Montréal neighbourhood: Discover Mile End

Plateau-Mont-Royal and Mile End
St-Viateur Bagel & Café (Mont-Royal)
Daniel Bromberg

Daniel Bromberg

Officially part of the bustling Plateau Mont-Royal borough just east of the mountain, Mile End is one of Montreal’s most charming neighbourhoods, filled with a number of independent boutiques, vintage shops, delicious bakeries, coffee shops, and more restaurants than you can count.

Mile Ex End Montréal

Mile End in a nutshell

Earning its name as being a mile’s end from what was once the city’s northern limits, the neighbourhood’s boundaries are represented by Saint-Joseph Ouest to the south, Avenue du Parc to the west, Saint-Denis to the east, and just beyond Avenue Van Horne to the north.

St-Viateur Bagel (St-Viateur)

Architecture and demographics

Mile End began its urban development at the turn of the 20th century, as the city underwent rapid industrial transformation. Many recent immigrants to Montréal – from countries like Ireland, Italy, Ukraine, Poland, Russia, and more – were employed in the area. Jewish settlers were part of this large wave of migration and made up a significant percentage of the area’s population, many of them working in the shmata (garment) industry, and is the birthplace of renowned Montréal writer Mordecai Richler. 


Aside from a cluster of larger buildings in the area’s eastern section – many of which were transformed starting in the 1980s into artist studios, lofts, and for the tech and gaming industries – Mile End is populated with mostly residential redbrick buildings that are no more than three-storeys high. Saint-Laurent Boulevard, running right through the neighbourhood’s core, has a few impressive stone facades, including the former town hall (now a fire station).


The area’s population changed dramatically as of the mid-90s, when Ubisoft, a French gaming company, set up offices in the heart of the neighbourhood. Nowadays, Mile End features an eclectic mix of people – it’s unsurprising, for example, to see a group of young professionals and hipsters in their late 20s rubbing shoulders with a family of Orthodox Jews as they cross paths outside Saint-Viateur Bagel.

Drogheria Fine

What people love about Mile End

Said to be the cultural heart of the city, this is where residents flock to grab an Italian-style coffee (Third Wave shops abound, too) and something to eat from one of the dozens of “fast casual” restaurants that line the streets, anything from slices of pizza and Vietnamese-style ice cream to Greek doughnuts and gnocchi in Chinese take-out boxes. The neighbourhood is very pedestrian and cycling-friendly to boot.

Dragon Flower

A visitor’s handbook

Before we get to the food – oh, is there ever a lot of food – let’s start with some things to do. Get underway with a visit to the Mordecai-Richler Library, a converted church on the neighbourhood’s western border. It’s a quick walk down the street to Théâtre Rialto, an architectural gem designed by Joseph-Raoul Gariépy in the fabulous Beaux-Arts style. (Tip: try to get in to see the impressive Tiffany stained-glass windows in the ceilings.) If you can spare time, visit the Museum of Jewish Montréal or catch a flick at the independent Cinéma Moderne. In between bites, stop in at any number of indie shops: Librairie Drawn & Quarterly for books, Phonopolis and Sonorama for vinyl records, or Dragon Flowers for a lovely bouquet. A few more vintage stores include Annex Vintage and Style Labo. Finally, head to Maguire for locally made shoes and BKIND for Montréal-made skincare products.


A foodie’s delight

A visit to Mile End isn’t complete without taking part in the ongoing (and only marginally unofficial) battle of the Montréal bagels, with local’s loyalties aligning with either St-Viateur Bagel or Fairmount Bagel. Right nearby the latter is Drogheria FineKem CoBa and Wilensky’s Light Lunch, each one a Mile End staple in their own right. Need a coffee? Check out classics like Café OlimpicoLe FalcoCaffe in Gamba or the newer Café Alphabet. Duck into Bernie Beigne across the street for a homemade doughnut or head a few blocks south to Guillaume Boulangerie for some of the best bread you’ve ever had. 

Larry's - Brunch

If it’s brunch you’re after, grab a table at Larry’s or Fabergé, or the breakfast sandwich at Nita Tout Garni if you’re in a hurry. For something a little more high end, check out either La Chronique or Jun I on Laurier Ouest, Milos on Parc Avenue, or the daringly eccentric Île Flottante on Saint-Viateur. Institutions like Nouveau Palais and Bishop & Bagg are great options for something more casual. For something quick, Pizza Toni and Falafel Yoni are affordable and downright delicious. Tsukuyomi is one of the best ramen spots in the city, with La Tamalera and La Catrina coming through for your Mexican cravings. Bar HenriettaKabinetLe Roseline and Bar Le Sparrow have you covered for cocktails, while microbreweries Dieu du Ciel! and Siboire have local beers on lockdown. 

3 Wizards Shop

Don’t miss out on Le Petit Dep, a haven for all kinds of souvenirs, or 3 Wizards Shop for a gift straight out of the world of Harry Potter. 

The Mile End Montreal Food Tour - Local Montréal Tours

Need some help navigating the hood?

While so much information is available out there nowadays, travelers generally agree that the best way to really get under the layers of a city is to travel with a local. And what better way to do that than with a guided tour? A few options include classics tours by MTL Detours or 16/42 Tours, with more food-centric options available through Local Montréal Tours. The Museum of Jewish Montréal also offers their own tours, with Round Table Tours focusing exclusively on Jewish food. (And as a certified guide myself, feel free to contact me to set up a private tour.)

Daniel Bromberg

Daniel Bromberg

As a proud native of Montreal, Daniel channels his education in history and his work as a tour guide, writer, and photographer to share his love affair with the city. His passions include the local street art scene, sipping an allongé at a local cafe, discovering new green alleys, biking, and reading at home.

See articles by Daniel