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Fierté Montréal / Montreal Pride
Photograph: André BilodeauFierté Montréal / Montreal Pride

Montreal Pride 2023 guide to events, parades and dates

Montreal’s Pride parade is just one of the highlights of the Montreal Pride Festival, with major programming and activities happening throughout the week.

Written by
Richard "Bugs" Burnett
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Montreal’s Pride Festival is the largest LGBTQ+ gathering in the Francophone world. In addition to the city’s welcoming gay bars and LGBTQ+ hangouts, Montreal is putting on a star-studded show.

What is the Montreal Pride Festival?

Montreal’s first Pride march was held in June 1979 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. La Brigade Rose organizers in Montreal drew 52 marchers in 1979. Forty years later, in 2019, total attendance at Montreal Pride topped 3 million.

This summer’s festival features live in-person performances, concerts and activities on the Esplanade of the Olympic Park—Montreal Pride’s main site—as well as in the Gay Village and downtown

When is the Montreal Pride Festival?

This 16th edition of Montreal Pride runs from August 3 to 13.

What are the festival highlights?

Fifteen major free shows with more than 150 artists are programmed. There is free admission to all events on the Esplanade of the Olympic Park.

For full programming, visit fiertemtl.com. Here are some programming highlights: 

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to go after the parade? Check out the best LGBTQ+ bars and clubs in Montreal

Time Out Market Montreal

Time Out Market Montréal is offering a taste of the rainbow from August 3 to 13 with a signature cocktail and fiercely fabulous decorations.

Don’t miss the awe-inspiring Pride Affair cocktail, an intoxicating mix of Portage Plage gin, Galliano Vanilla Liqueur , St-Germain, white cranberry juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, fizzy water and garnished with cotton candy!

Programming: Special events and celebrations

Beginning at 1 pm on August 13, the 2.9 km long route begins in the former Gay Village in the downtown west end, running along René-Levesque Boulevard from Metcalfe Street to Alexandre DeSève Street in the heart of the current Village in the east. Don’t forget to observe the Minute of Silence at 2:30 pm to honour those the LGBTQ+ communities have lost to violence and AIDS. 

Opening Concert

The Opening Ceremony at Jardins Gamelin on August 3 will feature Indigenous artists, followed by a free dance party in collaboration with the Glitterbomb collective. 

August 9 marks the opening of the festival’s main site on the Olympic Park’s Esplanade with the show ImmiX on the TD Stage at 8 pm, featuring Édith Butler and Joe Bocan among others. That same evening on the Loto-Québec Stage at 9 pm, famed 14-piece chamber pop ensemble Queer Songbook Orchestra will perform with special guests Safia Nolin and Martha Wainwright.

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Hands-down the most popular concert at Montreal Pride each year, Drag Superstars returns on the big outdoor TD Stage on the Esplanade of the Olympic Park on August 10. The all-star line-up hosted by Montreal drag legend Rita Baga features worldwide drag royalty from various RuPaul’s Drag Race franchises such as Jimbo, Gisèle Lullaby, Icesis Couture, Aquaria, Heidi N Closet, Alexis Mateo, Envy Peru, Drag Couenne, Vanity Milan and Yvie Oddly.

 

Meet new people and discover many organizations, community groups and sports teams catering to the LGBTQ+ communities. Kiosks will be lined up along the Sainte-Catherine Street pedestrian mall between Saint-Hubert and Papineau streets in the Village, on August 11 and 12 from 11 am to 6 pm daily. 

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Hosted for the second consecutive year by drag kings RV Métal and Rock Bière, the MajestiX concert stars local drag royalty, including Bambi Dextrous, HercuSleaze & The Mythos Ensemble, Marla Deer, Pétula Claque, Peggy Sue, BiG SiSSY, Rainbow, Bobépine, Tracy Trash, and drag icon Manny with the House of Manny. August 12 on the Esplanade of the Olympic Par

Diversity on Display

The Me joke-tu? comedy show at the Théatre National in the Village hosted by Acadian drag artists Sami Landri and Chiquita Mére showcases local queer comics on August 3 at 8 pm.

Montreal drag legend Barbada de Barbades hosts the Pride Party with Barbada and Friends at Le National Theatre on August 5.

FeminiX celebrates sexually- and gender-diverse women on the Loto-Québec Stage, August 10 beginning at 4 pm.

Xcellence celebrates the QTBIPOC communities with renowned local DJ artists on the Loto-Québec Stage, August 11 beginning at 4 pm.

DistinXion features trans multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya (6 pm) and queer South African music star Nahkane (8:30 pm) on the TD Stage, August 11 beginning at 5 pm.

The exhibition Aesthetic Activism of ACT UP MONTRÉAL: A History in Photos and Posters is being presented at the Quebec Gay Archives all summer until August 13.

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Juno Award-winning dance music diva RÊVE will close the festival with a free show on the big outdoor TD Stage on August 13 after the parade, following the post-parade T-Dance, on the Esplanade of the Olympic Park. 

 

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