Considering some retail therapy during your next trip to Montreal? From Dorval in the West Island to Laval on the North Shore, the city is known for its European influences and fierce local pride. Those characteristics translate into French-accented fashions, a thriving community of artisans, and plenty of unique finds. Here’s how to make the most of your trip.
1. Pound the pavement
Hit: Plaza St-Hubert
There’s something for everyone along this stretch of Rue St-Hubert (between Rue Jean-Talon and Rue de Bellechasse). Plaza St-Hubert is known for its chic glass awnings – ideal for taking shelter on a snowy day, especially with a Convive Cafe hot chocolate in hand. For women’s fashions, check out the mix of quirky and timeless local designs at Belle et Rebelle. Bookworms will feel at home at Librairie Raffin, but note that most titles are en français.
Miss: Saint-Catherine Street
Home to the Montreal Eaton Centre and stores like Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21, Saint-Catherine is Montreal’s main commercial street. If something’s missing from your luggage, you’ll easily find a replacement here – otherwise, feel free to skip the area.
Spend: Sherbrooke Street
Hermès? Check. Gucci? Check. Burberry? Well, you get the picture. Montreal’s temple of label-worship is Holt Renfrew, a high-end department store at the intersection of Sherbrooke and Mountain Streets. After shopping till you drop, head to Etiket for a Tata Harper facial – the spa also sells natural makeup and skincare from cult brands like RMS and Pai.
2. Shop local
Hit: YUL Designs
Unique finds abound at YUL Designs, a Mile End boutique stocking Montreal-based artisans exclusively. Offerings include everything from richly scented bath products by 7 Deadly Soaps, to craft cocktail syrups by Les Charlatans.
Miss: Old Town
While there may be some gems hidden between the souvenir t-shirt shops of Old Montreal, they’re few and far between. If you find yourself on Rue Saint-Paul, its Le Petit Dep is a rare exception, home to an exquisite selection of local and imported sweets.
3. Kid around
Hit: Electrik KidzAlthough Electrik Kidz is a great place to pick out a gift – the shop carries the brand’s famous knotted sleepsacks, plus plenty of fun toys and clothing from local makers – it’s more fun to visit with a little one in tow. The concept store features a barbershop, mini manicures, and (temporary) tattoo applications.
Miss: Underground City
In a climate like Montreal’s, sometimes you need to escape the weather, which is the one reason you should head to Underground City. It’s a subterranean network of shops, food courts, and tunnels linking metro stations and landmark buildings. It can be quite overwhelming and it’s easy to get turned around down here, so if you’re navigating with kids, use the buddy system.
Emergency services: Raplapla
Known for its line of whimsical plushies, Raplaplaoperates a stuffed toy hospital for any teddy bear suffering from a rough journey. The patient’s owner will be offered a temporary replacement while their pal gets stitched up.
4. One last thing before you go
While you’re waiting for your flight, check out a couple more locally founded shops. David’s Tea specializes in loose-leaf brews – try the best-selling Cream of Earl Grey or opt for a fruity cup of Power Berry. If you need a comfy change of clothes for the flight, check out Lolë, a Montreal-based activewear brand.
Beat pre-flight jitters by staying near the airport – you’ll make it to the front of the check-in line from the Hampton Inn and Suites Montreal Dorval, Hilton Garden Inn Montreal Airport, or DoubleTree by Hilton Montreal Airport.