It’s Saturday night in Montreal, and I’m determined not to slink to my bed until at least 10pm. I don’t want my two young Airbnb hosts to begin to think I’m such a social failure that I can’t find anything to do in Canada’s self-proclaimed party city. Montreal prides itself on being the fun and festive heart of Canada, a country that’s generally regarded as rather dull. The city-on-an-island celebrates about 110 festivals every year, which makes it a mathematical marvel that I’ve managed to visit when there isn’t a single festival planned. I’m too early for the world’s largest jazz event or the famous Just For Laughs comedy bash, and too late for the more sedate tulip fair. Still, there’s plenty of street life to enjoy as I walk beneath thousands of gaudy pink balls strung between the rooftops of a pedestrianised zone. The bobbing balls capture the essence of Montreal’s gay quarter, The Village, perfectly. Everything and everyone is here, including buskers with varying degrees of ta...

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