Crew Collective & Café
360 St. Jacques O, Old Montreal
Crew Collective & Café is one part public coffee shop and one part coworking space for local creatives. The building itself—housed in the ornate former Royal Bank headquarters—is reason enough to visit. The speedy Wi-Fi and strong matcha lattes are two more.
719 Rue William, Old Montreal
Step into Mélisse and you’ll feel like you’re in LA: light wood; a bright, high-ceilinged space; and lots of plants. (Also LA-like: eating on the patio, weather permitting.) Breakfast and lunch are light and focus on seasonal produce (tartines, salads, satisfying egg dishes), while dinner is full of shareable plates, like grilled veggies and charcuterie, plus more substantial items, like grilled pork shoulder peppered with cherry tomatoes and pistachios. The 100 percent organic wine list is short but brilliant.
Big in Japan
4175 Blvd. St. Laurent, Le Plateau Mont-Royal
It’s only fifty seats, and there’s no sign out front, but that’s kind of the point. Despite the name, Big in Japan isn’t meant for a big crowd. Behind an unmarked door at the corner of Boul Saint-Laurent and Rue Rachel, though, it is one of the best spots for late-night cocktails in Montreal. If you’re feeling adventurous, the specialties are amazing prune wine, sake, and Japanese whisky.
1074 Ave. Laurier O, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal
This clean, sleek, minimalist space mirrors its wares—lots of Dries Van Noten, Lemaire, and Acne Studios, which draw the city’s creative class (art directors, architects, and the like). There are plenty of pieces for both men and women, and the men’s rack has some pretty fantastic options for women, too. There’s a nice selection of accessories (wallets, backpacks, and totes) from WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, a line started by local twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart. There’s a second outpost in Old Montreal.
7070 Henri-Julien, Little Italy
There are several European-style markets across Montreal, but Jean-Talon is one of the best known, as well as the largest. Open since 1933, the market shines year-round: In summer, stalls overflow with fresh fruit and produce from local farms and fresh seafood from the Gaspésie region; in winter, you can buy every imaginable maple treat (fudge, taffy, syrup, you name it). A few of our favorites include Havre aux Glaces for unusual sorbets like masala chai, lattes at Café Saint-Henri, and Quebec cheese at La Fromagerie Hamel.
5826 Rue St. Hubert, La Petite Patrie
Established in 1996, Art Mûr, one of the largest contemporary galleries in Montreal, plays an important role in pushing the city’s creative landscape forward. Known for its roster of both local and Canadian artists, and particularly for its support of up-and-coming talent, the gallery regularly collaborates on shows with independent curators and larger Canadian museums. Look for monthlong shows by artists like Saskatchewan painter Judith Barry, whose semi-aerial landscape paintings are rendered beautifully in oil.
Élément de Base
534 McCaffrey, Saint Laurent
The Montreal-based furniture maker is a homegrown, direct-to-consumer outfit: It collaborates with local designers for its robust selection of sofas, armchairs, benches—you name it. And because it works in a smaller way that’s more integrated with the local community, it's able to offer competitive pricing on its pieces, too. The best way to peruse the selection is on the site or via the beautifully curated Instagram feed, but there are also two showrooms in Montreal where you can test out, say, a sectional, in person before you commit.
Industrial Two-Bedroom Loft
Address upon booking, Old Montreal
A collaboration between stylist Annie Horth and Nathalie Bouchard, Creative Flats is network of lofts (available for both short- and long-term stays) in Old Montreal. This one is two blocks north of Notre-Dome, meaning you're within striking distance of some of the neighborhood’s best shops and cafés. The penthouse apartment is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows and features an open layout, so there’s plenty of space to spread out, making it a great option for a small family or couples traveling together. We’re especially partial to the design details here, like polished cement floors, high ceilings, vintage decorative objects mixed with mid-century modern furniture, and an open kitchen. Creative Flats has other lofts available for rent throughout the city, plus a particularly dreamy country house in the Eastern Townships.
Editions de Robes
5334 Blvd. St. Laurent, Mile End
In a charming storefront in the boho Mile End enclave, shop owner Julie Pesant’s philosophy is simple: “In order for a dress to find its way into our store, I have to love it enough to want it for myself,” she says. It follows that the shop is a treasure trove of sweet, feminine dresses—everything from classic A-line silhouettes and shifts from the brand’s house line to one-of-a-kind vintage pieces Pesant has handpicked for the store, plus well-known styles from Tibi, Cynthia Rowley, and Elizabeth and James.
70 St. Paul St. O, Old Montreal
Denis Gagnon has an uncanny ability to work with leather in a way that feels sculptural and romantic at the same time. He works in a largely black palette, and no, his designs aren’t for the faint of heart—with details like exposed gold zippers, sequins, and cutouts on blazers, asymmetrical dresses, and blouses. Gagnon, also known for his thick black eyeglasses and heavy French-Canadian accent, was born in Montreal, so after spending years abroad working in Morocco in costume design, his return was a homecoming. The brand is adored for its eclectic ready-to-wear and custom one-off creations; the flagship store, located on a cobblestoned street in Old Montreal, has been around for almost a decade.
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