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Meet a Montrealer: Simon Bajouk of the Ritz-Carlton Montréal

In an age of automation and travel apps, working as a hotel concierge is a somewhat of a noble and nostalgic endeavour. The job melds devotion to personalized service with encyclopaedic knowledge of a city. The best concierges are able to advise guests on restaurants, nightlife, sightseeing tours, shopping and more. They answer a plethora of questions — and if they don’t know the answer, you can be certain that they’re going to get it. Meet Simon Bajouk, a Clef d’Or concierge at Ritz-Carlton Montréal hotel — and check out some of his favourite local places. First off, what does it mean to be a Clef d’Or concierge? A Clef d’Or concierge has been working in a hotel for at least five years. To become part of the elite network, you apply and go through a process of qualifications: you write a test, you respond to a variety of mystery shoppers and then you also give a speech. Finally, the local chapter of your Clef d’Or association will vote. This process can take many years! What’s the biggest challenge for a 21st century concierge? The challenge is to be more prepared and more informed. The guest is already on TripAdvisor —… / Read More →

Late Night Dining in Montréal

Summer in Montréal is an exciting time of year. From festival after festival, sidewalk sales, movies in the park and a plethora of other activities and events to keep you busy, there’s no rest of the weary. Keeping yourself fueled for late night walks along the cobbled stone streets of Old Montréal or taking in the sights and sounds of Place des Festivals is essential. In a city that barely sleeps during the summer, here are some of my favourite places for late night dining. L’Express: 3927 Saint-Denis Street The quintessential Parisian-style French bistro will transport you back to the days when you were a struggling poet pouring your heart and soul into your unappreciated work over a coq au vin in some bistro along Boulevard Saint-Germain. That wasn’t you? Well, you’ll feel like it was. Open until 3 am daily and 2 am on Sundays, L’Express is a popular dining destination for locals at any hour. With dishes like their famous bone marrow starter to calf liver with tarragon, their take on classic French dishes will leave you wanting more. Leméac: 1045 Laurier Avenue West Leméac is another great bistro that will satiate your stomach with French classics and… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Philippe Demers

Montréal’s MASSIVart and Chromatic co-founder Phillippe Demers is living proof that avant-garde art, international business, punk rock parties, cross-country skiing and next-level doughnut-loving are not mutually exclusive pursuits. The 28-year-old Demers is one of the original minds behind Montreal’s highly regarded and hugely active MASSIVart collective. MASSIVart was created to showcase art (and by extension the artists) by making it more accessible through special events and by taking it out of traditional art spaces to places where one might not otherwise expect it. This mission evolved into the model for Chromatic, an annual arts party/festival showcasing some 150 artists which takes place at the summit of Mount Royal. The social mandate of Chromatic – which also has a commercial services arm that provides events planning and art integration – is to promote artists and make sure their work is accessible to everyone. This year Montréal will be represented at the very first edition of Chromatic in Paris (April 2 to 4). Now let’s meet Demers. When at work, who are you? “I’m the general manager and the co-founder of both Chromatic and MASSIVart.” What’s the coolest thing about your job? “The coolest thing is that it’s never the same. I do… / Read More →

Late Night Eats in Montreal

Montreal’s nightlife is bustling no matter what time of year; from cold weather activities to summer festivals, it seems like there is always something going on in the city.