Since our last street profile focused on Rue Bleury it makes perfect sense that our next installment touches on Avenue du Parc, the butterfly of an avenue that the Bleury, uh, caterpillar transform into once it crosses Sherbrooke. Heading north from the Sherbrooke intersection, Parc extends all the way up to Jean-Talon, along the way showcasing a ton of great spots
In a trip up an avenue called Parc, one must obviously begin with the parks. On one side of Parc is one of city’s most recognizable landmarks, Parc Mt-Royal, home to running trails, woods, the Tam Tams and even a mountaintop café and restaurant. Directly across the avenue is Parc Jeanne-Mance, home to baseball diamonds, tennis courts and a football pitch, but more importantly, hundreds of Montrealers having BBQs, drinks and games of Frisbee and/or bocce with their friends. It is one the Plateau/Mile End’s main meeting points.
Once Parc crosses Mt-Royal, we start getting into the diverse restos and eateries that have remade Parc into an actual destination. In fact, Tourtiere Australienne is so close to the parks that many choose to grab some food there and head back to the grass to consume it. Right across the street is a great French, Marseilles-style spot, Le Massilia, but the real star of the area these days is Buvette Chez Simone, a wine and food bar that has become so popular that reservations have become absolutely essential. Right beside it is Idee Fixe, a dive bar that you won’t find featured on any guides to city, which is probably why it’s a popular spot for locals looking for cheap beer and a game of pool.
Moving a couple blocks north, we arrive at Cabaret Mile End, the old home of legendary venues Club Soda and Kola Note, whose reopening promises to bring some great shows to the area. Right across the street is Café Gamba, which makes as good a latte as you’ll find in the city. From there you hit the avenue’s Greek resto zone- including Mythos, Symposium and the star of the show, Milos considered to be the best Greek restaurant in the city (something its prices reflect- try the much more reasonable lunch special). From there we head up to the corner of St-Viateur and Parc, where you’ll find another great coffee shop and bakery called Navarino. Those who’ve actually walked all this way up Parc will find they can totally justify eating one of their ham and cheese croissants. Though there are plenty of other great spots of note, we’ll end our tour of Avenue du Parc at Rialto’s, a converted movie theatre that is one of the most amazing interior spaces in the city. Rumour has it that this on-again-off-again venue will be all the way on-again for concerts in September, so make sure to check it out.
The best way of wrapping this tour of Parc is with Montreal band Plants and Animals, whose members live and record on the street. In fact they’re so attached to the street that they named their debut album Parc Avenue. In the video below, you can take a trip up Parc with them and maybe even catch a couple of the landmarks mentioned above reproduced in miniature…