top of page

isa tousignant

writer, editor & branded content creative

selected clippings
Screenshot 2024-03-20 at 10.33.28 AM.png

Stroll between the landmarks of Art Mûr, a three-storey art gallery, and the brunch spot Le Toaster, and you’ll hit on a Villeray section of Saint-Hubert Street that’s totally unique in the city. A Latin enclave and hipster hotspot, Saint-Hubert Plaza is partly covered with a glass roof, making it ripe for exploring whatever the season. There’s everything from top-tier Mexican street food, tiki bars and prom dress shops to bookstores, thrift stores and made-in-Montréal streetwear stops like Pony. For something a little fancy, Montréal Plaza by Toqué! alums doles out small plates and fine wines in a fantastically decorated space, but most of Saint-Hubert Plaza’s vibe is deliciously relaxed.

Screenshot 2024-02-27 at 9.12_edited.jpg

Iconic Montréal food is so much more than old school diners and world’s best bagels. Don’t get us wrong, it’d be a cardinal sin not to eat some poutine or to visit our best delis and sandwich shops for some choice smoked meat, but it’s just as sinful not to eat from the rich selection of the city’s best restaurants (and the hottest new tables).

Culture.jpeg

“If you’re the kind of person that gets itchy feet on a random Tuesday night you’ll love Montréal,” says writer and Montréal local Isa Tousignant. “There’s literally always something going on. Queer line dancing at Champs sports bar, live post-punk at Sala Rossa by great local bands like CRABE, a life-changing whole-body immersive EDM art night at the dome-shaped Satosphere… dream it up and you’ll find it here.”

Screenshot 2024-02-25 at 7.28.37 PM.png

What better start a day than biting into the best, freshly baked croissants in Montreal made by of the city’s best bakeries? While other cities may devote their breakfast carbs to less finessed goods like donuts or scones, the first move in Montreal is always the croissant. Then coffee. When done well, the crackle from the layers of golden dough emanate a sweet buttery aroma from the pastry’s soft interior. While it is difficult to find a bad one here, this guide will help you to find the best croissants. 

Italian.webp

After the French and English, Italians represent the third largest ethnic group in Montréal, and with them (and the inspirations that follow) comes the best Italian restaurants in Montréal. With the city’s noted reputation as the culinary capital of Canada and Italy’s world-renown food culture, it’s no coincidence that many of the Montréal’s best restaurants are Italian. Whether you’re after the best pizza, exceptional coffee, amazing cheap eats, great wine bars or the finest of fine dining in Montréal, there’s an Italian restaurant for you.

Fashion.jpeg

Attendee gifts are a great opportunity to extend the impact of your event. If well chosen, your gifts could make their way into your guests’ daily lives, reminding them of your event over and over. In honour of Black History Month, here are just some of the BIPOC artisans and designers that are making giftable goods in Montréal. From small décor objects to luxury accessories, these attendee gifts will keep on giving.

FOOD.jpeg

Food trends change faster than popcorn pops since the era of TikTok chefs, but the broad strokes that rule meetings and events catering remain the same: sustainability, cost effectiveness and the widest possibly appeal. Luckily, those goals are all achievable in new and interesting ways! From upcycling programs to standalone dining experiences and tons of local flavour, Montréal offers event professionals all sorts of trendy opportunities.

Daquoise.jpeg

Whether you’re looking for the best croissant (to pair with an epic cup of coffee), baguette or the perfect sandwich, this carefully prepared list of the city's best will guide the way. The inventories of the best bakeries and pastry shops in Montréal — like the city itself — are made from a crazy mishmash of old and new world sensibilities, and the city’s bakers and pastry chefs all draw heavily from French, Italian, Jewish, Mexican, and Greek bread and pastry traditions.  

Story 1.jpeg

While we all agree that Montréal is an incredible city, if not the ninth best city in the world, sometimes you just need to get out of town. Whether you’re looking for a seaside escape, or hiking near Montréal, here are the best options (ranked by shortest to longest distance from the city) that are all totally doable. If you need a quicker fix, explore a day trip from Montréal or just kick back on one of the city’s glorious beaches or parks.

Story 3.png

We all agree that Montréal is home to some of the best restaurants, bars and things to do, but it’s also outrageously close to day trip hot spots in Ontario, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and (of course!) Québec —hot air balloon rides included. There’s no shortage of quick getaway ideas, whether you want to camp by a lake, visit lavender fields that will make you feel like you’re in Provence, go hiking or spend the day on one of the many glorious, sandy beaches just outside of the city.

PIC 7.jpeg

Montréal is a city that knows how to celebrate the last licks of summer while embracing autumn’s arrival. This essential round-up of Montréal musts is your to-do list whether you’re a tourist or a local: from iconic attractions and museums, unmissable restaurants and bars — and the very best apple picking — it rounds up the most outstanding things to do across the city.

