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Your Spring Break guide to eating, drinking and partying, Montréal-style

Spring Break amazingness? You can have it all in Montréal. With its 3 a.m. closing hours, drinking age of 18 and hugely depreciated dollar (the whole city is basically a 30% off sale), Montréal is a win-win-win Spring Break party proposition. Let the following be your guide to doing it up right. Eats and pre-drinks There are those of us who would argue that the eating and pre-drinks portion of the evening is the most critical phase: not only are you laying a base for the remainder of the evening, you’re setting the tone. If you’re starting out on the Plateau Mont-Royal, imaginative hipster magnet and oyster/cocktail bar Le Majestique is all eye candy and killer cuisine. Fab fun food and drinks are also the raison d’être of L’Gros Luxe (Caesars topped with hamburgers, ’nuff said), and Big in Japan’s delectable small plate menu and vibrant vibe have also made it big in Montréal. If downtown, head to Sainte-Catherine Street West for Imadake, another Japanese small plate pub with a fun bordering on raucous atmosphere (which may have something to do with their signature “sake bombs”). Dominion Square Tavern is a must if only for the beautiful 1920s setting, though the… / Read More →

Montréal winter nights are bright with activity possibilities

Nighttime is always the right time for both family fun and slightly more adult-oriented activities and entertainment in Montréal during the winter season. Gliding on ice under night skies is a sublime pastime at the Old Port’s idyllic Bonsecours Basin skating rink, a huge open-air surface renowned for its exceptional ice. It features some of the most striking views of Old Montréal and the city skyline in an extremely fun-friendly environment. Each day has a different music theme: classical Mondays, world music Tuesdays, urban sounds Wednesdays, and so on. The ice is open Monday to Wednesday until 9 pm, and Thursday to Sunday until 10 pm. Skate rentals and lockers are available. Many of Montréal’s most beautiful parks also feature night skating along with music, warming stations and/or places to eat and, er, lubricate. The picturesque Parc Lafontaine, Parc Maisonneuve and Beaver Lake on the summit of Mount Royal are all examples of top-tier blading places that typically stay open on the weekends until 10 pm. For locations, skating conditions and other info, please go here. Speaking of the mountain, Mount Royal Park is an outdoor winter sports enthusiast’s dream. In addition to skating, sledding and cross-country skiing – there… / Read More →

Ski Tour Canada World Cup race slides into Montréal for first time

Cross-country, indeed. The organizers of the 2016 edition of the world’s largest cross-country skiing event are taking full advantage of being in one of the world’s largest countries. While not quite sea-to-shining-sea, the 12-day Ski Tour Canada 2016 – FIS Cross-Country World Cup will span several thousand kilometres of the country, from the Rocky Mountains in Alberta to the ski hills of Quebec, including one hill in particular with a long history of skiing: Montréal’s Mount Royal. Skiing on Mount-Royal – at one time the home of alpine ski slopes, chair lifts and a top-flight ski jump – can be traced back to 1879, making it one of the oldest skiing sites in Canada. (And the mountain’s dozens of kilometres of skiing and snowshoeing trails, as well as skating and tobogganing, continue to make it a premiere destination for outdoor winter sports enthusiasts). So it’s only fitting that Ski Tour Canada 2016, the biggest cross-country ski event ever presented in Canada, will take place on a challenging course that traverses the summit of Mount-Royal, winding around prominent landmarks like Beaver Lake and Mount Royal Chalet with its spectacular vista on the city. Adding to the excitement, Ski Tour Canada 2016 –… / Read More →

Montréal’s healthy appetite for the Alouettes

Pro football in Montréal, both on and off the field, is typically far from boring. This year is no exception for the city’s Canadian Football League (CFL) franchise, the Montréal Alouettes, as the team hits the halfway point of the regular season and readies for a drive sure to satisfy football-hungry (and hungry football) fans. While the Als may be down in the overall CFL standings at the moment, the beauty of the Canadian game is that rebounding teams can remain in contention, so look for the Als to deliver on the promise of an exciting second half to the season. And the fun won’t just be on the field. In 2015, much of the focus off-field has been on the fans, with a number of new events and activities designed with the overall game-day experience in mind. Starting with stomachs. Football? Foodball! While home field Percival-Molson Stadium, nestled into the side of Mount Royal, provides for a dramatic setting complete with scenic views of the city, it doesn’t lend itself well to traditional NFL-style tailgate parties for the simple reason that there are no sprawling concrete lots in which to park your pickup. A good thing. It’s inspired a… / Read More →

10 Montréal “musts” for first-time visitors

A first-time visit to any city can be overwhelming. What to see? What to do? And most importantly — how to prioritize it all?  To simplify your initial Montréal visit, we’ve compiled a simple list of crowd-pleasin’ attractions. Think of it as a “greatest hits” list of what to see and do in a diverse and exciting city. In no particular order, here are ten activities and attractions that first-time Montréal visitors might want to put on their “must see” list. Climb Mount Royal (The Lookout) Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (the same landscape architect who crafted New York’s Central Park), the “mountain” park at the heart of the city is the city’s most iconic landmark — and the most popular place to snap a Montréal selfie. Reach the viewpoint at the top of Mount Royal Park by walking up the stairs or with a guided tour. In the chalet at the summit, visitors will find washrooms and a small canteen for refreshments. Give yourself a breezy two hours. Spree on St-Catherine As one of the longest commercial strips in Canada, Sainte-Catherine Street is the perfect place for retail rehabilitation. You’ll find international fashion mainstays such as Gap, Victoria’s Secret… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Thierry-Maxime Loriot

