Festival Montréal en Lumière (The Montreal High Lights Festival) is one of the largest winter festivals in the world and Montreal’s most popular winter festival. Occurring in the Month of February, the High Lights Festival is a 10-day celebration of light shows, free events, live music, performance arts and fine food and wine. Drawing over 750,000 fans, the festival takes place at various locations around Montreal, including the Quays of the Old Port in Old Montreal and the Quartier des Spectacles.
Montréal en Lumière Activities
This winter festival features a unique program combining performing arts, gastronomy, free outdoor family activities, an illuminated show and all-night extravaganza. The Festival can be separated by various categories, which include:
- The Wine and Dine Experience (Plaisirs de la table)
- The Performing Arts (Les Arts)
- The Celebration of Light (La Fête de la lumière)
- The High Lights Event (L’Événement Lumières)
- The All-Nighter (La Nuit blanche à Montréal)
The Wine and Dine Experience (Plaisirs de la table)
This is a unique event in the world of delectation because of its concept of pairing the finest chefs in Montreal with the greatest culinary masters from around the world. The food and wine program of the Wine and Dine experience is an absolute must for foodies. Since 2000, more than 300 world-renowned chefs, wine producers and speakers have participated in this event.
The Performing Arts (Les Arts)
Music, circus arts, song theatre and every other facet of culture glitters in Montreal during Performing Arts program. This program features a rich and eclectic program that contains icons as well as emerging artists from Montreal and abroad. This program features new discoveries, original creations and dazzling performances.
The Celebration of Light (La Fête de la lumière)
The High Lights Festival’s Celebration of Light transforms the Quays of the Old Port and Old Montreal into the ultimate family destination. The immense outdoor site bursts with free open-air activities, shows and activities for children.
The High Lights Event (L’Événement Lumières)
This massive free outdoor multimedia spectacle, combining circus arts, pyrotechnics, digital arts, acrobatics, projections and musical performances was created on the 10th anniversary of the Montreal High Lights Festival. It is now an annual tradition of the festival.
The All-Nighter (La Nuit blanche à Montréal)
The Montreal High Lights Festival’s final night, the Montreal All-nighter (la Nuit Blanche a Montreal) is the highlight of the festival. During this night, the entire city of Montreal stays awake for the entire night with plenty of activities to keep you going. It’s a night that features more than 200 activities, many of which are free. These activities include cultural, artistic, musical and culinary events that start around 8 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. the next morning. Many of the activities are linked by a free shuttle service.
Free Activities at the High Lights Festival
Montréal en Lumière offers various types of activities. There are free activities, affordable activities and exclusive activities at the High Lights Festival. Some of the free activities include:
- fire breathing
- circus acts
- street theatre
- puppet shows
- live musical performances
- live DJs
- outdoor dancing in a 20-foot sphere
- sausage and marshmallow roasting
- ice sliding
- winter tam tams
Family activities at the Montréal en Lumière Festival
Although it is primarily known as a fine wine and food festival, there are many family-friendly activities that occur at the Montréal en Lumière Festival. Most of these family activities start around noon and end around 6 p.m. Some of these family-friendly activities include:
- A Ferris wheel, fair games and a heated tent
- Sledding on a 120-metre ice slide
- Horse-drawn wagon rides
- Taffy on the snow and other maple products
- A storytellers’ corner, with stories from around the world.
- Street performers and entertainers
- Skating at the Bonsecours Basin
- Places to roast marshmallows and sausages
- Gingerbread Cookie Decorating
- Fireworks after 8 p.m.
Venues for the Montréal en Lumière Festival
The festival’s main outdoor venue for free and affordable activities takes place at the Quays of the Old Port. But, as of 2010, many free activities are also offered at the popular Places des Spectacles in the Quartier des Spectacles. Montreal’s High Lights festival attracts nearly 750,000 participants and spectators.