Socials.jpeg

Social media platforms are a marketing must – they’re THE way to promote events, generate buzz, interact with industry leaders and rally audiences. But they can be even more. 2023 heralds interesting developments on platforms we all know, and brand new practices we can take onboard to make it a year to remember. Follow these 5 easy trends to increase the impact of your posts.

PIC1.jpeg

Whirl & Whittle brings the ebb and flow of natural shapes into the home. Inspired by her grandfather’s wood craftsmanship, Canada-based Pooja Pawaskar founded the studio in 2019 using her background in architecture and furniture design to create wooden and ceramic home goods that are functional, aesthetic, and unique. Whether it’s the silky-smooth curve of a spalted beech wood vase or the rough-hewn edge of a hand-dyed wood bowl, the brand’s pieces embrace the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi — finding inherent beauty in flaws and imperfections. Thoughtfully designed objects built to age with grace, Whirl & Whittle’s refined home goods are authentic, humble luxuries.

Cookies.png

When I was little, we had family friends who would always deliver a giant tin full of scrumptious home-baked holiday cookies around this time of year. Chocolate thumbprint cookies, snickerdoodles, lemon snowflakes, jam-jewelled coconut drops — I dream of them still, and every year I crave a home-baked cookie extravaganza. This year I had one, in the form of a cross-city hunt for the best of the best scratch-made cookies. Here are my top 12.

DIM SUM.jpeg

Any dim sum meal is a celebratory meal, if you ask me. If you’re not a Christmas person — whether because of creed, culture or general holiday aversion — but are looking for somewhere to go on or around Dec. 25, get a gang together, sidestep the obvious choice of Chinatown and explore one of these outliers. Each is wonderful in its own way, and with plentiful parking guaranteed.

Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 5.43.16 PM.png

The dropping temperatures may be disheartening, but they’re also the harbinger of a beautiful time in nature. Let’s get out there and see some fall colours! Hop in the car and hit the road to soak up some country air on the way to one of these destination restaurants, all within an hour (or so) of Montréal.

39294.jpg

Throughout the Tourisme Montréal site we tell you all about Montréal’s greatest hits and amazing bits. But what about the city’s hidden gems? The ones even WE keep to ourselves? Here’s a growing list of our favourite small, neighbourhood, off-the-beaten-track spots, where we love to go hang, grab a meal, soak up the vibe and generally live like a local. Welcome to our best-kept secrets.

Little.jpeg

The barnwood-panelled music studio in Montréal’s Mile-Ex neighbourhood is filled with the sound of Laurel Sprengelmeyer (better known as Little Scream) workshopping live versions of songs from her third album, Speed Queen. The title may bring to mind frothing mouths and party highs, but it’s actually named after the washing machine brand, paying homage to the precious pleasures of self-sufficiency.

AVO.jpeg

Brunches are a thing of wonder in Montréal — a weekend ritual that people will actually travel to experience. And now there are three new brunches worth writing home about.

THE GAZETTE

BUBBLE.jpeg

New things are brewing over in Quartier Concordia — and much of it is bubble tea. If you haven’t been downtown between Guy St. and Atwater Ave. in a while, get ready to taste exciting new flavours, textures and dessert concepts imported from Taiwan and Hong Kong. This summer marks the opening of two new sweet spots, with oldies and goodies rounding out this list.

Ohara_Hale.png

Ohara Hale’s is an illustrator, author, musician and, these days, an art instructor to a group of disenfranchised teens — which is to say she’s a busy, endlessly creative Montrealer. Her workspace is a shared loft in a defunct Mile End school. But it’s a temporary arrangement because she travels so much, her office is usually her backpack.

ESTHER.jpeg

With her Le Corbuffet dinner series and cookbook, Toronto-born artist Esther Choi takes a bite out of consumer culture. Choi’s book includes original, architecturally inspired recipes like Rem Brûlée, after Dutch superstar architect Rem Koolhaas, and a Korean side dish called Shigeru Banchan Two Ways.

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 12.12.50 PM.png

Jared Stein is always at the forefront of leadership trends. One he’s been thinking about lately is empathy — it’s the buzzword du jour, and for good reason. But he sees a future where compassion overtakes empathy. Here he breaks down the difference.

Bombardier-experience-zafar-sheikh-donny-colantonio.jpeg

Processing engineer Zafar Sheikh may spend most of his waking hours expanding his company, but his five children remain at the centre of his life — thanks in part to his Challenger 650.

