Actually cool Montréal souvenirs
This article was updated on November 14, 2018.
It’s so nice to have things to remember a trip by, but is there anything cheesier than tourist-shop fare? Luckily there’s a crop of stores in Montréal that offer genuinely cool Montréal-specific gear you’ll want to take home not just for you, but for anyone on your gift list. And no snow globes in sight.
Boutique de BAnQ
The shining new addition to the coolest library in town, the BAnQ, is a boutique packed with affordable goodies (mostly between $5 and $50) representing Montréal and Quebec at large, including gourmet products, designer maps, objects for the home – including framed images of Quebec heritage moments – and various wearables.
The store nestled in the Phi Centre arts complex is a go-to place for local-fashion hunters, as it unites exclusive pieces by young designers who may not have their own storefront. From Le Cartel to WRKDEPT, Field of Ponies and Pedram Karimi, you’ll find fly street wear or all sorts here, as well as silly phone cases, blingy jewellery and art-printed scarves that make fantastic gifts.
A veritable who’s who of Montréal creators, YUL Designs is like the Etsy of made-in-Montréal ware, ranging from jewellery to foodstuffs to design objects to clothes. It’s an online store mainly, but they have pop-ups and a pied-à-terre on St-Laurent near Bernard. Bring back a taste of the city with syrups by Les Charlatans, designed to mix into cocktails or to make into Italian-style soda for kids.
This mini-chain of design stores in Little Italy offers goods from all over the world, but there’s a particular focus on local products. BELANGERMARTIN has two locations a block away from each other, one with more focus on homeware, the other more clothing. Both are worth checking out. We’re in love with the rope lamps by Annie Legault.
Museum of Jewish Montréal
The headquarters of the street-tour based Museum of Jewish Montréal, right at St-Laurent corner Duluth, are like a community centre: there’s a fantastic restaurant serving Montréal-Jewish classic, a small exhibition space and a shop with a beautifully curated selection of books about the city. How about the Joe Beef cookbook?
Mostly an art gallery focused on street art from all over the world, Artgang is a massive space on St-Hubert in Rosemont that also sells a very cool collection of urban clothing, featuring brands from Montréal like New Regime, Boro and their own house brand of sweats, tees and MTL baseball caps.
Off The Hook
Speaking of streetwear, Off The Hook is a mini-chain of three boutiques – the newest of which is on Boulevard Saint-Laurent on the Plateau – that specializes in fly gear. Among the internationally renowned brands you’ll find local lines of clothes and accessories, including booklets by COUPLE d'IDÉES, wallets by La Compagnie Robinson and hilarious hoodies by LavalOuRien. Not to mention their own Off The Hook goods.
A fun and friendly women’s clothing store in Mile End, Boutique Unicorn specializes in independent designer goods with a focus on local designs, especially pieces by the likes of Eve Gravel and Valérie Dumaine. The range of Montréal-made jewellery is original here and great for easy gifts; or for something a bit more luxurious, check out the selection of stylish backpacks by local brand Woolfell.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s eclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.
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