by Laura Serra

In May, the Toronto and Montreal tourism boards took part in a cheeky, ‘cheat on your city’ campaign to promote travel within Canada. Tourisme Montreal sent this Toronto girl on an adulterous affair with our easterly counterpart and I can’t lie – I cheated. Hard. And it felt good.

Here is my recipe for how to cheat.


Don’t get me wrong, Toronto’s got it going on when it comes to cute park outfits, pretty girls riding vintage bicycles, good shopping, and concerts, but Montreal served up their afternoons with a side of… how do you say… je ne sais quoi.

1. Go to Piknik Electronik

If you’re ever in Montreal on a Sunday, this is a must for music lovers. This would never fly in Toronto.

2. Go vintage shopping – Kitsch’n’Swell and Rokokonut

Maybe I’m just bored of Toronto vintage stores, but these two in particular on Saint-Laurent kept me browsing through suitcases full of old collectibles for hours. And the ladies who worked at both fit the part too perfectly.

3. Gawk the street style and secretly question which city does it better:

4. Go to the Michel Desjardins store and atelier on Crescent Street. Desjardins used to work for the house of Givenchy. His boutique is stunning and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, don’t fret, they’ll make it for you.

5. Go to the Lola & Emily store on Saint-Laurent . It’s bright and sunny and a pleasant to be in. They carry clothing, accessories, shoes and stock some great brands like Filippa K and Bloche.


Once the sun sets, Gibran Ramos (head musketeer behind Mad Maus) and the Montreal fashion mafia, made up of designers Dimitri Chris and Sabrina Barila, lead an exclusive mix of daring dressers which make for eventful evenings at The Velvet Speakeasy and La Porte Rouge:

1. Go to the Velvet Speakeasy. It appears to be a normal bar, impeccably designed, with an eclectic mix of interesting objects dispersed throughout (think Oddfellows-ish) but then you go down a set of stairs, THROUGH  A CAVE, to find yourself in a dark and sweaty underground perfect for major dance parties. And everyone was dressed to the max (especially the bar staff!)

2. Go to the weekly, Sunday Lipstick party at La Porte Rouge, hosted by Patrick de Mace:  

3. Go to the new Rialto which recently re-opened it’s doors and is now a throw-back to real supper club dining complete with live music stage and round booths – 5723 du Parc Ave. 

4. Stay at the Hotel Nelligan on Saint-Paul in Old Montreal. It has loft-style rooms with exposed brick, modern design, breakfast in the lobby and a hidden roof top restaurant. The hotel is under the evening activities for a reason. Ahem.