Fête nationale celebrations: What you need to know

Quebec’s Fête nationale is this weekend and, as per holiday tradition, there will be concerts, fireworks, comedy shows and neighbourhood revelling across Montreal.

Activities kicked off Saturday, with 2 parades planned for de Maisonneuve Blvd. Sunday evening

Hundreds of people filled the Place des Spectacles for the Fête nationale show Saturday evening, which blended old and new Quebec music. (Radio-Canada)

Quebec's Fête nationale is today, and as per holiday tradition, there are plenty of concerts, fireworks, comedy shows and neighbourhood parties across Montreal.

Also known as the Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste, all of the large-scale festivities are taking place downtown on June 23 and 24, but there are also dozens of smaller events at more than 50 locations.

The big show, fittingly called Le Grand spectacle, kicked off at 9 p.m. last night with a mix of "completely different artists, of different ages, singing old hits and new ones, as well as a look at 400 years of musical history," said the show's host, actor Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge. 

"We're celebrating our Quebec; we're celebrating the French language and the joy that we have of living here," he told Radio-Canada before the show.

Actor Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge hosted the Fête nationale show Saturday evening at Place des Spectacles. (Radio-Canada)

Stage acts, including Michel Rivard, Claude Dubois, Brigitte Boisjoli, Klô Pelgag and Vincent Vallières, played Quebec classics. The show's theme was the evolution of Quebec musical tradition over the years. 

Thousands of partygoers filled the Place des Festivals downtown, braving the rain and waving the blue and white flags. The party closed with a fireworks display.

Two parades on Maisonneuve

Both parades start at 9:15 p.m. on de Maisonneuve Boulevard, but one will start on Peel Street and head east. The other starts on St-Denis Street and will head west. 

The two parades will converge at the Place des Festivals at 10:30 p.m.

There, folklore band Le Diable à Cinq will be holding a show, followed by DJ POIRIER until midnight.

A participant dances her way along Ste-Catherine Street in Montreal at last year's Fête nationale parade. (Peter McCabe/Canadian Press)

Before that, starting at 6 p.m., bands Les Poules à Colin and Comté de Clare, which blend traditional and modern music styles, will be performing.

For more information, check the website here

Supermarkets, offices, SAQ closed Sunday

On Sunday, most municipal offices, supermarkets and shopping centres will be closed or have reduced hours.

As per holiday tradition, the SAQ will also be taking the Fête nationale off, reopening on June 26. 

There will be no deliveries on June 25.

Canada Post won't be collecting or delivering mail, though private locations may be open according to host business hours. For example, if the pharmacy is open, the post office within will likely be, as well for its normal hours.

Pharmacy hours will vary over the holiday, with many chains keeping busy locations open, but not all.

Public transit slow down

Montreal's public transit system will have some changes throughout its bus scheduling.

According to the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) website, it's recommended to consult the legend below your bus schedule or Planibus.

To stay updated before you head out, check here.
Family activities are taking place across the island of Montreal for Fête nationale this weekend. (Radio-Canada)

Ride the train? The Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Mascouche, Deux-Montagnes or Candiac lines will all be closed on June 24 and 25.

For a complete list on what's available on the Réseau de transport métropolitain, check here.

Border wait times a real possibility

While thousands are heading into the city to celebrate the provincial holiday, many others head out of the country to enjoy the three-day weekend. Wait times can be exhausting at the U.S. border but you can plan ahead by checking these sites.

Travelers should take these predicted wait times with a grain of salt because border wait times change quickly with traffic flow.

With files from Radio-Canada