CBC Radio: Donovan King discusses refugees and education in Quebec

November 30th, 2015

Listen to Donovan King discuss refugees and education in Quebec on CBC Radio (recorded on November 30th, 2015):



Haunted Montreal creates new Griffintown Ghost Walk for Hallowe’en!

October 4th, 2015

This Hallowe’en season, Montrealers are invited to Haunted Griffintown, a new ghost walk by Haunted Montreal for the 2015 Hallowe’en Season!

On the heels of the highly-successful Haunted Mountain and Haunted Downtown Montreal tours, which have been running since May, the newly-researched ghost walk in the Griff that is sure to raise eyebrows and tingle spines!

BW St Ann Stone

Griffintown is one of Montreal’s most historic neighborhoods – and one of its most haunted! The Haunted Griffintown Ghost Walk visits mysterious ruins, abandoned tunnels, a polluted canal, former Black ’47 burial pits and creepy old buildings that are said to be haunted. A vacant, decrepit brewery hosts psychics in search of a murdered girl, a condominium reminds locals of its past as a chocolate factory, and the ghostly ruins of St. Ann’s Church have witnessed paranormal activity.

Dow BW

The tour visits the Peel Basin, the site of many drownings over the years, including one recent case that may be connected to a will-o’-the-wisp – or a serial killer. Those attending will also learn the conspiracy theory surrounding Montreal’s worst air disaster, when a Liberator Bomber slammed into Griffintown during WW II, killing 15 people – and the hauntings related to it.

Finally, guests will be regaled with Montreal’s most famous ghost story, the deranged tale of Mary Gallagher, the headless prostitute. Mary was murdered and decapitated by her best friend, Susie Kennedy, in 1876 and her headless ghost is said to return to the Griff every seven years, still searching for her head.


Led by professional actor and storyteller Donovan King, this haunted walk is sure to please ghost hunters, history buffs and Hallowe’en lovers with its creepy tales of the spirits and paranormal activity haunting Griffintown.

The Haunted Griffintown ghost walk starts at the Griffintown Café (1378 rue Notre Dame Ouest, a few blocks south of Lucien L’Allier Metro) and guests have the option to dine in the artistic bistro-pub before the tour. Tours begin at 8 pm sharp on the following dates:

Friday, October 16

Saturday, October 17

Friday, October 23

Saturday, October 24

Friday, October 30

Saturday, October 31

The Griffintown Café is a lively, artistic bistro-pub. It has an excellent menu and a restaurant license (food must be purchased to drink alcohol). For patrons wishing to dine or have a drink and tapas before the Ghost Walk, Haunted Montreal recommends the Griffintown Café very highly. To make dinner reservations (6 or 6:30 pm is advisable) please call 514-931-5299 or contact the Griffintown Café  online.

For the Hallowe’en Season, Haunted Montreal will also offer final tours of Haunted Downtown (October 18) and Haunted Mountain (October 25), which have been running all summer long.

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Car Stories gunning its engine for 2015 Buffalo Infringement Festival!

July 28th, 2015

Car Stories is coming once again to the Buffalo Infringement Festival!

Created in Montreal in 2001 and promptly kicked out of the so-called St. Ambroise Fringe Festival after a corporate sponsor was offended, Car Stories had to quit the corporate Fringe and redesign the game. As such, the infringement festival was born in 2004 to prevent corporate behaviour from ruining the arts. Car Stories has been playing infringement festivals ever since!

For the 11th annual Buffalo Infringement Festival, Car Stories will once again gun its engines in Allentown and welcome both performers and spectators into this theatrical wonderland!

Performers are welcome to bring their cars, ideas and zany characters to create the performance. Email Donovan King at optatif@gmail.com to learn how to get involved or just show up at Nietzsche’s at 3 pm on Friday, July 31st! Car Stories is the sum of all the parts put in by local artists, so feel free to jump right in!

car stories

Spectators are advised to look at the schedule and to reserve their spots:


Fri, Jul 31 4pm – 7pm Nietzsche’s (out front)
Sat, Aug 1 4pm – 7pm Nietzsche’s (out front)
Sun, Aug 2 4pm – 7pm Nietzsche’s (out front)

Details, including how to reserve your spot, can be found here. All performances are pay-what you can.

