Rue Mt. Royal isn’t just for the bi-annual street fair with its associated all-nighter. I think of walking on Mt. Royal is a sport. Maybe not quite a sport. It’s a hobby, a game you can play with yourself of trying to figure out what has stayed and what has changed since the last time you were there. Despite the fact that ambitious over-construction of roads killed some businesses, other storefronts on Mt. Royal seem to have been there forever. Le Fameux and its 20 different poutines. L’Avenue with its long but fast moving lines. Used record stores. Used book stores. The 24 Hour Café Noir near the Mt. Royal metro station.
Still, here are six reasons to come back and check this street out if you haven’t been here for a while.
Public Parks and Ruelles Vertes
Sure, at one end there’s the mountain with Parc Jeanne Mance, but along the way there is one small but awesome public park — Parc des Compangons de Saint Laurent. This park has a treehouse and it very clearly is marked “Adults Forbidden.” Along the way, though sometimes a block or two away from Rue Mt. Royal itself, there are alleyways that grow lush with flowers and bushes. These are the city’s ruelles vertes, the green alleyways, and they make for a welcome change from cars and people when some nature is needed.
Two music venues stand out in particular for those who want to get their indie rock and punk pop on. Le Verre Bouteille (2112 Rue Mt. Royal E) has shows almost nightly in its welcoming bar. Many out-of-town musicians seem to end up here. Another place to go is Matahari Loft (1673 Rue Mt. Royal E), whose upstairs location and somewhat hard to spot door are easily passed. Inside, though, is a hodgepodge of all the things that Montreal is known for — alternative arts, minimalist space, funky lights, and a giddy atmosphere. If DJs spinning electronic beats until the wee hours makes your heart pound, try Salon Daomé (141 Rue Mt. Royal E) with its laid back crowd. A quick wander up Papineau will bring you to La Tulipe (4530 Papineau), known best for its weekly dance nights and occasional C’est Extra nights with jazzy French swing. A wander south on St. Denis will bring you to L’Escogriffe (4467 St Denis).
The Smallest Cafes
Cafe Névé (781 Mt. Royal E) is barely wider than a Volkswagen, and La Distributrice (408 Mt. Royal E) is just a stand on the street. Still, the coffee at both is excellent. Along the way, if you want some room to spread out at a table, try some of the other cafes like the beautiful Cardynal (1558 Mt. Royal E), Cafe Plume (123 Mt Royal W), and Cafe Kahwa (331 Mt. Royal E).
Eat the World
Korean at Hoya. Lebanese at Trip de Bouffe. Thai, Vietnamese, French, Italian, Indian, Filipino, Japanese, Mexican, Creole. Mt. Royal showcases the city’s diversity of food types.
Eat Breakfast All Day
On the other hand, Quebec does breakfast well, so well that L’Avenue (922 Mt. Royal E) has a line at midday on a Thursday of people waiting to enjoy their eggs. Some other popular spots for a good breakfast (or similar fare) include La Binerie (367 Mt. Royal E), Le Fameux (more for its poutine, perhaps — at 4500 St. Denis), and Bagel St. Viateur (1127 Mt. Royal E). If your breakfast is pastry, Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann (316 Mt. Royal E) is the city’s butteriest, best croissants. Beauty’s is also an old standby.
Mural festival lets the Plateau bring in a world of international mural artists spray their talents on the sides of buildings. Omen and Miss Teri are too such artists who have works along Mt. Royal. In addition, there are public photo stands that feature images on a theme. Currently, it is images of different cultural groups (dance companies, theatre companies).
Rue Mt. Royal even maintains its own website and newsletter. For more info on the street, click HERE.