Every year for 35 years, the Montreal International Jazz Festival has stood out as an annual highlight for Montrealers and visitors alike, from memorable music performances to quiet nights walking the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, a saxophone sounding in the distance. Keep those memories vibrant at this year’s festival, June 26 to July 6, with a variety of souvenirs and gifts unique to Montreal.
One of the best ways to bring home the Montreal International Jazz Festival is, naturally, with some of the music featured live on the festival’s many stages, whether outdoors on a sunny day, inside the acoustically-impressive theatres of Place des Arts, or at one of the city’s acclaimed live-music venues. Find albums by almost all Jazz Fest artists, past and present, as well as a dazzling variety of jazzy souvenirs – clothing, accessories, housewares, toys and more – at the festival’s main outdoor boutique outside Place des Arts, and find more speciality items in Old Montreal at gift shop Trésors du Monde and the Swell Fellow boutique, featuring a saxophone-adorned tie specifically designed for the Festival.
Take your shopping trip to downtown’s Sainte-Catherine Street, where stores of all kinds – think everything from Apple to H&M – line the busy artery from the Quartier des Spectacles all the way to Atwater. Along the way, detour into Montreal’s famous underground city, where international retail chains and Quebec-made success stories, such as Simons department store, share a 30-kilometre stretch of pure retail therapy, including Eaton Centre and Cours Mont-Royal. For a taste of global high-fashion, walk up a block to Sherbrooke Street’s Golden Square Mile to find Holt Renfrew and numerous boutiques and commercial art galleries.
Local designer boutiques and specialty stores also proliferate, side-by-side with art galleries and gourmet restaurants, along Old Montreal’s European-styled Saint-Paul Street – search out home décor boutique Baldaquin, jewellery and handcrafts gallery-boutique L’Empreinte Coopérative, contemporary designer clothing at Cahier D’Exercises, as well as galleries Le Chariot and Elca London. Another great spot in Old Montreal is the home base workshop and boutique of Swell Fellow, featuring the signature original creations of tie designer Erik Fürer. If you’re looking exclusively for Made-in-Quebec goods, be sure to also peruse the 15 boutiques at Marché Bonsecours.
Travel just a little eastwards and find numerous shops along Saint-Denis Street, Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Mont-Royal Avenue, nestled next to cafes, bars and restaurants. Referred to colloquially as The Main, Saint Laurent Boulevard also has its fair share of local designer goods, including Couturier Georges Lévesque’s Boutique Scandale Les Étoffes, U&I, Tate + Yoko, the original M0851, and further up towards Mile End, Unicorn Boutique and many more uniquely Montreal shopping experiences.
Summertime – and especially Jazz Festival time – is also the right time to stumble upon Montreal’s open-air street sales. From June 24 to June 29, explore the Chinatown Street Sale. Move a little north to find the Quarter Latin Street Festival from June 27 to June 29, in the area around on Saint-Denis Street between de Maisonneuve and Sherbrooke. The Montreal Gay Village Street Sale sees most boutiques open their windows and doors into the street from July 10 to July 13. And the massive Sainte-Catherine Street West Sidewalk Sale beckons sale-savvy shoppers, July 12 and 13.
Montreal International Jazz Festival, June 26 to July 6, 2014
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