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  1. Je ne suis pas sûr que c'est un compliment de se faire dire que Montréal goûte la poutine! Et les clichés sur notre supposée "joie-de-vivre", juste parce qu'on parle français, c'est un peu éculé, mais comme l'article est positif, on va leur pardonner... A foodie's guide to Montreal USA Today By Michele Kayal For The Associated Press Montreal may sound like Paris, but it tastes like poutines. A mess of french fries, gravy and cheese curds, this signature dish of French-speaking Canada's largest city captures its engaging and independent culinary personality. Originally inhabited by Native Americans, later populated by hunters, trappers and missionaries, and eventually battled over by the French and British, Montreal offers gutsy, creative and hearty fare that honors its diverse forbears. "There is a tradition of English cooking and French cooking, but it's taken on that lusty explorer, wilderness, joie de vivre," says Catherine MacPherson, a food columnist for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio. "It's rib sticking, and it's got that independent spirit." That wasn't always so. Until the early 1990s in Montreal, "good" cuisine meant "French" cuisine, and all the local stars had trained in France. That's also where they got their ingredients — lamb, lobster, artichokes, nearly everything. Until a young chef named Normand Laprise returned from the Continent more impressed by the freshness of ingredients in France than by their Frenchness. He began cultivating farmers and ranchers and launched a movement toward fresh, local ingredients that drew from Quebec's rich landscape. His restaurant, Toque!, opened in 1993, and remains the standard-bearer for upscale Quebequois cuisine. "When you come in Montreal, you feel that the food is more about us, about Quebec philosophy and Quebec roots," he says. "It's our produce, our chefs." Today, Montreal is "bigger and better," Laprise says, as the scene has filled with choice, from bistros to sandwich shops to corner grocers and cheese shops that offer fresh, delicious, local foods. The city claims 6,000 restaurants spanning 80 cuisines for its scant 2 million people, making it a city of foodies, by foodies, for foodies. The food scene could take weeks to explore, but with just a few days — and a big appetite — a dedicated eater can make a thorough and delicious survey. Start the tour at L'Express, a traditional bistro in the Plateau neighborhood where the floor is checkered, the ceilings are high and French is spoken all around. The steak of steak-frites is juicy and fatty, crowned with herb butter. The frites are crispy and light. Pistachio-studded pate literally melts on the tongue leaving hints of thyme and cognac behind. The chocolate tart is so glossy and thick with flavor that the otherwise stone-faced waiter is moved to speak, telling two diners that it is made with 76% cacao. Montrealers have made L'Express their local hangout for nearly three decades, but recently it's gotten some company. Around the corner, Au Pied de Cochon plumps up the bistro concept, making traditionally thrifty Quebecois cooking richer, fatter, heartier. Chef Martin Picard offers pickled venison tongue; a salad of rich, bitter greens topped with crunchy bits of fried pig cartilage; and nearly everything stuffed with foie gras, from peasant food such as pig's foot to the famous poutines. Picard's menu honors the region's sweet tooth not only with the famous tarte au sucre — literally, sugar pie — but even with a playful take on breakfast that features buckwheat pancakes, thick bacon, and yes, foie gras, all of it doused with maple syrup. On the other side of town in the Petite-Bourgogne neighborhood, Restaurant Joe Beef redefines the British pub with a decidedly modern take on roasts, puddings and other delectables. Named after a legendary tavern keeper known for scoring rations for his fellow British soldiers, the tiny restaurant's menu changes with the seasons and the whim of chef Fred Morin. But Joe Beef traffics in items such as fresh lobster tossed with bacon, baby peas and pasta, and dishes for two, such as sliced rib steak with marrow bones, or a whole rack of Quebec lamb with mint sauce. Tucked in the back, but at the establishment's heart, is the oyster bar, a half-dozen seats crowded around a dinged-up counter where three-time Canadian oyster-shucking champion John Bil recently popped dozens of briny bivalves mostly from the waters of Prince Edward Island. No matter where or what a visitor eats in Montreal, it's likely to be decadent. Butter, sugar, lard: these ingredients do not scare Montrealers. "There's never been a fear of indulgence or fats when it comes to their food," MacPherson says. "They see no reason for self-flagellation at the dinner table." Which brings us back to poutines. Gravy-and-cheese slathered french fries, are, perhaps, a dish best understood when inebriated. Or when you're very, very cold. "Imagine yourself being here in February, you're on a ski hill and it's minus 27," says Nathalie Cooke, a culinary historian at the city's McGill University. And she's talking Celsius. "You'd be amazed how good poutines can taste." Au Pied's foie gras-laden poutines are revered by gourmets, but students and bloggers seem to favor the slapped