The history of Montreal can be read through its winding streets, lined with architecture that reflects everything from the city’s French colonial origins to the British takeover. Here are some of the most beautiful streets in Montreal, where you can see how contemporary design in the city often co-exists with history.
No matter the season, Old Montreal is beautiful and distinct. As the historic neighbourhood of the city, it’s lined with buildings that date as far back as the 17th century. Rue Saint Paul is one of the main thoroughfares, and its cobble-stoned colonial style never fails to charm locals and tourists alike.
Rue de Mentana is a long residential street that runs through the Plateau, parallel to main streets like Rue St. Denis. Between Rue Rachel and Rue Cherrier, this street makes for a peaceful walk that is beautiful in the late spring, summer, and fall. Walk one street east and you’ll be on Avenue du Parc-La Fontaine, with one side lined with charming multiplexes and the other bordering the beautiful La Fontaine Park. Another nearby street to explore is Saint-Hubert, home to some imposing Edwardian houses that are now condos.
While not necessarily the most beautiful street in Montreal, Rue Saint-André between Sherbrooke and Avenue Duluth reveals some of the most diverse combinations of architectural styles around the Plateau neighbourhood, ranging from 19th-century brick rowhouses to more Edwardian styles, as well as some 1960s apartment blocks.
While in the area, try walking north of Parc La Fontaine on Rue Rachel Est until Fabre, and then head north to Mont Royal. Along this stretch you’ll find some the best brick triplexes and multiplexes, with decorative railings and curving outdoor staircases that are quite distinctively Montréalaise.
From Rue Brebeuf at the southeast corner of Parc Sir-Wilfred-Laurier to Avenue Papineau, Avenue Laurier offers a quiet and quaint sequence of shops, boutiques, cafés, and markets. Lush with foliage from mid-May to early October (when the autumn leaves add a burst of colour), this section of Laurier is lined with well-tended brick multiplexes with curving outdoor stairwells. The nearby park adds to the vitality of the surrounding area.
Between Rue St. Denis and Boulevard St. Laurent, Rue Castelnau and its connecting residential streets are lined with leafy trees that almost weave a canopy overhead. Rue Castelnau has boutiques, pâtisseries, ice cream parlours, and other restaurants and shops, and is punctuated by a grand grey cathedral. It’s a welcome refuge from the bustling markets and main streets of the surrounding Villeray and Little Italy neighbourhoods.
Avenue Bernard runs through the scenic neighbourhood of Outremont, lined with shops, restaurants, boucheries, and markets. As you head west, the well-maintained apartment complexes, houses, and multiplexes reveal the more affluent side of Montreal. Any of the cross streets off Bernard are also beautiful, characterized by green parks and large, often historic, single-family homes.
The affluent Westmount neighbourhood has many streets that are as beautiful for their mature, over-hanging trees as for the large, impressive homes that characterize the area. Forden Crescent forms a circular route with Forden Avenue, close to Parc King George, and the street is a charming example of Westmount’s curated style.