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MONTREAL | The Travel Empire - Part 4


Montreal: IglooFest and the Electronic Music Scene Erupt on the Quays of Vieux

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Now in its sixth year, Igloofest, the outdoor winter electronic music festival, once again takes over the Old Port for three consecutive weekends of high energy live performances overseen by the the best artists in the electronic scene. Each night offers a packed and varied line-up, with three to four headliners claiming the main Sapporo stage nightly and additional performers presiding over the Virgin Mobile Igloo throughout the night. The mix of world-class DJ’s and captivating visuals results in a bouncing swarm of festival goers erupting into dance throughout the night in front of the main stage.

As you approach the quays, the dark winter sky can be seen pulsating with rhythmic neon lights, drawing electronica fans into the colorful winter playground. Illuminated ice sculptures frame the lower festival grounds, giving it the appearance of an ice village that has arisen from the frozen winter landscape. A second level metal catwalk offers sweeping aerial views of the main stage, festival grounds and Old Port. Back on the ground, outdoor ice bars and small circular fire pits offer festival goers two alternative ways to warm up. If the cold is too much, a bit of the chill can be escaped by entering the main pavilion tent (Jacques Cartier pavilion) towards the entrance, which offers a live video feed of the concert stage, igloobars and the popular iglooboutique, where colorful hats and headbands bearing the festival’s name can be purchased.

The festival is also home to the quirky “one-piece” contest, a competition for showing off your most original and flamboyant snowsuit. Vintage styles from the 70’s and 80’s act as inspiration, but competitors are encouraged to dress up their one-pieces even further with their own creative accessories and personal flare.

Quai Jacques-Cartier, Montreal

Full details & artist lineup: www.iglooofest.ca

Montreal’s Café Gitana and Gitane Turquoise: St. Denis Hookah Bar

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Located on popular rue Saint-Denis in the heart of the Latin Quarter, Café Gitana is a laid back hookah bar with indoor and outdoor seating offering a full bar selection, including beer and sangria by the pitcher, along with a shisha menu at $15 per hookah. The indoor café decor is traditional with weathered wood tables and lightly cushioned wood benches with stools and chairs. During the day, the crowd is sparse with most patrons  settled in with laptops or books. As night falls, the crowd thickens and the music loudens as the café becomes crowded with the nighttime throngs strolling Saint-Denis. Among the groups of people inside, hookahs fill the tabletops and are placed on the floors within larger groups for sharing. To handle the rush, Café  Gitana has a second outpost, Gitane Turquoise, just down the street. The only catch is that you have to order your hookah at the main outpost to be delivered to you at Gitane Turquoise.

2080A, rue Saint-Denis, Montreal


Downtown Montreal Wine Bar: Pullman bar à vin

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DSC01428A relaxed and hip bar devoted to enjoying both wine and good company, Pullman is a wine bar that fills an intimate three-story townhouse that offers over 350 wines in addition to a selection from the full bar. Helpful servers can guide guests through the extensive wine list or patrons can embark on their own tasting journey by ordering a Trio, three 2oz. pours, generally designed around a region or winery. The bar also features a variety of gourmet small plates, both sweet and savory to compliment the drink offerings. The upstairs better accommodates larger parties while the prime seating downstairs is at a cozy table by the front window where the best views of other patrons and those passing on the street outside can be had or at the intimate first floor bar. Pullman’s close proximity to Place des Arts makes it an ideal destination for a pre or post event stopover.

3424 ave du parc, Montreal

Montreal Microbrewery: Les Trois Brasseurs

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Based around a deeply rooted family tradition and the basic concept of creating fresh non-pasteurized beer made from the purest ingredients and traditional recipes, The Three Brewers first opened in Place de la Gare à Lille in 1986. Today, the microbrewery and brasserie boasts 28 locations throughout France in addition to numerous locations in Canada, including several in Montreal. The beer, a selection of white, blonde, amber, brown, and a monthly seasonal brew, is brewed in each brasserie with copper tanks, aging barrels and stacks of barley in plain sight. Beer can be ordered by the 1/2 pint, pint, liter or pitcher. For those looking to sample all their options, a four glass four ounce tasting is available, or, for the more ambitious, a full meter, comprised of ten 1/2 pint glasses. The menu also offers an array of unique beer cocktails such as the White Peach made from white beer and peach schnapps or The Brit, made brown beer, Jameson and whiskey.

The special of the house is an Alsatian dish known as Flammekueche, a rectangular, wafer thin-crusted pizza available with a variety of toppings, including those highlighting local tastes, such as The Québécoise with onions, bacon and Québec raclette cheese or The Smoked Meat with smoked meat à l’ancienne, gruyère cheese and pickles.

Montreal Locations

1658, rue Saint-Denis (between Blvd Maisonneuve & Rue Ontario E)
105, rue Saint-Paul Est (at Rue de Vaudreuil)
732, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest (at Avenue McGill College)
1356, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest (at Rue Crescent)


Montreal Poutine in the Vieux Port

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Originating in Quebec in the 1950’s, poutine, a dish of thick cut fries, covered in gravy and cheese curds, has since become one of the most popular regional cuisines in the province. Montreal Poutine, located in the heart of Old Montreal, serves up some of the best in the city. The classic poutine is always a good stand-by, but trying some of the restaurant’s more indulgent creations is highly recommended. You can dress up your traditional poutine with smoked meat, bacon, fried onion and mushrooms, chicken or Italian sausage. The restaurant also offers up smoked meat sandwiches, burgers and grilled cheese, but there is no doubt what the attraction is at this popular Old Port resto.

161 Rue Saint Paul Est, Montreal