Counting Down Grand Prix '16

Regardless of whether you love, loath, or fall somewhere in between when Grand Prix weekend rolls into town, there's no denying the fev...

Regardless of whether you love, loath, or fall somewhere in between when Grand Prix weekend rolls into town, there's no denying the fevered celebration has grown to cover more neighbourhoods, offer more activities, and throw more memorable parties than ever before. Tourists, the international jet set, media, and F1 teams along with their star drivers descend upon the city for one frenzied weekend that makes Montreal the focus of the sporting world.

As we so love doing, our role will be to bring it to you from the inside as we sprint around town capturing the moments while firm in our belief that the Monday after Grand Prix ought to be a statutory holiday! Naturally, if you fall into the 'love it' camp, a good dose of stamina and knowing what's on and where you want to be are more than essential. While the endurance is solely up to you, we've compiled our biggest, most definitive Grand Prix event guide to help you in laying plans. See you on the city track!

When Only The Ritz Will Do... 

Moët Beach Terrasse

Our own agenda always gets going on the Wednesday of F1 week, and this year the Ritz Carlton's Maison Boulud chic Moët & Chandon pop-up beach is back in an exclusive partnership between the hotel resto and bubbly brand. Unofficially launching on June 6th and designed by Le Living Décor, it'll be open all day every day within the restaurant's hours for you to indulge in your very own #MoetMoment. In addition, prior to clinking glasses at the VIP gathering, the hotel's new Spa St.James will be taking press on a tour of the premises, so be sure to check-in on our social media (@aboutmtl) for a peek inside the city's luxest place to get pampered. 

Pfaff McLaren Grand Prix Soirée

With only three previous editions under its belt the Ritz party on Friday has become not only the most highly anticipated of F1 fêtes, but also one of the summer's hottest social happenings. It's the decadent, FOMO-inducing 'IT' affair that embodies the most sacred hallmarks of Grand Prix revelry: fast cars, beautiful people, fashion, and free-flowing champers. This year, Pfaff McLaren joins as title partner while the hotel's five-star setting gets transformed by a wave of futuristic glamour in the Palm Court, Oval Room, and Oval Terrace that overlooks the grand courtyard. We're talking metallic finishes, light shows, and laser beams thanks to event designer Maddy K, and a list of extras that offer amazing value for the price of admission:
  • Booze bars by Cointreau, new-gin-on-the-block Romeo, and Belvedere.
  • Food and dessert stations by the hotel's Executive Chef Johnny Porte.
  • DJ YO-C at the turntables. 
  • Special performances galore, in the Holt's/Ogilvy VIP lounge and main area.
  • An exclusive display of the McLaren 675LT, 650S, and 570S.
And because this is also a party with a purpose, for every ticket sold through Eventbrite (link below), $10 will be donated to UNICEF CanadaTo purchase please visit: 

The Ritz Carlton Hotel
1228 Sherbrooke St. West

Parking Spot...

The Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile's Renoir Veuve Clicquot Terrasse

Despite grey skies and cool temperatures at the official launch of the restaurant's Veuve Clicquot terrasse several weeks ago, sunny spirits were shared by all thanks to the bubbly brand's bright yellow parasols, the hotel's ever-welcoming hospitality, and little extras like pastry chef Roland Del Monte's delectable homemade ice creams.  

Officially joining the Grand Prix circuit this year, the terrasse is making clever use of its location in the heart of the action, not for a signature party, but as a space open to all with no cover and no lineups. 'For when you want a little respite from the craziness of surrounding Peel and Crescent Sts.', explained Guillaume Sans, Sofitel's new Marketing and E-Commerce coordinator. 'Here you can come to relax, sip a flute of champagne, sample some ice cream, enjoy a special menu at the restaurant and bar, and take in the beats of DJ Timer.' I'm told he'll be stationed on the cement roof nearby so all you have to do is look up and drop in. 

June 9th - 12th as of 5pm.

Restaurant Renoir
1155 Sherbrooke St. W.
#SOF1MTL #SofitelMontreal #RestaurantRenoir

Vroom to the Showroom...

While Grand Prix goings-on are centred around the city core and Old Montreal, some of the most exclusive gatherings actually drop at the luxury car dealerships uptown. And why not when you consider what great event spaces these make: clean and open, they easily accommodate bars, food stations, and a mingling group of well-heeled guests, plus built-in ogle-worthiness thanks to a fleet of the latest models showcased on the floor. Here are a couple invite-only affairs to which yours truly is only too happy to trek. 

