Top Instagrammable spots in Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles

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.

Instagrammers rejoice. With the addition of numerous interactive installations scattered throughout Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles and the downtown area, residents and visitors alike are invited to take advantage of these colourful, photogenic spots. Seen as a major revitalization project of the city centre, this ambitious initiative resulted in an eclectic creative landscape set up on several pedestrian streets in the urban core, aimed at inviting people to rediscover the district after months of restrictions caused an absence of office workers and tourists.

Until September 26, shutterbugs can embark on a treasure hunt to locate and photograph some of the best of these welcoming spaces – most of which are called Oases – created by local designers to chill out, indulge in some local cuisine, or catch up with friends outdoors. These urban islands are also interconnected by a near 15-kilometre walking route named the sentier du cœur de l’île that serves as a guiding path for the curious to discover cultural sights such as museums and murals, while encouraging strollers to support businesses hard hit by the pandemic.

Discover the Oases

Montréal loves to turn up the heat in summertime. These restful and well-designed spaces are a great option to relax while exploring the city centre, as well as the perfect addition to your curated IG feed. Up your game by snapping a photo of your picnic at the Prenez place ! communal table or take a vacation in the sun while digging your feet in the sand at the Plage Saint-James. If you prefer a leafy backdrop, head over to the Place des Festivals to take shade under a variety of potted trees or soak yourself in one of the many illuminated fountains.

At the east end of the Quartier des spectacles lies the Jardins Gamelin, a convivial gathering place known for its summer activities and artistic performances of all kinds. Not far away, several blocks of Saint-Denis Street were transformed into a pedestrian mall, highlighting the cultural and gastronomic delights of the Quartier Latin.

Looking for more locations?

There’s also plenty to photograph beyond the Quartier des spectacles. As part of the 2021 edition of the MURAL Festival, the façade of Le Germain Hotel was painted by artist Michelle Hoogveld in spectacular fashion. Just nearby, at the corner of McGill College and Sainte-Catherine Street West lies Escale du coin, an ideal stop to take in the view of Mount Royal peeking through the skyscrapers. The whimsical Le Grand Rebond installation across the street from the Christ Church Cathedral is just one more place to grab your new profile picture, while over at Place Ville-Marie, urbanists can experience the Esplanade with a free yoga session or to dance a Thursday evening away with their electronic music events.

Just south of the Quartier des Spectacles lies Chinatown, where city-goers can take time to kick back at the Place des Souhaits while enjoying the Asian night market. Further west, heading into the Quartier international de Montréal, curious explorers can get creative under the colourful umbrellas of the Arbre Humaniti or the À l'ombre des cosmos installation at Square Victoria.

And yet… even more!

For those visiting the museums in the Golden Square Mile, don’t miss out on the Fôret urbain outside the McCord Museum or La Dérive at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, an outdoor exhibition calling attention to indigenous settlements in this part of the world following the melting of glaciers thousands of years ago. Complete the tour of the western portion of downtown with a drink on the Terrasse Gourmande Crescent or take a moment to relax at the refreshing Le sentier des jasettes on Sainte-Catherine Street West.

Once you’ve seen it all, head to the north end of Dorchester Square to pose on the award winning stairs designed by celebrated landscape architect Claude Cormier or go on an art hunt to find any one of the Les Visages de Montréal installations showcasing portraits of everyday citizens.

With no shortage of artwork to photograph and share, your Instagram followers are sure to be impressed as you discover the city from behind the lens.

Visit the official site of Les aventures du cœur de l’île to access its interactive map of activities and animations, or the Quartier des spectacles website for more general information.

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.

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