West of downtown Montreal, there is a structure shaped like a giant, much larger-than-life orange. This three-story, 40-foot-wide (12 meters) fruit is home to the Gibeau Orange Julep restaurant, which has become a landmark in the city’s skyline as well as its foodie scene. Here’s the story behind this unusual, brightly colored architectural feat.
The restaurant that would eventually come to be associated with the giant orange structure was the brainchild of Hermas Gibeau. He created it in 1932 to serve his signature, self-titled drink: the Gibeau Orange Julep. This beverage is classic orange juice with a twist: it’s creamier than expected, with the secret ingredient apparently involving powdered egg. It tastes like a delicious orange creamsicle.
Gibeau started selling his popular orange juice in Montreal’s Belmont Park, a now long-defunct amusement park that opened in June 1923. But Gibeau wanted a fixed location of his own—one that would be as original as his orange drink. He built the orange concrete sphere to encase his restaurant in 1945, and in 1966, the restaurant and the orange underwent renovations to make it larger and move it farther back from the roadway, as the city’s infrastructure expanded with the widening of the Décarie Expressway.
The shell of the giant orange is made of fiberglass segments, which encompass a laminated wood shell frame. In the evenings, the whole structure lights up from the outside. The interior has a fun, kitschy 1960s vibe.
For a good stretch of its history, the Gibeau was known for its rollerskating waitresses (discontinued in 2005), but nowadays, it is a more conventional fast-food restaurant. Customers can take their food out to one of the many provided picnic tables. The restaurant is open until 3 am during summer, with reduced hours in winter. Additionally, the surrounding parking lot is also the location of a summer-long gathering of classic car and motorbike enthusiasts; it takes place every Wednesday night from May to August.
In addition to their signature orange juice, the Gibeau also serves the typical Quebecois snack-bar (or casse-croute) eats, including cheeseburgers, French fries, hot dogs, and Canada’s signature greasy dish, poutine.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.