To learn more about the origins of the infringement festival and its issue with corporate takeover of Fringe Festivals across the world, please read this Critical Report from the World Fringe Congress.

Haunted Downtown Montreal Fundraiser for Ange-Aimée Woods Bursary

July 21st, 2015

Haunted Montreal is proud to support the Ange-Aimée Woods Bursary with a special performance of Haunted Downtown on Sunday, August 9 at 8 p.m. Donations of $20 + will be accepted at the door of Andrew’s Pub (1241 Guy Street) and all proceeds will go to the Bursary fund.

Ange-Aimée Woods was a beloved journalist who inspired a generation of Montrealers with her savoir faire, friendly demeanor, quirky style, critical thinking and dedication to reporting on stories of local importance, including both in the news and the arts.

Ange-Aimée Woods


She worked at CBC Radio as an arts reporter, researcher, news reporter, host, news editor and a senior producer of Homerun.

For over a year, friends and colleagues have been working very hard to create a permanent Bursary in her name to support journalism students at Concordia University, her alma mater. A variety of fundraisers have been held, and we are nearing the goal of reaching $15,000.00 to ensure the Bursary can continue in perpetuity. Haunted Montreal is proud to hold what might very well be the final fundraiser before the goal is reached.

Listen to Anne Lagacé Dowson interview Liz Faure on CJAD about Ange-Aimée Woods and the Haunted Downtown Montreal fundraiser.


There is a Facebook page for the event with full details about the fundraiser.

Please also consider making an Online Donation to the Bursary Fund.




Reflecting on the 2015 Montreal infringement festival

June 22nd, 2015

Like a flash in the pan, the 12th edition of Montreal’s infringement festival has come and gone! Running from June 17 – 21, the festival offered a 5 day schedule packed with poetry, spoken word, musical performances and theatrical walking tours!


Opening on Wednesday night was Fractal III, an activist evening of poetry and spoken word. Performed entirely in French and organized by poet-troubadour Louis Royer, this event brought together more than 20 artists focussed on challenging the austerity measures currently being imposed in Quebec by the Liberal government.


Labo-Taverne Jarry was the perfect venue for this event – intimate, accessible and fully-equipped.

Running concurrently was “A Brand New You”, a film by Shawn Whitney, which played to over 50 spectators at Café Republique.

Thursday, June 18 witnessed a series of folk music performances at Kafein, a venue on Bishop Street that welcomes artists to perform. Ottawa’s Mahlena Patchouli treated the audience to powerful songs about the environment with A Montreal Paul accompanying on guitar. Up next was Buffalo infringer Laura Lonski, who rocked the keyboard with her band Plumstab.


The evening wound down with Harvest Soon’s mellow, sun-soaked romantic airs. A late evening of partying between Montreal and Buffalo infringers ensued.

Friday, June 19 is a special anniversary for the infringement festival. In 2001, Car Stories, the show that sparked off the creation of the infringement festival, was kicked out of the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival because the theatre critic of The Gazette, a corporate sponsor of the festival that year, was offended when asked to pay for her ticket. After being critiqued herself,  she stopped covering the entire festival in retaliation.

gazoo jam

Not only was the show evicted to placate the critic and corporation, but the artists were never paid their ticket sales, despite paying hundreds of dollars to be associated with the “Fringe” trademark. This corporate abuse sparked off the creation of the infringement festival, starting in 2004.

On Friday night the infringement festival rocked at Barfly, a venue that has supported the festival since its inception. It all kicked off with Kanaska Carter, an amazing musician from Ottawa who inks tattoos and produces videos when not rocking a crowd with her music.


Next up was Space Base, a “Super Funky Psychedelic Jam Band”, fueled by improvisation and solid grooves. Positive Feedback finished up the evening, an activist band run by long-time infringement organizer Jay Lemieux.

Saturday afternoon witnessed the infringement festival’s first-ever Poetry in the Parc session. Organized by Rebecca Anne Banks, this “open mic” event attracted poetic luminary John Faithful Hamer, along with Melanie Kal and yours truly, Donovan King.


Designed as an homage to Émile Nelligan, an infringer before his time if there ever was one, the event took place in front his bust in Saint Louis Square.


