October 24, 2011 – The Hochelega Maisonneuve borough, or “HoMa” for most Montrealers, has quietly been gaining in popularity after rocketing rents forced former Plateau residents to seek out a newer, more affordable niche. And while stately greystones attest to its once-was grandeur as a city on its own, a tour of the neighbourhood will show you why it’s the next up-and-coming and scene-worthy place for you and your friends to be.
Start your day with breakfast at one of the eateries at the Marché Maisonneuve. Housed in a Beaux-Arts-style building, this public market has an abundance of pretty flowers, local cheeses, exotic foods and fresh-off-the-farm produce. You can pick up a basket of savoury goodies to share with the gang on a pretty park picnic later!
Next, get out the plastic because everyone is going to take Bixi, the city’s rentable bikes and greenest public transportation alternative. The handy Bixi stand is located right next to the market, so swipe your cards, hop on and head north on the bike bath (corner of Bennett Avenue and Ontario Street). Your destination? The mighty Olympic Stadium!
Wind your way through the expansive grounds of the Olympic Stadium, through beautiful Parc Maisonneuve, up to the door of the Botanical Garden (you’re at the corner of Sherbrooke Street and Pie IX Boulevard now). Drop off your bike at the nearby Bixi stand, buy your tickets and then take your time getting acquainted with this gorgeous perfumed garden: one of the largest of its kind in the world, it’s home to 22,000 plant species and cultivars as well as 10 exhibition greenhouses. While you’re there, snap a few colour-popping pics of you and the crew for posterity.
From there, walk back to the Olympic Stadium because nobody will want to miss the breath-taking view afforded by the Observatory of the Montréal Tower. At 45 tippy degrees, it’s the world’s highest inclined tower. Ride the funicular car to the top and soak up the staggering view of the city below. On clear days, you can see the magnificent Laurentian mountains in the distance.