This past weekend I took a short trip to Montreal with my friend Lauren to rediscover the city and to, quite honestly, take a break from Toronto.
I love Montreal. It's a city with an edge - a raw, artsy vibe evident through the street art and graffiti that comprises the city's urban fabric. I love the character of the city: the wrought-iron spiral staircases and fire escapes, the colourful vintage signage, and the dynamic cityscape between the historic and the new.
Although only there for 3 days, we walked almost 20 miles and explored quite a bit of the city. We partied at Bar Blizzarts, Philemon Bar, and La Distillerie. We ate at Chuck Hughes' (!!!) newest restaurant Le Bremner in Old Montreal. We tried the Montreal smoked meat sandwiches from the legendary Schwartz’s, ate late night poutine from La Belle Province, had Montreal-style sweet bagels from Fairmount Bagel in Mile End, and enjoyed afternoon beers at Dieu du Ciel - an amazing local brewery in the heart of Montreal.
Montreal has a number of amazing independent design stores. Ibiki is a fashion and lifestyle store with a purely Scandinavian aesthetic, carrying brands such as Filippa K and Helmut Lang. Papeterie Nota Bene is a beautiful stationary store that sells hard to find and one-of-a-kind art and design books. Style Labo is a design store in Mile End that specializes in vintage furniture and home decor.
My favourite part of the weekend, however, was our experience at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. We were able to catch the Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900-1914 exhibition, which was absolutely breathtaking. I highly recommend checking it out if you are heading to Montreal anytime soon.