down version at Patati Patata, a tiny corner joint near McGill whose name roughly translates as "blah blah blah." But poutines aren't the city's only casual food. A flourishing culture of quick but delicious — and above all real — food can be found at patisseries, fromageries (cheese shops), and places that fall somewhere between bakery, sandwich shop and grocery store. At Olive et Gourmando in the Vieux-Montreal neighborhood, flaky palmiers are delivered alongside dense Valrhona brownies and hot sandwiches dripping with caramelized onions and succulent pork. "We're not interested in how many tables there are," Cooke says. "We're quite willing to go to a place that has two tables, or even to stand." At Au Pied de Cochon, chef Martin Picard offers a playful take on breakfast that features buckwheat pancakes, thick bacon and foie gras, all of it doused with maple syrup. Chef Yann Laguna puts the finishing touches on a salad at the McCord Cafe in downtown Montreal. The city is packed with bistros, bakeries, markets and cutting edge eateries.
  2. Trouble on The Main The former home of American Apparel on St. Laurent Blvd. now carries a For Rent sign. “I won’t deny that the construction on the street did affect traffic,” says Dan Abenhaim, the chain’s Canadian regional director. Other shop owners say the recession and high rents have hurt business on along the strip. Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette By Irwin Block, The GazetteApril 24, 2009 The former home of American Apparel on St. Laurent Blvd. now carries a For Rent sign. “I won’t deny that the construction on the street did affect traffic,” says Dan Abenhaim, the chain’s Canadian regional director. Other shop owners say the recession and high rents have hurt business on along the strip. It’s known to generations as The Main and it’s as Montreal as smoked meat and the Habs. St. Laurent Blvd. is us, and in tribute to its Portuguese component, city officials on Friday inaugurated a dozen marble-topped benches between Bagg and Marie Anne Sts. But things are not going that well for some merchants, especially on the trendiest part of the street between Sherbrooke St. and Pine Ave. It’s still home to such fancy eateries as Buona Notte and Primadonna, but in the past months several major tenants have closed. They include an American Apparel store and a Mac Cosmetics outlet; the space formerly occupied by Sofia Grill at the northwest corner of Prince Arthur St. and St. Laurent is for rent, as are several other shops farther north. Dan Abenhaim, American Apparel’s Canadian regional director, said that after five years the firm decided not to renew the lease. “I won’t deny that the construction on the street did affect traffic and we decided we want to open in another location.” He also said that over five years “the street has changed and the traffic is more north of Pine Ave.” However, clothing shops are also hurting north of Pine, where Adam & Lilith has closed one of two adjoining shops on St. Laurent. According to assistant manager Carmel Pacaud, people are still attracted to the street but they are not buying as they used to. Other shop owners blame almost two years of disruptive road repairs that ended last year, as well as the recession and high rents. “The city has murdered the street,” said one real estate agent, who spoke on the condition his name not be used. People who were put off by the construction are not coming back and there is a moratorium on new restaurants and bars between Sherbrooke and Mount Royal Ave., he added. Rent at the former Mac Cosmetics store is about $7,500 a month for 1,600 square feet. Rents tend to decrease north of Pine. “It’s a little distressing, slower than usual” remarked Marnie Blanshay, who owns Lola & Emily ladies wear just south of the abandoned American Apparel. Many who were discouraged from shopping there by the ripping up and repaving of the strip have not returned, she observed. And because few retail clothing shops remain, hers is more of a “destination store” with fewer shoppers coming by to go from store to store checking out and comparing. “It reminds me of Crescent St. in the 1990s,” she said, adding that “the landlords believe it’s better than it is and need to reduce rents.” When rents go down, the creative people will return to reinject the street’s normal vitality, she said. “St. Laurent Blvd. is not a street where chains succeed.” Apart from Jean Coutu and Pharmaprix, American Apparel was the only chain outlet on the street, noted André Beauséjour, executive director of the Société de développment du Boulevard St. Laurent. He said the vacancy rate between Sherbrooke and Mount Royal is a “normal” two per cent. A stroll up the boulevard yesterday indicated that many stores that have become institutions – Bar Bifteck, Salaison Slovenia, Schreter’s, Coco Rico, Moishe’s, Segal’s grocery, Berson Monuments – are still going concerns. And there was the proverbial lunchtime lineup inside Schwartz’s. But if you have a concept, there is lots of space for rent, including the former Laurentian Bank at St. Laurent and Pine. – all 5,400 square feet. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  3. Wednesday, September 26, 2007 Feast on Montreal's wonderful charm Erica Johnston / Washington Post I've been captivated by Montreal since my first trip there almost 20 years ago, drawn in by two things in particular: the bowls of hot chocolate offered at the city's many cafes -- hey, why settle for a measly cup? -- and the people who packed the streets in July and August, soaking in the two-month party they call summer. It seemed as busy as midtown Manhattan at rush hour, but these people were smiling. So when my oldest and best friend and I realized that our 40th "anniversary" was approaching, I managed to talk her into a celebratory trip over a long weekend. To Montreal, of course. When I arrived on a summer-like fall afternoon, a day before Kathy, I hit the streets. It had been eight years since my last visit. Had I exaggerated the city's charms? From our hotel downtown, I walked a mile or so, past the edge of Chinatown and through the Latin Quarter to the Plateau, the neighborhood where my affection for the city first took root. Along the leafy side streets, spiral staircases wind their way up the outsides of cozy rowhouses. Somehow, it seemed that if I knocked on a few doors, I'd find someone I knew. A few blocks away, Mount Royal, the modest mountain and majestic park on the neighborhood's western flank, rises over the city, offering a constant compass and an instant refuge to anyone who needs one. In a bakery, a boy of about 4 offered me his friendliest "Allo!" I did my best to respond in kind: "Allo." "Oh," he responded. His smile never broke. "Hello!" And that seems to sum up the language issue -- for tourists, anyway. It's far more complicated for residents -- in the place generally acknowledged to be the world's second-biggest French-speaking city. French? English? Whatever. We can work with you. Nearly everyone who crossed our path was unrelentingly friendly. Even the illuminated "man" in the crossing signals has a spring in his step; check it out. Along Rue St. Denis, a beautifully dressed woman stepped out of an elegant bakery with an elaborately wrapped sandwich and handed it with a smile to a homeless stranger. By the time a Metro toll taker wished us a good life -- and seemed to mean it -- we weren't especially impressed. We walked along the lovely Rue Laurier from east to west, from a low-key weekend street market to the decidedly upmarket blocks of fancy shops west of Rue St. Laurent. That street, also called "The Main," has historically served as the unofficial line separating the city's French culture from its English-speaking stronghold. Today's Montreal is often a wonderful jumble, with strong strands of distinct cultures living amongst one another. It's been called a salad bowl -- the concept of Canadian diversity as separate components complementing each other, as compared with the American ideal of the melting pot. In few places is this more true than in Mile End, a historically Jewish enclave that was one of my favorite discoveries of the trip. Mile End, the boyhood home of the late novelist Mordechai Richler (along with his famous protagonist, Duddy Kravitz), is gentrifying rapidly. But though the challenge of change in the neighborhood just north of the swanky part of Rue Laurier riles some, others revel in it. To the outsider, the place offers a kaleidoscopic array: The Asian teenager with an Orthodox Jew's side locks ambles along Rue St. Viateur. At a street corner, black-clad Goth girls check out South American pan flutists. Butcher shops of seemingly every Eastern European persuasion line the streets. Here's where you get your Montreal bagels, smaller, denser and sweeter than their American counterparts. Their supporters insist that these rounds, boiled in honeyed water before baking, are the real deal; the recipe allegedly was brought over by Romanian Jews in the early 1900s. From there, we continued on a mile or so north, to the Little Italy neighborhood and -- more to the point -- the Jean-Talon Market, a huge, year-round public market for regionally grown meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. Such spots often serve as my museums, telling me more about a place than most collections of art or artifacts ever could. It was a Saturday, and the joint was jammed with more than 100 stalls and thousands of Montrealers, all pondering the same age-old question: What's for dinner? On Sunday night, as our time wound down, we followed our trip to its logical conclusion: dinner at Au Pied de Cochon, a boisterous bistro that offers an unabashed homage to all creatures fat and fowl, a cuisine that is profoundly, jubilantly Quebecois. Chef Martin Picard, a darling of the back-to-the-land school of cooking, looks like a lumberjack, and kind of cooks like one, too. On the menu: "The Big Happy Pig's Chop," "the Pig's Foot" and steak that tends to be venison, when it's in season. If forced to choose, I'd say our favorite meal was at La Montee de Lait, a smallish refuge tucked into a quiet corner of the Plateau that offers a fixed-price parade of exquisite small plates. And then, sadly, the time came to put down our forks and back away slowly. The air had turned seasonably chilly, and we marveled at the Montrealers sitting at sidewalk cafes. For us, it was freezing, and unthinkable. But they were enjoying it while they could, knowing that everything -- even the temperature -- is relative. And the bowls of hot chocolate couldn't have hurt, either.
