© Galerie MX
Contemporary art inpirations
Several galleries beckon along Saint-Paul Street in Old Montréal, featuring landscapes, Aboriginal art and contemporary creations – see the accessible and brightly-hued offerings at Galerie MX and the selection of Canadian art at Galerie Bloom a few blocks away. Nearby, don’t miss incredible exhibitions of world-renowned artists at the Fondation PHI pour l'art contemporain and the PHI Centre.
A one-stop-shop of sorts, downtown's Belgo Building at 372 Sainte-Catherine Street West boasts five floors packed with contemporary art galleries, including Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Galerie Roger Bellemare / Galerie Christian Lambert, Galerie Laroche/Joncas, Galerie B-312, SKOL, Les Territoires, Visual Voice Gallery, SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art and more. Further into the Quartier des Spectacles, you'll find more boundary-pushing art at VOX and ELLEPHANT. You’ll find Projet Pangée in the former Czech Consulate on des Pins Avenue West. Go further west to Westmount for Galerie de Bellefeuille's contemporary collections. And if you're here in November, stop by Papier Contemporary Art Fair.
© Canadian Tourism Commission
Galleries also offer an ideal opportunity to explore beyond Old Montréal and downtown. On the border of Old Montréal, indulge in new ideas at Fonderie Darling before heading west to the neighbourhoods of Saint-Henri and Little Burgundy, where you'll find excellence at Bradley Ertaskiran, Arsenal, Blouin Division and 1700 LA POSTE, among other galleries.
If you're on your way to Parc La Fontaine, step into Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain gallery or, along nearby Saint-Denis Street, Galerie Bernard and Beaux-Arts des Amériques. Along Saint-Laurent Boulevard in the Plateau, Mile End and Little Italy, stop by Galerie Simon Blais, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Galerie d'Este, Galerie Youn, Lacerte and C.O.A. to see gorgeous, mind-expanding works, and pay a visit to Centre Clark, Optica, Dazibao, Atelier Circulaire and other galleries in art-abundant buildings on de Gaspé Avenue and Casgrain Street.
Not far from Rosemont metro, Art Mûr gives plenty of wall space on three floors to artists who challenge conventions, while further into Little Italy and Mile-Ex, Never Apart is always worth a visit for its dynamic group shows and special events.
© Ashukan Cultural Space
Aboriginal and Inuit art
While walking along the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal, discover a cultural wealth of paintings, sculpture, jewelry, clothing and more by Indigenous and Inuit artists at Heritage Gallery, Indianica, Galerie d'art Images Boréales, Galerie Le Chariot and the Ashukan Cultural Space at Place Jacques-Cartier, a gallery and boutique dedicated to sharing contemporary Aboriginal arts, artists and cultures in Canada. Downtown on Sherbrooke Street West, non-profit gallery and museum La Guilde specializes in both historical and contemporary Inuit and First Nations art.
© L'Empreinte coopérative, boutique galerie métiers d'art, Bruno Gallant
Whether you're looking for creatively cool souvenirs or dazzling jewellery, take a piece of the city home in works by local artisans. Among the art galleries and high-end shopping on Sherbrooke Street West downtown, find artisanal treasures at the Boutique and Bookstore, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the McCord Museum Boutique.
Shop for original items by Québec artisans, from ceramics and paintings to slippers and kitchen items, at L'Empreinte coopérative, boutique métiers d'art in Old Montréal and at L'art des artisans du Québec in Complexe Desjardins in the Quartier des Spectacles. And work by Québec glass artists shines at Espace VERRE just across the Lachine Canal from Griffintown.
© Galerie Matthew Namour - Baliser Photo
Graffiti art and posters
While many of the above listed galleries also offer affordable contemporary art in Montréal alongside investment pieces, several galleries specialize in art that's easy on smaller budgets. Buy eclectic art created by some of Montréal's and the world's best graffiti, tattoo, comics, illustrations and pop art artists at Yves Laroche Galerie d'art in Little Italy and at Station 16 on Saint-Laurent Boulevard near Sherbrooke Street.
Founded as part of the long-running Under Pressure urban culture festival, Fresh Paint on Sainte-Catherine Street East promotes new street art and graffiti movements in Montréal and around the world. From film posters to contemporary art prints, L'Affichiste in Old Montréal seems to have it all, while BBAM! Gallery mixes pop art and jazz vinyl in Saint Henri. Mile End is also where you'll find Expozine small press fair every November and Puces POP in September, both featuring highly affordable limited-edition prints, postcards and posters.
Many local illustrators
Montréal serves as a muse for numerous local illustrators who showcase its beauty and people through their artwork. To name a few, Evi Jane captures inspiring individuals and local spots, while Marie Laure, also known as Liligraffiti, creates colorful and delicate pieces that feature Montréal's hidden gems. Romain Blais, an illustrator and comic artist, has recreated the city's iconic monuments in a poster that showcases his vision of Montréal. This project that aims to present the city through his unique perspective and artistic style.
Check out their respective website to buy their art!
Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.