We traveled north from Burlington, Vermont to our friends’ lake house on Lake Memphremagog in the province of Quebec, Canada. On our way there we decided to go a little out of our way to visit Montreal. Neither of us had been and we simply couldn't miss an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what the city had to offer. In short, Montreal is awesome and we will have to go back. We didn’t even scratch the surface of this vibrant city.
Montreal and Tourism
As Canada’s second largest city, Montreal has a robust and well diversified economy. While tourism doesn’t rank as one of the key industries, Montreal attracts a size-able number of tourists primarily from the U.S., France, the U.K. and Germany. However, with several major festivals in Montreal this year the city has experienced record numbers coming to celebrate the city's 375th and Canada’s 150th! Tourism Montreal states the city could see as many as 11 million visitors by the end of the year, which will have an impressive effect on the economy and job creation!
If cafes, restaurants, bookstores, bars, and bagels are your thing then the obvious choice of neighborhood in Montreal is Mile End, located in the borough of Le Plateau-Mont Royal. Mile End has been home to successive waves of immigrants, with the area being referred to as Little Italy in the early twentieth century, followed by a wave of Jewish migration in the 1950’s, and then successive waves of Greek and Portuguese immigrants. In the 1980’s Mile End became the home of artists and musicians. Traces of the neighborhood's past are very much evident today.
With only just a few hours to spare we parked the car and walked around a bit. We eventually stopped in at Bar Waverly, a corner restaurant/bar and grabbed a beer, a craft beer no less. We each had a Biere de Coin D’Rue, a sour Berliner Weisse. The restaurant is stylishly designed, with a large street-side seating area and would be a great place to return to for lunch or dinner. Next time I guess.
It's impossible to visit Mile End and not go to one of two rival bagel shops, the Fairmount or St. Viateur, both serving fresh, wood-fire cooked bagels. We opted for Fairmount (cash only) and grabbed two bagels and cream cheese. It’s important know that the Fairmont sells bagels and not sandwiches so don’t go expecting to have smoked salmon bagel. They do sell a wide variety of bagels which are warm and delicious! There is no place to sit down and eat at the Fairmont, but like the rest of the neighborhood there are benches outside. Next time we visit we will have to stop by St. Viateur to see who really does have the best bagels in Montreal.
What better way to contribute to the local economy than to drink a selection of regional craft beer! In search of beer to bring to our friends’ lake house we stopped in at Les Delires du Terroir a craft beer store located on St. Hubert Street and bought a wide variety of craft beer. Some of our favorites were the Saison du Bedeau of Microbrasserie Pit Caribou and the Maibock from Les Trois Mousquetaires. The small shop has a size-able selection of regional craft beer and should be included in your visit to Montreal.
We loved Montreal’s friendly, laid back, European charm and will definitely go back.