Summer's Must-Dos In Montreal, Canada

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Danielle Emond

Summer in Montreal is when the city comes out to play. The warmer months are all about festivals, so be ready to attend more than one, eat a ton of food, and spend plenty of time outdoors. Here are some not-to-be-missed events in Montreal when the sun comes out.

Montreal Shopping

Every summer, the city hosts multiple sidewalk sales, or vente de trottoir, in different boroughs. All the clothes you can imagine at cheap prices, quirky trinkets, street performers, and delicious food come together to create some of the best days out in the city. If you want to buy things to take home with you, bring cash, otherwise it is fun to simply wander the streets. Keep an eye out on Facebook, in the Montreal Gazette, and other local papers to know more about where and when the street fests will take place. If you’re looking to escape the heat, check out some of the best local boutiques Montreal has to offer. Vu Optique is a recognized local establishment, perfect to buy some chic sunnies to protect yourself from the strong Quebec sun. For high-end thrifting, check out Citizens Vintage on the trendy Boulevard St-Laurent. Tozzi is another home-grown boutique catering specifically to Montreal’s suit-and-tie-wearing men, and is worth taking a look at.

Vu Optique 7050 rue Jean Talon E, Montreal, QC, Canada, +1 (514) 352-1010

Citizens Vintage 5335 boul. St-Laurent, Montreal, QC, Canada, +1 (514) 439-2774

Boutique Tozzi 2115 rue Crescent, Montreal, QC, Canada, +1 (514) 285-2444

Old Town Montreal at night showing the blur of people.

Parks and Barbeques

Montrealers really like to take advantage of the city’s many parks. Since they’ve been locked up in their apartments all winter, these public spaces are perfect to take in the relatively short summer. Head to Parc Laurier (which also has free Wi-Fi!) or Parc Lafontaine, and light up a barbeque with your travel mates. It’s the Montreal way. If you’re seeking something very different, dive down the rabbit hole and head to the Tam Tams in Parc Mont-Royal. Drum circles, DJs and outlandish fantasy role playing can be found here, as well as some public drinking and other weird happenings that Montreal Police seem to turn a blind eye to on these Sunday afternoons. On other days of the week, Mont-Royal is a terrific place to look out over the city and take some Instagrammable photos.

Parc Laurier Rue De Mentana & Avenue Laurier E, Montréal, QC, Canada

Parc Lafontaine 1619 QC-138, Montréal, QC, Canada

Parc Mont-Royal 1260 Chemin Remembrance, Montréal, QC, Canada

The Montreal Botanical Garden

Lachine Canals

Trying to keep your summer-bod in shape while eating all of the MTL foods? Rent a bicycle and ride along the scenic Lachine Canals. If you like watersports, rent a kayak or a peddle-boat and cruise up the Canal itself. A bit further down the Lachine River, there are some rapids which are also popular among surfers. This is a National Historic Site and has been around for more than 150 years. It was the first link between the Atlantic and the centre of the continent, so pay attention to the architecture and historic info guides along the way. Also, the 14.6km walkway is a popular spot for day-dates in case you happen to meet a Montrealer that takes your fancy.

Lachine Canals – start point at Old Port of Montreal, 333 Rue de la Commune O, Montréal, QC, Canada

Lachine Canals – end point at Lachine Locks, Chemin du Musée, Montréal, QC, Canada

Lachine Canal

Jean-Talon & Atwater Markets

Fresh fruits and veggies galore! The Jean-Talon and Atwater Markets are good places to visit if you need to stock up on groceries. It’s always a nice idea to give back to the places you visit by buying local produce. These markets are perfect for breakfast or a snack too, but beware these places are packed during summer weekends. There are plenty of maple syrup goodies and local artisanal foods to fill you up for a day of discovering the city. Yum!

Jean-Talon Markets 7070 Henri-Julien Avenue Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 (514) 277-1588

Atwater Markets 138 Atwater Avenue Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 (514) 937-7754

Jean-Talon Market


Take the day to explore Mile-End as well. This hipster-cool quartier has everything from designer boutiques and vintage shops to excellent cafes and cool start-up businesses. Grab a bagel from St-Viateur or Fairmount (open 24/7 in case you need a late night treat!), and stroll down the tree-lined streets. Mile-End is a unique neighbourhood where cultures come together – Greek immigrants, Hasidic Jews and artisans coexist to create a ‘hood that defines what it means to be a Montrealer. It is known by many to be a melting pot of indie music, multiculturalism and all things cool. After a day of adventuring in this borough with all its hippy-vibes, you’ll definitely feel like ‘all you need is love’. If you can find a place to stay here, even better.

St-Viateur Mile-End 263 Rue Saint Viateur O, Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 (514) 277-7676

Fairmount Bagel 74 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal, QC, Canada, +1 (514) 272-0667

Restaurant Day

In case you haven’t noticed yet, Montrealers love to eat. While Restaurant Day technically happens in Spring (May 21st), the weather is generally warm enough for most locals to consider it summer. The event is essentially a city-wide food carnival where people open restaurants for the day. There are pop-up restaurants all over the island, from Verdun to Villeray. Most people do a restaurant-crawl in a group, with a team name and all, so get your friends together and get eating! Due to the nature of the event, Restaurant Day takes place at various locations: visit the website for all pop-up restaurants in Montreal.

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