  4. Copier-Coller du Site AppleInsider.com Apple Inc. is finalizing plans for its first Canadian flagship shop, a spacious multi-story retail outlet to be located in the heart of Montreal, a source tells AppleInsider. The Cupertino-based gadget maker is reported to have secured some 9,300 square feet of space along the 1300 block of Rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, where it plans to heavily alter -- but not raze -- an existing structure. According to a set of initial design plans, the company has proposed that the ground floor of the building be raised and that existing column structures on the property be relocated. Plans also call for the building to receive a new roof and stainless steel facade. On the interior, Apple's proposal calls for two stories of retail sales space to be joined by a trademark glass staircases, similar to the one found at its SoHo, New York and Regent Street, London locations. Office space, a back-end stock room, and bathroom facilities will consume a portion of the 9,300 square feet, trimming the retail sales area to approximately 8,000 -- leaving the Montreal location a couple thousand square feet short of Apple's Manhattan-based shops. Although Apple presently operates four retail locations in Canada, none of the stores are designated as flagship locations. Montreal would represent just the 10th high-profile location for Apple, joining its eight existing flagships spread across the U.S., U.K., and Japan, as well as a ninth under development in Manhattan's Meatpacking district. Apple's flagship shops have been strategically placed in the world's most densely populated shopping districts and are conceived as projections of the Apple brand with their architecture and interior design. Each year, the company spends an undisclosed sum on marketing costs for the the high-profile locations, ranging up to $10 million. Unexpected delays withstanding, Apple hopes to begin operating out of the Montreal location during the summer or early fall of next year, according to the source.
  5. City Slicker: Winter in Montreal They're used to long, hard winters in Montreal. In fact, the locals even celebrate the season with a special festival. It's just one reason to visit now, says Sarah Barrell Sunday, 15 February 2009 Get your skates on: Montreal's Old Port is given over to ice skating during the long, hard winter months Quays of the Old Port of Montréal, Paul Labelle Photographes Get your skates on: Montreal's Old Port is given over to ice skating during the long, hard winter months Why visit? Montrealers, having made it to midwinter, congratulate themselves with the High Lights Festival (montrealenlumiere.com) an 11-day arts and culture event that this year celebrates its 10th anniversary with a gala line-up. The city is famed for high-profile summer festivals – such as the Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs – but sub-zero temperatures and banks of snow don't bring life, cultural or otherwise, to a halt, unlike in the UK. From Thursday until 1 March exhibitions, shows, street parades, and concerts take place across the city, including an "all-nighter" on 28 February when cultural venues stay open for 24 hours. If the thought of such blistering winter weather gives you cold feet, take comfort in Montreal's "underground city" a comprehensive 20-mile labyrinth of well-heated tunnels, malls and subway stations. And there are some truly great restaurants; a diverse and ever-changing ethnic population shapes Montreal's vibrant dining scene. The gourmet element of this month's festival will see more than 30 top chefs flown in from Paris and paired up with local restaurateurs to provide warming eats and winter treats. Don't miss ... Mont Royal (lemontroyal.qc.ca), the mountain around which the city is centred, doubles as an outdoor playground, come sun or snow. In the winter its lakes become skating rinks, its slopes toboggan runs and its wooded summit offers sparkling white panoramic views. Notre Dame Basilica (basiliquenddm.org). In a city founded by the church, visitors are not short of historic places of worship to visit, but Montreal's most impressive holy site is this vast masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture which looms over the lovely cobbled streets of Old Montreal; just one of the stellar sights of the pretty old town. The Museum of Archaeology and History (pacmusee.qc.ca). In the old town, on the site where Montreal was founded by the French in 1642, it traces the city's past with hi-tech exhibits and excavations. The Musée Beaux Arts (mbam.qc.ca), with its encyclopaedic collection of North American and international fine arts. Expansion work has begun on a new pavilion dedicated to French colonial art, and to convert the beautiful Romanesque Revival church next door into a concert hall. Atwater Market, a fabulous 1930s covered market (marchespublics-mtl.com), selling local farmers' produce, meats