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F BAR AND BRASSERIE T!: THE TWO HOTTEST NEW RESTOS IN TOWN

Montreal may not be New York, with dozens of media-crazed chefs and restaurateurs, but it has a vibrant yet easy-to-grasp restaurant scene, with a handful of true restaurant-world stars. Locals know them on a one-name basis: Picard. McMillan. Chuck. Ferreira. Laprise. These are some of the biggies. But more on this later…

LE CENTRE SHERATON HOTEL

Le Centre Sheraton is a hotel in the heart of the Montreal action. Located on the cusp of where the business borough meets the shopping district, the hotel offers up a warm welcome with its many stellar services.

8 MONTREAL “DROP-IN” YOGA STUDIOS

Yoga has become a regular part of many people’s physical and mental health regimes. And just because you’re on the road visiting Montreal, doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the yoga practice that you’ve diligently been developing. In fact, trying a new studio while I’m visiting a different city is one of my favorite travel activities. It counterbalances the often stressfulness of travel, while providing perfect opportunities for post-class conversations with locals. If you want to maintain the depth of your downward dog, or just need to chill-out during a busy business convention, here are eight studios in Montreal where we recommend gettin’ your yoga-on.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER WAS HERE

Yes, I’m sorry to report that Couture King Jean Paul Gaultier has left the building – that is, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. But don’t fret, fellow fashion fanatics. He’ll be back sooner than you think to launch his retrospective The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which makes its international debut right here in Montreal before continuing on to Dallas and San Francisco. Mark your calendars now, people: June 17 to October 2, 2011.

SOFITEL MONTREAL : A CLASS ACT

Seriously.  There’s absolutely no gimmick in that “five stars” rating. Everything at the Sofitel hits you as being top of the line.  Starting with the service. Four clés d’or concierges  (one of them being the actual vice-president of the international union) make sure every single customer gets what they want, when they want it.  The decorum adopted by the staff speaks for itself: the moment you step in, the staff makes you feel like royalty.

ARTIST DAMIEN HIRST SHOWS IN MONTREAL

Damien Hirst, one of the planet’s most famous (and rich!) artists is now carried and represented in Canada by Montreal’s Galerie de Bellefeuille. A YBA (Young British Artist) and reportedly Britain’s richest living artist (net worth valued at $344 million dollars!), Damien Hirst  is known for a series of artworks in which dead animals (including a shark, a sheep and a cow) are preserved in formaldehyde.  

MEAL BREAKDOWN: EUROPEA

As we sat at our table at the posh Europea, the other night, a friend turned to me and asked: “I wonder if it will be enough if I start with the gaspacho and have the mushroom pasta as a main course….”, to which I immediately answered: “Trust me, it will be more than enough, you have no idea what surprises you’ll get along the way…”.

QUEBEC’S FINEST CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS AT THE MAC

Your chance to see the best and the brightest. FREE! Montreal’s Musée d’Art Contemporain is showing top young Canadian artists thanks to the Sobey Art Award. The Sobey Art Award was created in 2002 by the Sobey Art Foundation. The Award is presented annually to an artist under 40 who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within the 18 months prior to being nominated.

ART: LILIANA BERZOWKSY AT CIRCA

The first glimpse of Liliana Berezowksy’s work at Galerie CIRCA is inviting. A soft, pink suede chair-like piece sits on the floor to greet you. Indeed, for a nano-second, you think it is a contemporary chair, offering comfort. Therein lies the rub: Your first clue are the nails… A large roundish piece – can I call it ‘sculpture’ I ask myself ? – sits in the middle of the gallery.