The downtown district of any major city often tops the list of things ‘to do’ for a traveler. Montréal’s downtown is a mélange of stores, restaurants, cafés, galleries, corporate headquarters, and yes, those famous “adult cabarets.” Yet the central business district of every metropolis can risk blandness. And a selection of discriminating Montréalers have accused the downtown area of being overly commercial, with a heavy emphasis on big-brand shopping. And we understand that one could feel blasé in any given retail area. But among the generic giants there are plenty of gems. You just have to know what to look for. Here are a few of our favourite things about Montréal’s Downtown district.
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Meet Andy Nulman. He’s the brains, and clearly the good looks (see below), behind the massively successful Montréal comedy festival “Just For Laughs.” “In 1985, Andy Nulman joined the festival’s staff and introduced Anglophone events as well; under Nulman’s stewardship, the festival increased to a full month, with French-speaking performers during the first half, and English speakers in the second half. International and non-verbal acts (acrobats, pantomimes, etc.) are scattered throughout the program.” (Wikipedia) The Just For Laughs is the largest festival of its kind in the world. It has brought many comedians to Montréal, such as Jeff Foxworthy, Tim Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Russell Peters, Dame Edna Everidge, and Bill Cosby. But enough about those jokers! Let’s meet Mr. Nulman!
Each month THE MONTRÉAL BUZZ features five gay or gay-friendly things to do or see around the city. Recommendations range from parties to bistros to festivals to boutiques to cultural events. Here are some suggestions for the month of June.
There is nothing that closes off a killer night out like a burger, some greasy fries and a soda. The fat and carbs from neon-bathed diners help to absorb the evening’s over-consumption, thus reducing the potential of an inconvenient hangover. In fact, the restorative properties of poutine, for example, have been proven by scientists. And by “scientists” I mean “frat-boys-who-study-leisure-sciences.” And I wouldn’t necessarily trust that crowd, but their research has been an integral contribution to formulating a perfect party night. The last leg of an epic evening often ends with comfort food. Here are 5 Montréal greasy spoons to keep your adventures fuelled.
The Gay Village is the clear destination for homos who travel to Montréal. With tons of bars, boutiques, cafés, saunas, salons and bistros, one could very well spend a weekend without needing to go elsewhere. But I sense that you are a gay with a flair for adventure. Being constrained to the Gay Village would only cramp your sophisticated sensibilities. In your quest for alternatives to the gay mainstream, here is a selection of homo hot spots in four other Montréal neighborhoods.
Meet Julien Smith. He’s that hip NYT bestselling author who wrote the book “Trust Agents” with Chris Brogan. Long before that, he was that avant-garde podcasting kid who knew (and still knows) much more about the web than both you and I. According to the Montreal boutiques where he shops (see video for Julien’s fashion confessions), I decided to make the assumption that Julien is now rich. But don’t be fooled. The Twitter fame and designer plaid don’t mean that Julien is migrating to glamorous LA. In fact, Julien loves Montreal so much, it only made sense I ask him about his favorite spots in the city. You’ll find all his answers in the video, with links and addresses below.
As Michael Musto is to New York City, Richard Burnett is to Montréal. Equal parts cuddle-icious cartoon character and fierce, loudmouth bitch, Richard Burnett is undeniably a Montréal gay icon. His nationally syndicated column, Three Dollar Bill, has been keeping queers in Montréal and across the nation au courant for 15 years. Burnett knows this city like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter. This makes him a perfect choice for this edition of MEET A MONTRÉALER.
Though he and his new album, Running High, travel the world’s dance floors, Montreal producer Poirier is happy with his home base… Poirier (who recently dropped Ghislain from his stage name) has become one of Montreal’s most in-demand and interesting producers/DJs. And though he’s constantly touring and has played shows on almost every continent in the world, he’s still got plenty of love for the Mile End neighbourhood he calls home.
It is becoming a widely accepted axiom that gay people are tons of fun. As a gay man, I feel comfortable with this notion, and would also like to add that we’re creative, playful, strong and stylish! Oh yes, and we’re clearly humble. This being said, it is perfectly natural and normal to feel attracted to the gay community.
“People are always welcome here. All I want is to keep everybody happy”. At 88, Hyman Sckolnick, the owner of Montreal’s Beautys, still has one thing on his mind: making sure everyone who walks through the door of his 1942 luncheonette leaves in high-spirits.