Montreal Pride Week is upon us and we have plenty of events to keep you occupied from August 11th to 17th. If you’re on a budget and want to have a diverse Pride Week experience, you should buy a Montreal Pride bracelet for only $5 (all proceeds go to improving the free Pride events). This bracelet gives you access to a handful of non-free events and includes other perks such as access to private toilets, fast entrance to Place Émile-Gamelin, and exclusive access to the shady Comfort Zone. But even if you don’t buy a bracelet, there are still plenty of other free (or great value) events to enjoy!
Tuesday, 12 August @ 10pm – Gaymer Zone
Apollon Bar, 1450 rue Saint-Catherine East (Free)
Gay gamers can show off their skills on their favourite contemporary and retro consoles at this LGBT video game night. Challenge your friends in multiple competitions and tournaments or just grab some free popcorn and kickback with your controller. Rainbow Road Mario Kart race, anyone?
Tuesday, 12 August @ 11pm – Full Orange
Cabaret Mado, 1115 rue Sainte-Catherine Est ($6 at the door)
Anyone who hasn’t witnessed Montreal’s favourite Drag Queen, Mado, host an evening of humour, music, and dancing at her famous Cabaret should definitely take advantage of this awesome pride event. Only $6 at the door ensures entry to a fantastic and fabulous party until the wee hours of the morning.
Wednesday, 13 August @ 6pm – Lez Spread the Word
Terrasse Unity, 1171 rue Sainte-Catherine Est ($7)
If you want some quality lady lounging time, Unity Bar’s rooftop terrace is hosting an evening for women of all ages and identities. If you’re looking to meet some wicked lady friends or just to hang out and relax with a cocktail, this event is for you!
Wednesday, 13 August @ 8:30pm – L’Été de Massimadi
Parc de l’espoir, Corner of Sainte-Catherine Est and Panet (Free)
Film buffs will rejoice to hear that Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique is extending their successful Massimadi Afro-Caribbean LGBT Film Festival into Pride Week. Enjoy outdoor screenings under the stars from Wednesday to Friday.
Thursday, 14 August @ 9am-2pm – Kids’ Day
Place Émilie-Gamelin (Free)
If you want to enjoy Pride Week with your little ones, Thursday’s Kids’ Day is the place to be. With fun entertainment including a playground, face painting, games, and shows with colourful characters, your kids will be smiling all day long.
Thursday, 14 August @ 7pm – Literary Pride (In English)
Notre Dame des Quilles, 32 rue Beaubien Est (Free)
If you’re a queer bookworm make sure to check out this celebration of LGBT literary pride. This year’s theme is “Sex Gets Me Reading!” an exploration of erotic literature replete with sultry readings by local LGBT writers Daniel Baylis and Christopher DiRaddo.
14, 15, 16 August @ 5:30pm-7:30pm – Guided Tours of The Village
Place Émile-Gamelin, Tours start at the Info Kiosk ($10 with bracelet, $15 without bracelet)
Whether you’re visiting Montreal or just want to get to know your local community, these professional guided tours will give you an in-depth historical and cultural view of The Village. Keep in mind that these are two-hour walking tours, so be sure to come prepared for some serious strolling.
Friday, 15 August @ 11am – Pride Day at La Ronde
La Ronde, Île Sainte-Hélène ($40 + Service Feeds)
If you’ve yet to visit La Ronde this summer, here’s a great opportunity to ride the roller coasters and wave your rainbow flag. Buy your tickets online in advance using the username and password “fierté” to get a $20 discount on your entrance fee.
Sunday, August 17 @ 1pm – The Parade
Guy and René-Lévesque (moving east on René-Lévesque)
Staring at 1pm from the corner of Guy and René-Lévesque, the annual pride parade will be one of the festival’s most extravagant events as hundreds of colourful floats move through the downtown core. From gay-friendly businesses and organizations to local LGBT personalities, this extravagant spectacle has been a steadfast Montreal Pride tradition since 1979. This year’s theme is “Our Flag, Our Fire,” so expect to see a lot of orange garb. The parade will (slowly) move east down René-Lévesque until it eventually reaches the pink balloon lined Village.
Sunday, August 17 @ 2pm-11pm – Méga T-Dance
Place Émile-Gamelin (Free)
After the parade rolls through the Village, it’s time to move over to Place Émile-Gamelin for the closing dance party: Méga T-Dance. At 2pm Cuban-born DJ Alberto will pump out some house music, followed by Australia Drag Queen DJ Kitty Glitter at 7pm. Then, at 10:30pm, the closing show will feature a spectacular dance production choreographed by Scott Fordham, which features thirty dancers to accompany your favourite Top 40 hits. Don’t miss it!
These free (or nearly free) events will keep you busy all Pride Week. If all else fails, be sure to drop by Place Émile-Gamelin at 6pm each night for DJs and dancing. Check out the official program for more awesome events and have a happy Pride Week!
Photo credit: Carl Éthier for Fierté Montreal except for the La Ronde photo, by Oliver Mallich