and baked goods, just a stone's throw from the new foodie hub of Little Burgundy (see below). What's new Little Burgundy Little Burgundy, whose colourful terraced houses were once home to Irish dockworkers, has been undergoing gentrification for some years now. Converted warehouses and new-builds have become the norm in this neighbourhood on the Lachine Canal. But alongside the shops that give its hub, rue Notre-Dame, the nickname Antique Alley, new design boutiques, delis and restaurants are popping up. Try McKiernan (001 514 759 6677; joebeef.ca), the latest offering from Montreal chef and restaurant impresario Fred Morin. This teeny, playfully rustic wine bar and luncheonette is a great place to come for cosy evening drinks bolstered by small but hearty bites. DNA A flash new dining spot called DNA has opened in Old Montreal headed by Derek Dammann, the original head chef at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant in London. This innovative west-coast Canadian serves up his own handmade charcuterie, cheeses and refined rustic Italian cuisine; experimental but very tasty and lots of fun. Can't get a table? Kill time in the buzzy lounge bar. The decor may be a tad too retro 1980s but, like the food, the creative cocktails are most definitely 'du jour'. Details: DNA, 355, rue Marguerite D'Youville (001 514 287 3362; dnarestaurant.com). Angus Shops Montreal's Angus Shops were opened by the Canadian Pacific Railways in 1902 to serve its locomotives, and by the Second World War some 12,000 people worked the yards, with residential neighbourhoods growing up around the site. It closed in the 1970s and was something of a wasteland until recent redevelopment brought new housing, shops, smart offices and, now, an architecturally stunning gym, Studio Locomotion, slotted into the original shell of this vast building. Come here for yoga, pilates or a state-of-the-art workout and don't miss the little exhibitions by local artists and photographs of the rail yard buildings through the ages. Details: Studio Locomotion, 2600 William-Tremblay 133 (studiolocomotion.com). Jenx & Cie Run by an expat Scot, this shop in the hipster enclave of Mile End sells stylish T-shirts printed with icons and expressions unique to Montreal, such as the neon Five Roses Flour sign that tops the Ogilvie flour mill in the Old Port, or an abstract of the Cubist-looking housing complex designed by architect Moshe Safdie, for the 1967 Expo. My favourite is a shirt that reads "tabarnac", an incomparable Montreal expletive derived from the religious word "tabernacle". Details: Jenx & Cie, 51 Rue Bernard Ouest (montrealite-tshirts.com). Quartier des Spectacles This downtown district, where most of Montreal's festivals take place, is being regenerated to the tune of C$120m (£67m). Some may bemoan the loss of certain red-light destinations, but by 2012 lights of all colours will shine under a project to illuminate the façades of some 30 arts venues. A new Westin hotel (westinmontreal.com) is due to open in May in an old newspaper press building. Details: quartierdesspectacles.com. Insider's secret: François Perre François Perre is a television news director for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. "Atwater might be the Montreal market icon but, for me, the Jean-Talon Market is the best place in town for food shopping. And it's so much more than that. Deer burger, fresh calamari, foie gras or maple syrup cakes – the endless food stalls are the perfect place for a quick bite. This place is also my favourite Sunday destination; a hot spot for Montrealers seeking an easy lunch and a chance to bump into friends." Compact facts How to get there Sarah Barrell travelled to Montreal with British Airways (0844 493 0758; ba.com), which offers return flights from £388. Lofts du Vieux Ports (001 514 876 0081; loftsduvieux port.com), a new annex of the lovely old Auberge du Vieux in old Montreal, offers lofts ranging in size from studios to two bedrooms, all with kitchens and dining areas, from C$195 (£109) per night. Further information Montreal tourism (tourismemontreal.org). http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/americas/city-slicker-winter-in-montreal-1622138.html
  6. A facelift for St. Jacques? Tue, 2008-09-02 16:04. Shuyee Lee St. Jacques Street in NDG is known mainly for car dealerships, auto repair shops, seedy motels, vacant lots and empty storefronts. But the borough wants to give it a facelift and attract more residents and stores. It's proposing a bylaw that would bar new body shops, gas stations and other industrial business from opening up and rezone the area as mostly residential with room for restaurants, boutiques, grocery stores and similar "user-friendly" businesses. They're focussing on the stretch between Madison and Decarie. The existing industrial businesses would be allowed to stay. A public consultation is being held tonight at 6pm at 5151 Côte-Sainte-Catherine.
