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Posts by Isa Tousignant

It’s pele-mele in the mall! Black Friday shopping in Montréal

Shopoholics take note! Black Friday doesn’t just happen south of the border. Lots of major Montréal malls and shops will be serving up their best sales of the year. In other words: WE’RE HEADING TO THE MALL! Here’s who’s dishing out the deals.Complexe Desjardins Right across Sainte-Catherine Street from Place des Arts (and joined by an underground tunnel), Complexe Desjardins has clothing shops, accessories emporiums and a great food court. Find great deals at Le Château (think 30% off) and Reitmans, where the reduced prices reach even higher. Or lower. You know what we mean. At RW&Co, there’s an extra 50% on the items already on sale, plus insane surprise deals on regular-priced items over the whole Thanksgiving period. Somebody, stop us! Promenades de la Cathédrale At McGill metro station, the Promenades boast affordable stores year-round. Get your holiday table dressings at house ware store Linen Chest, who’ve been known to slash prices by a whopping 50% on selected items on past Black Fridays. It’s hard to imagine street wear chain Urban Planet getting any kinder to our wallets, but it is: deals will reach up to 50% off! Pick out the perfect ugly Xmas sweater while you’re there. Tristan… / Read More →

Don’t whine, have wine! 10 places to drink up in Montréal

Wine is in Montréal’s blood, partly because it’s a bacchanalian sort of party town, partly because of its French heritage. But restaurants and wine bars go way beyond the limits of the Old Country today, with private-import wine lists from around the globe that inspire both oenophiles and weekend tipplers to open their minds and palettes. Here are some awesome spots to clink glasses. Philémon Bar The wine list at this stylish hangout may be short, but it hits all the marks and offers 16 choices by glass, plus it pairs perfectly with the tasty dishes so beloved by the hungry crowd of Old Montréal partyers. Try the beef tartare with smoked jalapeno sauce with a 2013 Pot d’vache Gamay from the Loire Valley. Cul-Sec Named after the French expression for “down the hatch,” this small wine hub in Little Italy invites people to take their organic, natural and artisanal wines to go (with a meal), or to sit down for a glass and a deceptively simple plateful of deliciousness, ranging from satisfying salads to decadent sandwiches (the boneless BBQ rib bun is not to be missed). Le Comptoir Nestled in a narrow storefront on the Plateau, this “comptoir à… / Read More →

Get the star treatment at Montréal’s boutique hotels

The kind of luxury reserved to a boutique hotel is all about the particulars – the property’s aesthetic, the amenities, the unique touches that are offered only there. Treat yourself to the personalized experiences hidden all over the downtown core, at Montréal’s beautiful boutique hotels, and start building lifelong travel memories. Le Place d’Armes Hôtel & Suites Located a few steps away from the Notre-Dame Cathedral, this Old Montréal hotel in a stunningly retrofitted 19th century building has a lively nightlife at Suite 707 and the rooftop bar, plus Japanese dining at the Kyo Bar Japonais. The great perks for guests include free wine and cheese tastings. Hôtel Nelligan On St-Paul in the heart of Old Montréal, this property boasts one of the city’s most stunning views from the rooftop deck. Settle in for an outdoor tête à tête in the summer, or in cooler months, sink deep into one of the armchairs in the lobby or the happening eatery, Méchant Boeuf. Reserve a room with a view onto the impressive Atrium. Auberge du Vieux Port Another hotel with a fantastic rooftop! Because of its location facing the St-Lawrence River and the Old Port, nothing beats watching the weekly fireworks… / Read More →

Get shopping at Montréal’s indie fall and winter markets

This city is a creative volcano, constantly erupting with new things to do, see and buy. There’s no better place to start for the latter than in the Montréal’s indie markets, especially around the holiday period, when they rev up their offerings of independent fashion, design, décor, jewellery and more. So save your green, it’s time to paint the town red! Marché des ateliers Capitol: November 13-14 Get your fash on at this market uniting 30 local designers in the Capitol building, in a two-storey space in the heart of Mile End. Capitol regulars will be on the spot, including women’s wear designer Betina Lou, unisex accessories brand Cantin and kids brand Romarine. There’ll also be guest designers, like the cute sweatshirt makers La Montréalaise Atelier, dress designer Valérie Dumaine and menswear brand Of Sharks & Men. Come of Friday night for wine, bites and music by DJ Noah Bick. Expozine: November 14-15, 2015 An indie fair like no other, Expozine is organized by Archive Montreal, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving local independent culture. This ode to the printed page unites hundreds of tables full of zines, comics, novels, poems, postcards and posters by publishers including Drawn… / Read More →

5 Montréal essentials: tasty treats

We’re celebrating food this month in Montréal. (Actually, we never stop celebrating it). The point is, the timing is ripe to profile five of the most fantastic flavour designers we’ve come across as of late. There are artisans for everything in this gastronomically daring city – from spicy peanut butter to fancy cocktail elixirs! So keep some space in your luggage for these mouth watering souvenirs. Cafiti Cafiti has become well known for their tasty products and beautiful presentation, which make the perfect hostess gift or souvenir – if you can bear to part with them! There are delicate meringues, crunchy bread sticks, pretty champagne vinegar pearls and our favourite, the savoury veggie preserves, which will breathe new life into any sandwich. Try the sweet and crunchy bread and butter pickles, the green pepper jelly or the sumac and chilli olives. Find Cafiti products online here, or in person at fine food retailers including select IGAs, select Metros and Fromagerie Hamel (Jean-Talon Market). Products starting at $3.95 MixIt At a loss for someone’s birthday present? How about a personalized tube of cereal? It may sound weird at first, but with the gorgeous packaging (complete with the name of the giftee)… / Read More →

