Morning – direction: Mont-Royal metro station (orange line)
Their thick and velvety fresh fruit smoothies are simply to die for; their smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels as well. In fact, everything at Beauty’s on Du Mont Royal Avenue (corner Saint-Urbain Street) is utterly and divinely delicious. Plus, while you dine, you can admire the old-style diner décor, complete with steel counter, blue banquettes and photos of celebrities who have all come to enjoy the homemade goodness of this Montréal institution.
Montréal just simply wouldn’t be Montréal without Mount Royal. A green oasis smack-dab in the city centre, Mount Royal offers an open invitation to explore, whether it be on foot, ski or bike. Amble along the tree-lined trails, covered in snow or fallen leaves depending on the season. If you are here in the winter, lace up your skates and take a spin around Beaver Lake anytime from December until March. Tubing down the mountainside is also a favourite pastime of young and old alike, as well as sledding, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Rental equipment is available at the chalet on Beaver Lake, as are steaming mugs of hot chocolate and tasty nibbles.
Feel like a change of scenery? Take the path that leads to the George-Étienne Cartier statue. If you are lucky enough to be here on a sunny summer Sunday, you can let loose to the beat of the Tam-tams, a fave weekly event that has brought together Montrealers of all ages since the late seventies.
Turn around and right in front of you is Duluth Street that lines Parc Jeanne-Mance. Follow it until you reach Saint-Urbain Street and you will find yourself at Café Santropol, a local hotspot where Montrealers flock in great numbers to enjoy their legendary sandwiches (double or triple-decker!), fresh salads, freshly-squeezed juice and certified organic coffee. And all of this in a fabulously relaxed ambiance, both inside the funky restaurant and outside on the beautifully serene terrace, complete with fountain.
Shopping or pilgrimage? If you opt for the first choice, bargains abound in the many boutiques along Mont Royal Avenue, including books, CDs, DVDs, and clothing of all styles. Comic books for the kids? Québécois literary classics for the adults? No matter what you seek, poke around a bit and you will undoubtedly find it here!
However, if you prefer the second option, then take the bus (No. 11) that crosses Mount Royal Park and transfer to bus No. 165 to reach Saint Joseph’s Oratory. Erected in 1916, this international sanctuary and Canadian historical monument promises amazing discoveries. From the crypt architecture to the basilica’s stained glass windows to the splendid, art-filled gardens to the Chapel of Brother André, you will find that time simply speeds by as you explore this divine monument.
As the afternoon winds to a close, head over to Parc Avenue where you’ll find a restaurant that’s as fun as its name implies: El Zaziumm. With an exotic décor, tropical ambiance and Californian/Mexican cuisine, it’s sure to be a hit with the entire family! And for those who like ice cream, Le Bilboquet on stylish Bernard Avenue is the place to indulge in all things cold and yummy. Its homemade creations – we’re not talking just cones here, we’re talking ice cream artistry – draw people from far and wide as soon as there is even the weakest glimmer of warm sunshine, all craving the delicious taste of summer on a terrace in one of Montréal’s most beautiful neighbourhoods.