Culture & Conversation

Lazy Festivities to Welcome Summer

Ah, summertime. Most of us have been counting down the days to this season all year; to being able to lie outside in the sun, to relax, enjoy the simple things, and do nothing at all. With spring now far in its shadow, summer is finally back with Montreal’s 16th edition of Nuit Blanche sur Tableau Noir, ready to celebrate the art of laziness.

Mount Royal’s annual art fest returns this Thursday, June 9th, and runs until June 12th, with a “Farniente” theme.  Get ready for dozens of activities, showcasing a wide variety of art forms for the whole family — all celebrating the pleasures of being sluggish in the sun.

So many free events planned can easily leave one confused about where to start. So, here are a few suggestions à la Rover, sure to get anyone ready for a full-on Tableau Noir experience:

1) Towering above all else is the “Grand Fresque de Nuit”, the main event and a tradition kicking off the festival this year on Thursday night from 10 p.m. Forty-five different artists are set to meet on the pavement of Mont Royal Avenue to share their talents, ideas and emotions in the painting of a massive street fresco.

2) Over the weekend, Mont Royal Avenue will turn into a massive outdoor flea market. Flavored by music and various poetry and story readings to please the ears of curious passerby’s, the street will serve as the center of the Tableau Noir festival.

3) For those more interested in group activity, but who couldn’t muster up the courage to sign up for La Grande Fresque (or missed the memo to do so), the festival’s Mont Royal/De Bouillon  site offers table games and “urban” knitting. Hula-hoop activities and slow dancing will be hosted at Place Gérald-Godin. Those more complacent with a paintbrush may also choose to help Montreal’s cooperative art movement En Masse in the creation of yet another of their popular street murals, at Mont Royal/De Bouillon, from June 10th to the 12th.

4) A program of alternative musicians who will be performing at the Parc des Compagnons-de-Sainte-Laurent is available through Tableau Noir’s website. Reggae and Afro-Beat artists including Cool Roots and African percussion troupe Lounga will perform at Place Gérald-Godin.

5) Activities aimed specifically at children and families will be taking place throughout the entire festival. Kids can explore their own artistic flare “sur tableau noir” from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Mont Royal/Fullum (east) site.

Festivalgoers are likely to discover entertainment in unexpected places, given such an extensive menu of events. Stroll the streets to find theatre troupe Les Vivaces’ crazy wedding performance, join in on a tai chi activity, or catch a band’s outdoor concert. Many of the festival’s events happen over several days, so don’t worry about having to pack everything into a few hours. Meanwhile, keep checking Rover to find out the best ways to get your languid summer started with the most relaxing of summer festivals.

Nuit Blanche Sur Tableau Noir takes place in the Mont Royal area from June 9th-12th, 2011. For more info and the full schedule of Tableau Noir festivities, visit

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