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Photograph: JF Savaria

Quartier des Spectacles is now a huge art installation-covered terrasse with circus acts

Downtown Montreal's Quartier des Spectacles' arts district is now outfitted with picnic tables and pop-up performances from now until September.

By JP Karwacki
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Ever think there isn't much to do outside beyond picnics in parks? You're dead wrong, Montreal.

During a 'normal' summer, Montrealers are used to experiencing art and spaces to lounge in downtown Montreal in-between times when crowds flood the core for festivals and performances. Now that the city's a bit quieter than before, the public spaces in and around Quartier des Spectacles are flipping into giant terrasses for locals to visit and reclaim the rest of their summer.

From July 16 to September 6, the Quartier des Spectacles announced new measures to make the areas around the Montreal Opera House and Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal—as well as the Jardins Gamelin and the BaNQ—areas where anyone will want to spend the afternoon and evening.

Around the fountains found immediately near Quartier des Spectacles, there are now two spaces set up at the north and south ends of Place des Festivals. One is set up for listening to music by Patrick Watson with seating, while the other acts as a terrasse to bring your takeout. There are also picnic tables set up that have been painted by a group of Montreal artists as well, all coordinated by the mural collective MU, and spots to chill on faux front lawns with multi-colored animal statues.

All meals can come with a show, too: Thursdays to Sundays have live pop-up performances from "a team of 60 creators and cultural partners", many of which include circus performers putting on feats of acrobatics on Sainte-Catherine Street. Similar shows can be found along the Latin Quarter's section Saint-Denis, just up the street from Les Jardins Gamelin.

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As if live circus performances weren't enough, the popular art installations 21 Balançoires and Our DNA are live and running right now, as well as video projections by the art collective Champagne Club Sandwich near the Saint-Laurent metro station and elsewhere.

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