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER

CONDE.jpeg

Montréal’s most lovely stays are concentrated in the downtown core, ranging from the Golden Square Mile to Old Montréal, with a few outposts in Griffintown and beyond. The hotels range from restored historic — with greystone walls original to the 19th century and giant, arched windows you can open — to brand-new towers with incredible views. 

TOURISME MONTRÉAL

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 1.06.31 PM.png

Rooftop plunge pools, five-star dining, underground access to designer shopping and your wildest dreams come true… these are just some of the extravagances Montréal’s luxury hotels have to offer. They’re located all over the city’s central core and guarantee you an unforgettable stay — and more!

MILK.jpeg

Montréal electro-pop band Milk & Bone needs no introduction. The brains behind the beauty, Laurence Lafond-Beaulne and Camille Poliquin, have brought fame to Montréal with music so popular they’re constantly on tour, except when they’re writing and recording. These singer-songwriters do everything from scratch, from lyrics to compositions to voice — all while pushing the fashion envelope at every photo shoot. Lately they’ve been hard at work on the finishing touches of their second album, set to drop in early 2018. We caught them in a rare free moment, to get their thoughts on Montréal’s design scene and what spots we should hit.

Screen Shot 2022-09-03 at 11.13.57 AM.png

When Québec photographer Benoit Aquin returned to Haiti for the first time in 20 years, it was only days after the 2010 earthquake. The stench of death was so thick in the air that people stuck cigarettes up their nostrils or smeared toothpaste under their noses. Aquin and other aid workers slept on the floor of a restaurant in what had been downtown Port-au-Prince. Around them was nothing but ruin and desertion, peopled with the occasional clan of looters. That trip was manageable, he says in retrospect — every day he just did what he had to do, and in the evening he took photographs. Only when he returned to Montréal did the emotional effects of the experience catch up with him.

CARPOOLERS.jpeg

In the storybook that is Alejandro Cartagena’s oeuvre, Carpoolers is the chapter that comes between Suburbia Mexicana and What We Fight For. The artist, who works and lives in Monterrey, Mexico, but is originally from the Dominican Republic, has been researching and imaging urban sprawl and its impact for the last decade in photographs that mix a luscious kind of composed beauty with deep human interest.

EAMON.webp

My first encounter with Canadian photographer and artist Eamon Mac Mahon was when I worked as an editor for a travel magazine, at which he was the stuff of local legend. He had shot a story about the Bahamas for which he’d risked life and limb: on a tiny, rickety plane with, lore dictates, more holes than a fisherman’s net, he hung out of the main cavity — tied in place with only a rope — to capture aerial shots of the turquoise swirling waters. The story won awards.

AIR CANADA VACATIONS

eastern.jpeg

Often described as the gateway between Europe and America, Montréal is also the ideal launching pad for some amazing daytrips. Within a couple of hours drive, you can see unique foliage, soak in natural springs, have a bona fide sugar shack experience, pick your own fruit, take a bite out of history or explore the nation’s capital. Which will you choose?

BOOK.jpg

Air Canada was born as Trans-Canada Air Lines a little over three quarters of a century ago, on April 10, 1937. Its purpose? To coordinate air transport across a nascent country’s broad expanse. Its means? $5 million and three airplanes: a Stearman fresh from crop-dusting duties and two Lockheed Electras. The man at the helm was Philip Gustav Johnson, an engineer who’d become President of Seattle’s Boeing Airplane Company at the tender age of 31. He moved up to Montréal as Vice President of Operations at an annual salary of $17,500, and started the engines on a history so full of high moments, it was hard to pick just 75.

Marc Sardi copy_edited.jpg

Not every floral artist and botanical photographer can claim to have trained in wildlife biology and worked in the ecological sphere for 20 years before turning to art. That’s just one of the ways in which Montréal artist Marc Sardi is unique. Those who know his art from Instagram are already addicted to his unique creative flair — and now thanks to our Bloom collection, we can all enjoy his stunning images in our homes. Let’s meet the man behind the magic.

OPPOSITE WALL

Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 6.22.56 PM.png

This fresh collection will take you where the wild things grow. Let your space blossom into your favourite place with this celebration of form, of colour, of budding possibilities sprouting into splendorous, multi-coloured glory. Whether framed or wallpapered on every surface, it’s time for bold blooms, vintage florals and wild botanicals inspired as much by Dutch masters as by expressionist paintings, with a touch of pop art for good measure.

OPPOSITE WALL

Screenshot 2024-02-25 at 10_edited.jpg

Escape to otherworldly places with our freshest collection, an ode to ethereal vistas both real and imagined. Inspired by Impressionist landscapes and classic photography, this selection of prints and wallpapers is an invitation to dream. So unwind, breathe deep — there’s nothing on your to-do list but to let the possibilities unfold. 

