vinegar reduction
Duck breast in maple marinade
Duck breast medallions in maple marinade, green beans and wine sauce
Triple chocolate mousse verrine
In dark, white and milk chocolate
Thursday, February 27, 6 p.m.
Tickets: $77.16, including wine, service, taxes and box office fee

Reservations for both evenings:
Details and menus:


Opening of the 15th edition of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE
Address by Alain Simard, president-founder,
and Michel Archambault, president of the board of directors

We are very happy to welcome you to the launch of this 15th edition of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, presented by RBC in collaboration with Bell. It’s an anniversary edition that puts our city at centre stage with the 2014 theme, Spotlight on Montréal, and which takes the concept of “networking” between different programs further than ever—just consider the presence of our own Montreal chefs on the outdoor site, or the famous personalities from music, sports and media who will join our Finest Tables program. Indeed, this edition looks more luminous than ever, with a guaranteed array of festive delights… and some added surprises as well!

The festival has come a long way since its creation in 2000, in the wake of the Sommet sur l’économie et l’emploi (Economic and Employment Summit) in 1996, with its mission to relaunch activity in the downtown core during the slack period and consolidate Montreal’s position as a gourmet and cultural capital, and THE City of Festivals. Thanks to the hard work of many people—the board of directors, assembling some 15 leaders from the cultural, economic and tourism sectors; its board of governors, consisting of leading figures recognized for their commitment to Montreal; as well as its hundreds of partners, and all the members of L’Équipe Spectra, project manager for the event—MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is undeniably flying high. And we are now harvesting the magnificent fruits of these labours, including the Félix Award for Event of the Year at the last Gala de l’ADISQ, the Ulysse Award for Montréal Tourism Event, and winning Gold at the Grands Prix du Tourisme du Québec in the prestigious category Events with a Budget of over $1M. However, the finest reward has been the major 40% increase in patronage over the past three years, surpassing 1.3 million visits by some 800,000 persons (also a 40% increase), as well as a 15% increase in visits by tourists from outside Québec, now drawing close to 100,000 visits. These statistics make MEL one of the largest events in Montréal, not only in winter, and rank it among the biggest in the country!

Our return to the outdoor site in the Quartier des Spectacles—which the festival helped launch upon its inception in 2000, being the first event to present large-scale illumination and giant projections—has much to do with this remarkable growth. The reconceived site is marvelously user-friendly for festival fans, making Montreal’s downtown core livelier and more hospitable than it has ever been in winter. The fact that most of the activities are utterly free of charge makes the festival utterly irresistible to the tens and tens of thousands of nighthawks who flock here over the course of 11 nights—and one all-night Nuit blanche! And let us take the opportunity to once again emphasize that offering so many activities and so much entertainment and culture free of charge is a formula unique to Montreal, unique in the world, and something in which we can all take pride! It is a formula that annually attracts millions of festival fans from everywhere, who can revel in culture without breaking their budgets. And as an added bonus, it generates millions of dollars in economic and tourism spinoffs! That’s why it is essential to remember that this winning formula, which benefits everyone, justifies continuous investment by our governments, which receive much more in new tax revenue annually.

So let’s address our free outdoor site! You’ll surely have noticed that it has been considerably renovated and now features more activities than ever, always with a view to optimizing the festival experience. And the incredible Cour RBC, where we now find ourselves, will undoubtedly be one of its major attractions, THE ideal gathering spot over the days and nights to come! With the theme of this 15th edition in mind, we came up with the idea of this stylized recreation of Montreal’s backyards, the inimitable microcosm of our city, a unique décor which also serves as a lounge where you can raise a glass with friends, attend a music set, watch rebroadcasts of major performances on the RBC Stage… We’ve even invited our own Montreal chefs, who will introduce us to little gourmet dishes by Chez Lévêque, Accords, Laloux and Renoir, prepared just for MEL!

This year, festival fans can enjoy a welcome warm breeze, as MEL also invites the Pearl of the West Indies into the heart of the festivities. Hats Off to Haiti (Coup de chapeau à Haïti) will reach into every MEL program: on the gourmet scene, with Haitian chefs Jouvens Jean at the Balmoral and Stephan Berrouet Durand presiding over the Convivial Meal; on the outdoor site, with the tasting soirée conceived by chef Natacha Gomez at the Bistro SAQ, the Flavours of Haiti kiosk, and even a classic multicolored tap-tap bus, probably enjoying its first experience of snow…; and finally, on stage with the KANAVAL KANPE overseen by Régine Chassagne (who shares the honorary co-presidency with American virtuoso Joshua Bell, who conquered the Centre Bell during the very first edition of the festival with the music of film The Red Violin), Haitian cult band Boukman Eksperyans and, last but certainly not least, the one and only “Immortel” in the history of the country, newest candidate to the Académie française, the great author, Dany Laferrière.

In summation, the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE team has never been this dynamic, so bursting with ideas, enthusiasm and new projects! We have brought major changes to bear that considerably improve our programming and have every intention of continuing to do so. On that note, let us thank the members of the Advisory Committee presided over by Jean-Pierre Curtat, executive chef of the Casino de Montréal, who spent two years working on diversifying the activities presented by the festival and its Finest Tables, and integrating guest chefs and special themes, with a view to presenting even richer and more exciting programming in the years to come, all the while respecting the foundational values of the festival—notably, our chef pairings, the signature of the event, which once again welcome expert chefs from other countries in such series as Montréal–San-Fransico (this year’s featured American city), Amitiés gourmandes Air France and Hats Off to Haiti.

These changes are certainly the result of our vision of the future of our dream festival: an urban winter event with all of its programs in perfect harmony, training its spotlights on our top-flight chefs and gourmet cuisine, a laboratory for, and window on Montreal’s creative spirit, especially in the multimedia and technology sectors, which reveal Montréal in all its splendour and offer it an unparalleled global profile! An event that entertains, dazzles and enriches the city and its citizens, an engine of pleasure. MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE has a beautiful future, especially when we consider the 375th anniversary of Montreal in 2017, during which the festival will play a predominant supporting role in spotlighting this magical city, its creators, chefs and retailers.

Let us close by offering our warmest thanks to all those who participate in creating the wonderful celebration that is MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, our 300 partners from all sectors, and our sponsors: RBC, Bell, Hydro-Québec, the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec, Casino de Montréal, Sun Life Financial, the Société des alcools du Québec, the Ministère du tourisme Haïti, Air France, Provigo, Rickard’s, the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal, along with all of our other partners and official suppliers. We also thank our three levels of government for their constant support: the Government of Québec—Tourisme Québec, the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications, and SODEC—, the Government of Canada— Economic Development Canada and Heritage Canada—, as well as the Ville de Montréal, the Arrondissement de Ville-Marie, Tourisme Montréal, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Partenariat du Quartier des spectacles, the Consulat général de France à Québec and the Institut français.

Have a great Festival!

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