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SHOPPING ON RUE SAINT-PAUL

If you stroll along Saint-Paul Street, it’s not hard to see why many dub the city of Montreal the “Paris of the North.” The narrow cobblestone streets, Old World architecture, French signs and – mais oui! – the fantastic shopping, are all reminiscent of the fabled City of Light…

MISS AMERICA IN MONTREAL

I tried. Short of wrestling Teresa Scanlan to the ground, I did my very best to wiggle my way into wearing the new Miss America’s tiara. Alas, I was told that, other than the Beauty Queen herself, only “little girls” could wear the sparkly headdress. I did, however, bring something for her to wear…

GREAT FURNITURE FINDS IN MONTREAL

Antique furniture collectors are very familiar with the wealth of goodies available on Montreal’s famed Antique Row (a.k.a. rue Notre Dame). If the word “antique” to you denotes dainty porcelain teacups or Baroque Louis XIV legs, there’s a whole other side to furniture shopping that may surprise you…

THE ROMANTIC VALENTINE’S DAY WEEKEND IN MONTREAL

(Warning: Super-romantic post ahead. Gentlemen readers may want to brace for impact.) Once upon a time, a knight in shining armour called me up and said, “My Lady, allow me to show you a Valentine’s Day in Montreal you’ll never forget.” Not one to resist such chivalry, I jumped out of my slippers and PJs, threw on some red lipstick and donned my cutest LBD…

LIVING THE HIGH LIGHTS LIFE

I’m all for cosying up by the fire on a cold winter’s day, but when the High Lights Festival (Le Festival Montréal en Lumière), now in its 12th year, rolls into town, I’m out and about. Dubbed a party for the senses, there are really three parties wrapped into one…

THE HEAT IS ON AT IGLOOFEST

Last week I went to my first Igloofest. Or, as one friend put it, “You lost your Igloofest virginity.” [Insert happy face here.] While I can’t exactly say I’m a brand new woman, I do have a new appreciation for the month of January. How, I wonder, did the last three editions of this massive outdoor party ever pass me by?

OLD MONTREAL GOURMAND À GO-GO

The Happening Gourmand festival is happening right now (it started Jan. 10) and will run until Jan. 31. For any Toronto-folk reading this and scratching their heads, this is sort of like your Winterlicious. For Manhattanites, think New York Restaurant Week, only smaller and wrapped up in Old World charm and ambience.

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’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.