Montreal has long held a reputation as Canada’s “Sin City of the North” — a direct by-product of its easygoing French heritage that has translated into an attitude that’s less laissez-faire and more laissez les bons temps rouler! As the center of French Canada’s gay scene, Montreal is also home to one of North America’s largest and wildest gay communities and it comes out in force for Divers/Cité, the city’s longest-running gay festival, which recently wrapped (the name is a pun on "diverse city").
Although no longer home to Pride parades and cultural events —– those were taken over by Fierté Montreal Pride, a weeklong festival that follows two weeks later — Divers/Cité remains one of key events on the queer social calendar. The festival takes place in the touristy cobblestoned Old Port neighborhood, where it turns the Quai Jacques-Cartier into Montreal’s largest outdoor dance party for the whole first weekend of August. Hot boys strut, dance, and grind to beats provided by some of the world’s top DJ’s, including in 2014 Spain’s Chus & Ceballos and Brazil’s Ana Paula.
Montreal also offers so much more alongside Divers/Cité for the gay and lesbian traveler. Montreal’s Gay Village, centered on the Rue Ste-Catherine Est, is one of the great gay neighborhoods of the world. In the summer, the street is completely pedestrianized, with bars and restaurants extending their patios (in Montreal they’re called “terrasses”) deep into the streets — the perfect spot for watching Montreal’s gorgeous men on the stroll. The few derelict lots are taken over by rotating art installations and murals. And the neighborhood’s legendary nightlife, with its thumping nightclubs and delightfully sinful strip clubs where dancers go fully nude and private lap dances are legal, will keep you going ‘til long past the official 3 a.m. last call.
A weekend visit during Divers/Cité will also coincide with the enormous Osheaga Music Festival and the finale of the city’s summer-long International Fireworks Competition, billed as the largest in the world. As a bonus, you’ll get great views of the competition a short walk from the Divers/Cité site on Saturday night.
Check out pics of the Divers/Cité festival and Montreal’s Village below: