The Village

© Marc Cramer - Aires Libres

Montréal’s Gay Village is famous for being a fun place for everyone, gay or not.

What makes the best party? One where different kinds of people mix it up together. Montréal is that kind of place. Especially in the Village, where members of all sexual orientations come to dance—at Sky, Parking, afterhours clubs and other hotspots, not to mention circuit-party events such as Black & Blue. And everyone loves the outrageous Mado and her cabaret—drag shows with a Québécois accent!

One of the largest gay villages in North America, Le Village Gai lies just east of downtown. In 1999 the city gave Beaudry, the main metro station, a complete facelift with rainbow pillars as a way of saying that the LGBT community plays a major role in Montréal’s all-inclusive way of life. Most of the Village is a quiet and quirky neighbourhood of gay men, lesbians, families and cozy B&Bs housed in century-old triplexes.

From June to September the main drag, Sainte-Catherine Street, is closed to vehicles. Out-of-towners and native Montréalers alike leisurely stroll along the strip to shop, dine al fresco or just relax in the sun with a beer. The street has fashion and specialty boutiques, restaurants representing all major types of cuisine and a variety of bars. Throughout the summer, artists display their work, LGBT community groups set up information booths and local shops offer great things to buy. And it’s where Pride Montréal, weeklong celebrations, unfolds.

There’s even more Village along Amherst Street, with more restaurants, antique and retro shops, plus some superb Art Deco architecture. On René-Levesque East, the neo-Gothic Saint-Pierre-Apôtre church, built in 1851, is home to the Chapel of Hope, where a special candle burns in memory of people who died of AIDS. Over the decades, gays and lesbians, ever active in political and community issues, have established a multitude of support, social, legal and other kinds of LGBT organizations.