Montreal’s Mont Royal: The Raccoons of Town

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New York has its rats, Athens has its stray dogs and cats and Montreal is the unlikely urban home of a large population of raccoons. Although they can be seen dashing across alleyways and rummaging in the back street trash cans of various neighborhoods, their center base is Mont Royal, the city’s namesake hill. In the evenings, the raccoons come out onto the observation point in the hillside, largely prompted by the passing visitors leaving food for them. As a result, they have become as much an attraction at the overlook as the sprawling views of the city.

Montreal: Brasserie Les Enfants Terrible

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Having opened in 2008, Les Enfants Terribles was borne of the spontaneous musings of Francine Brûlé over a family dinner. Teaming with Artistic director Alexandre Brûlé Brosseau and architect-designer Louis-Joseph Papineau, a corner building in the Outremont neighborhood was transformed into an alluring, warming yet stylishly modern restaurant and bar space. The playful theme derived from the namesake of the restaurant is present from the shirts worn by the waiters proudly claiming Je suis un enfant terrible to the white children’s fingerprints etched into the wine glasses.

The kitchen is presided over by Chef S’Arto Chartier-Otis, who has crafted a menu comprised of elegant brasserie delights, such as beef tartare and innovative transformations of familiar comfort foods, like the Shepard’s pie, presented as a layered, colorful tower, a far cry from the nondescript traditional presentation. The menu also offers the regional favorite, poutine, as a side and a great compliment to the warm goat cheese topped lamb burger. No matter what your order, each plate is presented beautifully, in a clean, contemporary fashion.

1257 Avenue Bernard West (corner of Champagneur), Montreal

Montreal’s Musee des Beaux Arts: Contemporary Art

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The museum’s contemporary art collection features pieces dated after 1945 comprised from a variety of mediums including paintings, sculpture and multi media installations among other recent art forms. One of the most eye-catching recent acquisitions to the museum is Toronto-born artist Dorian Fitzgerald’s Throne Room (pictured to the left), a depiction of the Throne Room of the Queluz National Palace in Sintra, Portugal, created from a tedious process of digitally manipulating an image prior to using caulk to define each area and then filling each section with acrylic paint. Despite the minimal color palette, the completed work has a dramatic richness that creates a memorable visual impact.

The temporary pieces range from the truly bizarre, such as the cannibalistic monkey sculpture pictured on the right to more comprehensive exhibitions such as Montreal born artist Dorothea Rockburne‘s retrospective In My Mind’s Eye (pictured to the left), which features fifty of her works showing the development of her abstraction abroad.

The pieces that comprise the contemporary art collection are certain to engage any visitor to the museum simply due to their varied nature and unique characteristics.

 Free Admission/Suggested Donation


Pavillon JeanNoël Desmarais, Level S2

1380, rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal

Montreal’s Chinatown Pâtisserie Harmonie

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Located in the heart of Chinatown, Pâtisserie Harmonie is a well-trafficked bakery for Asian pastry lovers from all over the city. The small shop carries over fifty products ranging from cakes, pastries, savory and sweet buns and bubble teas. You will want to equip yourself with a tray and plastic tongs from the center island upon entering the bakery so that you can make your selections from the numerous bins of baked goods. The Chinese hot dogs, a small hot dog wrapped in a warm, sweat bread bun are nothing short of addictive. Some of the other savory bun choices include the shredded pork bun, ham and onion bun, curry beef and pork and corn, which is wrapped in a bun shaped in the likeness of a pig’s head. Pair a savory bun with one of the many pastries. The wide selection is sure to have something to suit everyone’s taste, but green tea cakes and red bean pastries prove to be reoccurring favorites.

85 Rue de la Gauchetière Ouest, Montreal

Montreal: Weekend Brunch at Le Pois Penché

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A blend of traditional and trendy, Le Pois Penché is an upscale French bistro inspired by the style and spirit of Paris in the 1940’s. Stepping through the entrance way transfers guests back in time to a period of refined sophistication and luxury. The plush red chairs and red leather banquettes stand in stark contrast to the black and white tiled floor, white tabletops and white marble topped central bar, drawing diners to their seats.

The brunch menu includes offerings such as the Pain Doré, maple drench brioche with mascarpone cheese and fresh fruit, as well as a twist on the brunch classic, eggs benedict, brought in the form of La Comtesse de Monté Cristo, a plate of brioche french toast, rosemary ham, gruyere cheese, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. The brunch menu also features a selection of four tartares: classic steak, Italian with truffles, shaved parmesan and fries, tuna tartare and salmon tartare

All brunch entrees are priced around $15 with the tartare selections priced around $20 .

1230 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest, Montreal