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Mordecai Richler, author of St. Urbain’s Horsemen and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, is probably Montreal’s most famous writer. When Barney’s Version, the film adaptation of his most famous and last novel, opens in theatres on December 24, the world will have a chance to revel in the life and locations of Barney Panofsky, Richler’s autobiographical anti-hero.


Birks has been a Montreal institution for fine jewellery since 1894. Last September, the chichi store opened an equally chichi resto-boutique on the mezzanine level called Birks Café par Europea. Ladies who lunch can now “take tea,” as they say, overlooking a dazzling array of jewels and designer watches. I was happy to hear that heading this gastronomic endeavour was none other than Montreal top chef Jérôme Ferrer whom many locals know from his chain of restaurants, including the haute cuisine Europea, as well as Andiamo, Beaver Hall, and Espace Europea.


What a good idea! Montreal’s Westin Hotel has a massive covered driveway – perfect for arriving in a bit of snow or rain. The area is totally closed in, so the hair, the gowns and the stilettos stay perfect. You are protected by a four-storey high roof and glass closed-in indoor-outdoor ‘room’. There, valets whisk your car away as you enter Montreal’s newest hotel.


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…


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then you’ve a whole delightful Montreal story ahead of you. We’ve scoured Flickr for some of the best shots of the city, wanting to highlight the various seasons, architecture and landscapes. Thanks to all the Flickr users who were willing to share their work with us! Enjoy! PS: If you’ve got a stunning Montreal image that you think should be included, leave a comment with the link to your photograph. We might just want to do a second round…


Let’s get right to it: you know what ice skating is and even if you’ve never been to Montreal before, you probably think it’s a good place for it. And you’re right. Here’s a list of places where you can skate arm and arm with a loved one, play pick-up hockey with some goons you just met or just freeze standing up for a while before getting some hot chocolate…


All that glitters is not gold, a smart gentleman named Shakespeare once said. And by that I’m sure he was referring to all the shimmering sterling silver, sparkly diamonds, and twinkling gemstones that the world has to offer—and, oh, let’s not forget beautiful pearls. Whenever I travel to new (or old) places, I like to buy local jewels or handmade trinkets to remind me of my trip. Then when people comment on the mini-ornaments hanging from my earlobes (likewise, around my neck, wrists, or fingers), I can say matter-of-factly, “These little things? Why, I found them in an adorable little shop in the South of France.” (I don’t really talk like that, but it’s never too late to start.) As such, when my out-of-town girlfriends come to Montreal, I like to steer them toward local boutiques, so they can peruse the baubles of our belle province for their own “souvenirs”—and so I can get my fill of retail therapy too.


I was about nine years old when I saw my first ballet – The Nutcracker. What little girl doesn’t dance around in her PJs and dream of being Clara? (Although, personally, at that age I was more interested in leaping around in a tutu than hanging out with any Toy Soldier.) Thus began a love affair for classical dance that never really faded, even after a very discouraging Ballet For Adults class. Some things, I’ve discovered, you just have to start at a young – and pliable – age.


There is apparently some big holiday at the end of December that, every year, seems to take a bite out of our concert schedule. Though Christmas, as I believed it’s called, does bring with it all sorts of recitals and choirs, what about those of us that just want to rock out with our stockings out? Read on…


  We’d already worn our several pairs of virtual walking shoes by the time the Montreal Street Profile series hiked down Bleury, up Parc and across Maisonneuve. But, entertained by the sights, sounds, shops and smells, we hit Saint-Paul, Saint-Zotique, Crescent, Greene Avenue and went shopping on Sainte-Catherine. We decided we deserved a good time, so we headed next to Saint-Denis…