Cheap eats.webp

Montrealers have an ongoing love affair with their city’s low cost of living alongside its high quality of life, and the best cheap eats in Montréal are among the strongest supporting arguments for that. It’s a daily gift to hit up just about any corner of the island and find food that’s equal parts fulfilling and frugal. 

Rosélys_edited.jpg

The best buffets in Montréal never go out of style. You’ll find a wide variety of all-you-can-options here, ranging from the best steakhouses and sushi restaurants to solid bets for brunch and cheap eats. Each have their own specialty where you can get a serious bang for your buck. Read on to find out where you can fill on a decent bill. 

Galentine_edited.jpg

In Leslie Knope’s words (you know, from Parks and Rec), it’s all about “ladies celebrating ladies.” Every February 13, gal pals have the best excuse ever to get together and make a ruckus: it’s Galentine’s Day. This affectionate February celebration doesn’t involve romance and mushy clichés, but rather quality time spent sharing, laughing, feasting and getting noisy with your most beloved lady friends. It’s only the best day ever.

34204-Crédit FR © Susan Moss-EN Credit © Susan Moss.jpg

Nostalgic for the bygone days of pop coloured décor, disco roller derby and swing dancing? You’ve found your mecca! Montréal has got a loving relationship with the past, from its spicy days in the 1930s to its time on the world stage during Expo 67, to its 5-ring celebration of the 1976 Olympic Games. Read on for 15 incredible ways to experience the good ole days right here and now.

Maguire.jpeg

Walk along Saint-Laurent Boulevard, through Montréal’s Mile End neighbourhood, and your eyes are sure to be drawn to Maguire’s storefront — and inside. The local brand’s footwear designs are uniquely attractive, mixing a sort of chic, effortless wearability with a standout colour palette in buttery leathers. The price tags sit proudly on view next to every mouth-watering pair. These luxe shoes are arrestingly affordable.

Story 5.jpeg

Montrealers are all about rooftop drinking. The minute the mercury starts to rise, you'll find us day drinking on one of the best terrasses in Montréal — we earned it after a long winter. Throw a rooftop with a jaw-dropping view into the mix and things go up a notch. From afternoons spent (boozily) basking in the sun to secret bars perched high above the city, we love them all for a lofty brunch, some of the best cocktails or a trip to one of the best gay bars. What can we say? Rooftop bars are the best.

Screenshot 2024-02-25 at 7.23.39 PM.png

From Michelin star-calibre institutions, to epically delicious cheap eats and some of the best rooftop terrasses in town, there’s something for everyone in the city’s most bustling neighbourhood. Check out Canada’s largest supper club, one of our favourite sandwich spots, the most Instagrammable patio in the city and more.

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER

Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 5.04.41 PM.png

It may be more than a century older than the country it calls home, but these days, Montréal crackles with new energy. It’s no wonder that the city of less than two million saw more than 11 million visitors last year: In addition to its burgeoning culinary scene, the Québécois city seemingly has it all — cobblestoned colonial neighbourhoods, hundreds of historic churches, one of the world’s best jazz scenes, and even a small mountain in its city center. And don’t even get us started on the piles of poutine and smoked meat. 

Kwenders.png

Bringing the electricity and heart of Kinshasa to an office at 3PM on a Tuesday is no easy task. But Pierre Kwenders, the first guest of our new 3PM series, did all that and more. Fuelled by empanadas (his favourite afternoon snack), Pierre’s vibrant vocals and arresting beats transported our artisans far, far away.

RESTOS.jpeg

Montréal’s reputation as a food town is founded on a love to eat that can not and will not be squashed. Some of its most iconic restaurants are poutine counters and smoked meat-joints; and though they surely enjoy eating there too, the city’s most progressive chefs offer a whole different range of options — from rethought sushi to fast-casual fusions. When it comes to where to dine in Montreal, our list of editor’s picks has it all: the casual and iconic, new-wave and progressive, high-brow to low. You won’t waste a meal, and you certainly won’t this city leave hungry.

Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 5.46.30 PM.png

You know those weeks when you just love your job? I’ve been crisscrossing the city tasting brownies — over a dozen of them, so I can report back to you on the best of the best. From nutty to not, square or round, big and small, Montréal’s brownies come in many shapes and sizes. Presenting: the leaders of the snack pack.

Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 5.59.45 PM.png

100 years already?! At Tourisme Montréal, we’ve been sharing our love for the city for a century now — and our pride is only growing. Montréal is unique in the world for its constant innovation, invention, creativity and joyful spirit — the city practically promotes itself. Here are 100 exciting creative things to do so you can start tapping into that famous Montréal energy.

