Where to gallery hop and buy art in Montréal

Robyn Fadden

Buying art in Montréal is a cultural experience whether you're on the hunt for a serene sculpture, an edgy contemporary painting or a colour-saturated print. Something's sure to catch your eye among a variety of work by international and local artists in the city's galleries.

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Contemporary art inpirations

Several galleries beckon along Saint Paul Street in Old Montréal, featuring landscapes, Aboriginal art and contemporary creations – don't miss the impressive selection of Canadian art at Galerie Bloom, and a few blocks away, the accessible and brightly-hued offerings of Galerie MX. A one-stop-shop of sorts, downtown's Belgo Building on Sainte Catherine Street West boasts five floors packed with contemporary art galleries, including Galerie Donald Browne, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Galerie Dominique Bouffard, Projet Pangée, Galerie Roger Bellemare, Galerie B-312, SKOL, Les Territoires, Visual Voice, SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art and more.

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Galleries also offer an ideal opportunity to explore beyond Old Montréal and downtown. On the border of the Old Port, indulge in new ideas at Darling Foundry before heading west to the neighbourhoods of Saint Henri and Little Burgundy, where you'll find excellence at Parisian Laundry, Arsenal, Division, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, 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 Ameriques. Along Saint-Laurent Boulevard in the Plateau and Mile End, stop by Galerie Simon Blais and Galerie d'Este 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 Avenue de Gaspé and Rue Casgrain. 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 and Battat Contemporary are always worth a visit for their dynamic group shows and solo exhibitions.

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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 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, Galerie Elca London, founded in 1960, prides itself on showcasing internationally renowned as well as emerging Inuit artists, while non-profit gallery and museum La Guilde specializes in both historical and contemporary Inuit and First Nations art.

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Artisanal creations

Whether you're looking for creatively cool souveniers 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 Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Boutique and Bookstore. Shop for original items by Québec artisans, from ceramics and paintings to slippers and kitchen items, at Impresarts and L'empreinte Coopérative, Boutique Galerie Métiers d'art in Old Montréal and at L'art des Artisans du Québec in Complex Desjardins in the Quartier des spectacles – and right across the street, peruse the contemporary-art inspired wares of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal Boutique. And work by Québec glass artists shines at Espace Verre just across the Lachine Canal from Griffintown.

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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 Galerie Yves Laroche in Little Italy, at the Matthew Namour Gallery in Old Montréal and at Station 16 on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Founded as part of the long-running Under Pressure urban culture festival, Fresh Paint Gallery 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 Vintage Poster Gallery in Old Montréal seems to have it all, while BBAM! Gallery mixes pop art and jazz vinyl in Saint Henri. In Mile End, don't pass up a visit to Monastiraki, a quirky vintage "junk shop" and impressive art gallery in one. Mile End is also where you'll find Expozine small press fair every November and Puces POP in September and December, both featuring highly affordable limited-edition prints, postcards and posters.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

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.

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