Summer In Montréal
TIME TRAVEL IN OLD MONTRÉAL AND OLD PORT
Old Montréal (Vieux-Montréal), with its French colonial history dating back to the 16th century, will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful shopfronts and bistros make it a popular tourist destination. Plan a few stops, such as the magnificent Notre Dame Basilica built in 1656, but don’t get too hung up on an itinerary. Instead, adopt a leisurely pace. Embrace the good life, Montréal style. Meander along the streets, browse through the shops, enjoy a break, and people-watch at a sidewalk café.
Old Port of Montréal, which stretches along the Saint Lawrence River, is a reminder of Montréal’s bygone industrial history. The 30 foot tall iconic Farine Five Roses sign has been a fixture of the city skyline since the late 1940s. Silo Numéro 5, built in 1885, looms over Old Port. Seamlessly blending old with new—as Montréal does so graciously throughout the city—Old Port also features modern-day attractions. The Montréal Science Centre on the King Edward Pier, for example, is a fun, whimsical museum where kids and adults will be entertained by a wide range of interactive exhibitions.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
With its melting pot of cultures, Montréal serves up cuisine from around the globe while also honoring traditional recipes handed down among local families for generations. And there’s plenty of inventive new Québec cuisine. With so many options, a food tour is an easy way to experience, taste, and learn about Montréal’s flavorful food scene. Check out walking food tours through the best neighborhoods and local restaurants at LocalFoodTours.com/Montreal.
In the mood for fine dining par excellence featuring farm-fresh ingredients? Restaurant Toqué! with Québécois dishes and a seven-course dinner tasting menu is a superb way to become acquainted with the city’s food scene. For brunch, Olive and Gourmando is a favorite with its silky housemade ricotta and distinctive Europe meets Montréal vibe. And in the summertime, outdoor patios and rooftop spots come alive. Known as terrasses by locals, they can take the form of a posh bistro, casual pub, or place for thirst- quenching libations and merriment.
Then there’s poutine, deserving of a mention all its own. The unofficial national dish of Québec is a rich combination of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Many locals say La Banquise has some of the best poutine in town, with an incredible meat selection including chicken, sausages, and even smoked meat. Or try Poutineville, where you can choose your kind of potatoes, gravy sauce, cheese, and toppings.
With over 100 festivals a year, Montréal knows how to throw a party. In summertime, the Place des Festivals primes its 235 water jets for weeks of free concerts, events, and artistic happenings. Love comedy? Check out the Just for Laughs Festival, which runs from July 14 to July 29 this year. In August, street fairs are abundant and big screens pop up around town in the name of movie nights under the stars.
The Montréal International Fireworks Competition will shower the skies every Saturday evening from July 7 to August 8 this year. The largest, most prestigious pyrotechnics competition of its kind in the world is complete with spectacular, 30-minute pyromusical extravaganzas.
Music lovers also regularly flock to the internationally acclaimed Montréal Jazz Festival. Every Sunday throughout summer, Piknic Électronik gives you a chance to immerse yourself in the beats of house, dubstep, techno music, and more, featuring some of the best DJs and musicians known worldwide. The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in early August appeals to tourists and locals alike. It has hosted some of the biggest names in indie music, including Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, and Beck.
FOR THE LOVE OF ART
Montréal’s rich art culture is unrivaled. Artistic expression and galleries abound throughout the city. Two of its leading-edge contemporary art galleries, located in Old Port, regularly host and create contemporary, thought-provoking exhibits. Immerse yourself in Montréal’s avant-garde art scene at Phi Centre, a multipurpose arts and culture venue. DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art is a hidden gem housed in a couple of heritage buildings. Its exhibitions have been described as “intelligent and accessible, expansive and intimate.”
So, go ahead, grab your passport, brush up on a few French phrases, and head to Montréal. This island city’s diverse culinary delights, endless festivals, and unique historic charm make for a perfect getaway.