When Formula 1 racing rolls (loudly) into town for three days, June 6-8, it’s not just about the action on the track, the raucous nightlife, the almost limitless adventurous gastronomic options, and panoply of Grand Prix–related activities. It’s also an opportunity for discriminating fashionistas, art aficionados and those looking for that extra-special something to get their shop on, Grand Prix-style.
A logical starting point would be the exclusive F1 Boutique Canada, which occupies 2,000-square feet of prime real estate in Old Montreal, lending credence to its claim to be the largest motor sports retailer in North America. Want a Mercedes AMG Petronas Team Polo? They’ve got you covered. Trip won’t be complete without a Ferrari Team t-shirt or a stylish Lewis Hamilton ball cap? They’ve got those too, as well as a mind-boggling selection of souvenirs representing the many 2014 Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada teams including Scuderia Ferrari, Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Williams Martini Racing, Mercedes AMG, etc.
While in Old Montreal, avail yourself of the vast array of upscale designer boutiques and exclusive private art galleries that nestle in amongst the centuries old greystone buildings and cobblestone streets. You’ll want to take in designer home décor boutique Baldaquin, jewellery and handcrafts gallery-boutique L’Empreinte Coopérative, contemporary designer clothing boutique Cahier D’Exercises,plus galleries Le Chariot and Elca London, for collectors of native art and sculptures. Also in Old Montreal is the home base workshop and boutique of Swell Fellow, featuring the signature original creations of tie designer Erik Fürer. Want to go to the Grand Prix in high style? Swell Fellow has, for the occasion, a specially made line of exclusive Grand Prix cloth iPad cases done in F1 colours as well as an eye-catching men’s tie, featuring a removable Scuderia Ferrari F1 racing car, that’ll get you off to the races.
Downtown is the next destination for the shopping connoisseur, and in addition to the blocks and blocks of name-brand stores and boutiques that line the central east-west commercial corridor Ste. Catherine Street, there’s a whole other world of walking that lurks underneath. Montreal’s world-renowned underground city, which weaves through 33 km of underground tunnels, is populated with every persuasion of retailer, and connects all the major shopping centers, including the exclusive, architecturally beautiful Cours Mont-Royal.
If exploring Montreal shopping on foot has some appeal, then there’s a fantastic opportunity in the form of the Mont-Royal Ave. street sale, the largest summer trade fair of its kind in Montreal. The many trendy boutiques, bars and bistros that line this inviting east/west artery, which from June 5-8 will be closed off for pedestrian traffic only with street arts in abundance and businesses remaining open until 11 pm, represents some of the best of what cultural Montreal has to offer.
And amongst the local groceries, bakeries, bars and restaurants that run the considerable length of Montreal’s main north-south thoroughfare (called, appropriately, The Main) are a very liberal scattering of small boutiques, many of which feature the creations of top local designers. Couturier Georges Lévesque’s Boutique Scandale has been a Montreal institution for decades, while Unicorn Boutique, Les Étoffes, U&I, Tate + Yoko, the original M0851, and many, many more meet the needs of fashion-minded Montrealers and visitors alike.
Photo Credit: Orlando G. Cerocchi, Pierre Boudreault
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