Later that evening, starting at the rumoured-to-be-haunted Barfly, the Haunted Mountain Ghost Walk departed at 8 pm with several guests, including five dogs! Up the slopes of Mount Royal they went, taking in the deranged history of the city, courtesy of Haunted Montreal.


After the Ghost Walk, Barfly got all fired up with PsynLangwage, a veritable revolution in Montreal’s hip hop scene.


Up next was The Rock Rollers, followed by Thee Sin Caves, who played late into the night.

Sunday, June 21st, the final day of the fest, started with the Candyass & King Red Light District Walking Tour. Starting at the recently gentrified Midway Tavern, the tour took in some of the seedier sights of Montreal’s fast-disappearing Red Light District (now rebranded as the Quartier des Spectacles).


The festival wrapped up with Louis Royer again hosting, this time with a multi-lingual performance called RÉCITAL D’HOMMAGE À LA MUSIQUE, featuring over 20 artists, at the Piranha Bar on Sainte Catherine Street.

Overall, the 12th annual Montreal infringement festival was a blast. A big thank you to  those who helped me organize it – Cristina Mahneke, Louis Royer and Jay Manafest!

For the 13th edition, in 2016, there are big plans in store! For one, the 3rd annual World Fringe Congress will be held in a city outside of Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, corporate businesspeople meet to discuss how to profit from the word “Fringe”. Read about the issue here.

The infringement festival, in contrast, features artists and organizers who question corporate interference in the arts. To get involved, please email optatif@gmail.com!

festival image


Montreal’s infamous infringement festival runs June 17 – 21!

June 15th, 2015

Montreal’s infamous infringement festival runs June 17 – 21, 2015! Celebrating its 12th edition, the infringement fest has been sticking it to the man for over a decade!

festival image

When Montreal artists protested the trademarking of the word “Fringe” in 2004 with an “infringement festival”, they never expected their activist gesture would blossom into the international movement of rabble-rousing festivals it has become today. Rejecting corporate models that co-opt culture, the infringement festival promotes the arts as a Do-It-Yourself tool for creative activism and community-building.

For its 12th edition, the Montreal infringement festival will once again welcome dozens of critical artists from Montreal and abroad! This year’s infringement features an eclectic mix of burlesque dancers, actors, musicians, storytellers, spoken word artists, painters, poets, activists, filmmakers, culture-jammers and artistic visionaries!

Poet Louis Royer will open the 2015 festival with Fractal III, an evening of francophone poetry and spoken word featuring two hours of songs, poetry and slam in an audacious, anti-establishment atmosphere. There are over 20 artists on the opening night program alone!


Poetry is a big feature in the 2015 festival, and on Saturday, June 20, a Poetry in the Parc session will be held! Set in historic Saint Louis Square, the event is in homage to an original infringer – Émile Nelligan.


Organized by poet Rebecca Anne Banks, everyone is welcome to recite poetry at this open event – in one of Montreal’s most beautiful parks!

Infringement musical performances are bold and varied. Spread over 3 nights at Kafein and Barfly, performers include Kanaska CarterSpace BaseThe Rock RollersPositive Feedback, Plum StabBusker & JosephineHarvest Soon, Thee Sin CavesCouch Fire, My Favourite Author and Mahlena Patchouli.


There are also theatrical walking tours, including the ghostly Haunted Mountain ramble up the slopes of Mount Royal, not to mention the salacious King & Candyass Red Light Walking Tour). Other art-forms include film (Shawn Whitney’s “A Brand New You”), visual arts (Michael Clague), and burlesque!

The festival will conclude with another big performance, with Louis Royer and over a dozen musicians and poets presenting RÉCITAL D’HOMMAGE À LA MUSIQUE!


It is looking to be an amazing infringement festival with dozens of artists celebrating inclusion, innovation, independence, collaboration and critical thinking – in both English and French.

Based on the original Edinburgh Fringe Festival of 1947, which was a protest by artists against exclusion and elitism, the infringement movement encourages artists and culture-lovers to join the global, Do-It-Yourself movement!  Infringement Festivals have been held in over a dozen cities across the globe, and permanent festivals exist in Columbia (South Carolina) and Buffalo (New York).

The Buffalo infringement has grown into one of the largest arts festivals in North America, demonstrating the need and desire for communities to reclaim their culture from excessive corporate interference. It runs from July 23 to August 2 this year.


