Montréal: Paris, Quebec

The days of Americans sniggering at Canadians are clearly done and gone. Indeed, in 2007, the Mercer Quality of Living Survey placed five Canadian cities ahead of any single American city, effectively ending our seemingly unceasing superiority complex. Yes, we totally suck. So a zip up to Canada now would be like leaving the new Second World to get back to the actual First World—got that? And while Vancouver is maybe a little too hippy-dippy (rumor has it that even the heroin there is made from hemp), and Toronto can sometimes lack guile, Montréal (a sort of Paris on the St. Lawrence, if you will) offers all the Canadian charm with some of the European hauteur. (Fashionista note: Montreal Fashion Week takes place October 14-17.)

Boutique Marie Saint Pierre
One of the consistently notable names in Montréal fashion, Marie Saint Pierre, opened her first boutiques this spring. Her designs are austere yet romantic, architectural while unapologetically gothic. Not for ironic T-shirt nerds, obviously. 2081 rue de la Montagne.

Boutique U&I
U&I is the place to grab-up the Euro bleeding edge at Canadian prices. Westwood, Margiela, Comme des Garçons: all those towering heroes of the avant-garde are on offer in this simple, exposed-brick space. Selections, mercifully, are based on actual wearability. 3650 boulevard Saint-Laurent.

Boutique Revenge
The name says it all. This pioneering Saint-Denis boutique carries only Canadian designers like Nadya Toto, Mylene B and Simon Chang, with styles for both sexes. Revenge is actually best served… fashionably. 3852 rue Saint-Denis.

Headquarters Galerie+Boutique
A new-ish collaboration between designer Angie Johnson and artist Tyson Bodnarchuk; it’s the usual postmodern multidisciplinary mix of art, fashion, and well, mod teacups. A good place to just hang about, looking like a scenester. 1649 rue Amherst.

Time Supper Club
Out on the industrial fringe of Montréal, this is the place for classic supper-club indulgence in a fab, technofied atmosphere. The retro deco space features its own catwalk for that drunken Agyness Deyn imitation you have wanted to do, and DJs spin late into the night. 997 rue Saint-Jacques.

Club Lambi
The place to catch all those touring alterna-darlings, from the Watson Twins, to These New Puritans, to Scandinavian pop goddesses Lykke Li and Annie. Lambi nurtures the local indie scene, which finally has the rest of the world’s ear—at least until someone discovers the Ottawa scene. 4465 boulevard Saint-Laurent.

Montréal after-hours club, Stéréo, claims to have one of the best sound systems on the planet. The bar opens at 11 p.m., but Stéréo After Hours kicks off at 3 a.m. and pulls DJ talent including the likes of Sander Kleinenberg and Paul Oakenfold. 858 rue Sainte-Catherine Est.

Hotel Gault
One of the most architecturally mind-blowing hotels is also one of the friendliest. In a renovated nineteenth century Beaux-Arts building, interiors are all Corbusian grey concrete industrial with open plan rooms, a cavernous lobby, and a front desk that doubles as a bar. We had an early flight after a late-night costume party and the staff offered to return our costumes for us. Incredible. 449 Rue Sainte-Hélène.

TEXT BY Ken Scrudato


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