July 25, 2011 – Montréal is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world, and summer, in particular, is when l’art de flâner (the art of the leisurely stroll) graces the many car-free zones of the city
Aires Libres, Montréal’s eco-artistic happening of the year, is a pedestrian haven on Sainte-Catherine Street East in the Village (between Berri and Papineau) from May 18 to September 12, complete with art installations, street performers, a beach volleyball court, and patios as far as the eye can see.
Until September 25, Saint-Paul Street East in Old Montréal (between Marché Bonsecours Street and Saint-Laurent Boulevard) is, for the most part, sans automobile (motorized vehicles are permitted only between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.). Specialty boutiques, art galleries, cafés, and restaurants line this charming cobblestone thoroughfare.
Get a feel for Chinatown on Clark Street between René-Lévesque Boulevard and Viger Street, and at De La Gauchetière Steet—the district’s permanent pedestrian artery—to check out authentic shops, street merchants, and eateries.
Saint-Dominique Street (between Laurier and Saint-Joseph Avenues) is home to the Marché Fermier (farmers market), which, on Thursdays, from 3 to 7 p.m., and Sundays, from noon to 4 p.m., provides sustainable food sources that are local, in season, and sold directly by producers.
Lower on the Plateau, the party frequently spills out onto Prince-Arthur Street, a Montréal favourite with its vast selection of bars, bistros, terraces, and musicians.
Downtown, the McCord Museum takes over Victoria Street until September 5, and treats cosmopolites to a picnic area, terrace, and all kinds of open-air activities in an Urban Forest, stylized with metal trees and colourful festooning ribbons.
Meanwhile, over at McGill University’s lower campus, the pedestrian zone on McTavish Street between Sherbrooke Street and Docteur-Penfield Avenue offers a calm oasis in the heart of downtown.
This and more, outside your door, in the summertime!