LIBRAIRIES.jpeg

With the back-to-school frenzy comes a kind of generalized societal impulse to get back to the grind. Or maybe the coffee grinder? In the case of this crop of bookstore-cum-cafés, hitting the books goes hand in hand with knocking back top-notch espressos and enjoying a satisfying bite.

TOM.jpeg

Fresh-picked tomatoes still warm from the sun — summer doesn’t get any tastier. Unless you put that same ingredient in the hands of a few skilled chefs. Here are four delectable dishes on Montréal menus right now that give the simple tomato the attention it’s due.

vegan.jpeg

The ubiquitous Beyond Meat burger on billboards all over town is proof positive: Plant-based eating is IN. Montréal has sprouted a handful of new vegan restaurants over the last six months alone, which is good news for everyone — whether for the planet, health or simple palate-pleasing, we could all do with more meatless meals. Here is a quick look at six.

IMG_1153.HEIC

Anyone who’s ever heard Elana Gorbatyuk speak knows how electrifyingly different her perspective is on leadership, creativity and inclusivity. She has a very forward-thinking view, especially in a field like advertising, predicated on competition. She believes that creativity thrives not under stress, but rather in a situation of freedom, confidence and community — and that this is the work model of the future. We sat down with Gorbatyuk to dig a little deeper into her idea that the ideal agency of the future should feel like home.

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 12.04.34 PM.png

“Nate Husser” isn’t a name you’re used to hearing on its own. It’s mostly been mentioned as part of Montréal rap trio The Posterz — until now, that is: his debut solo EP, Ghetto Rock for the Youth, just dropped on November 17 at the Little Burgundy club The Bog. With roots in bothEngland and St. Vincent, Nate has been a Montrealer since birth, but he plans on bringing his unique sound — and on-point style — to the four corners of the globe.

BIRKS.jpeg

We’re on the eve of exciting new developments at Birks. The gleaming edifice on Montréal’s Philip’s Square we’ve called home for nearly 125 years is about to become your home too. In 2018, we’ll be opening the Birks Hotel, a property managed by the renowned St. Martin Hotel Group that shares the guiding principles of our brand: high quality, exclusivity, impeccable service and an openness to design innovation.

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 1.01.47 PM.png

Boutique-hotel luxury is all about the particulars — the style, the amenities, the unique touches that are offered only there. Treat yourself to the personalized experiences hidden all over the downtown core, at Montréal’s beautiful boutique hotels, and start building lifelong travel memories.

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 3.11.50 PM.png

Montréal’s joie de vivre has been the stuff of legend since the days of prohibition, when it was the party town of choice for teetotalling Ontarians and Americans alike. Today the party still rages on, as evidenced by weekend lineups outside the clubs along Boulevard Saint-Laurent and Rue Crescent. But if clubbing isn’t quite your thing, tasteful drinkeries abound, and often come with kitchens worth traveling for, too. Read on for our picks of Montreal’s best bars.

JULIEN.jpeg

Julien Smith is a typical Montréal Renaissance man. You may know his name from the many tech books he’s authored, or, more recently, because he’s the cofounder and CEO of Breather, one of Montréal’s most exciting startups. Breather rents commercial real estate in an on-demand fashion. 

DAVID.webp

David Altmejd discusses the inspiration behind “Flux,” his upcoming solo show at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and his plans for the future.

Screen Shot 2022-09-03 at 11.17.35 AM.png

Maskull Lasserre is the Mike Tyson of the Canadian art scene: a soft-voiced killer with an unstoppable left-right combination. On one hand, he seems like the sweetest, most unassuming person you’re ever likely to meet. On the other, he’s the maker of spellbinding, disturbing objects of steel, wood, bronze and stone, powerful ciphers for our time that are loaded with meaning, unspoken violence, ironic tragedy or, sometimes, a delicate wonder. Plus, within minutes of my walking into his studio, he’s trying to get my head into a guillotine.

CIEL VARIABLE

COPPER.jpeg

Moyra Davey’s Copperheads series has had a few existences. It was born in 1990, soon after the Canadian-born artist moved to New York, where she still resides. In those early days it was a project that lived a practically private life; after photographing Lincoln’s massacred head from the most age-ravaged pennies she could find, Davey kept her prints in a binder, at letter size, ready to be blown up. 

NORMAND.jpeg

Every summer until we were teenagers, my sister and I spent three entire months running like wild things through the dense forest of the Laurentians. With our two neighbour friends and a borrowed husky dog, we explored every nook, cranny, brook, and blueberry bush of a stretch of about two kilometres around our cottage all day, every day. They were some of my favourite times, times of excitement, serenity, and free-spiritedness that I’ve attempted to re-create since – with only a modicum of success. So, when photographer Normand Rajotte told me of his return to the land and his purchase, with his brothers, of a little bit of wilderness at the foot of Mont-Mégantic, in the Eastern Townships, I viscerally understood the yearning that he had satisfied. 

