Free in Montreal

A city of international fame, Montreal has a lot to offer its citizens and visitors, but when people live somewhere they get jaded and take their surroundings for granted. It certainly happens to me…I keep postponing visits to museums, permanent exhibits in art galleries and sometimes to recurring shows. Well, to shake the locals from their blasé attitude, and to provide some useful bit of information to potential visitors here’s a list of five free art and art-related activities in Montreal.


The permanent collection at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal/Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is always free to the public. This fine arts museum features European artwork dating back to the Middle Ages, ancient artwork from around the world, including Islamic metalwork, African masks, and Buddhist sculptures. Then there are always new exhibitions the whole year round. The current one ‘Splendore a Venezia: Art and Music from the Renaissance to Baroque’ is on now and will run until January 19, 2014. These visiting exhibitions have an entry fee but having the annual $60 VIP membership ensures free visits to everything, along with many perks. I have found this to be a very sound investment!

On Thursday nights after 5:30, the Centre canadien d’architecture/Canadian Centre for Architecture is free to the public. Exhibits include a photography display and drawings from the 19th century that show how architects design and execute a project from start to finish. There are always new and so it’s well worth checking periodically.

Located in the Saint-Laurent neighborhood, the Musée des Maîtres et Artisans du Quebec celebrates Quebec’s French-Canadian heritage as well as traditional craftsmanship. A permanent exhibit called “From Master’s Hands” presents French-Canadians’ tools, furniture, metalwork, and sacred objects from the 1600s through 1800s. Admission to the museum is free on Wednesdays.


The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal/Contemporary Art Museum was founded in 1964, to build a collection of contemporary works by artists from Montréal, Québec, Canada and around the world. It is truly a museum for the twenty-first century. Selected exhibits are free on Wednesday nights from 6 to 9 p.m.

The Musée de Lachine is 10 km from downtown Montréal, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. It is a unique combination of contemporary art and history, and is composed of an archaeological site, various collections, some of the oldest buildings on the island of Montréal and also an outdoor sculpture museum. The outdoor museum features 50 sculptures along walking and biking trails. The museum has a sculpture education program for people of all ages and on weekends in September and October, the museum hosts an introduction to archaeology. With a simulated dig, participants analyze artifacts and learn about discoveries made at the site.

So much choice, not a penny spent 🙂


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