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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…

M0851: QUALITY MADE IN MONTREAL

I like to travel light, usually limiting my luggage to a laptop bag and a carry-on. Simply. Effectively. I like pretty objects that are practical, good designs that last but that are nonetheless remarkable. One of the things I systematically get asked about when I travel–and I swear it happens every time–is: – Excuse me, but may I ask where you got your bag? – Oh, this bag? (I can see their eyes searching for a known brand tag…) It’s from M0851. – It’s really nice. I love the minimal look. Is it from Tokyo? – Actually no, it’s from Montreal. – Reaaaaally…? That leather looks very expensive… – …But it’s not, seriously… – Looks like you just bought it. – I’ve had this one for close to ten years now… …and the conversation often goes on and on to a point where I feel like an actual M0851 salesperson. And you know what? I always feel this certain pride in “showcasing” a distinctive and such well-made product made in Montreal.

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.

GET DOWN AND SHOP IN THE UNDERGROUND CITY

My parents were born on a sunny island in the Pacific, so I like to believe that I’m genetically opposed to winter. Thank goodness then for Montreal’s Underground City, a massive web of tunnels that connects a major area of downtown office buildings, hotels, museums, banks, condominiums, great deals on smoked meat, shopping malls, metro stations, and even the Bell Centre.

SHOPPING AT MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

Whether you are in town for a meeting or with your family, friends or loved one, you will find many great holiday gifts ideas at the boutiques of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. There are two shops: M Boutique offers more traditional fares, and Design Space offers the cleanly contemporary.

STREET PROFILE: MONT-ROYAL AVENUE

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…