Itinerary (Old Montréal) - Cutting Edge Montréal

© Tourisme Montréal - Place Jacques-CartierOld Montréal© Gilles Charron - Old Montreal architecture
© Tourisme Montréal, Daniel Choinière - Saint Paul Street© Galerie MX - Galerie MX© Ville de Montréal, bureau du patrimoine, de la toponymie et de l'expertise - Vieux-Montréal

© Tourisme Montréal - Place Jacques-Cartier

December 14, 2012 ─ Often referred to as "Canada's Cultural Capital", Montréal is a hub for all things creative—past, present, and future—with a contemporary scene that ranks among the very best in the world.

The charming cobblestone streets of Old Montréal have witnessed the passage of time for nearly four centuries during which a thriving art scene has continued to generate and inspire creativity. Take a walk around the area and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Quays of the Old Port of Montréal and Place Jacques-Cartier before heading to the Galerie Pangée (or Pangea) (40 Saint-Paul Street West), named after the super continent that broke apart 200 million years ago. With a mission to provide a unique gallery experience encompassing a multidisciplinary approach that is international in scope, the gallery is on the cutting edge of the art world in Canada.

Few cities can rival Montréal’s penchant for chic goods and an easy-going pedestrian-centered lifestyle. So make like a Montrealer and take a pleasant stroll along Saint Paul Street to check out the selection of très trendy boutiques, including the Boutique Denis Gagnon (womenswear shop of the local fashion guru of the same name), Reborn (mens-, womenswear), and Michel Brisson (menswear), for some of the latest fashions around. For hyperstylish and limited edition print material on numerous subjects (history of mankind, religions, arts, design, fashion, lifestyle, architecture, photography, etc.), as well as lifestyle related objects (library-trunks, decorative tabletop libraries, bookends, paper presses, notebooks, book bags, and prints), Librissime fits the bill.

Atelier Art Bressan features the work of Pauline Bressan, an accomplished Québec contemporary artist who has shown her work in China, France, the United States, and many other countries. Bressan’s paintings incorporate both representational human figures and abstract swatches of color and texture. Her emotionally-charged work is known internationally.

A popular hangout for local artists, Cluny ArtBar (257 Prince Street) is a satisfying venue to have lunch at, after which you can visit the adjoining Darling Foundry, a contemporary art centre that supports the creation and dissemination of the work of up-and-coming artists.

After your midday meal, head to the nearby DHC/ Foundation for Contemporary Art, a space that presents exciting and relevant contemporary art exhibitions, as well as film screenings and talks. The DHC’s founder and director is philanthropist Phoebe Greenberg, who is extending her passion for the arts with the PHI Centre (356 LeMoyne Street), scheduled to open in the neighbourhood in March 2012. The Centre will consist of a multidisciplinary arts and cultural complex that will promote the shared investigation of sound, image, and design, and will include production/post-production facilities for film, video, and audio, as well as a restaurant and live performance venue.

Now, swing on over to La Maison de l’architecture du Québec. On the south side (Saint-Antoine Street) of the Palais des congrès de Montréal (Montréal Convention Centre) and housed behind the historic Fire Station No. 20 façade, this centre aims to stimulate and diffuse creativity as it relates to architecture, landscape design, and urban planning.

Meanwhile, at Galerie MX (333 Viger Avenue), the works of contemporary artists such as Besner, Case-Fox, Claes, Lavoie, Niko, Milo, and Prud’homme, among others, are on display.

Over on Saint-Jacques Street, be sure to drop by the hotel named LHotel¸(262 Saint-Jacques Street West), easily recognizable by Jim Dine’s LOVE sculpture which fronts the property and is part of one of the most impressive private Pop and contemporary art collections in North America. Aside from Dine’s iconic piece, you will find a number of works, both in public areas and in the guestrooms and suites, by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, and Marc Chagall, to name a few. LHotel also has a great Happy Hour with live music at its Botero Wine Bar. À votre santé!

When you are ready for dinner, proceed to Le Local (740 William Street). Housed in a heritage building once occupied by a firm of architects, Le Local serves delicious French cuisine against a smart, minimalist backdrop of high ceilings, giant light wells, an open space dining room, a front terrace, and a cocktail lounge.