Rolls Royce Quebec Grand Prix Kickoff

The storied British car manufacturer known for its iconic 'Spirit of Ecstasy' hood ornament invites us to Explore Luxury during a 'pre-Prix-weekend' 5 à 8 that has all the makings of the glam opener we need to ignite the engines: valet parking, open bar, fancy eats, paparazzi, a VIP lounge, and music by none other than Toddy Flores. Topping it it all off is an exclusive viewing of the WraithGhost, and Dawn RR models.

Ferrari Quebec's VVIP Cocktail

Since its inception in the late 30's Ferrari's philosophy is that those able to own one of its ultra-exclusive vehicles bearing the cavallino rampante, or prancing horse, become part of an exclusive family. A standing date each year on Grand Prix Friday is a cocktail hosted by Ferrari Quebec at the prestigious showroom on Jean Talon St. W. Personal invitations are extended to la famiglia's privileged members and a VERY select group of glossy lifestyle print magazines to partake in an exclusive selection of Italian wines and hors d'oeuvres.

While In the Old Town...

The Circuit Saint-Paul, F1 Green Zone, and Cocktail Garden
In only its third year, Old Montreal's celebration of Grand Prix now counts almost eighty participating establishments, with 'VARIETY' the buzzword that draws scores of tourists and locals alike. Fully pedestrian from east to west, St.Paul St. will once again feature a myriad of pop-up terrasses, some with outdoor BBQs, and options that run the gamut from brunch to late-night, DJs to signature F1 cocktails.

A nice counterpoint to fuel and adrenalin ragers, the section between Saint-Nicolas and Evans Court Sts will host the F1 Green Zone and welcome passersby with a plethora of workshops and activities designed to stimulate. A free yoga session, Dermalogica hydration zoneMTL ZipLine photo booth, crossfit and boxing demos by Orgafit, a sangria tasting by Atelier et Saveurs, and massage and sneaker polishing stations are but a few.

Rounding out the animation will be a temporary oasis on Place Royale created by Cointreau in collaboration with the Pointe-à-Callière Montréal archeology and history museum. Branded the Jardin Cointreau and unveiled June 9th at noon, the concept is that of a relaxed garden bar, perfect for lounging on ottomans while you sip specially-mixed beverages conceived by the famous orange-flavoured liqueur. Of Note: On June 11th at 2pm visual artist Olicorno and fashion journalist Lolitta Dandoy take to the terrace for a unique artistic performance. 

June 9th-12th all along St.Paul St. and Place Royale.

To view full event details please visit:

Down in Griffintown...

Griffintown's swanky-industrial party pad first came onto the GP radar almost as soon as it opened, hosting a private soiree for upscale vacation rental agency Luxury Retreats. It ended up being the dark horse party you heard was great but no one knew much about. This year, there's a full slate of events, open to all via reservation and including the Grey Goose Official Party on Thursday, a Gentleman's Club sure to be the ultimate man-cave experience on Friday, and a Race Party Sunday Brunch on the terrasse, complete with large screens to catch all the action from the track. 

On our dance card here is the Saturday Red Carpet Party, inspired by the Cannes Film Festival, and what we think will be one of the weekend's scene-stealing soirées. A media wall, open champagne and oyster bar, cocktail dînatoire, surprise entertainment, and full-on part atmosphere with DJ Joey Marella await. Gold, red, and black bracelets represent the different ticket levels available for purchase.

377 Richmond St.
For info and reservations: 514-508-8749

Also On the Podium...

A multi-million dollar renovation of the Starwood-run hotel on Sherbrooke St. west of Guy has finally cast a deserving spotlight onto the intimate 108-room former apartment building with killer city views. The new spaces include 3000 square feet of meeting space, a new fitness center, upscaled guest rooms and suites and, most impressive, Le Méridien Hub, an on-trend reinterpretation of the traditional lobby as social gathering place: discover the innovative coffee and cocktail program and take in the engaging art installations before heading into the adjoining Branzino restaurant for executive chef Alexandre St-Amand-Tremblay's inspired Mediterranean cuisine.

Needless to say Grand Prix weekend is the perfect time to view the transformation for yourself, particularly on June 10th from 4-7pm for their F1 Opening Cocktail where drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and even a station to customize your own éclairs will be on offer.

