Answers from Our Experts (2)
Montreal is made up of two parts: The Old City, which comprises a maze of narrow streets, restored buildings and old houses that are best seen on foot; and the modern Montreal, with its many skyscrapers, museums, theaters, restaurants and nightlife. The boutiques and department stores of Sainte Catherine Street are a shopper’s paradise, while the café terraces of Crescent Street encourage people-watching. In the brisk winter, locals and visitors alike take refuge in Montreal’s underground city, an impressive pedestrian network more than 19 miles long with hundreds of shops, restaurants, attractions and one of the most unique subway systems anywhere — in which each station has been decorated by a different architect, creating what’s been called the largest underground art gallery in the world. With its long history of fur capitals, you’ll find plenty of luxury in this francophone city. Whether you’re looking for the fripperies of Montreal or a fabulous new designer outfit, you’ll certainly find something to fit your fancy here.
Venture to Sainte Catherine Street for some of the best in the city when it comes to gourmet shopping. You’ll find everything from Apple and H&M to some of the city’s most prominent shopping complexes such as Les Cours Mont-Royal, Centre Eaton and Place Montréal Trust. Of course, you’ll also stumble upon the classic Canadian store, Roots, as well as what was once the iconic Ogilvy’s department store but is now filled with boutiques.
We know that an "underground city" sounds a bit dreary and rather odd, but Montreal's Underground City is far from it. Think of it as an escape from that bitter winter air, which just so happens to be chock-full of restaurants, attractions and, of course, shops. RÉSO (the official name of the "city") features both above and underground portions, which is basically a system of tunnels spread over nearly five square miles. The complex is perfectly lit, so you don’t get the groundhog effect when you emerge after a long day of underground shopping.
Montreal is known as a fashion destination, with inventive local designers including Denis Gagnon, DUY and Marie Ste-Pierre, you can come home with a one-of-a-kind piece that will impress any serious sartorialist. When it comes to shopping in Montreal, there are a few major areas that will really damage your wallet (but it's worth it in the end!).
A lot is said about Montreal's so-called "underground city," which is really just a system of interconnected malls featuring fairly run-of-the-mill shops that you can find pretty much anywhere. It's not my usual go-to, but it sure is nice when the weather is -30 celsius. Stick to Ste-Catherine St from Crescent to University for the major fashion brands, including BCBG, Forever XXI and H&M. Find unique boutiques like David Lesage in Les Cours Mont-Royal on Peel and Montreal-based swimwear line SHAN on Crescent.
2. St-Laurent & the Plateau
Find hipster Fashion at it's finest, including local designer Helmer, and ultra-romantic Boutique 1861 at the south end and Canadian and Quebec brands star at Boutiques Unicorn and Quartier Mode toward the north. Quirky vintage reigns at Citizen Vintage.
3. Mile End
Begin with lovely lingerie at Lyla and stop in at Billie Boutique for some fun pieces to pur on top. Find elegantly tailored suits and work-appropriate dresses at Montreal designer Iris Setlakwe and pick up pretty knitwear at Ca va de Soi.
4. Old Montreal
Find local merchants at Marché Bonsecours, and high fashion at the sole storefront for popular online boutique, Ssense.com. For men's fashion, we recommend Michel Brisson.
Victoria Village is one of our favourite shopping destinations with Lola & Emily, Pretty Ballerinas, and JoshuaDavid within steps of each other. Put a whole outfit together in one city block!