Montreal’s Grand Prix attracts a jet-setting, international crowd, many with seemingly bottomless expense accounts. And while the races at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit are the main attraction, let’s face it, it’s the over-the-top parties and celebs like Carmen Electra that really spice things up…
The Grand Prix du Canada F1 mania begins on the Thursday and Friday when the drivers do press appearances with their sponsors (such as Jenson Button at Harry Rosen and Hamilton Lewis at Birks). The “Peel Paddock” also begins. It’s a free outdoor event on Peel Street, where cars are blocked off between Rue Ste-Catherine and De Maisonneuve. Similar events go down on Crescent and St-Laurent, which are also free of traffic but packed with luxury cars. If you’re looking for instant F1 ambience, these are the places to be.
Pop sex-itude princess Rihanna gave Montreal 2 huge shows on Friday and Saturday night at the Bell Centre and was subsequently spotted all over town with Drake, including at La Mouche and Terrasses Bonsecours (as well as at the track on race day). I also heard that Kevin Garnett, the NBA player, was seen around town.
I had a lovely dinner Saturday night at La Coupole restaurant (inside Hôtel Le Crystal), where California babe Carmen Electra made an appearance with an entourage of bodyguards. I chatted with the glamour gal for a bit and complimented her skintight, hot pink mini that’s featured prominently in the video above. (PS- That yellow beast with the DeLorean doors in the intro is a Plethore Supercar made by Quebec-owned HTT Technologies. Getting into it with my leather mini-dress was not an easy thing to do.)
After a few cocktails on the terrasse and dancing at La Coupole (and a big kiss from boxer Jean Pascal), I headed to nearby Time Supper Club. A mini-stage (one of several) had some very provocative dancers strutting their stuff in front of a mirrored backdrop. It was all very Broadway Chicago but to a dance/house soundtrack. My amaretto sour, by the way, was also a whopping $20. As with hotel and restaurant prices, even cocktail prices were inflated. But I did bump into Ice-T at the door- and he called me “Baby”- so it was all worth it!
Speaking of money, and the extravagant usage thereof, also in town was Virgin head honcho Richard Branson, who held a party on Bota Bota. Tickets were only $500 per head. He was also spotted having dinner another night at Newtown on Crescent. In other celeb resto spotting news, actor Bradley Cooper of Hangover fame had dinner across of a friend of mine- I have eyes all over the city!- at Garde Manger.
Despite plans to hit about 200 more places, I ended the night at Velvet Speakeasy, a very cool underground spot. So many Grand Prix parties, so little time. For one compact weekend, Montreal is the epicentre of jet-setter heaven. If you’re planning on coming to Montreal next year for the races, I’d book my hotel reservations now. No joke.
Photo Credit: Drake/Rihanna: ©Terasses Bonsecours