What’s on now in Montréal galleries

September in Montréal isn’t just abuzz because it’s back-to-school time – it’s also a return to art, because so many of the city’s small contemporary art galleries and artist-run centres close for the summer months. The resurgence is such an exciting time! Here’s what’s going on in 10 key spots. Galerie Division Catch the work of Toronto photographer artist Scott McFarland in a solo show until October 10. His large-scale works are complex, patiently assembled pictures that resist classification solely as photographs.  Parisian Laundry As headquarters to the Mois de la Photo until October 11, you’ll find works by artists Roberto Pellegrinuzzi, Dominique Blain and Laia Abril (among others) that relate to the biennale’s theme of the Post-Photographic Condition. Check out the long list of participating galleries here. Fonderie Darling Until October 25, catch two shows: Hôtel Formes Sauvages, a video triptych by French artist André Fortino, and an exhibition by Roy Meuwissen in the small gallery about the news and the various artistic languages that recount it. Antoine Ertaskiran Painter Martin Golland gets solo run of this space in Little Burgundy with an exhibition titled Setting the Stage, featuring work depicting a fictional meeting point between a built environment… / Read More →

5 Montréal essentials: décor

We have a special relationship with the objects we use every day – which is why souvenirs you can enjoy in your home are the best way to remember a place fondly. Montréal has got a slew of handsome designs on offer, conceived by home-grown creative geniuses. Here are five Montréal essentials you won’t be able to live without! Monumental Love Sit pretty on a piece of Montréal history with the beautiful cushions by Monumental Love, a brand hat transforms gorgeous photos of the city’s iconic sights (think Orange Julep, the Five Roses sign, the Monster ride from La Ronde) into decorative objects. The full-feather pillows come in two sizes, 18 x 18” and 24 x 24”, and the photos are printed here in Montreal onto butter-soft cotton twill. The brand also makes magnets, prints, post cards – even phone cases. Find the cushions online here, or in person at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal boutique (185 Sainte-Catherine Street West), a great source for Montréal-made design right in the heart of Place des Arts. Starting at $60 for the 18 x 18” cushion cover. Atelier Non-Useless This Buddy table in the Friends series just goes to show how portable,… / Read More →

Four Great Day Trips from Montréal

Often described as the gateway between Europe and America, Montréal is also the ideal launching pad for some amazing daytrips. Within a couple of hours drive, you can see unique foliage, soak in natural springs, have a bona fide sugar shack experience, pick your own fruit, take a bite out of history or explore the nation’s capital. Which will you choose? Eastern Townships The Eastern Townships region starts barely an hour after you’ve crossed the Champlain Bridge, which goes to show how very close it is – and why it’s such a popular destination for cyclists. This area to Montréal’s southeast is mostly farmland and rolling hills, acting as the city’s breadbasket, with cornfields, fruit fields, vineyards, and dairy farms galore. Go for a day to take in the wine route, a cheese tour or an orchard hop (prepare to come back with bagsful of apples in fall). Or, for a weekend, reserve a couple of nights in one of the area’s renowned inns that dot the pretty towns, including Hovey Manor in North Hatley, Maplewood Manor in Waterloo, Ripplecove Lakefront Hotel and Spa in Ayer’s Cliff, or Auberge & Spa West Brome. Laurentians To the city’s north, this vast… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: September 18 to 24

It’s a pre-fall frenzy, with the cultural season on the cusp of busting open while Pop Montréal and Mois de la Photo alone are putting on more to-dos than you’ll be able to fit in. Hope you’re wearing your sneakers so you can hit the ground running! Pop till you drop Hop your way through Pop Montréal until September 20! Among the city’s most exciting music festivals, Pop unites hundreds of rock, pop, hip-hop, folk and electro artists in venues all over Mile End and the Plateau (and beyond). There are dozens of shows every night, not to mention music-industry insider talks, film screenings, the Puces Pop art & craft fair, Fashion Pop’s catwalk shows, Art Pop’s amazing exhibitions and talks (don’t miss yours truly interviewing amazing artist Olaf Breuning on Friday, September 18 at 6 pm). On Friday, September 18, highlights include AfriKeleKtro, Crystal Eyes and/or Mötorhead; on Saturday, Eleni Mandell is unmissable at an early 6 pm show; and on Sunday, finish the weekend off with an atmospheric smorgasborg courtesy of People Pretend, starting at 11 pm. A matter of image Sensory Stories at Phi Centre invites visitors to discover immersive experiences and new technologies that engage our… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: September 11 to 17

Back to school already? No worries, it’s recess every hour of every day somewhere in Montréal! Pop Montréal sets the tone for this week of full-packed fun, not to mention the tons of great art shows to see, plays and dance performances to catch and quiet nice times to be had too, like in the botanical gardens. Oh, and anyone down for a BMX competition? Pop music Welcome to Pop Montréal, one of the city’s most exciting music festivals (and that’s saying something in the city of festivals!), uniting hundreds of rock, pop, hip-hop, folk and electro artists in venues all over Mile End and the Plateau (and beyond). With dozens of shows every night, not to mention music-industry insider talks, film screenings, the Puces Pop art & craft fair, Fashion Pop’s catwalk shows, Art Pop’s amazing exhibitions and talks (don’t miss yours truly interviewing amazing artist Olaf Breuning on Friday, September 18 at 6 pm), expect your schedule to be extra packed between September 16 and 20. Opening night sets the tone with a party at Pop HQ, plus shows by Cœur de Pirate, Félix Dyotte, Molly Sweeney, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Ruby the Hatchet, Ecstatic Vision, Fanfaraï,… / Read More →