Few cities can compete with Montréal’s mouthwatering mix of food, festivals and fun-centric living.
Blessed with one of the most exciting food scenes in North America, Montréal brims with temples dedicated to Kamouraska lamb, Arctic char and, of course, poutine (fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy). You’ll find irresistible patisseries, English pubs, 80-year-old Jewish delis and magnificent food markets reminiscent of Paris. There are hipster bars with bowling alleys and innumerable cafes in which to while away a lazy afternoon. And above all, there are the best bagels on the planet.
Toronto may be Canada’s economic capital, but Montréal remains the country’s cultural juggernaut, with some 250 theater and dance companies, over 90 festivals and a fascinating medley of neighborhoods where artists, writers and musicians have helped cement the city’s reputation as a great arts center. The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is the headline event, followed by parties dedicated to world cinema, comedy and gay pride. There’s truly something for everyone at all times of the year.
City of Design
Montréal is a slice of old Europe in a pie of contemporary design. A day’s wander might take in the photogenic 18th-century facades of Old Montréal before a cycling tour of the lovely Canal de Lachine, or take in the glittering shops and restaurants of downtown and ending at the inviting terraced cafes of Plateau Mont-Royal. The architectural sweep of the city takes in a wealth of heritage churches such as the breathtaking Basilique Notre-Dame, as well as 20th-century icons like the Stade Olympique and Habitat 67.
Montréal does get some long, cold winters. But the natives have learned to make the best of them, cheering on local hockey legends Les Canadiens de Montréal, tobogganing in Parc du Mont-Royal, building ice hotels by the St Lawrence River and skiing at many fine resorts nearby. If you can’t bear the chill, just wander through the underground city and surface at the nearest pub.
Why I Love Montréal
By Timothy N Hornyak, Author
I was born and raised in Montréal, but after living in Tokyo I’m always astonished at the breadth of culture in my hometown. Despite its modest size, Montréal packs a mighty foodie punch with its myriad restaurants and devotion to good food. I could spend hours wandering through the Marché Jean-Talon and then devouring its offerings at restaurants like Kitchen Galerie, or simply spending a warm summer evening drinking on a rooftop patio in Old Montréal. But if I were exiled to a desert island, I would insist on bringing as many bagels from St-Viateur Bagel as possible.
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