Jun 20, 2019 | By Quentin Humphrey
May 08, 2018
Montreal is an eclectic urban hub of gastronomic delights and culture blended with a curious French charm, but for the most part the city is still overlooked by its popular sister cities Toronto and Vancouver. To put it simply though, Montreal is pretty cool. Arguably the most European city in North America, Montreal has recently been injected with new life. With a new and vivacious Prime Minister in Justin Trudeau, state-of-the-art museums, and dynamic festivals, there has never been a better time to head north.
Subscribers can get the full lowdown in WGSN’s Montreal City Guide, but we’re giving you 5 reasons to put Montreal on your travel check list here, on WGSN Insider.
SSENSE is indubitably Montreal’s style vanguard, and one of the world’s leaders in fashion E-commerce. However, the e-commerce giant actually started off as a small bricks and mortar store in Old Montreal. Having made headlines earlier this year after acquiring fashion community platform Polyvore (and immediately shutting the platform down, ouch!), SSENSE is back on the tip of our tongues with the launch of its brand new flagship. The new five-storey space is the perfect touchpoint between the online and offline shopping experience. An appointment is required to shop the new store, but don’t fret, you can also enjoy some caffeine in the glass-roofed café, or attend one of the many activations SSENSE has planned in its fresh event space.
Located on Boulevard Saint Laurent, this skate haven effortlessly exudes the New Montreal Cool. The brand was founded by Canadian skaters Phil Lavoie and Vince Tsang in 2005, but didn’t open its flagship until last year. Dime has, without a doubt, brought the city’s skate scene to the world stage with its humorous and viral skate clips – and the store is one of the only places in the city to cop brands like Alltimers, Bronze 56k, and Quartersnacks. More than just a store, Dime is a brand, a skate crew, and a new wave of Canadian style. Dime is to Montreal what Supreme was to New York 10 years ago. The staff here, who are mostly skaters for the brand, don’t take themselves too seriously and will often post themselves outside the shop on social, trying to nail a new trick. Dime product flys off the shelves, so if you’re not popping into the shop soon after a drop, chances are you won’t be able to get your hands on any Dime garments – the hype wins again.
LE CENTRE PHI
This multi-purpose arts and cultural center does it all. From exhibiting immersive AR / VR installations, to hosting fashion shows – there’s always action here. This arts centre has become known for its eclectic programming and strong emphasis on content creation, which makes for a very 2018 gallery experience. Unlike many galleries founded on the “look don’t touch” model, this space thrives off engagement. No two exhibitions or experiences are the same. Le Centre Phi also features a small shop stocked with design objects, apparel, books and more. The staff here are all very friendly and quite knowledgeable about the city as well.
Montreal has nearly 100 multi-day festivals throughout the year, but Chromatic, a newer arts festival, may be its most exciting. Chromatic brings together paintings, photographic, new media and digital artworks of more than 50 artists while also hosting a solid lineup of local and international DJs and musicians. At its core, the cutting-edge exhibition combines emerging art, interactivity, innovation and some really good music. This year’s rendition takes place May 26 – June 2, 2018.
Rad Hourani is the first Canadian designer invited to be a member of La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. He was also the first designer to produce a unisex haute couture collection – and there’s no question how hot genderless and non-binary apparel has become in recent years. Located in Montreal, the boutique also features photography by Hourani, who has also exhibited his works in London’s Tate Modern, New York’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. This flagship boutique isn’t the most spacious, but gives a thorough look into the world of one of Canada’s most prolific contemporary designers.
For more on Montreal take a peek at our latest Montreal City Guide
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