Centered around the main arteries of Rue Ste-Catherine and Rue Amherst, Montreal’s Gay Village is among the largest in North America. During the nighttime, this area is animated with fun-seekers of all kinds. It’s during the day, however, that one can truly see and feel the deep sense of community that the Village is blessed with. It’s the passionate shop owners, the smiling baker and the cute coffee-shop barista that has travelers and locals alike loving the Village.
So grab your boyfriend, girlfriend or boygirlfriend and find out why people keep on coming back to the Village. Maybe it’s the darling little knick-knack shops, the trendy clothing stores or simply the engaging proprietors. The Village boutiques listed below all have a certain “je ne sais quoi” that have all sorts of travelers tickled-pink!
Ménage à Trois: Hiding at the far end of the Village, Ménage à Trois is a bookstore/boutique focused on queer content. Browse tables of books, DVDs, comic books and LGBT magazines from all over the world. Head to the back of the store for the most beautiful selection of erotic gay and lesbian postcards I’ve ever come across. Send one home to a loved one or as a keepsake for yourself!
Frip Frap: A self-proclaimed “pop friperie”, this store is hard to miss. Combining new and vintage products, Frip Frap appears to sell almost anything and everything. During the summer season, Frip Frap has the coolest sidewalk terrace in the Village. Why? Because the terrace is filled with its unique array of retro tables and chairs!
KA•VIE•ART: A combo gallery/boutique, KA•VIE•ART only sells collectables made by local artisans of Quebec. Handmade jewelry, art, pottery and clothes make this chic boutique a pleasure to browse. Even more exciting is the once a month “HmmARTini” (usually on the third Saturday of the month) when the artisans come to the store to meet clients, answer questions and sell their products. I’ll definitely go back to grab one of Robert Murphy’s “Groovebowls”, which are vinyl records bent up into a bowl shape.
Podium: Podium is a boutique that sells men’s clothing and accessories imported directly from Japan. It’s only been open two years, but has already amassed a dedicated clientele of all ages. Tim Nguyen (Podium’s owner) says “People come here to find something edgy and unique. The people that shop here want something that you can’t find in the more generic chain stores.”
G.O.D: G.O.D, on Amherst, stands for Greatness or Desire. With one-of-a-kind men’s fashion items imported from Hong Kong or from Montreal based designers, this is a Mecca for lovers of design. A must-see are the wacky yet functional couture scarves by Antonio Ortega. Even if you find this store doesn’t quite match your style, it’s still worth a trip to meet G.O.D’s fabulous owner, Dragon. Dragon not only fills his boutique with personality, he also designs and sells his own bespoke line called “D.N.A Montreal”.
Second Chance: Like the name suggests, this boutique store gives its stock a second chance at finding a loving home. With little wiggle-room, this store (also on Amherst) is filled with glamorous objects from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The owner of Second Chance says his most popular items are authentic memorabilia from Montreal’s Expo 67: “Tourists just love them! It’s an unusual and special souvenir to bring home.”
Priape: An adults-only emporium that explores the saucy side of life. No cameras are allowed inside, so you’ll have to use your imagination. From adult oriented DVD’s, magazines, sexy underwear and massage oils – this store has a little something for everyone. The real fun begins when you descend the staircase into the basement. You’ll just have to see it to believe it.
Guest Blogger: Alex Dunphy
Ménage à Trois, 1672 St-Catherine East, (514) 656-5451
Frip Frap, 1387 Ste-Catherine East, (514) 522-8355
KA•VIE•ART, 1410 Beaudry, (514) 657-3535
Podium, 1321 Ste-Catherine East, (514) 903-8740
G.O.D, 1447 Rue Amherst
Second Chance, 1691 Amherst, (514) 523-3019
Priape, 1311 Ste-Catherine East, (514) 521-1309
Photo Credits: © Tourisme Montreal- Mario Melillo, Alex Dunphy