Since its inauguration at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2011, the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit has toured the world, attracting more than 2 million visitors on three continents. Now at the tenth stop on its tour, the exhibit is on display at the Grand Palais in Paris—the fashion designer’s hometown—where it will remain until August 3, when it will pack up and head to Munich for the fall.  To mark this symbolic milestone, we met with Thierry-Maxime Loriot, former international supermodel and the exhibit’s curator, to discuss this extraordinary experience and ask about his favourite spots in Montréal. Here’s the interview. Why were you interested in being appointed as curator of the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibit? This is the first exhibit that I’ve curated on my own. I had already done two other exhibits for the Museum of Fine Arts. There was Imagine: A Ballad for Peace from John and Yoko as well as Expanding Horizons: Painting and Photography of American and Canadian Landscape 1860-1918. But fashion has always been my main area of expertise, since I spent 10 years in the field and still have strong ties to this industry I love. I find it really exciting to make… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Michel Rabagliati

Michel Rabagliati is the man behind Paul, the character of his graphic novels based in Montréal and famous worldwide for quiet adventures in which Paul explores the countryside, the metro system and the fishing pond. Translated from their original French (Les Éditions de la Pastèque) into many languages (including English by Montréal comic publisher Drawn and Quarterly), Rabagliati’s work is boundless in its charm. He told us about his Montréal. Job: Graphic novelist Favourite pastime: Singing in a choir. It’s something I love, first of all because it gives me a reason to leave my house (I’d probably stay chained to my drawing table for months without noticing otherwise), and second, because it’s hugely satisfying. Working in harmony and bringing human voices together in concert is truly a unique experience. Who knows, maybe song is the solution to war! How long have you been a Montrealer? I was born here, in Rosemont, in the 1960s. I had a delightful and worry-free childhood. I’ve never envied those who grew up in the countryside. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? I think that would be going on set during the shooting of the film based on my work,… / Read More →

My top 10 favourite places to photograph in Montréal

When asked to write a guest blog post for Tourisme Montréal on my top 10 favourite places to photograph in Montréal, I was torn with what to include. Montréal offers a multitude of great places to shoot and keeping the list to just 10 was quite a challenge. One of my top reasons for loving Montréal is the wide variation in seasons that provides the photographer an ever-changing canvas. In putting together my list, I tried to incorporate places that provide a different atmosphere depending on the season. 1. Bonsecours Basin I included the Bonsecours Basin for a number of reasons. First, it’s a great place to visit pretty much anytime of the year. In summer you will find people enjoying the pedal boats, in winter you have the ice rink and in autumn the trees are bursting with colour. The basin also provides a great spot to photograph the city skyline at sunset. 2. Place d’Armes Recently renovated, Place d’Armes in the heart of Old Montréal is a key stopping point for anyone visiting Montréal. In the centre of the small square is the monument to Paul de Chomedey and with the backdrop of the Notre-Dame Basilica, the art-deco… / Read More →

10 Things that Make Montréal Shine

We’ve been telling you for years: Montréal is an amazing place to visit. With world-class dining, accommodations, festivals, museums and heritage sites, enhanced with four distinct seasons and sexy French charm, our city consistently ranks among the world’s best. Naming all our successes could take a while, so we’ve narrowed down the list to a cool round-up of 10 media nominations that rank Montréal among the world’s hottest travel destinations. Since we’ve come out on top in such a diverse range of categories—including some that will surprise you (check out #7!)—we know that Montréal offers something for everyone. See which features will tickle your fancy, then go ahead and book your ticket. Here are just 10 things that put Montréal in the limelight: 1.  Best Winter Destinations National Geographic, December 2014 “Montréal is at its most magical blanketed in snow. Bundle up, get outside, and celebrate winter at the 16th MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, the city’s biggest winter arts, music, and food festival. Save some energy for the final night’s Nuit Blanche à Montréal, a dusk-to-dawn party packed with more than 200 indoor and outdoor activities. Most events are free, and some are held under the stars or, if you’re lucky, the lightly falling snow.” 2. Best Music… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Raphaël Gaspard, owner of Garçon fleur

September 10, 2015 Editor’s note: The Garçon Fleur shop is closed for an indefinite period. Garçon fleur, a.k.a. Raphaël Gaspard, has been delivering happiness on a bike for over a year. With the wind in his hair, he rides the streets of Montréal, distributing beautiful bouquets of wild flowers, which he creates himself with great attention and discernment. This expanding bucolic and environmental project has been hugely successful in reviving the image of florists. Two years ago, Raphaël also co-founded Gaspard & Roy with Félix Roy (singer for the Montréal rock group Human Human and head barman at Bouillon Bilk), a chic bar service that offers custom-made cocktails and showcases fine alcohols with market-fresh products. For Mother’s Day, this thriving young man, born in Germany but a Montréaler for 20 years now, shares his favourite go-to spots on where to smell the first blooms of spring and spend a perfect day with mom. What’s new with Garçon fleur in 2015? Garçon fleur is expanding with three new delivery bikes that will be bombing around the streets of Montréal selling bouquets to passers-by—a veritable wildflower shop on wheels. We’re also preparing lots of exciting partnerships and the release of our second… / Read More →