With more than 4 million inhabitants and no less than 120 different nationalities, Montréal’s cultural fabric is uniquely rich and vibrant. Four seasons a year the city plays host to an astonishing variety of events, exhibitions, festivals and fairs for thousands of culture, nature and thrill seekers. While Montréal’s creative chefs continue to elevate its reputation as a global gourmet destination, artists and artisans draw admirers in droves to the haute couture ateliers, art galleries and one-of-a-kind boutiques that line the city streets. So, jump in – come live, try and taste what this special city is all about. See the best of #MTLmoments 2018.
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Located in Old Montreal, LOV (which stands for Local, Organic and Vegetarian) serves dishes like smoked beet sandwiches served on rye with mustard and red cabbage slaw. With tones of white and seafoam green, the decor features leaf-printed upholstery, bamboo woven lampshades and suspended chairs.
The Montreal roastery has three brick-and-mortar locations: a minimalist coffee shop created in collaboration with Rhoncus Design in the heart of the Plateau Mont-Royal, a flagship space in Mile-Ex and a café on the McGill campus. Pair your Dispatch brew with a selection of snacks prepared by local businesses, like vegan eatery Le Kitchen and Hof Kelsten bakery.
Power couples from Toronto’s Black Hoof restaurant empire and Montreal rock band Arcade Fire teamed up to create the raucous Haitian charm of this art-filled restaurant in the Gay Village. Dig into plates of fried malanga-root accras, stewed oxtail and tender slow-cooked pumpkin in coconut sauce. Top it off with a mix-your-own ti’ ponch service: Barbancourt agricole rum with fresh-pressed cane juice, cane syrup and lime.
Chef Jason Morris and general manager Kabir Kapoor run this candlelit Griffintown hideaway, which features paintings by Morris’ great-grandfather and ceramic dishes crafted by his mother, Pauline. Try the PBJFG, a signature sandwich of peanut butter, strawberry jam and foie gras terrine on toasted brioche.
Nora Gray alums chef Mike Dalla Libera and former general manager Nick Rosati spin handmade, artisanal ice cream daily using milk sourced from Northern Quebec at this St-Henri hot spot. The crèmerie has a rotating selection of seasonal flavours (including two vegan options), like cookie biscuit, ground cherries, and vegan chocolate.
The decor and menu at this bakery in the Petite Patrie neighbourhood draw inspiration from California, Scandinavia and France (think San Francisco sourdough, minimalist wooden chairs and baguettes). Chef-owners Seth Gabrielse and Julien Roy (winner of the top prize for apprentice bakers in France’s prestigious Mondial du Pain in 2013) make delicious bread and baked treats using nutritious, seasonal Quebec products.
The owners of Olive + Gourmando, a lunchtime institution in Old Montreal, tackle dinner service in this romantic Griffintown restaurant. There are no gas or electric burners; cooking happens using hardwood that’s been split and stacked in the alley out back. Puffed flatbread, topped with xeres shallots and three-cheese sauce, gets blistered in the wood-burning oven, while a deboned sea bass reaches crispy-skinned perfection on the wood-fired grill.
This shop has been hand-rolling bagels and baking them in a wood-burning oven since 1957. Locals, tourists and celebrities alike (it’s got Celine Dion’s and William Shatner’s seal of approval) pop into the 24-hour bakery for a dozen to go or an on-the-spot carb fix after a night on the town.
Start your morning with a cappuccino made with Portland’s Heart Roaster beans, then head back in the evening, friends in tow. Wash down small plates, like the preserved chicken, with a selection from the natural-centric wine list, or a pint of the Ghost Farm IPA, from one of the co-owners’ craft-brew side project.
Housed in a historic building built by John Ogilvy in 1861, the Phi Centre is a multi-disciplinary complex with a mission to make art accessible to as many people as possible. Look for screenings of international Cannes-awarded films and browse pop-up shops featuring products by up-and-coming designers.
The scenic path along the Lachine Canal stretches over 19.5 km, an ideal route for runners. For a 5 km run, start on the south side of the canal by Atwater Street and head east towards the Old Port. Run past former sugar factories-turned-luxury condos before crossing the Wellington bridge. Continue along the north side of the bridge until you reach Écluses St-Gabriel – the path will lead you back onto the south side of the canal.
For the sauna and spa treatments
Pop in for the detoxifying water circuit that takes you from the heat of the dry sauna or steam bath to cold baths and showers. Choose from 20 spa treatments, like the anti-aging Southern Star facial that uses the regenerative powers of monoi, bamboo and coconut, or book yourself a “Bota Bota massage,” choreographed to work in tandem with the sounds of a live harp performance.
Founded in 2000 by Godspeed You! Black Emperor bassist Mauro Pezzente and wife Kiva Stimac, the “House of the People” is a family-run vegetarian restaurant, bar, art gallery and music venue. Stop by in the afternoon for a vegetarian burrito and a pint of beer, then come back at night to catch up-and-coming local and touring musical acts perform on stage.
In the summer months, bring your kids on a gentle hike to the summit for unbeatable views of the city. Then, head towards Beaver Lake for an afternoon picnic and let your little ones roam freely. In the winter months, explore the mountain while cross-country skiing along its various trails, go for a skate on Beaver Lake or toboggan down the designated slopes nearby.
Located in a former antique shop in Old Montreal, this boutique stocks a selection of apparel, shoes, books, accessories, and apothecary products. Keeping quality manufacturing in mind, Rooney’s racks and shelves are filled with fashionable everyday wear by the likes of A.P.C, Wings + Horns and Won Hundred.
