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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 →

Get ready for Montréal’s delicious Festival YUL EAT this September!

The second edition of Festival YUL EAT is coming to Old Montréal on Labour Day weekend (September 5, 6 and 7) and promises to be bigger and better than the first time around, not to mention absolutely delicious! Access to the main site at the Old Port’s Clock Tower Quay is free and allows for three glorious days rubbing elbows with Québec’s best chefs, producers and food providers. You’ll be able to discover and taste some of the products that make the province’s gastronomy offering so unique, and chat away with the purveyors who work tirelessly to keep us all well fed. Exclusive and original meals, a farmer’s market, street food, culinary workshops, and food-centric conferences are all on the menu of what promises to be one of the best food festivals Montréal has ever seen. Eat, discover and party at Festival YUL EAT presented by Evenko and Productions Premiers Vendredis! EAT YUL BRUNCH Start each festival day with your choice of any (or all!) of three collaborative brunches bringing together chefs and their assigned food trucksfor the event. Saturday, September 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guest Chefs: Jason Morris, Restaurant Le Fantôme / Benoit Lenglet, Au Cinquième Péché… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Nick Farkas

As cofounder of festivals Osheaga, Ile Soniq, Heavy MTL and, starting this September, YUL EAT, Nick Farkas never stops. The only downside to his culturally immersed life is that sometimes, he’s too busy to enjoy other people’s events, like Just For Laughs and the Rogers Cup! This is how he experiences Montréal. Job: Vice President, Concert and Events, Evenko. Favourite pastime: Listening to music. How long have you been a Montrealer? Since 1970, when I was 5 years old. My parents came from Hamilton. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? Osheaga this weekend! The next three weekends of festivals, with Osheaga followed by Heavy Montréal and then Ile Soniq, are our busiest time in the year. What’s the next big thing you’re planning? We’re doing a new festival called YUL EAT in Old Montreal, near the Clock Tower, in the beginning of September, over Labour Day weekend. In the midst of doing our other three festivals and the 13,000 shows we do a year, the team decided it was time to do another festival. Tons of chefs, cooking classes, brunches, dinners, free concerts and more. What’s your favourite thing about organizing events? Definitely seeing the reaction… / Read More →

Montréal en Histoires unveils multimedia historical walking tour

Montréal en Histoires is a large-scale multimedia project celebrating the rich history of Montréal. It highlights the riveting drama of crucial turning points in the city’s history – such as the 1849 fire that destroyed Canada’s pre-Confederation Parliament Buildings in Montréal – and the human stories of such local sports icons as Maurice Richard and Jackie Robinson. Original vignettes and short movies with characters in historical dress are projected on trees, streets and buildings while viewers are able to access audio via a free mobile application that provides dramatic, descriptive and musical content. “This project will enable Montrealers to reacquaint themselves with their own history, but it will also engage tourists,” says Martin Laviolette, founder and executive producer of non-profit historical society Montréal en Histoires. “There are so many things to do in Montréal year-round, but locals and tourists all enjoy wandering through the cobbled streets of Old Montréal. Each stop on our free do-it-yourself Montréal en Histoires tour lasts about two-to-three minutes.” The $11-million Montréal en Histoires is made up of three projects as the city prepares to celebrate its 375th anniversary in 2017: 1) the Montréal en Histoires free self-guided historical walking tour application for smart phones and… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Julie Gilbert, Owner of Ô Deux Sœurs

Special collaboration with Florence Gagnon, president and founder of Lez Spread the Word Ô Deux Sœurs (which loosely translates as “At the two sisters”) is a restaurant, a caterer and an organic grocery store that has hung out its shingle on Rosemont Boulevard for five years now. Owner Julie Gilbert and her team have made it their mission to continually reinvent the pleasures of eating, adding a philanthropic twist by offering their customers quality food at affordable prices. With its “comfort food” style cuisine using local products, Ô Deux Sœurs also offers vegetarian, organic and gluten-free variations on its menu. On weekdays, you can select from the table d’hôte menu for lunch and dinner. On weekends, the restaurant serves up a sumptuous gourmet brunch. You’ll also find a list of delicious sandwiches, salads, desserts and beverages that are served all day long. As well, their new selection of coffee and a variety of prepared meals are always available on-site. For the past two years, the restaurant has been on a roll – literally – with the Ô Sœurs Volantes food truck, which dishes out equal parts salads in tortillas, meatball dishes and satisfied smiles. Ô Sœurs Volantes hits the road… / Read More →