Le Méridien Versailles Montréal
1808 Sherbrooke St. W

The trendy Mountain St. hotel pays homage to the late great Gilles Villeneuve in a collaboration with the Berthierville museum of the same name. For the duration of the weekend, the lobby will welcome items, photos, and replicas to be displayed throughout the hall and atrium. For VIPs and hotel guests there's a Friday 6-8 cocktail in partnership with PUR Vodka and DJ Lady Oracle, with a special appearance by the deceased driver's brother Jacques Villeneuve (uncle to famous current racer Jacques), while on Saturday a Jack Daniels 5à7 is open to all.

Still looking to book a room for visiting friends and family? Guests benefit from the royal treatment with free transportation to the track, VIP gift bags, a freshen-up station, access to all Loews cocktails and events, and a special turndown service with surprise gift each evening. 

Loews Hôtel Vogue
1425 Rue de la Montagne
To reserve: or 1-800-465-6654

Belvedere Terrace on Peel 

This year again Belvedere vodka stakes its territory with a Peel St. presence, and a comfortable, well-appointed urban garden that'll host happy hours, DJ's, and the now-renowned Matinee Brunch on June 11th. The big, boozy, catered brunch and day party is garnering loads of buzz, and is the perfect setting in the downtown core for taking part in the F1 scene. Be sure to hit the Raw Bar for Chef Jason Nagy's primo oysters while sipping on some fine hot-weather cocktails.  

June 9th-12th
1424 Peel St. (beside the Carlos and Pepe's parking lot)

For info or to book the Matinee Brunch:

Checkered Flag Finish...

Auberge Saint-Gabriel

If the Ritz Party is where everyone wants to be pre-race, then the closing party at Old Montreal's Auberge Saint-Gabriel (ABGE) gets pole position as Sunday's most coveted invitation. Attracting not only international celebrities but a slew of drivers, this year's ultra-exclusive capstone party brings the racetrack and the runway together with supermodel and Victoria's Secret angel Devon Windsor confirmed to attend.  Watch for homegrown luxury sneaker brand ZCD Montreal hitting the streets as Devon and some of her squad wear the different models from day to night. Partygoers take note that it's the only event recommended by Octane, the Grand Prix's official promoter. 

Of course, for those who want to experience the ABGE's sumptuous old-world elegance but fear they won't have enough left in the tank come Sunday evening, there are several other events announced by the historic inn's three owners Guy Laliberté, Garou, and Marc Bolay, in partnership with with producers Nic Urli (Jatoba, Flyjin, Balmoral, Hà, and École Privée), and Vincent Drolet (Circo de Bakuza). Notable among them are Thursday's BBQ Red Carpet with Francisco Randez and guest South African chef Cindy Wollenschlaeger (soon to be Mr. Laliberté's executive chef) preparing a traditional feast, and Saturday's Bagatelle Brunch, a chic affair that recalls the South of France with editions in St. Barts, Dubai, St.Tropez, and Rio. 

Auberge Saint-Gabriel
426 Saint-Gabriel St.
For info/booking please email GRANDPRIX@AUBERGESAINT-GABRIEL.COM 
or call: 514-278-1548

Whatever, Whenever...

A recent and uber-sexy redo of the guest rooms and much-buzzed-about new restaurant ÊAT has lately placed the flirty and free-wheeling W hotel top of mind for a good time. And what better occasion to indulge than during the second, augmented edition of PIT STOP, a party that debuted last year and for 2016 has the beat going all weekend long with special events and invited DJs that are open to all with no cover. Just register on Eventbrite to reserve a spot.

Highlights include Justin Bieber’s DJ Tay James at 10pm @Wunderbar Friday, and a unique competition sponsored by Tag Heuer that will pit A-list athletes Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull Racing, Didier Drogba of Impact fame, and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots against each other on a makeshift football field in Victoria Square facing the hotel at 7:30pm Saturday. Sunday night, DJ Jazzy Jeff of Fresh Prince of Bel Air fame closes it out.

A first for Montreal, a VIP Gifting Lounge similar to those at the Oscars or TIFF takes place from 3-8pm on Saturday, exclusively for celebrities and media. They'll pull up to the Pit Stop Lounge and treat themselves to a host of beauty and grooming services by professionals like Guerlain makeup master Maxime Poulin and the barbershop boys of Maison Privée, all on hand to ensure they look their best for a GLAM evening ahead.

The party then flows from the salon floor to the dance floor for special performances by invited New York DJ Erica Rhode along with MTL talents DJ Shash’U, and Jojo and Toddy Flores. To reserve your spot go to:

For the weekend's complete programming visit:
901 Victoria-Square St.



W Montreal 4860664561040158563

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