A festival unlike any other: Montréal Cirque Fest
From acrobatics to walking tightropes in the streets of one of the world’s most majestic cities, strongly consider making this trip in early July.
By Dennis Malcolm Byron
Photos by Andrew Miller
While the United States hosts remarkable festivals to attend regardless of the region, there is an entire country to explore up north: Canada. Montréal, Quebec is popularly termed the well-deserved endearment, “City of Festivals,” and in 2019, we had the pleasure to explore the city during the summer themed around milestones: Cirque De Soleil’s 35th year of existence, the International de Jazz de Montréal de Montréal turning 40, and the 10th anniversary of the Montréal Cirque Fest. While Cirque De Soleil is internationally renowned with more than three decades of tenure, and the International de Jazz being the world’s largest of its kind, the Montréal Cirque Fest (Montréal Complètement Cirque) provided a more indigenous feel and connection directly to the city. We indulged in the latter.
With seemingly countless outdoor shows along the bustling streets, in parks, plazas, and venues throughout the metropolis, Cirque embraced the awe of primarily circus themes over an 11-day span. These acts included jaw-dropping acrobatics, breathtaking tightrope walking, physical storytelling, and high-flying acts with roots stemming from TOHU—the lauded headquarters for breeding circus talent in the heart of Cité des arts du cirque—along with the support of Cirque Éloize, Les7 doigts de la main, the National Circus School, En Piste, and Cirque du Soleil to list a few.
Taking place in Montréal’s gorgeous summer weather, Montréal Cirque Fest was unforgettable, well worth the visit, and more than 425 000 attendees joined in on the fun. To add to the festivities, Montréal continues to provide a plethora of world-famous dining destinations (Schwartz's, La Banquise, Au Pied de Cochon); museums (Montréal Museum of Fine Arts); breweries (Dieu du Ciel!); and landmarks (Mount Royal Park, Notre-Dame Basilica, Old Montréal) to fill in free time. As an added bonus, Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson Airport offers numerous direct flights throughout the year, so traveling is even more convenient.
This year’s Cirque Fest is slated for July 2-12, 2020 and we strongly suggest you consider this your summer getaway to Quebec’s largest city, Montréal!
Save the dates for other notable festivals include Mondial de la bière de Montréal (May 21 - 24); Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June 25 - July 4); and Just For Laughs Festival (July 15 - 26).