Montreal, the birthplace of the international infringement movement, is known as a hub for critical thinking, cultural resistance and social change. While Montreal culture is constantly under threat from corporate forces that exploit artists and spectators, the city has proven once again that, regardless of these challenges, it is still a beacon for innovation in the arts.

Those wishing to volunteer during the festival can sign up here.

Full details about the 2015 Montreal infringement festival, including the schedule, can be found at www.infringemontreal.org. There is also a Facebook page.


CBC Radio One: Homerun Interview About Haunted Montreal

May 21st, 2015

Kate McGillivray of CBC Homerun (Radio One) interviewed Donovan King of Haunted Montreal in Dominion Square (a.k.a. Saint-Antoine Cholera Cemetery) on May 15, 2015.

McGillivray and King discuss the new Haunted Montreal Blog, public season of ghost tours starting with Haunted Mountain on Friday, May 22, and local tales of haunted places and strange happenings. Listen below.


Part 1:

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Part 3:


Sainte Antione Cemetery Limits

Haunted Montreal announces Public Season and Blog!

May 20th, 2015

Montreal is widely-regarded as the most haunted city in Canada, prompting thrill-seekers and ghost-hunters to visit in greater and greater numbers every year. The haunted tourism industry is booming as visitors seek out ghost tours, haunted hotels, paranormal investigations and other terrifying experiences!

To support this growing obsession with ghosts, hauntings and the paranormal, Haunted Montreal is expanding with a season of public tours, starting on Friday, May 22! Also, a monthly blog that focuses on Montreal ghost stories will be published on the 13th of every month!

Last Hallowe’en, Haunted Montreal offered the Haunted Downtown ghost tour after years of Haunted Mountain, leading ghostly rambles up the slopes of Mount Royal. Haunted Downtown sold out all 8 shows and there were many inquiries into Haunted Mountain.

Haunted Montreal logo with URL

As such, due to popular demand, both Haunted Mountain and Haunted Downtown ghost tours will be offered to the public in 2015!

Starting with Haunted Mountain on Friday, May 22, the ghost tours will operate on an alternating, weekly basis for the entire summer! Full details, including descriptions of the tours, availability and prices, can be found at on the Haunted Montreal Website.

Launched on May 13th, the Haunted Montreal Blog aims to become the place for people to delve into Montreal’s haunted culture and to build a community of people interested in exploring the city’s dark side. Authored by horror-expert Donovan King, the founder of Haunted Montreal, the blog is bilingual and focuses on a different Montreal ghost story every month.

“We are always looking for Montreal ghost stories that we haven’t heard of yet,” said King. “We always invite people with a haunted tale to get in touch.  I can use my skills as a historical researcher to dig deeply into various archives to learn more about the story and conduct interviews, if necessary,” added King.

The final phase is where things get really interesting, according to King: “Once all the research is complete, we can speculate the reasons behind the haunting and can even follow up with a paranormal investigation, if necessary! If you have a story about a Montreal ghost, Haunted Montreal is dying to hear from you!”

King is also inviting fans of Montreal ghost stories, hauntings and the paranormal to sign up to the mailing list to receive the Haunted Montreal Blog on the 13th of every month!

Listen to Kate McGillivray’s interview with Donovan King. Conducted in Dominion Square (a.k.a. Saint-Antoine Cholera Cemetery), McGillivray and King discuss the blog, public season and local ghost stories on CBC Homerun (Radio One).


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Sainte Antione Cemetery Limits

12th Infringement Season Kicks Off with New Festival in South Carolina!

March 18th, 2015

Founded in Montreal in 2004 to protest the commercialization and trademarking of the once-grassroots Fringe Festival, the infringement festival attempts to reclaim culture by empowering artists and communities to work independent of corporate manipulation.

This year the infringement movement is especially thrilled to welcome a new festival, the Columbia Infringement Festival, into the fold.

Columbia IF

Emily Olyarchuk, based at the University of South Carolina, originally founded the festival as a senior thesis project, however it has since grown into a meaningful community event.

Running March 20 – 22, the Columbia Infringement Festival kicks off the 2015 infringement season!

