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STREET PROFILE: MONT-ROYAL AVENUE

2010 has been a busy year for the Montreal Street Profile series. We started with Bleury, Parc, Maisonneuve, Saint-Paul and Saint-Zotique. We visited Crescent, Greene Avenue, Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Denis. For our final installment of the year (hint: make sure to come back in 2011!), we thought a stroll down Mount-Royal was in order, in no small part because it offers some very “a la Montreal” shopping that is perfect for the holiday season… Given that it starts at Mount Royal, it’s not hard to figure out where Mount-Royal Avenue gets its name. Of all the streets we’ve profiled, this one has perhaps the most iconic landmarks of them all: you can look down from its mountainous starting point and see the Big O, where it ends. (Our exploration will a bit shorter than that.) It is a totally charming street, as “Montreal” as they come, especially in the summer when a large portion of it is blocked off from traffic. It boasts some of the city’s classic diners, some great restaurants and cool bars and, while Saint-Catherine may boast the big name stores, Mount-Royal boasts the cool independent shops that you won’t find anywhere else…

CELEBRITY-SPOTTING IN MONTREAL

The who, where, and why you might care. A few days ago after a few late night cocktails at Barroco Restaurant (312 rue St-Paul ouest) in the Old Montreal, gal pal Mary* and I moseyed over to Le Papillon Rose (1071 côte du Beaver Hall) to fete our buddy Josh’s birthday (forever 39, right darling?) Josh – despite being PR man for Hype energy drinks – is a decidedly laidback dude. Mary, then, was a perfect study in contrast when actor Owen Wilson walked through the doorway and she shrieked, “Owen Wilson!” (In her defense, it was a very ladylike shriek; I don’t think everybody noticed.)

HOCKEY: HABS 101

Let’s just get right to the point: the Montreal Canadiens‘ 2010-2011 hockey season has begun. If you live in Montreal, you know this already. If you’re visiting the city, we’ve put together a quick cheat sheet to help get you caught up…

STREET PROFILE: SAINT-PAUL

Our Montreal Street Profile series has already hit Bleury, Parc and, most recently, Maisonneuve. Which is convenient, because even though we’re now heading down to Old Montreal to check out Rue Saint-Paul, these two streets share something in common…

DO YOU KARAOKE?

Before we get into listing some great spots in Montreal that specialize in karaoke, I’ve got a couple fun alternatives for your consideration. If you’ve ever jammed out to Bob Marley and thought your “No Woman, No Cry” was on par with his, House of Reggae’s weekly reggae karaoke is clearly for you. Another cool as dirt option is uRockaoke which does regular bar nights and special events and features a live band made up of musicians from some of the city’s best indie groups. And finally, a new kid on the block is Crowd Karaoke , whose premise is simple and kind of genius: everyone in attendance sings together, rowdy choir style. While unfortunately their latest installment just passed, make sure to practice up at some of the places below and join in the crowd next time around…

MONTREAL’S BELVU IS A BOAT AND A LOUNGE

The Belvü, a swanky yacht, docked in Old Montreal is the kind of craft only the very well-off ( and their friends ) usually get to visit .  Except that this handsome embarcation is made accessible to anyone looking for a glammed- up, Miami Vice- style nautical experience .

GO HABS GO!

A few hours before Game 2 between the Montreal Canadiens and the Philadelphia Flyers, we asked a few Montréal luminaries, artists, bloggers and all-around cool cats what the Habs mean to them.

MONTRÉAL IN A BOTTLE: MTL PREMIUM LAGER

Can you infuse a drink with Montreal’s DNA? Pol Brisset is a 35 years old passionnate – and experienced – brewer who believes so. He created the MTL Premium Lager to export his vision of the city’s creativity, refinement and Joie de vivre. I met him to hear the story behind the design of this tasty brew, to admire its see-through-font-loving bottle… and to enjoy a little liquid lunch!

CANDI BAR: MONTREAL’S NEW GROWN-UP TREAT

Ladies and gents, say hello to Candi Bar, the latest brainchild of Paulo Branco, owner of the already legendary Montreal bars: Gogo Lounge and Chez Serge Bar.  Made out of 80,000 pink and purple Mega Bloks (Canada’s legos), Candi Bar is hands down the ultimate nightlife destination (nightlife fans should check out this sweet deal on show tickets from La Vitrine) for any gal who appreciates original drinks and playful design. And you know if all the girls are going, logically, that means it will also be celebrated by the boys. Let’s see how long it takes them to start sipping on slushy pink cocktails!