Independent Montreal streetwear boutique OTH has an outpost seamlessly integrated into the sleek lobby so you can shop Canadian labels like Naked & Famous and Raised by Wolves. Walk through to Café Olimpico, the second location of the Mile End institution established in 1970, for an espresso or a Perrier and Stappj, a hard-to-find Italian bitter soda.
This contemporary hotel overlooks Montreal’s Place des Arts, the city’s cultural hub – you’ll be steps from the Jazz Festival in the summer and the Montréal en lumière fest in the winter. Even if your visit falls between events, there’s no lack of activities: Sainte-Catherine Street boutiques and shopping malls are within a stone’s throw, and the hotel pool, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a skylight, offers panoramic city views and kid-friendly fun.
Housed in a converted 19th century neoclassical building in Old Montreal, this 133-room boutique hotel is the perfect starting point for exploring the city’s historical landmarks. Book one of the high-ceiling suites, complete with exposed brick walls and a large walk-in rain shower, and make sure to visit Rainspa, the property’s spa with hammam.
Enjoy spacious rooms with a Bose radio, goose-feather comforters and marble bathrooms stocked with Lanvin products. Conveniently located in the city’s Golden Mile, this 17-storey hotel is ideal for business travelers looking to stay in the heart of the action.
This 28-room property in a renovated Old Montreal building is big on style, with mod orange-accented furnishings, restored bamboo floors and stone walls. Le Petit Café in the lobby features a mural by local graffiti and graphic-arts collective En Masse and terrific viennoiseries.
The Grande Dame of Sherbrooke Street has undergone major renovations and is home to chef Daniel Boulud’s Montreal outpost, Maison Boulud. Book a table for Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court, where the tropical atrium fresco makes for an elegant backdrop. The experience is even more refined on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the hotel offers Afternoon Tea guests a complimentary glass of bubbles.
Info about getting from the airport, public transportation and more.
Getting from the Airport
Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is located in Dorval, about half an hour from downtown Montreal. Highways 20 and 520 are the main access roads to the city, but there are other services available if you don’t have a car. For $10, the Express Bus 747 connects you from the airport to downtown Montreal every 15 minutes during peak times. Taxis charge a fixed rate of $40 from the airport to downtown Montreal.
The metro is the most convenient way to go between neighbourhoods. The yellow line connects you with the South Shore suburbs and Île Sainte-Hélène to access Parc Jean-Drapeau, where Expo 67 was held. One ticket costs $3.25.
See the city like a local (and save money) by hopping on a Bixi. The bike-share has over 460 stations and 5,200 bicycles navigating the city’s generous bike lanes. The system is set up for short trips; the base fee starts at $2.95 for a trip that lasts 30 minutes or less (longer trips cost extra). The season lasts from April to November.
If hailing one from the street doesn’t work, you can easily find taxis waiting at the corners of major avenues in Montreal and near public attractions. Atlas Taxi: 514-485-8585 Taxi Coop Montréal: 514-725-9885 Taxi Diamond: 514-273-6331
The Uber app is really easy to use in Montreal now that the ride-sharing company is fully legal in the city. If you don’t have the app, you can download it in a matter of seconds.
The bistro ranked #9 on Canada's Best New Restaurants Top 10 list in 2017.
By Andrew Braithwaite
This is what neighbourhood restaurants are all about: three dozen Mile-Exers cheering on a chef who’s loudly pounding out a slab of raw bison meat. When it’s served, ultra-tender and topped with a sinus-clearing hit of fresh horseradish and nasturtium leaves from the rooftop garden, it certainly deserves a round of applause.
Chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly met Molly Superfine-Rivera in New York, where he, an Au Pied de Cochon alum, had opened Fedora and Bar Sardine, and she was managing bar at M. Wells Steakhouse. Their corner bistro is the kind of place where a bearded stranger reading a paperback and snacking on radish stems might listen to you order and then offer you a sip of his low-intervention chenin-sauvignon from Cahors.
Brunet-Benkritly occasionally indulges his fat-on-fat experience as Martin Picard’s former chef de cuisine. A happy-sigh-inducing toast of bone-marrow-roasted whelks is topped with melted two-year cheddar. But most is on the lighter side: a lime-zest-cured Arctic char is a choreography of textures and marine flavours, with dashi gelée and poppy Tobiko roe breakdancing around crispy puffed rice and slivers of toasted nori.
A framed print of an African leopard hangs above Superfine-Rivera’s bar, where her Madame Duquet riffs on an Aviation with lemon-infused grappa. Bubbly somm’ Émilie Courtois disappears into the walk-in wine cellar, a repurposed wooden beer fridge from the dépanneur that long ago abandoned this address. She emerges carrying a bottle of effervescent, skin-fermented spergola from Emilia-Romagna and pours tastes for me and my new wine-geek friend. Plus a splash for herself, because she’s in the neighbourhood.
Summer or winter, rain or shine, Montréal’s festivals never stop! You’ll find world-renowned music, comedy, circus acts, fine foods, dance or winter sports being celebrated right there in the streets… there’s a festival for every passion.
Montréal is truly a four-season city, from sultry summers to snow-globe winters. Both are stunning! Experience the best of all four seasons by bike, on foot, in snowshoes, in a kayak… or how about on a zipline?
See a spin on history, get an eyeful of colour or learn a new skill at one of our many museums. Or how about a stroll in Montréal’s outdoor gallery, among the nighttime projections or the city’s famous murals?