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Next up is the Montreal Infringement Festival, which runs from June 17 – 21 this year and is looking to be as exciting and political as ever, especially with new artists on the organizing team from the World Truth Speakers Posse. PM Mundafar writes about it in his blog. The Montreal festival will open with a multi-lingual show organized by Louis Royer to kick off the event, followed by everything from burlesque and edgy musical performances to experimental arts and Open Mic. The organization of the festival has also been streamlined to make it easier and more enjoyable to prepare the festival. Apply to perform here (the deadline is May 30).

Last, but certainly not least, is the Buffalo Infringement Festival, the grand-daddy of all infringement festivals in terms of its size and scope. Celebrating 10 days of “Arts Under the Radar”, the festival runs from July 23 – August, 2015 and typically includes over a thousand performances by hundreds of artists and activists of all stripes. The Buffalo Infringement Festival is one of North America’s largest arts festivals, and is certainly the largest independent one, possibly on Earth! Apply to perform here.


Finally, while there is no World Fringe Congress this year to challenge the ongoing commercialization of the Fringe, plans are afoot next year to attend, when the 3rd edition is held at a Fringe Festival outside Edinburgh, Scotland. Last summer Donovan King attended the Congress in Edinburgh, where he crossed paths with Fringe trademark holders from the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals, sparking off a heated debate.

King also presented his Critical Report from the World Fringe Congress at the PBH Free Fringe (Edinburgh, Scotland), as well as at the Harlequin Fayre (Norwich, England) and Ballinamore Free Fringe (Ballinamore, Ireland). These festivals are all similar to the infringement in that they challenge corporate manipulation in the arts and they put the rights of the artists first.

Haunted Downtown Montreal – a new ghost tour for the 2014 Hallowe’en season!

September 20th, 2014

This Hallowe’en season, Donovan King is pleased to offer Haunted Downtown Montreal, a new ghost tour for 2014!

Downtown Montreal is a very busy and bustling place. With towering skyscrapers and a professional workforce that empties out by 5 p.m., it’s the last place one would expect to encounter the paranormal. However, just beneath the veneer of urban respectability lie many dark secrets, from forgotten cemeteries to ghost-infested buildings, and the numerous hauntings that go with them.

The Haunted Downtown Montreal ghost walk visits haunted hotels, a creepy church with an alleged resident demon, and other locations where ghosts have been spotted, including the infamous Club 1234. This spooky old funeral home and mortuary has been converted into one of Montreal’s trendiest nightclubs, but clients sometimes get more than they bargained for, especially if they dare to visit the ladies’ room or the attic!

1234 past and present

Learn the sickening “Legend of the Red Cross” and hear about how Concordia University students are coping in their new residence, the former Grey Nuns’ Motherhouse. With a mysterious crypt packed full of skeletal corpses just a few meters below their bedchambers, some of them are feeling uneasy.

Discover how the City of Montreal is handling and disposing of all of the corpses it unearths in the old Saint-Antoine Cholera Cemetery, as workers carry out renovations of Place du Canada and Dorchester Square.

Sainte Antione Cemetery Limits

Hear tales of deranged doctors dissecting near-death pregnant women to the approval of overzealous priests, learn about  Mark Twain’s only recorded paranormal experience, discover the strange hauntings at the luxurious Queen Elizabeth Hotel, and encounter the unknown in Montreal’s chilly autumn air.

Led by professional actor and storyteller Donovan King, this haunted walk is sure to please ghost hunters, history buffs and Hallowe’en lovers with its creepy tales of paranormal activity, evil demons and the ghostly spirits that haunt these unlikely places – in the heart of Downtown Montreal. On the heels of Haunted Mountain, this ghost tour offers newly-researched stories that are sure to raise eyebrows and tingle spines!

The Haunted Downtown Montreal ghost tour begins at Andrew’s Pub (1241 Guy Street, just south of Sainte Catherine Street) on the following dates and times:

Friday, October 24, 8 p.m.

Saturday, October 25, 8 p.m.

Thursday, October 30, 8 p.m.

Friday, October 31, 8 p.m.

Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased through PayPal or reserved at Haunted Montreal. The tour is approximately 90 minutes.

La Croix Rouge aka The Murderer's Cross

* Please note that this tour is offered in English only. For a highly recommended haunted walk or ghost hunt in French, please visit Fantômes Montréal.