On the Run! Great Jogging Trails from Amazing Montréal Hotels

If your starting line is: The Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth Few hotels around the world can boast a Running Concierge, but then again, few hotel chains dedicate as much thought to fitness as Fairmont does. (Try their fitness-gear rental program – it’s so handy!) At the Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth in the heart of downtown Montréal, every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6:30 am between May and late September, the lobby fills with avid runners led by Vicki Findley, Convention & Catering Services Manager in addition to being the Running Concierge. She and her colleagues – all marathoners or triathletes – combine the best of both worlds: fitness and exploration of this gorgeous city and its assets. “As we run, we give information about the hotel and the city,” explains Findley. “It starts out chatty, but as we go and the breathing gets heavier, it tends to get a bit more quiet!” Among the three jogging routes offered, the most popular is the 7 km downtown/Plateau run. The group goes up McGill, then runs into the McGill University campus to the exit on Milton. They continue east on Milton, until St-Laurent; then go north up to Prince Arthur. From there,… / Read More →

Weekend brunch options around downtown Montréal

Brunch is a very Montréal affair. Montrealers partake in this culinary tradition quite regularly with complete abandon – and at a leisurely pace – to start the weekend on the right note. While there are tons of delicious brunch options all over the city, here are some of our favourites in and around downtown to Old Montréal. Old Montréal: Le Cartet Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Part restaurant, part fine food store, Le Cartet has a very New York feel to it. It’s open almost all day, every day but is especially nice for weekend brunch. Le Cartet also doubles as a fine food store with an impressive collection of chocolates. Suite 701 Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday brunches at Suite 701 are laidback while Sundays are set to the beat of an in-house DJ. The brunch menu includes items such as fried chicken, mac and cheese as well as your usual omelettes and egg dishes and their signature house cocktails. Restaurant Holder Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m.to 3 p.m. A typical French brasserie, Holder’s cuisine is classic français. The brunch menu includes great omelettes and Benedicts as well as a kids’ menu… / Read More →

A guide to Montréal’s must-see neighbourhoods: Part 1

Every enclave of Montréal has its glittering highlights and its open secrets – in Part 1 of our guide, we look at Old Montréal, Griffintown, Little Burgundy, Saint-Henri and Verdun – from restaurants to historical sites, shopping to outdoor adventure, each of the city’s neighbourhoods has something unique to offer. Old Montréal Vieux-Montréal represents the city’s historical heart, yet boasts plenty of modern flare, especially among its boutique hotels and creative eateries. Tread the cobblestone streets past centuries-old architecture to visit museums, cathedrals and art galleries, walk along the Port of Montréal on the St. Lawrence River, dine at heavenly restaurants and charming cafes, relax at a bar or a luxurious spa, go shopping for high-fashion by local and international designers, or wonderfully kitschy souvenirs, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, and see live music and more on the bustling streets. Griffintown In the past few years, some of the city’s hottest restaurants, bars and art galleries have popped up in Griffintown, just south of downtown, joining antique shops and historical sites to heighten the profile of the growing neighbourhood. On the foodie front, breweries and cafés rub shoulders with fine dining and cocktail lounges. One of the city’s larger commercial gallery spaces,… / Read More →

Handy Guide to Montréal’s Theatres

With two languages and more budding actors than it knows what to do with, Montreal is an epicenter for the performing arts. Just look at our festivals for proof! There are theatres for kids, for avant-garde performance, for Shakespearian classics and for crazy fun romps, in English, French and everything in between. Take your pick!

Halloween in Montreal for Adults

Though Montreal has lots of kid-friendly Halloween fun, for grown-ups who want to treat their inner child to some Halloween tricks this year, Montreal once again has no shortage of A-Z options for a scarily good time…