  7. MAGNIFIQUE MONTREAL VISIT THE FRENCH CANADIAN CITY WITH A TOUCH OF OOH LA LA… Posted: Tuesday 22 Jan 2008 COMMENTS (0) Above: Hotel St James Located on an island in the St Lawrence River, Montréal, in the French-speaking province of Québec, offers an intriguing mix of North American culture and European heritage – you’ll find Parisian Metro signs and a statue of Queen Victoria in the main square. Canada’s second city is compact, clean and efficient and has a dynamic entertainment scene. The shopping isn’t bad either – you can stroll from the designer boutiques on elegant tree-lined streets to the specialist shops of Little Italy or China or the antique stores strung along the cobbled streets of Old Montréal. WHEN SHOULD I GO? It’s punishingly cold in winter, but you won’t get cold if you head below ground to Underground City – the vast entertainment and shopping mall. Also, the freezing temperatures mean you can head to a nearby ski resort, such as Mont Tremblant, for a short break. Summers are warm but you can cool off with a cruise down the river or a jet boat ride through the Lachine rapids. The international jazz festival (www.montrealjazzfest.com) is held June 26-July 6, while the Just For Laughs comedy festival (www.justfourlaughs.ca), where Jimmy Carr and Billy Connolly have performed, takes place July 10-20. ABOVE: Montreal at night WHERE SHOULD I STAY? If you’re a boutique hotel fan, look no further than 61-room Hotel Le St James (www.hotellestjames.com), housed in a former bank in Old Montréal. It blends traditional upper crust decor in its public rooms with modern furnishings and technology in its bedrooms. Madonna, U2, the Rolling Stones and Sir Elton John have all stayed and we hear that Paris Hilton checked in the night after OK!. The hotel also has private access to the Underground City, which stretches for nearly 19 miles and connects with Metro stations. WHERE SHOULD I EAT? OK! loved the ’50s-style drive-in experience at the Orange Julep (7700 Decarie Blvd). For a relaxed lunch, try Olive et Gourmando (351 St-Paul West) or go one notch up and book a table at the French eatery L’Epicier (311 St-Paul East) in Old Montréal. For people watching, head to a city institution, the chic Café Cherrier (3635 St-Denis), which has a fantastic outdoor terrace. In the evening, try local favourite Les Deux Pierrots (104 St-Paul East), an intimate French-style cabaret, or for fine dining Bonaparte (447 St-Francois-Xavier). And make sure you try the Québecois speciality poutine – chips with melted cheese curds and gravy. It tastes a lot better than it looks! WHAT MUST I SEE? There are two highlights you shouldn’t miss. For panoramic city views take the bus (number 11 from Mont-Royal Metro station) to the summit lookout. Depending on the time of year, you can walk, snow-shoe in the park or hire a pedalo on Beaver Lake. Next up, Old Montréal. Tour it in a horse-drawn carriage or wander on foot taking in the Pointe-à-Callière museum, which presents Montréal’s history in a fascinating interactive way. Or you can pop into the ornate Notre-Dame Basilica, where Céline Dion was married, or pick up some souvenirs at the Bonsecours market. WHERE SHOULD I STOP? Montréal is a cornucopia of shopping opportunities, with 1,200 boutiques in a nine-block area. The best can be found along Rue St-Denis, Laurier Avenue or in Old Montréal for arty finds. In the downtown core you’ll find department stores Ogilvy (1307 Ste-Catherine) and Holt Renfrew (1300 Sherbrooke West), which house international designers and smaller celeb-coveted labels. Given the exchange rate, there are some fantastic bargains to be had. For shops on St-Denis, head to Moly Klute – not for the shy, retiring type! The funky, recycled clothes and accessories, such as a tote bag made from records, will certainly be talking points. Almost next door is Muse, where designer Christian Chenail offers some fab casual dresses. Dubuc is one label that’s causing ripples internationally. His clothes focus on tailored menswear with slight quirks, like the suit jacket with a vest stitched on top. Foodies will salivate in Arthur Quentin, which has every kitchen gadget imaginable. Finally, Revenge has been at the