Canada Travel Guide: Montreal is a summer pedestrian playground

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Illustration by Amélie Tourangeau

From the chic art galleries of the Golden Square Mile to the trendy boutiques of the Mile End to the trendy restaurants of Saint-Henri, every summer in Montreal boroughs opens her windows and hosts her own version of a street party – and everyone’s invited.

It all starts with more than ten streets in residential and commercial districts that turn into pedestrian playgrounds (see the complete list at ville.montreal.qc.ca/ruespietonnes). This makes working with the locals all the more interesting. Outdoor dining, impromptu performances from local circus institutions such as the incredible Montreal Completely Cirque, outdoor art galleries such as Galerie Blanc and more are on the menu.

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One of the city’s nicest walkways is the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne, a 3.8-kilometer trail that winds through heritage institutions such as the 1929 Bell Telephone headquarters and public art installations. like the Hector Guimard Art Nouveau metro from 1967. entrance to the station, gift from the city of Paris. Built to celebrate Montreal’s 375th anniversary, the trail takes you from the St. Lawrence River to the iconic Mount Royal Park while visiting remarkable areas such as Old Montreal, downtown and the McGill campus.

Montreal’s Golden Square Mile is the place to find chic art galleries.

Damien Ligiardi Photographer / Tourisme Montréal

And if you walk around town on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the Tam-Tams du Mont-Royal is the best place to hang out with the locals and listen to music. The spontaneous drum circle is open to any percussionist eager to keep up with the beat and create a sort of ephemeral concert that, on a good day, can last a few hours. Get off your BIXI (the city’s short-term bicycle rental service), grab a snack, and join in the dancing, if only for a short while or as you travel from downtown to Mile End. The detour is worth it, because this event is the personification of the quirky spirit of Montreal.

Foodies will be happy to learn that Montreal’s gastronomic scene is as tempting as ever. New establishments, such as BeauTemps, Barranco, BarBara, Mastard and a few dozen others have opened their doors with enthusiasm. Gastronomic establishments such as Le Club Chasse et Pêche and Montreal Plaza, in the snack like Chez Tousignant, restaurants have learned to master the art of take-out and have developed creative cuisine throughout the year. This summer is no exception, and many of the city’s best restaurants are taking advantage of the abundance of local ingredients to create incredible take-out as well as beautiful picnic baskets to enjoy al fresco with a bottle. of cold wine or a local craft beer. .

Food trucks are also expected to make appearances in a few residential neighborhoods, including some, including Le Gras Dur and Mi Corazon Le Taco, strategically located around parks (montreal.bestfoodtrucks.com). This summer more than ever, Montrealers will be enjoying the great outdoors in their city and everyone is invited to join in.

Montreal’s food scene is as attractive as ever, from fine dining establishments to neighborhood snack bars.

Fitz and Follwell Co / Tourisme Montréal

Nature getaway in the city

To commune with nature, discerning Montrealers go to Frédéric-Back Park. Located northeast of the city center, the old quarry is under construction and, when completed in 2026, is set to become the largest environmental rehabilitation project in the city’s history. Easily accessible by public transit or bicycle, the 153-hectare park (half the area of ​​Central Park) is home to a 5.5 km bike path, numerous walking and jogging trails, and picnic areas. outdoor activities and art installations. It is also the scene of numerous sporting and cultural events.

On the east side of the park, look for the round white alien-looking pods designed to cover biogas collection wells. The phosphorescent spheres emanate a green tint at dusk, adding to the surreal aspect they give to this part of the park. In the Boisé Est sector, there is a belvedere with a 360-degree view of downtown, Mount Royal and the leaning tower of the Olympic Stadium, the best place in town to witness one of Montreal’s fiery sunsets.

In Frédéric-Back Park, you can come across round white pods that look like an extraterrestrial intended to cover the biogas collection wells.

Eva Blue / Tourism Montreal

And in the western part of the park, you will find the indoor skate park of Taz. This is also where the Montreal Soccer Stadium emerges from the ground in perfect harmony with its environment. This architectural wonder was designed by local superstar firm Saucier et Perrotte and has won several architectural awards.

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Frédéric-Back Park is located inside the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex, which also includes the La Tohu and Cirque du Soleil circus centers. These institutions offer a plethora of tours, including activities that explore the park and all it has to offer.

Luxury accommodation

Hotel Humaniti, slated to open this month, is just steps from the bustling streets and downtown shopping district, as well as the cobbled lanes and yesteryear charm of Old Montreal. This is the first Marriott Autograph Collection hotel in Quebec. Don’t forget to take a swim in the rooftop pool.

The Humaniti hotel is the first Marriott Autograph Collection hotel in Quebec.

Hotel Humaniti Montreal

For a more intimate stay, the Griffintown hotel offers beautifully designed modern condos with all the comforts of home. The one and two bedroom apartments are located in one of Montreal’s trendiest neighborhoods and are surrounded by trendy restaurants, cafes and boutiques.

Le Germain downtown hotel has undergone major renovations inspired by the design aesthetic of Expo 67. Six floors have been added, as well as a ground floor bar and a French bistro, Le Boulevardier . Located within walking distance of most of Montreal’s major museums and shops, it’s also pet-friendly and lets you check in whenever you want.

Market day

Located in Little Italy, the Jean Talon Market is the largest open-air market in Montreal and one of the largest in North America. Open since 1933, it’s all about food, so if it’s a souvenir you’re looking for, you won’t find one here, unless it’s a tin of maple syrup or another local product. Open 361 days a year, the summer version of the market is a pleasure to discover, whether you are greedy or not. From wild plants picked only in Quebec to Jardins Sauvages to more conventional products, the outdoor stalls are full of colorful piles carefully lined up like edible works of art. It’s a good place to grab a few oysters on the half-shell from AquaMare, a whole cooked lobster from Délices de la Mer, or a spicy Balkani sausage sandwich for lunch. You’ll probably see the best chefs in town doing the same.

On the other side of the city, with a prime location along the Lachine Canal, the Atwater Market is easily recognizable by its art deco tower. Also open since 1933, you’ll find the same kind of pretty stalls featuring local fruits and vegetables at this market. Its Pôle des Saveurs is where you’ll want to head for a variety of lunch options offered by the many outdoor stalls. The Satay Brothers and their Singaporean specialties are a must-see.

The best feature of these farmers’ markets, however, is not their incredible generosity, but the amazing people who inhabit the aisles. From farmers and fishmongers, to spice hikers, bakers and cheese makers, they all have incredible stories to tell. It is best to go there on a weekday, when they have more time to chat. If you catch them on a good day, they may even share a bite or two of a new treat they’re stocking or working on.


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