“He was a bold man that first ate an oyster,” said Jonathan Swift, indicating the level of courage required to down the admittedly curious-looking marine treat. However, if you’re looking to be initiated into the delights of the oyster, you can’t do any better than Montreal Oysterfest (on September 2nd, Labour Day Sunday), which celebrates the final, hedonistic days of summer with the ocean’s most decadent offerings.

Now in its fourth year, Oysterfest is one of the most anticipated end-of-summer parties. It’s also bigger than ever, with a larger venue, more oysters (with varieties from up and down the Canadian and American east coasts) and more tunes (Shane Murphy and DJ Myles, among others). The oyster-shucking competition will pit Ontarians and Quebecers against their Maritime counterparts, to discover who truly shucks and who merely sucks (sorry, shucks/sucks puns are irresistible!).

Not into oysters? There will be plenty of non-oyster food, plus lots o’ drinks if you need a little liquid bravery to slurp back the slippery suckers. And, though oysters are in the spotlight, clams also get a shout-out at Oysterfest, when competitors in the Caesar competition will vie to create the best Clamato-vodka-Tabasco infusion.

Finally, conscious that events like Oysterfest require healthy oceans, Oysterfest organizers will donate proceeds to “The Open Pier Foundation,” a non-profit whose goal is to promote ocean sustainability through education. In addition, charitable donations will go primarily to Environmental Defence, devoted to protecting Canada’s waterways and nature space.

Oysterfest: Sunday September 2nd from 2pm until 9pm @ Pigeon Hole Renewal, 240 Notre-Dame Ouest.

~ Heidi Craig