forefront of Canadian design and brings 25 smaller eclectic labels under one roof. WHICH STARS MIGHT I SEE? Montréal is a hot favourite with filmmakers. Last year alone you could have bumped into Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett filming The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Jason Statham shooting Death Race, or Evangeline Lilly in Afterwards. Meanwhile, Kate Beckinsale was in they city to film Whiteout and Anne Hathaway for Get Smart. WHAT'S THE NIGHTLIFE? There’s plenty to do at night. The best bars and clubs are located on Crescent Street and Blvd St-Laurent above Sherbrooke Street, the latter being more upmarket. It takes 25 minutes to walk between the two streets or it’s a five-minute cab ride. For the best views, head to the sleek lounge bar Club 737 (1 Place Ville-Marie) atop one of Montréal’s tallest skyscrapers, or to Pullmans Wine Bar (3424 Avenue du Parc), a chic-minimalist joint with a lengthy wine list. HOW DO I GET THERE? British Airways (0870 850 9850; www.ba.com/montreal) is currently offering a three-night Montréal Sweet Escape package from £479 per person including flights from London Heathrow and accommodation in a four-star hotel. http://ok.co.uk/travel/view/314/Magnifique-Montreal/
  8. I'm doing this because someone suggested it to me. If you or any of your friends or family members happens to buy or see a used 13'' MacBook pro with serial number ending in V66D (the serial number is on the back in tiny fonts), I will be happy to buy it back for a much higher price (or give you a nice negotiable cash reward, if you show me where I can buy it). Just let me know the rest of the serial number. It was stolen for me and it will probably soon end up in one of the many used computer shops or pawn shops in town. I have some important school papers and very important personal media which I will try to recover if the hard drive has been cleared. Thanks in advance!
  9. http://sandiego.eater.com/2015/2/2/7963755/real-deal-montreal-style-bagels-poutine-for-hillcrest Our beloved Eater Street Team spotted a sign posted on a Hillcrest storefront at 142 University Avenue, Suite C and asked us to sleuth out the story behind the Montreal style authentic poutine and bagels being advertised as coming soon. Mess Royale Poutine & Bagels will in fact serve the real thing when it opens in March— hand-rolled St-Viateur Bagels from the legendary bagel bakery whose flagship store is located in the Mile End neighborhood of Montreal. The new Hillcrest eatery will be receiving shipments of the bagels, which are boiled in honey water then cooked in a wood fired oven, three times a week. Owner Hugo Tassone says that initially, the bagels will be used as bread for sandwiches and offered with cream cheese or butter for breakfast before being able to be purchased by the dozen. Tassone, who hails from Eastern Canada, has a background in food industry and has been visiting San Diego for the last 20 years. He hopes that Mess Royale will be his first of many shops to feature Montreal-inspired gourmet comfort food. Other specialities will include poutine, made with twice-cooked fries, cheese curds and homemade gravy, available as is or topped with everything from bacon to chicken and lobster. There will also be grilled cheese sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches on brioche buns, four ounces of thick cut bacon on a stick and Montreal-style hot dogs, which come on either a steamed or toasted bun with mustard, relish, onions and a special slaw. For dessert, Mess Royale will serve a "treat royale", also known as a Canadian beavertail, which spreads sweet toppings on a paddle of fried dough.
  10. After having a terrible time trying to find a good apartment Downtown that is not taken by someone in person immediately after I inquire about it, I am considering renting in Verdun, near De L'Eglise metro. Judging by street view, Wellington street is a smaller (and probably cleaner) version of Mont-Royal avenue. I basically have three questions: Are there any 24-hour coffee shops around? Is it as safe as, say, Downtown? How is commuting from there? Feel free to answer any other question that I didn't ask. Thanks a lot!