A Weekend to Remember in Montréal

Isa Tousignant

Montréal is filled with new legacy sites and experiences established during our anniversary year in 2017, making a weekend getaway here even more of an eyeful. Carve out three days off and come have a ball in this European oasis that’s a mere hop, skip and a jump away from home.

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FRIDAY

Start off exploring

The best way to get a sense of the city is to hit the streets as soon as you arrive. Explore two of its most renowned natural features on the  Promenade Fleuve-Montagne : this 3.8 km pathway will take you on a walk from Mount Royal to the St. Lawrence River, showcasing the city’s history, heritage, panoramas and cultural uniqueness along the way.

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Got out to dinner…

Montréal's food scene is always in expansion, and we're here to make sure you hear about the exciting developments first. So jump right into your trip and get the skinny on the latest, greatest options out there with our list of brand new restaurants. Whether you're hungry for French bistro classics, modern Moroccan or Cambodian-Mexican fusion, it's all here.

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… And a show

The best place to start? The unparalleled Vitrine, the cultural hub right in Montréal’s downtown core, where all the shows and happenings are listed and tickets can be bought. It’s right next to the Place des Arts, home to the city’s ballet scene, opera, classical music performances and more, as well as the Musée d’art contemporain and outdoor performances on the Place des Festivals year round.

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SATURDAY

Have brunch on a boat

Start at the breathtaking Old Port and head off aboard the AML Cavalier Maxim to see the city from another vantage point as you enjoy a delicious brunch. The views on the Jacques Cartier Bridge, Habitat 67, the Five Roses building and many more defining sites make this original and amusing outing a family favourite. Bateau Mouche also offers amazing tours, not for brunch but rather for dinner, a beautiful time to gaze at the illuminated Jacques Cartier Bridge. Prefer land? We’ve got you covered.

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Stroll through a garden

After that feast, time to stretch your legs a little in the Jardin des Origines: shaped like a turtle, the Maison Saint-Gabriel, Museum and Historic Site’s new garden was inspired by crops grown by First Nation peoples from the 17th century. The garden focuses on themes such as medicine, nutrition, basketry and embroidery. If you’ve got more time on your hands, there’s nothing like the Montréal Botanical Garden—miles of beautiful flora both indoors and out, including some brand new gardens this year.

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Get your shop on

The best way to remember Montréal is through the makings of its artists and artisans, which you’ll find in spades at these cool (no, really) souvenir shops. Otherwise, fashion mavens will find their bliss in Old Montréal, in Mile End, on the Plateau and on Laurier West, while big-brand lovers will love the downtown core. Rainy day? The Underground City is here to serve!

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Dine in style

Treat yourself to one of the fine tables that have helped put Montréal on the international food map. From Joe Beef to Au Pied de Cochon to Toqué and beyond, our five-star dining  experiences abound! In the mood for something more casual? These recommendations are sure to get your mouth watering, with new options being posted every week.

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Dance till dawn

Get a taste of some of Montréal’s nightlife! Relive the ‘80s at Club Electric Avenue, get hardcore at alternative music hub Foufounes Électriques, or pub crawl on either Crescent Street on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Depending on the time of year, you might well be able to dance the night away outside – yes, even in winter! Or if you’re more indie than EDM, search out one of these clubs to hear some premium live music any day of the week.

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SUNDAY

Soak up next-level culture

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ brand new Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace houses the Hornsteins’ personal collection plus some 600 works from the MMFA’s collection ranging from Rembrandt to Rodin and Monet to Matisse. The museum’s fifth pavilion uses two of its four floors for education, social and community programs, as well as art therapy and wellness activities.

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Sightsee from up high

Get a stunning view of the city year-round from one of our four-season rooftop terraces, or from the newly inaugurated landmark to end all landmarks: the Grande Roue de Montréal, a giant Ferris wheel right in the heart of the Old Port. It’s open and heated year-round, so ready your cameras!

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Devour a poutine

You can’t leave the city without indulging in one of our signature dishes, be it bagels, smoked meat or the most decadent of all, poutine. Picture it: golden French fries topped with malty cheese curds smothered in hot brown gravy… okay, now we want one too.

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Walk through history

Virtually an open-air museum in Old Montréal, Cité Mémoire is an installation work in the city streets that unites 20 video projections on trees, walls, the ground, you name it, telling the story of Montréal. Download the free app, Montréal en histoire, and follow along as you stroll after nightfall. Of course, that’s not the only spellbinding tech you’ll find here, starting with Aura at the Notre-Dame Basilica. It’s a stunner.

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See the lights

Bid farewell to the city (until next time!) with a look at Living Connections: This flagship anniversary project in honour of both Montréal’s 375th anniversary and Canada’s 150th in 2017 bathes Jacques-Cartier Bridge in pulsing, interactive lighting activated in real time every night.

 

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant, blogger

Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s ecclectic 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.