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Ciné-Verdun
Caroline Perron

All of Montreal's outdoor cinemas for summer movie watching

Grab a blanket, some drinks and snacks, and watch movies at these outdoor cinemas in Montreal in the heat of summer.

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Written by
JP Karwacki
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When you're stuck in the thick humidity of a summer in the city, the air conditioning and choice flicks of Montreal movie theatres are a great way to cool down, but what if you're a movie buff looking for cheap things to do? What if you want to sling back a couple brews with your entertainment but don't want to spend the evening in your living room? That's where outdoor cinemas in Montreal come in: One of the best ways to get out of the house, these pop-ups start appearing in Montreal parks a few weeks into summer and don't stop for a few months. Pack a blanket, pull up with a cooler, and enjoy.

RECOMENDED: Full guide to drive-in theatres in and around Montreal

Where to catch some movies with outdoor cinemas in Montreal

When is it: June 22 to August 13, 2021

Why go: Organizers of the Mile End's unique diner-and-a-movie setup at Cinéma Moderne brought this project to life in the summer of 2021, where pop-up neighbourhood theatres can take place. It's a cinema on the move—this summer screening at the art gallery and public space LIVART—and also offers online screenings via its website. Drinks and sushi from Sushi Momo are on the menu, too.

When is it: Throughout summer 2021

Why go: After the success of their conversion of an empty parking lot into the Royalmount Drive-In Movie Theatre, organizers Lorne Levitt, Adam Bultz, and Charles Kay have turned their attention to making a garden-esque event space for both private and public events. Their programming sometimes features film screenings, and when you throw in the snacks and dinner, it's a pretty sweet setup.

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When is it: July 13 to August 27, 2021

Why go: An annual event in Montreal, Cinéma sous les étoiles features 32 free screenings of films both local and international in 10 city parks across the island. While the event remains free, moviegoers need a reservation to access the screenings of 52 documentaries, 26 feature and medium films, 25 short films and a web series. Each screening is followed by a panel with the filmmakers or with specialists in the subjects covered by each film.

When is it: July 22 to August 19, 2021

Why go: While heading up to the rooftop Satosphère dome theatre of the Société des arts technologiques (SAT) has its perks, so too does their downtown park screenings that happen right outside their front doors. Programming it always changing and involves a lot of careful curation. In 2021, they introduced a farmer's market opposite the site where you can shop for gourmet popcorn, picnic baskets and drinks every Thursday from 7 p.m. onward.

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When is it: July 14 to September 1, 2021

Why go: One of Little Italy's greatest attractions during the summer—that's right, it isn't just about the restaurants!—the popular hangout spot of Dante Park holds screenings of primo Italian cinema for free! Film screening begin at sunset, and the site is accessible from 8:00 p.m. onward for anyone who wants to have a picnic as something plays. Programming for the 2021 edition comes from the Italian Contemporary Film Festival that's held annually in Toronto.

When is it: June 25 to September 3, 2021

Why go:  Every year, the organization behind Ciné-Verdun puts on film screening pop-ups throughout the borough which four screening locations. Whether it's by the river, atop a parking garage, inside a greenhouse, or on the walls of a church, it's a great place to experience some open-air cinema in Verdun before you continue the night with a couple drinks and/or a meal elsewhere in the area. This year's screenings, however, are centralized at the parking lot of the Centre Henri-Lemieux in LaSalle; not too far from the action of Verdun, though!

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When is it: July 14 to August 14, 2021

Why go: Austere documentary pieces, arthouse flicks, and adult comedies all have their charm, but what about some more family-oriented fun? Parc des Faubourgs just past the Village hosts easy-going screenings of kids movies in French, and it's all free. All you need to do is bring some seating and some snacks to make the most of it—and there's plenty of restaurants nearby if you forget to pack something.

When is it: June to August 2021

Why go: Thanks to a collaboration between the cultural organizers of Les Amis de la Culture de la Pointe and the CIty of Montréal, the parking lot outside the Pointe-aux-Trembles cultural center on the far eastern side of the island becomes an outdoor theatre. Bring your own seats, some snacks, and enjoy both big names and small (but no less artistic) titles dubbed in French.

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When is it: July 10 to September 1, 2021

Why go: On the northern side of the island of Montreal is the Parcours Gouin, a cultural pavilion that hosts—among many other activities during the summer—open-air cinema experiences in French on the green of the nearby Parc de Beauséjour. It's a family-friendly collection of films that normally include the latest releases by big production companies like Disney x Pixar or Dreamworks, but everyone of all ages is welcome to go. Best of all, it's completely free!

When is it: July 4 to August 18

Why go: A great (if not the greatest) of Montreal’s French film festivals that screens with English subtitles has been known to show films at various locations throughout the city. 2021 unfortunately doesn't seem to be featuring any of this, but the festival is still slated to happen in November; once it's chilly outside, cozying up inside of a movie theatre doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

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When is it: July to August 2021

Why go: Always full of thought-provoking presentations of worldviews and glimpses into societies both near and distant, Montreal’s documentarian film festival normally makes the most of summers by doing an open-air cinema experiences for locals and tourists alike. For 2021, they've paired up with Cinéma Public (above) to screen works by directors d'ici.

When is it: July to August

Why go: Call it campy, but the cult classics found at this black and white film noir film fest that's screen outside for a month alongside the Lachine Canal? Few outdoor cinemas in the city get better than this. While they've suspended activities in Montreal for 2021, we're sure they'll be back in action next year (provided health regulations permit it) for their sixth edition. When they do, check it out at sunset in Saint Patrick Square, near the corner of Wellington and St-Patrick in the Sud-Ouest.

Prefer to stay inside?

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