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NIGHT LIGHTS SHINE BRIGHT

“Trippy” was how my colleague described them. So I had to go and check out the “big white ball things” in front of Place des Arts and on the esplanade of Place des Festivals. In summer, the area comes alive with water jets, sprinkling people that walk by or completely dousing those who just can’t take the heat. In winter, as I’ve now seen with my own eyes, the public space appears to have been invaded from outer space.

THAT WAS THEN – A HISTORICAL LOOK AT SAINTE-CATHERINE STREET

My colleague Brendan Murphy recently posted a blog about Sainte-Catherine Street, as part of his Montreal street profiles series. I have many a fond memory of this vibrant main drag, one in particular includes a time when I flew in from Vancouver (where I used to live) and went to see a Boys to Men concert (they were cool back then) at the Pepsi Forum, which is no longer an arena and hockey home for the Habs but a cinema and retail funhouse. After the show, my girlfriend and I walked from there all the way to Parc Avenue and up to our hotel on Prince Arthur, which is now a dorm for McGill University. At that time there was no Simons department store, Cinéma Banque Scotia was known as the Paramount, and there was no H&M, much less two. In retrospect, it seemed like a really long trek. But that could’ve been in part due to the chunky platform heels I had on. They were cool back then, too – and I guess they’ve finally come back full circle. Anyhow, this is just a tiny example of how much Sainte-Catherine Street has changed since then, and since I moved… / Read More →

MONTREAL BEST NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTIES

I know you’re all super busy returning Christmas presents online, but, when you have a second, here are some of the best New Year’s Eve parties in Montreal…

10 FAMOUS MUSICIANS CHAT ABOUT MONTREAL

It was a fun year for The Montreal Buzz as we chased down our favorite rockstars for their sentiments on the city. Whether in town as part of one of the many stellar festivals or touring for new album releases, most artists made time to do a bit of exploring around Montreal and had some great things to say. In random order, here are our ten most memorable musician moments.

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL

We’ve already told you about the best places to go skating in Montreal. But what about all the rest of the winter sports one can do? Your cross-country-skiing, your snowshoeing, your tobogganing and the like? Well, fear not my near-frozen friends, we’ve got you covered there too… A

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S MENUS

Stay and Eat over the holidays in these elegant downtown hotel -restaurants Old Montreal is gussied up to its finest, with snowy streets and twinkling lights and all the romance you could ever want. So hunker down in one of the city’s glam hotels and check out the holiday menus at some of the city’s best restaurants, that you can slip into without weathering the wind outside… If I were coming to Montreal for the holidays, I would want to stay at the Hotel St-James, and I would want to eat Christmas dinner at XO, one of Montreal’s top-rated restaurants. The St-James is old-world elegant at any time of year, but over the holidays, the soaring 19th-century roo is in its element.

MONTREAL’S DELUXE DEPARTMENT STORES

A Akin to Barney’s and Saks in the U.S., Shoe Mart in the Philippines, Seibu in Japan, El Corte Inglés in Spain, and Selfridges in the U.K.; downtown Montreal has her own fancy department stores. Three major ones are La Maison Ogilvy, The Hudson’s Bay Company, and Holt Renfrew. I encourage shoppers and visitors to visit all of these beautifully historic “cathedrals of commerce” whose turn-of-the-century architecture reinforces the adage, They just don’t build ‘em like they used to.

DIY: MONTREAL CHRISTMAS TOUR

Montreal’s public farmers’ markets are not only places to do your grocery shopping, but also gathering places for the community. The market is also an ideal place to seek out the ingredients for a traditional or modern holiday feats—Foie Gras half-baked in a terrine is a traditional Christmas treat from the Old Country, and these days, chefs around town like to sass it up with maple syrup, ginger and ice wine.

HILTON MONTRÉAL BONAVENTURE

The Hilton Montréal Bonaventure was built back in the day to accommodate the wave of foreign folk who would come for the International World Fair: Montréal’s fabulous Expo 67. Some 40 years later, this 395-room hotel has certainly been around the block, and then some.

OYSTERS ON THE MAIN

Winter is the traditional season for oysters, though Maestro owner and Maitresse d’hotel Ilene Polansky reminds us that the thing about only eating bivalves in months ending in “r” went out when refrigerated transport containers came in. But December reminds us that oysters are delicious, so we satisfied our craving the other night at Ilene’s Montreal classic, Maestro S.V.P.