Screen Shot 2022-09-08 at 9.07.27 AM.png

France loved its butter and cream, and so do we, but the southeastern region of Provence has a culinary tradition closer to Greece and Spain. Where sun, surf and alpine foothills rule, so do fresh vegetables, olive oil and healthy grains — prepared with typical French flair, bien sûr. These five Provençal experiences offer wellness in more ways than one.

fredricks_and_mae.jpeg

Fredericks & Mae is the brainchild of Giovi Mae Signorile and Gabriel Fredericks Cohen, two roommates who started their collaborative practice in their Brooklyn living room. Today, the colourful homeware label creates lighthearted, rainbow-hued objects ranging from kitchen tools to decorative ornaments. 

Screenshot 2024-02-25 at 12.34.33 PM.png

After meeting while studying menswear at Central Saint Martins, husband-and-wife duo Yeonjoo Koo and Jinwoo Choi pivoted and founded womenswear label J KOO in 2010. The Korean brand borrows traditional men's tailoring techniques for its wardrobe of ready-to-wear that has become a favorite at Seoul Fashion Week for its sophisticated take on masculine-feminine duality.

CANADIAN ART

Screenshot 2024-02-25 at 3.37.07 PM.png

On one occasion when I was a teenager, I found myself at what was then called the Musée du Québec for an opening of my dad’s. I walked into a room, went straight to a painting that had recently hung in my bedroom, and stroked it. “Looks good here!” I beamed. Seconds later, a security guard was upon me, a vein in the side of his head thumping. 

Screenshot 2024-02-25 at 7.20.07 PM.png

Take your gift baskets to new sustainable heights with these seven Montréal brands, whose very mission it is to make goods for a better tomorrow. Not only will you be implementing the sustainable practice of shopping local, you’ll be helping promote makers who eschew sweatshops and use recycled materials, all while introducing your attendees to Montréal’s diverse, innovative and eco-conscious creativity. 

Downtown.jpeg

Montréal’s downtown core is in the midst of a boom. Poised between the deep blue St. Lawrence River and Mount Royal’s urban mountainscape, downtown has long been a draw for retail therapy and major events like the Montréal International Jazz Festival. More recently, despite all the cranes and construction, the heart of Montréal is officially cooler than ever. Free activities and initiatives have been created to bring the community together — in summer, a giant chess board, outdoor art installations and circus acts; in winter, a gigantic illuminated skating rink, disco bumper cars and food pop-ups. With a population of creatives and young professionals, along with some of the best new (and highest) rooftops, hotels and restaurants in town, downtown is the place to be.

Trends.png

Forecasting trends for the year to come is an exciting end of year ritual, and we’ve been soaking it all up. But as great as it is to predict what’s to come, how about we decide what the future of the meetings and events industry could be? Here’s a combination of what’s in the ether — and what should be. Presenting 2024’s biggest and most game-changing trends for 2024. 

The Ring.jpeg

Montréal has so many epic things to do, especially during the winter. From discovering a secret enchanted hidden alleyway to a giant free illuminated skating rink, we suggest you get out your calendar and let the fun begin. Don’t forget to check out the best attractions in the city plus the city’s best free museums!

Old Mtl.jpeg

There’s no doubt that some of best places to eat in town are in Old Montréal. A neighbourhood south of downtown that’s one half a tourist attraction and the other pricey condos and offices might not seem like it’d reach the top of anyone’s list, but it’s hard to deny the quality of food this area’s wallet-gouging eateries, game-changing brunches and creative fine dining—so fine in fact that we’d deem some of them Michelin star-worthy. There’s so many good places to tuck into that it might seem like there’s too many to count, so we did the work for you.

Story 6.jpeg

Nestled high atop the hills of Los Angeles, Flamingo Estate is a beauty and wellness brand that celebrates the lushness of California. Operating out of the palatial property of its namesake, the brand produces a variety of luxury products, including a selection of all-natural candles and a collection of recipes to nourish both body and soul. The brand takes inspiration from its rich surroundings to craft an assortment of evocative scents ranging from Italian rosemary to seaside sage. Made from 100% vegetable wax, each candle is hand-poured and has a burn time of over 60 hours. A champion of sustainable production practices, Flamingo Estate offers ethically made candles designed to smell divine.

