See the city one step at a time

Blair Dohey

Blair Dohey is a Canadian writer and blogger who relentlessly tracks down the coolest things to do and see in Montréal and loves discovering amazing restaurants and bars in the city. When he’s not writing about his travels through Montréal, you’ll probably find him sitting at a bar, chatting with friends and laughing at his own jokes.

We all see it, the light at the end of a tunnel we can’t wait to zoom out of. As the summer sun begins shining warmly down on Montréal and the city’s streets become closed off to traffic and very open to terrasses, outdoor dining and drinking, we can smile as we shop, eat, explore and sit outside for a coffee or a glass of sangria knowing that we have never deserved these relaxing moments more. Here’s a quick guide to the pedestrian thoroughfares that just might become your new favorite places to get in a walk, or maybe a dance, if that’s more your speed. We still might have a few rules to follow to ensure everyone’s safety, but for the first time in a while, we can do it while having a little fun!

Smiles and smiles of walking fun in the Plateau-Mont-Royal

From June 20 to September 15, du Mont-Royal Avenue will once again be closed to traffic as bars, restaurants and shops spill out onto the sidewalks, creating an outdoor space like no other in the city that includes unique art installations, new restaurants and much more. Easily one of Montréal’s most popular streets and neighbourhoods, there’s bound to be plenty to do and see.

This year Duluth Street will also be closed to traffic during the weekends from July 2 to August 22 from Saint-Denis Street to Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Often easily mistaken for a garden with a street running through it, Duluth is one of the city’s most eclectic streets with quaint trinket shops, popular restaurants, hair salons and more. Expect food scents of all kinds wafting from terrasses and lots of chatter as you walk by.

As if we won’t have enough space to wander around the Plateau, Saint-Laurent Boulevard will also be partially closed to traffic from July 2 to September 6 from Sherbrooke Street to Mont-Royal Avenue. With only one lane for traffic, everything else is all about pedestrians as the sidewalks of the Main become our dining rooms, our shopping stops and our favourite places to cool off with a cold drink. I can almost smell the Portuguese chicken now.

Hustle and bustle on Bernard Street

From late spring to the end of October, come discover the scenic beauty of Bernard Street. With Outremont’s busiest street closed to traffic, the restaurants and shops take over, tantalizing you as you make your way along the street. Passersby will discover a multitude of attractions including plenty of places to sit and take a break, creative lighting projects and even some urban agriculture.

The ongoing appeal of Ontario Street

Pedestrians will have more to see and do on Ontario Street this summer as the zone for foot traffic extends to seven street corners. Outdoor seating, beautiful plants, terrasses, cooling zones and much more will join the gourmet bakeries, candy stores and great antique shopping that makes this street so unique. One of the most diverse streets in the city, the strip that courses through Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is teeming with pubs and restaurants of all sorts, most with welcoming terrasses that are perfect for a pint and people watching.

A swell stroll along Wellington

Wellington Street in Verdun will also be closed off to automobile traffic again this year, giving pedestrians even more space to walk freely on warm summer days. Whether you’re there to enjoy a coffee while strolling and shopping or to take in one of the many terrasses offering a plethora of choice foods from around the world, you’ll be ecstatic to see the greenery and the installations provided to pedestrians for the season.

To market, to market we go

Only steps away from the magnificent Jarry Park and walking distance from the Jean-Talon Market and Little Italy, de Castelnau Street is an excellent place to stop, relax and collect your thoughts after you’ve finished shopping or eating at one of the many excellent restaurants and cafes in the area. This summer and fall, between June and October, Place du Marche Nord Street and several of the alleyways that border the market will be closed to traffic from 11:00am to 5:00pm daily, allowing pedestrians to stretch their legs while shopping.

Beyond the market, de Castelnau Street will also be closed to traffic from June to September with outdoor seating, colourful street art and much more, making people watching in the area even more fun.

Let’s hear it for downtown Montréal!

Sainte-Catherine Street West, Canada’s largest commercial artery, will come to life on the weekends this summer from June 4 to October 31 as the street closes to traffic from Metcalfe Street to Guy Street. Including some of our city’s hottest destinations like bustling Crescent Street, Peel Street, world class restaurants, shopping and more, there’s no better time to plan your weekend trips downtown.

Featuring outdoor installations that will turn the area into a garden paradise, plenty of outdoor seating and lots of space to roam safely, Sainte-Catherine Street West will keep you coming back for more.

While Saint-Catherine Street West will be closed only on weekends, the neighbouring Quartier des spectacles will be closed to traffic all summer long with festivals set to safely resume while social distancing and other measures are still in place.

15 years of celebration in the Gay Village

This year celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Saint-Catherine Street east pedestrian street in the Gay Village and celebrate we will. From May 26th to October 4, prepare for the wild days and nights you deserve after these last few months in confinement. With more than 50 inviting terrasses to satiate our thirst and appetite, plenty of colourful characters to distract our attention, extravagant drag queens (of course) and more, a day in the Gay Village is like escaping into a different world where inclusion is everything.

Quartier latin

Montréal’s Quartier latin has always been an epicentre of culture in the city and summer 2021 promises to be bigger and even better with Saint-Denis Street closed from Sherbrooke Street to de Maisonneuve Street from May 17 to October 31. Populated with more restaurants, shops and bars than almost anywhere else in the city, this neighbourhood is synonymous with good times. This year, expect terrasses to be bigger and bolder than ever before and there’ll be plenty of outdoor seating, greenery and much more, turning the area into a summer oasis.

Émery Street in the Quartier latin, will also be closed again this year. From May 26 to October 31, this offshoot of Saint-Denis has a quiet character but for its size, packs a delicious punch with a delightful tea room, cafes and restaurants on one side and a giant movie theatre on the other. A calming antidote to the bustle of the surrounding area.

The many attractions of Old Montréal

Old Montréal is one of the city’s greatest neighbourhoods to wander on foot. With Saint-Paul closed to traffic, that means more outdoor cafes, more live music on the street, more space to safely keep your distance and more time to spend admiring the European flair that attracts thousands of people from around the world every year.

One street south of Saint-Paul you’ll find the bustling de la Commune Street with curious shops, cozy cafes, stunning architecture, street level and rooftop terrasses that provide a stunning view of the Saint-Laurent River. Traffic is closed off between Saint-Gabriel Street and Bonsecour Street allowing pedestrians and cyclists to carefully share the space freely.

As you make your way west on de la Commune Street, you’ll no doubt be tempted by the picnic tables and adirondack chairs at Place D’Youville that provide relief after hours of walking in Old Montréal and plenty of shade to eat lunch with friends and family. Take in a visit at one of the many museums near this quaint pedestrian walkway.

Blair Dohey

Blair Dohey is a Canadian writer and blogger who relentlessly tracks down the coolest things to do and see in Montréal and loves discovering amazing restaurants and bars in the city. When he’s not writing about his travels through Montréal, you’ll probably find him sitting at a bar, chatting with friends and laughing at his own jokes.

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