PIC9.png

Central Saint Martins graduate Aaron Esh pays homage to East London’s healthy nightlife and irreverent attitude with his namesake menswear label. The deftly sexy and methodically disheveled luxury garments are defined by offbeat tensions — confronting billowy draping with structured silhouettes and asymmetrical angles. In the Aaron Esh wardrobe, blazers aren’t quite double breasted, pants are never straight-cut, and accessories like the Comma Shoe are bona fide sculptural. While far removed from dull staples, the pieces are fit for everyday wear and constructed with superlative tailoring lauded by the likes of i-D and Dazed. A rebuttal of the sartorial standard, Aaron Esh makes clothes calibrated to the contemporary.

Pic13.png

Nestled in the northern, sea-hugging community of Galicia, Spanish homeware brand SARGADELOS has been creating refined porcelain pieces since 1806. Known for its innovative approach to design, the brand takes cues from around the globe and often creates collections with international designers — while always staying true to its roots and standards of craftsmanship. Pieces like shallow, flat bowls and spherical vases are crafted using exclusive molds that are then finished by hand in patterns inspired by the local Galician and Celtic cultures and the coastal region’s rough-hewn beauty. Whether for the dinner table or the display shelf, every SARGADELOS piece is a marriage of form, function, and a solid sense of place.

Screenshot 2023-01-19 at 1.30.12 PM.png

No need to wonder what makes Montrealers so fashionable, just take one look at some of our favorite stores for shopping and the answer’s clear. This island’s a haven for great shopping options. From high-end fashion to accessible everyday looks to vintage boutiques and department stores with don’t-miss discounts, there are options that suit everybody’s different needs and budgets.

Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 5.39.23 PM.png

Jerk chicken is one of those guaranteed feel-good dishes on a cold day, like stew or cottage pie. It’s got “Mama’s cooking” written all over it, partly because it requires hours of marinating, so it’s not something you can just rustle up. After absorbing the complex flavours of the rub (usually involving allspice, soy sauce and thyme), the chicken is charcoal-grilled to smoky perfection.

VEGAN.jpeg

Montréal’s booming vegan scene is getting more and more famous, and there’s a festival that brings all that success to light: the Montréal Vegan Festival. On the weekend of September 21 and 22, 2019, the fest brings plant-based power to the Montréal Convention Centre, where 20,000 participants will congregate to meet the chefs, producers, activists, foodies and farmers that make vegan Montréal a true hub of excitement.

Gastropubs.jpeg

Scotch eggs, bangers and mash, chips and curry sauce — these three gastropubs downtown and in Old Montréal are building on the legacy of Montréal mainstays Dominion Square Pub and Burgundy Lion with menus that hit all the pub classics but add their signature flair. Presenting nouveau British, done three ways.

FALAFEL.jpeg

Falafel sandwiches are a mainstay of Montréal fast food, and as more and more spots open across town, the range of flavours is growing. No two places make them the same. From Syrian to Lebanese to Israeli and Palestinian, every culture has a different tradition, and so does every cook. Here are six falafel sandwiches worth zigzagging around the city to taste.

DESIGN.jpeg

If you don’t know her name, you’ll for sure know her flavours. The chef and restaurant owner of Old Montréal’s most famous café-restaurant, Olive et Gourmando, Dyan Solomon came to Montréal from Kingston, Ontario to go to McGill at the age of 18 and pretty much never left. The style maven knows design through and through — just look at the moody interior of her latest bijou, the two-year old grill restaurant in Griffintown, Foxy. We sat down to get her inside scoop on Montréal’s design scene and some of the hot spots not to be missed.

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 11.09.47 AM.png

Alec Sutherland launched Haut Beau when he was in art school at Concordia University, and you can tell when you walk into his Montréal studio. The rugs piled and hung around the space inspire thoughts of Mark Rothko, Paul Klee and Bridget Riley. Though mostly known for his monochrome carpets, Sutherland is actually an undiscovered colourist: he has stunning geometric pieces in ochre, aubergine, cherry and blues that have yet to be posted on his web store. “I always figure people like black and white rugs more,” he says. But just wait until they see these, I think.

MERCEDES-BENZ MAGAZINE

JEWELS.jpeg

Canadian jewellery designers are mining the landscape for artistic inspiration. The winding road cuts through rolling hills of lava rock, wispy silver birth trees and fields of golden corn — the perfect setting for the simple beauty of Walter Van der Molen’s jewellery. I’m on Highway 50, halfway between Montréal and the designer’s home studio is Luskville, Québec, a picturesque community on the outskirts of Ottawa where, after a long day in the capital, residents commute home to a rural retreat that includes red cedar-lined hiking paths and sparkling views of the Ottawa River.

ENROUTE

VEGAN.jpeg

Excess is king (or President?) in Las Vegas, the Mojave Desert oasis that’s home to bottomless margaritas and half-pound burgers topped with six-cheese mac’n’cheese. The other times I’ve been here, for conventions and junkets and tasteless friends’ weddings, good intentions paved the road to prime-rib brunches and chicken-waffled everything. But this time I’m here by choice, and I’m celebrating, too: Las Vegas is going excessively vegan. 

IMG_0533.jpeg

Montréal: where Europe and America meet. That’s the impression visitors usually get, anyway, thanks to the charm of Old Montréal, founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1642, contrasted with the skyscrapers, wide streets and grid-based city planning of the rest of downtown. Before long you’ll see Montréal has a character that’s all its own, though, with dual identities. 

WEEKEND.jpeg

Montréal deserves more than a weekend, but in two to three days many of her pleasures can be sampled — including iconic bagels, a little Vieux-Montréal, and some spa time. Save plenty of time for eating and drinking!

harry.jpeg

Harry Drakopoulos is synonymous with Off The Hook, in more ways than one. Mainly because that’s the name of his stores: part owner of the city’s two OTH store, he takes care of operations, marketing initiatives, management and expansions. He’s been a proud Montrealer his whole life, and expresses that daily in his stores by carrying lots of Montréal brands — especially at the newest offshoot in Hotel William Gray, where the focus is to introduce local design to an international clientele.

BGL.jpeg

Ahead of their debut at the Venice Biennale, Quebec City art pranksters BGL lead Isa Tousignant on a tour through their kitsch-fuelled practice.

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER

Condé.jpeg

It may be more than a century older than the country it calls home, but these days, Montréal crackles with new energy. It’s no wonder that the city of less than two million saw more than 11 million visitors last year: In addition to its burgeoning culinary scene, the Québécois city seemingly has it all — cobblestoned colonial neighbourhoods, hundreds of historic churches, one of the world’s best jazz scenes, and even a small mountain in its city center. And don’t even get us started on the piles of poutine and smoked meat. 

CIEL VARIABLE

Screen Shot 2022-09-08 at 8.12.19 AM.png

Walk around in early winter and you may just spot a dash of colour peeking through from under the first coats of snow that blanket the front gardens. That’s a carnation. Long after the peonies, lilies, and daffodils have gone, this sturdy flower still shines its bright hues, in defiance of the season of death. It’s fitting that it is one of the flowers most commonly used in funeral wreaths, but it’s also a mainstay in Mother’s Day bouquets and prom corsages. Its eternal will and refusal to wilt make it the ideal marker for our rites of passage.

Screen Shot 2022-09-08 at 8.25.17 AM.png

Style is everywhere in Montréal, from the street fashion to the interior design — no wonder it’s a UNESCO City of Design. Raise a glass to the most stylish spots on the food scene, the winners of the prestigious Grands Prix du Design. We’re talking cafés, restaurants, clubs and bakeries that delight not only the taste buds, but also the eyes. Get ready to ‘gram!

C2.png

For a full century, Tourisme Montréal has been proudly flying the city’s flag around the world, tirelessly spreading the word: as destinations for innovation, creation and celebration go, there is nowhere quite like Montréal.

SCARO.jpeg

Twenty years ago, jewellery designer and sculptor Caroline Arbour, who is based in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, was in Quebec City when she had an up-close encounter with a two-inch-long scarab. There are about 30,000 types of scarab species around the world, but the one Arbour met was what’s known as a longhorned beetle with two distinct antennae. An unlikely muse, this creature spurred her interest in beetles, which would become her greatest source of inspiration and the emblem of her brand, Scaro (the name itself is an amalgamation of the designer’s name and the word “scarab”).

Parks.jpeg

With so many incredible free things to do in Montréal, hanging out in one of the city’s many urban green spaces or beaches is at the top of the list. They are where Montrealers go year-round, but it’s during the hot summer months that they really come alive. We’re talking tons of Montréal festivals and events, where to get a tan before drinking at the best bars and rooftops or where to go after long date nights or a casual bite to eat. Here are the best parks in and around Montréal.

Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 5.22.31 PM.png

Open-fire grills have been the biggest trend in fancy new Montréal restaurants over the last couple of years, and for good reason: that wood-fire char is a hard taste to top. As the temperature drops, it feels like the right time to explore the best of the new — and also some of the great old standards that have long known the power of fire.

Screenshot 2024-02-25 at 12.44.44 PM.png

Founded in 2020 by twin sisters Anastasia and Maria Vaniushina, nastyamasha creates daring and feminine collections inspired by Russian street style. With an emphasis on wearability and ease of movement, the brand weaves together mesh textiles and crocheted knitwear to reimagine traditionally restrictive garments with its structured corsets, textured miniskirts, and strapless tops. 

IMG_0377.jpeg

“Creativity is for people with glasses who like to lie.”

Ron Ulysses Swanson

bottom of page